Australian politics is the poorer for the loss of Oakeshott and Windsor

Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are two reasons why this minority government has — in spite of all dire mutterings and pronouncements of doom — functioned, and functioned well. It’s due to their insistence on examining legislation on its merits, refusing to be pressured by either the Government or the Opposition, that we have been faced with neither paralysis nor a runaway agenda. They’ve taken pains to consult with everyone from the Prime Minister to fellow Independent Andrew Wilkie to their local constituents, and helped broker significant parliamentary reforms.

And for their pains, what have they received? I’ve already written about the amount of ridicule levelled at Oakeshott for his tendency to speak his mind at length. Windsor became the target of an extraordinary amount of venom from the National Party, accused of everything from treason to megalomania. Nonetheless, they’ve continued to do their jobs, and done them well.

Their dedication to behaving as politicians should — as representatives who put the nation’s interests above their own gain — has gained them little praise, and far too much criticism. Australian politics is richer for their contribution.

And now, Australia will be far poorer — via

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