Create a change coalition

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The time of a new election is coming quickly. And what choice do we have? Do we really have a choice? I do not see it.

The two major parties have just minor differences at the edges: that is all. They are not interested in a real change that is needed — the real change that will make our lives just, sustainable and fulfilling.

As Simon Butler said at a forum discussing the carbon tax in Parramatta, “We are heading towards a brick wall at a speed of 100 km/h and the actions taken by the government are like they are saying 'Do not worry, we will lower the speed to 95km/h'.”

We need real change, but how to achieve it?

My proposal is to create a change coalition (or alliance, group whatever you want to call it). This coalition would be formed for just the three-year term (just one term in the government) and of course could be prolonged if agreed by the parties. There could also be some changes in the coalition partners over this time.

The objective would be to implement the required changes, or rather the changes that were agreed on. The coalition would come to the elections with a program it wants to implement. This would be the focus of the government. It is important to agree that the parties in the coalition do not need to agree on all of their policies: but they have to agree on what they want to achieve in the next three years.

After all, real democracy is not about agreeing on everything, but working together for common good — despite differences and embracing the diversity of thought and approaches. We are all one.

Here's an example of how this can work. I witnessed at the Bolivian Climate change and Mother Earth Rights conference while participating in the “Living in Harmony with Nature” workgroup.

It was a workgroup of about 100 people from many different countries and backgrounds (including some business owners). The discussions were heated, but having a common aim (blueprint for a new system that will support living in harmony with nature) we managed to agree on the document. There were many times when the workshop leader had to remind us about our group task: that to live in harmony with Nature we need to start by living in harmony with each other.

How to create such coalition?

First parties, organisations and community groups need to get clear on what is most important to them, what do they believe is the most vital change that's needed. Once their aims are identified, they also need to establish what they want to do about it; what their approach to solving issues is (For instance, if the identified problem is safety, one way of addressing the issue may be through increased police powers. But another way is through improved social services. These are two very different ways of addressing the issue.)

The identified issues would need to be collated to identify the common ones on which the change coalition could be built. (I am not sure the word “coalition” is the best one, but I could not come up with a better one.)

The coalition would agree on the issues and policies to be implemented over the next term, and go to the election with this. The Change Coalition would build on the principle of democracy — which we do not need to agree on everything, to work together on the things we do agree on.

Democracy is the ability to compromise. This does not mean you give up on your principles. It is looking at the greater good — as perceived by most — and also looking at what can be achieved now. This is the most pressing issue for most of us. We need to resolve it and then going back to what else is important to us.