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Shorten. Where’s the hope?

Shorten is like your ex-boyfriend who everyone wanted you to marry, but you just weren’t that into him. Your mum thought he was a nice boy. Your friends said he was a vast improvement on the dickheads you dated previously. He was easy to like. He wanted so much to be liked. The more everyone around you told you he was ‘a good guy’ and that you should settle down with him, the more your heart panicked and looked elsewhere. You liked him a lot. You even loved him. But you weren’t in love with him. So you broke up because no matter how right he was on paper, your head just couldn’t convince your heart he was the right man for you.

The electorate’s preference for political leaders is not rational. Just like dating and relationships, love and marriage, political preference is complicated. There are emotions at play when marking the ballot box which most voters don’t even consciously feel. But these emotions make or break political leaders. For example, it is becoming increasingly clear that the country’s emotional reaction to the Labor leadership battles of Rudd and Gillard are completely different from Turnbull’s knifing of Abbott. The news media has a huge influence on this reaction. Gillard was framed as the villain and never recovered her political legitimacy. Turnbull is framed as the hero who slayed Abbott – a leader the electorate had taken a deeply emotional dislike to. None of this is rational. It is politics.

So why don’t voters like Shorten?

As a matter of fact, I seem to be rare amongst Labor voters in that I do like Shorten and I think he would make a good Labor Prime Minister. When he cracks a grin, you see his affable personality shine through. His zingers are clumsily authentic and seem to amuse his audience. He genuinely listens to people. I’ve seen him speak many times to the Labor faithful and he is passionate, erudite and charismatic. He has led a united Labor opposition, without a hint of the disunity of the Rudd and Gillard era. Watching the Labor front bench in parliament, their body language makes it look like everyone is behind Bill. Not just because he’s their leader but because they share his Labor values. As do I. But regardless of how rusted-ons like me feel, and how his colleagues feel, the emotional reaction to Shorten from the majority of voters, left, right and swinging, is tepid. It sometimes seems like I’m watching a different person than the Shorten described by many as ‘beige’. First Dog on the Moon can’t even remember his name.

No matter what Shorten does or says, his unpopularity is apparently sticky and the more he tries to get voters to listen to him, the worse it seems to get. He is also suffering from a case of being damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. For example, he is damned for supporting Rudd, then Gillard, then Rudd again. But the only reason he was able to be so influential in these leadership contests was because he has strong allegiances in the party which he is now using to lead a stable team. He spent his career before politics standing up for workers, which you would think workers might appreciate. But low and behold a recent survey shows Australians trust their bosses more than they trust unions. See what I mean about emotions winning out over rationality? And even when the only dirt Abbott’s witch hunt of a union Royal Commission could find on Shorten was that he had good relationships with both workers and business owners, negotiating to make sure an infrastructure project was delivered on time, an outcome in everyone’s best interest, even when he handled himself well under the scrutiny of being in a ‘witness box’ with a Liberal plant aggressively interrogating him, voters are still not interested in what Shorten has to say. It doesn’t mean, by the way, that they hate him. The major problem for Shorten, and in turn Labor, is that Australia’s emotional reaction to him seems to be one of yawning indifference. Ask anyone on the street which policies Labor has released this year and I’m confident most would have trouble naming a single one. But there have been many, and they are good policies. The ABC quoted Shorten recently as saying ‘I believe if Labor keeps working on policies, the polls will look after themselves’. But this view is reliant on the mistaken idea that voters are rational. Human beings are emotional. Australian human beings just aren’t listening to Shorten.

Is there anything Shorten and Labor can do?

