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Australian Political Debate
Why Can't Foresight Be 2020? 
20th-Apr-2008 04:29 pm
Can someone please tell me what the hell is so wrong with the 2020 Summit?

All week long and into this morning I've been reading as the Liberals and their sympathizers opine, blog and generally whinge about something that they seem to have little understanding of in the first place.

Brendan Nelson called the first day a "shermozzle." Thats right, the guy who can't get his own party to support him - the guy whose public approval rating is below 10%. That guy!

Alan Ramsey decided the best way to lampoon this "expensive wankery" was to publish the timetable of the event.

That'll show em Alan!

I think I know why the Liberals are against it - simple really, the 2020 summit flies directly in the face of what the right have worked so hard to build their platform on in the last 12 or so years, ie. that power, money and influence should be held by the powerful, rich and influential. The poor to middle class are obviously there because they don't work hard enough and thus never deserve a real voice in the hallowed halls of government - essentially perpetuating the class system which has supported them from time immemorial.

Public office that is passed from powerful generation to powerful generation along lines of family and influence does NOT a good governing body make. I'm sure there are some politicians who have done exceptional jobs having come from privileged positions but I dare say they are very much in the minority.

Don't think I'm letting the left off in this regard though - politicians who come from privilege is not a right wing invention - but they certainly have made it into an artform.

The lambasting of the 2020 summit shows an unwillingness to share and displays an unbending ear in the direction of possible great new ideas.

Just because an endeavour has no guarantees does not mean that it isn't worth it. It's called "trying new stuff" and the Liberal party is going to have to learn that concept if they even wish to exist, let alone have a chance at governance in the near future. I believe the result of the last Federal election was proof of that.

The idea that one should never join an enterprise that doesn't have a 99% chance of success is ridiculous in the extreme and leads directly and irreversibly to stagnation.

The plain fact of the matter is that the 2020 Summit may produce nothing of value whatsoever. Does that make it a pointless exercise? No, not in the least. It's something that should have been done a long time ago and I have a feeling it will provide at least something of value.

And as for "expensive wankery," I think that particular cake was taken when Howard's plans for a $500,000-plus renovation of the private dining room in his Parliament House offices was revealed, don't you think?

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20th-Apr-2008 07:25 am (UTC)
rofl. You really do have no idea.

It's a pointless waste of time because it accomplishes litterally nothing. It's the worst kind of talkfest where a whole stack of people sit around and push their own barrows for a couple of days and you end up with a bunch of laughable, pie-in-the-sky ideas that have no realistic applications. The time, money and media attention out into this could have been used to build roads, schools or hospitals - things that we desperately need and actually help people. Instead it's been pissed away on nothing.

It's not like the delegates participating are even salt of the earth anyway - it's a bunch of so-called experts, activists and celebrities. What was hat about the poor and middle class being marginalised for the powerful, rich and influential?

It's not just Liberal Party supporters who think it's shit. I voted for this utterly dissapointing government and rejocyed at Howard's demise last November.

Policy should be made by people who know what they are doing. The people don't.
20th-Apr-2008 09:53 am (UTC)
>Policy should be made by people who know what they are doing. The people don't.

I think your open mindedness is your best quality.

You've just epitomised everything I was trying to say in the post. Thanks!

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20th-Apr-2008 09:56 am (UTC)
20th-Apr-2008 10:04 am (UTC)
Oh ho ho ho. It's wonderful how you think one little quip makes you right. Unfortunately for you, it doesn't.

Neither you or me is as qualified as a professional politician, policy analyst or other high-level department employee, and policy needs to be made by the most qualified people - as we can see from the pitiful results of this summit.

You're laughably idealistic and naive if you think any kind of direct democracy is a good idea. Being realistic about these things doesn't make me close-minded, it just makes me rational - a quality you seem to lack.
20th-Apr-2008 10:51 am (UTC)
I think you've missed the point. It's not like the government is going to do everything that comes up, it's about generating interesting and new ideas so that the government can then develop policy.

It's ignorant and stupid to think that politicians are the only people in the country who may have a good idea how we can improve things.
20th-Apr-2008 11:08 am (UTC)
Sure, but they can direct them to the relevant minister via the appropriate channels. We don't need a massive expensive talkfest full of activists and celebrities to generate ideas, the vast majority of which are silly and unworkable anyway.
20th-Apr-2008 11:27 am (UTC)
>Sure, but they can direct them to the relevant minister via the appropriate channels

Seriously? Relevant minister? Appropriate channels? Have you ever tried that yourself? Let me know if the result was anything other than a form letter...

The way that government is historically run (at least in the Westminster system), individual ministers are not pre-disposed to even think about new and interesting ideas coming from outside their sphere of influence, or outside of the lobbyists circle.

May I point you to one of your original arguments: Policy should be made by people who know what they are doing.

Surely you don't think that everybody NOT in office is an idiot? Surely you place some value on your own intelligence?

>activists and celebrities

Have you actually read through the list of participants? Or do you assume that just by attending you can be tarred as an "activist"? What is your definition of an "activist" anyhow?

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21st-Apr-2008 02:48 am (UTC)
I'm not a renowned expert or some such person, so I wouldn't expect to be taken seriously by the political establishment by myself, and rightly so. If rank and file members of society want something done, there's their local member, if (s)he's the type who talks to constituents, or (more effectively) a large media campaign.
20th-Apr-2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
you dont need a fucking degree to be a good policy maker.
21st-Apr-2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Um, yeah you do. Either that or significant government policy experience following some kind of post-high school recruitment.
21st-Apr-2008 05:03 am (UTC)
I think you may be missing the point here slightly. The idea was for the 'ordinary' people, who were supposed to be experts in their fields, to come up with a numebr of ideas for the future.

THEN the qualified policy makers would assess these ideas, deciding which ones should be policy or not. Kind of like talking to your local member, but bypassing the filter of local member laziness.

Useful or not, you can see why the idea of a long reaching meeting of 'ordinary' people was a high priority for Rudd. It was an exact polarisation of Howard's politics. Grubby, dirty politics that were only designed to get you to the next election were the only kind of the Federal Government for a long time.

Whilst I think some decisions of who was and wasn't invited were silly (the creative stream had no-one involved in advertising at all, because they didn't want it bogged down in certain agendas ie not Cate Blanchet's), and some of the ideas seem a bit far fetched, at least it's a step in the right direction.
21st-Apr-2008 11:03 am (UTC)
Having advertisers in the creative stream would have been like having hookers in the health stream.
21st-Apr-2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
Providing a useful service to those who need it?

Yeah, sounds terrible.
20th-Apr-2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Actually, Nelson's approval ratings are quite respectable - they're in the 30s. The sub-10% is his preferred Prime Minister thing. Nelson is doing better than Crean, or Downer, or early Beazley.

2020 Summit is good feel-good politics but I can't see anything substantial vis-a-vis policy being developed from its ideas.
21st-Apr-2008 01:28 am (UTC)
Public office that is passed from powerful generation to powerful generation along lines of family and influence does NOT a good governing body make

You know... this isnt the fault of the politicians.. its the fault of the public. They get their chance to vote every time the writ is dropped, and if they continue to vote for the same-old-same-old, they you get what you deserve. There is no excuse for what the public continues to elect, and they bear much of the burden for the problem with "the system."

Politicians are easy scape goats, but no one ever wants to blame all the citizens who put them there.
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