Recently Australian PM Tony Abbott decided to speak to a group of 14 year olds who were visiting Parliament. Unluckily for him this particular group of 14 year olds were very sophisticated and asked him a series of questions which neatly skewered four of his main policy positions. My faith in democracy was increased by what I saw. In fact the film made me think that we should reduce the minimum voting age to 14 such was the sophistication and the understanding that I witnessed.
The first three questions were doozies.
He was asked about climate change and said that he was going to plant more trees and use better technology. He said that he was not going to go ahead with the carbon tax because it was not going to help the environment and then contradicted himself by agreeing that price signals did have an impact. He finished off by criticising Labor’s plan to purchase overseas credits “from some dodgy carbon dealer from Kzakhstan”.
The next question was why was he so against legalising gay marriage? The questioner said she had a lot of gay friends and it was really sad to think that they could not get married.
Abbott said he was happy with gay people having loving permanent relationships but “it was a definitional thing”.
The next question from a 14 year old was outstanding because he would not have been more than two years old at the time of the incident he asked about.
He asked Abbott why does he think that following Howard’s footsteps with the Tampa and turning back asylum seekers is a good idea.
Abbott responded by suggesting that it was a safety issue and he was trying to stop people from drowning and that he was protecting the Australian way of life. Follow up questions about why should he do it in International waters and did he know it is a human right to seek asylum in another country were unanswered. Many in the civilised world would love to ask Abbott this question.
You get the feeling from Abbott’s answers that they were aimed at 12 year old comprehension levels and this particular bunch of bright 14 year olds were dissatisfied with what he said.
The final question was an absolute ripper and the ALP should repeat the question in Parliament. A young woman asked:
Not saying I don’t trust you or anything, just wondering, just a simple question: why is a man a minister for women? And why is a man in control of the rights for women?”
Abbott’s answer did not address the question. He joked that more women should join the Liberal Party. I am pretty sure that amongst that group of young people the chances of this happening are now slim.
The video is below. Enjoy.