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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 15: What are we voting for? This might help

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Sunday 12 May 2019

1 It has come to the point in this campaign where all that needs to be said, has been said. One side has presented a comprehensive well-presented package that encompasses policies that will change our society for the better, make it fairer, with built-in safeguards to protect us against any future economic downturns.

In doing so it has been upfront with all those affected by its proposed changes. Only 20% account for 70% of the fiscal impact of its policies.

The party’s leadership team and Shadow Ministry has demonstrated a genuine loyalty to its leader. The Ministry is full of capable, enthusiastic and responsible men and women.

The Liberal Party at its launch on Today dispensed with all of the hooplas that emerge at these functions. This one was all about Scott. It had to be there is nothing else.

There was no unity to put on display. Howard, Abbott, Hewson and Turnbull didn’t receive invites. Many Ministers were visible by their absence. It would have been an embarrassment had they appeared.

In the darkness of the auditorium, (I was undecided if it were so for effect or a lack of numbers.) It was the numbers. Scott made the entire running with much to say about nothing, which of course is his speciality. He spent 50 or so minutes telling us what we already knew.

All in all, it was totality uninspiring. If he wins it will be about what Scott thinks the political, and as importantly, the social fabric of our society should be.

2 Anyway because we have heard much of what needs to be said from both government and opposition I wanted to focus my diary entry today on the philosophical differences between the two parties. What’s at the heart of it all?

Before I go on I have copped a bit of flack for not mentioning other possibilities in the election. The influence of Palmer, the Greens and One Nation. I don’t for a minute deny other possibilities exist but in reality, only one of the two major parties can win.

Rightly or wrongly as I have laid out in previous entries that I expect Labor to win but like many, I am relying on real facts and an overdose of gut instinct.

“Socialism comprehends empathy; conservatism and its partner capitalism do not.” (John Lord)

Tom Tesoro on Facebook a couple of years ago said to me; ”They all sense their economic destiny, their power to shape their society to suit the elite they believe to be the superior class. They adhere to the ancient principle of the aristocracy, the ‘betters’, natural leaders, and those best suited to rule. They must accrue all the benefits that society creates as a reward for their superiority.”

There is not an area of our existence that has not been dramatically changed by technology. The Luddites of the Liberal Party have never understood it.

Medicine, weaponry, communications, education, economics and much more.

The Internet has changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. It is rapidly changing the way in which we do many things including entertainment, commerce, global trade, health care, transport, international national news, world financial services and so on.

Globalisation is gradually framing a world without national borders with a cross-pollination of ethnicity.

Many countries fail to accept change because nationalism clouds many eyes. Others successfully embrace multiculturalism.

Future generations will, out of the necessity of survival, have to embrace change not by fighting old ideas but by building on the new.

Today I thought I would canvas the failure of Australian politics to embrace change.

Politically change is everywhere — Brexit, the British election result and the last Australian result both reflected dissatisfaction with traditional politics, the emergence of Trump and the resurgence of extremism in France, the political insurgency in the Middle East. Evidence of global change is everywhere.

I got to thinking about how Australian politics, or more importantly our politicians, have adapted to a transforming world where we seemingly find it difficult to keep up with all the change.

The ethics of health care often lags behind the benefits of technological advancement because it encroaches on old religious beliefs or mysticism.

Rapid change brings with it the need for new rules and regulation that question traditional values and concepts.

So, I ask myself which of the major political parties is more qualified to embrace change, implement it and legislate and do so for the common good as a guiding principle.

Firstly, let us appraise the ideological political philosophy of the left and right in Australia.

What is a conservative?

Conservatives believe in free markets, individual liberty and traditional values. They believe the role of government should be to provide people with the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.

Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. And they are cautious about change or innovation, typically in science, morality, politics, or religion.

They believe that free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

The right supports the separation of church and state, but in practice it allows its conservative view to effect its social legislation.

What is a neo-conservative?

Neo-conservatism goes back to the 1930s however in its modern form it is identified with George W Bush who embraced unbridled capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form modern neoconservatism. Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added American global superiority to the mix believing that America in all facets was above the rest of the world. A further element in this mix is Tea Party Republican politics.

What is a social progressive?

My view is that Social democrats (the left) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights believing the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.

Governments must protect citizens from the greed of big business. Progressive policies generally involve the need for the government to solve problems.

Social progressive Democrats believe in a market system in which the government regulates the economy is best. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field.

The left also supports the separation of church and state.

The answer to my question is that it is the left of politics that is best qualified to handle the rapid changes today’s society needs to go through.

