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The Public Good is good for everyone

Tim Dunlop (image from abc.net.au)

Tim Dunlop (image from abc.net.au)

While the Abbott government continues to swing their wrecking ball, it would appear many people are waking up to just how extreme-right this government is. ‘Australia must be destroyed’ by Tim Dunlop is a good summary of the unfolding horror. Although I am usually keen to contribute to the growing chorus decrying the daily onslaught of right-wing ideological mayhem being imposed by this secretive, chaotic and incompetent government, I’m trying to look past this current disaster, by thinking about how this situation happened and how we can stop it ever happening again. #OneTermTony.

Abbott’s electoral success was mounted on a foundation of invisible villains that triggered a selfish ‘dog eat dog’ reflex in sections of the Australian public. Abbott made up reasons why people should be scared of a Labor government and then promised to save them from these fictional threats. From government debt. Electricity bills. Asylum seekers arriving by boat. The instability of minority government. ‘Wasteful’ government spending. Unions. It takes a pretty incredible propaganda machine to convince workers that unions are bad and Gina Rinehart cares about them. But, with the help of the mainstream media, that is what Abbott managed to do.

The Liberal Coalition’s negative message invited people to make a choice between two opposing camps – Abbott’s promise to look after the individual or Labor’s promise to look after the community. Abbott painted Labor’s ‘benefit to the community’ message as being wasteful and bad for the economy, while promising that his new open-for-business-cutting-red/green-tape agenda would bring prosperity back to nervous post-GFC capitalism. I’m sure deep down most Australians would like to think they care about their community. But when push comes to shove and they’re scared about their own futures, it’s not surprising that many voters believed what Abbott wanted them to believe – that a Liberal government was a silver-bullet to solve all their individual problems. And importantly – that it was a smart idea to vote selfishly. Even when in fact cost-of-living pressures didn’t exist, and even when the Australian economy was in fact Triple-A healthy, Abbott purposely attacked an already fragile consumer confidence, and then seized on the resulting insecurity of individuals and encouraged them to push their concern for the community down the ballot paper. Sadly the majority dutifully complied.

Knowing this is unhelpful if you don’t learn something from it. But that’s what the Labour Movement needs to do. Bill Shorten are you listening? I have a suggestion as to how Labor can use Abbott’s strategy to Australia’s advantage.

Not before time, wealth inequality is becoming a significant political battle for progressives worldwide. This is because thinking-people are starting to recognise the growing gap between the very rich and the rest of us is too big to just be called a gap. It’s becoming a gulf. In this article, Ben Eltham suggests that Bill Shorten should make the fight against wealth inequality a key pillar of Labor’s political narrative. Other commentators have suggested the ‘public good’ should be the new umbrella message encompassing the left’s political agenda.

I agree with these suggestions. Labor has always been for the community benefit. Think NBN, Gonski, PPL, NDIS, Mining Tax and Carbon Price. So the party’s policy platform won’t need to change much to accommodate a further emphasis on social mobility and a reduction in the gap between rich and poor. Unions are important in this message, with worker’s wages and entitlements a key factor in defending against a greater gap between the share of profit between labour and capital. Quality education and healthcare are also strong Labor policies crucial to social mobility. On top of this, inequality of wealth is an easy platform from which to judge Abbott’s government. No matter what Abbott promised to do for Australian people of all incomes, asset status and net-worth, it’s very easy to draw a straight line from every single one of his government’s policies, to an acceleration of the gap between the super-rich haves and the growing number of have nots. Abbott is not for workers at SPC, Holden or Toyota. He is for Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Rupert Murdoch. His treasurer just this week repeated the catch-cry of pro-income-inequality cheerleaders: a rising tide lifts all boats. Except no, it doesn’t. So yes, highlighting wealth inequality is a good strategy for Labor. But I don’t think it’s enough. Why? Because those who understand and care about wealth inequality are already Labor voters. Labor needs to remember what they learnt from Abbott’s success and appeal to people’s individual anxieties. And this is where the two strategies combined could just be a political master stroke.

