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Julia Gillard has nothing to lose

The Labor party has everything to lose. Come September, not only could they lose the Federal election, but also many of the hard fought progressive reforms that they’ve implemented over the past two terms. It’s getting to the point where every poll report, every news item and every taxi driver in the country has already called the election for Tony Abbott. Julia Gillard is blamed for everything that goes wrong in everybody’s life. It seems that no matter what she does or says, she is painted as the villain. If I were Gillard’s campaign manager, I would make the call that Labor has nothing to lose. Sometimes when you have everything to lose, it’s time to go for broke. It’s time to take the turkeys on.

One of the many criticisms you hear about Julia Gillard is that she isn’t a good communicator. I agree that in short staccato questioning, she comes across as being too woodenly on-message. Sound bites are not her thing. Yet, when she is given the chance to talk directly to people and not microphones, and when she has a chance to finish her sentences, she shines. When she is talking about something she is passionate about, such as when she called out Abbott’s blatant hypocrisy and misogyny in her famous speech, she was on fire. If I were Gillard’s campaign manager, I would unleash this passion with a campaign that goes to the heart of the Labor party’s purpose. I would concisely outline why those who say Labor and Liberal are the same, are manifestly wrong. I would show how only the rich will benefit from Abbott’s plans and how Labor supports everyone else. I would use statistics, evidence and comparative examples. I would scrutinise who is donating to the Liberal Party, why they are donating and what they expect for their investment. I would ask voters who they trust with their working conditions – unions or big business. I would roll out the concept of the 99%. And I wouldn’t shy away from an accusation of class war. I would say bring it on.

As much as I wouldn’t wish a US election campaign on my worst enemy, there are some aspects of the recent battle between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney that Gillard can learn from. With all the hoopla and media narrative spinning around the candidate’s campaigns, one thing was understood by voters from the start. President Obama stands for the 99%. And Mitt Romney represents the 1%.

In a crucial moment during the campaign, which still gives Peta Credlin anxiety attacks, Mitt Romney addressed a group of one percenters and also accidentally showed the 99% what he really thinks of them. Just to refresh your memory, he said:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”

It’s no wonder Credlin has warned Liberal MPs to watch out for waiters with recording devices. There’s a reason why Abbott and his colleagues are going to great pains to avoid being asked tough questions by journalists, and are generally running and hiding from requests to release policies or costings before the election. That’s because Abbott is a Romney. The more you find out what he really thinks, the less palatable he is to everyone but the very rich. Even Abbott’s supposably ‘progressive’ policy of paid maternity leave benefits the rich over everyone else. No one has ever been able to explain to me why a mother who earns $100,000 in the job market should be paid twice as much to look after a baby by tax-payers as a mother who earns $50,000. Equal pay for equal work surely? If I were Gillard’s campaign manager, this is the sort of topic I would be tackling head on.

Why is that American voters so quickly understood Romney’s political economic philosophy, but most Australian voters seem to totally misunderstand, or not even care about Abbott’s? It’s Gillard’s job to communicate why and how Abbott’s economic ideas are different from her own. Romney’s trust in an unregulated free market is built on the misguided theory of a ‘trickle down’ economy. Abbott’s economic theories are less clear-cut. He offers a muddled mix of small government in some instances (sacking public sector workers, less spending on health and education) and big government spending in others (his Direct Action Plan and middle class welfare, otherwise known as election bribes). But the one consistent theme of Abbott’s ideas are that they will help a distinct sub sector of our community – those who are already well off. Not those with an aspiration to better their situation. Once you understand this, it’s impossible not to see Abbott’s political philosophy oozing out of every statement he makes. Gillard and her team need to find a way to explain this to voters. If the American populace can understand this concept, there’s no reason why Australians can’t.

Romney and Abbott reason that by making the rich richer (with lower tax rates than the poor), the rich will be more entrepreneurial and will employ more workers. Abbott is lovingly devoted to Gina Rinehart’s growing fortune because it helps to fund his political campaigns. But if he was ever scrutinised by the mainstream media and had to explain why he wants to delete the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, he would no doubt use the justification that a richer Rinehart means more jobs for miners. There’s just one problem with this ‘trickle down’ theory. It doesn’t work. Wealth doesn’t trickle down. It goes into unproductive speculation on the money markets. It gets caught up in numerous Rolls Royces, in the third beach houses, in the Canary Island tax havens, in the private jets, in public legal spats with one’s children. Sure, some retail employees might keep their jobs as the very few rich buy more stuff. Sure, some gardeners and cleaners might be needed to maintain the multiple manors. But large scale job growth is not, as evidenced by the US example, stimulated by lower tax rates for rich companies and individuals. Jobs come from middle-class spending, not upper-class tax breaks. As I saw so powerfully explained on a placard by an American Occupier:

‘The rich have had their tax breaks for three years. So where the f*ck are the jobs?’

The idea that a small government and an unrestrained free market will lead to a healthier economy has been debunked over and over again. Apart from anything else, when the comfortable middle class disappears, so does the consumer market that the rich rely on to keep the economy running. A strong middle class needs to be paid a fair and equitable share of national wealth, which is not necessarily always the first priority of the rich capitalist business owners and their shareholders. Hence the need for collective bargaining. Hence the need for unions, both blue and white collar. It’s time Labor stopped fearing their allegiance with workers unions. It’s time Labor embraced the very essence of what the Labor party stands for. The Labor party stands for workers. Not multinationals. If it was up to me, this would be the centrepiece of Gillard’s campaign.

President Obama might be handcuffed by a hostile Congress in his promise to restore the middle class and to reduce the gap between rich and poor. But Gillard is not only able to sell such a concept, her government also has evidence of reform successes to support this message. Policies such as tripling the tax free threshold for the lowest paid workers, the increase in compulsory superannuation payments, introducing the mining tax, increasing access to Commonwealth funded tertiary and vocational education, increasing funding to the health sector, working towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme, introducing a plan for education reform that prioritises spending for the disadvantaged and the recently announced policy to improve the health of the manufacturing sector are all impressive reforms that will benefit the 99%. Obama’s campaign offered hope to the millions of Americans too poor to feed their families, let alone to afford healthcare and a college education. He wasn’t scared of the ‘small government’ arguments from the Republicans and their Tea Party extremists. If I was her campaign director, I’d urge Gillard not to be scared of having similar arguments with Abbott and his extremist front bench. In fact, not only should Gillard not be scared, she should be proud. She should remind voters what is happening in Queensland under Newman, Victoria under Baillieu and New South Wales under O’Farrell – the slash and burn of public sector jobs, rampant privatisation, reduced spending on health and education. These Liberal Premiers are doing exactly what Abbott hopes to have the chance to do. It’s all about benefiting the ‘haves’ and disadvantaging the ‘have nots’. I would tell Gillard she needs to make more of this.

It’s time for progressive voters to stop banging our heads against the wall and hoping that the mainstream media will do a U-turn and start reporting policy outcomes. This is just not going to happen. I would encourage Gillard to bypass the vested interests supporting Abbott’s campaign and go straight to voters via any direct platform available. I’d emphasise social and independent media, town hall forums, street stalls and advertising. It’s time for Gillard’s campaign team to stop pandering to the ‘undecided voter’ by being wishy washy. There’s no point holding back because of the fear that saying something bold might jolt people. Gillard should aim to jolt people! To jolt them awake! It’s time to take the reins on the ‘narrative’ of this election. Show the voters of Western Sydney what Abbott really thinks of them. Explain why his priority is the likes of Rinehart and not the future of the 99%. It might seem simplistic. It might seem crass. But if the Labor Party don’t do something different soon, they will only regret after the election that the opportunity was missed.

There are two distinct paths that Australia can take come September. It’s time to show just how different these two paths are. It’s time to say this loud and proud. Gillard needs to let go of the beige. The Prime Minister should behave like she has nothing to lose. She has everything to win.

See Also:

What Julia Gillard is up against

What Julia Gillard is up against (continued)

 

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  1. Joy Cooper

    Oh how I heartily agree with you Victoria.

    Even though it may seem to be a lost cause, all those less well off voters who have been indoctrinated by exposure to News Ltd, Jones, Hadley, Bolt commercial TV et al need to be informed, loudly, of the diet of lies they have been fed, These are the uncritical thinking people who are voting against their best interests on the basis of deliberate misrepresentations, untruths & deceptions. They lap these up as some seem to have a strange sense of entitlement or rage that they are “owed” something. What that is they don’t seem to know.

