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Labor Have Something To Learn From Tony Abbott!


Ok, for the purposes of this, I’m going to ignore all the minor parties, including The Greens, so there’s no need to start the argument about them having much better credentials in any of these areas. But hey, it’s a free country, feel free to have another Labor versus Green argument and ignore the main point I’m trying to make.

Let’s look at where Labor seems to have an electoral advantage over the Liberals:

  1. Health
  2. Education
  3. The environment
  4. Action on climate change
  5. Workers’ Rights (this assumes that more people are in favour of keeping some rights at work, and that the number of voters planning to bring out workers on 457 visas hasn’t grown to several million because of the Abbott Government “Open for Business” philosophy!)

Let’s look at where Liberals seem to gain an electoral advantage over Labor:

  1. Economic management (although that one gets harder for them with each passing day. It’s one thing to say we’re still cleaning up the mess when you first walk in, but if you’d employed someone to clean up after someone’s held a wild party in your house, you’d grow concerned when the number of empty bottles seems to be growing rather than diminishing, and the head cleaner can’t even count the number of points on a star!)
  2. Leadership tensions within the Labor Party
  3. Boat Arrivals
  4. Terrorism (Just reminding you that I said, “electoral advantage” not actually better policies before you tell me how ridiculous the growing number of flags is! Any thinking person would realise that there are now so many flags behind our PM that they give would-be assasins plenty of room to hide!)

So, can someone from Labor’s side of politics please explain why Labor – both the Federal Party and your average supporter – seem to want to talk about the second list rather than the first?

How on earth the Liberals have managed to convince people that the piddling number of boat arrivals threaten our borders and make traffic in Sydney worse is something I’ve never quite understood! However, Labor’s inability to change the subject and talk about things that actually matter is even harder to fathom. As someone observed, never wrestle a pig in mud, you get dirty and the pig loves it.

And yes, I’m sure that someone will comment and tell me that it’s all Bill Shorten’s fault (see point 2). Or argue for or against the boats policy. (Although, personally, I think my tongue-in-cheek piece yesterday, where I suggested that Labor should refuse to release a “boats policy” for operational reasons may not be as ridiculous as anything the Liberals have done!)

When Shorten suggested that the we should have a Renewable Energy Target of 50%, a couple of Coalition MPs commented, but then somehow, the subject was quickly changed. Suddenly, we’re talking about something else.

One week we have a scare campaign on a possible reintroduction of the carbon tax, but by the next, Abbott is calling for a “mature discussion” on tax – the GST – without needless scare campaigns.

While “Chopper” Bishop may make it easier to win votes from the Liberals, the fact remains that the votes need to be won. Labor needs to learn from Tony Abbott. No, not his negativity and bloody-mindedness. They need to learn the only other thing he seems to be able to do: changing the subject when the topic doesn’t suit him.

P.S. Someone just pointed out that calling our Speaker, “Chopper” may be offensive because of associations with “Chopper” Read. So if any of Mr. Read’s friends or family are reading this, I’d like apologise and assure them that I meant no disrespect, and in no way did I wish to connect him with Mrs. Bishop.



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  1. Bighead1883

    That`s the most simple quizz question on Earth Rossleigh
    Rupert Murdoch and the Right Wing owned MSM [mostly Zionists if you care to delve]
    Look what they`ve done to our ABC {Leigh Sales interviewing Abbott and then Shorten}
    She interrupted Abbott twice and Shorten over a dozen times

  2. pamelac65

    The only conclusion i have is that Labor has a death wish.
    How can we all know this but the clever brutes in ALP machine just dont get it.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    One interview I believe was live. The other r ed corded in the person’s office with predetermined questions I bet one attempted to answer question asked. Other ignore question, replying with well rehearsed slogans and what bordered on fanasty.

  4. trishcorry

    hahahah at your last line. Yes, yes, yes! I am becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of discussion about policy which directly affects Australians. I am also sick to death of Greens and their supporters battling and bashing Labor and ignoring the real enemy.

    I disagree about the economy though. If Liberals were in during the GFC and applied Austerity, we would be Greece right now. It is difficult to judge the economy due to the fluid and ever-changing complexities that go along with it. I find the economy one of our nation’s most boring discussions, unless it is put into a context of how it directly affects middle and lower income people in society, or how it places constraints on job creation. I am a fan of Modern Monetary theory (Stephen Hail) and in his lecture he says that countries can certainly operate fine with a debt. This lecture is available on You Tube.

