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Labor lost some skin but it’s still in the game

Monday 7 July 2019

Like many others I have been somewhat surprised by the meek and mild, feather duster, approach of the Leader of the Opposition to this government’s tax policy.

But please allow me to backtrack for a moment. After being critical of Bill Shorten some years ago I decided that it was better to be loyal to the leader who would take us to the next election and win government. And so I was. And so I will be with Albo.

The poles reckoned we would win

In the years leading up to the election, I felt that in putting the parties policy framework together that he had done a fair job. They had correctly read the course the political poles were blowing.

In consideration of these policies those responsible felt that the public mood of the time equated to a loss of confidence in the government with the replacement of two prime ministers, a complete disregard for our democracy and our institutions like the CSIRO and the ABC, perpetual infighting, corruption in and out of government, top-down economics and six years of incompetence and failure.

In short, people were sick of it. And there was good reason to think that our society had grown into an unfair one. That there wasn’t an equitable share of the countries wealth.

Given the truth of these considerations, the people responsible, in my view, came up with a set of policies that were a mirror of societies view of the prevailing politics. The need for fairness and a more even spread of the country’s wealth enhanced that view. Or so I thought.

“The notion that a few privileged individuals can own the vast majority of a countries wealth and the remainder own little is on any level unsustainable, politically, economically or morally.”

Much time and effort by many passionate people were put into the policies Labor took into the election. They were no doubt ecstatic about the possibility of a Labor win. But it wasn’t to be. Our planned evening of celebratory joy turned into a nightmare of perplexing proportion.

How could it be? Everything had been planned right down to the last detail. Our time had come. How absolutely devastating it was.

So why did Labor lose?

Was it Clive Palmers money or a very nasty and deceitful tax scare campaign on “retiree taxes” and “death taxes” that Labor had no intention of introducing?

Perhaps it was the onslaught of media bias by the Murdoch tabloids or was it his and Palmer’s character assignation of Bill Shorten that did the trick. Could the shock jocks be blamed?

My view is that Bill Shorten and his team failed to put, what were good, but complex policies, into a set of sentences that people could understand.

It is paramount in an election that your message, your narrative is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. So simple that even blind Freddy would know what you’re on about.

The Coalition, of course, put to the electorate one choice. A tax cut and that’s all. They repeated that simple narrative over and over. Perhaps 50% of the time. The other half they reserved for scaring the shit out of people and disparaging Bill Shorten. They won Labor lost. As simple as that.

In making the message so complex Labor created its own self-doubt about its own policies that then translated into a mistrust of Shorten himself. As if the Coalition wasn’t creating enough doubt about the trustworthiness of Shorten, he himself was adding to it.

So what is Labor to do?

My initial thoughts were that there was nothing wrong with our policies. All we had to do was tidy them up and explain them better in the next campaign. I thought Albo was the man who could do it but I was surprised when he appeared to throw away everything that had been built. People earning $200 thousand weren’t rich he said. I was becoming disillusioned.

What had happened to the man who was going to give the government a bit of a whack on the chin?

The man who a few years back said:

“I will hold his government to account, strongly and forcefully. I am a values politician. But I also say this — I’m not Tony Abbott.

“People want solutions, not arguments. They have conflict fatigue.” (Albo, 2019,

So after admitting to losing the proverbial unlosable election, I began to rethink and unwisely dismissed the back pocket nerve of the voter. Amazing how many votes $1000 will buy.

How do we move on I thought? How do we build ideas and gain consensus in a progressively disintegrated market?

We somehow must overcome what I call long memory syndrome. Pink bats, the recession we had to have, they can’t manage money and others. They hurt us every time.

On the same level, there are the single dimension people or single-issue folk whose only concern is their own self-interest.

Casualised workers versus business, secular versus religious, owners versus renters and climate activists versus mining workers.

It is almost impossible to excite everyone with a single issue that will divide us into two groups.

Then there are those who are greatly concerned in their retirement about the effects of climate change on their grandchildren while at the same time being worried about a cut in their deeming rates.

