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Labor’s Campaign Launch

By Denis Bright

With 28 per cent of the electorate now supporting minor parties, Bill Shorten’s inspirational campaign launch offers a positive adrenalin shock to a weary electorate.

LNP strategists clearly underestimated the resilience of Bill Shorten’s Labor team to stand up to an eight week campaign.

Parliament had been prorogued to prevent a full parliamentary debate on Malcolm Turnbull’s Plan C for the future. Earlier plans based on possible state GST levies and then more cut-backs in government spending had been strategically abandoned.

The Campaign Launch commenced with a positive role for Emma Husar as local candidate in Lindsay, acknowledgment of indigenous heritage on several occasions, and an iconic appeal to the Women and Men of Australia. These were by-lines from Gough Whitlam’s iconic appeal to the nation from the Blacktown Civic Centre in 1972 and John Curtin’s wartime radio addresses to the nation.

Bill Shorten’s campaign launch at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith eclipsed Gough Whitlam’s It’s Time Address on 13 November 1972.

This excellence was in the dynamics of proceedings.

The blend of 100 New Policies, the involvement of the entire shadow cabinet and respect for Labor’s living icons in the three former prime ministers plus an apology from Kevin Rudd in St. Petersburg all represented outstanding fine tuning.

Image from http://whitlamdismissal.com/1972/11/13/

Image from http://whitlamdismissal.com/1972/11/13/

As Bill Shorten moves on to campaign in Perth, it will take some days before the benefits of the campaign launch are reflected in forthcoming pre-election polls.

The LNP can hardly match this symbolism by inviting current ministers and Tony Abbott to be active players in next Sunday’s launch.

In its commitment to core Labor policies in the traditions of old social market principles, Bill Shorten’s campaign launch seems to be a perfect choreograph to address electoral resentment against a cynical eight week election marathon.

The pretext for the double dissolution election was of course to undermine the future foundations of trade union influence within the Australian workforce.

This rationale for a double dissolution election will scarcely be mentioned in Malcolm Turnbull’s own campaign launch as it has little significance as Week 7 of the current campaign commences.

If the forthcoming LNP campaign launch does invite comparisons, Labor must win hands down on its commitment to traineeships for long-term unemployed and older workers seeking to re-enter the workforce.

The LNP’s traineeship proposals are of course an insult to unemployed people. The traineeship proposals offer an insulting value of $200 for up to 25 hours a week per fortnight. Instead, Labor is offering subsidies of up to $20,000 per year to small business firms to employ people on award wages and conditions.

Labor’s campaign launch directly appeals to sections of its support base that have moved off to support minor parties.

In many still to be convinced key marginal seats, such initiatives also offer new hope to potential voters who are still disillusioned with mainstream politics.

A mere 2 percent improvement in Labor’s primary vote and a better drift of preferences from lapsed Labor voters can still get Labor over the line with a comfortably majority.

Look forward to positive responses to Bill Shorten in his tour of the marginal seats in this marathon campaign effort. This marathon election contest is far from over and this positive interpretation of today’s campaign launch must stand the test of time.

denis-bright Denis Bright (pictured) is a registered teacher and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has recent postgraduate qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is interested in developing pragmatic public policies for a contemporary social market that is quite compatible with existing globalization trends.


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  1. Rubio@Wide Bay

    I enjoyed the event too, Denis. Thanks for your positive interpretation of this wet day on the campaign trail to 2 July!

  2. cornlegend

    Denis, a good article but I have to disagree on your comparisons and ratings of the Shorten/Whitlam campaigns
    Having been involved enough back then in Goughs It’s Time campaigns and able to attend both the Policy launch at Blacktown in November 1972.and the razzamatazz media event St Kilda Town Hall,both launches were probably the most significant and formative events of my lifes involvement in Trade Unions and Politics.
    I was in attendance today for Bills Campaign Launch and while he has grown into the Leadership of Labor and delivered a strong and passionate address, I don’t think it rated on the ladder of Goughs momentous launches
    The Whitlam Blacktown Policy Launch for those interested

    It’s Time: Whitlam’s 1972 Election Policy Speech

  3. Susan

    Love your positive post.

  4. Theresa

    Thanks Denis for this alternative to three more years of LNP rule. Let’s hope for a good outcome on 2nd July.

  5. Carol Taylor

    Denis, thank you for your positive interpretation, very little of which we will see in the msm. Already I’ve read ‘whispers’, conspiracy theories about Rudd not being there – he was in St. Petersburg. By comparison the media will gush with enthusiasm at every mention of Jobsn’growth and large congratulations for Turnbull being ‘on message’…no detail and many faux promises.

  6. Fusion

    Yes to consensus building for change. I was most inspired by the campaign launch today.