I am specifically talking about Australia’s two-party systems here, and the answer lays in comparative political history.

The Greens and others of English Liberal philosophy might argue their case for inclusion but at present, we only have two possibilities.

By scrutinising the historic social reforms of both of Australia’s major parties and comparing them we can determine who is best qualified to take us through this ongoing period of change and the political, social and economic reforms required.

The left side of Australian politics has conceived the following reforms or policies that have directly contributed to change for the better.

A National Health Scheme, a National Disability scheme, compulsory superannuation, a National Broadband Network, Paid Parental leave, major educational reforms, a price on carbon, equal pay for women, the Age Pension, aged care Mabo and the Apology to the Stolen Generations, and of course the Hawke – Keating major economic reforms that have given the country 25 years of continuous growth.

On top of those you can add Lowered the voting age, abolished the death penalty, Connected homes to sewerage, access to the pill and no-fault divorce.

It has never been afraid of change

The ‘right’ side of politics has implemented the following: the Howard gun buyback, the GST that benefited the rich, an increase in immigration after the Second World War, and Harold Holt introduced a bi-partisan referendum that gave Indigenous people the right to vote in 1967.

And there I have to stop. The Liberal Party website sets out a comprehensive list of ”Achievements in Government” and they are achievements as opposed to major policy reforms. Here is the list for you to judge for yourself. If I have missed a major reform please correct me.


In a world where science, technology and the availability of information progress so quickly change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with its own inevitability.

Conservatives oppose change and are wary of science and intellectualism as was demonstrated by the Abbott Government.

They seem locked in a world that no longer exists without any comprehension of how much the world has progressed. Remember Abbott wanted to destroy the Internet.

They believe in traditional values (whatever they are) without recognising the historical elasticity of society. That change is inevitable.

We are governed by rules and regulations. It is the only way change can be civilised and cohesive.

Leaving individuals to pursue their goals without the infrastructure society provides and allowing Capitalism (the GFC) to go on unregulated can only lead to disaster.

A society that has changed for the common good at its heart can only be attained with conventions, guidelines, systems, laws, policies, instructions and procedures.

Whilst the central argument of conservative philosophy empathises, and overtly supports the rights of the individual it can never initiate the reformist zeal for change like the left.

I have concluded that a society facing the changes confronting us can only achieve them under the umbrella of a social democratic philosophy.

An ideology that believes in equality of opportunity, an equitable share of the country’s wealth, individual rights and liberties within a societal framework that guarantees that no one is left in need.

Every facet of society including the democratic process needs constant and thoughtful renewal and change. Otherwise, we become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see better ways of doing things.

3 Monday 13 May 2019

Final election snippets

A) In 2011 Malcolm Turnbull didn’t think there was a need for an inquiry into the news media but agreed with the then PM Gillard that Newscorp should stop publishing crap.

B) So much happens in an election campaign. How much of it gets through to the average punter? How much permeates their minds and leaves such an indelible impression that it affects the way they vote?

C) In a belated attempt to lift its chances in this election the government has invented a policy, unmolded and unapproved by the cabinet of something that purports to help the young with home deposits. It has received wide condemnation from financial institutions.

Labor have agreed to the plan to help first homebuyers save for a deposit, but property industry experts warn the cooperation of the banks is crucial if it is going to work.

Labor should have pressed the pass button.

D) Melissa Price proved that by appearing at the Government’s official launch that she does exist. Congratulations.

E) Morrison has promoted himself in presidential terms, which is very much a right wing thing. Shorten see’s himself as a coach steering his team toward policy successes.

Morrison is an intelligent and cunning journeyman. A plodder. No charisma. Just keeps on keeping on no matter what.

Your choice

F) In 2014 on 24 August, in fact, I wrote the following:

The audit into the ABC after allegations of left-leaning bias showed that only 4 out of 97 stories were in fact of any concern. On the whole, the news coverage by our ABC was found to be balanced and given a clean bill of health.

I wonder if the Government should legislate to see that commercial media outlets are subjected to the same stringent conditions of non-bias as the ABC.

“In the information age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government.” (John Lord)

G) The Greens are saying they are in striking distance of unseating the Treasurer.

H) Shorten said his government would purchase Hawke house in Bordertown and make it into a museum. $750,000.

I) The least reported of the many things that make up an election campaign is the fact that after all the noise made about a government surplus this financial year, it’s odds on to a whatever, that this is but now a figment of their imagination.

The Prime Minister is either desperately lying or ignorant about the RBA’s forecasts.

