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Day to Day Politics: What if Shorten had … ?

Tuesday 16 May 2017

1 The Crickey Poll bludger analysis of voter intention shows that:

Last week’s Essential Poll had Labor leading the Government 54/46 pre-budget.

Reach TEL polls post-budget had Labor 53/47

Both Newspoll and IPSOS have Labor 53/47

All would indicate that there has been little immediate change on voting intention in the wake of last week’s budget.

So what are we to make of this? Well, the IPSOS poll showed a 2% rise in the Coalition’s fortunes. Other than that voters gave the thumbs up to the four major initiatives (Labor policies) that the Government put forward. Did the punters factor in that Labor owned them?

The four measures tested with voters were a tax increase for Australia’s five largest banks, a 0.5 per cent rise in the Medicare levy linked to funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, an $18.6 billion, 10-year increase in school funding and a boost to infrastructure spending funded by a larger national debt.”

On education; ”A thumping 86 per cent of all voters supported the policy, with just 12 per cent opposed. Broken down according to party allegiances, 87 per cent of Coalition voters backed the extra spending, while 90 per cent of Labor voters and 91 per cent of Greens voters backed it.”

Now we can all theorise about what all this means and it is but an insight into what the punters are thinking at the time. Therefore, my thoughts on what the polls are saying, and more generally what the populace is reflecting on, is just an opinion.

For me, and based on many years of experience, is the notion that once the rot sets in for a political party it becomes incredibly difficult to shake it off. Now it may also be right that those in the middle ground couldn’t care less about who delivers the polices, so long as they are to their liking. Have the punters stoped listening to the Prime Minister?

However in this case, I believe, supported by the polls is that the electorate have made a judgement on the Government. Firstly, they have concluded that the Abbott Government was a do nothing Government who achieved nothing and his constant commentary on a non-existent legacy constantly reminds them of his negativity.

Secondly, they believe that they were duped by Turnbull into thinking he was something he wasn’t and have regretted it ever since. His hypocrisy and lying now matches that of Abbott.

Thirdly, they understand that the measures proposed in this budget belong to Labor and that they are getting the conservative Clayton’s version of socialism.

Fourthly, they see that both the Liberal and National parties, by demonstration, have no policies of their own and are bankrupt of ideas.

Fifthly, they also see that the Government is prepared to surrender the basic tenants of its ideology to retain power. By adopting Labor policies in the absence of any of their own they have proven beyond doubt that, first and foremost, they are a party of self-interest.

I don’t think I have ever seen a party so obstinately betray its own ideology and deliver a socialist budget. However lite.

Some might say that it’s just smart politics. Over time the polls will contract and Labor will be forced further to the left. Make no mistake: this budget was as much about the remaking of Malcolm as anything else.

Which all brings me to my question: what if after the budget Shorten had taken a different tack? There is no doubt, (and I cannot fathom why Labor never anticipated it) that Labor got caught with its pants down and decided to take, in my view, the negative ”No no, no, they’re not our policies approach”.

”Our policies are the real deal because they spring from our values. They weren’t cooked-up in a panic to try to neutralise a political liability. And the great irony of this budget is that while it doesn’t measure up to our values – it doesn’t keep faith with Coalition values either” (Bill Shorten).

Sure, Shorten’s Budget in Reply speech outlined a litany of coalition blunders, but who was watching?

My point again is, 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. Yes four years of achieving absolutely nothing.

After lying to the public that everything was Labor’s fault because of the debt they left and then without any qualms doubled it. After denying Gonski and equality of opportunity in education and rubbishing Gonski at the time they drag the good man out and pretend that he had done it all for them.

For heaven’s sake, Christopher Pyne, as Education Minister didn’t think his report worthy of reading. What a disaster of a cabinet. Not a decent one among them.

This Prime Minister should be in the Olympic diving team given his expertise in backflips. After wasting four years of our countries progress he has denied the existence of Climate Change by not giving it a mention in the budget.

It’s so typical of the Liberals to abandon their ideology for the sake of its own self-interest. And now totality against their own philosophy they want to fund the NDIS, a policy Shorten was largely responsible for.

