Please Give a Warm Welcome to a Very Special Guest…

May 8, 2007 at 12:48 am (Uncategorized)

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the blogging stage a special guest who’s very close to my heart. Today he’s going to share his recent response to Paul Kelly’s blog on The Australian newspaper website, and at the bottom I’ll include the link so you can read the Paul Kelly article too.

In terms of the nuclear debate, Llew and I have recently been discussing the possible benefits of Rudd adopting a referendum push to decide an issue that for several important reasons is beyond political posturing, or at least damn well should be. There’s nothing to suggest a nuclear referendum is something the Labor party is thinking of pursuing as part of their nuclear policy. We just think it might not be a bad idea. Perhaps – assuming we are equipped with transparent and balanced information and options (in stark contrast to Howard’s disgusting and farcical referendum that buried Australia’s chances of emerging as a new republic) – all Australians should own the decision about nuclear energy in the way we will all own the consequences.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Llew, your guest blogger for the day:

I have to say, that although it’s early days yet, and the IR situation is a particular question mark – Rudd is shaping up to be a truly gifted politician, and more importantly – policy maker.

The approach outlined in [Paul Kelly’s] article puts the question in front of the answer, where it should be: “What is wrong and what should we do about it?”

This diligent and transparent approach to policy creation highlights a key difference between the two candidates, because while Rudd is repeatedly choosing transparency, the current government typically pursues a closed approach where it creates an ‘answer’ and then shapes a question with a public face to sell to the people.

We’ve seen this time and time again and it’s starting to get them into trouble because often, it is revealed that the answers are actually to questions that the public has no appetite for – and rightfully so. For example there are obvious question marks around the logic behind the Iraq invasion, the investment in the Naru solution and indeed the Murray Darling solution to name a few.

The problem with a closed approach, of course, is that you cannot be transparent at all, even further down the track – and all too often when there’s no transparency, solutions aren’t thought through.

So while a more transparent process on the question of Iraq may have meant that we still supported our close allies in the current occupation, it would, at a minimum, have led to a clear set of goals, objectives and even milestones. We would have had a clear idea of what the definition of “Victory in Iraq” is… and we most definitely (and obviously) would have had an Exit Strategy.

On the Nuclear “Answer”, where again there are true, obvious and significant shortcomings – many, but far from all outlined in [Paul Kelly’s] Blog – a closed approach based on vague assumptions will almost certainly lead to ‘surprises’ that we are ill prepared to deal with – and some of those scenarios are pretty intimidating.

The net result of a clear and thorough approach is that although we might end up in the same place, the diligence that precedes the decision also tends to guide its implementation and ongoing management. So while at the end of all this we may still end up with nuclear energy, at least we’ll have an exit strategy.

Cheers

Llew J

Click HERE for Paul Kelly’s article.

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