New independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, who used to head the campaign for marriage equality in Australia, has said he views parliament as ‘pathetic theatrics’.
‘Parliament should be a house of ideas and solutions, not a soap opera,’ Greenwich said in a column published in today’s Daily Telegraph, in which he gives his first impressions on parliament viewed from the inside following his election at the end of October.
Greenwich wrote that he has noticed that MPs are more interested in getting a soundbite on national news than advancing policy. ‘Whether this is based on narcism or anxiety is unclear,’ he said, ‘but neither is helpful to effective political process.’
The independent MP, who was unable to convince Prime Minister Julia Gillard to publicly support gay marriage, praised the PM for the ‘passion, conviction and fire’ in her famous verbal attack against the opposition leader’s sexism. But Greenwich said: ‘shame it was a personality attack (as deserved as it was) rather than a policy attack’.
Greenwich warns that if the right-wing coalition win next year’s federal election, policies in coalition-led states New South Wales and Queensland (where funding has been cut from HIV prevention) could become national.
‘We need MPs focused on community engagement, new ideas, and political collaboration,’ Greenwich said.