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Day to Day Politics: What should Shorten do now?

Tuesday 5 December 2017

In terms of political strategy I think for any opposition leader to draw attention to himself (other than making rudimentary comments) while his opponents are indulged in their own self-destruction is political folly.

On the Labor side of politics the consensus seems to be that Bill Shorten should, with much urgency, become more aggressive and spruik policy together with an abundance of ideas and a planned future pathway for the nation. And it all should be boxed in a narrative that explains it all with Whitlam-style grandiosity.

But given Turnbull’s predisposition to stuffing things up, there is no hurry. The Government should be left to squirm and fester in the cesspool of political ineptitude it has created.

Timing and patience are required. What I am advocating is that Shorten should firstly take on the high moral ground starting with the repair of our democracy. Necessarily required because of the destruction caused to it by, principally, Tony Abbott and then the current Prime Minister. There is any amount of evidence for it.

There is no doubt that the Australian political system is in need of repair, but it is not beyond it. Shorten should burst into 2018 with a series of speeches titled, “A reformist agenda for our democracy.“

Labor has already taken a small but important first step in allowing a greater say in the election of its leader, however it still has a reform mountain to climb. Besides internal reform that engages its members, it needs to look at ways of opening our democracy to new ways of doing politics: ways that engage those that are in a political malaise so that they feel part of the decision-making process.

Some examples of this are fixed terms, and the genuine reform of Question Time with an independent Speaker.

Shorten needs to promote the principle of transparency by advocating things like no advertising in the final month of an election campaign, and policy costings submitted in the same time frame. You can add reform of the Senate into this mix, and perhaps some form of citizen initiated referendum. Get the people involved.

Given the success of the Marriage Equality survey, consideration should also be given to a plebiscite on the question “Should we have an Australian as head of state?”

Implementing some form of National ICAC is absolutely necessary and would have broad public appeal.

Perhaps even a 10 point common good caveat on all legalisation.

The citizenship fiasco has proven beyond doubt that our Constitution is in need of an overhaul and Shorten should propose a standing panel of review to do so. Even include a debate on a Bill of Rights.

I might add to that a department of the future where policy can be subjected to the riggers of future needs. A department that is constantly looking into the future needs of the country, lock the productivity commission into it.

Appeal for bipartisan government for the common good as Howard did with Hawke and Keating. On top of this is the need to do something about politicians expenses and there justification. You can add foreign political donations to that.

The biggest issue though is a commitment to truth in order to restore people’s trust in government and our representatives.

He needs to convince people of the need for a truly collective representative democracy that involves the people and encourages us to be creative, imaginative and enthusiastic. In a future world dependent on innovation it will be ideas that determines government policy, not the pursuit of power for power’s sake.

Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it and it doesn’t come about by people being disengaged from the process.

We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so? We need to exercise our creativeness, use our brains, and talk about what is best for ourselves as individuals, couples, families, employees, employers, retirees, welfare recipients and what is affordable for the future of the country. And their needs to be avenues by which our ideas can be presented to government.

Shorten’s narrative must convince the lost voters who have left our democracy to return. Shorten has to turn our democracy on its head on its head, shake it and re-examine it, then reintroduce it as an enlightened ideology-opposite to the Tea Party politics that conservatism has descended into.

He must turn his attention to the young, and have the courage to ask of them that they should go beyond personal desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial, but greatness.

That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of right-wing political indoctrination.

He might even advocate lowering the voting age to sixteen (16 year olds were given that right in the Scottish referendum). An article I read recently suggested the teaching of politics from Year 8, with eligibility to vote being automatic if you were on the school roll.

Debates would be part of the curriculum and voting would be supervised on the school grounds. With an ageing population the young would then not feel disenfranchised. Now that’s radical thinking; the sort of thing that commands attention. It might also ensure voters for life.

Why did the voters leave?

Well over 3.3 million Australians have tuned out of politics because of the destabilisation of leadership, corruption on both sides, the negativity and lies of Tony Abbott (initially), the propaganda of a right-wing monopoly owned media, and the exploitation of its Parliament by Abbott and Turnbull. Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all – one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.

Shorten needs to campaign for a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass ideological politics, greed, disrespect, and truth. Where respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.

“The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist”.

The reader might determine that the writer is an idealist of long standing. That is so and I make no apologies.

There is much in the way of common sense to support the narrative I suggest but will a politician of Bill Shortens ilk take the plunge?

All the latest polls give Labor an unambiguously clear lead over their Coalition government. Malcolm Turnbull has proven to be a failure as leader and the electorate has recognised that they elected a dud. He has a trust deficit even worse than the fiscal deficit.

