I spent most of my career working for the Productivity Commission, which is an independent think tank conducting inquiries to advise the Federal Government. We could formulate our best advice independently of who was in power. Our test of what was the best advice was based on what would make the greatest contribution to the wellbeing of Australians. We evaluated all evidence and arguments even-handedly and would not give more weight to those who were powerful or wealthy. The Commission’s advice was not always accepted but at least it added to the policy debate and many of the Commission’s reports have a long shelf life.
I enjoyed my time inside the policy tent. Now that I am outside of it, I see grassroots groups as a powerful way to influence policy. It particularly concerns me that the quality of the public policy debate has worsened and politicians mislead us, so we don’t really understand their policy choices and badmouth the other side no matter what. That is why I like being a volunteer with GetUp. GetUp holds our politicians accountable and cuts through the rhetoric. I like that it takes up the progressive fight on so many fronts.
I also love being part of GetUp North Sydney. Instead of raging alone against injustices, we work together to make a difference. Even if we don’t win everything, it is great to spend time with interesting people who share my values. Power to the people!