Thursday, June 24, 2010

Australia gets a new PM

Quite the striking political speech by the new Australian PM, Julia Gillard, who yesterday ousted her party's sitting PM Kevin Rudd via "an uncontested party ballot." If you watch, you'll see her introducing herself, her values, what she believes in as a governing philosophy. Doing so with great poise, speaking simply and clearly, making her pitch directly to Australians. She carefully justified her big move against Rudd by invoking values and issues, taking it beyond her personal ambition, anticipating and handling that likely criticism.

One part in particular stood out to me and if you are interested in the environment and politics, or just plain old communication of policy, make sure you watch this one part. It's her position on climate change which starts at about the 5:25 mark of the above video. Framed in a very direct manner by stating that she will pursue emerging technologies and saying she will do this because she believes in climate change, that human beings contribute to climate change. How simple is that and how often do you hear a politician speak of climate change in that way? She articulates national disappointment that they haven't done more. She goes on to frame the future on the issue, however, in terms of "community" and consensus-building on the policy. She says that she will "re-prosecute" the case for a price on carbon, once elected.
If elected as prime minister I will re-prosecute the case for a carbon price at home and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve and our economy continues to strengthen.
Re-prosecute. What a great evocative word to capture the need for a re-start on the policy, affirm her commitment to it and suggest that she is seeking support in turn. There is brilliance in that chosen word. Her use of it also suggests a case that will be built on evidence.

Speaking of re-starts on an issue, that might be a good framing in the Canadian context, for Liberals. Acknowledging the need to move forward, with a nod to a failed effort in the past (visionary to some of us) but laying it all out in a manner that will be consensus building and pursued in a way that recognizes the difficult financial times in which we live. Maybe there's a better way of going about it but this seemed like a nuanced, reasonable position that's worth considering.