Monday, 23 August 2010

Unravelling the hung Parliament: what's in it for me? what's in it for us?

.... and what's in it for all of us?

The greatest disappointment is at the emotional level. That a lively fresh government with vision and big plans has undone itself. Waste mismanagement and incompetence in some ministries have undone sterling work by other ministers. A pledge for higher standards and greater accountability has been undone by marginal progress, double standards and business as usual.
Given voter cynicism, it is surprising how much trust voters put in government. Perhaps it is because they know that government works regardless of the politicians. But stories of how Cabinet operated (or didn't) have alarmed them. Voters expect good process and management.
They expect the serious business of government to be taken seriously. Many feel their trust has been abused.


Yesterday I posted about what the Independents might negotiate with the major parties to unravel the knitting which is the hung Parliament.

To-day, I am taking a different view.  
I am asking "What's in it for me?  What's in it for us?"  

I am sure that Networkers will have their own individual and collective responses to these questions which should be front and centre and on top of the minds of the voting public in Australia.  

I have a bit of a wishlist of my own - and, as I articulate it briefly, I wonder if it might be only wishlist #1.  In short, I might construct other wishlists as the days drag on.  It would be wonderful if Networkers could join in with their own wishlists.

1.  Public funding of elections to move us away from pandering to the donating rich.

2.  Less emphasis on the bigwigs - either within the ALP 'family', in the trade union movement, or within the corporate sector - who are faceless, all of them.

Picture from here

3.  More professional community engagement with the voting public - and I don't mean just community cabinets.  Community engagement is a professional social science.  There are many tools such as deliberative juries which could be used. 

4.  Stop this buttoned up spin rich approach to communication.  I tried to speak to Jenny Macklin at Eltham during the campaign about getting back the $35 million of taxpayers money wasted by the New Future Alliance in the NT under The Intervention.  $35 million was spent on "consulting" not on  hammers and nails. Jenny Macklin clamped her lips shut and sped away from me at a great rate of knots.  A fine example of communication with a voter, I must say. I used to think so highly of her once upon a long ago.

Picture from here

I would remind the politicians that this is the best educated and best in-touch electorate ever irrespective of political preference.  Don't treat us as fools.  We are not Barnaby Joyce.  Engage us - not in a condescending manner; not for your own ends; but to provide a service to those who actually elect you - and to make wise and encompassing decisions for this nation.

There are matters of concern to a lot of us which both sides of the House ignore and yet there are people who buy their way to the table while the electorate is regarded only as so many cattle to herd to a ballot box every three years.
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