Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

Switch on the TV. We may pick him up on Channel Two… Lessons unlearned in the election campaign

By all accounts, Tony Abbott’s appearance on the 7:30 Report was a disaster.  While many people saw it as a failure of Abbott to understand technomancy, I saw it more as a failure of communication.  It seems to be a repeated problem for the last few years.

The ETS died a horrible death because few people bothered to explain it in terms which engaged the public.  This caused two problems ripe for exploitation by the vandals of the upper house.

1) There was space for the argument that the world wasn’t warming, thus change was unnecessary.

2) There was space for the argument that the ETS would have been ineffective.

After the various mutinies of the parties, the Coalition exploited (1) and the Greens exploited (2).  Neither, by the way, were true.  The ETS was designed not to shock the system (the ‘It pays big polluters’ argument) and was designed to give the government a lever with regard to emissions (because (1) is obviously false).

The ‘Mining Tax’ suffered the same problem.  There was no message around the Henry Tax review and everybody bought into the outright lie that the resource sector saved us from the recession (mining companies went cap in hand to the governments asking for handouts).  The end result was a butchered policy.

These were mistakes by the government, so you would think that the Coalition would have recognised the problem and avoided the same pitfalls.  Apparently not.  In the above interview, Abbott gets cluttered with absurd detail instead of providing a clear policy message which differentiates his plan from that of the government.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Professor Rod Tucker from Melbourne University with a string of qualifications in this field as long as your arm – very impressive I might say – including the Australia Prize for his contributions to telecommunications had this to say today: “The idea that we could use very fast broadband based on mobile technologies and existing fibre,” – which is what you would do – “… defies the laws of physics.”

TONY ABBOTT: Well I accept, Kerry, that not everyone is gonna like our system, but I just don’t believe that you can trust this government to roll out a $43 billion bit of infrastructure.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But does that preclude you if the plan itself is good?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, as I said, I think we can do something that will be good for a lot less price. Our system will give Australians national broadband, but it won’t be nationalised broadband and it won’t depend on just one fibre technology.  — 7.30 Report, 10 Aug 2010

The policy message appears to be: ‘You can’t trust the government with money.  Thus, our broadband plan is better.’  It is even more strange considering that all the objective evidence suggests that we can trust the government with money.  Basically, the approach is ‘The government has said X; therefore, not-X is true.’

We’ve already had the Coalition apply its hand to our IT policies.  They had a decade to get us up to speed and we languished.  Do we really have such incredibly short political memories?


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