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

Easter with interruptions for religious observation has certainly dampened the campaigning of both sides.

However, Saturday certainly saw a revitalised Bill Shorten but it seemed that just as he was getting on top it was Sunday.

So in the absence of a lot to write about I thought I would write a piece on scare campaigning. As is my usual practice I gather all my information and peruse it before beginning.

I always do a search on Google looking for facts to support my argument and for anything that might complement my own thoughts, or indeed, correct them.

In this instance I typed in “scare campaigns of the Liberal Party” and I was not surprised to find that the first three pages were full of links written about Coalition scare campaigns.

In this instance I wanted to show that the Liberal Party are the masters of scare so I also draw from a piece I wrote in 2016. (Albeit rehashed).

Contrary to what people may think, I believe all the scare campaigning is doing it is reinforcing the view that the Coalition is being led by negative leaders, with a destructive Ministry followed by a group of deleterious people all arguing with each other about how extremist they want to be.

The reason they find themselves in the predicament they are in is because they are guilty of the abuse of our democracy and as a result the public has said enough is enough.

We need to know that what you are telling us is the truth. We want you to reform the system so that it is transparent, honourable and reflects the fact that your interest is in us, not you. We want no more of the same old same old. You need not just restore our democracy but improve it. Change has to come.

The past 6 years has been shameful. At this election if you cannot demonstrate that you can do these things then we will come at you with baseball bats. Make that cricket bats.

Those of my vintage will well remember Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds.”

We are to be invaded by the red hordes from the north,” he shouted loud and clear in every election campaign he participated in.

I remember as a young boy seeing pictures on posters in trams, in the newspapers, and news shorts at the cinema with pictures depicting the communist hordes thrusting their way towards us. There were others with hundreds of Chinese rolling across Sydney Harbour Bridge in their rickshaws with guns and communist flags.

Both the Trade Unions and Labor were pursued with vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns for decades.

Tony Abbott in his tenure as both Opposition Leader and Prime Minister, on a daily basis sought to place the public in a perpetual state of shock and awe.

Remember his daily visits to businesses resulting in another deceit about a carbon tax. A Sunday roast was going to cost $100 (screamed Barnaby Joyce) and Whyalla was going to be wiped of the map. He insinuated a crisis around every corner every day. Pathetically so, without fact or reason. Yes, the Carbon Tax was going to wreck the Australian economy.

ISIS is coming to get us. And you personally. His scare campaigns were relentless dirty gutter politics. He stopped at nothing to frighten the shit out of people. It was like being on a permanent war footing.

He promoted fear like a legitimate political weapon and wielded it unapologetically.

He created a budget crisis saying that all hell was going to cut loose.

Lie after contemptible lie was told, terrifying the people into believing that the Australian economy was about to collapse.

Amazingly when they gained office we found no crisis. It was just shrill politics from a demented politician.

They had conducted a scare campaign about budget deficits and government debt, but in government Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey forgot all about it.

Make no mistake; the conservatives have been running scare campaigns for decades. Who will forget Phil Ruddock demonising Asylum Seekers always referring to them as illegals? Never in their scare mongering did they have the dignity to treat these folk as human beings.

Ruddock even told us that refugees were so evil, inhuman and violent that they throw their own children overboard. He went on to say that they were bringing diseases to our country.

Nothing was left out in their putrid zest for demonising these people.

Scott Morrison, the ‘Hillsong Christian’ at one time even went out of his way to encourage his party to be more destructive with their damnation. “Praise the Lord.”

Had Abbott continued in office their smearing of Muslims may well have reached its zenith during the election campaign. It is a scare campaign that in its longevity has shown the right of Australians to be the masters of scare.

John Howard, together with Bush and Blair with the use of blatant lies scared the world into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The consequences of the scare campaign are well known. In Australia we are constantly reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. Thanks, John.

More recently Liberal anti everything back-benchers conducted a scare campaign against the ‘Safe Schools’ legislation.

We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos.

