In Policy Attitudes we are interested in examining the attitudes being positioned as policy and that inform the public discourse on national and international issues in Australia at the crossroads of policy, politics and media. It is a project inspired by our experience working in policy, communication and advocacy. This can be a hectic space and the blog is an opportunity for us to capture important issues for some deeper reflection and discussion.
So what is a policy attitude?
The significance of policy attitudes was highlighted in a lecture in 2019 by former Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Kevin Rudd AC. In the lecture Mr Rudd described how a series of attitudes rather than a strategy or policy were informing Australia’s recent responses to geo-political competition and tension between China and America. Mr Rudd argued that policy attitudes do not provide a solid foundation for decision making, short term attitudes have long term consequences which can harm Australia’s national interests.
The Oxford dictionary defines an attitude as ‘a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behaviour’. The term originates from the Latin word aptus/aptitudo which means ‘fit’, and later attitudine in Italian which means ‘fitness or posture’. These early terms were used to described the placing or posture of a figure in art and thus it is no surprise that the word can also be used to describe ‘a position of the body indicating a particular mental state’. Therefore we might say that a person’s attitude is reflected in their position/posture and a policy attitude is an attitude positioned/posturing as a policy.
Such Policy Attitudes are everywhere these days, they come from figures in the media (both traditional and social media), politics, government and public life. Increasingly we are seeing attitudes replacing or informing policy as Mr Rudd has lamented, attitudes compete with evidence and expertise in public policy discourses, shaping the policy that must address critical issues such as climate change, geo-political competition and global health and economic emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is this blog for me?
This is a blog is written for anyone interested in reading about the latest policy issues and attitudes in Australia. We aim to make the posts insightful, useful and informative for anyone who is interested to facilitate wider understand and discussion.
Our posts will cover issues by looking at the different policy attitudes, discussing who has them, what they mean and why they matter. In doing so we also acknowledge that we hold our own attitudes on the issues presented, while we will prioritise evidence and authoritative sources of information to provide balanced perspectives our posts may not be neutral.
*The word cloud was generated using www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud