Australian Election Result and Politics 2.0

OK. So the election over. Here we are with an emergent Gov 2.0 and Public Service 2.0. Time to revisit Politics 2.0.

Given the nature of this post I want to be up front about my own political views. On social policy I sit somewhat ‘left of centre’. On the economic side of the equation I believe in individual enterprise. I also believe governments should ensure people get access to top flight education, health and social services. On environmental issues I think political parties need to stop playing around the edges.

Beyond that governments should basically leave people alone to lead the life they wish. I am not a rusted on voter for any political party. Come election time the party that mostly fits my criteria gets my vote.
One thing that has shone through in this election campaign is that people are sick and tired of spin, negative campaigns and the behaviour of many politicians. Trawling through the media it seems pretty obvious that people expect more. Which leads me to Politics 2.0.
I do not think Politics 2.0 should just be about using social media as another advertising battle ground and neither do I think it is just about encouraging online participation. Rather, I think it is about changing the behaviour of politicians and political parties. What do you think?
Consider what we see in relation to Gov 2.0. People wanting and practicing authentic engagement. The point is that people – as citizens, as public servants – are already engaging. So, I suggest it is about time for politicians and political parties to catch up.
Looked at from this perspective what would Politics 2.0 look like? What practical first steps could be taken. Some thoughts:
How about a Charter of Professional Political Conduct – and consequences for not complying with it.
How about a cross party political commitment to authentic engagement with citizens.
How about each and every politician making a clear personal statement about their perspective on life. And demonstrating how they stick to it.
How about establishing a framework that ensures the objective and transparent communication of policy. And keep out the spin.

Some of the above already happens to some extent. And that’s the point. To some extent and not as an intrinsic part of the political landscape.

So the point is, maximise the facts, be transparent about ones personal perspective, cut the spin, elevate the professional performance of politicians and improve the quality of communication.
The other aspect of my post relates to the interaction between political parties and the media. I venture to say the community expects the media to play a role in keeping matters honest. Nothing new in that. But what we have now is a media reality distortion field that plays to the baser behaviours of politicians and political parties. Surely citizens have a right to expect better.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, here we are with an emergent Gov 2.0 and Pubic Service 2.0. The critical part of the equation is Politics 2.0 – individual politicians and political parties. It is difficult to see how we will get the depth and frequency of authentic engagement that the community would probably prefer without a shift in the nature of politics and the behaviour of politicians.
The old way – attacking individuals, relying on stage managed political events, packaging policy as product – distorts democracy and is insulting to citizens. Surely we can and should do better.

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