Week is a long time in politics for Day

New Family First Senator Bob Day’s first impression of his Parliamentary colleagues probably won’t come as a surprise to most average Australians.
After all, politicians don’t have a sterling reputation for telling the truth (think of all those broken election promises) and a few minutes spent viewing question time shows a clear preference in the chamber for finger-pointing rather than policy making.
It’s true too that many MPs these days seem to have come to their roles via career paths nurtured and directed by either of the two major political Parties or their affiliates, such as the unions.
It is a constant public grumble that those in government don’t understand the problems facing the rest of us in the “real world”.
It’s also a fact that our national political system is an adversarial one in which participants are adept at playing the politics and sidelining the policy debate when it is convenient.
It is not surprising that a self-made businessman like Mr Day – who is used to getting things done and who judges his performance on outcomes – would become extremely frustrated watching his new colleagues trading insults and Dorothy Dixers rather than planning to solve the nation’s woes.
But politics is also a team game and a one-man team like Family First will need support from the major Parties if it is to gain support for any of its policies.
In voicing his frustration, Mr Day may have struck a chord with the electorate, but he will almost certainly have alienated many of his Parliamentary colleagues.
After all, politics is also a diplomatic game in which independents and minor Parties are required to negotiate with the Coalition or Labor to secure the outcomes they want.
With his own policy agenda to fulfil, especially on a matter as previously unpopular as workplace relations reform, it won’t be too long before Mr Day needs the other Parties as much as they need him.
Mr Day is undoubtedly in a position of power in a Senate where neither the Coalition nor Labor currently control the balance of power.
And with a Government looking to pass major legislation such as the carbon tax repeal and an unpopular budget, agreement from the crossbench is critical.
Mr Day should be clear that he is only one of eight such Senators the major Parties can court for support and they will drop him like a hot potato as soon as he is of no further use to them … particularly if they know he thinks they’re incompetent.