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Labor must draw lessons from Electoral Defeat – But not Compromise its Values

By Dr Tristan Ewins

Labor has lost what had been seen as an unlosable election. How could everything go so wrong? How could the polls have got it all so wrong?

Firstly, here, is the United Australia Party vote and Clive Palmer’s money. Regardless of whether he achieves a Senate seat, Palmer is channelling roughly 3.5% of the vote in the form of Liberal preferences. What can Labor do about ‘big money’ in politics? Nothing straight away; but over the long term the rules must be changed so billionaires cannot ‘buy their way into parliament’. Or otherwise ‘harvest preferences’ for the Conservatives. Labor needs to run hard on this over the long term.

Secondly, there was the re-invention of Scott Morrison – as ‘Sco-Mo’. ‘Sco-Mo’ was supposed to be ‘an everyman’s politician’. With his baseball cap; at various sporting events; a dad and a Christian.

This may have been clearly shallow for many of us, but obviously, it gelled with a great number of people. The Liberals chose to focus on ‘the character of Sco-Mo’ and to distract from the dysfunction within ‘the Liberal Team’. The strategy was reinforced in Newscorp media over months. Labor failed to smash this invented idea of ‘Sco-Mo the every-man’s politician’ when it should have tackled it head-on.

Thirdly: the Liberals turned to all the usual prejudices against Labor. The propaganda asserted ‘Labor can’t handle money’; and warned of  ‘the Bill Australia can’t afford’. The fear campaign was not sufficiently interrogated in the media; and ultimately it worked. Labor failed to establish that deficits have continued under the Liberals – and much more than necessary because of measures enhancing the incomes of the – already-rich; and that a deficit was, in fact, necessary under Rudd in order to stimulate the economy and avoid recession.

In fact, there was a narrow base to much of Labor’s tax reform. Measures on franking credits affected less than 5% of the population. But Labor did not establish this in the public consciousness either.

Further, there is the melding of neo-liberal Ideology and the legacy of 80s ‘reconciliation politics’.

The Hawke-Keating governments delivered Medicare, superannuation and various tax reforms. But they also consolidated in the public consciousness that class conflict was ‘bad’. And it was up to unions to ‘take a hit’ with wage restraint for the sake of the economy, but without the delivery of anything ‘Nordic’ in return. The problem was that once the unions traded away a general right to withdraw labour, and conceded to enterprise bargaining – as its position further weakened it had little else to bargain with.  And ‘reconciliation’ was seen as organised labour’s responsibility to be flexible in response to ‘employer needs’.

The ALP started talking about reducing the number of days lost to strikes as a virtue in of itself; when in fact it was also a signal of a weakening movement. Where the legitimacy of industrial action itself had been reduced to an impression of ‘disruption, thuggery, and unnecessary inconvenience to the public’. Here all redistribution is also reduced to ‘the politics of envy’.

The Liberals speak of “a fair go for those who have a go”. But was Morrison arguing that cleaners, nurses, child care workers, aged care workers, teachers – do not ‘have a go’? This is the same kind of warped take on ‘meritocracy’ which ‘naturalises’ privilege and inequality. But Gina Rinehart did not ‘work her way to prosperity’. And yet inheritance taxation is still stigmatised as a ‘death tax’; and this also featured in Liberal disinformation and scare campaigns.

Morrison tried to ‘shame’ Shorten for ‘not looking a man on a $200,000 income in the eye’ that he was increasing his tax by 2 per cent. (!)  Shorten should have responded strongly that the flattening of the tax system had to stop, and everyone else was paying the price. But he did not confront Morrison directly on this. This was a wasted opportunity that let Morrison off the hook in constructing his ‘meritocratic mythology’.

For decades the ALP was also complicit in the politics of ‘small government’. Breaking that consensus was always going to be difficult after all this time. As things are reform here has to be slow, deliberate and cautious. But without such a plan Labor cannot achieve any significant reform agenda.

Also, there was the question of Morrison’s alleged Christianity and the case of Israel Folau. Themes of ‘freedom of religion’ could have been a real sleeper issue which influenced a significant number of votes. Labor needs to balance freedom of religion with anti-discrimination measures. Much scripture in many faiths contains elements which grate against the grain of modern liberal society. But effectively repressing the expression of the contents of scripture might simply consolidate a significant portion of ‘the Christian vote’ in the Conservative camp. There’s a clash of liberties and rights which simply cannot be resolved: it can only be negotiated. But even accepting religious freedoms, there will be no ‘turning back the clock’ on minority rights when it comes to issues like equal marriage.  At the same time, we cannot make it easy for the Conservatives to ‘divide and conquer’.