There is always hope. I’m not talking about ‘hope’ for Shorten’s career. I mean there is always the emotional reaction to ‘hope’ that Shorten can appeal to. Back in August, when Shorten’s unpopularity wasn’t as big an issue, because Abbott was so unpopular a mouldy onion would have beaten him in an election, I suggested to Labor that their election campaign should be a mixture of hope and fear, encapsulated in a story about how Labor’s brighter future can overcome Abbott’s wrecking ball. Hope and fear are strong emotions and, I believe, are the most important ‘feels’ for political candidates. Shorten is doing his best to stake his claim on a ‘better future’, with forward-thinking policies and all the stats and facts you ever need to explain why Labor’s plan is rationally credible. But what’s missing is Shorten’s personal, gritty, in-your-face appeal to a hopeful tomorrow. He is missing his own emotion of hope. What does ‘Shorten hope’ look like? Shorten needs to tell us about his hope for the future. Shorten needs to be emotional. He needs to put down the rehearsed lines and the market-tested phrases and just talk to Australians about how he feels. He needs to explain how he felt about the Rudd and Gillard years (presumably not great), and how he hopes for a brighter future for Labor now that the stain of disunity is gone. He needs to show the passion and emotion of a man who is hopeful that his policies will make Australia a better place so that we all feel hopeful too. This is not just about getting ‘real’. This is about Shorten wearing his heart on his sleeve and admitting he’s not being heard, and respectfully asking Australians to listen. Asking Australians to give him a chance. Showing that he’s genuinely, emotionally, committed to making a difference. Asking Australians to put their hope in him while he puts his hope in them. Hope for better politics. Hope for better policies. Hope for better outcomes for all Australians. Replace hopeless with hopeful. If Shorten can bring hope, there is hope for Labor yet.

 

57 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    I would have agreed with this if Abbott were still in charge but I fear Malcolm has already moved to fill the ‘hope’ space with his “never a better time to be Australian” rhetoric.

    I don’t pretend to understand voters in Australia but I know, for me, I want to hear the problems with Coalition policy enunciated and clear alternatives presented. The GST increase for example – they should be reinforcing the regressive nature of such an increase with modelling to back it up and then showing how they can achieve the same goal without increasing taxes by, say, cutting fossil fuel subsidies, reining in superannuation, capital gains, and negative gearing tax concessions, and going after corporate tax evaders. Bill has mentioned these things in a roundabout way but he needs to go harder and, for me, put some numbers to it.

    Climate change is another big one. Lord knows there are enough quotes from Malcolm in the past to rip him to pieces on this. Paris should help because everyone will be moving to price carbon and the Coalition are going to look like fools for removing it.

    And then there is the NBN and cuts to education and hospitals.

    Bill is never going to compete successfully in the charisma stakes. It will have to be policy led. But it is hard to talk about policy when the media are more focused on his dancing and the royal commission witch hunt which announced last night that Bill has no case to answer. Sadly, the doubt raised by the mud slinging may be harder to wash off.

  2. mars08

    Oh my… I’m sure others will reply to that piece. Me? I have no words…

  3. Rick

    cut penalty rates, raise gst = “never a better time to be Australian” pffft.

  4. Bighead1883

    The faithful know it`s the reverse of what you say in as far as Shorty supporting Rudd.
    Something he never really did because he Knew Rudd was out to tax his mining corpse mates.
    He knew Rudd wouldn`t support the for profit refugee detention corpse.
    So he planned very early in the piece to engineer Rudd`s downfall with his Labor Unity faction {Julia was their patsy]

    When his killin was done on Canberra`s highway 61 Julia was installed but also proved quite quickly she was no Pattie Duke.
    The corpse initiated political machinations promised Abbott power in 2010 and Shorty helped them with his sacrificial Patsy.
    Ha,he wasn`t prepared for the metal inside Julia and the magnetism toward her.

    Sure Queensland almost to an MP threw out Labor and WA was not far behind-Rudd was liked in these two states-another paradigm missed by Shorty

    He led his 12 Apostles of Labor Unity to re-install Rudd after knifing Julia as well they pled with him to save some furniture and return so Rudd cut his “Rudd`s Rule”deals for reform [which incidentally Shorty broke after his sham election]

    Now after being the Invisible LOTO for 12 months he takes 9 steps forward for Labor looking good but his tenth every time is a doozy and it puts him behind the eight ball again.

    The Labor right faction has bad form in picking a LOTO as we floundered for 12 years under Howard and they show again their bad form here.

    But I will say one thing,if it comes to election time and Shorty is my LOTO I will vote for Labor because a government he leads will be far more superior and Australia friendly than anything the LNP throws up.
    http://www.photoonica.com/media-temp/4PGkR2p-0.jpg

  5. steven james

    brilliantly written. the voting public are just to gullible. god help us if the libs win again.

  6. Kaye Lee

    “Leaders from business, welfare, the conservation movement, the electricity sector and the union movement have moved to try to fill Australia’s climate policy vacuum by starting a new slogan-free debate to help political parties find workable greenhouse policies.

    The roundtable heard presentations on the pros and cons of baseline and credit trading schemes (from the Centre for International Economics), cap and trade emissions trading schemes (Ernst and Young), regulation to reduce emissions (Acil Allen), a straight carbon tax (Deloitte), other electricity sector schemes (PWC) and Direct Action-style schemes where governments buy abatement (Baker and McKenzie).

