Politics can often be an absurd place where people’s true beliefs have to be pushed down in order to follow party rules.
One of those occasions occurred last month when Farrer MP Sussan Ley could no longer vote for the private members bill she introduced while on the backbench, aiming to put a stop to live sheep exports.
Her recent promotion to cabinet means that when standing in the House of Representatives, voting on policies which affect the nation, she has to tow the party line.
In this case, the rules resulted in her siding with the Liberal Party to stop her own bill being debated in Parliament.
But on Sunday – when standing in church in front of a congregation, their pet dogs and a few visiting lambs – Ms Ley could be honest.
It’s a little absurd.
Ms Ley used her speech at St Matthews in Albury to restate her real position, which she has made publicly throughout the debate on live sheep exports.
“It’s an example of a lot of good people working together, and my bill is part of that, but there is a lot more going on that is aimed at ending this awful trade,” she said.
To be fair to Ms Ley, she has made the choice to be as least destructive as possible.
She could cross the floor in Parliament and vote with the Labor Party on the live sheep exports issue, but there is no guarantee she would be supported by any fellow Coalition MPs and she would lose her political capital.
It is a sad reality that not being vocal about her true beliefs is the smart move.
If Ms Ley can push for the government to take action on the back of an independent review into live animal exports, she might get the outcome she wants.
This is an example of the system working.
Outside of Parliament, most voters just want their politicians to be honest so they do not have to put up with the games regularly being played.
It seems the best way to do that is to talk to them outside of Canberra – you’re more likely to find out what they are really thinking at an event to bless pets than within the walls of Parliament House.
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