Imagine the outcry if you were snapped at the controls of an aircraft with a beer in your hand. Worse still if it was a passenger plane. With all those souls on board, who would for a second think it appropriate to be photographed with a schooner in hand, white froth on the top lip?
Yet, routinely, we see our Prime Minister and other political leaders out and about, belting down the lager. In fact, it's an image they reckon is good marketing.
It is not.
If you think of the country as an aircraft with 26 million souls aboard and our politicians as pilots, copilots, engineers and navigators, the sight of them beery, blurred and blokey does not sit well. And, in the midst of a crisis the likes of which we haven't seen for a century, it's even more important they project an image of sharp professionalism.
The allegations of rape and a culture of cover-up that have oozed out of Parliament House in Canberra recently are at the deep end of a toxic, alcohol-fuelled pool. At the shallow end are the pollies who, seeking to market themselves as ordinary everyblokes, jump at the chance to be photographed beer in hand.
What message does this really send? That, even though you're in control of the destiny of millions of people, it's acceptable - heck, even desirable - to pop the beer goggles on.
The Parliament is no place for booze, not for the elected and not for the salaried. It is a place where important decisions are made, decisions that affect all our lives. Workers are not allowed to drink when operating machinery and no machinery is more critical than government.
Like all workplaces, Parliament should be a safe place. The disturbing allegations that have surfaced (and not just this week) indicate it is not.
And the politicians who should lead by example should do just that. Dropping the booze props, forgoing the beery blokiness, is just the start of cleaning up our political act.