No matter which side of the political fence you sit on, it’s plain to see the government has not had a great run in getting its cornerstone budget policies passed by the upper house.
Indeed it’s unusual in a political cycle for the Budget to still be sitting front and centre of the news in December. At this late stage of the year, the hope for pollies is that they’ll be toasting their successes. Yet it’s also unusual to have such a polarising and unpopular reform package.
Just yesterday, Tony Abbott conceded defeated on his controversial $7 GP co-payment plan. Education Minister Christopher Pyne has been so far unsuccessful in rallying support for his proposed changes to higher education fee payment structures. Nope, the government has not had much luck. By the time parliament resumes after the Summer break in February speculation will already be mounting as to what measures the 2015-16 Budget will contain.
One key problem lies in articulating the purpose of various reforms beyond using blame rhetoric, like ‘fixing the Budget black hole’ and ‘Labor’s mess’. For example, most voters are left wanting when a discussion of increasing fuel taxes is reasoned alongside, ‘poor people don’t drive as much.’ Not Joe’s finest hour.
Fortunately private enterprise doesn’t have to stay ‘on message’ at all costs. We have tools up our sleeve that the government doesn’t have: we can admit when a plan isn’t working.
Every business will have storms to weather. Sometimes to simply stay viable, unpopular, if not heartbreaking changes are necessary. That’s part and parcel of business, politics, and life.
Of course it’s frustrating when outside influences interrupt your plans to change this or that, especially when your staff are expecting something to happen and it doesn’t. The key though, is rather than continual blame shifting, know when to cop it on the chin. Know when it’s time to take responsibility.
In business, especially small ones, staff don’t want the official party line. They want you to go off script. They want you to be honest, and to be human.