Perth businessman and philanthropist David Flanagan has taken a swipe at the state of political discourse in Australian politics, saying politicians and voters are focused on short-term policies.

Mr Flanagan, who chairs Pilbara iron ore miner Atlas Iron and received the Governor Award for Giving last year, took to Twitter after attending a speech by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Sydney.

"What will it take to increase the quality of political debate in Australia? Are Australians demanding enough," he said.

"We often complain about our leadership but maybe we get what we deserve.

"We need a government. We just need them to know what they don't know. No one knows everything but most of the answers are out there."

Mr Flanagan later told _The West Australian _he was concerned about what he described as "entitlement-type policy", where people voted for "short-term policy that will deliver to them the best short-term benefit".

"It's great in many respects and it feels good to run a campaign for a massive social dividend," he said. "But where will the money come from? I would love to give away a billion dollars, it would help a lot of people, but I don't have the cash - it's a promise I couldn't keep.

"I'm concerned the Federal Government will continue the trend of damaging the national balance sheet with the objective of improving polls."

The West Australian

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