Thursday 28 2016 – 67
1 Kaye Lee in her piece for The AIMN headed ‘Where is the evidence’ quoted Malcolm Turnbull’s words from 2013:
“The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents’ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success”.
Her article addresses a number of issues and asks the simple but vital question: “Where is the evidence?”
In a similar fashion on 7.30 Tuesday 26 April Leigh Sales asked the Prime Minister what modelling he had to justify his claim that Labor’s Negative Gearing would “take a sledgehammer” to property prices. It would appear there is no hard evidence and on this, and on other matters I might add, the Prime Minister seems to be of the view that because of his perceived superior intellect we should just take him on his word. He went on to tell Sales that figures showing top earners had the most to gain were “beside the point”. As a point in fact he may have been correct but the impression the viewer was left with was that of the ‘Lord of the manor’ lecturing an underling about her place in society.
“Of course people on the highest incomes will make the highest gains because they tend to have more property,” Mr Turnbull went on to say. And in saying it I thought he made a good argument for supporting Labor’s policy.
“There are well over a million Australians, most of whom are on average earnings, who have an investment property and they are negative gearing”.
Sales then suggested this meant the remaining Australian population, some 23 million people, were not involved in negative gearing. On that point I wondered why she didn’t ask why their taxes were subsidising the rich who are the biggest investors, or was that beside the point also.
The tension between the two was obvious and Turnbull’s distain for those he thinks are intellectually inferior comes through in his interviews. His “why are you questioning me when you should just accept that I’m right” attitude is disconcerting to the viewer. Still I suppose in a way it’s no different to Abbott’s “just accept that I don’t always tell the truth” approach. It’s infuriating either way.
2 Yesterday I had a conversation with a couple of friends over coffee and politics, and the forthcoming election became part of the discourse. They expect it of me.
I walked away thinking to myself, “no disrespect, but people actually vote”. The conversation got me thinking about what group, if any, will actually influence this election. Well anyway, enough to tip the scales one way or the other. Will it be our older citizens who traditionally support the coalition in spite of the fact that it’s only ever been Labor who has done anything for them?
Will it be the young, the IT savvy progressives who want change and are open to it? Those who recognise the places high-speed broadband might take us? Those who are young with children and see a vital need to improve the education system for them. Particularly the need for equality of opportunity.
Those who see marriage equality enhancing society and not damaging it? Perhaps it might be the politically disenfranchised who contend that old politics is in need of an overhaul.
The other group who might figure in the outcome are those who simply cannot stand Bill Shorten. Who see his character flaws and his Union background. Conversely, it might be those who feel let down by the high principles espoused by Turnbull when he came to office and have evaporated since.
Although rare, it is not unknown for a deeply disliked leaders to win elections. Malcolm Fraser crushed Labor’s Gough Whitlam in 1975 despite an approval rating of less than 30 per cent. Keating, whose rating plummeted similar depths, beat Hewson.
Perhaps it might be those who are directly influenced by the power of social media and the immediacy of its impact.
Maybe it will be none of those cohorts. My hope is that firstly and foremost people will ask if the Government in their term of office has performed well enough to be granted a second term. If their answer is “no” then I hope they consider Labor worthy of another chance.
It will be the unaligned collective, the swinging voter who will decide. Some are serious thinkers, some are from the “what’s in it for me?” brigade, some are morons but mostly they belong to the group who have turned off politics or were never engaged or don’t care, or don’t have time, who decide as they enter the polling booth. Those who are part of the collective malaise.
To illustrate my point, allow me to take you back to the last election. One day I was at my grandchildren’s school sports day. There was a fairly large crowd that consisted mainly of women. I thought I would take the opportunity to ask a few people about the loss of the ‘School Kids Bonus’. So throughout the day I introduced myself to about 30 or so women. I said that I wrote for The AINM and asked the following question:
“What do you think about Tony Abbott’s proposal to take away the “School Kids Bonus?”
Now comments from such a small sample can only be anecdotal but are never the less revealing. There were various answers like “we will just have to cop it”, “Not much we can do about it”. And there were a couple of ladies who let me know what they thought of Tony Abbott with language that I could not repeat.
Then there were those who felt they should get it but didn’t. They belonged to the entitlement brigade. But overwhelmingly what shocked me was the percentage of mothers who were not aware of Abbott’s proposal and then were appalled when I explained his policy. Typical answers from this group included: “Hardly ever watch the news. Don’t have time”, “When was that announced?”
For an opposition getting one’s point across and having it stick in the minds of voters is difficult, to say the least. That’s why appealing sound progressive policies will be so important. Only superseded by ones capacity to sell them.
My thought for the day.
“What do you think is the worst? Failing at something or simply not being prepared to have a go”.
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