Put simply, Labor needs to communicate to voters that a strong community, with a wealthy and large middle-class is good for everyone. That is, an individual is better off in a situation where he or she belongs to a community of similarly better off people. So no longer do we have to either vote for the benefit of the community or the benefit of the individual. By voting Labor, you can have both. The public good is good for everyone.

We already know that America’s shrinking middle class, growing population of working-poor and 1% of filthy rich individuals is not good for 99% of the country. As Nobel Prize winning US economist Joseph Stiglizt said:

“Our middle class is too weak to support the consumer spending that has historically driven our economic growth.”

It’s not hard to understand why a community is damaged when there is a small number of people taking the vast majority of growth for themselves without sharing it with everyone else. Wages are stagnant, unemployment is rampant and poverty is widespread. The uber-rich can afford affluent lifestyles, but how will they maintain this wealth if they don’t have a consumer market rich enough to afford to buy their products and services? Yes, the super-rich are using money to make more money, but speculative markets are unproductive and don’t benefit the wealth of everyone else. If someone who works at Walmart can’t afford to shop at Walmart, Walmart’s market disappears.

Labor needs to tell people this story. They need to explain it in a way that voters understand. They need to start by reinstating the lost value that it is wrong to be greedy. And that people who don’t feel good about themselves unless they are richer than their neighbour are part of the problem, not the solution. They can then go on to show that wealth re-distribution and social mobility isn’t just good for the country. It is good for the individual too. Labor needs to work out how to say this in a way that connects with individual anxieties, and then they need to say it again, and again, and again. Every time Abbott’s policies contradict these principals, Labor has an opportunity to say it even louder.

If Labor can get this right, it might not just be a winning strategy for 2016. It might be a policy platform that the likes of Abbott will never find a way of destroying ever again. Surely that makes it worth a try? And who knows, we might just save the world.

51 comments

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  1. Tracie

    A positive way forward. Perhaps you should become a minister. I would vote for you.

  2. cordannao

    Reblogged this on beingcoralie and commented:
    Excellent! now let’s sell the message to the centre of the community, no matter where it is. City or country. Before Australia’s sold out!

  3. Kaye Lee

    Tony and Joe are looking increasingly lonely in their “lift the tide” stance. Aside from the WEF and IMF identifying income inequity as the greatest economic challenge facing the world, we also have the Pope and US president agreeing.

    “President Barack Obama and Pope Francis will meet for the first time in March, during an encounter the White House said would be focused on tackling the disturbing growth in inequality.

    In the papal document, Pope Francis made a point of praying for secular leadership. “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,” he wrote.

    Eight days later, Obama delivered one of his most talked-about speeches on the decline of social mobility in America, declaring the fight against inequality “the defining challenge of our time”.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/21/obama-pope-francis-vatican-inequality-summit

  4. Anon E Mouse

    I fear that Shorten is of the right, so would not be inclined to pursue this. Then again, if he can see this as a vote enhancing strategy, he may be for turning, or returning to the left.

  5. john921fraser

    <

    The Murdoch media took Abbotts message and exaggerated it so far out of proportion, it , and Abbott, now have to backtrack and blaming Labor will soon wear out.

    If Labor now tries to use the "wealth inequality" argument then Murdoch's media will just highlight how much money and assets Labor members have and divide public opinion.

    Getting the message out there is the new paradigm.

    And Labor has to circumvent the old ways and involve those involved in the new.

    Sites like The AIMN should be actively chasing Labor for fresh articles to be published before Murdoch's mob …… keep scooping Murdoch until his media has to keep publishing more and more extreme conservative rubbish that even slow witted people will realise that Murdoch's "news" is just propaganda.

    And Labor should be actively engaging sites like The AIMN to publish their policies and ideas.

  6. mars08

    Victoria:

    Labor needs to work out how to say this in a way that connects with individual anxieties, and then they need to say it again, and again, and again.

    That’s a very good point. Labor should er… eh… WAIT!!! Hey, look over there!!! Aaaargh… feminists, unmarried mums, union bosses, extreme greens, boat people, … dole bludgers!!!!! We’ll all be rooned!