The budget and Treasury’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) forecast year-average, real GDP growth of 2.75 per cent in 2019-20. The RBA now says it will be 2.5 per cent. This is enough to put a bomb under the government’s forecasts but it seems nobody in mainstream media wanted to talk about it.

Why I am not sure but the Prime Minister is guilty of outright lying when he says that the Reserve Bank’s forecast was in line with what they had in the budget.

A percentage point over a quarter may not seem like much to the average punter but it is enough to dispose of any claim to a surplus.

You are being conned.

In 2010, for the first time ever in Australian politics, more women voted for Labor than men because of Julia Gillard – by a whopping seven percentage points. The difference returned to zero in 2013.

My thought for the day.

“Surely an incoming government who doubles the countries debt cannot then claim to have inherited a debt problem that amounts to a budget crisis.”

Previous Diaries:

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 1: There is no such thing as a society

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 2: Morrison plays the race card while Dutton lowers the bar even further

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 4: Shorten drops ball on Super but gives Murdoch the boot

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 5: The masters of scare. It’s like watching the best of “Yes, Prime Minister”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 6: Are the baseball bats still behind the front door, at the ready?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 7: Will the young convince us to save us from ourselves?

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 8: “Morrison versus the rest”

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 9: With just 18 days to go I refuse to believe Newspoll

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 10: No policies so let’s talk about the climate and money

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 11: Wake-up, Australia we need to Change the Government

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 13: Shorten has dared to go where other Labor leaders have not

John Lord’s Election Diary No. 14: Have you thought about why we are voting? This might help!

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  1. New England Cocky

    Excellent analysis JL, thank you. Your final point does well for PM Tanya Plibesck, only one outstanding Labor woman politician among a plethora of talented Labor women.

  2. Terence Mills

    Last night I watched Alan Jones on the Peta Credlin show on Sky-after-dark ( yes, I know I really do need to get a life) . They are getting quite excited forecasting a coalition win, possibly a landslide as people come to their senses.

    According to them Kerryn Phelps is gone, Tony Abbott will be re-installed in Warringah and Peter Dutton is really well liked and respected in Dixon and whilst it wasn’t openly mentioned, they see the ABC and SBS as being enemies of the people peddling fake news and misinformation and needing to be dismantled – presumably to allow that nice Mr Murdoch to take a complete monopoly of our media.

    If SKY were required to abide by a charter of honesty in broadcasting, you would be able to hear the sound of one hand clapping !

  3. Keitha Granville

    Never mind the methods being required to share to some truth, facts and be unbiased, what about the politicians themselves? The government seems to lie with impunity, making up any story it lies about the opposition without any comeback at all. How are the less will educated supposed to make an informed decision?
    The debt and deficit disaster has now than double, and yet that isn’t a story this time. I don’t understand how the government has anyone still supporting it.

  4. Peter F

    The Coalition hold strongly to the sentiments of the famous Alexander Hymn, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ which, in its third verse says…:
    “The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate;
    God made them, high or lowly,
    And ordered their estate.”

    If only the Labor Party would listen.

  5. Terence Mills


    The problem is that Murdoch media has a press monopoly : in my part of Queensland we have three daily newspapers (the Australian, the Courier Mail and the Cairns Post) all Murdoch owned and all lacking in balance and objective reporting.

    On the doubling of government debt, our memories are short : remember how Joyce then deputy prime minister was forecasting doom and gloom about Labor’s debt and the prospect of the country defaulting and going broke, an entirely false scare campaign : Now, nothing !

    Just the other day the Victorian head of Clive Palmer’s UAP told us that Labor had approached them with a preference deal (no proof provided) but it wasn’t as good as that offered by the Liberals. This has been ignored by the main stream media yet it implies that some sort of deal has been done but they won’t tell us what the deal is.

  6. wam

    Wow, lord, a good helping today.
    I love your thought and praise billy for not spending 3 and now 6 years laughing at joey, scummo and frydenburger for capitalising on labor’s AAA economy with the loonies support but blaming labor for debt??. NB that ‘triumvirate’ doubled the debt and we still have labor’s AAA. Billy has kept that secret as well and gifted scummo the AAA.
    There was a time when words meant something but now for the shock jocks and the libs words are for the use of… relevant or not.
    Juliar, the loonies driven gillard ‘killer’ came from TAX it was bullshit but so was WoMD, children overboard.
    Tax is scummos constant single slogan. Desperately repeated at every opportunity and echoed by every journalist in every paper and on every TV and radio station.
    Whilst birmingham showed why scummo is keeping his cabinet in the cupboard, the women showed why these boys, and their compliant women, are sticking o the best man for the job bullshit out of fear that liberal women may realise the to defer is a con and stop baking scones and cutting sandwiches.
    The media may have just discovered the reason for the parties like phon and the loonies stand candidates but give them little or no support. The AEC is requiring these parties to justify their cash but I doubt if they will have to individualise seat by seat but there will be some creative accounting needed.
    ps dance of the cuckoo fits this election and would you be certain that the sky twits are wrong to make their assessment??

