Wednesday, October 16, 2013


You think the recent rorting of expenses by our politicians is wrong? The rest of us pay our own way to go to the wedding of a friend or colleague.   We believe therefore, that  politicians, – not the taxpayer - should  pay their own expenses when they are invited to a wedding You also believe that the Prime Minister of this country, Tony Abbott, is wrong when  he refuses to take action on  the West Australian member Don Randall, who has chalked up  in more than $10,00 in questionable travel and expenses?  Or that the Prime Minister should question his own refusal to pay back the expense of attending an Ironman event ?

If your children attend an ethics class at any of Sydney‘s public schools they would agree with the Prime Minister. They will have learned that ethical decisions are a matter of discussion, even argument. This will be the method they will have been shown for reaching an ethical conclusion. They will have had much practice. They will possibly have also learned that argument and discussion in reaching moral decisions have been the method taught not only at schools but in our universities and colleges. A method that has existed since time immemorial.  There are no hard and fast rules on what is the right thing to do; only competing theories. If Tony Abbott wants to justify his position in not taking himself to task for unethical behaviour , or any of his ministers, he  will find a supporting  arguments in some of the Kantian theory, in one of a half dozen utilitarian theories ,  or in virtue theory. After all, it is a virtuous act for a politician to interact with the people in an Ironman series, and therefore fully justifiable that the people should pay for this or any other political rort.

Our children and our politicians, would make a better world, as we all would, if we all applied some empirical observation and practical common sense to documenting what we regard as right, and  what we regard as wrong. In short, an enforceable code of ethical behaviour for political life.


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