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Mums and Dads – Malcolm wants YOU as a new recruit

Yes, Mums and Dads, Malcolm wants you. He wants you, he wants you, he wants you as a new recruit.

Sing it with me now….

With the Liberals, you can watch Malcolm Shoot the Breeze

With the Liberals, Nodding with Tony he agrees

With the Liberals, come and join the born to rule brand

With the Liberals, against the worker take a stand.

I mean where else can you find pleasure? Search the world for treasure?
Learn science technology? Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true?
On the land or on the sea? But with the Liberals? (or so they want us to think)

A clever positioning of the demographic – all is fair in love and politics

Linked to the Liberals’ strategy to promote Mum and Dad businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors etc., is that any criticism of this strategy can be misconstrued as disrespecting hard working mum and dad business owners. The Liberal’s appear to be bouncing an election strategy off the hard work and dedication of many who have made a success and are offering this to all mums and dads as the easy-don’t-have-to-work-hard-for-it panacea to all of their world problems. They have positioned this demographic as such, to try to make it difficult for Labor to speak out against their policies, without the Liberals trying to wedge Labor as not supporting the demographic targeted – regular mums and dads.

This blog post is not about critiquing mum and dad business owners or investors. It is about the use of a particular demographic “Mums and Dads” in emotive marketing and as a tool of deception in an election campaign.

The Mum and Dad Narrative

When Turnbull was in his Communications Portfolio happily destroying the NBN, he was strongly arguing for mums and dads along with pesky students to be sued by Film Studios (Which the CEO of Village Roadshow laughed at by the way.)

Now he is Prime Minister, all he talks about is how great mums and dads are.

In the last few months, he has used mum and dad property investors as the Investors to protect from Labor’s Negative Gearing policy. Though he has no sympathy for mum and dad renters who will be able to purchase one home that they will probably live in forever, under Labor’s new scheme.

He has used mum and dad owner-drivers as the owner drivers to be protected from the RSRT and the key driver for the abolishment of same. However, other’s have pointed out that this was not driven by mum and dad owner drivers, but larger corporations.

In his statement to sell his version of “innovation” he has used mum and dad investors and entrepreneurs as the target group to enjoy tax breaks and create start-ups and think beyond real estate and blue-chip stocks and diversify their nest egg. Never mind the highly educated young people who should be encouraged, or single tech wizards or entrepreneurial friends, but it is mums and dads who are touted as the new breed of innovative entrepreneur. Because, you know, all regular mums and dads have ‘real estate and blue-chip stocks and a nest egg.’

Agenda Setting and Priming by the Media

The media are intrinsically woven into election campaigns. They have the ability to set the agenda by framing narrative or topics through a particular lens and use that to sway votes. Turnbull needs the media to frame his narrative about mums and dads as ‘the modern worker’ as a positive for the Turnbull campaign, but so far the response from this journalist seems more tongue in cheek, than setting the agenda and priming voters with this message.

This is a subtle hint that journalists are seeing the ‘mum and dad’ pattern woven into every answer to every question. Below is either a case of clever journalism or mum and dad contagion:


When the mums and dads of Australia come to vote on July 2 or whenever else –


Prime Minister, do you really think that the mums and dads of Australia are going to be as seized with the building industry as you are? How do you make the link between what we see here today, and the ABCC, and their lives?
(Excerpt from Doorstop Tuesday 19 April 2016)

Turnbull’s Impression Management

Turnbull is between a rock and a hard place. He built up a persona through self-impression management to win votes in his own electorate. I view him as a chameleon. A man who does not particularly believe in anything, but manages his self-impressions for what is deemed vital for him to survive at the time. The false-world he has built himself in his pursuit of the Prime Ministership now has him stuck between the false world he created and the real-world of the right wing party he signed up to and now leads.

Essentially, Turnbull has managed his self-impressions extremely well for so long and has painted the public a very convincing false impression of the world he would lead. Now he is the Prime Minister and because of his real-world actions, the public are doubting if he can actually deliver, the paint is so flaky it is just peeling off.

There is a term to describe what we see happening to Turnbull and that term is “Face.” If the false world does not match reality or that person can’t deliver they don’t ‘maintain face.’ The difference between Abbott and Turnbull is that Abbott ‘maintained face’ before the election and lost it after he gained power.

I know people criticise Abbott, but because he built realistic impressions of who he actually is, it is my opinion that Abbott had a stronger chance than Turnbull in the election, if he was given an election period to play with. Turnbull struggling and losing face at this point, so early in the election campaign period, should have the Liberal party campaign team seriously worried.

