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Let Albo be Albo, not another Morrison or an Opposition leader like Abbott

When Bill Shorten was leader of the Opposition he faced constant barrages of criticism from people who thought he wasn’t ‘tuff’ enough.

Anthony Albanese, like Shorten, is suffering the same criticism from Labor supporters. That being that he isn’t more of a rabid dog like Abbott was.

Without understanding the difficulties of being an opposition leader they instead continually criticise his efforts to counter the Prime Minister. What I find annoying is that their comments are based only on what they hear or see, rather than seeking the entirety of what he is saying.

What I mean by this is that an opposition leader in the best of circumstances finds it difficult to get one sentence on the evening news and the odds on you seeing it are even less. With the advent of COVID-19 this has become more so.

But how many actually seek the words of their leader? Albo has a Facebook page and sends out regular email newsletters. He makes speeches that are recorded on the Labor Party web site and his own web page.

The advantages of incumbency are enormous and immediate. The government has access to a mountain of information whilst the opposition has only the Parliamentary Library.

Admittedly, unlike Scott Morrison, who receives disproportional support from the Murdoch media group, Albo has to fend for himself when it comes to getting his message across.

Did the “change the leader” protagonists read what Albo said last Monday?

“Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, said the government had fumbled the economy before the pandemic plunged the country into recession.

“We entered this period from a position of weakness,” Albanese told the ABC.

“Last year wages were stagnant, the growth was below trend, consumer demand was low, productivity was going backward, business investment was in decline, and that’s the context here”

“The government didn’t have a plan and was relying upon the reserve bank’s multiple decreases in interest rates to stimulate the economy.”

“Albanese said there was an opportunity because of the circumstances associated with the Covid-19 crisis “to not just go back to what was there but to think about how we can build a better future for the long term.”

Making a choice about which leader you support often boils down to character. In Abbott we had a lousy prime minister but most thought him to be a devastatingly effective opposition leader. Some said the best ever.

But his legacy left nothing to gloat about. He tried to destroy the internet and wanted to also destroy the environment.

In terms of character Scott Morrison matches Abbott in his ability to lie. He is a consummate politician with nothing more than an ability for fast talk, making announcements, creating scandals and displaying gross incompetence.

Deep thinking about the future of the nation and putting it in some form of narrative seems beyond his intellect.

Anthony Albanese – in terms of character – has one thing over all of them including Turnbull and Shorten.

That being that as a politician he is “squeaky clean.” He doesn’t carry the baggage that Morrison and others do. He is a person of good character, vast experience and a deep understanding of the Australian people, their desires and needs.

His political biography is impressive and gives credence to his experience in a wide range of portfolios.

He is mutually separated from his wife and they have a son at university.

Leaders who cannot comprehend the importance of truth as being fundamental to the democratic process make the largest contribution to its demise.

The personalisation of Labor leaders is a conservative ploy to cast doubt on them as leaders. It’s outright dirty politics that originates from the conservative political assassination playbook.

Remember Kim Beazley’s “lack of ticker,” Mark Latham’s” L-plates,” and “Ju-liar.”? They were all designed to cast the opponent as incapable, untrustworthy, a liar, or just dumb.

And they gave Bill Shorten many titles.

First was the attempt to define him as “Power Bill.” Then there was “Crooked Bill,” which came at the height of the Heydon Royal Commission (into unions).

Thus far they haven’t been able to tag Albo with anything.

When we stand back and take a long hard look at Australian politics, we have to conclude that it has for some time been suffering from the longevity of sameness.

It has to change. Albanese has to start campaigning firstly of selling himself as a new leader free of the baggage others before him have carried.

Secondly, on selling the idea of a new era of honest government, thirdly, do it with policies that serve the common good, and fourthly, by using inspirational words that create an awareness of a better tomorrow.

It is time for us to re-evaluate just what it is we want from our democracy. We don’t have a representative democracy that is participatory, one that administers for the benefit of all.