    Fear and simple slogans (with the help of a complaint media) will win every time. The Austalian electorate is distracted, disenchanted and disengaged. They just want to feel “comfortable and relaxed”. And a decade ago, under Howard, they were. And that’s because Howard had the unions, dole bludgers, the greenies, boat people (etc) under control!!!

  7. robert macklin

    All good ideas but I just can’t see Bill Shorten selling them

  8. charybds

    The biggest problem Labor has in removing Abbott’s morons is Rupert Murdoch.
    Without Murdoch’s empire of trolls and propaganda, Abbott is incapable of crying wolf loud enough to be of consequence.
    Murdoch’s press is the real problem here. Luckily (in a weird sort of way) Tony and Co. are making enough people hurt quickly enough that there is opportunity to create the momentum needed to remove him in the manner of Whitlam.
    We need to be crying long and load for Bryce or Cosgrove to remove him for his contempt for constitutional norms, and his abject failure to govern in the manner he promised the electorate.
    Bill Shorten needs to have the proverbial rocket placed under him.

    An incoming Labor government’s first priority in office should be to break up the concentration of media ownership. And to arrest Rupert Murdoch (preferably in QLD under VLAD) and make an example of him to the world, of what happens to those who attempt to subvert our sovereignty.

  9. Joe Banks

    Excellent, Victoria. But we still need the MSM to come together, en masse, and tell it like it is so that the ordinary, average person who catches only the headlines is convinced. I detect, at last, some fear and concern in the media and some journalists are actually writing truthful articles about Hockey’s economic policy and Morrison’s heartless idiocy… There is hope!

  10. lawrencewinder

    Good comment… It has always struck me that the conservatives are too lazy and pre-occupied with themselves to have much time for the common good. Dealing with society as a whole is too complex and fraught with the difficulty of having to actually address difference and multiplicity which inevitably don’t fit in with simplistic slogans.
    The figures here might give some grist to the mill: http://shanewombat.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/to-see-naught-and-wombat-droppings.html

  11. Kaye Lee

    John,

    “Sites like The AIMN should be actively chasing Labor for fresh articles ”

    Every day there are so many topics to discuss. And the disturbing part is that the information is available to everyone should they choose to look for it. I don’t interview anyone unless you count my long-suffering family and friends (some of whom do have an insider perspective but I can’t quote them directly), yet I still seem to have more topics to write about than time to do it.

    This is not my paid employment – it is my interest, and to an extent I feel it my duty to stand up and be heard.

    I have been disappointed by the Labor Party to a degree. They committed political suicide with their childish fixation on Jerry Springer style public airing of inhouse squabbles. Kevin Rudd’s cynical move to pander to the ‘stop the boats’ mantra offended my sense of humanity and gave credence to the lie that we are being invaded by hordes of terrorists. Cutting funding to universities, and removing the inequity of the two-tiered single parents pension without addressing the pressing need to increase the Newstart allowance, all in the pursuit of a surplus that was never going to happen, went against my idea of what Labor should represent. As did the caving in on the mining tax and carbon pricing.

    If the Labor Party want to be heard then they need to come up with a message worth repeating. What I am seeing in Parliament so far gives me no confidence that they have an alternate message. The circus continues.

  12. Dissenter

    Victoria, Labor will never be able to tell the story in the context of the Murdoch dominated SKEWED NEWS and SPEW VIEWS commentators on almost all TV channels and in more than half the newspapers Australia wide.
    IT was fundamentally the MSM which FORGED and FORCED the demise of Labor in the last election and colluded in the destruction first of Rudd and then of GILLARD and then RUDD again and finally LABOR.

    Without such INSPIRATIONAL entrepreneurs as those behind the Independent media there is LITTLE HOPE that Labor can get any message across.
    UNIONS HAVE TO REBUILD their LOST memberships. LABOR HAS TO REBUILD its assets and membership.
    After years of ATTACK by ABBOTT reinforced DECISIVELY by SKEWED partisan MSM and MURDOCH even Labor members and UNION members were destabilised and SCARED.

