Saturday 20 May 2017
On Wednesday May 17 I wrote a piece titled ”What if Shorten …?” in which I canvassed what might have been the public reaction had the Leader of the Opposition taken a different tack in his Budget in Reply speech. I suggested that he might have gotten greater traction had he more aggressively said that in essence the conservatives had stolen well known thought out Labor policies. Sure they may have been Labor lite and didn’t represent Labor one hundred per cent but none the less were plagiarised.
I copped a bit of flak for what some thought was a criticism of Bill Shorten. It wasnt , and how people could have interpreted it so is beyond me. But that aside the next day Anthony Albanese in a speech to the Transport Workers Union in Perth, entertained my very sentiments.
There were two distinct approaches. On the one hand Shorten chose to say that the policies bore no resemblance to Labor policy. He was not wrong to do so because they didn’t. It just came over as a Labor lite reply.
On the other hand both I and Albanese reckoned we should say that A, they had stolen Labor policy and B, that we deny that it was the real McCoy.
Albanese said that the Labor Party ”should celebrate our victories”, in this case the ”ideological surrender” of the Coalition.
I had said that ”I don’t think I have ever seen a party so obstinately betray its own ideology and deliver a socialist budget. However lite.”
Albanese went on to say that ”The way forward for Labor is to accept [the conservatives’] rhetorical conversion and triple our pressure for investment, while continuing to argue the case for further progressive reform.”
Shorten had spent the whole week arguing against the idea that the budget had even the faintest resemblance to Labor’s policies on the NDIS, education, infrastructure and health.
My whole point was, what if he had ripped into them with the truth of it. That they were so bankrupt of ideas that they had to pinch Labor’s, but even then they couldn’t bring themselves to go the whole way. What a bunch of liars and hypocrites they are. After telling us for years that it was only by cutting spending that we could get the budget back in the black.
I was just pointing out that there was an alternative method and, and it’s not too late to attack the Conservatives with it..
“Budget 2017 was an overwhelming victory for the Australian Labor Party and the broader labour movement,” Albanese said.
“It was the budget of ideological surrender”.
“We in the Labor Party and the broader labour movement should celebrate our victories.”
In contrast Shorten said the budget was an “admission of guilt” and fundamentally unfair, and rejected suggestions it was a “Labor lite” document.
He had missed an opportunity to damage the Coalition brand permanently.
Albo put it this way and I agree.
”The way forward for Labor is to accept [the conservatives’] rhetorical conversion and triple our pressure for investment, while continuing to argue the case for further progressive reform.”
Labor, in my view, should over the next few months seek to take back the policy initiative from the coalition and repetitively call them frauds without policies. And talk of a challenge to the leadership is just silly.
My thought for the day.
”I find it impossible to imagine that the Australian people would be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that has performed so miserably in the first two. But they might”
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