Because change is anathema to the conservative mindset it is more difficult for them. For progressive democrats it should be uncomplicated.

We are at a point in time in our history where ‘change’ demands it be listened to. Where the events of recent times scream out for it. It only requires a voice to demand it on behalf of the people. Albo must make himself known to the people not just to those with a political interest.

To quote Malcolm Turnbull when talking of Tony Abbott:

“It is vitally important, both as a matter of social justice and political reality, that structural changes are seen as being fair across the board … That means not only must tough decisions be justified, but that the burden of adjustment is not borne disproportionately by one part of the community.”

To those who want a responsive Albo with an Abbott-type personality ready to criticise everything and everything I would say get onto Google and if you think you have missed a word Albo has uttered, then look it up.

I would also suggest that you take the time to watch his Budget in Reply speech tonight. Forget the intrigue of charisma, and concentrate on the words. And you could follow that up by viewing QandA next Monday.

We have not had a charismatic leader since Paul Keating told the LNP that they were beneath contempt, a rabble, irrelevant, sleazebags, immoral, intellectual hobos, dullards and absolute mugs (from the Keating book of insults).

Only he could do that in such a way that would make everyone red in the face with laughter.

My thought for the day

Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Faith is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact.

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17 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    ”We have not had a charismatic leader since Paul Keating told the LNP that they were beneath contempt, a rabble, irrelevant, sleazebags, immoral, intellectual hobos, dullards and absolute mugs (from the Keating book of insults).”

    Keating was too kind and so very accurate in his description of the COALition, especially the NSW Nazional$ who are presently undertaking projects to provide Armidale drinking water from our Malpas Dam to the Costas Guyra Tomato Farm while Armidale Regional Council ratepayers are struggling on Level 3 Water restrictions.

    This ‘theft’ of Armidale drinking water is being conducted with the co-operation of the representative of the Nazional$ in Northern Tablelands & Minister for Agriculture, Holla4A Marshall, Nazional$ NSW ‘leader” Giovanni Porkbarrelo, and Nazional$ amoral, adulterous, alcoholic representative in New England Barnyard Joke. It involves NSW government subsidies for infrastructure installation to pipe Armidale drinking water directly into the Guyra Tomato Farm from Malpas Dam and drought water supplied from local Guyra bores.

    The question is, ”what was the quantum of political donations to the Nazional$ that encouraged this government largess”?

    Costas is currently about 50% owned by a Canadian agri-investment corporation and was valued at about $750 MILLION when first listed on the ASX about five (5) years ago.. Why is Costas given preferential treatment when every other agricultural enterprise in NSW has to provide their own drought water supply?

    Water theft is occurring in the MDB and quietly in New England with the assistance of the NSW Gladly-back-flip-I-can misgovernment.

  2. Keitha Granville

    I am not critical of Albo being too soft, but of not being decisive about his policies. Labor threw out everything we voted for last time, and increasingly are not sticking up for their own party must haves. We wanted all those things Bill put out. Labor lost because of lies, not because of bad ideas.
    No need for Albo to be an attack dog, but don’t back down on long standing party ideals. We don’t want a yes man for the government. We want an Albo who says what he stands for and sticks with it. I know he doesn’t get equal airtime, but the time that he has must be spent pounding out the difference between Labor and the government.

    He has to find the Albo he used to be, back in Abbott’s time.

  3. James Cook

    Albo does not get equal airtime … so what are the Labor strategists doing about that? If this is not rectified Labor can say goodbye to the next election. It’s no good just saying “The MSM are not treating the two major parties equally.” We know, most people don’t. The policies are there, Labor is ready to deliver but they can’t be heard. If your tactics aren’t working don’t whinge, change tactics!
    No, don’t ask me how. I’m not being paid to control this stuff. But someone is … aren’t they?

  4. terence mills

    It was a political master-stroke by Morrison to create a National Cabinet, invite the state and Territory premiers in but to pointedly exclude the Opposition Leader and respective shadow ministers.