    Labor to my knowledge is in the process of ADAPTING and rebuilding. But as the marchers in SYDNEY demonstrated they are STILL there and AS mad as HELL at the ATTACKS the LNP is foreshadowing.
    What is really needed is a Number of new radio stations and TV channels in each state where a non partisan viewpoint is broadcast. LABOR DOES not expect a FREE ride but just a chance to be heard.
    SHORTEN WAS TRIVIALISED on the 7.30 report. HE WAS so interrupted HE COULD NOT FINISH a sentence. IT WAS A BRUTAL attack. THIS was only this week.
    WHEN IS THIS GOING TO CHANGE?
    EVERYONE KNOWs that the ABC cannot be trusted because of its management and previous conduct.
    So there are TWO questions
    1. Labor needs to evolve the new policies applicable for today and the new threats in the pipeline LIKE SIGNING the TPP. WHEN WILL THEY BE RELEASED?

    2. Labor also needs to sort out alternative ways to publicise their policies in the mainstream media.
    HOW WILL THIS BE FACILITATED?

  13. Charlie

    Well said Victoria.

    I believe that the problem with Labor currently is that we now have an ALP leader who lied, cheated and deceived with the blessing of his mother-in-law to rise to the leadership. Many traditional Labor voters like myself do not feel comfortable with Bill Shorten at the helm. It is that simple. If he can stab his own colleagues in the back it is hard to imagine him not doing the same to the Australian people.

    I hate Abbott, and we need to fix the government situation now but I can’t convince myself that Shorten is the answer. I believe the ALP would have been far better with a quiet achiever like Albanese in place as leader.

  14. Dissenter

    Sorry to repeat this but there is a VERY IMPORTANT CONFERENCE in Melbourne at ETIHAD STadium 26-28 Feb.
    It is the ACTU Organising conference which will decide the future directions and actions of unions and also LABOR. Participation in this conference gives anyone a chance to have a say in those future directions.
    See Ged Kearney’s speech on the homepage.

  15. hi2lea

    Reblogged this on hi2lea and commented:
    A good idea for labor to use as a platform. God help this country. Attend the March in March forum to show the government what you think of them

  16. johnlord2013

    Like these thoughts. Excellent thinking. More writers should expand on them. I intend to.

  17. Stephen Tardrew

    I agree Victoria and as usual Kaye your observations are to the point however there has been a paradigm shift of kinds as the corporate sector and right wing media has driven an agenda of blaming the poor and working class for the global economic crisis. We are here to save you from the nasty redistirbutors who are going to destroy job creation. That such small number of unions and union members control the cultural paradigm is ludicrous but where is the counter punch. The Labor party self-destructed and ordinary members should be demanding some accountability. Day after day bash, bash. bash. Labor needs a completely new message that challenges the status quo and demands a huge effort by Shorten and the party which is not yet evident. No good waiting till the wheels fall off. Somehow they must strive to prevent another unnecessary recession before its too late. Many are thinking it is already too late. Make no bones about it the factions have to find a consensus message that represents the party and its members not their self interests. All we have at the moment to prevent this disaster is Labor and they need to get off of their butts and start representing the people.

  18. Kaye Lee

    “Social media trawled as government spends $4.3 million on research contracts

    The Abbott government is using a research company to trawl through millions of Australian social media posts to advise it on its immigration policies.

    The scrutiny of Twitter, Facebook and blogs is part of $4.3 million worth of research contracts commissioned by the federal government in its first five months of office.

    Cubit Media Research has two contracts with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to deliver ”media positioning analysis”.

    Founder and chief executive Warren Weeks said it could track 24 million social media ”pieces” an hour, to gauge Australians’ perceptions of different policy areas. ”People hire Cubit and people like us because we have the capacity to monitor millions of pieces a day,” he said. ”What’s the mood? What’s the tone?”

    Other market research firms commissioned by the government would not speak about their work, citing confidentiality.

    Among contracts the government has commissioned from dozens of market research agencies are $38,500 to research a possible West Australian Senate election, $20,400 to monitor social media for the Department of Communications and $67,300 to track and monitor the government’s ”no boat no visa” campaign.”