    Then, of course, there are those donkey voters who won’t vote for a red haired woman.

    Another thing they need to be less “nice” about is, when claims are made about the PM’s childlessness & partnership living arrangements, bringing Julie Bishop into the discussion. She is, after all, in a similar situation to Julia Gillard. In fact I was astonished when that female Liberal MP invoked the childless PM garbage.

  2. johnlord2013

    You write with conviction and compassion. I agree with your comparisons regarding the US elections and I have written on similar themes. In the end Romney and Ryan were called out for their lies and the people decided that truth matters. Abbott needs to account for his lies. Remember how Bill Clinton dressed down Romney’s lies after the first debate. I hope the Australian people reach the same conclusion.

  3. Cheryle Beattie

    Could not agree more..

  4. helen browne

    You are right in everything you say Victoria .Go for broke. There are so many things you could throw at them. Trying to bring down the government etc.

  5. Iain Hall

    I am reminded of Star Trek when I see pieces such as this “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE” say the Borg and it then takes an exceptional leader like Captain Katherine Janeway to defeat the relentless enemy with pluck and determination, the problem for Labor is that Gillard is no Janeway and under her leadership this government will be assimilated because the collective electorate has no faith at all in this captain especially as they know the the ship is holes and venting atmosphere and its warp core is about to go critical…

  6. mrharmony60

    Victoria for Labor’s campaign strategist! Great observations. If the polls are to be believed, what have Labor to lose by ditching Gillard’s wooden addresses & replacing them with impassioned off the cuff remarks? She’s proven very adept at this, her one hour q & a fronting journo’s over the “AWU scandal” was brilliant. By contrast, Abbott flounders when either tough questions are asked or he is not in a carefully stage managed situation. Hence Peta Credlin keeping him on a tight rein fearing a Romney moment. Something radical has to be done to cut through, hoping that good policy will win the day is futile in an environment of biased media.

  7. andyrob

    very well said Victoria, pretty much what I have been saying in comments for a while now.

    The only way to get the message out, over the white noise that is the LNP and MSM’s empty rhetoric, is to shout it from the roof tops, tell the truth on what has been achieved, basically sell them selves loud and clear.

  8. andyrob

    Helen, yes agree, great point, shout that out for sure. It was a COUP attempt and the LNP and MSM have something to answer to.

    Why front pages prior to court then Rares’ comments and nothing. WTF is that. get them on the back foot on that one, it is a bloody biggy IMO.

    Like the LNP keep doing, mention it at every occasion, all interviews.

  9. Joyce

    You haven’t mentioned her shutting down the palliative care system? How can you justify shutting down a service to dying people and their families?

  10. Caroline Reid

    Go for broke and be for ONCE a true progressive party leading from the top… 1. Make moves to put the mining industry in its place and stop dictating government. New mining tax and federal coal seam gas legislation covering public health, worker health and environmental health plus gas reservation policy. 2. Move to establish a federal ICAC 3. Clean out the federal public service, it’s full of howardites undoing Labors good work- clean out CENTRAL agencies especially 4. Announce the first big renewable investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation 5. Announce a review into the establishment of a federal Chemicals Agency and once and for all get rid of the huge duplication at federal state levels, and between at least 8 agencies in the Cwlth’s and give it powers to conduct epidemiological studies, and change exposure standards with a precautionary approach, free of OBPR cost benefit proof. … This didn’t come from me. I’m a public servant. Canberra is up shit creek without a paddle at the moment unable to achieve anything.

    Sent from my iPad

  11. Caroline Reid

    Also, at the moment neither I nor most people believe that federal labor and across the country stand for the 99%. Stop getting conservative advice and start actually standing up for us who are being mined and privatised out of existence. And start a means too root out business corruption of government.

    Sent from my iPad

  12. reb

    “It’s getting to the point where every poll report, every news item and every taxi driver in the country has already called the election for Tony Abbott.”

    Why do you think that is….?

    Perhaps it’s because Gillard has failed on so many of the progressive social policy platforms that Labor once stood for.

    She’s failed on gay marriage, so much so that we just look like dinosaurs in comparison to the rest of the developed world, and she’s failed on asylum seekers.

    Under Gillard’s leadership, Labor has gone after the racist redneck and homophobic vote like no other leader before her.

    She’s abandoned reform on problem gambling just like she abandoned Andrew Wilkie and Julian Assange.

    I note that the “left” were palpable with outrage over Howard’s handling of David Hicks but have been completely silent on Gillard’s handling of Julian Assange.

    Likewise with asylum seekers.

    Perhaps people have reached the not unreasonable conclusion that she simply can’t be trusted.

    Sure, the prospect of an Abbott govt might be anathema to many (particularly on this forum) but Gillard’s impending annihilation is entirely of her own making.

    I agree that there is much that Gillard can learn from the battle between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

    One thing would be that she doesn’t need to pander to extreme right-wing religious nutjobs (Jim Wallace) and another would be that she she shouldn’t stand in the way of progressive social reform like gay marriage.

    Yet another would be that Labor should be at the forefront of human rights and stop sending children offshore to live behind razor wire.

    Perhaps if she did those things, traditional Labor voters might regard her with a little more respect.

  13. Joy Cooper

    Joyce it was the state governments which chose not to use the money, allocated to them for sub-acute services by the Federal government, for palliative services apparently.

    You have to read past the sensationalist headlines to find that out.

  14. heather944

    Right on! Couldn’t agree more – unless they fight back and fight back strong and counter all of the NLP’s mainstream media propaganda by using every form of communication, media and social networking, we are going to be doomed to have Gina’s lap dog in charge of everything (God help us) and the rich will be getting richer at the expense of the poor and Abbott will probably give Gina the go ahead to use those nukes for her new mining methods (I can’t believe the Greens would prefer to back NLP over Labor – daahhh!). I have never understood why people in this country are so fearful of unions – unions help the workers, and the benefits we all now take for granted were fought for and achieved for us by those unions. Unions help ensure workers have safe working conditions. Labor should be seeking to win back union support and should be aiming their campaign at the workers. NLP will never have the interests of everyday Australians at heart, they are there to gain wealth and power for their rich backers and will just hold out a bunch of carrots to lower and middle class people each election time, pretending that they care. Unless they want work choices back, workers should back Labor, especially if they ever want their kids to go to uni or attend a public school (they would soon be a thing of the past if the NLP thought they could get away with it). I grew up in the 50’s and only the rich got to go to uni, unless you were brilliant and got a scholarship. My dad worked long and hard in unsafe conditions which were had for his health. Those conditions would still be happening today if it hadn’t been for unions and labor backed legislation. With very few exceptions, the rich do not care about the rest of humanity – we are just there for them to use in their quest for greater wealth and power. Governments need to be of a type that will protect both the population and the environment from exploitation and to provide sensible government that takes into account the needs of majority rather than the wants of a greedy minority. We all know who controls mainstream media so alternatives need to be found by Labor, the Greens and minor parties, independents, etc. for getting messages across – I think not only Ms Gillard, but all the Labor people, and some of the other parties as well, need to get out there and start speaking up about their policies more – and refuting the half truths and also challenging Abbott and anyone else who makes misleading statements about them at every opportunity. Just as we see with Labor, I’m sick of seeing the same old stuff being peddled about the Greens by mainstream media and others – not everyone who supports the greens is an anti-progress tree hugging hippie (not that there is anything wrong with hugging a tree if you want to – seems its a better thing to do than nuking the earth for mining) and the majority of people just believe what they hear on their TV – most of them have probably never even looked up a political party’s website to actually check out their policies (and if the Greens think Abbott will take them and their needs seriously they are living in cloud cuckoo land). So come on Labor – fight back – tell them what you have done and what you intend to do for us all and challenge the electorate and the other parties like the Greens to pin Abbott down on policies.

    ps. Before anyone brings it up – I only heard about Gina wanting to use nukes in mining on mainstream media – so it was probably not true anyway, but look how much mainstream media’s power influenced me – which is exactly the point (one well understood by Abbott and the NLP but, it seems, not by Labor and other candidates or the electorate, who still think what is reported is gospel).

  15. Tom of Melbourne

    ” There are two distinct paths that Australia can take come September.

    I see. On one hand we have the path to incompetence, dishonesty and world’s worst practice on social policy.

    ….and on the other hand we have…?