Using impressions to create a false world

This election campaign is clearly being fought as a class war (workers/unions vs. the big end of town). So how does Turnbull try to maintain a self-impression that he is still the supportive-Malcolm he has built up in the false world he has previously created? To satisfy the message of the right (anti-union) he needs to create a new false world where the mum and dad-owner-investor-start-up-entrepreneurial-innovative-worker are the new class of modern worker to be protected (and all without those pesky unions).

In a class war election, it is essential that the Liberals counter Labor’s record of standing up for the worker. The Liberals hate unions and oppose workers in general and their main campaign will be rubbishing unions – ie workers and they will use as much as they can from TURC. In fact, the premise that unions need to be torn down is significant in motive behind this DD election.

“We are a Government that believes in the mum and dads of Australia who mortgage their homes to go and buy a truck so they can be their own boss and say no to the union…” Turnbull 19/04/2016

This links back to the impression management of creating a false world for the voting public that most mums and dads just have the ability to a) even own a home or b) mortgage that home and to c) have all the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to create a viable competitive business and d) create the false impression that mums and dads are oppressed (or unions equal no freedom) and must free themselves from the oppression of a union.

Turnbull is repainting mum and dad small business owners and investors as the proletariat rather than the capitalist bourgeoisie. I think this will be their key driver to set themselves up with emotive marketing as ‘caring for the worker’, whilst in the same breath bashing unions.

Before the election is over, the Liberals will exhaust every avenue to convince voters that every small business, investor, entrepreneur or start-up venturist and the struggling multiple property owner, all have regular mums and dads as the centrepiece. These groups will not be represented by siblings, friends and relatives, young people or singles. Definitely no super wealthy millionaires who have inherited bucket-loads of money and pretend they are ‘self-made’ will be included.

This is another key example of the Liberals pretending to be who they are not and Malcolm Turnbull pretending to be who he is not. The Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are NOT pro-worker, they are pro-capitalist.

The clear difference is Shorten has and is still self-managing realistic impressions for who he actually is, not who he thinks people want him to be. That is the difference between honesty and dishonesty. With Turnbull setting the campaign agenda on “Trust” voters need to think hard about this.

I predict that the accusations by the Liberals against Labor for holding back mum and dad businesses will become increasingly rabid as the campaign shapes up. We have already seen the Liberals organise protests with truck drivers for a piece of Legislation that they had the power to abolish (which they did). They essentially protested against themselves – the Government, which is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen happen in politics. They truly still believe they are in opposition.

Whilst Labor battles to give our children the education required for the future and save Medicare and implementing fair policies to give us a fair go, the Liberals will try to smack Labor over the head for not lifting up mums and dads.

It is up to the voters (and the media’s agenda setting) to see through the smoke and mirrors of this tactic.

Recruitment to a Liberal Utopia – Sign up’s on the right

Malcolm will paint Mum and Dads of Australia a Liberal/Libertarian Utopia in a real lot of words, where everyone works for themselves and the unemployed, homeless, pensioners, welfare recipients do not exist. In time, these groups will be bracketed and labelled as “choosing not to ‘make it’. This is an underlying construct of the Liberals’ ideology.

More importantly, under the Liberal ideology, everyone is in charge of their own destiny. Being a Malcolm recruited mum and dad businesses or investor, the Liberals will encourage mums and dads to think that they will be a success like Malcolm and the taxpayer will no longer need to fund hospitals, Medicare, Schools, NBN, community housing or Infrastructure. This will save us a lot of taxpayer dollars, because mums and dads all be able to afford to pay their own way, just like Malcolm. This is the ideological Liberal Party dream in real terms. This is creating a false impression of a world that does not exist.

This is linking the self-impression of ‘self-made Malcolm’ to the creating of the false world where everyone can be a success, if only they try hard enough. (Here, Turnbull is really getting right down into the Liberal ideology, more so than Abbott every did.)

I predict, this message about mums and dads will be delivered at all opportunities, even awkward ones where the message doesn’t really fit. Like in Question Time where a serious question was asked about cancer and blood tests and Malcolm Turnbull, laughed and started talking about the RSRT (which he abolished for the ‘mum and dad’ truck-drivers.)

What Turnbull won’t tell the mums and dads – The real world impression

I see the Turnbull Government selling mums and dads a new Australia. A Utopia where they will have the freedom of not working for someone else. What he won’t tell voters is how many hours mum and dad small businesses must work to stay afloat, or the financial and family sacrifices that are necessary. He won’t tell voters about the worry of paying business taxes and he won’t tell you when consumer spending is down how tough it will actually be. He won’t tell you about the special individual qualities of tenacity and drive that are a necessity, nor will he mention the part about the ever-evolving visionary process to remain competitive. He certainly won’t tell you about the implications of flooding certain markets with new competitors, when there may not be enough demand for your service or product to remain viable. He will just tell mums and dads about freedom from the shackles of labour by rejecting Labor.