    Many participants still saw a full emissions trading scheme as the most efficient policy option, but politically difficult, and a straight carbon tax – which the Australian debate has historically confused with an ETS – as even more politically dangerous.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/07/climate-summit-held-by-business-and-green-groups-to-end-six-year-policy-war

    And this is where Shorten should get really loud reminding everyone that Turnbull, in return for the crown, signed an agreement with the Nats to never introduce any form of carbon pricing during his term as leader. Put the pressure on him and watch the cracks appear in his party as he tries to sound like he cares while promising the dinosaurs to do nothing.

  7. Matthew Oborne

    That is the crux of the issue, making people want him, people wanted Rudd, they wanted Hawke, the wanted Gough, you can see the difference. I wanted Julia but then again I also wanted Keating and I was in the monority.

    Turnbull will most likely get a good run and he will repay the far right by sneaking through their wishlist him saying one thing while his cabinet follow the real agenda.

    A bold set of moves like changing position on refugees would take some of the shine off Turnbull, Making the case that the NBN was dogged by liberal ideology of user pays essentially giving the rich a better internet and leaving the rest of us trapped in the past.

    Make the case for a bill of rights.

    It’s time again for Australia to move forward, Labor pushed Australia forward in the past only to have the Liberal party bask in the rewards of it, but it is time to push this country forward again and Labor is the party to do it, the party who can put ideology aside for the betterment of the country, while the Liberal party are tied to far right tea baggers.

    Labor has strengths the Libs could only dream of and it is time to use them.

  8. Loz

    Shorten is never heard because of the right wing media and big business delegates. I saw him on Q&A in Melbourne and I was extremely impressed. He answered every question posed by the audience thoroughly. He hasn’t had a chance to shine and now especially with the love affair going on with Turnbull.

  9. roaminruin

    Would Beige make a good PM? Likely good enough. Is he a decent cove? Most will give him the benefit of the doubt I reckon.

    So what’s the problem? Beige is uninspiring. He’s a try-hard, daggy dad. He provides some hope but he does not provide any inspiration.

    Where’s the new PJK or EGW? Beige successfully avoided Abbott’s blatant attempts at wedging but Abbott in the process made himself an easy target for an articulate, passionate opponent. That aint Beige.

  10. mars08

    Ummm so… data retention, citizenship laws, asylum seekers, media laws, troop deployment, deficit obsession, trade pacts… so nobody is worried about these things????

  11. Bighead1883

    mars08
    I`m sure when the Greens win both houses they`ll change it all,but in the meantime it`s yelling at clouds so vote accordingly

  12. mars08

    @ Bighead1883… ah… don’t worry I will vote accordingly… otherwise none of those things will ever change!

  13. kathysutherland2013

    Sadly, Bill seems to be re-active rather than pro-active. Even in papers such as this one. My feeling is, he looks like a nice bloke, but he doesn’t look like a leader. I don’t really know what he believes, because I always get the feeling he’s doing someone else’s bidding – doing what he has been told by his right-faction bosses.

    Maybe it’s Labor itself that’s the problem. That faction set-up has a lot to answer for: it screws the development of ideas and talent – look what’s happening to Lisa Singh here in Tasmania! Labor policy seems to be dictated by the dominant faction. Sure, Bill has articulated some good policies, like education, the economy, but they’re the “easy” ones, designed to appeal to the person in the street. I have yet to see him talk about more philosophical policies, based on ideals, policies that would need passion and heart. I’m referring specifically to asylum-seekers – yeah, we’ll just rubber-stamp the government’s policies, even promote settling people in PNG.

    I don’t know what Bill thinks about this, I only know what he says. But until such time as he, as the mouthpiece of the Labor party, has something more humane to say about helping those seeking refuge in our country, I will remain a FORMER member of the Labor party. And that applies to anyone they wheel out as leader. Policies are what matters to me, and if policies are likely to be unpopular with the electorate, Labor needs a leader who is strong enough to show the electorate that such policies should be adopted.