  16. Alison White

    Joyce the ALP introduced the Palliative care funding in the first place – so voting against them because they then gave additional to the States so they could run it is a bit of a furphy.
    ” Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler said federal funding for palliative care service “is not expiring”.

    The states had been given an extra $1.6 billion in funding from 2010-11 to 2013-14 to invest in sub-acute services.

    “It is open to the states and territories to use this funding in hospital and community settings with the aim of increasing access, including to palliative care,” he said.”
    Given as most of the State Governments are Libs your point is moot.

  17. Alison White

    Oooops – sorry Joy I just noticed your comment 🙂

  18. Alison White

    Iain – thanks for confirming my suspicion that you are a total nerd.

  19. Alison White

    Reb – I’m not sure where you stand politically – are you merely playing ‘devil’s advocate’ every time you post. By your reasoning all the disappointed ALP supporters would vote for the Greens. Unless you think the voters would be prepared on mass to cut off their collective nose to spite their face…

  20. Joy Cooper

    That’s ok, Alison. You explained it better than I did. Your other posts are spot on as well. 🙂

  21. Alison White

    To answer your question Tom the answer is – a wonderful empowered Labor government – you silly person…

  22. danny

    great article im with you all the way

  23. Lorraine Hyde

    Excellent advice.

  24. 730reportland

    Wonderful post Vicky, couldn`t agree more. Trickle down Reagan-omics Teabag-Theory has totally failed the usa for decades now, as pointed out by your `occupier`. Don`t worry tho, Credlin will instruct her Zombies to keep peddling Teabag Theory till the end. West Sydney and the rest of Australia won`t be voting to return to workchoice-2 or back to 6K (from_20K) taxables. Hold your nerves Lefty`s.

  25. Joy Cooper

    Here, here Buff. Cannot believe some people are so gullible they believe the LNP & their backers have the best interests of the citizens of this country at heart.

  26. Heather

    Damned well said, and spot on. Go for it I say.

  27. Buff McMenis

    As usual you have nailed it, Victoria! Now all we have to do is get some of the MSM to be brave enough to show the despicable way the LNP is heading and make sure that Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart, ably assisted by Twiggy Forrest and Clive Palmer (the TITANIC?? Because he CAN??) do not rob Australia of democracy and allow the truth to be told! Who want’s Abbott and Julie Bishop leading our country? Not me!

  28. reb

    “Reb – I’m not sure where you stand politically – are you merely playing ‘devil’s advocate’ every time you post.”

    I’m not sure how simply pointing out Julia Gillard’s abject failure on the important and socially progressive issues of marriage equality, asylum seekers, and addressing problem gambling (another commitment she has now walked away from) is playing “devil’s advocate.”

    I’m simply stating my opinion of the Gillard government like everyone else here.

    “By your reasoning all the disappointed ALP supporters would vote for the Greens.

    Well that’s not my reasoning at all. But seeing as you mentioned it, it does appear that many disaffected Labor voters are now voting for The Greens and many more plan to vote for the Coalition in September.

    “Unless you think the voters would be prepared on mass to cut off their collective nose to spite their face…

    Well that’s certainly what the polls are showing and I have no reason to believe that the polls are wrong.

    In not a disimilar vein, it appears that Gillard is going ahead with the same “nose-spite-face” plan by taking the party to clear electoral annihilation.

    Labor could win the next election if Gillard was prepared to step down and hand the reigns over to Rudd.

    But Gillard and the Union hacks won’t allow that to happen as it will confirm that they were wrong to knife Rudd in the first place.

    So, instead they will reject the only chance of winning that they have at the next election and will push forward with Gillard towards almost certain defeat.

    If anyone’s cutting off their nose to spite their face, it’s Gillard.

    Who can blame the electorate for following suit by voting for Tony Abbott…??

  29. Min

    Victoria, excellent post. I agree absolutely, there is no point in the government even attempting to get their message across via the MSM. As many have noted all that gets published is a line or 2 of policy rapidly followed by 5-6 paragraphs of Liberal Party propaganda..the well-known, “Tony Abbott says………..”. There is no assessment of policy, no suggestions of how anything might be improved, just repeat after repeat of Abbott and his “This is a baaaaddd government…”.

  30. 730reportland

    l guess you would realize by now reb, l really doubt Mr-Rabbit will win. Noise-Polls and Embedded Media are really tools of propaganda to instill Lefty panic. Once we hit August, when the rest of Australia will tune in more properly to politics, that Lefty panic will quickly change to Teabag panic.

  31. paul walter

    Well, why the F— dont Labor speak up.
    What DID happened to all the jobs after the tax cuts. Frittered away on 457 visas?

  32. Ken Atkinson

    From my perspective, the PM needs to engage Abbott in up close personal combat where he can’t hide behind the skirt of the Murdoch media. She should continuously challenge to debate him right now, not a week before the election, and expose him for the coward he would prove to be. No doubt he will continually decline (his minders would never allow it anyway) but in time, the populace will have their eyes opened to just what an empty suit he is. The PM needs to relentlessly stalk Abbott, so to speak, and get him one on one in the ring where she would no doubt send him to the canvass. She cannot afford to have him using his slingshot from the vantage point he currently enjoys. Time to get serious!

  33. Lew

    Hear hear can your article be on the Prime ministers desk in the morning?

  34. khtagh

    Brilliant Victoria, just brilliant. There is also one silver lining to this approach. Should it work & Abbott nose dives in the polls it would work for Turball too. We have discussed this very approach at TPS a while back & there was a good many that thought it would be the best way to tackle the MSM. Give them something they just cant ignore OR spin. Although the press gallery will try.

  35. andyrob65

    Ken, +100

  36. Joy Cooper

    Reb, tell that to the 78 MPs, mostly LNP who voted against the marriage equality bill.

  37. reb

    I agree Ken.

  38. reb

    And actually, it would be nice if Julia just said that she’s changed her mind about marriage equality, and that all citizens should be equal under the law without fear of discrimination from religious groups simply because of their sexual orientation.

  39. Victoria Rollison

    Great idea Ken. Since the media are claiming that ALP are in campaign mode, why not schedule a debate every month from now until the election. If Abbott doesn’t turn up, Gillard can just do a cracker of a speech like she did tonight.

  40. reb

    “Reb, tell that to the 78 MPs, mostly LNP who voted against the marriage equality bill.”

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from the LNP, on the other hand as Doug Cameron has repeatedly pointed out, Labor is meant to be a socially progressive party championing the rights of the marginalised and disenfranchised.

    Gillard has walked away from that charter and rightly deserves to be criticised for it.

    I’m sorry, but simply saying “the LNP would be worse” doesn’t cut it, in my books, and shame on all you Gillard apologists for thinking that it does – especially whn it comes to locking up kids behind razor wire – a policy you all wailed against when it was Howard’s but simply overlook when it’s now Gillard’s.

  41. David Williams

    +1000 Ken

  42. Jade W

    Oh Victoria, if only ALP would do what ever it takes. But right-wing Gillard spruking about the evils of right-wingism is not going to cut it either. ALP have lost their way against tycoons. Australia is now the country where the rich are propped up by the poor – and too bad how many poor die – they are worthless in the social dominance orientation of the Liberals anyway – and they are aplenty thanks to the LIbs.

  43. Penny

    Absolutely agree with your sentiments Victoria. However like Reb I don’t believe this is simply an issue of communication. Julia Gillard & the Labour party are also pandering far too much to the Christian extremists & the rednecks with quite right-wing policies on asylum seekers, gay marriage, discrimination laws (when they allow discrimination against single mothers, divorcees, homosexuals etc etc. on the basis of the employer’s religious belief they certainly don’t deserve to be called anti-discrimination laws), tax-free status for religious organisations, treatment of Julian Assange etc. This is not to ignore the many positive things this government has achieved, simply to point out that in a number of crucial areas the distinction between the Labour & Liberal parties has become blurred, not just in communication but in deeds.

    I don’t believe though that it’s all over or that Julia should hand over to Rudd. But she does need to seriously wake up & realise that not only are the far-right christian extremists never going to vote for her anyway, being in government is about doing what’s right for the nation & communicating why it’s right, not being constrained by a coveted selection of idiot voters.