    If they are spending 4.3 million of our money to find out what we think then let’s tell them loud and clear! Why they couldn’t just read for themselves for free I don’t know. Are we really going to let facebook dictate policy for this country?

  19. Dissenter

    THat information is a REVELATION.

    Now we know why the TROLLSTERS are working overtime!!

    THIS IS another EXAMPLE of CORRUPTION for POLITICAL purpose.

    VERY IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE.

  20. john921fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    "And Labor should be actively engaging sites like The AIMN to publish their policies and ideas."

    Don't forget that part.

    Labor movers and shakers should be putting their words and thoughts into these forums and following up with the comments.

    They will not have to spend $3.4 million of taxpayers money to get the results.

  21. Dissenter

    Yes John I have often wondered why parliamentarians do not publish more. It is an important point. Facebook snippets are one thing but a reasoned argument with detail is much preferred.
    Perhaps a site such as this could publish one essay a month or fortnight. Why not start with the local members of the owners of the site PERHAPS. just an idea.
    Why should it cost anything.It is an opportunity to reach a new audience. Be heard and be seen to be positioning oneself among the electorate as against the IVORY tower of Canberra or state politics.

  22. Kaye Lee

    John,

    I have had both the Labor Party and the Church ask for permission to reproduce articles of mine. Perhaps they pay more attention than we think. I too would be interested to hear from them or their representatives. Putting their point of view and giving the people a chance to ask questions could be a very valuable exercise.

  23. mars08

    I wonder, are any of the people who read or post at this site UNDER 30? How can we engage this group in discussing what is, after all, THEIR future?

  24. margaret Millar

    The Public Good is of course good for everyone! We are the public -we, who are the workers, taxpayers and voters have more power than we think. We sit and moan that Abbott is not in any way interested in the long time prosperity and growth of working people -and he is not! But if the polls show a massive tide of anger against his wasteful and unfair policies for -eg giving very large grants to rich parents to stay home with their children ! or the demolition of our environment eg the logging of the precious forests of Tasmania eg the Tarkine Wilderness, and the increasing enrichment of wealthy private schools, the cutting of funding to universities and tafe colleges,the cutting of overseas aid to the very poor and the increasing lack of explaination and information to, and for, the voting public, ie no weekly information to the press.etc etc
    therefore It appears to be a very secret government in order to keep the public in the Dark Depths of Ignorance of all coalition policies!!

  25. Stephen Tardrew

    The problem is not measuring consensus opinion. That can be a bit of trap. The real game is in changing those opinions. Just because you have a load full of DAT does not mean that it is inviolable. This is why Labor needs to drive an agenda, regardless of polling, based upon forward projections both economic and sociological underscored by coherent policies that will embarrass the LNP. The goal is to shape the message not to continually rely upon entrenched public opinion. Remember conservatives are not good innovators and this is where Labor can have an edge.The art of communication is changing opinion not falling into entrenched beliefs. Innovation is the name of the game so Labor has to do something radically different and unexpected that will get the public’s attention.

  26. JohnB

    Labor used to have a Media presence, and apparently used to understand its importance – but it seems it has all been consigned to history.
    2KY Sydney was owned by the Labor Council of NSW, but sold to the TAB in 2001.
    Only token media presence now seems exist.
    http://www.tradeshall.com.au/index.php/labour-media

  27. Kim Wright

    Good article Victoria but I would like to see some mention of the growing dissent regarding Labor inaction and indeed collusion with the LNP in relation to the environment and the lack of compassion demonstrated by Labor in regards to asylum seekers. These are not side issues out in the social media world. Collusion you ask. Well Bill has supported the LNP in the handing over of environmental powers to the States and he has just supported the LNP in introducing retrospective legislation to remove legal responsibility on decision made and currently being made by the Minister for the Environment and destruction Minister Hunt. It is decisions like this that make many online posters and community debaters despair at our choices at election time. It is not all about jobs anymore. People are not limiting their thinking to their jobs and their livelihoods they are considering the world we are leaving our children and grandchildren

  28. Dissenter

    Mars 08. they do all that with their mindless self promotion on Facebook. Sorry that is a bit dismissive. My daughter ages 23 posts serious stuff there too. Facebook has a lot to answer for.It is absorbing people’s time at a high level for the most mindless and trivial purposes spam and trash.
    AN Independent site would have to be specifically designed for the young.
    Articles would have to be short. Clever. Cutting edge.Illustrated. anyone up for it could make a fortune.
    IT IS GREATLY NEEDED. Everything needs to have a hook. Be clever and a bit twisted.
    Politics written through and seen through young eyes would be good.