This is a devastating loss for Labor. It amounts to a victory of fear over hope and vision. But Labor cannot give in. It needs to draw tactical and strategic lessons without abandoning its values. Labor cannot give in on the project of restructuring the tax mix to pay for social wage and social insurance measures. Next time Labor needs to look at tax reform in the vicinity of 1% to 1.5% of GDP: but squarely aimed at the top 10% demographic. And Labor needs to establish that the remainder will not be adversely affected. With the exception that superannuation tax concessions still need to be tackled; and may cost the Budget tens of billions into the future if this is not done. And perhaps with the additional exception of a dedicated progressive levy to fund a National Aged Care Insurance Scheme. The Aged Care Royal Commission should provide momentum.

Labor also needs to establish that a ‘flattening of the tax system’ means that most of us pay proportionately more: not just through the tax system itself; but also as a consequence of the user pays which ensues.

The coming term will be marked most likely by economic crisis – intensified by the trade war between the US and China.  And by the moral imperative of responding to the Royal Commission on Aged Care. If the Liberals take Australia into recession Labor needs to punish them on this relentlessly.  And ‘burst the bubble’ of ‘Liberal economic management’. In addition to pressing hard for a full implementation of Royal Commission recommendations on Aged Care, Labor needs to continue focusing on restoration of funding for the NDIS and Gonski education recommendations. Next time we need to provide certainty that we will legislate for a higher minimum wage; and also address the income of low-wage workers more broadly. (That includes through the social wage.)

Most importantly Labor needs to debunk the Liberals’ warped construction of ‘meritocratic Ideology’. Labor needs to establish that all kinds of people work hard, and we should not be naturalising privilege. This is a core Ideological battleground which Labor must contest if it wants to embrace policies involving distributive justice.  And to make sure the public is fully aware of the arguments next time the entire movement needs to begin campaigning on these principles and issues immediately.  We have three to four years and we cannot afford to waste a single day.

Finally, there is the question of the labour movement and broader social movements’ response to inevitable Conservative austerity. Progressive social forces need to prepare for a defensive fight against austerity, and continue the fight for wage justice at the industrial level.

The danger is that Labor will retreat into a conservative ‘small target’ strategy.  Instead, Labor needs to draw tactical and strategic lessons while remaining true to its values.

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56 comments

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  1. Deb Marshall-Deeth

    Hear hear

  2. Wat Tyler

    This shocking victory says more about this nation than it does about the Labor Party.
    A thoroughly unpleasant man, leading a thoroughly unpleasant coalition offering no policies, who finished his programme outline with a barely noticed promise to cut the public service to the tune of $1.5 billion, meets with the approval of at least half if the electorate. Australia’s self-delusion as an egalitarian, caring and generous state is now exposed as being as big a sham as the hypocrite that leads it.
    And Queensland…I lived there for a year, a long time ago. My most abiding memory is of that state is of a well-educated girl telling me that a snake that had been run over several times should nevertheless not be approached because ‘Snakes don’t die until sundown.’
    F#ck the Deep North.

  3. Terence Mills

    The status of seats at 7.00am Sunday tells the story :

    Labor party 63
    Liberal party 39
    Liberal National party 23
    National party 10

    Labor always have to beat a conservative grouping of disparate interests who come together to form a coalition : Labor always has the numbers to beat the Liberals.

    PS : I hope the agencies that sold Clive advertising space got their money in advance !

  4. Wat Tyler

    Steggall is just Tony Abbott with climate change, too, so she is not ‘independent’, just not pre-selected.

  5. Andy56

    This was my deepest fear, Don’s party revisited. That a such thoughly discredited group of individuals could still attract support says it all about the country i was born in. We were the lucky country, but by god we are the dumb country.
    I agree labor should stick to its principles but i think they need to go rogue to win. This election proves that shit rises to the top, not cream. And we have had a lot of shit in the last 6 yrs.
    Long term, the issues need to be delt with. Another three years means it will become much harder to fix problems down the track.
    The murray darling will now die because no serious attempt will be made, the NBN will remain a wreck, immigration will remain a disaster, refugees will remain in prison, the unemployed will be forced to starve and the list goes on.
    For me, i keep my dividend credits, but thats some consolation. I always look at society as two steps forward and one step back, but this election australia was too timid to step forward and we went back 3 steps. A fucking miracle? ha, arseholes trump.

  6. Crude Furey

    proMo is not a salesman for nothing. He counts on (the deceived, who eat the spectacle), those who (being relatively poor) buy a vacuum cleaner for a 1000 bucks. They don’t think (much); they hate their next door neighbor because they have a different skin color or different sexual preferences; they don’t recognise even their own interest and don’t see that they have much more in common with the “boat people” than with the rich in their own country. Propaganda and subsequent brain-washing counts. (Only.)

    Indeed Bill.S. made a grave mistake, he deserved to loose: he hadn’t gone down to the lowest possible denominator on the level of proTheSalesman and Australians in general. Nothing else will suffice. Fuck humanity, solidarity, environment, compassion, refugees, the poor, the underclass, and even the middle class that slowly falls into the abyss, as well as all of Australia; who cares?