You might ask then, in light of all this, what then is Bill Shorten doing wrong? In spite of a clear lead in the polls he constantly comes under fire for his inability to cut through as Opposition Leader. Even on the pages of this site he is criticised for an incapacity to confront his opponent, communicate policy or at least differentiate it.

Leading your party in opposition must surely be a job you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. It’s a thankless, powerless task that has few positives but comes with enormous expectations from those who follow you.

Releasing policy is considered precarious until the election campaign begins. Ask John Hewson. He tried it. The media focus on the incumbent and often a 10 second grab on the nightly news is about all one can expect. Often you are damned if you support something with bi-partisan intent, or damned if you don’t.

Your followers have a ‘why doesn’t he stick it up ‘em’ mentality that is laced with an unrealistic desire to win every argument along the way.

It is all made the more difficult when your own ability is limited by your personal capacity to deliver succinct messages because people have an expectation that you should have the presentation skills of a Barack Obama, Bill Clinton combined with the charisma of Whitlam or Hawke. Shorten has none of their eloquence, instead showing a distinct inarticulateness that is at times depressive. Often he comes over as just another apparatchik or union boss. As a communicator he lacks charisma and personality. What he does have though is an ability for well thought out policies and ideas. He may very well be the man for the times.

So opposition leaders tend to come over as unconstructive, having nothing good to say, or mere carpers. Abbott of course made a virtue of it.

So what should Shorten do?

Well, for the moment he should sit pat and let Turnbull’s self-destruction take its course. Only react as necessary. At the same time he should not fall into the trap of adopting a small target strategy. As I see it, Bill Shorten, at this time in our political history, has been handed a unique gift.

The opportunity to create a narrative about the decline in our democracy and Abbott’s/Turnbull’s involvement in it. It’s an invitation to do the same as Abbott did. Redefine what opposition is, and do so, in a resoundingly positive way. Acknowledge the faults, the corruption on both sides together with the destruction of our parliamentary conventions and institutions. Shout the need for a new democracy as often as Abbott said “Stop the Boats”.

In every utterance say that good democracies can deliver good government and outcomes only if the electorate demands it. Messages should speak to young and old alike by appealing to people to participate in a new democracy where all policy is cantered on the common good. I can hear the first sentence of his first speech:

“I speak to all who have a common interest in renewing our democracy regardless of ideological association.”

As President Obama said:

“A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonising each other; where we talk issues and values and principles and facts rather than ‘gotcha’ moments or trivial gaffes or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives”.

My thought for the day

“All in all our Parliament has become a cafeteria for self-serving individuals who walk the aisle with tray in hand selecting from a smorgasbord of rorts to select from.”


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  1. Peter F

    Bill Shorten is not highly regarded by those who have not listened, or had the chance to listen, to what he says. There are many good examples of speeches in Parliament which have been totally ignored by the MSM.

  2. Freethinker

    John, I share your views, but regrettable this assessment is well above the political intelligence of the majority of the electorate.
    People do not believe any of the politicians or parties for that matter,for them, ethically, are all the same.
    People are concerned in how much money the have in the back pocket, when is going to come the next pay rise, when health care will be improved, when the energy cost will be reduced and even if a state when the transport issues will be addressed.
    In another words issues that affect them day to day.
    This is an excellent opportunity for the “vote purchasing machine” of the Coalition together with the media to do something about the above issues and Malcolm already said that income taxes will be come down for Xmas.
    If that happens, together with “some goodwill” of the business group improving a tad the salaries the government will start in the right track to recuperate lost votes.
    Do some more in regional cities and announce some popular policies ( that will never be fulfilled) and they will be ready.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    With the latest Newspoll showing a slight swing back to Turnbull and the Libs, within the margin of error, the Coalition have gone for an all out attack against Shorten from the moment parliament resumed.

    Just a small taste of the nastiness that is to come, especially when Turnbull approaches his 30th Newspoll loss and more especially when the election year starts. They have nothing else but Shorten’s supposed low standing with voters and they see it as a weakness to be savagely attacked.

  4. Ella miller

    Personality politics has become the norm, thanks to the MSM Media’s focus on personality, not policies. The population has been dumbed down.
    With the smooth talking forked tongued MT and politically illiterate electorate…leaders have become more important than policies.BS has never been an attack dog politician and I hope and pray he never morphs into TA as MT has.Having listened to many of his speeches in Parliament I have always been impressed by his intellect, compassion and foresight.My hope is that he becomes PM and leads Australia back to a more humane society, a gentler society, a more caring society. I see this in him because he appears to be a consensus politician.

  5. Terry2

    Yesterday our parliament voted and passed a senate initiated Bill directing the government to commence negotiations with the New Zealand government recognising and implementing their generous offer to resettle 150 refugees a year from detention on Manus and Nauru. Something that the government and the Immigration Minister in particular have fiercely resisted for political purposes ever since former NZ prime minister John Key first made the offer back in 2014.

