Treading the non-partisan path

6 Dec 2014

My apologies that the same article had appeared twice.  I will fix that by editing this one.

I just read in the Sydney Morning Herald that Senator Lambie is bemoaning the fact that the Prime minister will not meet her.    Think what you may about Jacqui Lambie, but I doubt there would be many in this forum who would not, at least grudgingly, concede that she is a determined and resolute advocate for the Services.

While Ms Lambie is not short on enthusiasm and drive, I contend that she could use some lessons in tact and for that matter tactics.  It seems to me that because of here straight up confrontational attitude she has been denied access to negotiate for what she wants.  I recall seeing a statement from Mr Abbott reported in the press along the lines; why should I waste time talking to Sen Lambie?  She has made her position clear and will not budge, so I am better advised to talk to other cross bench senators who might support our legislation.

In Australian society straight talking and telling it like it is appears to be an admired characteristic.  That is not the case in all societies, and I really wonder whether getting in the face of someone who has a different opinion to your own is always the best policy.  I am not saying that one should not express an opinion – I think the point is how one goes about expressing one’s opinion.

To my mind in the case of Sen Lambie she has stated her opinion clearly and demonstrated her determination to pursue that position to a resolution, or die in the attempt (figuratively).  Unfortunately leaving no avenue for retreat or manoeuvre is not a tactically sound policy.  There may be many who will admire up the guts with all guns firing, but it is rarely the most productive tactic – especially in politics.

Obviously Sen Lambie is not going to heed my advice, so this is not written with her in mind.  Rather this is my advice to the myriad cyber warriors who seem hell bent on expressing opinions that will bring disdain upon themselves, but more importantly they could undermine the Ex-Service lobby group’s effectiveness.  The risk I see is that the society, which by and large is sympathetic to the role of the Armed Forces, could become alienated and develop the view that these are all just a bunch of red necks who need to be treated with caution and suspicion.

Make your point, but do it in a civil manner and employ reason and rigorous argument rather than raw emotion.