Liberal Voter Recruitment Side Effects

Will Turnbull be successful with creating this false world where Mums and Dads are the saviours of our future and the new modern worker? I hope not, but if recruitment to Liberal voting is successful, severe side effects of recruitment may persist after signing up. These are:

  • No Gonski – No real fairness in education
  • No Gonski – STEM jobs at risk
  • People still locked out of the housing market
  • Inferior NBN – costing our nation jobs
  • Destruction of Medicare, Privatisation and Fee for Service co-payments
  • No Marriage Equality and a very expensive opinion poll
  • A risk to the increase of the GST
  • A risk of non-monetary payments introduced instead of wages
  • A return to unfair work choices and individual contracts
  • No investigation into the Banking sector
  • Multi-nationals continuing to not pay their fair share of taxes

If you do not like any of these side-effects of recruitment to the Liberals as a Liberal or National Party voter, the only preventative medicine is to:



*If you are interested in reading more about Impression Management, please see Erving Goffman’s work.

Originally published on Polyfeministix


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  1. z



  2. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree with z,

    but that does not let Labor off the hook.

  3. kerri

    Like the Village People ref Trish! Very clever.
    How about this? http://youtu.be/MTwq1_9VH68 I mean snouts in the trough and all?
    And seriously, Arthur Sinodinos IS Bunsen Honeydew.
    Examples of some Australian mum and dad investors. Gina. Twiggy. Malcolm and Lucy. James Packer. Gerry Harvey. Dick Smith. Clive Palmer. These are all mums and or dads. And they all invest!
    And as for Bananaby’s claim that we should trust Turnbull because he has made a few quid (rather like the Donald in USA coz being rich just makes you better) as opposed to Shorten who spent most of his life making a few quid for the workers in the Unions!
    And as for Malcolm making it without needing to use Medicare or government assistance, let us not forget how many workers are routinely screwed by people like Malcolm (and my above list of mums and dads) in order to make their fortune. Nathan Tinkler and Eddy Groves spring to mind as a couple of examples.

  4. Salstarat

    Surely, given the history of non-stop, remorseless PATHOLOGICAL LIES and broken promises that inundate the history of the LNP, it seems almost IMPOSSIBLE to believe that there are “mums and dads” out there who would be so naïve, so gullible and so stupid as to be sucked in by these notorious, unconscionable and cynical, self serving deceivers again and again and AGAIN! I mean, just HOW BAD does this ruthlessly despicable, conniving, scheming pack of rorters have to get before these myopic, Murdoch manipulated Liberal sycophants WAKE UP and finally realise that it is, in fact, the mums and dads of Australia AND their children whom the sociopaths in the LNP are actually targeting? If gormless stupidity could fly, there must be a special AIRPORT for those who are ready, willing and able to put the insane, nefarious, fascist miscreants of the Lying Nazi Party back into power – another four years with this lot will, in reality, DESTROY everything remaining that they haven’t annihilated, plundered and defunded over the last catastrophic term of mismanagement and environmental vandalism!

  5. Loz

    Look at Bishop behind Turnbull smiling at her so clever leader, and McNamara who again thinks the whole thing is so funny. What an awful bunch of people in the LNP.

  6. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well done kerri,

    for identifying ‘good guy’ Dick Smith as one of the alleged ‘mums and dads’ investors. He’s one who has tricked me until quite recently when he was talking about Bronnie Bishop as his friend. Alarm bells then finally rang. Slow yes I know I am. Maybe I really want to believe the best about someone. But when it is exposed, I am very angry.


    as usual, I agree with your logic. Australia is made up of mums and dads and all the mums and dads that I choose to quote in my political exchanges wouldn’t touch the filthy LNP with a barge pole.

    Mums and Dads also need to know Labor is looking out for them even if they are on the street looking for a roof over their head and a dignified job.

  7. Cream Donuts Rule

    “Mums and dads” is smart politics. It speaks to the same demographic as the “working families” mantra of the previous Labor Government. Politics involves sloganeering. It’s Time to accept that. Labor needs to work hard and smart to counter it, but, given how bad this Government is that ought not be too hard. If they can’t we’re in deep trouble. If they can’t they’re in deep trouble.

  8. paul walter

    “Insiders” was on the ball, examining Turnbull’s fear and loathing concerning neg-gearing; the pinkos are after your house, yadda.

