Could it possibly be that the Australian way of doing politics is in a state of flux? Is the two-party Westminster system about to be infused with a wider plurality of influence? Michael Gordon in The Age to-day describes what might be.
Gordon quotes Tony Windsor:
''The majority of people nearly all the time would agree with 85 per cent of the issues, but we go to the 15 per cent where the argument is to create the differences so people can have two sides to look at,'' he says. ''Well, wouldn't it be great if we went to the 85 per cent that we agree on and forget about the 15 for a while and solve those problems?''
I have just spent the last two days at the Wheeler Center here in Melbourne at New News 2010, a two day conference on the future of journalism - with a significant emphasis on citizen journalism - by the Swinburne University Public Interest Journalism Foundation and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
A special guest at the conference was Jan Schaffer of J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism.
Among the points made in Schaffer's closing address to the conference yesterday afternoon, was that journalists have to find ways to re-frame the debate, the issues, in terms of agreement rather than finding the conflict at the heart of the matter and using that conflict to frame, provide the context for, discussion of a topic. Schaffer admitted she had no advice on how this should or could be done - but that we needed to find the way to do that.
So, Networkers, if the politicians could use their best endeavours to re-frame the political debate; re-frame the way policy, political business is done; and, if those who write about politics and governance and community also find a way to re-frame the discussion, might we make progress?.
Miss Eagle is an ever-so-humble blogger and would-be citizen journalist. I'll try to give it a conscious go. I may not succeed. Neither might the politicians and the old-media journos. But right now looks like the best time to give it our best efforts.
Let's have a good go at ferreting out what unites us, what best expresses the best of us. No need to be mealy-mouthed. We might even find fun and pleasure in it all, instead of angst and division. And of course, the politicians and the journalists and bloggers like me - well, we need attentive voters and readers and networkers. Come on board!