Aside from the steady progress on my thesis, this year has been a dreadful one for my profession. The 2013 Federal Election was the worst in my time involved with politics. Two castrated major political parties, led by two uninspiring leaders fought a campaign devoid of policy discussion. It is no wonder voters chose the worst of two very bad options. At least I got my first two writing gigs as a political scientist out of it.
The area that best encapsulated the political failures of 2013 more than any other was the disability sector (again). Predictably, the majority of stakeholders are still holding on to their 'magic beans', otherwise known as the NDIS. This was demonstrated in an article published on RampUp this past Friday attacking Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey for saying that there may be cut backs to the scheme to make it more efficient. As I argued in my (yet to be published) comment to the piece:
While a properly instituted scheme would of course increase productivity, the current model as proposed by the political community just doesn't get the job done. On this score, Hockey, Cormann and Abbott are absolutely correct. And they knew this from the beginning of 2011 (as I did). Back then, I predicted in various forums that this argument would come out eventually.It staggers me that supporters of the scheme trot out the same ineffective arguments time and again, which argue the wrong points from the wrong perspectives. At this rate, 2014 is looking to be more politically disastrous than this year.
It was suggested that I was being negative for the sake of it as well as trying to build my reputation on the back of my (correct) stance. The rhetoric on display here demonstrates that no one, not the government, the opposition, nor the feeble Every Australian Counts has the slightest clue on how to develop an equitable cost effective disability policy that serves the interests of all parties.
There are numerous critics of the NDIS who saw this all coming, have expertise in developing policy and actually know what they're talking about. These people, myself included, were dismissed as radicals and zealots. Maybe now those voices can be heard. The best thing the Government can do now is scrap the whole model in the name of 'fiscal restraint', start again and get the formulation of a new policy right this time.
Speaking of disastrous, that is certainly one way to describe my attempts at dating this year. Or rather my failure to generate any interest at all, particularly after a shocking start. Personally, this is perhaps the year's greatest disappointment.
However, for every tragedy, there has been a triumph, which is more than I can say for the previous few years. The biggest triumph is however yet to come. At the end of next year my single greatest achievement will be complete.
Now that will be something to celebrate.