    I also believe Labor leads the way on welfare and looking after the disadvantaged. The starve for a month policy for Newstart for LNP (whittled down from starve for six months) has an immediate negative affect on our citizens and society and puts young people at risk of homelessness and suicide. It is the most abhorrent and disgusting policy I have witnessed in my life time, apart from The Intervention and stolen generation. The loss of civil rights for ‘people who ride motorbikes in QLD” under Newman, was also abhorrent and degrading for these citizens.

    It is the absolute obligation of the Government to ensure citizens have jobs (in my personal political viewpoint). If it was a choice between having a debt and seeing very low unemployment, I would choose the latter every time. More people employed will only generate more revenue through taxes, but payroll and GST spending. We also cannot develop as a nation, if we are trying to exclude some of poorest, but most brightest students to achieve. Our nation is for everyone, not just the people who can afford to get ahead.

    Yes, let’s start having these conversations. The Asylum Seeker policy needs to be humane and give these people access to good conditions and rights. It is that simple. As for the strategy to deal with the problem on the seas and smugglers, that is up to the Government and special forces or departments. We are not privvy to all the complexities, yet so many offer an opinion on how this should be done. To me it is the same of someone offering blind layman’s advice on army tactics in a war. We don’t know the full complexities in something like a war, nor are we all experts in migration issues. I respect there are people who work in the humanitarian side of things and their voices should be heard; but it should not dominate our conversations over everything else.

    If we don’t start having other conversations, we will end up being all consumed in one or two issues and allow ourselves to put our guard down on issues which affect the daily lives of every day citizens. I personally am consumed mostly by the “Job Active” policy as this is an area of passion for me. How many people care more about how these individuals are treated by our Govt and departments and the risks and consequences of this policy, even homelessness and suicide? Not enough in my opinion. I often feel like a lone voice on this matter and think “why is everyone else not angry about this?”

    Shorten has now effectively snuffed the LNP candle out on Asylum Seekers and National Security policy. Now that is out the way, I believe he will now turn his attention to progressive ideas. This will show the LNP to be the true amateurs they are. I am confident that against Labor, Labor will be be like a superstar of ‘The Voice” and the LNP will be like the drunk guy at Karaoke singing “like a virgin’ three tones flat.

  5. JohnB

    Labor could demolish No 1 on the Liberals list of electoral advantages if they would only embrace, adopt and explain MMT to the electorate.

    MMT makes sense – it can be broken down to simple logical cause-effect. It fits like a glove the narrative of Rudd/Gillard response to the GFC, it shows clearly the dereliction of nation building infrastructure investment of Howard/Costello’s era, demolishes the ‘debtdeficitdisaster’ BS of Abbott/Hockey, and forewarns of the damage currently being inflicted on Australia by Abbott’s cutback/austerity budgets.

    Is there a down side from Labor adopting MMT ?

  6. miriamenglish

    Bighead’s comment about right-wing ownership of the media has some truth (leaving aside the loony anti-semitic bit). They can’t hope to make a lot of headway battling on the LNP’s home turf.

    Labor needs to use social media more effectively. Perhaps they could add some young people to their team, or listen to their kids, or (dare I say it?) learn from the Greens who use social media very effectively because they have vastly less money than either of the two big parties and much younger candidates and far less rigidity.

  7. Rossleigh

    @trishcorry. I don’t believe that the Liberals are good economic managers. It was all about what conversations give them an electoral advantage. I actually believe that the Liberals are shocking at economics, but Labor seem to fall for the trap of not defending their record and suggesting they’ve learned from their mistakes.

  8. trishcorry

    Yes, Ok Ross, yep, that clarifies it. Thanks. Yes, I agree about Labor. It gets frustrating when general members or supporters do a better job of promoting the positives of the economy under Labor, than the Labor Leaders themselves.

  9. Peter F

    @Bighead1883. Study Leigh Sales face during those two interviews. She and Bill Shorten were both laughing and at ease: a great contrast with her ‘peace of mind’ when interviewing Abbott. I believe that she would have needed a good strong drink after the Abbott interview.