  14. Deidre Zanker

    Victoria, I agree with you. Shorten has great policies, presents them well when given a chance, (Murdoch media blocks him out at every possible opportunity). He would make a very good PM, lead a united hard working government with a well laid out path to an innovative and prosperous future, while protecting the environment and ensuring fairness and equity. We know where he stands on climate change, the GST, tax reform, innovation, security. His team have developed far reaching policies to take us into the Asian century in a sustainable way. He msm don’t acknowledge any of his policies. They are focused on keeping the LNP in power regardless of their lack of policies and vision. I do wonder if Murdoch is planning to ressurect Abbott and reinstate him as PM. How can Australian voters allow Rupert Murdoch to dictate policy for our govt. and decide who will run our country. How can one power mad despot, who doesn’t even live here ir care about us, have the power to control our govt and our future?

  15. Ianm

    My greatest fear is that the ALP will stick with Shorten, no matter how bad it gets and as a result we will lose the next election and then the one after that.
    .
    I think we all acknowledge that Turnbull is palatable with the masses, and the bulk of Australia is glad to see the L&NP return to centralist policies…
    .
    However Turnbull is still a silver-spoon-in-his-arse Liberal, granted, a popular one who speaks well, but still a Liberal… AND the policies of the Coalition for Evil have not changed, even if the rhetoric has…

    The idea of another 4 , 8 or (god forbid) 12 years of L&NP government depresses the shit out of me… And that is what is on the cards if ALP refuse to change leaders…
    .
    I understand the old strategy, put in a lackluster leader who will keep Abbot as PM as long as possible and then let Abbot lose the election…
    .
    It was working, till the L&NP dropped Abbot, now the game has changed, its time for the ALP to put forward a real candidate, a candidate PM that the electorate will vote for…
    .
    Being the least despised is no longer a winning plan…

  16. Kaye Lee

    I disagree about changing leader. It’s too late for starters and I think Shorten is a good Labor man with good Labor values. I too have heard him speak and been impressed but not when it is scripted. He seems too rehearsed even to intonation and expression and pauses. His press conferences are too repetitive. Drop the catch phrases. He did very well on Q&A. He needs to get less political, if that makes sense, and more truthful.

    Asylum seekers are a very difficult issue only because Howard and Abbott made it so. In amongst all these roundtable conferences on tax reform and the economy and even a climate summit, the leaders should get together, hold a forum with the experts and come up with a bipartisan humane policy like we used to have.

    Abbott is gone. We can forget about Stop The Boats. How about we change to Help The People.

  17. David

    I disagree Victoria almost completely with your hoorahs for Bill. He lacks one important element you failed to mention, probably because you agree 🙂 ..charisma. If I am wrong and he does have that very necessary requirement to be a leader, then it is kept for the very rare times I have seen it to a small degree. Even Abbott dare I say had it, as did Hitler and and most of the despots, along with the top politicians. Bill lacks it, and its not something everyone can learn.
    Not often I disagree with you but this time almost 100%.
    Incidentally I have written to Bill and expressed my misgivings about his ‘public’ leadership persona, in a polite fashion. He alas didn’t deem it important enough to warrant a reply. Ho hum.

  18. hub

    Although I feel that Shorten could very well be a very stable leader, I have 2 gaping problems with him, all to do with the initiative he takes:

    a. Lack of initiative to the voting

    I feel Shorten could and should step up to and with MT to encourage hope in the nation after the simply crazy Abbott years as well as change the tune of the discussion, which he is doing to an extent but frankly isn’t enough. The complete contrast between Abbott and Turnbull has caught him out to an extent. But this isn’t so much of an issue compared to:

    b. Lack of initiative in policy.

    When I think of the policies that Shorten “negotiated” with Abbott such as Data Retention, you tend to end up feeling that Labor, frankly, under his leadership, are compromised. There’s a lot of stuff where, should the leader have been different, Labor wouldn’t have dreamt of letting through, but yet under Shorten, they did. This means only two things which provide a bad reflection on Shorten – either he’s a weak leader or he actually supports the policies, but doesn’t have the will to do it or announce it when Labor is in power so essentially, he’s getting the Liberals to do the dirty work for him.

    Not to say that MT is better (MT is certainly stronger on rhetoric, weaker on policy, but I suspect a lot of policy is a problem of being hamstrung by his own party), but there over the past 2 years alone are some serious shortcomings when it comes to Shorten which I believe, weakens his position. He may be a good prime minister if he gets there, but frankly, I don’t know what Shorten plans to do or whether he will govern with the initiative needed. That said, I’d still vote Shorten > MT because who knows what the Libs will do in 3 years considering what’s happened in the past 3.