    Mossie-bashing is out of favour for reasons we know well enough, so they had to get at the mortgage belt with this old favourite instead.

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Insiders is no measure to believe, don’tyaknow.
    Well paid presenter and MSM appear in defense of political apparatiks of the day. Only some are worth listening to.

  10. paul walter

    I’ve just advocated elsewhere a but of nuance on another topic.. now go back, read the comment again and ask yourself why I included it.

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes, Cream Donuts Rule,

    you are correct in your definition of what makes acceptable electioneering.

    Your knowledge needs to be applied more communely. Contact me if you can think I am right.

  12. Jeff Mulbray

    “He won’t tell voters about the worry of paying business taxes and he won’t tell you when consumer spending is down how tough it will actually be.”

    What and Bill Shorten will? I didn’t know either of them were business advisers.

    “He won’t tell you about the special individual qualities of tenacity and drive that are a necessity,”

    No, because he’s not a counselor. You think people entering a new business need to be told this? How patronizing!

    “nor will he mention the part about the ever-evolving visionary process to remain competitive.”

    It’s not his freaking job! Again, will Bill Shorten be doing this?

    “He certainly won’t tell you about the implications of flooding certain markets with new competitors, when there may not be enough demand for your service or product to remain viable.”

    Listen, no politician is responsible for anyone’s lack of research entering into a business arrangement. If you’re too stupid to do your homework, you’ll fail and you’ll deserve to.

    “He will just tell mums and dads about freedom from the shackles of labour by rejecting Labor.”

    Labor is no friend to anyone trying to start a new small business. You’ve obviously never been in that position yourself.

  13. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Sorry Paul,

    I’m just a poor, little ole woman who can’t interpret your rhetoric

  14. paul walter

    There was a great thing on Catalyst today about a new treatment for Alzheimers, using music. Could I put your name forward for enrollment?

    A five y.o. could have grasped my point, so I presume you are being difficult for reasons I can’t possibly fathom.

  15. bobrafto

    Howard’s battlers are now
    Turnbull’s mums and dads entrepreneurs

  16. Trish Corry

    Jeff you missed the point where I said the post was not a critique of small business owners or investors, but an analysis of election campaign strategy. The few details I have pointed out are facts. My point is that Turnbull is offering this type of success up to all mums and dads as if it is an easy to do option. It is not. It is hard work.

  17. Trish Corry

    Paul I thought Insiders today was rather good.

  18. Jeff Mulbray


    I didn’t miss any point. The quotes I responded to are things you said and each of them is kind of crazy. Sorry to have actually quoted your own words.

    I don’t see where Turnbull has implied business is easy in the way you suggest.

  19. maxpowerof1

    You might be smart, but there is no need to speak to her like that.

  20. paul walter

    Thanks Trish, but then you don’t shoot from the lip before you think things out.

  21. wam

    the msm is going to push the coalition line: mums and dads are going to vote for jobs and a smooth transition to the new economy. This arvo the abc had turnball the neat mum and dad and the uniformed kid taking selfies in a great ad full of smiles and slogans with a quick negative cut to shorten then back to mal for a last ‘labor wants to stop mums and dads…’ by then i was screaming at the abc bias that i missed his punchline. but who-ed like to guess ‘who do you trust…..’

  22. Trish Corry

    Jeff – just listen to his narrative. Over the next few things he says about mums and dads. After I wrote this piece, I noted in the Chris Bowen interview today, the media were using the term “mums and dad investors” in questions to Chris Bowen. He did not play back into the narrative of Turnbull. He did not LET Turnbull set the agenda although the media are using the same terminology (agenda setting). This is my ONE huge criticism of Gillard is that she let Abbott set the agenda. The Shorten team are doing very well in this regard. This piece is about campaigning, language used and strategy. This is not about small business. Believe me, I know first hand how hard it is and I would never disrespect anyone who has the guts and sacrifice to make it.

  23. Trish Corry

    WAM that is so predictable of the media – this is what the Agenda Setting and Priming by the media is all about. Shorten needs to come through strong on this one. Chris Bowen did a great job today with maintaining Labor’s message and not responding to the media use of the narrative.

  24. Jeff Mulbray

    Ok, I take back “crazy” and replace it with silly. Why talk about stuff a politician can’t do as though they could do it and be critical of them for not doing what they can’t do? It’s not a way to make a point.

    I’m pretty sure labor has some policies they think will help people get into business. Are they telling mums and dads its easy by having them? People fail in small business mostly because they don’t make the effort to research it first. No government can stop that. No-one can, not even God.