In 2019 we have had Tim Wilson’s scare about Franking credits.

From borders to bankers the Prime Minister’s adoption of scare campaigns is straight out of the series “Yes, Prime Minister” and with the 2019 Election well underway Scott Morrison has about 5 campaigns under way simultaneously.

None worse than the latest one that the Greens and Labor have signed an agreement to, if they win, introduce an inheritance tax.

 

Prime Minister Jim Hacker: “Sir Humphrey, do sit down. There is a matter of great importance I wish to discuss with you.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes Prime Minister, aren’t they all?”

Prime Minister: “What was that?”

Sir Humphrey. “Oh nothing, Sir, I have been thinking about the beginning of our election campaign.”

Prime Minister: “How on earth did you know that was what I wanted to talk to you about?”

Sir Humphrey: “Well I didn’t, Prime Minister but may I suggest a scare campaign to kick off with. Now I know you haven’t been thunderous successes.”

Prime Minister: “What?”

Sir Humphrey: “The party, Sir. I was alluding to the state of the party. Anyway if I may continue.”

Prime Minister: “Yes, yes, let’s get on with it.”

Sir Humphrey: “Well as I was saying, Sir, ideally I was thinking of a scare campaign to begin with. We are historically very good at those. However this one is a little more complicated. You see we have to entice everyone into thinking that we are the best party to manage money, which isn’t true of course, but nevertheless we tell them that just as we have many times before and they will believe it.

At the same time we tell them how well things are going and convince them that if Labor get in there will be a recession. And we do it without you mentioning the R word. Everyone else can but you deny you ever said it.

Remember, we don’t need to tell the truth. We are only trying to convince the ignorant. Scare them, no educate them. The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

You see less-informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. We therefore, feed them all the bullshit they need. And our menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths

And that should leave room to explain why we dumped Malcolm.”

Prime Minister: “And why did we?”

Sir Humphrey: “Because he can’t handle money.”

Prime Minister: ”But he is a multi-millionaire.”

Sir Humphrey: “Good heavens, man, life is not about what is, but what we perceive it to be.”

Prime Minister: “But, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Please don’t interrupt, Prime Minister. That wasn’t what I thought you meant at all. I know when he says something and I take it to mean one thing he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all.

You see now you are saying isn’t what I thought he said. It is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I said was only my interpretation of what he meant. I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really just a perception of what he meant.”

Prime Minister: “I think I understand now, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes, Prime Minister, what does it mean?

Prime Minister: “If you tell enough lies people will eventually believe whatever you tell them.”

Sir Humphrey: “Bravo Prime Minister. That’s how we start our election campaign. We continue on as usual.”

Prime Minister: “Brilliant, Sir Humphrey.”

Sir Humphrey: “Yes, Prime Minister.”

My thought for the day

The Government are service providers and it takes money. A lot of it. Cutting taxes doesn’t build schools, hospitals and aged care services. It’s rather like thinking you can do something about climate change without any money.

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30 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Thanks for the Yes Minister sketch, lovely stuff. Sadly I don’t think we have anyone in our government or Public Service with that talent even.

    It’s more than time for some kind of truth checker – every time either side says something about the other, they should have it checked. If it is found to be a lie, they should be called out immediately and forced to retract and apologise. I realise that the LNP would be doing nothing but retracting and apologising leaving little room to spruik their own policies, but as they don’t have any it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Keep bringing it JL.

  2. Arthur Tarry

    What does the use of so-called scare campaigns say about the people that use them? What does the apparent success of such campaigns say about the electorate ? How could anybody place credence on Michaelia Cash’s utter nonsense about ‘tradies utes’, for instance, except as a demonstration of outright incompetence and unfitness as a politician let alone a minister?

  3. Krista Petrauskas

    I was unable to share this to Facebook …no sharing link / button
    I did like the article, and, I do think, people need to see this scare mongering clearly pointed out, as you have done

  4. Michael Taylor

    It worked fine for me, Krista.