  10. miriamenglish

    Rossleigh is right. The LNP are actually very bad economic managers, as have been most conservative governments around the world. This shows up over and over again. Conservatives wreck economies and progressives fix them back up again. But somehow people still believe the lie that conservatives are good at economics. Labor need to drive home the message that conservatives have a terrible record on economics whereas progressives have a brilliant record.

    We have the whole damn global financial crisis to blame on overseas conservatives! And Labor actually protected Australia from the worst of it.

  11. trishcorry

    “Labor needs to use social media better” Social media is very important in campaigning; however you also need to be able to back up what you say on social media in a face to face situation and you need to be able to reach a wider demographic. In a campaign, you cannot go past grass-roots face to face door-knocking and answering people’s questions and this is what got rid of the LNP in Queensland. QLD Labor does this very well.

  12. lawrencesroberts

    Yes you have it in one; The Labor death wish. So nice to be in opposition, no heavy lifting, relatively clean hands. I am moving on. Green or Indy. Life on this planet is too short.

  13. miriamenglish

    Trish, I totally agree. As you are inside Labor, maybe you can convince them of this. Heaven knows, we need Labor to present themselves better and knock those ridiculous galahs in the LNP off their perch.

  14. miriamenglish

    Bighead, you go right on wearing that tinfoil hat and being so sweet and charming. It’s not true what they say about you.

  15. Neil of Sydney

    Labor need to drive home the message that conservatives have a terrible record on economics whereas progressives have a brilliant record

    You obviously do not remember this. 30 months of double digit unemployment under Hawke/Keating. Unemployment was at 11% when Keating became PM. This is the unemployment rate from1991-1994.

    Sept-Dec 1991- 10.1, 10.0, 10.2, 10.4
    Jan-Dec 1992- 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 11.0, 11.0, 10.8, 10.7, 11.0, 11.0, 11.2
    Jan-Dec1993- 10.9, 11.0, 10.8, 10.7, 10.8, 11.0, 10.8, 11.0, 10.7, 10.9, 10.8, 10.6
    Jan-April 1994- 10.4, 10.3, 10.3, 10.1

  16. trishcorry

    Miriam, do you even like any of the Labor Party’s Facebook pages, as you do the Greens? What are you comments on their recent uploads and posts? Personally, I do push social media from branch level for local campaigns, which our local candidate and QLD member is doing and I think I personally stick my neck out to be attacked by all and sundry sometimes to promote issues I am passionate about through blogging and other social media. I however, am not in the top echelons of media strategy. I am simply a branch member. I’m sure they have experts making their decisions in this area. I am hardly an expert to give any experts advice on social media marketing strategy.

  17. miriamenglish

    I must admit I have been moving away from facebook lately (I’ve never been particularly keen on it as it is a bit creepy). I don’t frequent the Labor or the Greens’ facebook pages. I do read articles on the Greens’ website from time to time after being alerted of them via emails from them (I’m on their email list). I used to receive emails from Labor, but unsubscribed after getting too many combative anti-Green slagging off messages and too many messages that were focussed on petty personal attacks against others and not enough about actual policy.

    Don’t under-estimate yourself, Trish. You are smart and capable, and you do use the internet to reach people. The higher echelons of Labor have difficulty with this. Their “experts” seem to be from the newspaper and radio days and an old boys’ club where sniping at others is considered good tactics. They need people who can tell them that this might work when you are Tony Abbott with the full force of Murdoch behind you, but it doesn’t reach all those people who are now disgusted with politics and who don’t believe anything the mainstream media say anymore.

  18. Neil of Sydney

    Wow i managed to get a comment posted. Michael must be asleep or on holidays. But Labor has a terrible economic record.

    Unemployment was at 11% when Keating became PM.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    We need someone to drive home to Neil, most readers here do not need his boring repetitive comments. Have same effect as Abbott’s efforts are having at this time. Time to talk about today. Sorry Neil.

  20. Neil of Sydney

    Time to talk about today. Sorry Neil.

    I would love to comment but i am banned from posting.