  44. Michelle

    I thought your article was brilliant, Victoria, and I totally agree with your strategy for Labor. I do think that one mistake we make is assuming that Gillard is responsible for all the Labor gaffes and that she controls a united party. It strikes me that even those who don’t support Kevin Rudd are nervous about Gillard. Some progressive thinking, like gay marriage, won’t sit well with all Labor voters (which is sad) and there’s a lot of nervousness in the party that Gillard has to pander to. Consider that many Labor MPs became nervous when clubs refused to hold events to allow them access to voters, which is, at least partly, what lead to Gilllard’s ‘abandonment’ of Wilkie’s gambling reforms.

    So while I like your strategy, I’m not convinced that Labor will adopt it.

  45. Alison White

    Reb – thank you for answering my question. It still appears that you simply oppose for opposing sake without offering any alternatives – other than bring back Rudd. That sort of negativity does naught and I suspect you only offer it up as bait. Should the ALP change leaders in favour of Rudd I’m guessing you would join the chorus of those decrying the ALP’s lack of loyalty. I’m not sure on this point – but given the posts you have made in the past you are very anti-ALP – almost like a disappointed ex?

    I agree with you on the asylum seeker issue – I was very shocked that the ALP worked within the Liberal policy on that. I guess though they also have to listen to the people out there and most of my friends (whom demographers would classify as mainly poor working class) HATE asylum seekers with a passion. I would have preferred the ALP take the moral high ground on this issue and let the votes fall as they may – but then I guess their chance of putting their other valuable policies such as the NDIS, NBN and Education reform would be possibly sacrificed when they lost the election.

    Re the marriage equality bills – weren’t they a conscience vote? If so – how can you blame the ALP – if there were enough votes to carry the bills they would have passed. Personally all votes should be conscience votes in my opinion – and I’ve rather liked the hung parliament.

    The issue that sticks in my gullet as an ALP person is the changes to Parenting Payment. I volunteer with an organisation that deals every day with poor people – I see how those changes have brought some single parents to their knees. Also the rate of Newstart is totally inadequate. But in our selfish world people who have seem very jealous of anything being given to the have nots -something I don’t understand at all. I pray that the ALP changes this before the election because it is grossly unjustifiable.

    The LNP does not support the poor – they bear within the party an overwhelming attitude that the poor are poor because they deserve it. There is a lack of empathy that alarms me. Sometimes they appear to work on looking HARD and DISMISSIVE of the needy as if that is a political virtue. For those reasons I do think “the LNP would be worse”. I also think that the neo-cons have had their day in the sun and austerity has been shown to have a negative impact on economies around the world, so I don’t think the LNP, who is wedded to neo-con principles, would be good for Australia. Also some of their policies – for example the promised matching of parental incomes for family leave purposes – are discriminatory and far too costly. The LNP’s failure to support the NDIS because they consider it too costly is a travesty for people with disablities and their parents. The LNP is already talking down investment in education and talking up values – talk is cheap but it doesn’t fix leaking roof’s nor provide computers. The best the LNP could do for education whilst they were in power was to take from poor schools and give to the rich – oh, and provide bloody flagpoles.

    So Reb, the LNP will be worse for our country – worse for the poor, the low-paid, those that attend non-private schools, the disabled and their families, those on benefits, those that have no power to exert via money and influence…those that the LNP does not speak for.

  46. Joy Cooper

    Reb, so Tony Abbott doesn’t pander to the conservative christians? Good grief he IS one. So your argument re Juiia Gillard’s apparent acquiescence to ACL doesn’t really carry much weight in the scheme of things.

    Do I agree with allowing the ACL to dictate policy? No I don’t & it’s the same for any religious organisation poking its nose in where it doesn’t belong. Chaplains in schools indeed.

    Some people need reminding that to be a right wing Laborite is definitely NOT the same as a right wing Liberal & yes they do have factions.

  47. Joy Cooper

    I’m sorry, but I just expected more from Gillard, but she just disappoints on so many fronts

    How many fronts, Reb? .Could not possibly be as many as Abbott & his henchmen & women. They would win that competition hands down.

    Don’t you find it the teeniest bit suspicious that the calls for the return to Rudd as Labor leader have come from the LNP loving media?

  48. reb

    “It still appears that you simply oppose for opposing sake without offering any alternatives – other than bring back Rudd. That sort of negativity does naught and I suspect you only offer it up as bait.”

    What an extraordinary thing to say…

    Bringing back Rudd would actually give Labor a chance of winning the election.

    Wouldn’t that be a “positive” outcome…?

    By your logic you would prefer to see Gillard lead the party to electoral oblivion rather than have a chance at winning under Rudd.

  49. reb

    ” I’m not sure on this point – but given the posts you have made in the past you are very anti-ALP – almost like a disappointed ex?

    I just wish that they would return to being the progressive party they used to be rather than the increasingly right-wing party they’ve become.

    Julia pandering to Jim Wallace to assure him that religious groups would still have the right to discriminate against same-sex attracted people was the final straw for me.

  50. Joy Cooper

    Life is too short, Reb & I have other things to do.

  51. Alison White

    Reb, I don’t agree with your assumption that bringing back Rudd would do anything positive for the ALP. I guess that’s why I assumed you were ‘trolling’ with your statement. If the ALP are going to look back in my opinion they need to look to Gough – free tertiary education for all, massive investment in R&D , Education and the Arts, upholding the rights of those without power and influence. Ahhh the glory days. Thank goodness – for it was only through free tertiary education that I was able to even think about attending university. I was quite bright and i often pause to think about how many people cannot attend university due to the cost nowadays…makes me quite sad.

    However, we have to face it, we live in a different world now, one in which people are more selfish and insular – I’m “guessing” that the ALP is just going with their voter base…

  52. reb

    “so Tony Abbott doesn’t pander to the conservative christians?

    Of course he does. That’s fairly bleeding obvious.

    The difference is, that I didn’t expect Gillard to do exactly the same thing.

    Especially when you consider that she is an atheist.

    I’m sorry, but I just expected more from Gillard, but she just disappoints on so many fronts.

  53. reb

    “I don’t agree with your assumption that bringing back Rudd would do anything positive for the ALP

    Then polls show that Labor could win with Rudd as leader but will almost certainly be wiped out under Gillard.

    If you can’t see that “winning the election” would be a “positive” outcome as opposed to losing it, then I’m afraid I can’t really help you.

  54. Alison White

    I simply don’t believe the polls suggesting that with Rudd as leader the ALP would win – experience with statistics and polling has shown me just how easy it is to manipulate the outcome. I suspect also that the MSM has an ulterior motive for seeding dissent within ALP ranks.

    I liked Kevin Rudd – admire his statemanship and he has leadership abilities in spades – but I don’t think changing over now is a good thing for the ALP. It would only play into the hands of ALP critics.

    Oh, and Reb, please don’t condescend with such trite comments as “If you can’t see that “winning the election” would be a “positive” outcome as opposed to losing it, then I’m afraid I can’t really help you.” – it is more demeaning to you than to me.

  55. reb

    “How many fronts, Reb?”

    I’ve listed them all before – you can scroll through the other threads to find them …

  56. Alison White

    Oh dear my previous post went ‘poof!’

    I simply do not believe the polls – I’ve had enough experience with polls and statistics to know how the outcome can be manipulated. I also think there is a ‘hidden agenda’ within the MSM that is pushing for change. And any change now will simply fall into the hands of the ALP’s critics.

    I like Kevin Rudd – he has leadership abilities in spades and is a wonderful statesman – but returning to him as leader isn’t a winning policy. I still feel you are trolling with your comments – there is something that rings ‘untrue’ about your position on this issue – I apologise if I am incorrect but I go with my gut on these things – after all it is just the ‘internet’.

    Oh, and Reb, please don’t condescend with comments such as “If you can’t see that “winning the election” would be a “positive” outcome as opposed to losing it, then I’m afraid I can’t really help you.” – it demeans you rather than me.

    I’m with you on that Joy – it is rather suspicious and smacks of manipulation.

  57. Miglo

    Our apologies, Alison.

    Many comments are getting caught up in the spam filter for no apparent reason. 😳

    They are cleared as quickly as possible.

  58. reb

    “it is rather suspicious and smacks of manipulation.”

