By JAMILA RIZVI
Tonight is a big night for Julia Gillard and her Government.
It’s tempting to say that this Budget is Labor’s last chance to gain enough goodwill to have any shot of winning the September 14 election. But in all good conscience, I can’t.
Despite the dramatic effect that such a declaration might bring: the reality is that Tony Abbott and the Coalition have almost certainly already got this in the bag.
Enough political commentators have had their say on that matter: Endless column inches, air and screen time and mind numbing 20 second sound bites have been dedicated to distilling exactly what it is that has turned the electorate so violently against Gillard and Labor.
Perhaps, it was the change of direction on the carbon tax; a so-called ‘lie’ that undid a previously popular government. Perhaps, it was the way Gillard became Prime Minister in the first place; an overnight leadership switch that many Australians didn’t realise was permissible.
Perhaps, Labor were irreparably damaged by the Craig Thompson saga, or the poor handling of Peter Slipper’s elevation to speaker, or the seemingly endless leadership tensions. Perhaps, it was a skilled Opposition who were able to spin a narrative of political chaos (even when it didn’t really exist); a Government that was fumbling its way from one mishap to the next.
Or perhaps it was none of these things. At least not in isolation.
Perhaps, it has been the failure of the Gillard Government to articulate the all important ‘why’.
What do I mean by that?
This inspirational TED talk is one of the most watched of the whole series. In it, Simon Sinek explains the difference between a good organisation and a great one. While speaking primarily in the sphere of business, he explains ‘why some organisations and some leaders are able to inspire, where others aren’t.’ Take a look (if you’re short on time, just watch from 2.05 to 5.30)
And that, my friends, is where the Gillard Government appears to have gone so disastrously off course.
The electorate knows what governments do. They build our roads, they fund our schools, they implement our laws, they administer our health systems, they police our streets etc etc. They do the things that keep our country ticking, that protect us from harm, that ensure ongoing peace and security and that prepare us for a future of unknowns.
And most voters have an appreciation that left and right wing governments go about the business of governing a little differently; how these governments operate is different. Their approach to the same problem – even when desirous of the same outcome – will not be the same. They have different styles of management; different modus operandi.