Lastly, there are three other points I will finish with. One is that Labor has a far superior economic track record than the Coalition. It is presentable and provable and Labor should throw off its reluctance to challenge the government on its economic history. Why Labor politicians avoid fighting the Coalition when they lie about this and other facts is beyond me.

Two is that if Labor is to remain a progressive party then it must subject itself to change even if it means giving way to its ideological values in order to serve the common good.

“The danger in looking back to often is that we lose the will to go forward.

Thirdly, Anthony Albanese must take up the mantle of Bob Hawke who always built bridges of consensus instead of dividing people.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.”

My thought for the day

“You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think your party is the only one that should ever win.”


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  1. whatever

    This “long memory syndrome” is the result of the Murdoch technique of reducing politics to suburban gossip and scandal.
    There were still RWNJs on radio talking about “Blue Poles” before the election, and how “Whitlam destroyed the economy by buying all these stupid paintings…..”
    It isn’t even very good as gossip, it is abstract and convoluted and needs to be constantly refined into a “J’accuse” type of slogan (as with Pink Batts, Blue Poles……) so that dimwitted folks can get their tiny minds around it.

  2. Wam

    Another great cut and paste, lord.
    It is so disciplined of you to continue not to mention a minor point of truth in 23 seats to 6, Is ithe omission in deference to greenies, like the crow? Why can’t you attribute the cynical use of an old senile bloke as having some effect on the overall result? Do you think he had no influence?Can you not see the pole(sic) was accurate everywhere except Qld? Have you ever considered making a statement as to why Queensland’s lost love for labor??

    The loonies might be hiding their women but Catherine King was impressive on Sunday. That gives a boost to Albo.

    As for your thought:
    Why, lord? Can your party change? Can your party develop? Can your party learn and teach? Is your party living? Are the people in your party constant?
    Do you remember what Hawke did to Hayden?
    pps Heard from the green women?

  3. Phil Pryor

    When our undereducated, conservative, greedy, Idon’twanttofallbehind electorate is bashed with confusion, deliberately designed chaotic busy bullshit (Palmer, Anning, Dutton, Joyce, Hanson, etc., plus Murdoch’s streams of anti-intellectual diarrhoeia, radio ratbag rubbingtheknob, we get a numbness, confusion, mule like static and stubbornness, all conservative standbys. Elections were lost in 1980 and 1993 by this, as more voters than usual made up their minds on the day of the election and stuck with the status quo. In Queensland particularly, one has to get 50% of the vote plus one more, to win, if you get that in 50% of the electorates, plus one more. Jo B-J. the criminal front man, ruled with a very small applied vote, added to his Lib allies, who got more votes but fewer seats; combined, that gave the conservatives a large majority. It is so undemocratic not to have all or part of the system a proportional representation slate or chart, whereby the Greens got a fair return as their vote is larger than the country party, yet spread and not regional and concentrated. Finally, the ALP must put up alternatives, variations, claim they are better, superior, put them to the vote, move motions and amendments, then.., oppose, oppose, shout, shout, oppose, smear, smear, oppose. Always, Ever, Relentlessly.

  4. wam

    30 minutes in the pool cols one down.
    How nasty of me to criticise you about cut and paste and not having voiced an opinion on the Queensland election being slightly different from the rest of Australia(where labor just prevailed???) and to suggest Curvus was a green. That is your and his business and I recant.

    So forgetting the election, perhaps you have a thought on the 4th miner killed in Queensland,? When we remember the rabbott’s multi-million dollar RC into two workers killed by dodgy operators installing pink batts(labor is still blamed for the deaths), when will the RC in mining be established????

    ps surprise surprise big business getting a cash splash of billions from the murray-darling

  5. OldWomBat

    The election was lost through the use of social media that provided a platform for lies, half-truths and scare tactics to spread like wildfire. The alp needs to develop a social media strategy that daily tracks the government’s performance. For a start a social media shit-storm over what the government is going to do about the banking RC? Now that 3 major insurance companies have been found to have fleeced their customers what will the government do? Why is there no reaction to corporate crooks but a continual effort to destroy unions. Relying on the msm to raise these issues is a total waste of time because they are so obviously in league with the lnp. Make every statement verifiable with facts. Start now so that in 3 years time there is nowhere for the government to hide and a campaign based on the lnp leaderwho says nothing, whoever it may be, is seen for what it is worth.

