Framing the debate has always been a problem for the left. Part of the reason is that the media always seem to accept the frame that the Liberals place on it. But a large part of the reason is that Labor don’t try to re-frame the debate on their own terms…
For example, I’ve just framed this so that we’re talking about “left” and “right”. And I’ve framed it so that the Liberals are the “right”, leading to people inferring that I think that Labor are the left. In reality, the current Labor Party are slightly more “left” than Liberals but not so much that anyone earning more than half million dollars a year will notice.
In terms of this frame, when we hear that Malcolm Turnbull donated his salary to charity, it becomes a problem for Labor to attack him for accepting a large pay rise. What! You want to stop money going to charity.
And while it can be pointed out that his charitable donations may be another form of tax dodge, this isn’t the best way to frame the news.
It would be far better to run an ad saying:
“TURNBULL SO ASHAMED OF HIS PERFORMANCE AS PM THAT HE FEELS HE CAN’T ACCEPT HIS SALARY”
This would be a much better strategy, because – while nobody would actually be convinced – it would lead to Turnbull complaining, and one thing I’ve noticed is that every time Mal feels hard done by, he says something stupid.
Now, I know that stupid can be really good sometimes. Next time some relative tells you that Labor lied about Mediscare leading up to the 2016 election, just say, “Nah, mate, the AFP cleared them!” If they argue, remind them that Turnbull was going to refer Labor to AFP; he said so on election night, and if he said it, surely he did it, and therefore the Federal Police must have decided that there was no evidenced.
Yep, sometimes you can play stupid to win. It worked for Barnaby Joyce for a long time, but sooner or later, you fall flat on your face. Or some other body part…
As PM, Malcolm has been playing stupid quite well. While there is a case that Barnaby wasn’t playing, one surely has to believe that Turnbull isn’t really as brain dead as he pretends to be. After all, he did manage to lead the Republican Movement to a referendum loss even though most people thought that Australia shouldn’t have an overseas monarch as our head of state. Oh…
Well, he recovered from that and became Opposition Leader where he – very cleverly – attacked Kevin Rudd over the undeclared use of a Ute, which would have been a scandal had it not been for the fact that the email Mal used as evidence was fabricated.
Anyway, whether Mal is just playing stupid or actually likely to be confused when someone points to two shovels and tells him to take his pick, one has to wonder about his latest prognostication.
Apparently – according to our PM – coal-fired power will part of our energy mix for a long time, “possibly forever”.
Now, ok. Philosophy 101 and the nature of what’s real may be able to frame this in a way that makes sad, old Mal seem like he was just speculating about the nature of time and whether in fact it exists outside the present moment.
However, those of us living on planet Earth will be aware that coal is a finite resource. The idea of it being used “forever” sort of seems a bit confusing, given there’s only a limited amount of coal and an infinite amount of “forever”.
Or perhaps, by “forever”, Mal just meant until the human race no longer inhabits the earth, which gives him more credibility than those who argued that by “never, ever”, John Howard just meant that the GST wouldn’t be introduced in the life of his first term. After all, we often use terms like “never” and “forever” when simply mean “in our lifetime”.
If Malcolm meant that coal would be used for power until there were no more humans, then his comment makes sense. After all, burning coal would make that definition of “forever”, potentially just around the corner.