Archived entries for ideas and innovations

Idea: policies, not parties

Hehe… I shouldn’t tease, after putting up that last post about sharing my ideas and increasing my post count, then letting things go back to normal. Here’s the first idea [insert disclaimers defending against disappointment due to heightened expectations].


As I progress through life, I’m taking an increasingly large interest in politics. Maybe as I find myself more and more deeply entrenched in middle class, tax-paying serfdom, it’s become important to have a government that is working in my best interests.

What bothers me, and the pain point from which this idea is derived, is that politics is predominantly organised into the major parties: the ALP (Labor), the Liberal/National coalition, The Greens, The Democrats, etc. I recognise the efficiencies to be gained by having these parties, and hence the economic benefits, however it sits uneasily with me that in order to get what I want, I have to vote for a party that may also have policies I disagree with.

Let’s be clear: I’m not advocating doing away with parties. That’s too idealistic even for me, so the idea is this: create a resource (most likely a Web site) around a core topics in the public interest, onto which you attach the policies proposed by each political party. They can be both broad and detailed, ideally organised into some kind of taxonomy, e.g.:

  • Climate change
    – Carbon tax 
  • National infrastructure
    – Transport
    – Communications
    – Health
    – Education 
  • Human rights
    – Assisted suicide
    – Gay marriage 

People could then “vote” on individual policies instead of a raft of often incompatible policies. The benefit of doing this is that we would get a better gauge of public opinion on an issue (particularly controversial ones like gay marriage) divorced from political passions and persuasions. It might even be useful to have the policies “blinded” so that it is not revealed which policy belongs to which party. You could separate views by region (city vs. country, state/electorate/town/etc.)

Opportunities also exist, come election time, for this information to be used to compile a “20 questions” survey that then spits out a “how to vote” card you can print out and take with you to the poll booths, like the media sites tend to do around every election (e.g. Vote-a-Matic by SMH and its Fairfax brethren), but with more objectivity given how the various media organisations don’t even bother to hide their political biases any more (I’m looking at you, The Australian).

It’s not that such a thing doesn’t already exist – a very close match can be found at AustralianPolicyOnline published by Swinburn University of Technology, but as best as I can tell it simply aggregates policy-related news; I couldn’t find links to the policies for the listed headings.

Do you think this would this be a useful public tool slash instrument for political analysis?


This post is part of the series Ideas.


IdeasI’m starting a new series of posts simply called Ideas. The posts will be exactly that – no more, no less.

I have ideas all the time, business ideas, political ideas, inventions, harebrained schemes, and random thoughts. Often they’re inspired by what I perceive to be a deficiency or inefficiency, and other times it’s purely entrepreneurial. The only problem is that they remain in my head or on the computer (in many respects one and the same), and rarely progress beyond (a) a rant about how the world is a mess, and I just need to… rule it, or (b) a deep despair at my own lack of resources and ability (which largely boils down to laziness).

No more.

Instead complaining how I don’t have the time, money, skills, clout, courage and commitment to nurture an idea past its point of inception, I am going to do the one thing that I can do, and do well, which is to articulate it in the form of a blog post.

Answers to a couple of inevitable questions:

Why share your ideas?
I am almost certain that any idea I post here will have been thought of at some time by another human being either past or present. I’d very much like to believe I’m original or unique, but recently figured out that it’s not about uniqueness but action: an idea not acted upon is worthless. Also, what good is an idea not shared? How does one know whether an idea has merit unless it’s held up to scrutiny by peers and experts – like in the scientific review process? This may prove to be a very humbling exercise, because my posts will be necessarily brief – as the blog format and peoples’ attention spans demand – providing opportunities for criticism. But all I stand to lose is my pride, which isn’t worth much in the grand scheme of things.

Can I use your ideas?
Yes. If by some stroke of craziness one of my posts is the spark you needed to turn dreams into reality, you may – in no uncertain terms – take it as your own to use. I humbly ask for a small token of acknowledgement, whether it’s my name in the credits or a link back to this blog, but it’s not mandatory and I waive the right to sue you if you make a motza. Realistically, the idea will be in need of development, and I’d love the opportunity to talk about it further with you over coffee or a meal.

If nothing else, it will boost my post count (or add to my horrifically large pile of draft posts). Hope you enjoy future posts in this series, or better still, they inspire you to create or progress your own ideas!

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