Saturday, 24 January 2009

Political Fantasy

Is it totally beyond the realms of possibility that one political party could acknowledge that another political party actually has a good idea, or has done something well?

In Australia today, the leader of the Liberal opposition Malcolm Turnbull, announced a new climate change policy.

I have no idea if it is scientifically sound or realistically practical however I suspect it is.

My reason for saying this is Climate Change Minister Penny Wong essentially critisised Turnbull, not for his policy announcement and its content, but because he has changed his mind from a previously held position of supporting a Carbon Trading System.

I would have a much better opinion of our political leaders if they could, or would come out and say “The Opposition announcement is interesting and we would like to study it and see if there is something in it that might benefit the country”.

And it works in both directions. I would like to see an environment where the Opposition can be confident in responding to a Government initiative by saying “We think the Government’s initiative is sound and we whole heartedly endorse it. How can we help implement the policy?”

The Rudd Government inherited a country in a very healthy financial state with a multi billion dollar reserve. Certainly, the mining boom helped this prosperity as did perhaps too little investment by the previous Howard Liberal Government in needed infrastructure. Notwithstanding, the funds existed.

Times have changed and the reserves established in more prosperous times are being, or have been used by the Government to try and prop up the economy in response to the economic crises. And isn’t that why you put reserves away in good times anyway.

It would be great if Rudd, when announcing the spending programme had acknowledged the previous Government’s efforts to establish the reserves in the first place.

And virtually every Economist and so called qualified expert seems to agree that deficit funding is appropriate for the times we find ourselves in.

Surely the Opposition can accept this too rather than critisise the prospect of going into deficit. They look “petty” when they critisise the prospect that Rudd will go into recession. The general public, the electorate, actually understand that times have changed, it is a different world and a new range of economic management structures are required.

Surely the willingness to acknowledge the skills and ideas of an opponent is a sign of self confidence and self belief. Being unable to do so perhaps suggests a level of insecurity at both a personal and professional level.

I for one would like to have reason to hold our Politicians in a higher regard and to believe they really do have our best interests at heart. Maybe I am dreaming.

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