  25. Trish Corry

    Jeff, it really is a basic contrast from MY perspective that Malcolm is offering all this to mums and dads and positioning the narrative as if it is an “easy to do option” and He is telling people all these great things about what they can achieve as “mums and dads” This post is about campaign strategy. If you note, there is a section on self impressions and impressions and creating a real or false world.

    The contrast is about Turnbull’s narrative on this goes to the heart that it is all about ‘freeing yourself from a union and going out on your own” (implying if you vote for Liberal this will be easy) The contrast with the silly/crazy whatever else you want to call them FACTS about the reality of small business is left silent – it is not included in the narrative. I hope that clarifies this for you. Once again, this is about campaign strategy and language used. This is not about a critique of small business. I have explicitly stated this in the beginning of the post.

    Labor’s strategy is often offering support systems around assisting people in small business – not just telling them it is an ‘easy to do thing” For example Shortens Investor Angels etc., groups of people who are keen to invest in new start ups.

    That is the contrast between democratic socialism and business and the liberal ideology and business – once again in my view.

  26. Cream Donuts Rule

    “mums and dads”, “working families” – it’s all the same pitch to the same people. Turnbull got in first. Pity he didn’t factor in the current divorce rate……


    No, hang on, that’s not funny …

  27. townsvilleblog

    Trish, I though this story was beautifully composed with creativity that will be needed in the 70 odd days ahead. I read in the Cour Mail yesterday that Hillsong Morrison is going to give all workers a slight tax cut so that the bracket creep does not happen until a time of the LNPs choosing, not with an election imminent. Also those poor sould children included waiting for public dental services may have to wait years instead of months now that the LNP has abdicated responsibility to the States and removed a billion dollars from dental funding. How else can they imagine they can hurt the poor and reward the rich?

  28. bobrafto


    ‘Labor is no friend to anyone trying to start a new small business. You’ve obviously never been in that position yourself.’

    What a load of brainwashed crap or perhaps you might like to explain why you have that opinion.

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’m sorry paul walter, if I offended you last night.

  30. Trish Corry

    Thanks Shaun. Neither party has dentistry right yet. It angers me, as in later years poor dental and gum disease can cause heart disease and other illnesses. No child needs to have teeth in poor condition in today’s day and age. I see discussions on social media where people say it is up to the parents. No, there are many conditions that are beyond the control of parents and some are hereditary. The situation at present, just is not good enough. What is happening in Indigenous communities with hardly any supports? Do they even get dental services? What about rural communities? Is there any provision for mobile dental clinics? The Liberals last move has made a poor system even worse. Very disappointing.

  31. Eelboy

    @Jeff Mulbray As someone who has worked for himself for over 30 years, I offer you this re Labor & Liberal attitudes to starting “a new small business”. For the entire duration of the Howard Government, the maximum immediate tax write down on capital expenditure for the first year of a small business enterprise stood at a pitiful $1,000. The Rudd/Gillard Government increased this to $7,500. When the Coalition was returned in 2013 it was again reduced to $1,000.
    As you would no doubt know, the first year is usually the hardest – 8 out of 10 small business fail in the first 12 months.
    I put it to you that if, as you assert, “Labor is no friend to anyone trying to start a new small business”, then the Coalition are their mortal enemies.

  32. paul walter

    JMS..that was odd the way that group of postings sequenced. I was a bit “short” with you and I apologise also.

  33. Pappinbarra Fox

    well said Eelboy at 9.51. I knew the figure for failed businesses in the first year was very high but not that high. Still, accepting any figure over 50% I’d say to patronising people like Jeff that not doing the homework before entering a business is not the reason most fail. It may be a contributing factor in some cases. But if people who did the homework but were risk averse and did not enter into the business then what are they to do? With unemployment rising under this LNP government and the safety net getting holier by the day, often going into business for oneself is the only option, risk or not. Of course do the homework and choose a business that has less risk but that is not going to save the 80% eelboy quotes.

  34. keerti

    This strange assumption that all voters in this country are mums and dads.Reality a huge number of peope in this country are singles.Some of them will be mums and dads one day, but it may be after they are thirty.There is a proportion of people who decide not to have kids and never do. Then there are many who have done their family thing divorced and live as singles. These comprise a group (or Groups) which are big enough to swing an election, but they seem never to be acknowledged .

  35. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Spot on Pappinbarra Fox.

    Spot on keerti.

  36. King1394

    The real Mums and Dads I know are desperate to keep their jobs, and to have their children well-educated in the public school system. They give birth in public hospitals,and rent because owning a family home is unlikely. They are not the Mums and Dads that Turnbull and his Liberals mix with

  37. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear, King1394

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