  7. Paul

    Thanks Denis! Great article.

    Hopefully, the positive vibration of the launch can gain momentum across the electorate.

    My fingers are crossed for a Shorten victory on July 2.

  8. paul walter

    Just packed in watching Insiders after they had the cheek to display a Telegraph poster accusing Labor of open slather on asylum seekers without even the ghost of an apropriate response from the panel. Nikki Savva copted that conversation and it became unbearable. How are people supposed to get to real issues based stuff when even the ABC stifles adult inquiry?

  9. Cousin Salvatore

    I agree, Denis. A fractured electorate is a sign of a broken society.

    The Left once controlled Rome and the Lazio Region in Italy. Now the Five Star Movement is in the ascendency and a run-off regional election is required after the recent administrative election .

    In Spain, new elections are due later this month as a coalition could not be stitched up from last December’s election. Spain has been in caretaker mode under the Spanish equivalent of the LNP for the last six months.

    Surprisingly, Bill Shorten is renewing Labor as an inclusive Centre-Left Party.

    Definitely, time to encourage people to vote Labor or to ask friends committed to minor parties to put the LNP last and not to add them at all to the Senate list where a minimum of six political parties or more must be selected for Above the Line Voting.

  10. paul walter

    Cousin Salvatore, I honestly beleive that many are too apathetic to grasp what is really involved in the election, which is actually a battle for evermore. It is a fractured electorate distinguished by the amount of ordinary folk who will vote aganst their own interests in pursuit of the fantastical mythologies of the Right. Labor are not perfect, but even they shine against the alternative.

  11. Catherine

    Let’s hope that the momentum of the campaign launch can continue onto victory on July 2 nd

  12. Lalnama

    I agree Denis, Bill Shortens speech represents Labour’s core values of not leaving anyone behind , bringing the whole community forward together. He also enthused people to continue the positive Labour campaign right up to July 2nd.
    Labour has great positive plans to assist all Australians and create a more equal society.
    Great article Denis!

  13. Change is Good

    Why give the LNP another term to go nothing! My appeal to those 28% who want to vote for minor parties.

  14. Phil

    Sure, the writer paints a rosy picture and clearly isn’t about to pour cold water on the ALP parade – and I agree with him whole heartedly – and he is perfectly correct to point to party unity as a central and unique feature of this campaign launch – something the ALP of 2013 could not display – and very clearly something the 2016 LNP coalition has no hope whatsoever of emulating.

    The choice is now extremely clear – vote for nity of national purpose with a reinvigorated ALP, or vote for disunity and further social and economic fragmentation under the divided and bickering Liberals. It’s not a matter of rusted on voting now – it’s a matter of Australian progress for us all.

    I feel invigorated after this launch. I am a Union supporter and working as a Union volunteer in my marginal NSW electorate to hand out Union vote cards asking citizens to put our sitting liberal member last on the ballot.

    Medicare, Gonski, Pensions, Superannuation, Hospital funding and University education are issues that Australian Unions have committed energy and resources to saving from the neoliberal axes.

  15. Shogan

    Well done Australian Labor Party, great campaign launch, “Cometh the hour, cometh the party!!!!

    Well done Bill Shorten, definitely Prime Minister material, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man!!”

    Bill might be the leader, but he also has a shadow front bench that together work so well as a team and will leave the workings of the LNP leaders and cabinet of the last three years in their wake as the shadow front bench is leaps and bounds ahead when compared to the almost silent front bench, that is only half behind Malcolm Turnbull at best.

    Labor might have been in opposition for the last three years, but they haven’t been idle like the LNP were in opposition, they have in fact, with the help of all in the party, been developing a fully detailed & fully costed manifesto for not only the next three years, but for the next six years and beyond!!

    This is a stance that, along with the fact they have been releasing these policies over the last 12 months or so, is almost beyond comparison in Australian politics and shows the intent of the ALP to govern from day one for all Australians!!

    Given all that, I really can’t help thinking that today’s launch should really have been held five weeks ago so that all of the talk since then would have been about our policies and how we would make them all work which would have left the government struggling to try & discredit the party which would have highlighted the fact that the government doesn’t really have a plan for the future at all, beyond a list of slogans lacking in any substance whatsoever, and the only proposal to hopefully achieve their jobs and growth mantra is a $50 billion tax cut to business and they call that innovation!!

    Anyway, it is what it is, so now we have 12 days to try and get that message out there, and across to as many people as possible, that Labor is ready, willing and more than able to lead Australia into a sustainable future economically, environmentally, inclusively and socially for all Australians, no matter what sex, colour, race or creed!!

