HOW low can they go is the question many Australians would have asked themselves in recent weeks as federal politicians stooped to new levels of nastiness, insults and disrespect, all in the name of politics.

The disgraceful behaviour that has played out so publicly has drawn the world’s attention to our elected representatives, and that’s something some pollies should be ashamed of.

There’s a worrying shortage of talent, ability and intelligence among the field – either that or they have become way too distracted and lost sight of why they elected in the first place.

Political scandals are not a new thing, but whereas once upon a time an MP might “gracefully” fall upon his/her sword and retire to the back bench for a spell having admitted to doing wrong, these days they will staunchly defend their perceived right to stay in their role, no matter what the damage or fallout for those around them might be.

There’s no doubt the recent matters involving the now former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce have hurt his party and damaged the

The government has been oxygen deprived when it comes to getting a message out there about the things that should actually matter to ordinary Australians with regards to running the country.

Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership has been tainted and severely wounded even by the actions of some from his own side, from the very beginning.

He limped across the line at the 2016 election, and would appear to need some sort of miracle to revive the coalition’s fortunes before the next federal

His leadership appears doomed, and for a man who appeared to offer so much promise and potential as our nation’s leader, at times he has appeared to struggle controlling just his own mob.

The other big issue in political circles this past week or so has been an enterprise bargaining agreement between the state government and the United Firefighters Union containing clauses that provide up to a combined total of 196 days leave for some staff, including sick, personal and recreation leave and other loadings.

This could well trigger a series of similar claims from other sectors of the workforce, especially given the constrained nature of wage growth that has been central to the national economy over the past few years.

The temptation must be there…

It’s hard not to apply the same argument about the value of a firefighter who enters a burning building to rescue a trapped resident, to a member of the defence forces, a paramedic who administers lifesaving first aid in an emergency scenario and under extreme duress, or a police officer who also puts his or her life on the line in any number of situations on most days of the week.

No amount of money or value can be placed upon this incredibly brave and important work that all our emergency services personnel do, but the reality is, we must place a value on all work.

And if anyone genuinely believes the deal struck by the government this week is fair and reasonable to all Victorians, then they must accept that this deal should therefore be extended.

The problem is, we all have to pay for this – one way or the other.