    More money to the rich, they don’t have enough yet.! They should pay no tax at all, no contribution of any sort would be required from them except fucking the world and their immediate surroundings. More power to transnational monopolfascist cartels-corporations! new slave laws should be introduced, like in other parts of the world. Child-slave labor is welcome!
    And the best: viva la Pedophile Academy: the catholic church! Pell is a saint of the first degree, an unquestionable shining character (of our age). All public, non religious education should be scrubbed.

    That is what Brave Australia has voted for. Give it to them. Opposition is not needed. (Inquiry into welfare, Keating’s task force, Gillard’s increased single mother’s benefit, etc, etc?)
    What a joke all this is. Although, it takes one’s life away………

    On the other hand: if elections would change anything, they would’ve been banned long time ago……..
    If you are waiting for the revolution you’ll have a long-long-long time to wait!

  7. Adrianne Haddow

    Depression, disappointment and disgust.
    I cannot believe that there are so many empty headed, selfish idiots who are given the privilege of voting in this country, and who waste it on nit- picking self- interest issues served up by our ‘masters’.

    Well, I’m sure those who gained their wealth from the toil of others, or their dads (hey, Gina and the Murdoch mafia)have broken out the Grange and are toasting their cunning, over the heads of all the fools who voted to keep this country, mineral rich but ethics poor. And that won’t last long, once the last lump of coal has been blasted from the ground.

    So the decent into fascism continues on the backs of those retirees, and the fistful of fools in the country who will continue to vote tribally, and believe the lies that keep them in their place.

    May they live to regret it, and live with the consequences.

  8. ace last

    For years the Australian public told those who wanted to listen “Bill Shorten is the most unpopular candidate who has every run for PM”
    So a deceptive marketing manager took that and ran a ‘Me or Him’ campaign.
    I hope and pray that Labor can find a new leader in the style and sharpness of Keating, as only such a leader could wade into the shitty quagmire that is Australian politics today and come out on top. As there is no room for honesty and integrity in Aust. politics anymore.
    RIP Bill Shorten who fought a mighty good fight.

  9. whatever

    It wasn’t due to any of the above reasons, it was the subliminal TalkBack radio and Facebook meme campaign about ‘Labor and the Greens will take away your guns and your 4WD and your kids will turn out to be gay and your house will lose value’ hysteria.
    The ‘Kerri-Anne Kennerley’ thesis, if you will.
    Time for a ‘Buy Nothing Day’ that lasts 3 years, if you ask me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_Nothing_Day

  10. Jack Cade

    Whatever.
    So you think a lavatory denizen’s threat to retire scared all the Telegraph readers into voting against what is manifestly their best interests?’
    It would not surprise me.

  11. Peter F

    @whatever: To hold an effective ‘buy nothing day’ you need to be able to afford something. We will soon be in a ‘buy nothing’ year or two or three when these economic wizz-kids have to deal with a global financial crisis like the GFC.

  12. Peter F

    What this country needs is a law restricting campaign advertising to an ACCURATE description of what the party proposes to achieve.

    Honesty in advertising should be a LEGAL requirement.

  13. RomeoCharlie29

    There is no bright spot to be seen in this result. Put simply it is a disaster. I cannot see any way in which this country can reach its potential. We are led by a glib, lying snake oil salesman of great cunning but little intellect and a vision (?) for Australia, long on rhetoric and short on the sort of ideas and propositions the nation needs. If the worst we could expect was some sort of status quo, it might not be so bad but I fear we are going to see an extension of the worst elements: inequality, refugee persecution, worker suppression, demonisation of those in welfare, expansion of coal mining, a lack of action on climate change, increased militarism in terms of US troop expansions, and of course our own expanded arms industry, the submarines and the strike fighters. Those of us with grandchildren should be very fearful for their futures with the likes of Morison and Bananaby in control. Vale Bob Hawke, Vale Australian Democracy.

  14. New England Cocky

    The 2022 Federal election campaign for the best interests of Australian voters starts NOW!!

  15. Jack Cade

    Not for me. I endured 1975, and now 2019. I’m done with it.

  16. Nat

    Yes the majority of Australians have finally shown their true selves as selfish greedy arseholes. They say one thing (in public, with their friends, in response to poll questions) but do another (screwing people over by ever increasing other peoples rent, underpaying employees, ripping off customers, how they really vote). As long as 60% are doing ok screwing the other 40% cutting welfare, forcing up rents and making people homeless so they can have their pretend rich lifestyle, uncontrolled development, absolute clearing of koala habitat. They pretend to be nice people but they are not. Sad sad day for Australia. If those 60% think there are no consequences and they won’t be affected by 40% being screwed over they have another thing coming in time. It might take 10 years but those 60% will regret their selfishness and greed. A lot of these people act like nice Aussies who beleive in the Fair Go but they are just really greedy evil arseholes. AND THIS ELECTION JUST PROVED IT.

