From the very first day after I’d finished my term in the Senate in July 2008 – in fact for many weeks before I’d even formally finished – there would be no question I have been asked more frequently that the one about whether I miss being in politics and whether I’m enjoying being out of it.  Even months after having announced I was getting formally involved with electoral politics once again by joining the Greens and contesting the House of Representatives seat of Brisbane, I am still being asked whether I’m enjoying being out of politics and whether I miss it.

Regardless of the context or the precise question, I can always honestly answer that there are some aspects of being out of parliament that I enjoy, some parts of it that I miss, and some aspects of politics that I loath and detest.

One part of politics I dislike is the pathetic standard of some political ‘debate’, which I was reminded of again by this story of some pathetic parliamentary taunting being directed at NSW Nationals MP Adrian Piccoli.  Even though it is only occasionally reported on, this sort of juvenile rubbish occurs on virtually every sitting day of Parliament.  I don’t pretend to be a saint on this – there are a few MPs I find it hard to muster much respect for, (which only seems fair, as they have done so much to earn my contempt) – but while robust debate is fine with me, juvenile name calling,  especially in the parliamentary chamber, is pathetic.

But a far more loathsome aspect of politics is the lynch-mob mentality which arises from time to time when some in the media decide to go after a politician’s private life.  I accept public figures bear greater responsibility, and there can be cases where it can be hard to decide what crosses the line between private life and public interest.