  16. Highly Appropriate

    A great boost for Labor’s chances in the LNP marginal electorates. Here LNP members have used all the resources of sitting members to keep Labor out. It seems sitting members can use their own electoral allowances to send out LNP material at taxpayers’ expense without using the electorate office’s postal address.

  17. Jaquix

    Bill Shorten has grown immeasurably during this 8 week campaign, and deserves full credit for not only uniting a fractured party, but also to keep them working hard on policy while they were in opposition. I hear that internal Labor polling using realistic methodology, is showing a much better result that Newspoll (surprise, surprise). I turned on the ABC Breakfast this morning at 6am looking forward to coverage of the launch, but I got a fleeting look at Bill, then endless minutes of Turnbull crying foul at Labor for running a big scare campaign (thats rich, coming from him and his shameless advertising like the Fake Tradie !) and later more endless minutes of Morrison along the same lines (he of the scary advertisement about the Labor Greens disaster awaiting us). All interspersed by monologues about Eddie McGuire’s gaffe. It is SO annoying that the ABC (new CEO Guthrie?) has definitely unleashed all its right-wing-leaning journalists (eg G.Jennet) spewing forth negative articles about Labor’s launch. To lower my blood pressure I turn to Facebook to read the comments on these articles, and here I can read the reaction of normal people.

  18. You can't be serious?

    The front page story of The West Australian today proclaimed, in relation to Labor’s launch “Mediscare”
    And the sub-headline? “Shorten’s scare campaign over Medicare rejected by Turnbull”
    Just its usual dump on Labor and bolstering of the Liberals. So biased.
    There is a nice large photo of Shorten and family though.
    Wonder how that bit of positivity slipped through the censors at the Stokes’ division of the Liberal Party propaganda machine?
    I was actually expecting no mention of the launch. The West often just ignores any coverage of Labor or hides it further back, without a photo.
    I am expecting a fawning, completely glowing and positive to the Liberals headline and article after the Lib launch.

  19. Jaquix

    ABC 24 virtually ignored Labor’s launch. All day they have been running the Eddie McGuire thing over and over – something that happened a week ago! When they did mention the launch it was negatively. Turnbull and Morrison however were given long dreary chunks of airtime for Labor bashing. What has happened to the ABC?

  20. brisj

    Great article Denis. Thanks for your insights on the campaign so far.


    Great article. Bill Shorten unleashed! Why did he not do it sooner. Yes he doesn’t have the charismatic charms of Whitlam, Hawke or the disdained attitude toward the Liberals and all round don’t give a stuff what you think body language Keating or Julia a lady I admired so much for her tenacity who had to endure the most dreadful, sordid, despicable language and attitude from so many people, speech criticism, dress criticism, hair criticism and marital status criticism, all of which I have not seen thus far on Bill’s suit, hair, size (not tall) family etc. Interesting if you put Mr shiny suit (yes a personal attack) Armani suit Malcolm against Bill’s rather ordinary but reasonably well fitted suit, the public surely would notice what is really happening here.

    Bill is an ordinary man appealing to the majority of ordinary Australians, running against a millionaire appealing to only the top end of town who are on a pathway of destruction with the ball and chain ready to break up, sell off or destroy many aspects that make Australia what it is today.

    So we are in debt? Well how about what they do in the Eurozone and USA, print more money! IT maybe some years before things are on more level ground but slash and burn makes things worse. One can only look at the state of things now sales sales sales sales and more sales! No one is spending! Belts are being tightened, wallets zipped up.

    As a pensioner, when I retired after 50 years in the workforce 8 years ago I was comfortable, no debt. Electricity was $80 a quarter, now $220 a quarter, 1 example. Liberals changed the structure of pension increases from an average man’s wage percentage to CPI, what an insult! And still the old pensioners don’t get it! Blindly voting Conservative. Not until we have a situation that was described to me from a UK resident that to get a doctor’s Appointment her husband was in tbe QUEUE at 6.30 AM this was just to make the appointment!

    As for the TRAINING MANTRA, surely blind Nellie would reason training for trainings sake, moving statistics around does nothing. Labor’s view to assist small business is the best solution, even though it still can end in tears but to keep an unemployed person on the books for a reasonable time at least gives those who have never worked the disipline to get out of bed every morning. Having worked in an industry that dealt with in some cases the long term unemployed, getting them to turn up every day was one of my great challenges. If they stayed for 18mths or so with the learnt skills given to them to go onto better paid work or higher status I was thrilled for them. Liberals with their $200 is typical, no thought into expected outcomes, just throwing good money out for a catch phrase. And guess what it won’t happen, rather if they are back, more whipping of those most vulnerable.

    I am holding my breath, I am betting this is going to turn out to be the very worst decision made by Liberals.

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