  5. Henry Rodrigues

    The scares and the lies must be called out. But who’s going to do that. Murdoch’s minions ?, Ch 7 ? CH 9 ,?, the SMH and the Age now run by that gutless failed treasurer Peter “arsewipe” Costello ? If you’ve been watching the coverage of the campaign so far by the ABC and SBS, the blatant one sided reporting and the favourable slanting of the news to make Scummo look very likeable and friendly, is hard to miss. If anyone thought that Ita Buttrose was going to be impartial, think again.She owes Scummo a lot for this prestigious public appointment with all the lucrative lurks and perks that go with with it. I’ve stopped watching any election coverage on TV, winds me up to an almost destructive frame of mind.

  6. Harry

    Notice the conservatives and hard right become apoplectic with rage and outrage when the tables are turned on them, eg by Labor with so-called Mediscare and “Work Choices”?

    The trouble with the Coalition’s scare attacks is that when the issues they try to frighten unsophisticated votes with do not materialise they lose much of their power and the voters become cynical.

    We shall soon see if voters are still susceptible or if Labor’s much more positive campaign wins out. God I hope so!

  7. Kronomex

    Darn you John! Now I have the urge to find where I have my Minister collection and watch my all-time favourite episode “The Key” again.

    The LNP 2013 – 2019 will go down as the most greed driven, corrupt, destructive, and devisive gubmint this country has seen to date. It will be interesting to see what history has to say about them.

  8. Josephus

    Thanks Kronomex- have joined, and will donate.

  9. Keith

    To me Scomo can use every scare tactic he likes; but, the prospect of a LNP government is truly frightening. My response being due to the LNP being useless in relation to climate change. I have commented on David Tyler’s excellent article with some reasons.

    Scomo needs to be asked what is the price of doing nothing in relation to climate change. In fact all the LNP candidates need to be asked that question.

    https://theaimn.com/its-not-the-economy-stupid-its-climate-change-that-matters-to-the-nation/#comment-748385

  10. wam

    Scare campaigns only work on the scared is pretty obvious.
    What scares conservatives, now that communism and santa maria have gone from most memory?
    My conservatives are family, retired teachers and public servants whose ‘fear’ is trilnity.of Whitlam/gillard? Women? Muslims?
    When I jokingly added ‘vegans’ the answer, from a retired copper, was yes they are vicious lefties who hate our farmers.
    The only way the lnp can win government is if workers vote for them. The way is by fear and the trinity is real.
    Whitlam/gillard economy lies will be on every conservative’s lips. Muslims invasion shared on pages. With me too women, vegan women and non-deferential women leaving the stage to the girls of the lnp.
    With little access to the media, consistent approaches are needed to combat the fear. The morning shows will ask the questions that might give rise to controversy and there are plenty to suggest to sunrise and today. The timing is vital but a trinity of shockers like water, philipines and the waste of $400m wads of cash should be tossed into the laps of the autocue journalists’ mix at every opportunity.
    As for climate change, did anyone hear SHY slime her way out of answering the disaster of the loonies voting with the rabbott in 2009?
    ps Lobor, go hard in melbourne brandt has run his race.

  11. Krista Petrauskas

    Michael,
    I don’t know the answer, to why it did not work for me!
    This has never happened before in the many years I have been reading AIM articles
    I pressed the link on my email to web page ….. I read the article on-line.
    At the bottom of the article I pressed the share button, it didn’t work. None of the buttons / links worked.
    And either side of the ‘twitter button’ there was only < > symbols …..Help!

  12. The AIM Network

    Hi Krista, it looks like the buttons aren’t loading onto your page. If you belong to our Facebook group you will be able to share the posts from there until this little glitch rights itself.