    Furthermore i was commenting on the post that Labor has a brilliant record. Labor has a terrible record.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    Right wing are always bad economic managers for one simpler reason. They believe that low taxes, low services, backed up by workforce they control and low wages is good for the economy. Before the last great depression, the bankers where in charge. Treating the world, like they are treating Greece at this time. We seen what happened. I as a daughter of wheat and sheep cocky grew up with one ingrained belief, bankers were evil.

    Today, right wing governments have handed control over to the international corporations. We are heading down same track. They use power of their money to control and blackmail governments. Money strikes are greater than power workers can ever be.

    They ignore a basic fact, it is capital plus labour that created wealth. All are entitled to a fair share of the pie. If this doesn’t happen, the economy collapses.

    Government are there to create for the people, the environment for this to occur. To provide the physical and human capital to increase the needed productivity for the future.

    Labour and capital have to pull together, there is no other way. That is unless one believes that the boom and bust of pure capitalism is OK.

    We have not one to bad since the post war boom, rebuilding what was destroyed, followed by a governments that believe in a fair go for all. Yes, we have been lucky to live under the long economic boom since the 1070’s withy a few minor hitches along the way.

    Do we really want to throw all that away, in favour of extreme neoliberalism that Abbott is determined to force on us.

    Low taxes=no services=stagnant economy. lose lose for all in the long run.

  22. Roswell

    Neil, against my better judgement I’ve been letting your comments through. I’m sure that most moderators wouldn’t have. There are about twelve people with admin rights on this page, so I guess you’re just lucky that it’s me riding shot gun at the moment.

  23. miriamenglish

    Neil, Hawke and Keating acted more like conservative governments in many respects, deregulating banks, driving down protection, and so on. But if you look at graphs of unemployment over those periods you’ll notice cycles that were largely independent of anything done by Australian governments. (See the image near the top of this document.) But unemployment is not the economy. The early ’80s world economic recession was largely the doing of conservative forces outside Australia, as was the next one in the early ’90s. To attribute that effect to Australian governments headed by Hawke or Keating is over-reaching a bit, Neil.

    I think a more progressive government would have made a much better job of managing things back then, but everybody was infatuated with the now discredited “economic rationalism” that was sweeping the world and screwing economies everywhere. The conservatives haven’t learned anything and still think that’s the solution, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    So, yes. Conservatives wreck economies and progressives fix them. (I am old enough to remember — probably a fair bit older than you.)

  24. Neil of Sydney

    So, yes. Conservatives wreck economies and progressives fix them. (I am old enough to remember — probably a fair bit older than you.)

    Under Menzies we had 23 years of unemployment at 2%. Anybody who wanted a job could get one. I remember my Dad telling me that under Menzies if you did not like your job you left and got another job very quickly.

  25. Trish Corry

    Neil, I worked in youth unemployment during the transition from Keating to Howard. The way unemployment stats were reported under Howard changed. The Keating period was a tough period, definitely, especially housing interest rates; and as I was only early 20s I don’t claim to know all the reasons behind it; but we need to compare apples with apples here with unemployment stats.

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    I forgot to add, role of government is to build human and physical infrastructure for the country to go forwarded. That is a highly educated, skill and healthy workforce plus the latest technology such as high speed broadband, efficient transport and yes, power generated by renewal energy.

    Not too sure, in the foreseeable future, roads will feature highly.

    Even today, much of our food in not produce from the soil in paddocks.

    Hate to say it, but Keating and others had to take our economy into the coming global age of the time. Our economy has to exist and grow globally. Borders are no longer important, whether for people or economy.

  27. Florence nee Fedup

    Trish. I lived through a worse time. In fact when the debt Keating had to deal with was created. one we never hear connected to Howard anymore. Many, including Howard blame Fraser for the stagnation that was created. Papers being released now do not support that view. Blame laid with Howard.

    Yes, high interest rates, high inflation and high unemployment, leading to record debt.

    Are we heading there again. One can only wonder.

  28. Florence nee Fedup

    Neil never talks about Treasurer Howard. Never talks about the legacy he left Keating.

  29. Florence nee Fedup

    Was listening to Shorten this morning, when ABC turned it off half way through.just when it was getting interesting, giving details. Would not have minded, if it was for something important was not, Just station housekeeping.