  17. Jimmy

    Its too late NEC.
    We are all buggered.
    No hope at all left.
    85 points down in the last qtr with five minutes left.
    May as well give up.

  18. Andrew J Smith

    At least the LNP will need to deal with economic head winds and their own divisions while trying to govern, with their vote based upon significant increase in the 65≥ demographic (which is, will and should be concerning to Labor as this demographic grows) .

    Labor has to struggle with both gaining access and being subjected to scrutiny from commercial media, especially NewsCorp, framing questions and debates to box Labor in while neutral or positive on LNP (again catering to rusted on free to air, radio and print audience of middle aged and above).

    Labor seemed to be remiss in not highlighting, constantly, the record of the government re. chaos, corruption, climate change avoidance, coal, corporatism and nativism.

    Troubling is the US style architecture and opaque support allowing Palmer’s UAP deep pocketed campaign via NewsCorp, YouTube etc. to help split the vote nationally, in the centre and/or preference the LNP; (increasing numbers of) independents are prone to manipulation.

  19. wam

    The operative fear invoking words are tax debt climate change and the loonies. The adhesive is the perception of labor’s economic management.
    The pudding is a permanent tasteless mix kept cooking by shorten’s failure to address the economic lies, the fear of tax and the spectre of narrow nose.
    Labor got dudded again by the modern dlp and the workers got cold feet at the box QED.
    (I shuddered at lord’s use of baseball bats and just heard it on insiders.)
    I am sure I was not alone at getting banned from little billy shorten and torpid tanya’s page for berating labor for not attacking the rabbott directly for his inept governance.
    Labor should have spent 6 years explaining how weak the liberals are in economic terms as just maintainers no development but he got sucked in by the loonies and they dudded labor again. Narrow nose’s mob are as destructive as the DLP. They are long term liver flukes.
    So Tanya you have 3 years show how good the policies that were rejected are and show how poor scummo’s policies are as they appear.
    Billy, unfairly as it may be, is accused of ignoring coach Kennedy’s 1975 instruction, so Tanya will need to ‘do’.

  20. Terence Mills

    It’s very hard in this country to bring about changes in taxation, particularly reforms to loopholes like the franking credits issue called the Retirees tax by the coalition.

    Self interest will always trump the national interest and the franking credits issue was very significant with seniors who were told that they would be taxed into their retirement by Labor. Neighbours of mine who, like me are retired, were alarmed early in the campaign about the retirees tax. But when we discussed the issue we found, as I had anticipated, that they were not in receipt of franking credits and they were in receipt of a pension and could not, under any circumstance, be impacted by the restrictions on cash tax refunds on franked shares – they don’t own shares but that issue alone influenced them in favour of the LNP.

    In the same way, the negative gearing changes on existing housing stock makes economic and social sense : why would we offer taxation advantages to an investor over and above those available to a first home-buyer ? It makes no sense, but again minority self interest and ignorance come into play.

    A lot more soul searching over coming months for Labor but they must not compromise their values !

  21. Matters Not

    Worth remembering (always):

    <

    blockquote> It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things; for the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order; this lukewarmness arising partly from the incredulity of mankind who does not truly believe in anything new until they actually have experience of it.

    Nicolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) /blockquote>

    Now – who is to be the new leader? It’s just possible that a fresh election isn’t that far away.

  22. Jexpat

    I’ve said it going on 6 years now, but it was even more of a critical mistake this go around: the failure to run on -as in emphasise, a federal ICAC, which would have put all of the corrupt LNP politicians and cronies front and centre, into the spotlight on a daily basis.

    One that couldn’t be ignored or avoided.

    That would also have blunted Palmer and Hanson’s influence- particularly since the former is currently facing criminal charges.

    As to some of the other policies that were emphasised, they were vulnerable to attack -and even though the assertions about them were false, such things resonate to those who aren’t policy wonks with regard to franking credits and negative gearing.

    These sort of things parties should simply DO once in office (much as the LNP does, repeatedly in other areas) -as opposed to debating about them prior to the election, in a hostile media environment.

  23. David Bruce

    Blame Queensland for the result. With a larger proportion of people with germanic ancestors, a strong Lutheran base, and home of the former bible bashing bastard from the bush, the state seems to be reflecting on the virtues of a god of grace and restoring the soul of the country? I wonder? Maybe it is just the coal issue…

  24. Jexpat

    @RomeoCharlie29

    Actually, there is a bright spot to be seen in this election. The Greens were forced to defend six of their nine Senate seats, and it looks at this writing as if they’ve done so.

    Realistically, there was no chance in this half Senate election for any gains (few bought into the outside chance of gaining one of the two ACT Senate seats).

    In the next election, however, the Greens can pick up 3 Senate seats: one each in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland- a total of 12 seats, which would likely be sufficient to hold balance of power.

  25. Mr Shevill Mathers

    A disaster for Australia and so many Australians-sco-mo’s final words last night “God Bless Australia” was a ‘Trump-ism’ but he is right in his final comment, Australia is going to need all the help it can get as it heads backwards further into the swamp that Bob Hawke pulled us out of.

