I wrote a few weeks ago about the recent labour by election results that has generated such soul searching within the NSW Labour Party. A number of readers have asked me if I am prepared to write about the conservative side of Australian politics as well. Having undoubtably annoyed one half of our political spectrum I may as well do the other half as well …
Let me just reiterate before I begin that I belong to neither side of politics. I am a libertarian, a government minimalist who supports intervention in the market only when the market is unable to regulate itself effectively. I believe in climate change, see a low carbon economy as the only logical way forward at the same time as being an advocate of the free market. I believe in equality and doing the right thing regardless of the current fads and trends! I wish to vote for a person, not a party, who can offer sensible and pragmatic solutions to the challenges we face as both a local community and a planet.
This post is about climate change. I know at least one of my readers is rolling their eyes right now as they sigh with exasperation at the ‘Woke’ nature of the issue. It’s all right RJ, I love you either way!
The Australian Liberal Party (think a diluted US Republican Party with the usual extremes at both ends) has struggled for years with the issue of climate change and the need to do something proactive about the issue. They have consistently been held hostage by the more extreme members of the organisation for more than a decade to a mantra of minimal, if any, action on this most pressing issue. As a result they are woefully out of touch with their base with much of the Australian business community (the traditional base of the party) now taking action despite there being no legislative or regulatory need.
Many Australian banks, for example, are now refusing to lend to businesses that wish to conduct activities of a high carbon nature. Despite this policy position the party has been consistently re-elected to office in recent years. The party, as a result, has assumed that their position on climate change has the support of most of their voter base. The challenge is that they are very wrong….
The reality is that economically minded libertarians in Australia have had to choose between such a paucity of political choice that in many cases voting for the Australian Liberal Party was the least offensive of a series of very poor choices.
‘Having a market leading position does not entitle the dominant leader to ignore the wishes of it’s customers, they do this at their peril for customers will be well primed for a move to a new provider if one appears.’
The public want action on climate change, they also want a healthy economy and a society that has a culture of fairness and equity. These things are not, in my opinion, mutually exclusive. Ignoring the clear preferences of a significant group of your customers means that a dominant player in a commercial market is leaving itself open to a new market player stealing your customers. The Australian Liberal Party has left itself wide open to this risk. The question is are they prepared to acknowledge this challenge and respond to it. The alternative is to pass in obscurity like so many corporate players who failed to listen and respond to their customers, Kodak, Blackberry and Nokia being some common examples.
Tim Kitching is a pragmatic leadership expert with a clear focus on building mentally healthy high performance organisations. He calls things how he sees them and pulls no punches when it comes to working with his clients. Tim lives in Sydney, Australia and works globally. He is married with 2 kids, 2 dogs, a cat, assorted fish, chickens and a love of Red Wine and Ice Hockey. You can learn more about Tim at timothykitching.com or at his consulting business at criticalfactors.com.au.