  30. Michael Taylor

    Trish, for years I’ve been telling Neil that Howard changed the way number were reported, by changing what we called the ‘business rules’. I worked in the department that provided the numbers to the public, so I should know. His response has always been to call me a liar and to come up with an explanation of how they did it. And when explained to him his usual response was again to call me a liar.

    Stay tuned to be called the same (by him).

  31. Neil of Sydney

    Neil, I worked in youth unemployment during the transition from Keating to Howard. The way unemployment stats were reported under Howard changed.


    If this dastardly deed occurred there would have been a Labor Party politician exploding against this outrage.

    Fact is the way unemployment is determined has not unchanged for 40 years and is the same in all Western Countries so we can compare unemployment rates between countries.

  32. Florence nee Fedup

    Neil, it was the time of the post war boom. Many claimed Menzies squandered it. I remember, not second hand times of horror budgets, what I call stop go economy. Time of high inflation caused by high, very high wool prices. Same effect as we have seen with the windfall ore prices recently. Employment was higher under Whitlam.

    Wages were low, especially if one was a labourer of factory worker. Taxes were high.

    Only the wealth got tertiary education. Most left school around 13 or 14 to become factory fodder.

    Yes, and women lucky to get fifty percent of male wages. Permanent jobs a far far off distant dream.

    Yes, Menzies spent much time in mother England. Love the cricket.

  33. Florence nee Fedup

    Didn’t we still have under Menzies, the line up of wharfies each morning, hoping for days work on the wharves. Dirty and dangerous work at that.

  34. Florence nee Fedup

    I love it that Neil keeps posting every day, hoping to get something through. Most would get up. Then Neil is not interested in answers, only spruiking his own limited comments which he rotates. Wonder if he has developed a App that does it automatic.

  35. Pat Willoughby

    Will we ever have another election that doesn’t use refugees as cannon fodder?Both sides of politics have proven themselves incapable of dealing with this issue and if what is happening now resonates with voters then our country is a disgrace.Remove this policy area away from our incompetent politicians now,A pox on both their houses .

  36. Harquebus

    Modern Monetary theory aka neochartalism. All fiat currencies throughout history have failed and for the first time in history, all currencies are fiat.
    Money is created from the issuance of debt. It is then compounded by fractional reserve banking. This is why constant growth is required. To accumulate ever more debt and keep the economy growing. Joe Hockey himself has even urged us to borrow more. Unemployment therefore, is the cheapest option until a structured shrinking of the economy and population can be implemented.

    Most politicians around the globe, ours included, pursue this flawed economic theory and is why we are currently up to necks in debt and pollution. The environment is also in terminal decline as a result.
    “Capitalism, green or otherwise, is ecocide.” Every dollar borrowed, earned or spent causes pollution.

    So long as politicians pursue growth, they will continue to not only fail but, make matters worse. This is why I see no difference between the major parties. Both pursue the fatally flawed ideology of growth.

    Labor and the Coalition have nothing to teach anyone except how to destroy our world and convince us that it is good for us. Propaganda 101.

    Facebook, twitter and the like are NSA honey traps and should be avoided if, one values their privacy.

  37. JeffJL

    Good on you Roswell for letting Neil’s comments through. They were semi on topic and were not at all abusive.

    To comment on unemployment rates you should, as several people have already mentioned, do apples for apples comparisons and not just drop them in without context. Failure on your part Neil. Yes 10% is high but what about the rest of the world?

    Have a look at Figure 1 in this document from the RBA. You see that while unemployment in Australia was high, it was also high in the OECD. I am sure if I looked harder that I would be able to find similar statistics to show that the 2% achieved during Menzies era was also not all that different to that around the rest of the developed world.

    Neil, throwing facts/statistics out there without context is lazy. Please try harder next time to produce facts/statistics which are not so easy to show are misleading.

  38. diannaart

    This has been nagging me since the days of Julia Gillard and the “big Lie” about carbon tax:

    Labor’s inability to change the subject and talk about things that actually matter is even harder to fathom.

    Why did she not explain herself better, for that matter, why haven’t any leading Labor politicians explained themselves better? I will get way too upset if I pursue this topic, because then I start to wonder what Labor’s values actually are and then I’ll be accused of ‘Labor Bashing’

    For my part, any time I hear/see the words ‘carbon tax’ I immediately transpose with ‘pollution tax’ – which, I believe is more accurate. Couldn’t we start now, referring to raising money to aid transition to renewables, as a pollution tax?

