Opinion

At the end of the day, politicians are just people

I DON'T particularly like Tony Abbott. But that doesn't mean he's a bad person.

I just don't know.

We all know Tony can be prone to a little PR gaffe from time to time, not least of all his infamous sex worker wink which took the media by storm this week.

Now, Mr Abbott himself would realise his mistake.

But the ferocity with which we the public have pounced on the "he's a

horrible man" bandwagon is nothing short of ridiculous.

For someone who spends his entire life in the public spotlight, any remote level of privacy is going to instinctively let in some level of relaxation.

Regrettably, our PM misunderstood the level of privacy he actually had.

I'm not for a second excusing his making light of someone's desperate measures to make ends meet.

But when it comes to our politicians, let's just be a little more sensitive to the fact that they're human beings.

As I sat watching a special budget edition of the ABC's Q&A earlier this week, a few realisations sprang to mind.

First I realised that I didn't know the first thing about how these budget dooverlackies actually work.

I guess I won't be challenging for Joe Hockey's office anytime soon.

I was then enlightened with the knowledge that although the government is definitely asking for more money from taxpayers, they are definitely not asking for "a tax".

I guess I won't be paying any tax this year, I'll just give the government money.

And last, but certainly not least in more ways than one, was the fact that the people of Western Sydney seem to be very good at dealing with multiples of seven, especially when we're referring to the seven dollars per visit required for taking their three kids to the doctor once a week.

I guess I won't be moving to Western Sydney anytime soon; apparently there is a plague.

But as shocking as all these discoveries were, none quite shocked me as much as the fact that our Treasurer had evidently made much more vicious and personal discrepancies against the plagued people of Sydney than merely the whole budget fiasco.

I mean, why else would they have attacked his character as much as they did?

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for people voicing their opinions on the political side of things. That is, after all, sort of how this whole democracy thing works, and I'm just as guilty as anyone else.

That said, we can sometimes go too far on the personal scale. During what was supposed to be, precisely as the show's title suggests, a Q and A, Hockey was labelled as selfish, heartless and out of touch with ordinary Australian families.

These were labels that came without any knowledge whatsoever of Hockey's background or personality. Joe Hockey is a public figure. Like his colleagues, it's impossible for us to tell whether or not he's a nice bloke.

What we see onstage, onscreen and on the record is a façade… because it has to be. See, the one downside of having an opposition to government… is having an opposition to government.

Yes, we see bent truths.

Yes, we see policies we disagree with.

And yes, we see budgets - like our most recent one - which do have harsh ramifications for so many people.

But we don't necessarily see a bad person. Let's not just assume we're better.

Topics:  columns editors picks opinion politics tony abbott



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