    So the Bill had passed both of our parliamentary Houses and would normally be expected to be brought into law under the Westminster principle of parliamentary supremacy.

    But No ! The government (that is the Executive arm) had a couple of their donkeys missing form the parliament and decided to hold the vote again once they had corralled the missing duo. This based on an obscure convention well known to the parents of toddlers :if at first you don’t get your way, stamp your feet and hold your breath until you go blue in the face and get your own way.

    The Bill failed to pass on the second vote !

    There is something fundamentally wrong with what is happening in Canberra when the will of the people as expressed by the parliament is simply ignored. You may remeber this also happened when the senate refuse to pass the postal plebiscite and its associated funding : the Executive simply re-badged it and took the money from another pot bypassing the parliament (the senate). Adopting what has become known as the Trump theory of democracy: my way or the highway .

  6. Don A Kelly

    Turnbull’s statement regarding income tax cuts along with Company tax cuts while also committing to balancing the budget, all needs to be scrutinised. People need to ask….How is the deficit calculated? Answer: The deficit is the difference between what the Federal Government spends and what it takes in, in tax revenue. If we have a deficit, it means the Federal Government has spent more than what it took in taxes. The people also need to ask….Can an economy be improved by cutting spending? because one way to reduce the size of the deficit would be if the government spent less in relation to what it took in taxes. Any non ideologically driven economist would say NO, because, if an economy is struggling, by that I mean there are unemployed resources, people looking for work who can’t find it, equipment, tools, raw materials sitting idle and gathering rust and dust rather than being used to produce the goods and services that we need, then the last thing we need is for a major consumer in the economy which the Federal Government is, to spend less . Then less in the way of goods and services will be produced and that will mean less people getting jobs producing what the government isn’t purchasing anymore. So cutting spending will make an economy worse off than otherwise.

  7. Alpo

    To Mobius Ecko:
    The latest Bludger Track for the combined opinion polls results indicates that there is an advantage for Shorten on net satisfaction:
    Shorten: -17.0%
    Turnbull: -18.7%

    and a continuously shrinking advantage for Turnbull on Preferred PM, with the trend going South for Turnbull since about September 2017:
    Turnbull: +7.3%
    Shorten: -7.3%

    So, it’s not just the Coalition that are on the nose with the voters…. but also their leader!

  8. Möbius Ecko

    You’ve hit it Alpo, it’s about trends, and the trend is bad for Turnbull and the government.

    But the MSM with most especially the ABC, keep going on about individual polls, and most especially when they are in anyway the slightest bit favourable to Turnbull or the government.

    I remember during the Gillard government and Abbott opposition, every 0.1% movement against her and her government was splashed across the headlines as a massive swing, whilst every 1.0% or more positive movement was either ingored or shoved down the news list and reported as a minor gain.

  9. Joseph Carli

    Forget the bloody polls!!..Murdoch or the others can manipulate them to their hearts desire..have none of you seen that bit from “Yes Minister”??..
    Politics is an art..create the art and the admirers will come…create the politics and the voters will come…Turn the labor leadership from the ONE leader to a “Tetrad” (meaning ; Four) leadership where each selected person would be in charge of a cluster of lower ministers..Diocletian did it successfully and it would stop this attacking strategy of the right against the one leader and force them to attack the whole party…bring in the indigenous peoples quorum and the Unions reps’ and you got one hell of a powerful democratic govt’ that could deliver to all parties.

  10. helvityni

    “So, it’s not just the Coalition that are on the nose with the voters…. but also their leader!”

    Yes Alpo, thank you for adding that little clarification. I would say : especially the LEADER…

  11. Ricardo29

    I agree with you in your idealism. I wish Shorten had the.gumption to take even some of the big steps you advocate but he can see Government is within his grasp and won’t do anything that might allow the LNP to run a scare campaign. Also, sadly, I can’t see him reversing many of the LNP assaults on our freedoms because they voted for them, and they will benefit from them when eventually elected. An informed electorate is not all that good for a government, any government, as the present situation shows. So while I would like to see reforms of the type offered in this piece, I am not optimistic.

    And on another matter, the lost house of reps vote. With two people down, the LNP still managed to win the recalled vote. Does this mean all of the independents sided with the LNP. If so, shame on them.

  12. Craig Daniels

    Bill has to resist the temptation to get down in the gutter with Turnbull. Leave the attack dog stuff to others more temperamentally suited and stay on message and fixated on policy. A bit more of ‘the vision thing’ wouldn’t hurt either. Probably should ease up on the zingers too.

