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Making Australia positive again

By Andrew MacLeod - posted Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Australians are growing more and more tired of the negativity of our political debate. Refugees, carbon tax, population growth, are all issues of importance, but we as Australians are being asked more often than not to choose between alternative views of fear, not hope. We are being asked more often than not to vote against something we fear, not for something we want.

Australians are tiring of fear and negativity from whichever side it may come. Australians would like to hear some inspiration, and hear how our country can be lead based on a vision of a good future. We are a good country and continue to be the lucky country, hence it is time both our political leaders gave us this hope and optimism.

Here is the speech I would love to hear a PM or an Opposition Leader give. I am not saying this should be Julie Gillard, or Tony Abbott, rather a hypothetical 'future political leader'. It would run something like this:


"Australians, we the parliament, have heard you. You are tired of negativity; tired of the school yard fighting that is question time. You are tired of fear and thirst for inspiration.

We hope you will see it is a sign of good leadership to admit mistakes and change course when change is needed.

We were wrong to inspire fear. We were wrong to dress things in the negative. We are wrong to demonize our political opponents. Our opponents may well have a different perspective on where our country should head, but we must recognise that both Government and Opposition MPs have the best intentions in mind for Australia. They may have a different view on how to get there, but there intention is good.

We must recognise areas where our policy views converge, and areas where our views diverge. It is our responsibility as both government and opposition to construct a positive debate around those areas of divergence to give Australians a clear decision of alternative government policies based on hope not fear – opportunity not threat.

It is time to hit the national 're-set button'. It is time for a dialogue to be one of hope.

And let's start our discussions from the point of strength that we now have. Our growth was 1.2% last quarter. Greece: negative7%. Our unemployment is 5.2%; The US nearing 10.


Australia is in the ideal future time zone. We are geographically at the critical point of the globe. With our ethnic mix as one of the most multi-cultural nations on earth, we are ideally placed to be the interface hinge between the Anglo-Saxon and Asian worlds.

This should be our Golden Time. Despite current equity market turmoil, this should be the time where we debate a bright future. Our choices should be ones of inspiration and if this is to be the Asian Century, we should be the century's cultural hinge, not cultural cringe.

Let's start the national reset with asylum seekers.

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About the Author

Andrew MacLeod is Visiting Professor at King's College, London and Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Fellow at Deakin University.

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