  13. Krista Petrauskas

    I hope the LNP don’t win, and the main horrors lose their seats
    If Labor wins, I hope they can rectify the media imbalance, and re-establish the previous rules regarding media ownership, before Mitch Fifield disbanded them. Murdoch’s grip has to be vanquished

    More stringent and honest, independent reporting rules must be reinstated or applied

    I also want the ABC restored to what it was before the Liberals were in power
    Regarding the scare mongering
    I am afraid those who read The Daily Telegraph and other Newscorp gutter Press just think what they read is real news / also are not discerning or questioning ……The SMH in recent weeks, since their take-over has deteriorated markedly

    In the future, money has to be put back into public Education
    Politics and Government, Ethics, Communication, perhaps, should be taught from Primary school level, with the student ages kept in mind
    Education syllabi, in 2004-5 just started teaching Visual Literacy and more structured Comprehension skills from K – 12 …..then under the LNP government, the subject content and Syllabi, was watered down 2012 onwards…..rug pulled out from under educational excellence
    I think skills in learning to examine newsprint, news media is a must! The LNP has undermined Educational public institutions big time.

  14. helvityni

    Henry Rodrigues, I was most baffled by Ita getting the top job at ABC…there’s reason for everything…

    To keep my sanity I avoid following Oz politics too closely…

    Watching the Danish series Borgen on Demand (SBS) lately, it’s also about politics, but it’s fiction and a pleasure to follow…

    Scomo is an Aussie reality show….

  15. Henry Rodrigues

    Helvityni……….The media has been corrupted, manipulated, falsified and nearly emaculated. All this is in accordance with the IPA agenda. But when Labor wins, beginning with Murdoch, the climate and the sentiment will change. And Bill Shorten doesn’t owe Murdoch any favours. Scomo is a bad nightmare, the unreal dead.

    I too love watching those series like Borgen and what they term the nordic noir genre, low key but a lot of thought provoking themes, The stories,the sets, the locations and the acting is just what I appreciate. No loud background music, just the sense of the brooding and subdued lighting. There are some BBC dramas like those too. the Tunnel, and to a lesser degree, Silent Witness, are two that come to mind

  16. corvus boreus

    wam,
    Yep, the new ALP candidate for Melbourne (Luke Creasey) only needs to achieve an increase of around 20% in primary vote, as well as netting a swag-bag of preferences, and he will very likely succeed in unseating Adam Brandt
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2016/guide/melb/
    Definitely one for Labor to prioritise.

  17. Kronomex

    The first thing that sprang to mind seeing that first photo, even though I knew it was the happy hand waving of a religious nutter, was how much it reminded me of the Nazi salute. Was I supposed to think something else?

    “”The thing about my faith is it teaches you humility and it teaches you about your weaknesses, it teaches you about being mindful of others’ weaknesses.”

    Scummo? Humility? Choke. Gag. Urg. That whole sentence is disgusting shit from a disgusting prick of a man.

    “”How does it affect my policy? As I said in my first speech, it’s not a policy issue and I openly accept and celebrate that people of the same faith will have different political views.””

    “…celebrate that people of the same faith will have different political views.””

    This is a very telling part of his make up that only those of the SAME faith can hold different view. His intolerance for other faiths and religions is there for all to see. Sickening.

    Not a policy issue? Isn’t this same wanker that gave private and religious schools an extra couple of billions of dollars not long after he knifed his way to the leadership?

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/scott-morrison-attacks-gutless-keyboard-warriors-who-mocked-his-church-worshipping-20190422-p51g44.html

    Oh dear, did he expect people to think how wonderful and caring Scummo is? Well it failed, except from the rusted ons and other RRWNJ’s, and just showed how venal and vain and desperately craving of the attention he believes he deserves.

  18. Rhonda

    How could anyone wish for Adam Bandt to be unseated? No way. He helps keep them honest and brings grass roots issues to the fore.

  19. Josephus

    While there are circa six Adam Brandts active in several countries, ram, I guess Greens MP Adam Bandt is meant. He has proven to be a hard working and honest member.

  20. DrakeN

    Rhonda,

    the ALP supporters who wish to limit the influence of the Greens do it out of fear that their existing status might be undermined by a Party of social justice and global conservation.