  13. townsvilleblog

    Shorten can’t be compared to the great Whitlam, Shorten doesn’t even understand the word ‘leadership’ the other day he asked Senator Sam to step down from his official party duties. The situation in fact demanded that Shorten sack him from all party duties, not ask him to resign. Dastiarii has again dragged the Labor Party into disrepute and should have been expelled from the party, if Shorten had any leadership skills, that’s what would have happened.

    For the life of me I can’t see why a 54%-46% 2PP figure is relevant in any way when an election is 18 months away? I believe Shorten should grasp the nettle now, while the tories are in a state of irrelevance to enlighten the Australian people as to how Labor policies would alter this current government shambles, and take the time to sensibly promote the Labor Party, just in case one of the older tories has a heart attack in the next 6 months.

  14. wam

    Good to see honest getting a run today.Shorten is certainly following your sit pat theory. A strategy oft employed by labor leaders since the war with a couple of exceptions.

    Where was the truth in billy’s labor has processes tp prevent dual citizenship? Where is the truth in gallagher’s behaviour?

    Where is the truth in ‘new democracy? Rule by a majority of those not elected by a majority of voters? Perhaps a ‘voter’s test in english, maths and science to ensure a quality vote? Maybe half the voters are women so half the pollies to be women?
    We could mandate that parties an Australian who identifies as man and one identifying a woman be nominated for each seat and organise the composition of parliament from there?

    Funny that we said yes now the pollies have to get down to deciding the how.

    Will they all speak the truth. Lord???

    ps How is POTUS going? How is America going? Any truth there?

    pps Alpo the leader gets zero here but well anead of little billy and anyone who saw joyce’s result would know labor could not win an election despite the polls but sit and hope that osmosis occurs by 2019???

  15. Joseph Carli

    Craig Daniels…In the name of sweet Jesus!!..perhaps he should disappear completely..We are talking national leadership / National politics for chrissake!..A nation survives on the physical structure of the world around it..: Earth – Wind – Fire..if you like…the society within that nation survives on the strength of its leadership..it politics..if you like..and that is for a large part an emotive thing…Turnbull may be down in the gutter, but that may be because THAT is where his majority constituent currently resides…the skill of the shrewd politician is to “be as one with his constituents”…but the art of the statesman is to lift his constituents UP from where they now reside to a higher plane of social ambition…Curtin did it…Whitlam did it…Keating did it..Gillard was in the middle of doing it..but you have to take risks…and it can become a bitter-sweet experience…as Julia Gillard found out.

  16. Terry2

    This is Bernie Sanders in the US Congress on the Trump tax cuts, the same policy that Turnbull is pushing in our parliament :

    I have not the slightest doubt as I have said before, that after the Republicans pass this huge tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations, they will be back on the floor of the Senate. And when they come back, they’ll say, ‘oh, my goodness, the deficit is too high. We have got to cut social security, medicare, medicaid, education, and nutritional programs.’

    In other words, in order to give tax breaks to billionaires and to large, profitable corporation, they’re going to cut programs for the elderly, the children, working families of this country, and the poor. This legislation will go down in history as one of the worst, most unfair pieces of legislation ever passed. But I say to my Republican colleagues, as you saw on November 7, the American people are catching on.

    Go Bernie : When will we ever learn?

  17. Freethinker

    Terry2 December 5, 2017 at 9:20 am’
    When will we ever learn?
    When there is no bread to put at the table, when people weak up and relise that if they do not unite they will go even further down.
    Going by history, it will take many years to that to happen.

  18. Andrew J. Smith

    Think Shorten merely needs to bide his time while promoting some broad policy ideas, especially ethical, inclusive for all and the future.

    Related, highlight the need to avoid the new Anglo or UK/US forms of neo-nativism of demonising minorities, immigrants etc., bypassing parliamentary democracy (eg. SSM, Brexit, neo-eugenics etc.), avoidance of grass roots e.g empowered branches versus top down model policy drops from US/IPA and NewsCorp’s etc. political PR.

    This should/could include simple Republic model, no racial dog whistling, encourage expansion of the electoral franchise ie. allowing Oz citizens to vote from abroad to reflect increasing international mobility (versus old nativist conservative trope ‘I don’t believe you should vote if you ‘leave’ your country’, which is rubbish) and like the ’80s, looking to Europe and elsewhere outside the ‘Anglosphere’ for policy initiatives, research and development eg. EU net neutrality and audio visual directives (which Murdoch despises).

  19. Andrew J. Smith

    The corporate tax demands are not about sole operators or SMEs, nor in Australia’s sovereign interest, but mostly a US initiative to lower taxes for their MNCs and encourage them to repatriate their profits held and accumulating in other low corporate jurisdictions eg. Ireland, BVIs etc.

