The headline in The Age today, ‘Battle lines: Shorten’s great election risk’ linked to the article ‘I can win’: Bill Shorten draws election battle lines.
‘Great election risk’ is good click bait. I’m glad it was, otherwise I might not have bothered to read the article. The mainstream media has a habit of giving us blazing, enticing headlines that, when read, reveal stories far removed from what the headline suggested.
After reading this particular article I would have been more satisfied if the headline was ‘Shorten is addressing the issues that Turnbull ignores: issues vital to the future of Australia’. Because that was the crux of the article.
It is unlikely that the Murdoch media will pay any attention to Shorten’s important statements (nope, just checked, they are nowhere on news.com) so it is up to social and independent media to help spread the message. Perhaps the reason the Murdoch media will ignore his statements is because they might win Labor some votes.
Many, many readers of the social and independent media sites don’t read anything published in the mainstream media. For good reason, of course. However, this is one article worth reading. Here are the main points:
Bill Shorten says he will put climate change at the centre of his campaign to become prime minister despite the political risks as he seeks to draw the election battle lines against the “underwhelming” Malcolm Turnbull.
As Mr Turnbull prepares to mark six months in power on Monday – and with early-budget and double-dissolution election speculation now at fever pitch – Mr Shorten says the Prime Minister has been a huge letdown for many Australians.
As Mr Shorten prepares to give a major set-piece speech outlining his election priorities to the National Press Club on Tuesday, he has declared he will not run a “small target” election campaign by avoiding tough issues.
Rather, Labor will continue to put out detailed and potentially contentious policy proposals, as it did on negative gearing.
And he won’t be shying away from the issue that did so much damage to Labor under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
“We’re going to fight the election with climate change as one of our big issues,” he said. “Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for Australia if we respond to it correctly.”
Labor has already proposed ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets and has promised to take a new emissions trading scheme to the election.
Asked about the political risk of taking an ETS to the people so soon after the bruising carbon tax debate, Mr Shorten said: “We’re risking the future if we don’t show leadership.”
“I’m not going to go down Mr Turnbull’s low road of just wanting the job for the sake of having the job. There’s no point being in politics – or seeking to form a government – if you’re not going to do anything to improve this country,” he said.
While the election is still considered Mr Turnbull’s to lose, there is a growing sense that Mr Shorten and his team cannot be written off.
He believes the election will ultimately be less about personalities and more about ideas – and he doesn’t believe the government has many ideas.
“My prediction is they’re going to have a couple of positive announcements and then they’re going to go negative,” he said.
The election will also be about unity, conviction and authenticity.
“I run my party, