One eye on the next election is the kind of politics we mostly witness these days.
That's especially in the federal sphere, where naked personal ambition and parties' thirst to stay in charge has dominated for well over a decade.
The more pragmatic approach of opposition parties agitating for power because of clearly defined policy ambitions has not really been seen since the days of Bob Hawke, with his shaking up of the industrial relations system and the deregulation of financial markets, or from John Howard's long spell in The Lodge.
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But what we now get is a dizzying climate of spin and soft coercion and downright falsehoods, all because the prize of government is more important than the vigorous thrashing about of ideas for the greater good.
The resultant disconnection with voters was why the Liberals' Sophie Mirabella got ousted by Cathy McGowan in Indi.
But for now much of the spirit of political accountability we experience is in local government.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack couldn't be classed as someone who didn't get in and do his utmost to improve the everyday lives of the city's residents; you don't get the opportunity to make your mark for nine years if you're a seat-warmer.
There are, of course, all those big-ticket, shiny-new-car projects that leave a physical legacy, such as the $19.6 million Lavington Sportsground project.
Indeed, Cr Mack could probably sit down and put together quite the team list.
But what is a greater mark of his contribution, especially in his long tenure as mayor, has been the attitude of fostering genuine partnerships both on the floor of the chamber and with the wider Albury-Wodonga community.
He has had enough common sense and vision to realise that while we might disagree on some matters, as a community we shouldn't let that get in the way of the greater good.
Cr Mack reckons he will leave the building in a better state than when he first went through those (council chamber) doors, and we reckon he is well-entitled to that view.
And so we thank him for his considerable, selfless service to our community and wish him well for his post-council future.
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