    Other leaders, on the other hand, like Richard Di Natalle, actually seem a lot stronger and less compromised than Shorten. And, with the ascent of the Greens, it tears apart the 2 party system that we all know and hate with both the Labs and Libs being complacent. I reckon the Greens will be a big force in the Upper and Lower house – the fact that they were able to win country seats in the NSW election shows how far they’ve gone, and they will continue to strengthen the more Shorten keeps doing what he’s doing (and the Libs as well to an extent, but not so much)

  19. Roswell

    . . . I want to hear the problems with Coalition policy enunciated and clear alternatives presented.

    That just about sums it up for me too, Kaye. Julia Gillard went in to the 2010 election espousing such, but after that they threw the book away. These days the only complaints (or truth) you hear about the government coming from Labor are those silly petitions they want me to sign. Simply not good enough.

    I saw Bill Shorten on Q&A a few months before the 2013 election and he was impressive. Very impressive. I thought at the time “here’s their next leader”. I can’t say he’s lived up to my expectations, but maybe I’ve fallen into the trap that many have fallen into: they/I/we have become accustomed to opposition leaders who carry on like angry gorillas.

    Shorten (on Q&A) was calm, measured, articulate. The electorate, sadly, don’t listen to those types any more.

  20. kerri

    Labor keeping Shorten is flogging a dead horse! He will never win popularity. He is devoid of policy conviction and wants too much to be a left wing conservative! Why Labor are not tearing Turnbull limb from limb over his hypocrisy on just about every issue ( see other comments above) I will never know? It’s like they want to fail?
    And #Roswell don’t you think the calm and measured is what people loved about Rudd? And now love about Turnbull??

  21. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    “First Dog on the Moon can’t even remember his name.”
    However the name Bald Scrotum as one of the options was fairly unforgettable.
    Branch stacking and exclusion of debate was always a dead end street…..
    I do agree with Kaye Lees comments.

  22. lawrencewinder

    1/ Labor is too myopically stupid to remove Shortstuff who would probably be happier lunching with “Le Jongleur” Roskam at the Melbourne Club.
    2/ The electorate are very stupid to think that the right-wing capitalist agenda of Rabid-the-Hun is now more “centrist” because of “Malcon Turnbullfop’s” softer delivery and fiddling at the edges.
    3/ Labor is too shit-scared of the media to “do-a-Corbyn”and announce a socialist agenda.
    4/ The Ruling Rabble as office boys to the IPA will continue from corruption to corruption with no-one batting an eye-lid.
    5/ Australia is stuffed.

  23. BarryF

    Thank you Victoria for a good article.

    We know that elections are won and lost in a few marginal seats.

    We know that voters have made up their minds about Bill Shorten. And no matter how often insiders tell us that Julia Gillard was ‘warm’ and Tony Abbott was ‘decent’, we cannot be persuaded to like a leader.

    Turnbull will eat him up.

    For a number of unfortunate reasons articulated by Hugh Mackay, Shorten comes across as weak and fake. Who can forget the focus group member calling him “a ranting puppet”? I can’t.

    Betraying my age, I’ve always called him Mogodon Bill. He adopts the sort of weary tone a Dad might use on a fractious toddler.

    On this we agree: He should be more real. Tell em to get stuffed like a certain brilliant young jockey who has won our hearts with her authenticity.

    When Border Force looked like asking random people for their papers, Bill said he “sincerely hoped” it wasn’t true. Really?

    Keating said a good Labor leader must remain indignant. Indignant that the Liberals were all about looking after their rich mates. Bill sounds like he’s just a bit disappointed. Like someone had the last Tim Tam.

    Turnbull has hijacked the word “fair”. And it was too easy. He’ll peddle his ‘agile’ ‘innovative’ policies while Labor looks, well, like a wrong footed dancer.

    Bill Shorten is the reason a lot of people will vote Green. He can’t wave through data mining and agree with the Coalition’s crazy and cruel military and asylum seeker polices and still look like a principled Opposition.

    Abbot was forced out after a string of bad polls. They knew he was unelectable. If Bill is the nice, smart, decent man whom you say he is, he will hand over the leadership to someone who can beat the LNP.