Anyway I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. It’s a response I think that might have resonated with the punters more than the approach Shorten elected to take. One that might have painted the government as a hopeless, do nothing, policy bankrupt, a government prepared to plagiarise its opponent’s policies in order to stay in power. And that’s the truth of it.

For me that effect would have a more repetitive ring to it than sort of half agreeing at the margins. They could shout it all the way to the next election, next budget included. Any way as usual your thoughts are appreciated.

An observation.

”Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s wellbeing for the sake of it”

 2 Amnesty International has released expert analysis of photos and video from the Good Friday incident that directly contradicts the official account.

Will he get away with it?

Dutton said the riot was sparked over concerns that a Manusian boy had been able to enter the centre where he was given fruit.

”I think there was concern about why the boy was being led, or for what purpose he was being led, away back into the regional processing centre.”

3 American Express have paid no tax in Australia for the past 9 years.

4 Remember the Liberal Party’s debt truck? Well as Warren Snowdon from the Northern Territory interjected, now it’s a road train. Australia is now heading towards nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in debt under this Government. Yet they still have $65 billion in spare change to give away to multinational corporations.

My thought for the day.

“When the PM champions innovation is he doing so only for capitalism’s sake?”


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  1. UM

    I don’t think they’re out of policies, I think they realise they jumped so far to the right that now they’re madly trying to correct course in the eyes of the voters. The problem for them is we see what they are and where they really want to take our nation.

  2. Terry2

    There is no limit to the malevolence of Peter Dutton.

    The PNG authorities are now formally closing the Australian run detention centre on Manus Island as instructed by the PNG Supreme Court. The refugees are being ‘released’ onto the streets of Lorengau – the main town on Manus – with little in the way of support or resources : they are being abandoned.

    At the same time, the US swap deal will not be sorted until the end of the year and the outcome is very uncertain. So Dutton, according to today’s Guardian, has made it known – no official announcement mind you – that Australia will not assist with voluntary returns beyond August 30. Currently, Australia is offering up to $20,000 to refugees and asylum seekers to abandon their protection claims and return home.

    So these men are in a situation where they don’t know if they will be taken to the USA and won’t know until November and in the meantime the possibility of a lifeline if they elect to return to their own country or a third country will be withdrawn in August.

    So what sort of society will these men be dumped in if they finally make it to the PNG mainland. Well, yesterday we were told that PNG police shot and killed 27 escapees from a jail in Lae – the wild west !

    Dutton, in the meantime is very satisfied with his administration of the immigration portfolio.

  3. Freethinker

    John, my only discrepancy with your assessment is that I do not believe that the electorate will analyse the budget in the same intelligent manner that you have done.
    IMHO they “think” with the back pocket and the rest it is not important.

  4. Klaus Petrat

    Hi John,

    An analysis I fully agree with. This budget will be a short lasting LNP initiative because these policies are NOT in their ‘DNA’. I also agree, that Bill Shorten should have shown some guts and talked, just like you did now, in his reply speech about the absence of any LNP policies and thank them for moving with Labor initiatives for the good of all Australia.

  5. 245179

    Yes shorten has dropped the ball, he’s missed the boat. It was a “gimey” for labour……O well.

  6. Stephen Brailey

    I do sense that people are sick of LIberals and are starting to see them for the utter bastards they are. I even sense that people are seeing through the Mudoch double speak and realising that while most politicians evade, avoid, double speak and shamelessly back flip. It’s almost entirely conservative politicians who continue to blatantly lie to the public time and time again.
    As for Bill Shorten has there ever been a leader who seems so reluctant to lead…in any way! I think Bill would make a superb Deputy leader because he’d support policy but never take any initiatives that would show up his leader.

  7. Graeme Henchel

    I thought Shorten made a very good budget reply. The delivery was wooden but the content was solid, comprehensive and coherent. He made a head on attack on the coalitions faux claim to “fairness”. He covered a wide variety issues from climate change, same sex marriage, the NBN, penalty rates, … a much broader brush than Morrisons spinfest.

    Shorten does not have the thuggish aggression of an Abbott or the florid fist thumping of Turnbull or the motormouth bullshit of Morrison and some mark him down for this. However the content of Shortens public utterances, particularly anything lengthy is usually well articulated.

