Our History and Constitution
Common Sense for Australia Incorporated (nickname Common Sense) was established in 2021 by a handful of like-minded Australians. Our purpose (set out in our application to register as an incorporated association) is to encourage the development and advocacy of common-sense political policy for Australia.
Our Constitution sets out the association’s Core Principles and aspiration to be identifiable (by all Australians) as synonymous with Vision, Equity and Courage. To read the Constitution click here. To Join Us (whether as one of our founding Subscribers and/or Contributors) click here.
This website went live on 7 June 2021. In September 2021, we determined to step back from an earlier goal of becoming a political party. The change in goal enables us to focus on our primary purpose of developing common-sense (non-sectoral) political policy for Australia. Over time we would like to expand our policy proposals to as wide a spectrum of issues, as the combined energies of a growing support base, may permit.
Our present strategy for the advocacy of common-sense policy is much akin to the song ‘From little things big things grow’ (by Paul Little/Keving Carmody). If you believe Australian political debate needs more Common Sense, and you have ideas or skills to assist our advocacy, we would be happy to hear from you.
About our Policy Proposals
Common Sense is NOT a think tank. All our policy proposals flow from, and are consistent with, our Core Principles. We are of the view that common sense involves innate good judgment, as distinct from high academic IQ. We apply common sense to political issues, and build around it. Our processes include acknowledging our biases; exploring and limiting our knowledge gaps; and due consideration of hypothetical, as well as the more obvious, contrary views.
In our experience, hefty policy documents produced by private or public sector policy committees, are far too frequently, unmeritorious. It is almost as if (among many trees cut down to produce a report) the committee has not observed that forests (context, relevance, evident good judgment) have been hidden.
A recent example is the NSW State Government’s admirable but flawed Review of Federal Relations (August 2020). Below is a letter which concerns that same topic of ‘Federal Relations’ that was published by one of Australia’s two national daily newspapers in June 2020 (a letter submitted by one of our members).
The letter’s theme (below) rates no mention, let alone consideration, in the NSW State Government’s purported scrutiny of Australia’s national governance.
‘State-set tax equals more accountability’
I refer to the AFR View “States must drag PM to tax reform table” (June 1) and observation “state and federal treasurers will now take direct responsibility for negotiating and rationalising the funding deals”.
What is actually required is the elimination of funding deals between governments. Until both sides of politics agree that the states must be responsible for setting the taxes each one spends, our federal system will fail to match its potential. Without recognition of that goal (whether or not with allowance for ‘poorer’ states), proper tax reform is unlikely.
Its recognition would make our governments more accountable to us, and more importantly, votes more accountable for whom we elect.
Extract: Australian Financial Review, 3 June 2020
Common Sense is biased toward the view, that if a proposal (whether political or otherwise) is likely to stack up under close scrutiny, its base underpinnings are likely to be discernible on the ‘simple back of an envelope’. Without derogating the value of in-depth research or subject expertise, Common Sense approaches policy, whose backers hint that its full appreciation requires an expert level of knowledge, sceptically.
Our published policy essays are intentionally – unashamedly – what we describe as ‘top down’. Our policy proposals will accordingly be open to criticism – in some quarters – as overly simplistic. Our common sense tells us that the foremost requirement, in finding solutions for political problems, is good judgment: Good instinct for the questions, needing answering. We are sceptical (not dismissive) of ‘data driven evidence’ which contradicts our own common instincts.
We believe that ‘good judgment’ is best defined by what it should avoid: Sectoral ideologies, presumptions, assumptions, interests.