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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