30 May 2007

If you change the government, do you really change the country?

Posted on Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy in response to his question "If you change the government, do you really change the country?".

Tim, IMO if the government changes so does the country.

My reasons are:

- Govts set and control the legislative agenda
- They can make changes in response to fluctuations in opinion polls etc
- They generally set media agenda: a few commentators may challenge them, but rarely have any lasting effect
- Control of purse strings gives power.

Consider Therese Rein's position. She is a beneficiary of the Howard govt's changes to employment services, ie
(1) dismantling CES and outsourcing its activities, thereby creating a government funded "market" in employment services (which Ms Rein and her companies have entered and, it seems, flourished in)
(2) changing definition of "employment" (now one hour working a fortnight) and shift many people to disability support
(3) claiming credit for reduction in employment.

In its 11 years in opposition the ALP has never, as far as I know, stated that it will revert to the old system, nor has it come up with an alternative system.

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