Saturday 8 April 2017
“Three years of mistakes dented Libs”.
“The Coalition’s poor election result will be blamed on a failure by senior levels of the government over three years”.
“Post-mortem uncomfortable for all” says Simon Benson.
These words followed the headline in The Australian online newspaper. Nobody will be surprised at all. The polls reflect the ongoing insipid performance of the Coalition. No doubt the report into the performance of the Liberal party at the last election will leak more tasty morsels of embarrassment but these for words “Three years of mistakes” reveals their foolhardiness. The inconsistent in that statement is that it refers to the three years prior to the election. It speaks nothing of their ongoing failures.
“Jobs and Growth” had replaced “Stop the Boats” and despite its ineffectiveness and any explanation of how it works, remains so.
When I returned to The Australian online another headline had been posted:
“Libs split over exposing PM’s errors”.
“Senior party members worry that releasing a review of the 2016 election will further damage Malcolm Turnbull” wrote Joe Kelly.
The report released yesterday by former Trade Minister and Liberal Party director Andrew Robb, is believed to have found that the government was outgunned on the ground by Labor and progressive activist groups like Get Up, and failed to develop a strategy to neutralise or rebut key attack themes, such as the so-called “Mediscare” campaign.
Pre-empting that the report would be critical of him Tony Nutt resigned as federal director of the Liberal Party, saying it was time for renewal after 35 years of service.
The two headlines taken together and posted in what is nothing more than the official newsletter of the Liberal Party, for me is a confession of ineptitude of the highest order.
In case many of you are beginning to think that I’m sounding like a broken record allow me to quote Sean Kelly of The Monthly Today:
”According to sources familiar with the 2016 election campaign wash-up undertaken by Andrew Robb, the review finds the Liberals were outgunned on the ground by Labor and progressive activist groups, and failed to develop a strategy to neutralise or rebut key attack themes, like the so-called ‘Mediscare’ campaign. It criticises the lack of concrete policy sitting behind the Coalition’s ‘jobs and growth’ campaign slogan, and a lack of attention to defining political opponents…”
”Out of all those criticisms the one that jumps out at me is the lack of policy behind the “jobs and growth” slogan. This is part confirmation bias – I’ve made the point myself many times. Mostly though it is a huge slap at both Turnbull and Morrison. The fact that Labor can pick it up and use it indicates how important a point Robb must have felt it was. It can also be read as a clear direction to both the leadership and the cabinet about what can and must change right now. Policy is desperately needed. The company tax cuts are not enough.”
After the Coalition was elected it was obvious that the Government was flying blind under Abbott, MPs complained the central campaign message of jobs and growth was not cutting through but the mantra of ”Jobs and Growth” continues. With the budget only weeks away Scot Morrison, after telling the Banks to shut up about Marriage Equality is now imploring big business to shout to the rafters that the tax cuts will guarantee ‘’jobs and Growth.’’
Morrison was actually, even though cutting taxes was a government decision, needed to be making the case for business tax also. In other words they should be supporting the Government and be open about it.
They are, for obvious reasons reluctant to do so because there is no guarantee. If you have ever witnessed a chook having its head cut off and the frenzy that takes place after it, then you would have some idea of Morrison’s mindset at the moment.
In another confessional Peter Dutton admitted in an interview with Ray Hadley that the state of the Polls reflected the government’s performance. As is his want he blamed Labor for the Governments ills.
“Labor and Greens vote together to block legislation, it’s not an easy time to deal with the Senate or the debt that we’ve got, much easier if you’re spending money and making people happy.”
“But ultimately people recognise that yes they’ve made tough decisions but they’ve been for the right reason.”
Hadley noted that the Turnbull government has lost 10 Newspolls in a row and asked at what stage the prime minister would conclude he had ”better just pass the baton to someone else”.
”What happens after five more, he gets to 15 – does he say then enough is enough?” he asked, noting that Turnbull cited Tony Abbott’s loss in 30 consecutive polls as part of his justification to challenge for the leadership.”
Dutton replied: ”Well, Ray, that’s a fair point and Malcolm Turnbull wouldn’t step back from that point.”
”What we need to do is to turn polls around if that’s the measure we have to make tough decisions as the Howard government did, as the Abbott government did.”
Dutton argued that the government was not popular because it had to manage record debt levels in the budget and the Senate was made up of independents. Couldn’t he have taken it a step further by including a perception of incompetence and unfairness?
He didn’t elaborate on why the Coalition had doubled the debt.
”It’s easy to scare people in politics and Shorten has mastered it. And we have to expose it and if we do that and continue to do that in the run-up to the election then we will see the polls turn around.”
He is of course referring to “Mediscare” but Labor had enough evidence to make the claim credible. Turnbull conceded this point in his post-election analysis when he talked about Labor having “fertile ground in which that grotesque lie could be sown”.
He didn’t mention the Liberal’s long history of scare campaigns dating back to the 50s or how Abbott managed to scare people: ”Their coming to get you”. Nor did he mention how scary he was himself.
Labor will allow communists to take over Australia (1950 – 1972);
Labor will give unions too much power (1950-ongoing);
Labor will allow refugees to overrun Australia’s borders (2001-2014);
Labor plans to introduce a wealth tax (2001); and
Labor will introduce a great big tax on everything (2010 and 2013).
More recently, Electricity Bill, Climate tax and Border protection.
So leading up to what is clearly another important budget the Government has admitted that it has been a lousy one. They have made many errors both in leadership and policy.
The Governor of the Reserve bank has told them they are wrong on Negative Gearing and other matters and former Governor Bernie Fraser has done the same on abolishing Penalty Rates.
They have been told by treasury that there is little in return for the massive tax cuts for the big end of town. And yet all the policies put together by a born to rule government remain intact. The drip down hoax continues.
Could it be that they just need to listen. Or perhaps Turnbull, like Abbott, has a date in mind to reintroduce good government.
My thought for the day.
”I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things”.
Please note: ‘Day to Day’ is taking a rest in the run up to Easter.