  26. Jack Cade

    As Kath and Kim would have put it, Queenslanders are a pack of shunts.

  27. guest

    The Americanisation of Australia continues with the interference of a foreign newspaper proprietor and a (cashed up?) business man who withholds workers’ money but can afford to spend millions on publishing propaganda in said newspaper.

    Australia is just another commodity to be sold and bought by wealthy elites intent on protecting their vested interests at the expense of the ordinary citizens (even if they are hardworking citizens).

    Much has been said about the the cost of cooking the planet, but the “debate” is muddled by no one being able to actually quantify that cost. So muddle dictates rational hought, economics trumps science.

    But an economy cannot exist on a dead planet, and because so many people are taken up with living day to day, the reality of future consequences are out of sight.

    So it is possible to fail to see what the dying of rivers and the stealing of water, the evasion of taxes, the piddling energy policy which has coal as the country’s major export, the flattening of taxes so that the poor pay tax at the same rate as wealthy punters, the massive anti-climate change campaign in the Murdoch media, the lies and misinformation blatantly “dumbing down” anything of real importance and reducing every thought to a three word slogan without nuance…

    So why did polls not find that all this voting dissatisfaction was bubbling beneath the surface? Why was there not more interrogation of the policies of both major parties? How can it be that elderly pensioners who did not own shares were afraid that Labor was coming to get their franking credits?

    Now we have the Coalition exposed to real analysis. They cannot shut up shop as they did in the last six months. They now have to face the music of their own cacophony of non-policies compared with Labor’s considerable armament of new and adaptable polices going forward.

    Especially interesting will be how the new government copes if a new GFC comes, as is being touted. Or when people realise that Climate Change is really real.

    We shall see what we shall see. Interesting times.

  28. Keitha Granville

    We have been well and truly Trumped. And we will suffer for it.

    All those who voted for self interest, all those who voted for the 1% who have it all, I truly hope that the next GFC wipes out the value of all the shares you clung so grimly to so that you could keep your free money. Welfare bludgers of the highest order.
    This government has no chance of reigning in the deficit without cutting, cutting and cutting. And we know where those cuts will hurt. The pathetic part is that it will STILL be Labor’s fault, even in another 3 years when they will have had 9 years in power, it will be someone else’s fault.

    Planet B where are you ?

  29. John Hermann

    I foresaw this coming, but was seduced by the opinion polls into thinking that enough Australians had come of age and could see what is needed for a more decent society. I was wrong. As Chomsky observed, the general population does not know what is happening, and does not even know that it does not know. The ignorance and unawareness of the majority of people has been carefully nurtured by the owners of the mass media, and particularly by the Murdoch newspaper empire, which has ceased to be a news information network and now functions as a propaganda machine for the conservative side of politics. It is no secret that Murdoch cannot make a profit from running his “newspapers”, and keeps these entities operating for other reasons and purposes.

    Having said that, there is a second aspect to the outcome of this election. In my view, and regrettably, Bill Shorten does not possess what is needed of a political leader. I am not talking about policies, or ability to work cooperatively and productively with others. I am talking about image. An aspiring prime minister needs more than a raft of good policies. He/she needs a certain amount of what I can only describe as charisma. That might seem an unfair, or even a cruel, thing to say of someone who has devoted much of their life to politics. However a successful leader must be able to present the image of sincerity, trustworthiness, and genuine identification with and concern for, the lives of the majority of people. Albanese and some others on the Labor frontbench have this quality, but in my view Shorten does not. A major party with a desire to succeed in transforming society cannot afford the luxury of a leader who would “lose the unloseable election”.

  30. George Theodoridis

    Labor must first get some values!

    Then excise all the political fossils -all that filthy right wing pollution- from within its ranks.

    Perhaps the whole party should resign en mass.
    Perhaps all those students who have marched for climate change should flood the branches of that den of bastardy and take it over.
    Or the branches of the Greens.
    Or form another party.

    Perhaps all those eloquent critics -like Caro and others, for example, as did Julian Burnside with the Greens- should go in and take over.

    But this ALP is not one that possesses either the mind or the heart, nor the requisite courage and competence to be of any use to this country.
    It is not less racist, no less brutal, no less insouciant, no less incompetent, no less stupid, no less careerist than the LNP and its satellite of bastards and mongrels. Or the Trump bastards elsewhere!

  31. Wat Tyler

    We are, of course, heading for a recession anyway. It was s good election to lose, if we hadn’t lost to a bunch of hypocritical arseholes. And what about Dickson? Content to be represented by a psychopathic gobshite.

  32. helvityni

    So sorry to be right, but I predicted this result….. Do not underestimate the Redneck Influence I wrote here before the election period even started….