  29. mars08

    ” The Abbott government is using a
    research company to trawl through
    millions of Australian social media
    posts to advise it on its immigration
    policies…”

    Which brings us back to the hate spewd by the likes of Larry Pickering.

  30. Maree Elizabeth

    the big 2… LNP and ALP… part of the divide and conquer regime… don’t be fooled .. neither is or has done the right thing by the majority… this is not a democracy its a corpocracy…

  31. Dissenter

    John B We NEED TO GET LABOR MEDIA BACK. IT IS IMPERATIVE AUSTRALIA WIDE.
    It is one of the KEY points I have made to Ged KEARNEY. Can you write to her too?
    I have no idea if my package will be read. Gail
    Independent Media is Excellent but when there is significant and detailed policy to promote dedicated media is needed.

  32. Letitia McQuade

    The problem you have selling this message is that the perception of the average voter is that what this would actually mean is taking money out of HIS/HER pocket and giving it to some lazy dole bludger… Abbott has sold this idea VERY effectively and it is difficult perception counter. On the other hand it isn’t difficult for the LNP to mount a case against the carbon or mining tax, as they are levied against those companies we tend to see as Job/wealth creators.
    The fact that these corps dodge massive amounts of tax through off shore shelters and loopholes in the international tax system is little understood and largely ignored. The fact that they crunch wages and conditions has made us fearful that if we don’t capitulate to their demands they will trot off to some 3rd world hell hole and give them OUR jobs. People are genuinely fearful that steady march of jobs off shore will eventually take their job too if we don’t acquiesce to their demands, (and this fear is clearly not unfounded.. Ford, Holden, Toyota etc, etc)…
    While it is clear that the common good of our community doesn’t rest with multinationals… we fear loosing the illusion of prosperity and security they provide.

    This article, an oldie but a goodie.. gives my take on it.

    http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/why-we-cannot-a-ford-to-depend-on-multinationals,5368

    In order to secure government at the next election Labor will need to sooth the fears and restore some sanity to the public perception of where the jobs and wealth of “average Australians” are actually coming from. Difficult to do in a hostile far right dominated media environment… but not impossible thanks to the work of good writers like your self.

    thanks for a great piece 🙂

  33. Kaye Lee

    mars08,

    I have had thirty years experience at being under 30 and a goodly while to reflect on it 😉

  34. john921fraser

    <

    The Labor party should be releasing news and policies in sites like The AIMN in the morning and on Murdochs media in the afternoon.

  35. Anon E Mouse

    The ALP have been missing in action with Shorten as leader. Shorten goes on jaunts to Europe and is awful cosy to Abbott.

    I fear that the resurgence of grassroots change to the Labor party is withering under Shorten. What the hell is he doing? Random posters on facebook are more politically active than Shorten has been. He gets up and does one solid speech then goes invisible again.

    I think it is time that Labor decided if it wants to be another arm of the Libs and fade into irrelevance, or if it is going to fight to get the mad monk out as PM. It has been said many times that Labor has to return to its roots.

    Shorten is trying to do the Kim Beasley act of counting polls and siding with the Libs on issues where there should be clear difference of policy.

    With the Greens giving Hockey the ability to raise debt without a limit, and a compliant Labor leader, Abbott may well morph into someone like Mugabe.

  36. JohnB

    While as Kaye Lee said, “Social media trawled as government spends $4.3 million on research contracts” the IPA, the propaganda arm of the LNP is actively astroturfing 5th estate blogsites with pro LNP comments.