  20. stephentardrew

    I have pointed out Shorten’s lack of direction, innovation and assertiveness many times before.

    Leaders have to lead; to set the agenda; to be in control. This insipid let the other bloke fall on his sword is pure laziness and a measure of a lack of ability and vision.

    Whitlam had a vision whereas Shorten has a neoliberal deck chair shifting strategy that will once more lead us into recession.

    The GFC proved neoliberalism and neoclassicism is a failure gifting the politician who would take up Minsky’s Financial Instability Theory as proof of endemic boom/bust cycles thus offering a sound basis for reform. Jeremy Corby is at least taking up the mantle.

    Meanwhile Labor will step head long into the next recession with monetary policy strangled and without the fiscal tools used by Labor during the previous recession, to prevent a serious downturn. consequently they will inevitably wear some of the blame. Swan’s strategy during the GFC should have been built on by Labor with strong positive message that they saved us from the worst of the GFC but no they let Abbott destroy their self-confidence running away with tail between legs.

    Shorten the Insipid is not going to save us from impending disruption in fact he is part of the problem.

    A ship of fools all round.

    These right wing Labor neoliberals never learn.

    Gaining power is not the problem keeping it and improving the society is.

  21. James Cook

    “When will we ever learn”? We won’t. As soon as there’s no bread on the table, power too expensive for many, etc, the Murdoch minions will tell us how it’s all Labor’s fault but if we keep on voting for the LNP everything will improve….and the deadshits will believe it. Never underestimate the stupidity of the masses.

  22. Ben

    Shorten should get lost, that’s what he should do. The damage done by Bill Shorten to Australians and the Australian Labor Party has changed the political landscape in Australia forever. No one wants him even though they hate Abbott, Turnbull and the entire Liberal National Party – has anyone ever seen an entire government filled with such horrible people? No, we haven’t and we’re sick to death of them destroying Australian lives. Even so, Australians want Shorten less.

  23. nurses1968

    For all you non Labor members, Shorten isn’t going anywhere.
    Within Labor Shorten is safe
    If a little more effort, other just depending on MSM to know what Bills up to, you’d have seen he has been quite busy out there amongst the voters.
    And if you expect a Tony Abbott type Opposition Leader, you miss out there too, people are over that
    So Bill isn’t a big personality – I don’t want that I want a stable personality that is strong, innovative,a good negotiator and caring in nature

    If you are depending on ABC or other MSM , then yes it appears he is missing, but what would you expect from the stooge front for the LNP.
    They did the same treatment on Annastacia and thankfully it didn’t work but now have Jay Wetherill and Dan Andrews in their sights

  24. nurses1968

    Just FYI
    Just a fraction of what Bills been up to over the last few days

    “Proud to announce that a Labor Gov will legislate for 10 days’ family violence leave. Family violence leave should be a universal workplace right. The stress of seeking legal advice, accessing services & medical treatment should not be compounded by fear of losing your job.”

    “Heading into the House of Representatives to deliver my speech on the marriage equality legislation. The people said yes. The Senate said yes. Now it’s time to get this done.”

    “On World AIDS Day, we show our support for people in our community living with HIV, commemorate those we have lost to the virus and our goal should always be to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.”

    “Malcolm Turnbull says a Royal Commission into the banks is “regrettable”. I say it’s crucial.”

    “Loved spending a bit of time on the polling booth today. Plenty of support for @KKeneally in Bennelong.”

    “Today the NBN announced another delay in its disastrous rollout. But the Communications Minister is more worried about what day a radio station chooses to play some songs. Ladies and gentlemen, the Turnbull Government.”

    “Turnbull can cancel Parliament – but that won’t stop my Labor team from turning up to work and pushing our policy agenda: creating jobs, investing in education, building infrastructure and – of course – protecting Medicare.”

  25. Ill fares the land

    Approach with caution. Shorten is, in my view, a better option than Turnbull. In part, that is because Turnbull and his cronies are the most corrupt and incompetent government I can remember (in all of the deserved, but still confected outrage over Dastyari, there’s been no mention at all of the equally vile & corrupt Andrew Robb doing deals for his Chinese mates and donors in order to feather his post-politics nest).

    But, the reality we must all confront is that Shorten is also a product of a deeply flawed political system that promotes incompetent hacks who spout the “party line”; entrench themselves in the factional system of their party and genuinely offer little by way of redemption. Those who get into a powerful faction get support and parachuted into safe seats and others are cast aside. How does that system, even on the Labor side, produce a better calibre of candidate? How many IPA hacks are getting media time and exposure as they are guided on the path to pre-selection in safe LNP seats? Georgina Downer? Simon Breheny? How much better is Labor? Union hacks and apparatchiks getting safe seats and the “easy ride” into the Parliament. How is this for the greater good when by the time they get into politics, “souls have already been sold” for the support of their faction?