    According to hubby I was being overly negative….?
    My reply to him: No, just going by what my female intuition tells me…

    It does not look like Oz is ready for someone like NZ’s Jacinda Ardern…

  33. Perkin Warbeck

    We can probably infer from the confrontation Shorten had that all the effing miners are on $250k and getting dividend kickbacks as well as owning a shitload of negatively geared properties.

  34. Alex Avero

    Agree with your overall assessment however not with this statement “The danger is that Labor will retreat into a conservative ‘small target’ strategy”. Ignore this at your peril at the next election. Recent history has seen “small target” politics win you elections. You have to understand that 51% of voters don’t understand a lot of complex policy, for example the franking credits tax concession.Frame it as TAX however and you are able to sell the message that the other side will be taking money away from ordinary people, simple message from a complex issue. Those 51% who voted for the Coalition don’t see beyond their pockets I’m afraid, so sell them nothing and tell them afterwards what you will do as the Coalition have been doing for years. Keep your agenda small and don’t even give the other side a whiff of something they can run negative on to scare people cause as we have seen time and time again this strategy works well in Australia.

  35. totaram

    I feel there is merit in the argument that $50 Million in ad spend against Labor tipped scales against it, and all those preferences then went to the coalition.

    It is also really amazing how wrong the polls were. If Labor had any hint that things were becoming tight, they would have tried to change their tactics, I am sure. No one had any inkling that anything was awry.

    I don’t think Bill Shorten’s personality played much of a role. Anyway, he has stepped down, I understand.

    Now, we can expect a recession because the coalition will try and deliver their surplus. Of course they will blame Labor, somehow, who should hold their ground, and fight relentlessly to hold these crooks to account.

  36. Dr Tristan Ewins

    Alex ; ‘big target’ doesn’t have to mean ‘too complex’.

    Also we have 3 to 4 years to sell a message.

    Pick themes like social wage, collective consumption, social insurance. Hammer home the message over the entire electoral cycle.

    Make certain people understand by the end of the term that Conservative tax cuts mean average Australians pay a higher proportion of over all tax ; and also pay more because of user pays. That’s the crucial message where people realise the tax cuts actually are not in their interests.

    Use the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as an example what ‘collective consumption’ can achieve.

  37. Wayne Turner

    The real reason Labor lost:-

    Everything else is either minor or didn’t matter – The MSM and Rupert Murdoch campaigned for the Coalition. It was always an uneven contest. Enough of the ignorant and gullible electorate fell for it.They always do. Our Main Stream Media is owned by too few,and in many areas,especially in Queensland,Murdoch media dominates like no other.

    Labor did NOT pander to Rupert Murdoch. While the Coalition did.

    Our alleged democracy is a sham.The MSM promotes who they want to win.Gillard is the last leader at an election to win,but in a minority government,to get to be PM,without the MSM promotion.It showed because for her tenure,the MSM hounded her like no other.

    Don’t forget Murdoch backed and promoted: Rudd – The first time. Hawke for most of his time. Keating for alot of his time. Howard for most of his time. Abbott to get in. Turnbull only because he wants to destroy Labor.And Rupert promoted Morrison. Along,with promoting Whitlam,and then destroying Whitlam.

    Rupert Murdoch is the most powerful person in this country.

    PM Rupert Murdoch continues,along with the Australian mediaocracy….

  38. guest

    George Theodoridis @12.21 pm

    your analysis is rather simplistic – that Labor lacks mind, heart, courage competence – whereas it can be easily claimed that those values are exactly what they do have to come up with a comprehensive set of policies which embody their values.

    To claim that Labor is just as racist, brutal, insouciant, incompetent, stupid and careerist as the LNP is to miss the historic nuances and wedging in the minds of many voters.

    In short. ALP = people; LNP = money. Accompanying Labor’s value is fairness; accompanying the LNP’s, in many facets of our society, is fear (eg, that Labor is coming for your money, despite the obvious LNP aim is to bleed services for the poor in order to achieve a “surplus”)

    Morrison’s religion is a sub-branch of the “born to rule” attitude. It sees those chosen people as worthy of wealth by divine decree and a special place in heaven. This creates a narrow view of other people, and a disregard for them because they are not as they themselves are – a view held in this country in other ways.

    It accompanies the view that if you are critical then you have a right to “go in and take over”.

    We see how Morrison takes over in the way he talks and takes and drowns out alternative views or further questions.

    On the trail, he stuffs himself with food, organises kicking a goal against a couple of kids. He pretends he is a great athlete and genius in the same way Abbott rode his bike and publicly launched books. Yet his policy cupboard is bare or redundant, in need of severe revision (eg, re Climate Change)

    It is a bleak view of political parties to say they are as bad as each other. And just as bleak to claim that the voters do not understand certain policies. Politics is not just about politicians congregating in Canberra; there must be some involvement, some commitment by voters to be part of the process and not just the recipients of what they want, no thought for the nation as a whole.

    Whenever I heard Bill Shorten speaking over the last six years in particular, I heard a man speaking honestly to people.