  7. Yvonne Robertson

    Good overview – thanks. Yesterday I felt suddenly weary as though yeah – now I’ve had enough.

    I figure election campaigns are an appeal to the generally disinterested – the ‘what’s in it for me’ crowd. Those interested in the political nature of the country have already made up their minds and mine was made up many years ago when I first became interested in the election between Steele Hall and Don Dunstan in South Australia at age 10. My parents wouldn’t tell me who they voted for so I watched along and made my mind up for myself. The General Good always outweighs the individual right to plunder in my opinion. I’d like to see government keep their noses out of people’s personal business a bit more – I don’t believe in Dutton’s desire to ‘keep us safe’ for example.

    Terrance – I watched Credlin and Dean after the first leaders debate. They were just about hysterical. They accused Shorten of smirking and sneering and being disrespectful to the PM. It was then I realised they are their own little bell weathers. The worse the after darkers get, the more frightened they are that they’re losing ground. Good to hear that they’ve completely lost the plot.

  8. Frances

    Women politicians are no different from the men personality wise, e.g.Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton. Tanya Plibersek? I don’t agree with her that Wikileaks is a cult with a cult following and that charges should be pushed against Julian Assange for publishing secret US cables re war crimes on the WikiLeaks website.

  9. Alcibiades

    Over the past six years, the Liberals have had three leaders while Labor has had one, and three treasurers while Labor has had one shadow treasurer.

    As I said repeatedly when I was prime minister, if you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country.
    – Bob Hawke, 15May19

  10. DrakeN

    John Lord: “You are being conned.”

    William Shakespeare: ” ‘t was ever thus.”

    A bit of an age difference, ’tis all.

  11. whatever

    Scotty will soon join a long list of Liberal Leader has-beens who really shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were the least objectionable who were still in the Cabinet after some major back-stabbing.

    Harold Holt

    Billy McMahon

    John Gorton

    Billy Snedden

  12. Terence Mills


    This has been timed for the last forty-eight hours and, like you I was just waiting to see what the Liberals’ dirt machine had in store for Shorten.

    The Liberals of course will know nothing of this (although they have tried it before) and it has been designed to take off on social media so they will deliver the normal responses varying from you may very well think that but I couldn’t possibly comment to I have no doubt that the police will be looking into this very serious allegation.

    The clue is that a discredited Right wing nut job with no journalistic integrity is running with this.

    Very sad !

  13. Henry Rodrigues

    Kronomex…………Kennerly has always been a fan of Tony. She once appeared in a photo shoot along with Hugh Jackman and madhatter Abbott. I usually view her as some aging diva desperate to appear socially relevant. As discredited as Sonya Kruger.

  14. guest

    Kerrianne Kennerley needs to realise that the Coalition are intent on cooking the planet ultimately.

    That is a far more disastrous action than simply changing some aspects of political policy with regard to equality, which is Labor’s aim.

  15. Paul Davis

    Simon Birmingham now on Afternoon Briefing…. OMG. Could not answer even one question honestly or directly, just drifted off into waffle and spin. Obviously has learned well at the feet of master spinner McShouty, hence he is the anointed shill to face the press when masterblaster is otherwise engaged.

    Twas good to see PK for once shape up….. guess even she can see the writing on the wall.

  16. Kronomex

    Scummo’s eye hurting six word slogan –

    ““We choose — our government, your aspirations.””

    Twist, dodge, slide, avoid, blame –

    The reason we need to change the government in three letters: LNP.

  17. Kronomex

    I just realised what has been niggling at me for the last hour or so. It was that Scummo’s rambling and disjointed nonsense reminded me a lot of The Donald’s rambling and disjointed nonsense. Is there some sort of idiot pill they take before attempting to speak and convince non rusted ons that they are the greatested things going? Either that or when the alien ants moved in to take over and discovered that there was no grey matter to shove out their ears. Which meant that it took no effort to control them so they left one ant in the empty skull and moved on to the next victim. Anyway, back to my friends homemade chicken satay while I watch Monty Pythons Flying Circus.

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