    It was inevitable that the ALP would thus be starved of media oxygen.

  5. Jack Cade

    I was never able to understand the animosity toward Shorten. He was exemplary, even heroic, during the mining disaster in Tasmania, not posting comments from the figurative safety of an Aussie Honolulu. His programme for election in 2019 was pragmatic and manageable.
    I’m sick of saying that Bob effing Brown sabotaged him, but he did. And at the same time the ALP was not totally convincing. I would never have voted for Albo as leader, able and sincere as he is. He is not inspiring. I can’t see any Whitlams, Dunstans, Carrs or Wrans in the current ALP. Not even a Weatherill, who trounced Frydenberg by abandoning mealymouthed media speak and called the plonker the inept liar that he is without hiding behind the parliamentary privilege that usually softens criticism. So a Vanstone engineered HIS demise by arranging a redistribution that gave a colourless SA state Liberal Party 4 seats that were once marginal.
    Governments lose elections, but oppositions need to seize the initiative. We’ve had 18 months of no effective federal opposition, and it’s best operator is a gay woman of Asian descent in the wrong house.

  6. Geoff Andrews

    I saw Albo’s address to the Canberra Press Club about a month(?) ago. I was so impressed – he spoke without reference to notes; he was on song about the policy differences between the two major parties and he even, surprisingly, threw in a bit of humour that could have come from Keating’s handbook.

    I think that those who despair for him, as I did, believe he lacks flair, wit and humour, all sure indicators of intelligence. Previous leaders who displayed these attributes: Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Rudd, were the ones who won elections against the incumbent Conservatives or, in Keating’s case, won the unwinnable election.

    I am hoping that Albo and/or his minders critically review every minute of broadcast interviews with a view to improving his future performances – “you could have paused then – stress that word – when you say that, look directly at the camera”.

    If an actor, who is a model citizen in real life, can be trained to convince us that his stage character is the vilest of villains, surely it is possible to coach someone like Shorten or Albo to convince us through voice, demeanor & gesture of their sincerity and wisdom and to look and sound like a strong leader with a sense of destiny & purpose? After all, politics is the theatre of the absurd and oratory has to be in the politician’s toolkit.

    The “strategists” (hello, folks – anyone home?) in head office could do no worse than employ a coach or encourage him to just go for it.

  7. Baby Jewels

    “Anthony Albanese says he has seen no evidence of corruption in federal politics” Guardian 4/8/19

    That did it for me.

  8. Mark Shields

    Despite his charismatic absence, Albo might be a great intellectual with superb plans for leading this country out of it’s lazy, right-wing religious resurgence of – “All is fine, just trust God and his fearless evangelic profit-masters”, but the truth is he represents a highly Catholic majority of white Labor voters with ‘Coal-in-the-blood’ heritage and beliefs. AND SO FAR, he has NOT managed to even draft a climate change/renewable energy policy of any substance at all. Is he beholden to Joel Fitzgibbon in ways that we are unaware?

    That point alone, in this diaspora of intellect and reason, should be ringing alarm bells for anyone who wants to replace the gestalt symptoms of ignorance, fascism, authoritarianism and elitist supremacy.

    I’m not accusing Albo of being a secret tyrant or despot but his real lack of ability to deal with this insidious centuries-old notion of dispensationalism, just makes him a magnanimous fool and useless tool for the Right.

    Like it or not, we have to face the fact that at least 60% of voters will vote for immediate imperatives at the next election and will have NO concern whatsoever for the longevity of our democracy:

    UNLESS they can be shown a glimpse of their grandchildren’s future beyond the life of their candidate’s reign: This is where Labor should be talking, not about today-which they’ve drastically lost (and are currently losing), but about the tomorrow of their voters’ progeny.

    Albo should actually be taking a step back for Labor, and start a new future for workers by implementing a policy which guarantees all workers of old and redundant industries, a future in new and sustainable industries. With scientific evidence, it is not that hard to do today: Renewable energies are already cheaper than fossil fuel made energy.

