Policy development and comms are difficult and time consuming. While we have a lot of really smart and talented people, we also need to recognise our limitations as a party of volunteers. 

Read this opinion piece by Policy Chair Michael Maroske on healthy practices for policy development and communications. 

For most topics we cover, there is a level of complexity that takes the life work of some experts to fully grasp, and even they tread lightly or get things wrong.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't engage with such a topic, in fact there is always something we can say, but we must respect this complexity. 

To avoid the Dunning-Kruger effect when discussing or writing about a topic, we must be honest with ourselves about our limitations and ensure that our number one priority is to seek a truthful understanding of how we may practically achieve our goals.

Communicating party positions

As mentioned, there should always be something we can say, but how we say it should be based on a good faith position that is proportional to our understanding of the issue as well as a spectrum we can call ‘implementation clarity’ That is whether a policy is Actionable or Aspirational.


An actionable policy is one that we could write as legislation today if we were in power. We might provide every detail, but can explain with evidence the primary mechanisms of how we’d get it done. It shouldn’t raise more questions than it answers.

For example, our policy for a price on carbon could use more detail, but it represents a specific legislative change that we would introduce.


An aspirational policy represents a broad goal that we want to achieve. It usually implies a complex and multifaceted approach, and might include separate actional policies as incremental steps toward it. Our policy on an 800% renewables target fall into this category.

Because they are usually broader or more radical in scope, we must be more careful when it comes to prescriptions. 

When communicating an aspirational policy, the focus should be on the vision and values that drive our support for the policy. Acknowledge the challenges and ongoing work to identify the best strategies.

Another example is our UBI policy, which does include some actionable policies, but they are massive changes that have a tendency to raise more questions than they answer. They don't, in my opinion, respect the complexity of the idea they propose. For example, if we assume AU population above 18 years is 20 million, 500 per week would cost $520b per year. Total federal expenditure in 2024 is expected to be $684b. 

It would be far more appropriate, in my opinion to treat UBI as an aspirational policy:

“Fusion supports a path to Universal Basic Income to ensure economic security for all Australians. This is a bold and complex initiative, so we see value in incremental steps towards this goal, such as pilot programs and gradual expansion. We're committed to working through these challenges, informed by evidence and expert consensus”

Responding to questions when we have no policy

While it’s far better to have a detailed and specific position, we can still make statements on a topic based on our values. 

For example, the following statement responds to the housing crisis without making policy prescriptions:
“The government must do more to alleviate the housing crisis. We must provide relief to those struggling today, and ensure our system is fair and equitable going forward”.

Useful considerations for policy communication

When we’re making comments about policy, especially on behalf of the party, here are some useful questions to ask yourself that will help you tailor your message effectively. 

Each of these could be a full discussion on their own so for now I’ll just leave them here for you to ponder.

  • Impact - how many people does this issue affect and to what degree?
  • Audience - Who will be listening/reading? It will likely be a diverse range of political beliefs and levels of understanding.
  • Relevance - how important is this issue to both your audience the general public?
  • Political viability - If our position is unpopular but still want to advocate for it, we need much more effort to justify it.
  • Is this the jurisdiction of federal, state or local government?

Proposing a solution/policy

When exploring a topic, there are some general questions to ask yourself:

What do experts say?

This is more relevant around descriptive claims (how things are), 

  • Sometimes there’s a clear consensus on things, such as man-made climate change
  • Sometimes there are well meaning policies that have significant evidence of negative effects, such as rent control
  • If there is contention, it might be that there isn’t enough data yet. A situation might be too complex to make confident claims. Good academic research will always point this out.

What does the policy aim to achieve?

  • We should care about outcomes rooted in the party values, not systems (e.g. bigger/smaller government) or ‘sticking it to’ some other group.
  • When discussing, make sure everyone’s on the same page regarding the issue or context before exploring solutions.

Who else advocates for this policy?

  • If nobody, you might have discovered an amazing new innovation, but it’s more likely that it’s been explored and dismissed, or there’s more complexity that you’re not considering.
  • If it’s only people with whom you usually disagree, it might still be a good solution, but you might want to look closer at the expected outcomes of such a policy

Has this been tried elsewhere?

  • What were the results in other countries/areas?
  • What unique factors might affect the outcomes for your policy?

What are the existing laws we’re trying to change?

  • If we’re trying to repeal something, why was it in place to begin with? It might be wrong, but it probably wasn’t random or with bad intentions in mind.
  • What positive effects does the current law provide that we might lose?
  • Is this the jurisdiction of federal, state or local government?


Michael Maroske, Fusion Party Australia

July 2023

Disclaimer: this is my own personal opinion and does not represent party policy.