  24. king1394

    How did we become so fixated on the ‘leader’ of political parties. We don’t have a President, or a Royal Family – and the GG seems to keep a low profile ever since Bill Deane was so criticised. The party leader is not supposed to be the country’s leader, but is simply one of our many Parliamentary Representatives, selected by them (mainly) for qualities that include being able to manage to keep the majority of that particular group happy. When you see Malcolm Turnbull you need also to see the people he is making happy, standing with him – Morrison, Bishop, etc. And Shorten has some good people who are happy to be standing with him, including Tanya Plibersek, Tony Burke, and many others. The cult of the charismatic leader who leads the country is over-rated, over-hyped.

  25. stephengb2014

    I have said on here previously that Bill Shorten is not a Leader!

    Yes it is probably too late unless he stood down and put Albo in as the peoples choice (which he was)!

    But no matter if he must syay then he needs tp take the lead from Jeremy Corbyn MP the Leader of the UK Labour Party – who is a real leader, he took them head on and has shocked the UK politic with his honesty and Leadership qualities

  26. mars08

    @Kaye Lee “Asylum seekers are a very difficult issue only because Howard and Abbott made it so…

    Ha!!! It certainly wasn’t made any easier when Labor meekly joined the Coalition on the issue… As they did with data retention, citizenship laws, media laws, troop deployment, deficit obsession, and trade pacts.

    If those topics are problematic… it’s because Labor agreed to play by Coalition rules. If those topics aren’t problematic, it’s because Labor refuses to address them.

    Either way, it’s just not good enough to snare my vote.

  27. kathysutherland2013

    @mars08 me too! And that’s why I am now a former member of ghe Labor party.

  28. jim

    Quote,’Abbott is gone. We can forget about Stop The Boats. How about we change to Help The People.’ Isn’t that’s what democracy is all about? What Really peeves me that rabbit is gone is The kick in the guts he gave to all our hard workers and often volunteers in many programs, cuts to, friends of the blind and, neighborhood watch and, many others that have no jobs because of him,READ;http://sallymcmanus.net/abbotts-wreckage/ Now stop the TPP,oh great post too.

  29. David

    @BarryF…well summed up Barry, Labor is in for a hiding to nothing, if there isn’t an internal move very soon to demand Bill stand down. this fake Govt can’t use the knifing the leader again after Turnbulls takeover, time to act.
    Needs a petition to nudge the Caucus into action.
    I can’t understand why Shorten and his troops are getting stuck into Turnbull over his past demeanors and blunders as in the Gretch horror, the attempt to bring down the Rudd Govt with the lies over Utegate, the NBN disgrace, the defunding of the ABC and hundreds of job losses, that for starters.
    it’s too soon I hear some howl, tomorow could be too late as Turnbull lives the lie of Mr Clean

  30. David

    In my last…”I can’t understand why Shorten and his troops are getting stuck into Turnbull”…ARE getting should have read Aren’t, apologies.

  31. Wun Farlung

    I am wondering whether the Unions are bad, evil, corrupt thugs and Shorten is one of them message that the LNP/MSM has been running for 2 years has anything to do with the poll figures.
    The polls also figured that the LNP/MSM terrorist coming to get us message has been lapped up by more 65% of our fellow countrymen
    Poor buggers would believe the sky was green with black polka dots if you tell them enough times

  32. Terry

    shorten would make a fine pm , least he is a straight talker with sound and reasonable policies for families rather give him half million a year than the slimy prick in there now , cant even get a straight answer too any question . two and half years of total shit , and people want another 3 . what have this mob done except run the country into the ground and feather their own nests with inside trading .. really just give me one good thing from this government have done to help families .. all I see is policies that will only cause more grief and tension for all ….15% gst why would u even go there

  33. RosemaryJ36

    Everybody writes as if the next government will be won by the LNP coalition (most likely) or the ALP (less likely) yet everyone also seems to agree that the minority government led by Gillard was actually one that achieved a great deal.
    So maybe that is what we need to aim for – voting all other candidates ahead of the major parties and putting LNP last.

  34. kerri

    I say again Shorten is too far right! Way too far right! The ideal time to knife him was directly after Turnbull knifed Abbott! But to not knife Shorten at all, means we are stuck with an unelectable, right wing, prat who is seen as tainted by anyone even vaguely right wing! If Shorten were to suddenly up and challenge Asylum Seeker Policy, Taxation, Mining and anything else that Labor USED to stand for, and take a huge step back to the left where Labor belongs, the response might well floor him! But Shorten hasn’t the balls or the belief for that! He is a Xavier boy who is striving for what his upbringing does not believe in but aspires to with a blind devotion borne of religious fervour and faith his electorate does not share! Shorten espouses Labor beliefs but supports Liberal policy! The left cannot support him (Victoria excepted) and the right cannot abide him!

