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Rowan Dean is a Gruen Transfer panellist and a former advertising creative director.

Mindless positivity became the eager creed of a Labor government not entirely confident in its own skin. ''Something positive must be done'' quickly morphed into ''something positive must be seen to be done'', thanks to today's media obsessed world. Early examples were Grocerywatch and Fuelwatch, quickly followed by the alcopops tax and the green energy rebates. It quickly spread. Peter Garrett gave us his pink batts and Julia Gillard her superfluous school halls, while Wayne Swan seized the first opportunity to blow every penny in the Treasury coffers ''stimulating'' us with things that nobody really needed. Like a new Bravia TV. Nike Air Max 95 Boots

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Clearly, ''something positive had to be done'' about Rudd's (entirely predictable) downturn in the polls. The cautious approach would have been to patiently listen Nike Air Max 8

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Documents back AFL push to use interim reportRichmond gets itself togetherSwans had plan to pull out of draftTasmanian forest deal up in smoke after logging protection repealsRichmond poised to finish 2014 without a late change

Even the apology to indigenous Australians met the criteria. On the surface, good. On closer inspection, nothing achieved. In fact, a Department of Finance report revealed this week that the entire history of Aboriginal welfare has been one of mindless positivity, with ''large investments [in] well intentioned policies and programs which have failed to produce their intended results''.

From indigenous welfare to climate change, mindless positivity is the political strategy that believes Air Max Ld-zero Htm

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Not to be outdone, Stephen Conroy designed his national broadband network as a glorious example of mindless positivity at work. It sounds awesome, will squander an eye watering number of taxpayer dollars, has had minimal uptake, Nike Air Max 95 Girl and will probably be rendered obsolete by DIDO wireless technology.

Mindless positivity has been around for a long time. Peter Costello's baby bonuses and Clover Moore's bike paths spring to mind. But it blossomed in the heady days after the election of Kevin 07, beginning with the 2020 Summit. ''Something positive must be done,'' declared the assembled boffins, dreamers and actors when confronted by climate change, boat people, indigenous Australia, the health system, prices, porn, junk food and the lack of good Aussie films. (I made the last one up.)

The Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton carbon tax ads provided the perfect slogan for mindless positivity: ''Say yes to feeling good about doing something positive about climate change.'' The carbon tax sounds like a good thing, but will be enormously costly and can't possibly solve the problem of global warming.

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Abandoning Nauru and relaxing border protection was always a risky idea. But mindless positivity made the decision infinitely worse. First the ''Timorese solution'' was hurriedly introduced, then abandoned, and now the ''Malaysian solution'', introduced to great fanfare, is a mess.

to the concerns of the electorate and subtly fine tune policy accordingly. But mindless positivity demands the grandiose, headline grabbing, knee jerk action with no time to consider the consequences. Sack the PM, confound the public, call an early election, lose your majority and hand power to the Greens and independents.

Which is exactly what Galarrwuy Yunupingu is telling us. And not a moment too soon, either.

But the incident does give us a clearer understanding of how and why mindless positivity works. As the former Labor minister Gary Johns has said, ''governments will never admit they don't have a solution to everything. They always have to be seen to be doing something, no matter what.'' Even when doing nothing is probably just as effective as doing something ''positive''. Belgium has operated for the past 12 months without any government activity whatsoever. And nobody's noticed.

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Commentators, the Prime Minister and numerous cabinet ministers have criticised Tony Abbott for his ''mindless negativity''. But could it be that ''mindless positivity'' is even worse?

doing anything is better than doing nothing and places a premium on highly visible actions first, and complicated questions later (such as ''is this thing actually going to work?'') This week, the Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu said: ''Please, no more welfare handouts. It's a killer to the Yolngu society.'' Like Noel Pearson before him, Yunupingu recognises that the feel good, poorly thought through policies that created indigenous welfare dependency have backfired.

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but all that positivity

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Commentators, the Prime Minister and numerous cabinet ministers have criticised Tony Abbott for his ''mindless negativity''. But could it be that ''mindless positivity'' is even worse?

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