Unspinning politics

On my way to college today I was listening to Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser in a regular Friday morning slot he has on ABC radio with his opposition equivalent.

For those not living in Queensland, or disinterested in the comings and goings of our political scene, our politicians emerged from a crisis meeting about the unpopularity of our government with one new “policy.” Our Premier has ordered her minions to “walk a mile” in the shoes of Queensland’s constituents. She wants her MPs to spend a couple of days in the real world. Working real jobs.

Basically the whole thing is being portrayed as an extended photo opp. Which it currently is. There’s an assumption amongst our political class that being seen on a construction site wearing a fluorescent vest and a helmet wins votes. And it certainly links government policies with job creation.

But I propose a novel idea for the Bligh Government. Being in touch with the people is a valuable thing. I think there is some merit to this exercise. But if the government wants this to not be written off as a vacuous PR exercise they should ban the cameras, and do no media interviews about the experience. They should each be allowed to make a speech to parliament about their experience and changes they think should emerge from working with real people. But that should be it. A media blackout. No interviews. No contrived photo opportunities. No interrupting a real person’s work day for the sake of the 15 seconds it’ll buy on the news. That is how to make this a positive PR exercise not a negative one. The people you’re imposing yourself on don’t need to be treated like performing monkeys who happen to specialise in working a real job.

That is all.