Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (Albo) has, for some reason, spoken to Sky so-called News. I want to do an analysis of both his remarks and the interview itself. I have dealt with every aspect of the interview except the last question on Mr. Albanese’s family life, which I consider irrelevant to political discourse. This post is a monster so I have broken it up into two (hopefully) manageable chunks.
Interview, Part One: Franking Credits and Negative Gearing
In case it was not clear, Sky so-called News conducted this interview. It started with the following horribly framed question
Let’s talk about some of the unpopular policies that Labor took to the election. Franking credits. Reform of that in any form? Dead, buried, cremated?
The policies of the Labor Party were unpopular, you say? Nice poisoning of the well from the start there. Mr. Albanese correctly noted that the next election is not for two years (at least) and that it is not the job of the opposition to produce policies now. He went on to say that Labor would not be taking the same policy to the next election. Asked if that meant he would ‘grandfather’ franking credits to existing shareholders, he simply restated his original position. Typical politician speak, but somewhat justified in light of the terrible and openly right-wing framing of the question.
The next question dealt with negative gearing. Albanese effectively batted it away by saying that policy is decided in the shadow cabinet and caucus rooms.
Interview, Part Two: Health and Education
The right-wing propaganda continued with the Health and Education question
Let’s talk then about these billions more for health and education. Because I guess that argument kind of didn’t work. Do you think that you will be moving away from that, ‘get the tax here, spend billions more on health and education’ type of policy?
The propaganda is strong in this one. The ‘argument kind of didn’t work’ because the media was quite openly partial towards the Liberal Party and against the Labor party. The COALition’s ‘campaign’ in the last election can be summed up, appropriately enough, in a three-word slogan: We’re Not Them. Also, what does ‘get the tax here’ mean? What an utterly stupid statement. Expenditure is a function of revenue. Anything that the government funds, including the private school funding on which the LNP are so keen, comes out of tax. It is not merely Labor policies that cost money, you Sky so-called News hack.
Albo quite rightly responded to the question ‘Would you envisage no new taxes, no increase in taxes, on the platform you run with?’ by saying
I don’t shy away from the fact that in a civilised society, you need taxation in order to fund schools, in order to fund hospitals
Amen. Taxation, unpopular as it is, and despite conservative propaganda to the contrary, is necessary to fund society. The hypocrisy of the conservative movement on tax is not difficult to see. They are quite willing to fund their priorities using tax, but anything that does not somehow benefit them or their corporate mates magically finds its way into the too-hard (or too hard to fund) basket. They are not anti-tax, they are anti-tax on them and their mates. Mr. Albanese is right and the tories’ petulant clinging to their ‘trickle-down’ lie delegitimises them as a governing party.
Interview, Part Three: The Economy and the False God Surplus
For the next question, it is worth quoting the exchange in full from Mr. Albanese’s website
CLENNELL: Do you believe in surpluses?
ALBANESE: I of course believe in surpluses, but over a period of time.
CLENNELL: Over a period of time, not every single year?
ALBANESE: Well, it depends on the circumstances. Were we right to respond to the Global Financial Crisis in the way that we did? Yes. Should there be a surplus this year? Yes. Had Labor been elected, would we be having a surplus? Yes, we would.
Incredible, is it not? The idolatry around the false god Surplus is beyond absurd. There should be a surplus ‘every single year’? Such blind adherence does not account for natural disasters, wars, terrorist attacks or anything that requires a government to spend a dollar more than it takes in. Mr. Albanese’s response was nuanced when he said that circumstances should dictate whether a surplus is justified. He fell off the wagon a bit when he said that there should be a surplus this year: the conditions in the economy do not appear to justify that, Sir. Buying into the conservative framework does not serve your purpose, Mr. Albanese.
Interview, Part Four a): Climate Change
The loaded and misleading questions continue with this gem
Okay, let’s talk about climate change. Now, Scott Morrison has a point doesn’t he, when he says that no matter what we do on our own emissions on this front, China will take up that slack in just a few days. I mean, if you believe climate change is a major cause of the bushfires, which you do, aren’t we in serious trouble, no matter what happens in domestic politics?
Is Scott Morrison not right when he says… – seriously. This is what passes for journalism? The bias of Sky so-called News is remarkable. Even if Mr. Albanese said that climate change ’caused’ the bushfires, which I seriously doubt, that is wrong. A cause is that which, in the absence of which, something would not occur. Essentially, the fires would not have happened were it not for climate change. Nobody appears to have said that. The right-wing noise machine made that up.
In addition, there is a difference between establishing conditions for something to be much worse than it would have been and causing the event. The fire season began earlier and was more destructive because of climate change – that is an aggravating factor, not a cause. Finally, the idea that Australia is such a relatively minor contributor to global emissions is seriously flawed, and a multi-pronged rebuttal can be found here.
Mr. Albanese’s response was to rightly criticise the government, specifically Angus Taylor, for being what he called ‘a handbrake’ on global climate action by his actions at the recent Madrid climate conference. According to Mr. Albanese, Taylor partnered with Saudi Arabia to argue for less action.
Interview, Part Four b): More Climate Change
The trained monkey then asked this whopper
Okay, fair enough. But what’s wrong with you just saying now, which you’ve been reluctant to do in recent days, ‘We are sticking to this 45 per cent reduction target by 2030’? Why are you afraid of endorsing that target that you took to the election?
Albanese’s response was quite good, complete with a humorous reference to Doctor Who
That was in 2015. That was a 2015 target established for 15 years’ time. Guess what, Andrew? There’s no Tardis. I can’t go back in time and say in 2022 our 15-year target will be very different, by the way, 15 years from 2022 is 2037, not 2030.
Albo is quite right: no TARDIS here. The question is also either intentionally misleading or just plain stupid: 45% reduction target from 2015, clown. Thanks to the last six years of tory government, Australia’s emissions have actually increased, so to meet the target set in 2015 would actually require a more aggressive policy than the ALP previously announced. Also, unlike the tories, Labor policy tends to adapt to circumstances rather than being taken as a holy writ to which reality must adapt. Counter-intuitive, I know.
More of Mr. Albanese and this trained monkey in Part Two
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