  8. burniebobthe_b_

    I declared a public holiday yesterday for me and my staff as the next Deputy Prime Minister Tanya Plibersek came to Burnie to shitpot Turnbulls slashing Education funding.Tanya rocked up to the pub where the publican declared he would continue to pay proper penalty rates for all his employees.I think the Leadership team of Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek will be a winning combination. Surely you don’t want a petulant Abbott clone or a Fizza clone from Bill? He gets on with the job and cares as the people of Beaconsfeild well know and he may not be a brilliant orator but who gives a stuff if he unseats the LNP and gets on governing for the ordinary folk with solid Labor policy

  9. wam

    what a giggle today?
    Are you suggesting that little billy should forsake his high moral ground strategy and pick up the stirring spoon?
    The rabbott, albeit with a wounded ex-labor leader simmering on the back bench, wrecked a prime minister, and her party, without evidence of incompetency
    Little billy and his party with ample evidence of inept ministers, flawed policies and a pitiful budget yet shorten’s approval is not in your causerie??
    burniebob plibersek and bishop are favorites and little billy has only a ‘gst cake’ chance of the top job.

  10. helvityni

    Graeme Henchel,agree re Bill’s speech, it’s about policies, not about posturing…

    Anyhow if you don’t like him, there’s Bowen, Albanese, Plibersek and more.

    Dutton’s chances are 2%, Julie has many nice suits, Abbott is yesterday’s man, and Morrison…oh please…

  11. Jagger

    What has Shorten gotta do to prove he’s a leader, run around parliament with a gun and a pair of red undies on his head. He’s got rid of Abbott, has Turnball hanging on by his fingernails, just because he doesn’t go around screaming abuse at people doesn’t mean he’s not a leader.
    Shorten has turned the Labor party into a solid unit from a disorganised mob of ordinary politicians, by the way Labor 53 LNP 47, not bad for someone who can’t lead.

  12. Klaus Petrat

    Hi Jagger, 100% correct. I am baffled that even people on the left give him 0 credit. They seem to want “charisma” like Trump, Turnbull. Where would we be then?

  13. burniebobthe_b_

    I might have missed it so could someone direct me to the AIMN article covering the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shortens Budget Reply speech Given this is the Government in waiting it would seem some would be interested in his response.
    Perhaps if he munched on an onion in a hi vis vest or waved his glasses and dreamed sweet dreams of Caymans he would have fared better in coverage, but then again he isn’t Green so no real shock in lack of coverage

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    The govt is not admitting policies last 4 years have been wrong, Neoliberalism/IPA agenda has been put on hold not abandoned. A snap election is desperately needed before next budget by Turnbull. Early 2018 if possible.

    The only way the banks can absorb the tax is by sacking workers. Turnbull knows this. That has not been mentioned by anyone. Turnbull doesn’t care.

    Shorten is correct, in not being bullied or giving into government demands.

    This was also a kill Bill, wedge opposition budget. As usual, they have scored a home goal, wedging themselves.

    I would rather have a so called wooden Shorten, than the screaming, over dramatics, edging on ham acting, delivered in anger PM.

    Shorten is about content, not slogans, motherhood statements and throw away lines. The way I like it. He always has something worth listening to.

  15. helvityni

    Freethinker, in Australia it might also help if you can run and ride bikes and maybe surf (Abbott, Julie)…

    Good leaders like Merkel and Clarke are hardly good-looking. What about Theresa May? Why did the Americans chose Trump…? What about Obama, he was good-looking but that was not enough…he wasn’t WHITE…

    I preferred Macron to Le Pen, not based on his good looks, he is not xenophobic like Le Pen.. That might be helpful though in Australia, many here love Hanson : ) and Dutton has hopes…

  16. stephengb2014

    Sorry John I jave to disagree with your assessment of Bill Shorten, how he should behave and talk.
    Bill is not an Abbott, Turnbull, Scomo or any of those two faced hypocrits, currently in government positions of power.