    “Be reasonable – do it my way” is the underlying philosophy of all rusted-on Party sycophants, even when they have no clear understanding of what it is that they actually believe in.
    Belonging to the tribe is sufficient justification for their opinions.

  21. Kronomex

    Drat! I kept waiting for The Beetroots head to explode messily like the character in the beginning of Scanners from the way the blood just kept pumping and pumping into his nut in his anger –

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/22/barnaby-joyce-dodges-questions-about-who-profited-from-water-buyback-in-combative-interview

    How…how dare some jumped up ABC person dare to treat him that way. Don’t they know who he is? He’ll have a word with Peter Griffin’s twin brother, Mitch Fifield, about her just you wait and see. She’ll be sorry! His utter childishness was there for anyone to hear. All it did was cement in my mind the ongoing corruption of the LNP. Can’t wait to see what Scummo has to say about the matter…hm, most probably bugger all and it’s all Labor’s fault anyway.

  22. andy56

    Kronomex, that interview should cement his feet. WTF do we pay these people for? It wasnt my job he kept repeating. What i can understand about his replies was he was the minister and his job was to sign off, no more no less. I want that job too !

    this applies to this arsehole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QfXP5kDFqQ

  23. Paul Davis

    The Australian reported on Monday that the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, had been “airbrushed” from campaign material in at least 27 different electorates. What is implied is that Labor candidates are distancing themselves from their party and their failure of a leader ….. Is this true? I don’t know, i forgot to watch Sky this morning.

    But Twitter is full of the same story, with supporting photos, from numerous electorates…. only trouble is it is the Liberals who have removed any mention of their party from their placards billboards etc. As Eric Baume used to say “this i believe”.

  24. Alcibiades

    Liberal MPs erase party’s name and logo from election campaign material – The Graund

    Jason Wood, Sarah Henderson, Michael Sukkar and Russell Broadbent among MPs who have dropped party’s branding.

    Plus, Paul Fletcher, Warren Entsch, etc (Twitter):

    https://mobile.twitter.com/JWhiteWildlife/status/1120167046816227328/photo/1

    https://mobile.twitter.com/deniseshrivell/status/1118052655597621248

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MaloneConnect/status/1120447636140699648?p=v

    Coalition has also forgotten to re-register their domain name, ‘www.LNP.com.au’ has now been snapped up by someone else ! Cretins.

  25. Alcibiades

    AEC

    A record 96.8% of eligible Australians are enrolled for the 2019 federal election. This is the most complete electoral roll in history with youth enrolment also an all-time high of 88.8% (18-24 YOs)

    That’s an increase in total enrollments of 0.3% since the 2016 election. And that 0.3% increase will almost certainly be entirely youth (18-24).

    The 2013 election was 50% youth enrollments, jumping to 70% at the 2016 election.

    Now for the 2019 election youth enrollments have jumped from 70% to now 88.8%.

    That is a direct result of early & new enrollments ’cause the Marriage Equality ‘Survey'(MES) & would suggest secondly heightened interest/activism by youth re Climate Change.

    It will cost the Coalition at least three seats nationaly in 2PP terms, outside of and over & above under-represented polling which does not accurately capture the youth(18-24) demographic, and assumes preference flows as for 2016(Not gonna happen).

    MES Coalition own goal coming back to bite them on the bum.

    Bookies odds no significant movement since 2 weeks prior to the budget:
    ALP 1.22 (then 1.14)
    LNP 4.25 (then 4.50)

    Seats odds, zero change since tightening upon election being called:
    Labor 76 to 80 seats : 5.20
    Labor 81 to 85 seats : 2.70
    Labor 86 to 90 seats : 2.80
    Labor 91 to 100 seats : 4.85

  26. Alcibiades

    Oops! Correction:

    That’s an increase in total enrollments of 0.3% since 31 Mar 2019, over the period from then to enrollments closing 18 Apr 19. Participation rate at 2016 election was 95%. That 0.3% increase will almost certainly be entirely youth.

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