    We have all been responsible for creating this “system” and we are getting the politicians we deserve. Whether liberal or conservative, a parliament comprising intelligent, articulate and less corruptible, contemptible and self-serving fools would be better than what we have now. They long ago ceased to do anything because it is the “right thing to do” – their focus is about getting and keeping power and pandering to prevailing views.

    If you want an illustration, Q&A on 4 December – an apparent Labor “star” and the repellent and intellectually vacuous Abetz and neither had anything remotely intelligent or learned to say (Abetz caterwauled when others interrupted him, but at every turn he sniped at the Labor speaker!!) . But both simply trumpeted their respective and deeply flawed party positions. The game is about winning and nothing more – just like road rage in fact and online social media. Disagreements descend quickly into vile, crude and often violent attacks because the argument gets subsumed by the need to “win”.

    Conservatives pander to fear and Hanson panders to those who are even more fearful. I fear that most of us are actually too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time – in other words to hold to a set of values but still entertain alternate views where your values don’t provide solutions. I could be guilty of that too – but of course, I don’t think that I am. However absurd their views, our politicians steadfastly refuse to see a broader range of views – instead their minders and spin-doctors are supposed to give them the appropriate subterfuge so their words can safely deceive us.


  26. Freethinker

    The above comments about the ALP IMO are no negative are bringing the issues that are important to the working class and the Unions to the top of the agenda.
    The above comments are based on the neoliberal ideology of Bowen with the support of Shorten.
    Comments are are 100% backed by Sally McManus and many members of the ALP like MP Rob Mitchell that is the the same faction of Shorten.
    Reading Sally’s comments I am glad that I am not the only one that call to put the Union interest above the Labor.
    Perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  27. nurses1968

    I get tired of the Labor does nothing/factions diatribe that gets presented regularly
    Time to revisit Labor in Government and just some of the things , not all,
    Then there is Bill 100 Policies for all to read ,
    • NBN (the real one) – total cost $37.4b (Government contribution: $30.4b);
    • BER 7,920 schools: 10,475 projects. (completed at less than 3% dissatisfaction rate);
    • Gonski education funding reform;
    • NDIS – DisabilityCare;
    • MRRT & aligned PRRT;
    • Won seat at the UN;
    • Signed Kyoto;
    • Signatory to Bali Process & Regional Framework;
    • Eradicated WorkChoices;
    • Established Fair Work Australia;
    • Established Carbon Pricing/ETS (7% reduction in emissions since July last year);
    • Established National Network of Reserves and Parks;
    • Created world’s largest Marine Park Network;
    • Introduced Reef Rescue Program;
    • National Apology;
    • Sorry to the Stolen Generation;
    • Increased Superannuation from 9 to 12%;
    • Changed 85 laws to remove discrimination against same sex couples;
    • Introduced National Plan to reduce violence against women and children;
    • Improvements to Sex Discrimination Act;
    • Introduced plain packaging of cigarettes;
    • Legislated Equal pay (social & community workers up to 45% pay increases);
    • Legislated Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme;
    • Achieved 1:1 ratio of computers for year 9-12 students;
    • Established $10b Clean Energy Bank;
    • Legislated Murray/Darling Basin plan (the first in a hundred years of trying);
    • Increased Education funding by 50%;
    • Established direct electoral enrollment;
    • Created 190,000 more University places;
    • Established My School;
    • Established National Curriculum;
    • Established NAPLAN;
    • Increased Health funding by 50%;
    • Legislated Aged care package;
    • Legislated Mental health package;
    • Created 90 Headspace sites;
    • Created Medicare Locals Program;
    • Created Aussie Jobs package;
    • Created Kick-Start Initiative (apprentices);
    • Fu• Legislated Dental Care package;
    nded New Car Plan (industry support);
    • Created Infrastructure Australia;
    • Established Nation Building Program (350 major projects);
    • Doubled Federal Roads budget ($36b) (7,000kms of roads);
    • Rebuilding 1/3 of interstate rail freight network;
    • Committed more to urban passenger rail than any government since Federation;
    • Developed National Ports Strategy;
    • Developed National Land Freight Strategy;
    • Created the nations first ever Aviation White Paper;
    • Revitalized Australian Shipping;
    • Reduced transport regulators from 23 to 3 (saving $30b over 20years);
    • Introduced NICS – infrastructure schedule;
    • Australia moved from 20th in 2007 to 2nd on OECD infrastructure ranking;
    • International Infrastructure Minister of the Year (2012) awarded to Mr Anthony Albanese;
    • International Treasurer of the Year (2011) awarded to Mr Wayne Swan;
    • Introduced anti-dumping and countervailing system reforms;
    • Legislated Household Assistance Package;
    • Introduced School Kids Bonus;
    • Increased Childcare rebate (to 50%);
    • Allocated $6b to Social Housing (20,000 homes);
    • Provided $5b to Support for Homelessness;
    • Established National Rental Affordability Scheme ($4.5b);
    • Introduced Closing the Gap;
    • Supports Act of Recognition for constitutional change;
    • Provided the highest pension increase in 100 years;
    • Created 900,000 new jobs;
    • Established National Jobs Board;
    • Allocated $9b for skills and training over 5 years;
    • Established Enterprise Connect (small business);
    • Appointed Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner;
    • Introduced immediate write-off of assets costing less than $6,500 for Small Business;
    • Introduced $5,000 immediate write-off for Small Business vehicles over $6,500;
    • Introduced a national levy to assist Queensland with reconstruction;
    • Standardized national definition of flood for Insurance purposes;
    • Created Tourism 2020;
    • Completed Australia’s first feasibility study on high speed rail;
    • Established ESCAS (traceability and accountability in live animal exports);
    • Established Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse;
    • Established National Crime Prevention Fund;
    • Lowered personal income taxes (average family now pays $3,500 less pa than 2007)
    • Raised the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200;
    • Raised Australia to the richest per capita nation on earth;
    • First time ever Australia has three triple A credit ratings from all three credit agencies;
    • Low inflation;
    • Lowest interest rates in 60 years (average mortgagee paying $5,000 less p.a. than 2007);
    • Low unemployment;
    • Lowest debt to GDP in OECD;
    • Australian dollar is now fifth most traded in the world and IMF Reserve Currency;
    • One of the world’s best performing economies during and since the GFC;
    • AAA+ Credit Rating;
    • Australia now highest ranked for low Sovereign Risk;
    • Overseen the largest fiscal tightening in nations history (4.4%);
    • 21 years of continuous economic growth (trend running at around 3% pa);
    • 11 years of continuous wages growth exceeding CPI;
    • Increasing Productivity;
    • Increasing Consumer Confidence;
    • Record foreign investment;
    • Historic levels of Chinese/Australian bilateral relations;
    • First female Prime Minister;
    • First female Governor General;
    • First female Attorney General;
    • Introduced Small business $1m loss carryback for tax rebate from previous year;
    • Legislated Australian Consumer law.

