In response to an earlier post “My new MP is just around the corner …“, I have had a lengthy comment from said MP. I am reposting it here, as it probably won’t be seen otherwise given the time lag ( a month) between my posting and the comment. I doubt this will infringe copyright laws as it is already on this blog for all to see. So here goes:
Dear Grandma Flea
Please accept my heartfelt apology for the experience you had in my office. I will not attempt to justify the comments made by my staff member, except to say that your query would have been one of the first moral issues raised in my Electorate Office – having recruited my staff and moved into the office only a week or two earlier.
Since this time we have been able to establish protocols and I have made clear the expectations I have of my staff as my representatives. I can say with great confidence that you would not have the same experience twice, and as a local resident I invite you to come back to the office to raise any matter of concern and share your experiences again on Flea Bites.
My staff bring a diverse mixture of academic and vocational backgrounds to the office – an intentional strategy to provide a broader representation of the electorate. This has meant that some new to politics have had a quick education on the correct procedures and protocols – of which your experience qualifies. My Office Manager, Jaci (who has never been married and was not the one responsible for the comments) was the Office Manager to Brendan Nelson as Opposition Leader, and has brought a wealth of experience to share with the others.
With regards to my role as Representative – I take this duty very seriously. I have been asked by Parliament to assess the views of my Constituents before making a decision on a matter of conscience. Your visit, and the emails and letters I have received from many form part of this process. As community leaders all MP’s must perform their duty and the represent the wishes of the majority whilst protecting the needs of the minority. This is an enduring process.
I hope this reply serves to put your experiences in some perspective. I do apologise again and hope to see you in the office sometime.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas.
Member for Bennelong
I’m impressed that somehow this blog post attracted his attention as I referred only to Mr Alexander as “John” – although I’m aware that many organisations and individuals employ companies or people to monitor the media for relevant references – and no one escapes Google’s prying eyes. PomPom, a thinking blogger, has also referred to a response from JA regarding one of her blog posts – perhaps it’s a case, as JA said above, of the office settling down and getting on top of things. Of course, not all knitters live on my side of the political divide and perhaps a loyal supporter has drawn his attention to the post. Regardless of the “how”, I appreciate the response and apologise to the office manager for assigning the attitude expressed to her – I had made the identification from a photo in the local paper and either I, or the paper, got it wrong. I will send JA an email to this effect.
I had decided not to bother anymore with passing my opinions on to my parliamentary representative, feeling very confident that they would very quickly be filed in the rubbish bin, however, given this apology from JA, I shall continue to do so.
Despite this, my cynicism about politicians from all side of the House remains unabated. The continued poll driven nature of politics has seen both sides compromise their principles for the sake of …. what? Polls are not infallible – it’s a fine art devising a poll that gives valid results – just recall John Howard’s double barrelled referendum question about the Republic:
To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.
Any Psych. 101 student could have identified that question as producing invalid responses. A valid poll NEVER has two concepts in the one question. Anyone who wanted a republic but wanted a popularly elected president (which many did), would have to vote “NO” to that question – just what JH wanted. It was a devious, disingenuous question, akin to “push polling”, a method used to frame the question or questions to get the answer you want. It was, and is, appalling that the issue of a republic vs a monarchy wasn’t determined before the way it would work was examined. But enough. I can only take so much politics before my blood pressure starts to rise …. and we wouldn’t want that, would we?