Insight Edition | January 2008

Cynics say we get the governments we deserve, and to an extent this is true. When we stop paying attention to politics, we make it easier for politicians to stop paying attention  to us. If we vote for the political equivalent of the crazy warehouse guy (‘All the services you want at half the price!! Why pay more?’), we shouldn’t be surprised when we get  policies built to fall apart as soon as we rip open the wrapping paper.

Yet it is also true that governments get the citizens they deserve. Treat elections as a marketing campaign and expect people to shop around for the best deal they can get for themselves. Portray yourself as a Strong Leader who will relieve voters of the burden of making hard decisions, and expect them to be unforgiving when the decisions you’ve made (or avoided) on their behalf
go awry.

In the first edition of InSight for 2008, Ian McAuley looks at the nature of political leadership and argues that the last thing Australia needs right now is another Strong Leader.

Responding to Judith Brett’s recent Quarterly Essay, McAuley argues that Kevin Rudd will need to learn from Howard’s mistakes – resisting the tempation to avoid hard decisions or to play Santa and drop policy solutions on the populace like packages down a chimney. Read more.

Enter left – let’s hope Rudd isn’t a ‘Strong Leader’

Ian McAuley asks how Kevin Rudd can exercise true leadership and avoid the mistakes which helped bring about the Howard government’s demise.

The emergence of new corporate forms

How can we make life easier for companies that combine profit-making with a social mission? CSR expert Susan Mac Cormac reviews the ongoing evolution of the corporation.

Progress and wellbeing: more than GDP and tax cuts

Last year’s election showed that economic growth alone is no longer enough to guarantee votes. John Langmore and John Wiseman argue for the new Labor government to adopt broader measures of progress.

What’s Super about Labor’s new GP clinics?

Jennifer Doggett revisits the arguments for investing in primary care and looks at what will be involved in implementing Labor’s election policy on ‘GP Super Clinics’.

Regulating for innovation

Regulation can be beneficial, but only if it is responsive and flexible, writes Nicholas Gruen. Australian governments need to adopt a post-Taylorist approach to regulation.

Global warming and the case for a coal tax

Australia can outpace the Kyoto process without having to go it alone, writes John Perkins.

Climate change litigation: the heat is on

Kellie Tranter explains why Australian governments at all levels are in danger of being sued if they don’t act fast on climate change.