To be fair to the PM, Marr doesn't lay the total blame at his feet but rather suggests that we the people have allowed ourselves to be silenced. That we have co-operated with the demonising of individuals, like leading industrial academic David Peetz who dared to criticise Government policy (see one such critique here) and was, Marr argues, subject to one of the most bitter smear campaigns we have ever witnessed.
He was in no lesser place than the Senate caricatured as one who was involved in: "Moral equivocation and terrorism"
This slurring of his character became a matter for the Privileges Committee (see here)and his explanation makes clear that it is his belief that the slur was meant to diminish his standing in the eyes of the community and thus diminish his ability to be regarded as a reputable commentator.
This is a standard political tactic, we might argue; YES! If we are talking about thew tactics of Stalinist Russia.Not the democracy we purport to be.
Marr argues that this is not so much deliberate policy as accepted practice, and happens because we the electorate let it happen.
There is no doubt that Marr can be something of a socialist whining, old, poof and that can be a bit painful and boring...but he does have something of a point.
In getting the politicians we deserve we should remember that we fail to hold our politicians accoutn for their undemocratic behaviour. When they shut down debate, we also allow the debate to be shut down. When they bully, standover, besmirch and fail to be accountable, they get away with this because we let them.
I am not entirely brimming with ideas of what to do about this.
- I think we should keep the pollies on their toes by writing letters to them.
- I think that blogging is a good idea.
- Public questioning as we lead up to election time seem to be quite a good thing to do.
- Writing letters to the paper