  35. Terry

    u would have too have rocks in your head to vote this mob back in .

  36. mars08

    It’s heartbreaking to see how low the bar was set after just a couple of years of Abbott. How sad that Shorten and Turnbull are now seen as the only viable alternatives.

  37. David

    Terry you conveniently cast aside Shortens record as leader thus far, highlighted in detail here. it is not a impressive.

  38. David

    Kerri the right put him there, you say they cant abide him, I am confused about your reasoning???????

  39. mars08

    I see the first few works in kerri’s comment… “I say again Shorten is too far right!” That doesn’t seem TOO confusing to me!

  40. David

    Thank you mars very good of you to provide clarification on this and most items that attract your eagle eye, we the unwary fail to have the same perceptive talent to absorb.
    We are the better for presence.

  41. Philb

    Gillard, Shorten and the other members of the coup against Rudd, have best part destroyed the Labor party. Notwithstanding that salient fact, Shorten is out of touch with reality. There is an ever increasing dissatisfaction with Shorten, his support for policies like the social welfare card and other cuts to social welfare, are or should be a total anathema to the Labor party. Added to this, Shorten and Plibersek have all the charisma of a pair of badly painted garden gnomes. Any chance they had of winning an election has been squandered. They have been made to look ordinary in question time and have let the MSM lead them around like a couple of tethered cows . Shorten had enough ammunition on Abbott and the rest of the walking talking primates in the government to make a whole new series of comedy company, what did he do? Nothing. For mine, they should off load Shorten now, even at the risk of Turnbull calling an election. Either that, or the Labor party had better work out who they think they are representing in the parliament. As a life long member of the party it ain’t me anymore. I ‘m done with them.

  42. mars08

    @Philb…. Ah yes… the cashless welfare card! It’s getting has to keep track of all the times the Shorten folded in the face of the Coalition attack on vulnerable, powerless Australians.

  43. Bighead1883

    To both mars08 and Philb
    I don`t know which rock you pair cohabitate but it certainly is a primitive one

    Your party achieved 8.65% of the Federal vote and your party was involved in the 2 most environmentally destructive decisions to Australia

    First in rejecting Rudd`s ETS but it got far far worse in costly mistakes for Greens [over $40 billion per year to polluters] your party signed off on the LNP Direct Action Plan

    Environmental Party my ARSE

  44. corvus boreus

    Bighead1883,
    I have, on previous occasion, evidentially corrected your erroneous claims that the Greens voted in favour of ‘Direct Action’.
    You (eventually) acknowledged this at the time, but seem to have since regressed to your former misapprehensions.
    It seems it was a complete waste of time providing you with actual, factual information.

  45. Philb

    To Bighead 1883. I live under the rock next to yours. Mine is labelled ‘ Primitive’ Yours is ‘ Condescending know all ‘ What has the Direct Action plan got to do with the popularity or lack there of – of Shorten?

  46. Philb

    mars 08. Indeed it is. Shorten must live in a vacuum. I don’t think he realizes the damage he’s done to the party caving in to the social welfare policies of the government. A lot of baby boomers have just found out that retirement they were looking forward to at 65 is no more. In the case of my wife she now has to wait another 12 months c/o the Labor party. They have lost the plot. The recent Canning by election spoke volumes. The Labor party under the current circumstances should have won that seat easily. What happened they returned an idiot who thinks the world is 5000 years old. I despair.

  47. David

    Philb …I was trying to recall who led Labor to defeat in 2013? Julia had departed the scene, Shorten hadn’t finished sharpening his knife, so it must have been…..why Kevin!! come on down!

  48. Möbius Ecko

    Two years into their term and this government continues to blame Labor. There’s been a collapse in those taking up private health insurance and downgrading their cover.

    According to this government it’s the previous Labor government’s fault.

    Nothing to do with Howard’s very flawed policy of forcing people into private health, massively subsidising the private health providers, allowing them to constantly increase fees above inflation and also significantly de-fuding public health of course. Another in a long line of Howard failures that are still hurting us.

  49. Roswell

    Which Labor Government are they blaming, Mobius? Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Gillard or Rudd?

    They’re ridiculous enough to blame any of the country’s woes of any of the above.

  50. Philb

    David. Any problems that Rudd had when he was shafted by Gillard, were then unknown to the public or I might add members of the party, of which at the time I was one. Sure he was down in he polls and they panicked and Gillard took advantage of it. Rudd would have shit the next election in and we wouldn’t be having this debate.