    Yeah – the polls are being “manipulated” that makes more sense than Gillard is actually on the nose with voters and the polls are right…. 🙄

  59. Ken Atkinson

    I think it’s high time we addressed the “real” enemy here and stopped our self destructive finger pointing. Labor was born of unionism and united we stand, divided we fall. We will always have individual perceptions on a host of issues but the principle objective must be keep Abbott out of the lodge. All of our collective energies should concentrate on that and not distractions and finger pointing. Just sayin’. Have a great day everyone 🙂

  60. Joy Cooper

    Very true, Ken. Consider the barricades manned. 🙂

  61. andyrob65

    Maybe they should start by shouting about this.

    mmmmmm. I am sure there is no question to be answered here about insider trading. Of course he had no knowledge about a pending government move to FTTP that the company he invested in will probably pick up some huge contracts.

    Call me cynical but ……..

    FTTH the best solution, says French IT Minister

  62. Ken Atkinson

    What I mean Reb is, to use an analogy, if you and some friends were playing in a schoolyard and the school bully was hiding around a corner and throwing the odd rock, and one of the kids standing near you was aiming a pea shooter at you, where should your immediate attention be centred????

  63. Joy Cooper

    There is nothing you can say, Ken, that will make any difference to Reb’s mindset. It is set in concrete of the fast curing type.

  64. Jason

    Reb,
    Your saviour Rudd will be here in my electorate of Makin on Wednesday to speak well he’s the only speaker at a function called “the interfaith dialogue” that all the bible bashers in the electorate that could get a seat are attending. It’s sold out so to speak. Now I’m more than happy to go and hear him, Do you want me to ask him what he thinks of same sex marriage and what he’d do about it if he were to become PM again?

  65. vicsen

    The comment that Labor supporters have gone quiet on asylum seekers isn’t true. My branch is one of many who belong to Labor for Refugees. We do not accept the status quo and are always working to bring about humane treatment for refugees.

  66. Joy Cooper

    Again I ask you, Reb, why do all the calls for Kevin Rudd to oust Julia Gillard come from the conservative side of politics? Are they afraid of our PM?

  67. Ken Atkinson

    Reb, I have no problem with anyone being critical of the PM? I personally have concerns and differences of opinion with issues, but they pail into insignificance compared to what an Abbott led govt. Would do to this country so I much prefer to concentrate on that. Having said that, I fully respect your right to post your comments and look forward to you continuing to do so:))

  68. reb

    I think it’s high time we addressed the “real” enemy here and stopped our self destructive finger pointing.”

    What, so in other words, discussion of anything that might paint Gillard in anything less than a positively glowing light is simply “not sensible…?”

    LOL!

  69. Jason

    Reb,
    I would sooner resign my membership of the Labor party than have a populist like Rudd who stands for nothing back as leader! I don’t even belong to any of the factions which is about the only thing Rudd and I have in common in the ALP.

  70. reb

    You’ve just confirmed my point Ken. You really don’t want any discussion of Gillard that might paint her in a negative light.

    Fascinating…

    😯

  71. reb

    “It is set in concrete of the fast curing type.

    Pot meet kettle.

  72. reb

    “My hero” happens to be twice as popular as “ÿour hero”and represents Labor’s only chance to win the next election Jason.

    Why don’t you ask Gillard why she is so pig-headed not to step aside and give Labor a fighting chance at the next election?

  73. Tom of Melbourne

    When Gillard makes a commitment, is there any reason that people should believe her?

    That’s the test and the majority of the electorate don’t trust the person leading them. It’s not the fault of the media, it is simply that people are no longer forgiving of politicians and their devious behaviour.

    Howard was beaten because people saw him putting his partisan interests ahead of his public responsibilities. He was seen as dishonest. Howard deserved to lose, regardless of the popularity of the ALP and Rudd.

    There is no reason to think there should be a different standard of public trust applied to Gillard.

  74. cooeerup

    I don’t understand why she isn’t pointing to Peter Costello’s recommendations to Premier Newman in his final report. He suggests that government should only provide 3 core functions: Police, Courts and Defence. He recommends as a result that the Qld government sell it’s assets and start privatising health services, education, etc. The response from commenters in the Qld papers to articles published about the report have been one of shock that a core government service shouldn’t be health and education. The Federal Liberal Party think Costello was a great treasurer. Do they think his ideas about what the core roles of government should be restricted to are great aswell?

  75. 730reportland

    Many comments are getting caught up in the spam filter for no apparent reason.
    .
    Miglo, l have noticed that when l have been spam-trapped, the pages have twitter and/or facebook widgets in them. These widgets seek out the twitter/facebook api via scripts at another server/s and sometimes cause the wordpress api to `timeout` or cause some other fault. Result, spam-trapped.

  76. reb

    “Again I ask you, Reb, why do all the calls for Kevin Rudd to oust Julia Gillard come from the conservative side of politics?”

    I don’t see any evidence of that at all…

  77. Jason

    Reb,
    Apart from bitch on blogs what is it you do to make the lives of those worst off than yourself better?

  78. reb

    Hooray!

    Gillard is slashing the entitlements of single parents…

    Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) chief executive Cassandra Goldie criticised the government for going ahead with January’s cuts.

    “We believe these are violations of human rights, and the stories of single parents affected by these cuts back that up,” Ms Goldie told reporters in Sydney.

    Ms Goldie said more single parents would be living below the poverty line, noting that income support should be a “top priority” for government.

    “You don’t starve people into a job,” she said.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1743118/Gillard-defends-single-parent-welfare-cuts

    But I’m sure that you’ll just respond with “but, but, but Mr Abbott would be so much worse…”

    🙄

  79. Jason

    Reb,
    “What do you do…?” Well as one of 200 hundred people in this country that produces a product via blood transfusion called “Anti D” I save nearly 300 babies a year in my own right!
    How far do you want this pissing comp to go?

  80. Jason

    Reb,
    Dickhead? Stop looking in mirrors.

  81. Bacchus

    Hmmm….. 🙄

  82. reb

    “Apart from bitch on blogs what is it you do to make the lives of those worst off than yourself better?”

    I work in psychology and help many Australians on a daily basis overcome problems, emotional issues and obstacles that hinder their ability to enjoy a happy life.

    This includes self-esteem issues, problems with drug and alcohol addiction, and relationship issues.

    What do you do…?

  83. reb

    “How far do you want this pissing comp to go?”

    You’re the one that brought it up in the first place, dickhead… 🙄

  84. Bacchus

    Interesting word that – “integrity” A bit like “truth” 🙄

  85. reb

    In the interests of protecting the integrity of the thread I’m not going to engage any further in your childish goading.

  86. Jason

    Reb,
    I stated a FACT ! not a childish goading, prove me wrong

  87. reb

    Hmmm… 🙄

  88. Peter

    Gillard is a right-wing leader leading a right-wing government.

    Gillard:
    – Demeans gays and lesbians
    – Propagates a right-wing disdain for asylum seekers
    – Demonises single mothers
    – Pushes anti-immigrant sentiments with xenophobic policies saying “Put foreigners last” (AFR 4/3/13)
    – Infects our public schools with nasty chaplains
    – Parades around with the likes of Jim Wallace
    – Gives credence to Liberal Party economic ideology (budget surplus)
    – Sneers at those of us who see ourselves as “social progressives”, “moderates” and “social democrats”
    – Makes changes the MRRT to a version that the miners are happy with!

    There are good people in the Labor Party, but it is being led by a leader who owes her position in office to some particularly odious right-wing unions and their right-wing factional mates.

    Gillard pursues a right-wing populist agenda with a nasty social conservative sting. Gillard is clearly no Obama.

    Republicans rejected the “skewed” polls that pointed to Romney’s defeat. The irrationality displayed by Romney supporters in the US, is sadly, also being shown by many of the Left here who sneer at the “biased” polls showing an ALP loss of landslide proportions.

  89. Peter

    Western Sydney has 5-days of “non-campaigning” by a PM who is there to hear their concerns and they have two days’ campaigning by Abbott who is there to sympathise with these hard-working Australians. Glad the election campaign hasn’t started…

  90. 730reportland

    Flood Warning for Western Sydney
    The newsroom has issued a High Level Flood Warning for Western Sydney this week. Residents are warned to prepare for flash-flooding caused by crocodile tears.

  91. Mad as Hell

    I don’t know if anyone caught SBS News last night where Romney returned after election defeat to an interview. Anyway, he admits they thought they had won. Papers/TV had given it to him on a plate. Then the election came and reality sunk in. Incidentally, they blame the media and everyone else, as they were told that they had won.
    It reminds me of the current crap with Opinion polls, where 1000 people are polled. This is useless, manipulation, by media/vested interests. Anyone else sees the similarity of polls, putting someone ahead, with perhaps making it a foregone conclusion.
    Opposition have already measured the curtains/space for new office. You can hear the change.. ie. From if we get in Government. TO When we get in Government.
    Great article Victoria. Some food for thought and feel you have summed up well the situation for Labor. Problem is whether anyone is listening or accepting what Murdock/Fairfax Media are telling them.

