ethical advocacy
... "but we'd do it better"                                         12 June 2012  Vol 7, Issue 6
In This Issue
Management Toolbox
A beautiful set of numbers
Carbon Tax Crunch Day
MRRT Crunch Day
Background Noise

Art and Advocacy


I have created a new website to  display my paintings and to house my new political blog "Our Daily Blog". Click on the image below to see the site.


art and advocacy home  


You can access my Daily Blog by clicking here. You can even arrange to automatically receive new Blogs by clicking on the "RSS Feed" button on the Blog page.


There are many free downloads available in the Advocacy section.


There are four Painting Galleries and even an online shop if you wish to buy one! 



Old Dubrovnik Sea Wall
Old Dubrovnik


Grecian Urns
Santorini Grecian Urns


Tuscan Steps 2
Tuscan Steps 2


Triptych plus 1




Management Toolbox



Management Tool


If you're anything like me - you probably have a toolbox which rarely sees the light of day despite it containing a treasure trove of tools which could make life easier. Management is no different. In this and future Issues of Advocacy Update I plan to describe tools that I have used in my public affairs and advocacy career.


This week I touch on the ubiquitous 2x2 Matrix. Many will be familiar with its four square layout and its use on applications such as the SWOT Analysis. I frequently use it for other applications as described below.


2x2 diagram
Scenario Planning
Urgency Importance
Urgency Importance Conundrum


party positioning
Party positioning 2007 election
comfort analysis
Comfort Diagram
need want wish
Needs Analysis

The diagrams are self explanatory - the method can be employed on just about any set of problems to be addressed. 


"Bound" Volumes


All issues of Advocacy Update have now been bookmarked and aggregated into their calendar year volumes.


You may read or download them through the links below. They provide a quirky and personal record of federal politics over this tumultouous period.


Volume 1 2006

A beautiful set of numbers


Last week saw further evidence that the Government needs more than a miracle to survive. Having fended off the GFC with its massive economic stimulus measures and despite handing out cash to families on a means tested basis it still languishes in the polls.


Last weeks economic indicators - stable low unemployment at around 5%, low CPI at 2%, RBA interest rates cut and incredible annual GDP growth of 4.3% - failed to excite an electorate which has stopped listening. Like Roy and HG might have said it was a case of "When too much good news is not enough."


In an article in The Age on 7 June, Chris Zappone compared Australia's data against other western economies. 


"Australia's net gain of 38,900 jobs last month compared with about 69,000 in the entire US economy - which includes a population about 14 times larger."


"Australia's 5.1 per cent jobless rate compares with 8.2 per cent for the US and the UK, 11 per cent in the eurozone, 7.3 per cent in Canada and 4.6 per cent in Japan."


Overseas commentary on Australia's situation was glowing. An article in the Herald Sun by Peter Hartcher quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying: 


"Australia reported its economy was the fastest-growing in the developed world in the first three months of 2012, sweeping aside growing gloom." 


"We sit over here, scratching our heads and asking ourselves, 'How do these guys do it?'," the president of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, Will Marshall, a Democrat-affiliated think tank, told the Herald recently.



The problem this Government and future governments will have is that the bar has been set very high. Australia leads the world by almost any measure and yet the electorate, egged on by lazy journalists and commentators, yawns and whinges about being hard hit by measures which aren't yet in place.


RBA Governor Glen Stevens, in a speech in Adelaide on 8 June (The Glass Half Full) analysed the current state of the Australian economy. He pointed to Australia's remarkable growth in GDP per head of population as shown in the graph below.


GDP per capita 

He also commented on what I will call the "whinge" factor.


"And we live in a global environment of major uncertainty, largely because of the problems of the euro zone. Nonetheless, an objective observer coming from outside would, I think it must be said, feel that Australia's glass is at least half full.


Yet the nature of public discussion is unrelentingly gloomy, and this has intensified over the past six months. Even before the recent turn of events in Europe and their effects on global markets, we were grimly determined to see our glass as half empty.


Numerous foreign visitors to the Reserve Bank have remarked on the surprising extent of this pessimism. Each time I travel abroad I am struck by the difference between the perceptions held by foreigners about Australia and what I read in the newspapers at home."



Carbon Tax Crunch Day


end of the world
On 1 July The Carbon pricing scheme comes into effect and depending on your political point of view it will lead Australia into a new clean energy future or it will wipe much our manufacturing and business sector off the map.
The impending scheme has seen subtle yet significant shifts in commentary on its effects. Firstly the Opposition has begun softening its rhetoric as it begins to confront the reality of the scheme. Secondly, the Government has begun hardening its attack on the Opposition's stance. Leading the Government attack is mild mannered Greg Combet, the Minister for Climate Change.
In a recent SkyNews report "Abbott's predictions a deceit"  Combet took the attack up to the Opposition Leader. 
'At the end of the day the greatest deceit that has been conducted through this whole argument has been by Tony Abbott,' Mr Combet told Sky News.

'He's run around trying to terrify people in an incredibly gutless performance, with the objective of disrupting the minority government and get rid of it before a carbon price comes in.'

MRRT Crunch Day

1 July also sees the commencement of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax on Australia's highly profitable mining companies. This is the date after which according to the Opposition and the Big Miners that mining investment will head offshore and lead to disastrous impacts on the Australian economy.


For others it will see the introduction of the wealth distribution arising from the tax to the benefit of the community and small business operators.


The scheme comprises 16 separate pieces of Legislation - all of which the Opposition is committed to repeal.


The PM has gone on the front foot accusing the Big Miners of being "loudmouthed" and effectively bullying to get their own way. 

Big Miners
Big Miners

At an earlier speech to the Mining Industry Council Ms Gillard was again on the attack saying:


"And here's the rub. You don't own the minerals. I don't own the minerals. Governments only sell you the right to mine the resource ... we want growth and then we want the benefits of growth to spread to all."
Once again time will be the judge of who was right and wrong.
Background Noise


In his usual diplomatic way, Tony Abbott was quoted last week as saying to the Coalition Party Room 

"Gillard won't lie down and die. Where there's life, there's fight,'' Mr Abbott said.

A few days ago I stumbled on a website which is taking a forensic approach to the issues surrounding the HSU. In an article headed 

Thomson 8: The HSU family Blogger Peter Wicks continues his unraveling of the HSU mess. Links to his previous 7 HSU articles are also available. 

The AWB curse strikes again. On 7 June the ABC revealed that an AFP Officer had been approached to drop the AWB investigation.


According to the ABC a 30-year veteran of the AFP, Mr Fusca said he was stunned by the offer he was made during a conversation with an AFP manager in late 2008.


"He said that if I could make the taskforce disappear, I'd be the next coordinator," he has told 7.30.


Asked if he was "effectively asked or told if you wind down the AWB taskforce, you'll get a promotion?" he replied: "That is correct, that is the way I interpreted it."


"I was completely floored by it," he added.


The New York Times has published a story claiming that "Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops."


"The military said Friday that there had been 154 suicides among active-duty troops through Thursday, a rate of nearly one each day this year. The figures were first reported this week by The Associated Press.


"That number represents an 18 percent increase over the 130 active-duty military suicides for the same period in 2011. There were 123 suicides from January to early June in 2010, and 133 during that period in 2009, the Pentagon said.


"By contrast, there were 124 American military fatalities in Afghanistan as of June 1 this year, according to the Pentagon."



I was amused the other day to see Tony Abbott speaking at The Pratt Institute.

Democracy is a bit like free enterprise - we only like it when it suits us. When we ignore reality to the point where harsh measures are necessary we behave like lemmings.



Political Lemmings

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