  51. David

    @Philb..All presumptive and opinion Phil

  52. Anon E Mouse

    Shorten, like Beazley and Gillard, is too full of mee-too-ism, liblite disorder. They are indeed too far right.

    Wikileaks destroyed Shorten’s credibility, when he told the Yanks about knifing Rudd months before it happened. Rudd led a divided party before he was first elected PM, and knew the factions were a major issue. Rudd’s biggest problem is that he genuinely trusted the likes of Gillard, Swan, Shorten etc.

    Shorten may well be a very personable fellow, but lets face it apparently some of the greatest villains in history have been able to convince others they are nice folk.

    The issue for me with Shorten besides his skulduggery, that some may pass off as ‘politics’, is that he doesn’t have any fight, no get up and go. Despite the many opportunities where he could make a stand and create a real difference between Lib and Labor, he caves, falls in behind Abbott or Turnbull etc, and does the me-too thing.

    Now it may be hard for Labor with Shorten at the helm to go back on the heavy handed attitude towards our most vulnerable, because with Gillard they consigned poverty to single parents, kept the NT intervention going …

    Try as much as I can to like him, Shorten simply comes across as weak, indecisive, liblite.

    Also, I have a growing fear that a vote for Shorten led Labor will just be more of the coalition’s policies with minor tinkering at the edges.
    However, a vote for the Greens, given their past voting pattern of voting with the Libs, is also a vote for a coallition of Lib,Nat,Grn.

    Another aspect is that Shorten reminds me of Lawrence Springborg (Qld LOTO again) whose speaking voice is so boring it puts me to sleep – I have no idea what he says because my ears turn off with the white-noise.

    Put simply, the factions are shite at picking leaders, it is time the ordinary members had a say – and that say was Albo.

  53. Philb

    “@Philb..All presumptive and opinion Phil ”

    Never. You’re having a lend of me.

    Silly me everyone else’s is fact right?

  54. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    A few points I want to make.

    1) If Albo was the leader, I would be more willing to vote Labor. I want Labor returning at least to the Centre and preferably Left.
    2) The Greens have exercised their rightful democratic right and voted according to what they perceived as the best political measure according to the policy innovation they were pursuing. Amazing as that might seem to you and me, that might even allow elements in the Government some kudos for thinking through solutions.
    3) I reinforce my stance that the best solution for fair minded, innovative and diverse Australians is an Alliance of the Greens; a thinking, reformed Labor; and a combination of sane Independents. This way all such parties bring their own priorities and values to the table to be negotiated and melded into a collective approach to politics that provides answers for all of us 99%.

  55. Anon E Mouse

    I am unsure of the Greens Jennifer.
    Can we forget them voting with the Lib-Nats to kill Rudd’s ETS for petty politics.
    Again the Greens voted with the Lib-Nats, granting Hockey an unlimited deficit ceiling.
    And again to cut aged pensions.
    The Greens leader appears to be aligning himself and his party very closely with the Lib-Nats.

    Sadly I think the Greens have lost their ideology and have become more like the Democrats were. Who can forget Meg Lees and her part in giving us the GST.

  56. mark delmege

    Anon …On the matter of empire vassals and satraps the Greens are no better than Labor. Merely tolerated dissidents to give the illusion of democracy and independence. Like Labor they will do nothing to challenge empire or educate the people (or even their members) on what is happening in the world.

  57. myzania3350

    When he became leader, I had wanted Albanese to be it. There was just something that I didn’t like. I don’t know how many times I had to be told that he was being a “small target” deliberately… I sort of understood it, but still, some things he & labor supported/ are supporting just stunk.
    Of course, the nice – but awkward – thing for me is that he’s not my local MP. I have a dialogue with Catherine King MP over several issues.
    Now, I’m brought around somewhat. I saw Shorten’s talk on the Q&A hosted in Ballarat and liked what I saw. Some things still stink though.
    Like their policies on asylum seekers.
    Tbh, I wonder if half the problem is not just hope/ obvious charisma/ etc. but a combination, with the fact that young voters with a strong social conscience like me need to be persuaded to “come back” so to speak. We want difference and real change. The Greens aren’t perfect, but they appear better than the other major options.
    I’m inclined to vote Green, but with Labor in 2nd/ 3rd, and LNP always last. 🙂

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