    With the exception of only a few popular blog/discussion sites (such as AIMN, IA & some others) moderators seem incapable/unwilling to control the overwhelming organised flood of troll attacks.
    Without fair moderation, sites such as the ABC’s and TC are effectively conceded to the IPA propagandists – all lost as honest/progressive forums due professionally/commercially organised obfuscating trollists.
    Corporate/ideological propaganda is an essential support industry to enable continuation of unrestrained “business as usual” for the irresponsible avaricious.

  37. jasonblog

    The reference that Victoria Rollison makes in this article to WalMart is pertinent. It represents the Neoliberal agenda and embodies exactly what it is that Abbott & co are trying to achieve in Australia. It is nothing more than crude market fascism. This is what Pete Dolack recently said about WalMart in an article titled ‘The High Cost of Walmart’

    “Each United States Wal-Mart costs taxpayers nearly $1 million because of the company’s miserably low pay at the same time that the four heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune possess $107 billion in wealth. That’s no coincidence.
    You subsidize Wal-Mart whether you shop there or not. And if you do shop there, you are facilitating the movement of production to countries with the harshest sweatshop conditions.”
    (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/14/the-high-cost-of-wal-mart/)

    The Abbott led LNP obtained government through deception. While it was clear to many observers that they would pursue the IPA agenda at no stage did Abbott campaign on this and at no stage was he questioned by mainstream media journalists about it. Indeed, when Kevin Rudd spoke of the cuts that would take place under Abbott he was decried for “fear mongering”. Likewise, any future questioning of income inequality will be dismissed as “class warfare rhetoric”. (The Conversation had a good article after the budget last year in response to claims by Chris Mitchell, editor at The Australian, of the Gillard / Swan government indulging in class warfare (https://theconversation.com/class-warfare-in-australia-we-should-be-so-lucky-6970)

    I wonder if it’s time to think outside the Liberal / Labor paradigm and truly question where authentic change will come from. Perhaps, we could see a further rise in micro parties that reflect more idiosyncratic points-of-view. It would be good to see more Independents in parliament. Andrew Wilkie is somebody who stands out & is an example of somebody who functions outside the business as usual methods of the LNP / ALP.

  38. jasonblog

    @stephen Tardrew – makes an excellent observation “This is why Labor needs to drive an agenda, regardless of polling, based upon forward projections both economic and sociological underscored by coherent policies that will embarrass the LNP.”

    In my opinion (and I’m not in any way affiliated with the ALP but as an outsider looking in) I think the ALP keeping a reasonably low media profile at the moment makes sense. They are better off to get their shit together and be more clear of what is they represent rather than indulging shamelessly in every media opportunity that comes their was for no other reason than to exhibit their narcissism. The next federal election is still some years away.

    @Maree Elizabeth – also makes a valid observation.

  39. mars08

    Dissenter:

    …they do all that with their mindless self promotion on Facebook. Sorry that is a bit dismissive. My daughter ages 23 posts serious stuff there too. Facebook has a lot to answer for.It is absorbing people’s time at a high level for the most mindless and trivial purposes spam…

    In their defence, the vast majority of people under 30 would have no clue about what has been lost in the past 25 years. All they’ve know is a neoliberal, globalised Australia. The so-called “war on terror” is the norm. They probably have no idea about how hard it was to win those “privileges” some still enjoy. They see unions as useless, powerless relics from a distant past.

    Most under 30s have (nearly) all the toys and gadgets they could want… so it’s easy and comfortable to be distracted. They have grown up with rules that many of us see as unfair… because WE know that things can be different. But they have been conditioned to accept that this is normal. So why rock the boat?

    As far as they are concerned the quest for equal rights and freedom is a thing of the past. They have no interest in fighting “old battles” again. OUR generation has failed to show them the alternatives. People in OUR generation have taught them that being a “bleeding heart” is a sign of weakness. People in OUR generation have have convinced them that “all politicians are the same”. So why wouldn’t they choose to remain disengaged? They have no concept of an independent media and no-doubt believe that they a re living in a functioning democracy.

