Protests against the PM

On tonight’s news was a story on a protest against the PM – apparently eggs were thrown at the PM’s car.

Something I don’t understand is why people throw eggs at the PM’s car rather than engaging with the issues with argument.

On a related note, maybe it’s just me, but when trade unions protest against the new IR laws, it is unsatisfactory for them to say “they’re unfair, it’ll be terrible for working people” without backing up their claims with analysis and/or research.

Similarly, public policies should be backed up with analysis and/or research. Too often, especially in letters from government ministers supposedly explaining the reasons for a policy, is there limited or insufficient reason for the implementation of the policy. It is particularly annoying when you ask specifically for the rationale behind a policy and no rationale is provided, other than the bland “After the London bombings, the security environment is changed, and as agreed at the COAG meeting, all state and commonwealth governments are making these changes….” (eg on newish terrorism laws) – here I paraphrased what was contained in a letter from a government leader.

What – actual careful, sustained reasoning and analysis leading to policies? Perhaps it’s just too hard.

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4 Responses to Protests against the PM

  1. GMB says:

    Putting a great deal of faith in alleged experts here aren’t you Sacha? I wouldn’t trust our social science elites ahead of elected reps. Such people have a long history of extreme foolishness.

  2. Sacha says:

    GMB, no, I’m not putting faith into “social science elites” – I would like elected reps and people in the public service to look at problems as carefully as possible.

  3. GMB says:

    Right. Sounds good.

  4. Boris says:

    Sacha, I used to have about the same frustration, eg when watching question time. But I came to a conclusion that this is what public wants. The public won’t look into research, they look at slogans. So if government or indeed opposition does research, it is to make sure the policy does not backfire on them in the first month, not to arm them against the opponents. When this is not done (or is done below the acceptable standard (which is pretty low), the situation occurs like with WA Liberals’ Kimberly Canal proposal.

    I think the most serious research they do is to try to estimate how many votes in which seats they will get from this or that policy. This is serious, no nonsense research (rather than public relations driven, as say Costello’s study of tax systems is), but this one is not for the public.

    And GMB is of course right. Unlike math, in politics results of research depend who is picked to do the research. Your wish to see elected reps to do research is naive. They are full time actors. They do not even pretend to know the area of their responsibility. Say, do you suppose Brendan Nelson has become military strategist while trying to manage Australian schools and unis?

    Civil servants of course usually do have qualifications, but often have their own agenda, or trying to appease their bosses (politicians), or both. They are not to be trusted either.

    So where all this sad picture leave us? Rather than to expect that policy will be based on solid research, we will have to expect it to be based largely on the intuition of the elected reps. Which, given the complexity of some problems at hand, may actually be the only viable option anyway.

    Example: Ronald Reagan and the cold war. Where would we be if he relied on his scholarhly advsors rather than his gut feelings.

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