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Day to Day Politics: When only the truth will do.

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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  1. col gradolf

    Personally, I am hoping for a hung parliament with a strong cohort of progressive independents and a Senate that can really hold any emerging government to account. There is no lack of disaffected voters out here who distrust and reject the Big Parties, but it is the ignorant and complacent who scare me.

  2. kerri

    In my opinion the biggest swing will come from those involved in medicine!
    The LNP treatment of doctors, nurses and other health related professionals has been simply appalling!

  3. Owen

    The answer to what is worse has more to do with what you are trying to achieve….I hope Turnbully fails…….. it is the intent of the endeavor that should be the focus…

  4. wam

    your major point is a labor weakness? Perhaps the election can be won at bbqs, fetes, parent teacher nights and in the pubs with answers to counter the lies of the libs. If they were to utilise ‘walk-by’ advertising in every labor office with ‘lie of the week ‘ in large print and loop tv with ‘who do you trust series of the rabbott’s et al lies.
    This is free and empowering adverts. Currently the counter to slogans are left to individuals without any consistent arguments.
    thanks mate was dunceton last words to karl-baby confirming the bias of 9. But who is surprised???

  5. Terry2

    I hear on the news today that a group of British academics have written to the London Times (Newscorp) calling on them to report responsibly on matters pertaining to climate change .

    Unlike News Corp in Australia, who have been lauded for their impartial and balanced reporting and for including peer reviewed material in their articles on climate change, it seems that the Times has been publishing poorly researched material with a bias in favour of climate change denial.

    Standards in Australia are far more responsible, just look at the Daily Telegraph front page today if you doubt me 🙂

  6. keerti

    Terry2…surely you jest…I assume that by bakanced reporting about climate change you reffer to the right wings attempt to make climate change a threory that can be argued rather than a fact to be grappled with? The science is not in question the intelligence of those who like to think otherwise is!

  7. guest

    One only has to listen to someone like Adam Creighton on The Drum recently. He said we cannot change the climate. He clearly does not understand that we have changed it. He says we cannot do anything about it.

    Well, it seems logical that if we have changed the climate, then we can at least stop changing it. But his argument is that coal is a major industry in Oz and we cannot afford to stop mining.

    It is all about the money, which is what we would expect from a commentator on the economy. We see the same kind of nonsense from Maurice Newman in The Australian. No science in sight.

    If one were to mention the burning of coal and the production of CO2, the denialist response is that there is no connection between CO2 and climate change. Easy.

    What is all the fuss about? Let us allow a coal mine 10x the area of Sydney Harbour and let it supply 60m tonnes of coal per year for 60 years – to be burnt.

    Never mind the CO2. No worries, mate!

  8. Terry2


    My tongue firmly in my cheek .

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Why do we keep hearing of Labor weakness, Why are we hearing much of Labor at all.

    It is this PM & government that is making big messes of everything they touch not Shorten or Labor.

    It is all about perception. The perception today is not concerned with Labor, Opposition but the government in power.

    As for those who have lost benefits, it only comes home to many, when the money no longer appears in the bank accounts, or the services they have come to rely on, has closed doors.

    That is now happening.

    Abbott cleverly planned to have election over by now.

    When it comes to their refugee policy, they are at about same stage, as Howard was when he was deposed. Yes, the scheme is collapsing around them They should have followed with the Houston recommendation instead of going down track turning back boats, Sovereign Borders, the farce of Border Force.

    Howard ran up against the brick wall of having people here on TPV & detention. Is occurring today.

    Worse, they have virtually stopped bringing any refugees in. 30 in both schemes I believe. A long way from 13800+12000.

    When a gvt is continually asked for evidence on every comment they make, they are in trouble. Also cut off when the attempt to divert to what Labor did. Not their fault, doesn’t work anymore.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    Argument saying science not proven leaves me with the impression of one who has said their house is fireproof, can’t burn down. Still saying this when place in flames all about them.

  11. jim

    Good policies gotem! capacity to sell them ahem FAIL, why ? “good policies are only superseded by ones capacity to sell them”.,Murdoch with Murdoch controlling around 70% of major news outlets in and around Capital cities thats goodbye democracy, until this is resolved well poorfella my country. IMO no one should have more than 33.33% of news outlets the ABC was established to combat this problem as it was understood biased media was against the common sense rule of democracy..So Turnbull goes on 7.30 to have chat nothing serious. unless it is carefully scripted, Now where have I heard that before hmm

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