  92. Tom of Melbourne

    ” It reminds me of the current crap with Opinion polls, where 1000 people are polled. This is useless, manipulation, by media/vested interests.”

    Got any evidence for that? Most polling organisations are commercial enterprises, do you think they just make up results, which can only damage their reputation in providing all the other polling and market research services companies pay bit $$$ for?
    —————–
    Meanwhile, Gillard isn’t taking any chances in meeting annoying members of the public, who might challenge her script. The visit to western Sydney is all nicely stage managed.

  93. Peter

    @Mad as Hell. “Anyway, he admits they thought they had won. Papers/TV had given it to him on a plate.” That is just wrong. Romney thought he won *despite* what all the opinion polls were saying to the contrary. Republicans had maintained right up until the bitter end that the polls were incorrect, “skewed” or biased towards Obama. Romney’s team preferred to point to the huge crowds they were getting at rallies and the level of enthusiasm as evidence that the polls were incorrect and his man was going to win.

    The opinion polls in the USA were incredibly accurate of the final result. Check out Nate SIlver’s blog at the New York Times to see a meta-analysis of the election polls.

    Opinion organisations ensure the people polled are a demographically accurate sample of the electorate so a meaningful result can be determined (within a a few %). Considering the last 6 polls from 4 different polling agencies all point to a rough 55-45% split, that clearly suggests the current state of play. Unless Nielsen, Galaxy, Morgan and Essential are in collusion?

  94. Tom R

    I don’t think anyone is saying the polling results are incorrect, but it is certainly the case that polling results are selected and presented to inflict a certain impression into the debate. Take the result poll of 4 (11) electorates in Western Sydney, which has declared Gillards trip there a failure on its first full day. It’s an impossible outcome.

    It’s garbage, and one has to ask the question, what were the results in the remaining 7 electorates? And why would they run it before anything has happened, and drawn a conclusion from that?

  95. reb

    “Unless Nielsen, Galaxy, Morgan and Essential are in collusion?”

    Well that’s certainly what some people think on this forum…

    Bizarrely enough they think that some sort of collusion between the pollsters is a more realistic possibility than the polls actually being fairly accurate…

    Go figure…

  96. Joy Cooper

    @Peter, how the heck can the polling organisations maintain, categorically, that their polling samples are a true cross section of the voting public? They haven’t a clue who they are talking to for a start. Even less likely when an automated system is used. Only Morgan uses face to face polling, the rest are done over landline telephones. A quite substantial section of the community no longer use these.

    Of course they will maintain that their polls are correct. They need to say this as it is their bread & butter. Personally, I believe poking through chicken entrails is just as accurate.

  97. Tom of Melbourne

    ” how the heck can the polling organisations maintain, categorically, that their polling samples are a true cross section of the voting public? They haven’t a clue who they are talking to for a start

    Joy, you should familiarise yourself with the quality control used by the pollsters. They employ statisticians and mathematicians, many have their systems ISO approved. Currently they are all identifying similar outcomes.

    Why do you think that is? I big conspiracy by all of them? Or that there is a significant sentiment against this government and prime minister?

  98. Peter

    @Joy. Mere coincidence that the polling shows Labor facing a wipe-out in Western Sydney and by chance the PM is “not-campaigning” in that very same area for 5 days.

    Coincidence that the 4 four main polling organisations all show similar results. Coincidence.

    Frankly, Australia is relatively easy to generate a sample for a poll because the electorate is stable because of compulsory voting – unlike the US and UK where polling is more problematic but not impossible to overcome.

    “I believe poking through chicken entrails is just as accurate.” Yes, it is their bread and butter. The results of the election can easily be compared with their results. If their results were really so inaccurate, how are they still in business. Political polling is a very public assessment of the accuracy of their polls.

  99. Joy Cooper

    ToM, all the top of the line mathematicians & statisticians in the world could not tell who Joe Bloggs of such & such a street in Woop Woop is, what age group he’s in,,occupation, whether he owns or rents, what type of home he lives in, how many kids, wives he has, income bracket he is in or even if he is sober, just by cold calling a landline number. It is pure crap no matter what allegedly scientific gobbledegook they spout. Also, how do they even know it is Joe Bloggs answering even if they say they are?

    These are only things that can be accurately assessed by knocking on someone’s door & pestering them for answers

  100. Roswell

    Mad as Hell, who could forget the priceless look on Karl Rove’s face when Obama was declared the winner. His dummy spit was entertaining. Just like a baby having a hissie fit after its candy was taken away.

  101. Peter

    @Reb. Yes, I have likewise used polling companies both here and in the UK. The antagonism towards the polling companies on here is surely a case of shooting the messenger!

    Some posters are unaware of the methodology used by the polling organisations and so assume there isn’t a methodology.

  102. reb

    If their results were really so inaccurate, how are they still in business.”

    Exactly.

    I have personally engaged research companies in a professional capacity over the years, and the integrity of their research methodology is paramount.

    An acceptable margin of error is 2-3%.

  103. Joy Cooper

    What methodology is there in using a computer to randomly select landline numbers to enable a computer to call some poor sod who is trying to eat their dinner & watch the TV news & ask them stupid questions?

  104. Peter

    @Joy. Those polling companies must be amazing tricksters to have political parties, unions, corporations, media companies and industry groups all using their apparently, bogus services.

    Seems the PM is looking at the polls – or is the fact she is camping out in western Sydney just a coincidence?

  105. Joy Cooper

    Those polling companies must be amazing tricksters to have political parties, unions, corporations, media companies and industry groups all using their apparently, bogus services.

    @Peter for once I agree with you. In fact I couid not in my wildest dreams agree with you more.

  106. Peter

    @Roswell. Priceless was the look across the entire Republican Party that had convinced itself that the US would never vote for Obama again, and despite every poll showing an Obama victory, they buried ever deeper in their Republican denial bubble. Seeing reality hit these delusional Republicans was gratifying.

  107. Tom of Melbourne

    They have (according to Joy) fooled not only the major companies that pay big$$$$ for market and consumer research, political attitudes, etc. They have also fooled the International Standards Organisation, which most of the pollsters gain accreditation with, along with the professional industry associations.

    So, according to Joy, it’s a conspiracy of pollsters, who are acting to their own commercial detriment, who have also fooled international auditors!

    That all makes lots sense, if you are scratching around for an alternative reason for the ALP’s dismal popularity.

    Go Joy!

  108. Fed up

    We will all know on Sept 14. That is the only poll that counts.

  109. 730reportland

    ” Sept 14. That is the only poll that counts.”
    Exactly Fed-Up.
    That`s what l`ve been saying, about so-called noise-polls.

  110. Fed up

    Wonder if Abbott will accept the result on Sept 14. Did not last time. Still whinging about being robbed.

  111. Peter

    @730reportland. You may not pay attention to “noise-polls” but it seems the PM gives them much more credence as they show swings against the ALP above 12% in western Sydney. Just where she happens to be at the moment.

  112. Peter

    Gillard’s brand of toxic conservatism bubbles up again. She’s done with the gays, the asylum seekers and single mothers. Attention turns to stoking fear against… foreigners.

    “Aussie workers first”, she proclaims. “Foreigners must go to the back of the queue”, she intones. I’m sure Ruddock has a wry smile this morning.

    Gillard must be glad her own parents were not sent to the back of the queue.

    Alas, the PM failed to mention that the 457 visa scheme was expanded under Labor, nor that her own media director, John McTernan uses a 457 visa.

    It seems the PM thinks stirring xenophobia is what the good folk in western Sydney appreciate.

  113. Joy Cooper

    Ahem, Peter, your cherry picking of facts is showing. John McTernan originally was granted his 457 visa by the Howard Government.

  114. Peter

    @Joy. Sigh. No cherry picking Joy, you simply haven’t read correctly. “her own media director, John McTernan *uses* a 457 visa.”. I never said that he got this under Labor, but the PM had no problem giving a job to a Scotsman using a 457 visa instead of putting “Aussie workers first” as she claims and hiring an Australian. Surely this “foreigner” should go to the “back of the queue”.

    One Left MP says: “Its jarring. It’s horrible. It sounds like Philip Ruddock is back”. I agree. Surely you do as well, Joy?

