Negotiation is a process of finding a solution to a question that is acceptable to all parties. It should go without saying that the first step is to actually communicate, setting out to find areas of compromise, and places of potential value not immediately obvious that occur in many disputes.

The alternative is standing back and throwing rocks, which can only be a winning strategy when you hold all the cards, but then it is not a negotiation, but a statement. However, when the power in a dispute is spread around, declining a seat at the table almost inevitably means you end up on the menu.

The unilateral banning of the live cattle trade to Indonesia was such a rock throwing exercise. Thank heavens the dills in Canberra appear to have woken up in time, and are at least communicating with stakeholders, hopefully with the intention of finding a solution, rather than just doing a post cock-up arse cover.