  6. Keitha Granville

    If there are still people who are so totally unable to see that this government lies, cheats and steals and are the WORST economic managers we have had, there is no hope at all. Labor can do all the work it wants, it can spell out the truth every day, people will still be swayed by the slogans and the free cash at the right moment.

    And only a government can do that. Oppositions have nothing but promises.

  7. Henry Rodrigues

    Keitha……..Spot on. A dollar (sometimes $1000) in the pocket is worth more than all the visions and dreams of the future. That is the sad reality of the australian electorate, brainwashed by the media, day in and day out.

  8. Baby Jewels

    Put simply, as a populace, we’re too dumb to know what we’re doing.

  9. corvus boreus

    The whole ‘pink batts’ meme could be countered with a quite simple and honest narrative (and policy shift).

    Fundamentally, the deaths associated with the home insulation scheme came down to a massive subsidised expansion of a highly specialised (and quite dangerous) industry, with no real correspondent increase in regulations or oversight, rapidly inflating a specialised niche occupation in a broader industry that had been steadily de-regulated for decades.
    Thus a raft of new inexperienced (and often opportunistic) operators sprang into being, who then improperly sent untrained and unqualified people up into dangerous enclosed spaces to conduct hazardous activities, resulting in tragedy.
    Based on lessons learned, in future any further such subsidised schemes should only be conducted concurrent with a dedicated increase in effective safety precautions and measures, especially with regard to both qualifications and procedures.

  10. TuffGuy

    Politics is now more confusing than ever.
    I have to admit I do also think Labor could have done a lot more in explaining their policies, how they worked, who would be impacted, etc. However I do think it is now more common for people to focus their vote on the one or two things that impact them the most, like all those QLD miners who thought they were going to miss out on that great job at Adani. And we cannot forget the massive impact from the likes of Murdoch and Palmer.
    Now we have Labor acting like LNP and voting for everything they put forward. Whose side are they on?
    Then you look at some of the LNP candidates. How does Joyce keep getting voted in? Pretty much everything he does screws over his constituents yet they still vote for him? Dutton the monster seems to get worse with each new day and each new story yet people still vote for him. The Jerk with a Smirk used much backroom backstabbing and worse to slither his way into the PMs job yet people still vote for him? Why?
    I also think Labor need to get a lot more aggro at election time, give the LNP some of their own medicine. We have all seen the charts and stats that prove Labor are better economic managers and lower taxing and such so why are they not hammering that to the electorates? Why are they not proudly displaying the real proof?
    I am so confused I barely know what is going on anymore.

  11. Richard Bentley

    Shifty Shorten is my Labor Hero while I remain hopeful justice will catch up with “the Tosser”

    Nothing wrong with the game plan it just was not Labors time. So get on with the analysis and then implement the plan again.

  12. Stephengb

    John Lord ypu said

    “It is almost impossible to excite everyone with a single issue that will divide us into two groups.”

    But John that is exactly what Morrison did.
    He appealed to the hip pocket.

    It excited everyone with a single issue!

    He promised the low the middle and the upper income earners with a few more dollars

  13. Stephengb

    There was Absolutely nothing wrong with any of the policies announced by Labor over the previous 6 years. Absolutely nothing.

    But by discarding them, they are saying that the LNP are right and that Labor haven’t a clue what they are doing.

    They are in effect saying that it was the best decision for the electorate to give the LNP another term.

    And right now the ALP is telling everyone that they are just a me too party.

    It’s a bloody disaster

    Labor must speak to the hip pocket by saying that their policies will give even more return to this greedy population of half wits.

