Heather's Episode 1 really brought back some memories, memories like ringing the general store at New Brighton via Billinudgel (aka the Summer Capital) and leaving a message for Doug to ring me back. Some time later a call from a public phone in the store, with that familiar voice yelling "Paul? You wanted to talk to me?" etc. Another: Curly Nixon's steadfast refusal to have a phone installed at his beach house. Those were the days!
I seem to have been dragged into commenting into Australian political events as they proceed. Here I want to come back to the last sentence in my last post, How to make a mess: Mr Abbott’s confusion with objectives, strategy and tactics. There I ended: Meantime, things that are really important get lost in the confusion.
I write about both the what to do and the how to do. On the first, in the lead-up to the last Federal election I suggested that the campaign had become a policy free zone. We almost seem to be in that position now, despite the volume of reporting. And yet, a lot is happening.
In Melbourne as in Canberra, we have the prospect of a one term government. In Melbourne as in Canberra, there is no sign that the opposition has regrouped, developed new ideas. The Victorian election has been marked by what one might variously call retail or supermarket politics. There is little new, just long lists of promised activities.
Regardless of whether I agree with Mr Abbott or not, there is a strong case for governments to have at least two terms. I am not talking mandated terms, just that governments need enough time to evolve, oppositions enough time to develop alternative positions in response. Because both sides get locked into stylized positions set within existing frames, we also need circuit breakers,. movements that will capture and force recognition and response to new needs. The Labor and Country Parties played this role, as indeed (dare I say it?) did One Nation!
One Nation lanced a boil by giving recognition to feelings that existed but had become suppressed within the Australian electorate. By venting those feelings, One Nation allowed the country to move on.
I said that I was concerned with the how as well as the why. Just at the moment, I am probably more concerned with the how.
Interesting interview on ABC Radio National this morning. The link is not yet up. I will add it if I can.
I suppose the fist key point was that engineering studies taught engineering science. The question of engineering practice had been placed aside, something you learned on the job. That was fine when you had Government public works departments that provided a conservative but deep exposure to engineering practice. But now with outsourcing, nobody is providing access to engineering practice, The private sector in Australian and many other countries is effectively free-loading off previous practice knowledge. One outcome is a rise in cost over-runs.
Now there are all sorts of issues here. I am just recording it now for later analysis.