The Age June 15, 2010

Australia’s politicians are perceived as disconnected from the concerns of the people, and politics is all about gaining and maintaining power, former High Court chief justice Sir Anthony Mason says.

In a stinging critique of contemporary Australian politics, he said there was also a prevailing and unrealistic expectation that government could solve everybody’s problems.

Sir Anthony said surveys indicated many Australians would give a depressing verdict on the integrity, humanity and efficiency of the Australian political system.

He said there seemed to be general disenchantment with the political systems in other democracies, with fewer people turning out to vote.

“If voting was voluntary in Australia, the result might well be the same,” he said.

“Even as it is, there are strong grounds for thinking that a sentiment of indifference, if not cynicism, prevails in Australia about the political process.

“There is a popular belief, whether accurate or not, that politicians are disconnected from the concerns of the people and that politics is all about gaining and maintaining power, and that the political process is exploited by powerful lobby groups and stakeholders.”

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