Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Trustee Model and the Federal Labor Party

Understanding the Australian system of government as run on the lines of a Trustee Model also explains why Federal Labor can gain no traction.

Labor, as near as I can tell, is focused entirely on trying to win voters by offering up what they hope are voter-friendly policies. Wrong approach. Completely wrong. What they ought to be doing is convincing the voting public that their judgement on all issues is the one to trust.

I don't know how the voting public perceives Labor's system of decision-making, but I know how I perceive it: it looks to me like any particular policy is ground out almost at random by an unaccountable and faceless bureaucratic machine that is at war with itself. Policy can and does change based on nothing more than whichever faction has managed to seize control of the backroom at any given time. That doesn't sound like any kind of political party that I'd entrust with the task of government.

In addition, trying to win votes through present policy doesn't take into account that the voters are considering future policy as well. We live in uncertain times, and a key consideration in any voters' mind I believe is whether their government will be able to weather a completely unexpected (and, perhaps, highly destructive) event effectively. The Labor Party machine offers no comfort on that score.

To win government, the Labor party should stop focusing on presenting policy, and start focusing on actually being able to make effective decisions. That's the first step. Once that's done, they can start thinking about presenting their decision-making capacity as the one that the voting public should entrust with government.

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