Australia-the data-driven “coup capital of the world”

Australia: the data-driven coup capital of the world

At Data Agility we make a lot of fuss about applying reliable data to key decisions. One group who may have mastered this are Australia’s politicians who recently changed Australia’s Prime Minister without an election.

Following Malcolm Turnbull’s recent appointment as Prime Minister the BBC called Australia the ‘coup capital of the world’. This seemed to make sense as Turnbull was Australia’s fourth Prime Minister in just 27 months (Gillard, Rudd, Abbott, Turnbull), Coup Capital indeed. Well maybe, but consider this….….perhaps Australia’s politicians mirroring the community and business and applying reliable data more quickly than ever.

The 2013 election resulted in Tony Abbott becoming Prime Minister. However, while elected with a large majority and a clear mandate Abbott was never personally popular and his Government (the Coalition), as measured by the data gathered through opinion polls, quickly and increasingly became unpopular.   The Newspoll data below tells the story

Newspoll Fed Gov 2015 c

After 30 adverse poll’s Turnbull challenged for the leadership of the Liberal Party (and therefore the Prime Ministership). Turnbull cited the Liberals poor performance in the polls as the trigger for the challenge. A ballot was called, Turnbull won and the following day was sworn in as Prime Minister.

While there was public angst about the change, the decision appears to have been driven by analysis of data viewed by the decision makers (those who elect the party leader) to be very relevant and very very reliable.   In their judgement the data showed that without change the Government would lose power and individual members, possibly lots of them, would lose their seats and therefore their jobs.

It’s long been said that the only Poll that matters is the election itself. In Australia this is demonstrably no longer the case. As the new Prime Minister made clear ‘Nobody looks at opinion polls… with more attention than politicians’. Today Australia’s politicians are mirroring the way that business and the community operate. They are accessing data they regard as reliable and applying it in far shorter timeframes than electoral cycles.

Whether Australia remains as the ‘coup capital’ is to be seen. What seems certain is that its politicians will be applying data (increasingly data created through digital transformation) to its most important decisions. We are not making a party or political point here, but this reminds us, and warns us, that maintaining and applying reliable data is critical in the decision making process.