    When I have listened to Scott Morrison, I have heard someone speaking loudly at them.

  39. Henry Rodrigues

    I feel and understand the utter despondency and resentment that all decent thinking people feel this morning. A thoroughly dishonest incompetent mob led by a unscrupulous idiot, have managed to convince a majority of brain dead voters that they are the best government since sliced bread and that Labor, who have worked diligently for the last 6 years, to show them a different way is possible, have been so comprehensively defeated. But remember people, it was only ever possible by the combined assault of the MSM that gave Scummo his win.
    We can all now say goodbye to an independent ABC and SBS. and the silencing of any independent analysis of future disasters that will come. That for me is the bigger worry and fear. The rape and pillage of the environment will go on even harder and the miners on $ 250,000 a year won’t give a stuff. As long as they’ve got their $60,000 utes to tear about in.

    Bill Shorten can hold his head up high, he fought well but the powers that be had all the winning cards in their palm.

  40. John L

    Labor showed no ” killer instinct” in this election. You can’t beat corrupt arseholes who own the media by ” being nice” and appearing reasonable.
    Reminds me of the NZ election where we had a” pleasant” labor leader in Bill Rowling vs Muldoon, with the morals of a gutter rat. It was no contest. With this mob you have to be on them all the time, and labor just left opportunities begging……
    I reckon, with the way the economy is going, I’ll be unemployed by Xmas, my wife is now fearful for her job, and we’ll have to survive on the pension.

  41. Patricia

    The election campaign was like watching two different campaigns for two different Australias’.

    The ALP campaign may not have been targeted to the intellectuals who understood the nuances of franking credits and negative gearing but that was where it went.

    The LNP campaign was targeted to the middle and lower socio economic grouping, where having a beer and a pie with your mates while wearing a peaked cap is seen and the height of social interaction. Morrison did it so well that he did not alienate the liberal rusted on voters but picked up the lower socio economic group who aspire to be middle class and the middle class who aspire to be wealthy.

    The fact that the LNP policies and record do not move either of these groups up in the wealth stakes is lost of these people and their ability to remember from one election to the next is generally pretty poor.

    The ALP needs to stop worrying that by not agreeing with some of the legislation that the LNP tables in the house will wedge them, as they are wedged someway anyway, and start calling out the LNP for what it is.

    No where in the ALP campaign did Bill Shorten or Chris Bowen point out that over the passage of less than six years the LNP has taken the Australian economy from the best performing in the OECD to 21st best/worst performing. No where did the ALP bring up the fact that the ALP got Australia and Australians through the GFC without putting the country into recession, but the LNP hammered the fact that, during the last labour government (without mentioning the words GFC), that the ALP wasted billions on school halls and pink batts, although those things were what was keeping the country afloat and they hammered that the ALP came to government with $20 billion in the kitty and left government with a $200 billion debt.

    No where in the ALP campaign did Bill Shorten question seriously the billions wasted by the LNP in the last almost six years, No where did he question the more than doubling of the debt, or the real effect of the wage stagnation. Oh sure he mentioned it occasionally but he did not hammer it. And that is the difference between the ALP and the LNP, the LNP hammered unceasingly all of the false negatives of the ALP policies.

    The ALP needs to take a leaf out of the LNP campaign book and release as few policies as they can get away with and then they can start reforming when they gain government.

    The average Australian is terrified of change, they think that change will take away what they have, after all the LNP has been telling them this for 24 years while quietly and devastatingly taking away much of the social structure that the ALP has put in place in the few years that they have been in government since 1972.

    This is not the time to play nice, nice has kept the ALP in opposition and you cannot bring about beneficial change to the country from opposition. Playing nice in politics makes them a loser.

  42. Alex Avero

    Patricia in my humble opinion you have nailed it! Sure hold on to Labor values but using your words the time for “playing nice” is over and Labor strategists have to realise that half the population are fairly disengaged with the nuances of policy and understand only simple messages. “Make Australia Great” sound familiar? It wrecked the Queensland primary vote for Labor!

  43. Egalitarian

    Spot on Patricia the ALP needs to play hardball like the LNP do. Shorten was playing statesman and believed he had it in the bag. Scomo slaughtered him with street smart blue collarish sloganeering.

  44. randalstella

    Surveys indicate the environment as the priority issue for the election.
    About 80% of voters indicated on a survey that they wanted action on climate change.

    Then….

    Discuss.

  45. Perkin Warbeck

    The most recent comments about Labor’s need to hold onto Labor values overlooks the fact that Australian voters do NOT value values. The re-elected L-NP has no morals and no Integrity, and met with the approval of the electorate. Worse, the most repellent man in parliament – Dutton – has been an MP for several terms, and Palmer – who owes $7 million dollars in wages, spent $60 million and still appealed to 4% of the populace.
    Early white settlers were mainly criminals, and that heritage is still appealing to a lot of people. And 10% + of Queenslanders are Hansonites. How scary is that?
    I am completely disillusioned. I am normally a ‘glass half-full’ bloke, but the glass is not only empty, it’s bone dry right now.