    Nah, let’s just bitch among ourselves.

    Simply because many find Green policies preferable to Labor’s? I have no doubt if Labor did actually return to the left and produce policies of which ALL are geared for the greater good of Australians – not just a select and paltry few…. Sorry, Rossleigh, I didn’t want to head off on this tangent.

    But since when was finding some good in the Greens tantamount to permission to fire personal epithets?

    Since when was pointing out where Labor has deserted its support base is apparently wrong.

    Well if pointing Labor’s mistakes is anathema, then pointing out the Liberals many mistakes must be wrong also. Something about goose and gander with a sprinkling(?) of hypocrisy.

    At least I have managed NOT to read anything NoS has posted because, well, I am not getting any younger and doubt that he has anything to say he hasn’t said before – none of which has ever been enlightening, inspiring or positive..

    Cheers, everybody.

  39. Wayne Turner

    You forgot the most important advantage the Libs have:-

    The MSM,and a majority public that are ignorant,gullible and no critical thinking skills.

  40. Wayne turner

    Labor’s BIGGEST problem that they can try to control: They don’t both or even try to “frame” issues to their advance.Words matter,and Labor don’t get that eg: Politically Julia Gillard was hopeless,allowing the “carbon price” to always be called a “carbon tax”,she even admitted this (ovious to me) mistake to Anne Summers.Sadly,Shorten,has NOT learnt from these mistakes – FRAME ISSSUES TO LABOR’S ADVANTAGE: Talk up how Labor helped save us from the GFC,be proud of Labor’s policies achievements when last in.Tackle MSM & Lib LIES like the BER.A HUGE SUCCESS with a 97% success rate.CHALLENGE ALL LIES.SHOW SOME GUTS LABOR…

  41. jim

    Hi , in answer to Neil, Government spending hit a RECORD LOW in 2010 under Labor.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes Rossleigh, Labor wants to take a leaf out of Rabid’s book and reinforce – even at ad nauseum – the items in your first list.

    It is widely agreed that these are largely Labor identified positive policy platforms, so Labor must keep reminding the electorate that they can provide the answers in these areas – with the help of the Greens and the other minor parties.

    (Woops, I forgot, I wasn’t suppose to extol the virtues of the magical Minor parties and Indies!)

    Shorten! Don’t let rabid Abbott replace wise discussion about Action on Climate Change that should focus on taxing the Big Polluters with blab, blab about the alleged virtues of increased GST, which will disadvantage vulnerable people.

  43. corvus boreus

    Rossleigh, in his opening paragraph, stated; “hey, it’s a free country, feel free to have another Labor versus Green argument and ignore the main point I’m trying to make”.

    Trish Corry immediately responded ” I am also sick to death of Greens and their supporters battling and bashing Labor and ignoring the real enemy”.
    Trish, I think Rossleigh was being facetious/sarcastic, not offering literal encouragement for another team slinging match.

    In your listing of the electoral virtues , there was one that I would add; integrity; honesty displayed through transparency and accountability.

    I believe all politicians, both the majors and the unmentionable minors and independents, should be subject to a federal ICAC,
    I think their personal expenditory actions should all all subject to an advisory/approval body (Integrity Commission or such),
    and I reckon they should be given mandatory regular substance/sobriety testing, particularly before any session that involves voting upon legislature and expenditures, or when sitting on any appointed special commission (so they don’t make decisions further corrupted by intoxicants beyond their natural levels of inclination to stupidity).

    Integrity Commission.
    Substance testing for pollies.
    Sober and clean whilst on the job.

  44. silkworm

    I was glad to hear Shorten put an ETS front and centre of Labor’s policy campaign. He emphasized the point that an ETS was not a tax, showing that he is prepared to fight Abbott on his (Abbott’s) lie that it is a tax.

  45. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes silkworm @9.22pm,

    it’s good that Shorten pushed forward the ETS in front of the Labor faithful. Will he have the balls to push the ETS to the general public when effing, rabid Abbott keeps diminishing the fight against Climate Change by calling it a poxy tax?

    Labor under Shorten needs to show it can fight the good fight AND respect the budding friendships of other progressive parties and forces in Australian society.

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