Oz Politics Archive

Sunlight A Starting Point for Council And Public Sector Reform

When I asked Leichhardt Council (NSW) to respond to questions about performance and constantly received the answer “We do not collect that information”, it became obvious that the Sunlight Test applies to performance management as much as to unethical behaviour. The Sunlight Test (sometimes Sunshine Test), originally defined by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis in […]

Political Tribes, Institutions and Democratic Failure

Arnold King at American.com reviews two books examining how a successful liberal democracy emerges. What jumps out: In order to have the rule of law, a society must have cultural institutions that promote rules and norms that cannot be overturned by autocrats… The basic problem… is that humans evolved to reward close relatives, to appreciate […]

The Real Future Eaters

The developed world’s extended post-war adolescence is drawing to a close. Too bad it’s too late. Adolescence is marked by black and white thinking, a tendency to blame others for one’s own failures or for unmotivated events, overweening self obsession and moral idealism. It is also marked by continuing dependency, and being faced by choices […]

MPs as Lobbyists and the Mendicant Society

Local MPs do just as much lobbying for vested interests as all those industry associations, NGOs and Hawker-esque consulting firms.  It’s just that they’re lobbyists for a geographic vested interest group – their electorate. I used to see lobbying as an unwelcome attempt to influence ‘independent’ policy professionals and MPs when they try to create […]

Departing on Budget Night is a Blessed Relief

Like watching Q&A, experiencing a Swannie budget night is necessary but painful beyond belief. But this time things are different. I have the good fortune to flying out of the country early tomorrow morning. I can tell myself that I’m not being slack for avoiding the speech and Budget Papers till after I take off; […]

The Speech You’ll Never Hear

It is distressing that this speech extract will only ever be hypothetical. What Australian political leader will utter even the first sentence? To be fair, I know a few politicians who would if they were given free reign. On both sides of politics.   This government commits to delivering cheap energy to our citizens and […]

Political Class Gets It Wrong Again

The members of the political class control communications and campaigns on both sides of politics. Unless they reform to minimise their isolation and arrogance, they will drive further voter disillusion. The NY Times’ David Brooks  raised this recently. He suggested four metaphors for political campaigns: seduction, talent contest, tradesman’s pitch, and warfare. The hard, negative […]

The Rising Tide of Calling the Green-Left What It Is

Good to see Andrew Bolt and that thoughtful conservative Victor Davis Hanson on the same page as me (hubris much?). That it is so obvious to anyone who thinks about politics that the Green-Left has become that which it once fought – reactionary, quasi-aristocratic, opportunity-denying – is a real indictment of the diminishing number of […]

What More Can They Do In 18 Months?

Seriously, what more can this lot do while they cling to perks for the tribe? We’re really only half way through the celebration of competence that is the Gillard government, and whatever they do for the next 18 months won’t have much to do with governing. Any scenario I imagine probably won’t be half as […]

The Thoughts of Chairman Bill

From our Dear Leader of the Workplace: I support everything I haven’t heard Tuesday is the same as Monday and first week of the month is the same as second week I meant what I said, until I didn’t. It was a Slip of the tongue. If you want to look like Prime Ministerial material, […]

Hume of the Week

OK, so this isn’t from Hume, and it is long. But it is from his best bud, Adam Smith, another Scot of practical and insightful temperament. From The Theory of Sentiments, a book which actually was more famous in his lifetime than his later Wealth of Nations. I have broken this single paragraph into several. […]

French See Sand, Insert Head

Faced with an unappetising choice between the unprincipled energy-spray of Sarkozy, and the fiscal, economic and social lunacy of Socialist François Hollande, the French chose, well, lunacy. With a side order of their own brand of Fortress France, Marine Le Pen. As The Economist points out, It says something about the  state of denial  in […]

Hockey Kicks Over The Too-Hard Basket

Set aside the question of short term political impact. Joe Hockey’s speech  to the Institute for Economic Affairs is welcome and long overdue on the issues alone. And when I say overdue, I mean decades overdue for anyone with an historical eye and economic understanding. It is only now, after European and American financial failures […]

What Not To Say If You Want A Future In Politics 3

I think I’d like to pick Tiffanie The GST is exactly what a minor party should support Hugh, your glasses are sitting in my Doc Martins Mark, I wish you’d stalk that bastard who shafted me in Caucus Driver, Anzac Parade Kensington please Let’s meet at The Table to discuss DAs and whatever else pops […]

What Not To Say If You Want a Future In Politics 2

More quotes real and imagined from those who haven’t done so well subsequently: I’ll just need 17 minutes to make my position clear We’ll change it all once we get in power Two trips to China and a suit do not constitute payment for espionage I’ll have more flexibility after the election A vast right […]