  14. Stephengb

    Baby Jewels

    How right you are!

  15. James Cook

    A little, or large, digression here but has anyone heard anything at all about Clive’s sacked zinc miners that he was going to pay? Anyone?
    And, if he hasn’t paid them why isn’t the MSM all over this? No..silly me…don’t answer that last one.

  16. Peter F

    Labor DID explain their policies: The media did not report the message.

  17. Florence Howarth

    I have a horrible feeling that it matters not what any party does. It is simple, people are taking no interest or partaking in politics at any level. They don’t see politics as having any effect on their lives at all. They just don’t care.

    When they are forced to vote, they rely on the political perceptions created by the MSM. Sadly for a long time, that has been “Bill is bad”.

  18. Matters Not

    Re Palmer. See the Townsville Bulletin

    Jun 14, 2019 – MORE than 350 former Queensland Nickel workers have been paid their entitlements from the trust fund set up by billionaire Clive Palmer

    It’s behind a paywall – so no more details available to me.

  19. Phil

    Shorten the media and FACEBOOK cost Labor government and people can analyse it until the cows come home. The Liberal party has found the best propaganda tool in the box and boy are they using it. Any issue under the sun i.e. A break in at the local shops, that’s the fault of leftists. Drugs on the streets, that’s the fault of the leftists. A war with Iran and that’s the fault of the Leftists. It rained last night that’s the fault of the leftists. These right wing trolls have infiltrated every facet of FACEBOOK and are making the most outrageous claims and people must be buying it. If the Liberal party doesn’t have paid trolls on it’s books I’d be much surprised. Just like they have a pool of people ready to go on talk back radio. Labor doesn’t have a clue. It has been warned for years that having no influence in the electronic media is death in politics. I see their latest total fck up was voting against a rise for New Start. The Greens according to my mate who is a life long member are signing up disgruntled Labor supporters in droves.

  20. wam

    Don’t prevaricate:boys
    facebook, shorten and the media were australia wide and everywhere in Australia, except Qld, shorten overcame any palmer ads or facebook to fulfil the poll prediction and win government?
    Why was qld 23 to 6???
    How did narrow nose increase his primary vote in queenslamd and south to the tune of $9m?
    Did the dollars come from the LNP?
    Admit that bobby had nothing to do with the rout?
    Admit dinat’s boys had nothing to do with the timing of the caravan?
    Admit the confrontation in townsville was peaceful.
    Admit that for the next three years labor has to woo the cross bench.

  21. Keith Thomas Davis

    Ah well … the ALP lost the election because Greed Trumped Heart. Good article!

  22. pierre wilkinson

    “Labor has a far superior economic track record than the Coalition. It is presentable and provable and Labor should throw off its reluctance to challenge the government on its economic history. Why Labor politicians avoid fighting the Coalition when they lie about this and other facts is beyond me.”
    — nailed it

  23. Jack Cade

    On the Drum right now, there is a discussion about the Murray-Darling water allocations and rampant rorting. The Bush is said to be ‘livid’ about what is going on, which has been aided and abetted by the very politicians they re-elected a month ago.
    I have said before but will say it again; I have as much sympathy for the agrarian socialists -aka ‘the bush’ – as THEY had for the workers at GMH when Hockey told the General to eff off.
    One spokesman for the hard-done by bushies actually wanted more money from the water sales but demanded the right to ‘spend that money on whatever they wanted.’ Presumably late model Mercs and increased fees at plush private city schools.
    Sod them all. They employ hardly anybody and sell their produce overseas.
    Labor is rooted and we need a new party. Albanese has the charisma of herpes and his best mate is Pyne, who has never had a real job in his life. Albanese had the chance to stand up for the real people by opposing the tax cuts because it would get through without Labor succumbing anyway. But he shat in his own nest. He’s stuffed, for me.
    Sod them, one and all.

  24. Pingback: What lazy bastards they are - » The Australian Independent Media Network

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