The new Australia: echidna, whiteboard, pin

The Federal Government’s 2020 Summit is over!

The newspapers have been full of it. They’d have been more useful if they’d been full of fish and chips.

Hands up if you thought it was going to achieve anything (Labor MPs, keep your hands down).

This is what we’re dealing with: the government won the right to govern at the election. It then invites all its mates to come and have ideas to justify all the things that the government wants to do anyway.

And it tells us these are all the best thinkers we’ve got, so our future is going to be really rosy.

This is one of the ideas they came up with: “Australia will have a population policy and immigration program that works in the national interest and that is a model for the world.”

These people were intelligent?

I’ve just returned from a quick half hour down the pub. There were four of us. Not exactly a summit, and I think at least two have brains that have been pickled in alcohol.

This is what we came up with: “Australia will have a tax policy and housing program that works in the national interest and that is a model for the world.”

An echidna with a whiteboard and a pin could come up with something more intelligent than that! And I suspect I’m being very unfair to echidnas!

And not only have they done nothing but talk the smarmy, glib bureau-speak that has made modern governments contemptible worldwide, but they’ve argued about it, too.

“No one listened to me,” said one delegate.

“They had their own agenda,” said another.

It sounded good when they announced it Ñ all these amazingly bright people coming up with ideas that would give us all a wonderful life.

But there were two things they overlooked.

The first is that you can’t have a ship that is full of clever people. One to steer it is plenty. After that you need yes-men (and women). People to pull ropes and swab decks; people to empty the lavatories and stir the stew. If you choose a crew in which everyone can steer then, naturally, everyone wants to steer. It doesn’t work.

Imagine if the world’s top 50 leading businessmen were marooned on a desert island. No one else. Just them. You think they’d all end up rich? Of course not! At least one would end up sweeping the beach in exchange for scraps of coconut, and one would end up mugging old ladies in the street (if he wasn’t already).

And the second is: hang on… isn’t that what we do? Us? The voters? We vote these idiots into power on the assumption that, this being a democracy, they’ll go and create the Australia we want, based on what they promised us at the election.

Personally I don’t care if they have Cate Blanchett, Cameron Diaz, Johnny Depp and Gwynneth Paltrow at their 2020 Summit Ñ I don’t want their Australia. I want my Australia! The one I thought I voted for.

And I don’t want it in the year 2020. I want it now! And if I don’t get it I’ll be voting for someone else.

Cate Blanchett, if I get the chance.