  28. Freethinker

    Nurses 1968, I do not think that there is one single person in this blog that dispute that or no value what has been done, not only by the ALP but also by the Union movement.
    That does not men that we can just bring the arms down, there are a lot of important things to do including remove the neoliberal ideology imposed in the party by some.
    I am not the only one in this opinion: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/sally-mcmanus-civil-disobedience-and-the-bland-laziness-of-liberal-politics,10184
    Another important policy which the ACTU want is removing the law that makes unlawful to strike.
    Sally said very clear, quote: “It shouldn’t be so hard for workers in our country to be able to take industrial action when they need to.”
    I guess that you cannot call me Labor hater for saying this or asking for more and if I am then you have to accept that those that have expressed themselves in the same manner are also “Labor haters” as you call them and are members of the ALP and the ACTU starting with Sally Mac Manus.

  29. nurses1968

    Sally McManus and the much overlooked Ged Kearney are both ALP members and on important committees within the Party
    Sally plays a critical role within Labor and some, even the Sydney Morning Herald put the ALPs W.A. victory down,in part to Sally
    :”McManus, noted for her digital mobilising skills, worked that intense focus in preparation for the last federal election. But she and her team built a secret army of thousands of volunteers who talked and knocked and rang bells; an approach that led to a swing to Labor. That style of campaigning was apparent in Labor’s juggernaut win in Western Australian over the weekend.”
    One of Sally s sayings I’m fond of
    ““I like campaigns. I like fighting.”
    Freethinker, as I said before, there is a difference, there are those who question and oppose Labor policy, That’s their right
    And then there are the Labor haters who no matter what Labor do don’t change

  30. Michael Taylor

    IMO I think it’s good to see Shorten more and more on Twitter. Up until recently (with the exception of Kevin Rudd) no prominent Labor person has seen much use for social media. The mainstream media won’t give him a voice so he has been doing his talking elsewhere.

    And you’ve only got to take a stroll through Facebook to see how widely his tweets are being promoted there too. People are listening.

  31. Terry2

    Strange watching Parliaments’ Question Time today, almost every question to the government led to an attack on Dastyari and calling for Shorten to show moral fibre and sack Dastyari.