  115. Joy Cooper

    @Peter. No, I do not agree. Nothing could be as bad, ever, as the days of (the now strangely silent) Ruddock or that icy cold fish Andrews.

    Oh, such a patronising *sigh* that was. My belief is that neglecting to mention vital facts such as John McTernan being granted his 457 by the Howard government is cherry picking.

    There are many instances of 457 visas being used, particularly in the mining sector, to bring in workers when there were Australians willing & qualified to do the same work. .(Of course, unhappily for mining companies, they did need to be paid more.) Gina Rinehart set up her own hiring companies overseas which then charged these employees at least half their pay as “expenses”. There was, apparently, no advertising for similar staff done in Australia according to those looking for such work here.

  116. Peter

    @Joy. Whether John got his 457 visa under Howard, Rudd or Gillard is irrelevant to my point! You can’t admonish other firms for employing “foreigners” on 457 visas when you yourself do likewise. It’s called hypocrisy. Simple.

    As the Labor MP suggests, Gillard has purposely used language intended to stir up general xenophobic sentiments. It is disgusting. But, it is comforting to know that Gillard’s xenophobia is not as bad as Ruddocks. Classy.

  117. Tom R

    Both Labor and the LNP are just as bad as each other,

    You are seriously equating what morrison said to what Gillard has said. I’m wondering, what term should she use to describe ‘foreigners’?

    What I found interesting is that this was announced over two weeks ago, and yet, it is only now that the msm is up in arms about it. Where was their concern when it was announced, with much of the associated terminology, you know, like ‘foreigners’,’ Aussie workers’.

    Not a peep, until morrison sinks to new depths.

    I also take it that you and Peter are in support of employers rorting the system to obtain cheap labour?

  118. Joy Cooper

    “Classy” as a derogatory term? Very ho hum.

  119. reb

    Both sides of politics are racing to the bottom of the barrel in terms of equal rights, asylum seekers and now foreign workers.

    The current system under Labor means that an asylum seeker released into the community is not allowed to find a job and is not allowed to get any assistance from Centrelink.

    I think this is a particularly heinous punishment for fleeing from persecution.

    They are basically left to fend for themselves often with limited English skills.

    I have personally worked with a few asylum seekers to help them find temporary accommodation, and helped with donations of food, clothing, furniture etc.

    Both Labor and the LNP are just as bad as each other, and to invoke the memory of Ruddock/Andrews as a suggestion that things would be worse under the LNP is just the usual “look over there” nonsense we have come to expect from the Gillard apologists.

    The reality is that things couldn’t get any worse for asylum seekers in Australia and both parties should have their collective sorry heads in shame.

  120. reb

    previous comment caught in the spaminator..

  121. Peter

    @Tom R. The PM’s speech was a few days ago in which she made the comments about foreigners going to the back of the queue and which was reported in the next day’s media. Her speech was not geared for rational debate, instead its incendiary language in a campaign environment is to feed the fears of certain voters in western Sydney and to stoke general xenophobic feeling within the community. It’s sheer base politics.

    The issue of rorting is an entirely different issue, unrelated to my point about Gillard’s use of language and its clear nasty undertones.

    Paul Keating once said that any leader has as their disposal the ability to appeal to the darkest fears of voters for political gain, but a real leader rises above this temptation. Abbott and Gillard have shown themselves incapable of doing this as they stoke the electorate’s fears for their own political purposes. It is awful depressing politics.

    For those of us, who are not an apologist to a leader or party – I am happy to point the finger at *any* party that uses such appalling tactics and call them out on it.

  122. reb

    “You are seriously equating what morrison said to what Gillard has said:”

    That’s not what I said at all.

  123. Joy Cooper

    Thought Tony Abbott & his bunch had the redneck vote sewn up.

  124. Tom R

    Her speech was not geared for rational debate

    lol, like that is even remotely possible these days. As I said, the language was used two weeks ago, when the policy was unveiled. It was obviously a ‘rational debate’ back then, because we heard no more about it, until the PM speaks. Nothing was said initially. why now?

    Of course her words can be ‘interpreted’ in many ways. I fond it interesting that, once a liberal figure sinks to new depths, all of sudden, ‘foreigners’ is a bad word, as is ‘Aussie jobs’. And, no-one complaining about this now has any understanding just exactly what the misogyny speech was all about, yet they offered us their base interpretation none the less. As they do now. And both times, in lock step with the liberals interpretation.

    That’s not what I said at all.

    Of course not, and yet Both Labor and the LNP are just as bad as each other

    Who’s whistling for dogs now reb?

  125. reb

    comment in the spaminator..

  126. Fed up

    Says reb. Of course we women would be wrong to see things different. After all, the men know best about how we feel and think.

  127. Tom R

    and now job seekers from overseas they are aren’t they…

    What do you mean ‘and now job seekers from overseas’

    Labor have always been extremely uncomfortable with 457 visas, although they do recognise their value in a skills shortage. The issue is, Labor claimed at the release of this latest crackdown that they have evidence that it was being rorted (something the msm appear to have ignored in their outrage).

    The libs cried ‘protectionist’ when Labor were looking at Roy Hill, until they decided to allow the 457 visas to go ahead, but the msm as a whole didn’t. All of a sudden, cracking down on rorters is ‘dog whistling’, when in fact, looking after Australian jobs first and foremost has ALWAYS been at the forefront of Labors beliefs.

    It’s unbelievable, Labor has implemented some of the most open trade systems in the world, and all we get from the libs and media is ‘Aussie Jobs’ and ‘Foreigners’. Labor now declare (as they always have), that they want ‘Aussie Jobs’ before ‘Foreigners’, and it is apparently a dog whistle in the same vein as morrison claiming that asylum seekers should have the same restrictions applied to them as pedophiles.

    And Peter wonders about a ‘rational debate’ ROFL Good luck with that, when looking after Australian jobs first is now equated to xenophobia.

  128. Peter

    @Tom R. Gillard on Sunday launches her mini-campaign with the invited media at the University for Western Sydney for maximum effect. She then advocates “sending foreigners to the back of the queue”. She also provides a transcript for the assembled media. And gee, using this sort of language gets Gillard the headlines she is after – appealing to voters prejudices in western Sydney. Stoking fear for votes.

    Liberals stoke voters fears with asylum seekers, Labor use foreigners. Who says the campaign hasn’t started.

    From that hotbed of right-wing thought, The Monthly’s blog today:
    “…while this program is growing, its misuse is declining…If there is a weakness to the scheme it is not that it harms the prospects of local workers. It is that, in a very small minority of instances, businesses use the scheme to exploit foreign workers in a way they couldn’t local workers. Aussie workers aren’t, after all, crying out to be exploited too. But ‘protect the rights of foreign workers’ isn’t much of an election slogan.”

    Not when attacking foreigners works such a treat…

  129. Fed up

    Mate, I am no victim. I leave that to the likes of you.

  130. Tom R

    while this program is growing, its misuse is declining

    But misuse their is.

    for maximum effect

    No shit. So, Gillard re-iterates a speech from two weeks ago, and, now, all of a sudden, it is dog whistling.

    Nothing to do with morrisons comments at all, which they have repeatedly been held up against.

    Of course a politician is going to tell their audience that they are going to do all they can for them. And, that has always been, Australian jobs before importing other workers. How this can suddenly be held up with morrisons comments beggars belief. It is Labors long held stance on the issue. Their is nothing new or even wrong with this.

    Or perhaps you think that there is?

  131. reb

    “Of course not, and yet Both Labor and the LNP are just as bad as each other”

    Well, when it comes to asylum seekers, marriage equality and now job seekers from overseas they are aren’t they…?

    You might argue that Labor has some pie in the sky much nicer and fluffier “philosophy” but the actual real world reality is that both parties are pretty much the same on those issues.

  132. Tom R

    She then advocates “sending foreigners to the back of the queue”

    That really is the most pathetic misrepresentation of what was said Peter.

    To stop foreign workers being put at the front of the queue with Australian workers at the back.

    http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/speech-university-western-sydney

  133. reb

    Says reb. Of course we women would be wrong to see things different. After all, the men know best about how we feel and think.

    Don’t you ever get tired of playing the persecuted victim card…..?

