Renowned pollster Mark Textor has taken a big step back from political life over the past year.
The co-founder of strategy consultancy Crosby Textor has moved his focus to the corporate side of the firm’s business, after decades as pollster and strategy advisor to a range of prime ministers including John Howard, David Cameron, John Key, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
Something that has surfaced this week amid the Liberal Party chaos is a summary of the public disillusionment with the political class that Textor delivered to a group of senior business leaders during a boardroom lunch at one of the major accounting firms in August of last year.
Textor’s insights on the political landscape and the mindset of consumers have always been keenly sought after by business leaders. The event, attended by less than 25 people, started with the pollster outlining his thoughts with a devastating assessment of the gulf between what voters care about and the interests of politicians.
While it is now 12 months old, it retains a chilling resonance given the events of the past week.
You work hard and do the right thing, and get no wage growth while the big end of town and politicians get tax cuts, wage increases and bonuses.
You pay your rego and taxes to build roads but still have to pay tolls to use them to get your kids to school and yourself to work while others profit.
You save up all your life and put into your super then they change the goalposts just when you’re getting near to benefiting from those savings.
You set up a little family trust to protect your small business or family farm but the politicians want to raid it with taxes.
If you make a financial mistake at work you get the sack, but the CEOs of banks keep their jobs and all their normal pay when criminals use their bank to launder money.
You invest your bit of inheritance in a blue chip Aussie company and expect a decent dividend but you get low returns while management get bonuses for poor performance.
You fill in a million forms to get any help from government but the politicians can’t even get their citizenship paperwork right.
You tighten your belt for hard times whilst governments spend billions on the big end of town consulting firms to write reports that are never implemented.
The buildings at your local school are in disrepair and your local club hasn’t enough money for your kid’s equipment whilst stadiums get built for big corporate sports that end up empty.
You have to manage kids’ schools, and homework and sports, your household budget, relatives and help out the local charity – all while holding down a job – no excuses. But Canberra is full of excuses for not doing their job.
And more than ever you have to tackle the harsh realities of life whilst the media, business of politicians prefer to indulge in pure ideology.
Worst, you can’t occasionally swear, tell a politically incorrect joke, have a fag, eat some fast food or enjoy a beer or two without someone important telling you are bad, when most of the time you do the right thing.
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