    Fact check : Shorten sacked Dastyari from all opposition positions he held : Shorten cannot sack an elected senator from the parliament i.e. he was elected my the people of NSW : why would Shorten sack him from the Labor Party just to have him sit on the cross benches for the next six years ??????

    What audience are the government playing to do you think ? the uneducated, the uninformed, the stupid ?

  32. wam

    Dear Nurses- 50 NEXT YEAR?,
    The circumstances have changed slogans are the swingers.
    Your list has many slogans that the workers who believe hanson is open and honest calling it as she sees could see that she is not with it and there are many slogans that show the waiverers conned by Di’s boys that the loonies are as pragmatic as the lnp. They will side with anyone to make labor look bad at every opportunity. Labor needs to get off its arse and retake melbourne from brandt a list like your could be used in the shopping malls bbq remember brandt himself was labor and some of his supporters will not realise how much labor did under windsor and oakeschott with the loonies embarrassed by dec 2009 and the rabbott both carping and snapping.

    Billy and tanya need to get their hands dirty and expose the biggest lie of all that the lnp are managers of the economy – I would start with how the septics are just coming out of the GFC that labor avoided. Emphasise how we protected Aust deposits in the banks not the banks themselves.
    Hammer home the doubling of the debt and the part the loonies played.
    Labor has pure class like gough pure crass like hawke pure luck for him and for us like keating and pure oily like the lemon back to pure class like gillard we have many lovely capable people who need to adopt the finest desperation plea from a coach when kennedy
    DON’T THINK, DO!!!!

  33. Kaye Lee


    You have often accused me of being a Labor hater. Labor supporters do not like criticism. I have found they immediately launch into attack mode usually with some sort of reference to the Greens. To tell you the truth, I think party politics is a great part of the problem in Australia. I admire Sally McManus and Ged Kearney. But I am far more interested in policy than party. When it comes to alternate governments, Labor policies and achievements far outweigh the Coalition crap. But I will continue to ask more from them where I disagree eg asylum seekers. I am also still in recovery mode from their failure to support Julia Gillard. She stuck her neck out to make real change and they threw her under the bus.

  34. Paul Davis

    Kaye Lee
    100% agree.
    and Julia Gillard was best labour leader since Whitlam in MHO


    Paul Davies. “Julia Gillard was best labour leader since Whitlam in MHO”. huh?????? how do you work that out when she wound back the human rights act, watered down rudds carbon and resources tent tax, chucked single parents onto the dole?…der. open ur fcking eyes matey. gillard was a dud.

  36. Matters Not

    nurses1968, I spend most of my time on this blog criticising the progressive side of politics – because I want them to do better. And then to do even better. That I don’t waste my bandwidth criticising the LNP is because – they are not worthy of same.

    Seems to me it’s not a difficult concept to grasp.

  37. Kaye Lee


    What do you mean by “wound back the human rights act”? As for the mining tax, she got one in place. Rudd didn’t. It wasn’t perfect but it was a start. Something others did not do. And I am sure you are cognisant of the fact that the only change Gillard made to single parents was to stop the grandfathering clause in Howard’s changes.

    No government is perfect but Gillard did a shit load better than many others.

  38. wam

    spot on the opposer is hoist on his own petard rudd was the dud when he hadn’t the guts to challenge the loonies and the rabbott over the wong/turnbull ‘tent-tax’ and rudd has since shown the slogan kevin o’lemon ia accurate.

    As for matters not the difficulty is grasping why anyone is so insular as to expect others to do both the research and the criticising.

  39. ace Jones

    Shorten is dead in the water, will never lead Labor to victory. majority voters do NOT like Shorten, never have.
    LNP as far as the eye can see whilst bumbling Bill bungles his way around in circles

  40. Peter F

    Ace, Bill Shorten obviously does not move in your circles as he is ‘bungling around’, or you would be better informed, and if you can only see LNP, then you have a very short sighted view.

  41. ColinSC

    Maybe the folk that say disparaging things in regard to Labor & it’s leadership (to make them improve on their improvements) should state that this is the case more often. It often creates disparity between like-thinking advocates.

  42. jimhaz

    [majority voters do NOT like Shorten, never have]

    and never will – except in comparison to the current punitive LNP.

    The problem seems to be that fat cats preside in every traditional authority. The ALP is being handicapped by once left, now entitlement handicapped and too wealthy contenders. Shorten and Plikersek to me are useless.

  43. Peregrine McCauley

    J.I.M.H.A.S – ; Jejune – Inaniloquent – Morosophy – Hebetate – Ablepsia – Sciolism . . Quick answer that damn phone ! Moriarty has a weekly column for you at his truncated masthead , THE COURIER CROCITATION . Wow what a mind!

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