  134. Peter

    @Tom R. While this program is growing, its misuse is declining. “But misuse their (sic) is”. Any program has a level of misuse – that is the right-wing’s assertion for removing any government program! Gillard’s own ministerial advisory council on the visa program rejected her assertion that the system is out of control; suggested misuse is minimal and declining; and suggested there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. But then this has very little to do with policy and everything to do with campaigning.

    “To stop foreign workers being put at the front of the queue with Australian workers at the back.” Yeah, so much better. *rolls eyes*.

    So when Gillard hired Scotsman John McTernan, she put a foreign worker at the front of the queue leaving potential Australian workers at the back. She has contributed to the problem she bemoans. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  135. Tom of Melbourne

    Gillard has plenty of history on politicising this type of issue. Were asylum seekers a huge political issuebefore Gillard said another boat, another policy failure???y

    Then Rudd warned of the lurch to the right on the issue undre Gillard.

    How could anyone imagine Gillard wouldnt dog whistle on this issue?

  136. Tom R

    her assertion that the system is out of control

    Have you got a link to where she stated this?

  137. Tom R

    Gillard has plenty of history on politicising this type of issue

    She is a politician. Mind you, I agree that both sides have politicised the asylum seeker issue abysmally. I’m not defending the latest policy setting Labor has undertaken, it is shameful.

    But to equate that with preferencing Australian workers ahead of international workers in a selection process for Australian jobs? WTF!

  138. Fed up

    Maybe the Tampa fiasco, that appeared to save Howard’s election bacon.

    Since then it appears down hill all the way,

    Whatever the origin, the question is, what do we do now.

    I do not believe as Abbott seems to believe that he has the majority on side.

    Yes there are some who are racist, but I like to believe they are in the minority.

    The rest have different views but I suspect do not support what is happening now.

    Pressure needs to be put on Abbott, to force him back the negotiating table. The full Heuston Plan needs to be put into play.

    We now have a harsher version of the Pacific Solution in play. It is not working, even Hward is not surprising this is the case.

    The time for blame is long gone. We cannot change history.

    As for the 457 visas, it is a long shot to turn that into a racist policy.

    There is no way this can be seen as racist. Why is it wrong to expect employers to employ Australians that are already in the country, first.

    It is Abbott that holds the card with what we do with asylums seekers, not the PM.

  139. Miglo

    I think we can trace this back to 2001 when Howard successfully demonised boat people. Rudd and Gillard have both adopted his meme, as has Abbott. It’s one of the few Labor policies that really disappoints me. It also disappoints me that both parties find it necessary to pander to the redneck voter. It only encourages more rednecks. Let’s have a policy that is based on humanity and builds humanity.

  140. Fed up

    Min, yes holding out at the time, would have resulted with what we have now, without Mannus Island and Nauru hanging around our necks.

    My concern is that all the blame could then be sheeted home the the PM. Letting Abbott off Scot free, still saying the Pacific Solution would work.

    What we now have, is the proof that a rebirth of the Pacific Solution , even a harsher one only cost money, and does not stop the boats.

    Nauru and Mannus Island under the Heuston Plan were only seen as a stopgap measure until the rest of the plan was pput in place.

    There is o way that the PM can put the plan into operation without the cooperation of Mr. Abbott.

    Up until Abbott’s time. these matters were dealt with in an bipartsan manner.

    Why not revert back doing so again.

  141. Fed up

    If people want to see the asylum seekers treated in a fairer manner, pressure has to be put on Abbott. I am sure the PM is ready and waiting to come to the negotiation table.

  142. Fed up

    yes, reb I do. In this case the PM cannot do anything without the numbers.

    The opposition also has some responsibility to back decent policy.

    If not, things stay the way they are now.

    reb, maybe you could tell us, what you believe the PM can do at this time to make things better.

  143. Fed up

    As I said, it is long past the time to rehash history or lay blame. That solves nothing.

    The PM has done as Abbott demanded. It does not work. What does she do next.

  144. reb

    Hear hear Miglo!

  145. Fed up

    reb, look again. That is happening. They are being assessed in the main on shore.

    The reason is that Mannus Island and Nauru did not stop the boats. If you read my first comment, you would have seen, this is what I said.

    The difference being, that they are only being given bridging visas. Much harsher than Howard’s temporary visas.

  146. Fed up

    Once again, reb, as one can always rely on,is back to the insults.

  147. Fed up

    reb, what is npot factual in what I have written.

    I would love to know what else the PM can do at this time.

  148. Fed up

    Do yourself a favour. Read what is said.

    Onshore assessing is happening. There are only a handfull on the Islands. Many have been sent back to Sri Lanka.

    Yes, you were talking abouit me. If not, who else would you be referring to.

    With everyrthing else, you are a liar.

  149. Tom R

    You od really realise that Gillard is the PM not Tony Abbott…?

    You do realise that it is a minority Government. 😯

    You do realise that we were talking about 457 visas, not asylum seekers.

    Maybe we can just chalk that up as another win for Team news-libited 😉

  150. reb

    “It is Abbott that holds the card with what we do with asylums seekers, not the PM.”

    😯

  151. Tom of Melbourne

    1. Punishing innocent people to make a point to other innocent people is regarded as particularly unethical. But that is exactly the policy Gillard has implemented.

    2. Gillard and the ALP deserve special and unrelenting criticism on this issue more than any others, because the ALP chose to take the moral high ground on asylum seekers – for political advantage.

    3. The Liberals are wallowing in the gutter, which is where they always are on asylum seekers. They’re no different now. But it is the ALP that has fallen so far from the lofty objectives they set themselves.

    4. Catching Up, you are simply committed to defending the indefensible.

  152. Min

    Migs, I agree absolutely. There is no reason to punish refugee-applicants for the sole reason that they arrive by boat instead of the far more usual method – by plane. It seems that for Howard and now Abbott, that it is far easier to demonise a person who arrives exhausted and dishevelled rather than someone who arrives “in a suit”.

    I disagree that it is Abbott who holds the cards, it was up to the PM to hold her ground on this issue. She did not and as per Migs, that issue and marriage equality would be the 2 major failings of the Gillard government. Note to PM Gillard, you will never win the redneck vote as you have the MSM intent on bringing you down. Stick to principles..please. However, having said that what was stopping Tony from putting forward forward-thinking policies on these issues. Turnbull did it, in his time as LOTO he out-Labored Labor..which I should imagine is the reason he got rolled.

  153. reb

    “Note to PM Gillard, you will never win the redneck vote as you have the MSM intent on bringing you down”

    I don’t think the issues are related…

    Gillard should never have chased the redneck vote irrespective of whatever role the msm plays…

    There is never any justification in chasing the redneck vote as far as I’m concerned…. (as well as the homophobe vote, xenophobic vote, racist vote etc…..)

  154. reb

    “If people want to see the asylum seekers treated in a fairer manner, pressure has to be put on Abbott.”

    You od really realise that Gillard is the PM not Tony Abbott…?

    Gillard could’ve opted to have asylum seekers processed onshore.

    She didn’t because she wanted to surpass the evil policies of the Howard govt..

    When will you actually wake up to the idea that Gillard, as the PM, is actually the one holding power and has the ability to address the asylum seeker issue in a more humane manner if she so chooses.

    She didn’t and deserves to be roundly condemned for doing so.

    It’s got NOTHING to do with Tony Abbott.

  155. reb

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that some posters are living in some sort of parallel universe…

  156. reb

    “reb, maybe you could tell us, what you believe the PM can do at this time to make things better.

    1) Onshore processing.

    2) No children locked behind razor wire.

    Perhaps you could justify why Gillard’s current policy of point 2 above is justified?

  157. reb

    “Once again, reb, as one can always rely on,is back to the insults.”

    I wasn’t talking about you.

    I was talking in general terms.

    Did I name any names…?

  158. reb

    Show me where I have lied…?

  159. reb

    I do not understand where I have lied…

    Perhaps you can show me…?

    I’m sure that others are becoming tired of you and your ilk just coming here to disrupt the thread.

    Why can’t you just address the post?

  160. reb

    Why is it that some come here just to disrupt the posts, abuse others and attempt to dictate who and who shouldn’t be allowed to make comments…?

    They should just leave if they don’t like it here.

  161. Fed up

    sad thing is that many do. Mostly good people.

  162. Pingback: An Open Letter to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd | Victoria Rollison

  163. Pingback: An Open Letter to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd | The Australian Independent Media Network

  164. 730reportland

    Don`t panic Lefty`s. Mr-Rabbit will go the same way as Romney. Trust the voters.

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