    Bill Shorten has not taken on a personna alien to his true nature, nor should he, yes I would love to see him savage the government policies in the media (do you really think our media is not bias to the Right) I would love to see Bill Shorten wither the government’s policies.

    But it’s just not Bill, it would come across as just, ‘Ooh look Turnbull got him rattled’, the press would have a field day.

    No it is just not Bill’s way, he has to be himself, he has to cut through as the thoughtfull but strong Leader that he seems to me to be.

    Yes I have had doubts about him, and yes I did ask him to voluntarily step down for Albo, but it’s far too late for that, and besides I now think that he has proven himself well able to lead the ALP (or they would have cut 3 years ago). Its time to trust his judgement and that of the opposition leader team to allow the government to keep digging that hole whilst all the time quietly pointing out the folly of digging a hole on quick sand. When the election circus begins there will be so much disasterous LNP policy to show a sharp contrast.

    Priviledged bully boy record of folly versus a quiet determined achiever!

  17. metadatalata

    It would not matter if Labor put up an empty chair as their leader. All the mainstream media readers who voted the Libs in are finding out their internet speeds are terrible, wages are still stagnating or getting lower, jobs are getting scarcer, governments are imposing punitive measures when you do lose your job, power prices and home prices are still sky-rocketing, education is barely improving, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the majority, the environment and climate is getting worse. All these things are a direct result of LNP policies which have come home to roost. It is just a question of which other parties will get the support at the next election.

  18. Gangey1959

    If Labor wins the next election, can dud-one be arrested and charged with manslaughter for his part in the administration of the detention centres, or is he covered by parliamentary privilege?
    I guess he could be just flown to Manus island and dumped into the streets with a big ”It’s my fault” sign on his back.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    If I recall correctly, the debt truck was household debt. Once election over, no longer mentioned. Household debt under this government as under Howard is once again big problem.

  20. ace Jones

    Dutton reminds me of Peter Reith and coward and ruddock when they spoke lies of human babies being thrown overboard into the sea by asylum seekers
    Dutton is just another cloned heartless butcher of lives the Liberals churn out their evil prodigy with regularity.

  21. jim

    IMHO…Why do the right wing LNP hate the ALP so so much, IMO in a nutshell the LNP are chiefly corporate puppets and it’s that they “love” their job of “power” they must think they’re doing good for us all, so even in opposition they are out to destroy the ALP as instructed by their corporate masters not us the Australian people, destroy the ALP even it it means destroying Australia and it’s people they “just do it”.at every opportunity aided by our corporate media.
    Now just think of the massive job Labor will have when the next election is over the massive job to get our country back on track after the LNPs wrecking , A proper NBN a more user friendly health system, and renewable energy,.Mrabbitt oversaw Investment in renewables drop by more than eighty percent 88%.Mrabbitt sacked hundreds of ADF scientists and CSIRO scientists why? and the other day on Fox news he called himself a genius I kid you not, their naivety is just gobsmacking madness.

  22. Terry2

    How usual is this

    Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, John Champion reportedly advised police that based on his assessment of the evidence, charges could be laid against Cardinal George Pell, but emphasised that it was ultimately up to the police to decide whether to proceed.

  23. Matters Not

    How usual is this

    On the face of it – very unusual. Seems to me that the DPP in Victoria operates the same as it does in Queensland.

    The DPP is responsible for key decisions in the prosecutions process including whether to prosecute, what the charges should be, whether a matter should be withdrawn or discontinued, if an application should be made to confiscate property associated with crime, and whether to appeal.

    Less serious summary matters are prosecuted by Victoria Police in the Magistrates’ Court; however, the DPP can prosecute summary offences in certain circumstances, and also finalise some indictable matters in the Magistrates’ Court.

    Note in particular: including whether to prosecute, what the charges should be Among matters prosecuted are: major sex offences . While police usually do the ‘leg work’ it’s not their role to go beyond that usually.

    When I heard that report on the radio I too was puzzled.

  24. Terry2


    Seems odd that the police have provided a brief of evidence to the DPP : the DPP on his assessment says that charges could be laid (and presumably that there is the possibility or probability of a conviction) and then passes it back to the police : pass the parcel anyone ?

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