    Why isn’t Albo, champion of cheaper power at any cost, getting behind renewable energy industries and jobs? Does Coal Fitzgibbon have something on Albo? Or is Albo just another puppet for the Welsh Coal mining brigade and their international lobby groups?

    FFS even Mark Butler can handle difficult issues better than Albo. Sorry John Lord, your Labor membership loyalty is noted but not really valued at times like this!

  9. ajogrady

    Labor had good and sensible policies at the last election and a majority of people voted for them but they did not win a majority of seats. For Labor to turn their backs on those policies they are turning their backs on all those who thought that they were good policies and voted for them. Labor were quick to distance themselves from Keating when he lost the election instead of being staunch. Howard was the worst treasurer and a war criminal Prime Minister yet the L/NP will repeatedly and doggedly stand by him and his government. Labor have far better credentials and personnel but cringe and hide from their accomplishments. If they don’t talk themselves up it is a guarantee that the media will not. Labor has to stand up and be vocal about its accomplishments like two world number one treasurers as an example. Labor has to stop changing policies and stand by them. Flip flopping will not win votes. It shows a lack of backbone and confidence. The more they flip flop on policies the more the L/NP and the media will bash them about their dithering and lack of direction and the more voters will turn away from them.

  10. New England Cocky

    I watched Albo give an impressive performance tonight in the Budget Reply and later when fielding Leigh Sales questions on 7:30 Report. The Labor proposals were designed to return hope tot eh disenchanted electorate after their catastrophic self-inflicted would in 2019.

  11. Andrew Smith

    Most Australians have become well conditioned, by our ‘media’ to communicate in sound bites, cliches and one liners then without thinking react and/or reflex accordingly; political PR101 that precludes facts, reflection and analysis.

    Labor will find it diffcult to access mainstream media and receive fair coverage due to the clear bias towards the LNP by NewsCorp, 9Fairfax and 7 whom dominate (while the govt. constrains ABC/SBS), vs. wet and weak support or mentions of Labor.

    However, in addition to online outlets for media, Labor needs to get up to speed with some coordinated campiagns and ongoing use that the LNP (more to the point its industry proxies), has used on Facebook, etc.

    Further, this should include wheeling out some former politicians and/or personalities whom have respect of all voters whether Steve Bracks or a Lindsay Fox, and a much clearer and succinct message(s) that can cut through restricted media access.

  12. Zathras

    The real purpose of Opposition is to examine and refine Government policies, reject if necessary but also to put forward alternatives.

    The Abbott style is to oppose everything just for the sake of opposing and offer nothing in return until they hound and whine their way into Government.

    The result includes a mongrelised NBN and the lack of viable and effective Energy and Emission policies, having rejected sound policies and providing nothing else in their place.

    It’s not a flaw in our system – just an abuse of it for purely policial purposes but that’s what the voters have come to expect.

  13. Geoff Andrews

    Well, I think that’s settled then: Albo’s had his chance. He hasn’t been able to revitalise the Party after it’s crushing, demoralising, miraculous defeat, he can’t match Morrison’s or even Dutton’s charisma, he is simultaneously a “tool of the Right” and in the left faction and he can’t even solve the century-old problem of dispensationalism, which Dr Google informs me is “a religious interpretative system and metanarrative for the Bible”, so there’s no surprise there.
    And he’s a bloody catholic to boot (as hard and as frequently as possible, apparently)
    So, who (not “whom”, Andrew) to replace him? Well, there’s …. no, wrong faction. Then there’s …. no, we’ve tried a woman. Anyone on the backbench? No? Well, how about …… no, he’s on speaking terms with the Greens – God I hate those bastards – they deliberately set out to stop us getting power, you know.
    I’m pretty sure Albo hates them too.
    Yeah? Ah well, maybe he’s not so bad.

  14. leefe

    Jack Cade,

    Bob Brown and the Adani cavalcade had far less of an impact than Clive Palmer’s $60million campaign and the MSM (particularly Newscorpse).