  46. totaram

    Look a this, playing out all over the media for $60 million dollars worth. Has anyone done this before? I doubt it and I doubt that it should ever be allowed, before we become like the USA. Here it is:

    This is so misleading. It suggests that all of us will be hit with this tax, when actually only the very rich will be hit. Just shows how you can bamboozle the average voter if you have lots of money. Welcome to democracy in the capitalist economy! Clive Palmer actually claims that this is what gave Morrisson the keys to the lodge, so he can now get his coal mines etc. How convenient. Enjoy what you have sowed and you will of course reap – nothing like what you thought it might be.

  47. Dr Tristan Ewins

    And if he’s talking a Trillion in taxes that may well be over the course of 100 years. $1 Trillion is more than half of all GDP!!!!!!!

  48. Anon E Mouse

    I agree Patricia.
    Another issue is that although many Labor supporters repeatedly said that Shorten was not popular, he did not do a Hayden and step down. Shorten’s ego, and his inner circle who went with him rather than Albo, was ultimately more important to him than the Labor values and policies he tried to sell. With all the great policies Labor had, they ran with a dead hand.

    Sure Shorten spoke well on 7.30 and on policies but the sad fact is that his speaking voice was almost as irritating as Gillard’s and that constantly reminded me of his role in the Rudd/Gillard fiasco.
    Although I ultimately voted for Labor, Shorten did make me hesitate because I don’t trust him. Sad really.

    Labor needs a leader who is ambitious for Labor, not just for themselves. And Tanya is not the one.

  49. wam

    what ever it takes but if palmer gets special treatment it is corruption???
    @%$^&^%$@
    It is hard to swallow but enough workers did the old I am alright jack and got cold feet when confronted with the ballot and pencil.
    Now scummo has the mandate.
    Sadly shorten was a good man but the description of murdoch palmer, scummo autocue idiots including those on the ABC was bullshit but it was repeated everywhere and eventually believed QED.
    Plibersek has to hit the mongrels with their economic incompetence from day one with ??? albo/leigh??? deputy and billy as a minister.taking slow steady 3 years to explain the policies and reforms. They need to forget the ABC , run question time on 7 and 9 with the autocueists, ignore the loonies as pragmatists money grabbing extremists and stop the leaking of workers votes to scummo.

  50. paul walter

    Re the Morrison tax cuts, how was it the Labor failed so badly to alert voters of this likely haemorrhaging of revenue due to occur?

    I know large numbers of voters are idiots, but should this warning not have been an achievable goal for the Labor leadership?

  51. Henry Rodrigues

    Fairgo ???

    This is now the land of the gray haired self entitled and the working greedy bastards.

    Murdoch has won.

  52. O’Rourke

    Let us be brutally honest and objective about this election and Australia in general.
    North Queenslanders voted for jobs – real or imagined – attracted by the mining industry, and who can blame them? One miner equals possibly four jobs in the community – teachers, doctors, shopkeepers. They decided that a federal Labor government would not allow the Adani project to proceed.
    A colleague of mine said he was voting Liberal for the first time in his life because of Labor’s dividend imputation intentions, that his entire income was at risk. Bill Shorten said that the measure would affect only 4% of Australians – not, note, 4% of VOTERS. It probably equates to 8% or 10% of voters.
    So Labor sacrificed a number of seats with those policies. Most observers note that One Nation and probably Palmer’s voters come almost exclusively from Labor voters. They voted for jobs, and, let us be honest, against immigration.
    The over-65s who voted for protection of their dividend kickbacks would probably have voted L-NP anyway.
    I am sympathetic to the Green view, but their zealotry destroyed the Rudd government and I will not forget that. Politics is the art of compromise. Zealotry alienates ordinaryh people. People will always vote against the environment if their livelihoods are at risk. While Labor espouses environmental issues – rightly, in my opinion – they will always be behind the conservatives if jobs are threatened.
    The Franklin fight, which was one of Hawke’s wins, did not cost existing jobs.

  53. Dr Tim Jones

    Great piece, Doctor. Well done. I agree completely. Keep it up

  54. Anon E Mouse

    Morrison was seen as a strong leader – belligerent and shouty, but strong.

    Shorten was seen as a weak leader, with a bit too much baggage on the trust side (read Rudd/Gillard) – he did not point out the many failings of the Lib/Nats.

    We need Albo who knows how to fight tories.

    Tanya is too vulnerable, a bit too much public servant (not making waves, her husband, and too close to Rudd/Gillard issue.) Note that they are already going after Tanya about her husband.

  55. Andrew Oliver

    If you accept thermal coal must end, must offer hope to Queensland workers that they just won’t be scrapheaped. For example, build a greenfields electric car factory in regional queensland featuring Australian copper and steel … Tender internationally for expertise for this project …

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