  40. Kaye Lee

    We also forgot to teach them how to iron (she says as she irons son’s shirt for work tomorrow). My generation is guilty of wanting to make things easier for our kids in many ways. I try to talk to them about what is happening but, whilst they get the drift about how I feel about our current government, they most definitely do not understand that we are in a battle. They respond to videos of Abbott being inept just like they respond to a video of a 10kg cat or police harassment of a bikie.

    If we want to engage them then we have to make it relevant to their interests. Climate change and NBN are big issues for young people….or should be…along with funding for education and research. I didn’t realise that my kids did not understand the difference between FttP and FttN NBN. They also got rather perturbed when I explained that their HECS debt may be up for sale with God only knows what consequences.

    I agree that I am complicit in their ignorance and I am doing all I can to address that without alienating them and all their friends with my constant ranting.

  41. Rod Bakes

    The tide of resentment against Abbott is gaining momentum ,Each new day he gives us fuel to feed that hostility . He is devoid of any reasonable human traits ,Empathy,Civility Honesty ..His arrogance makes the task easy . He takes us as fools ,He has got it so wrong !!

  42. Luke

    Fellow leftists- I’ve repeated this ad nauseum on various forums but here we go again: DO NOT live in a bubble. To many people I know say things like “Nobody I know voted for Abbott” and that is a problem.

    I woke up this morning to find that an “Age” poll has Abbott as preferred PM by some lead. This is in spite of the untold destruction and devastation that he has wreaked. To be fair, the poll was probably conducted by the same mob who found that most Australians wanted asylum seekers to be treated even worse- but my point remains. For the majority of Australians, perception becomes reality.

    Until we find ways of combating Squealer from “Animal Farm” (i.e. our mainstream media), we will always be seen as a fringe. We will always having conversations that run as follows:

    “Do you support the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and our World Heritage Forests?” “No”
    “Do you wish to have your take home pay and holidays reduced?” “No”
    “Would you like a war started with our closet neighbour?” “No”
    “Do you support the death of our manufacturing industry?” “No”
    “Would you like public schools either wiped out or turned into ghettos?” “No”

    “Then why the hell do you vote Liberal?”

  43. Kaye Lee

    “Refugee advocates and a doctor on Manus Island say asylum seekers have escaped from the Papua New Guinea detention centre.

    Health workers at the Manus Island detention centre told a local doctor there has been a “mass breakout”.

    They told the doctor to prepare for casualties, but Dr Otto Numan says no injured asylum seekers or guards have been brought to the hospital. ”

    So are there casualties or not and if so, where are they?????

  44. Suziekue

    @ Dissenter. It’s probably been said before on here, but please, could you desist from emphasising your prose with capital letters. It is not necessary and a very annoying distraction. I think generally you have some very interesting things to say in here, but once I hit those capitalised letters, my brain switches off. In blogging land, your use of capitals is considered impolite.

  45. Kim Wright

    Well put Luke. I would add “do you think it is ok to subsidise mining magnates while cutting funds to the vulnerable” and ” do you think it is appropriate that our budget has a hole in it caused by taxpayers money bailing out Murdoch’s Newscorp and to fill this hole we are going to cut more resources and services to the more vulnerable in the community.

  46. johnward154

    A rising tide lifts all bloats !

  47. Dan Rowden

    Breaking: Joe Hockey announces his intention to re-float the Titanic using nothing but his fiscal abilities.

  48. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Labor must tell its story better than it has for the past six years. They must hammer home things like the NBN, Gonski, NDIS, much more often than they previously did, also they should emphasize how important a carbon price is in addition to a mineral tax. These itema are big ticket items for the future of our Country and whatever Labor does it must be emphatic about the future for the future generation as well as those of us whom are of a latter generation. It is vitally important that all of these items are promoted by our representatives in the parliament to all supporters and swinging voters. Remember the three word slogans that Abbott and his crowd kept perpetuating, well now it is Labors turn to ram home all of the above. If the “boats have slowed (stopped)” then that should just make it easier.

  49. doctorrob54

    Nice piece of work Victoria,good to see there are still positive people out there with hope for the future.

  50. Pingback: Monkeys can identify inequality, maybe one day the Liberal party will evolve enough to see it too « The Australian Independent Media Network

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