  15. Wam

    Albo was good wed night but has not landed a punch since no no no
    Labor’s brief squeals then silence over all the excesses and damage to our way of life are wrist slaps and, according to Senator Patrick, are merely a preamble before rolling over for a tummy tickle(my favs are 5 mins on huge debt lies and 2mins on rorts and zero on public service to private with no follow up on mistakes??.
    Lord, you spend thousands of hours telling us of the ravages of the rabbott, the disappoint of the turn ball and the corruption of scummo plus the disasters of Dutton, Kelly, angus and Michaelia then when little billy and torpid Tania finallly say something the electorate takes fright and he loses by a miracle.
    Now you want labor to wait till another Whitlam hawke, lemon or birthday cake comes.
    You are more Eli nes than I.
    ps
    Truth is what you believe and overcomes any fact by simply calling it a lie.
    Until the religious can be questioned on their believes you can fact all you want but the truth will remain.
    pps I am writing this a coolalinga food court 10 tables 15 diners and at every table but one is at least one bottle of water(the other a coke) at my table is cold water from home to go with my green curry.
    These are rich contented people.
    Sitting on his parliamentary pompous arse will be no more effective than 6 years of billy. Indeed Rex Patrick is more of an opposition that the whole labor party and lambe spoke well about the uni costs
    pps
    catholic and other private school educated men and women form the vast majority of cabinet and shadow.(Tanya and scummo, Sydney grammar boycott??, are two of the few public system pollies

  16. Ill fares the land

    I think one clear problem that Labor has to deal with, and it is a millstone around Labor generally, but especially Albanese, is that the mainstream media largely lets Morrison have endless “free kicks”, but holds Labor and Albanese to a much higher standard of accountability. It is obvious, even in recent weeks, that Morrison “makes announcements” and does little else. Despite that, his manipulation of the media so that the announcement gets plenty of attention and his next announcement is released before any serious scrutiny of the last announcement has occurred (assuming any serious analysis would occur mostly it is in the Guardian or Crikey, never in a Murdoch rag) is of epidemic proportions. But that an announcement is no more than a rehashing of previous announcements is also ignored – “our illustrious leader is making another announcement – all hail”. No costing of whatever “policy” Labor is pushing forward – it’s an outrage and a media pile-on. No substance to a vacuous announcement by President Morrison. No problem at all. Whenever. That nothing ever actually gets done by this strategy-lite, if not strategy-free government? Through to the keeper. Promised funding for bushfire victims not delivered? President Morrison stating to the National Cabinet he would put Border Force in charge of quarantine, then gleefully left the States to do it and promptly got stuck into Andrews for the resultant mess.
    There must be something Labor is up to that the focus can be shifted to – or how about another “fresh” announcement, leaked to selective journalists that will ignore the story as long as they get the headline. Rorting under the Community Development Program worse than under Sport’s Rorts – any attention given to that ongoing LNP pork-barrelling? Adam Soyurak? It’s Albanese’s problem. Victorian branch stacking and a stain on Michael Sukkar? Nothing to do with President Morrison. The media bias is palpable and even Insiders buys into it – perhaps unsurprisingly with Speers at the helm.

  17. Wam

    Sorry leefe but you are guilty of apples and oranges, like the loonies and lord who write that they get more votes but less seats than the nats. My ‘truth’ is the loonies contest pretty well every seat and spend money on a few leaving dedicated loonies to fund their own campaign with generic corflutes. The obvious reason is for funds, they are, sorry lord, frugal and glean $6m out of AEC coffers. The caravan got the loonies $9m, including an extra pile of cash from Qld, a very good return. The sad unconsidered timing of Bobby was irresponsible with the cost to Labor of two qld seats lost and to the loonies, thode greedy, pragmatic boys lost any influence in the parliament.
    We can expect bobby, considering his age, to apologise just after milne’s had her 10 years conscience clean out, in 2023

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