Principles of Politics
Office of Andrew Leigh MP
How we practice politics can be as important as the policies we pursue. Here are a few ideas on how we should treat co-workers, constituents and colleagues.
- Since this is politics, we’ll never be everyone’s darlings. But we should treat people – particularly the most vulnerable – with respect and dignity.
- Our communications should try to engage with the better instincts of Australia, to tell stories, make new arguments, and convey fresh facts. When we dumb down debates and demonise our opponents, progressives lose. When we enrich the public conversation, we win.
- None of us would be here without the Labor Party. It is Australia’s oldest and greatest political party, and will outlast all of us. We have a responsibility to cherish its traditions, make it stronger and more democratic, and help Labor win elections.
- When we cannot help someone, we should tell them honestly, and use that time to help others; particularly the most disadvantaged.
- We should be working on the most important things possible – big ideas, critical questions, major community issues. The only way to get the space to do this is to say no to less important priorities. We can do anything, but we cannot do everything.
- Experimenting is good, and learning from our mistakes is healthy – but only if we share what we’ve learned with our team and our Labor colleagues.
- Envy and hate are two of the biggest timewasters in politics. Media coverage is a means, not an end. Working in politics is a privilege, and we’re lucky to do it. Many people would love to do what we do each day.
- Wherever possible, we should work to collaborate with colleagues on policies, campaigns and events. Labor is the party of “we”, not “I”.
- Don’t apologise for spending time with friends and family, exercising or reading fiction. Not only is socialising important in itself; a well-rounded life helps us do our jobs better. Strive for calmness, balance and gratitude.
- Act ethically, crack jokes when we can, and keep a sense of perspective. The typical career lasts around 80,000 hours. Let’s make them count.
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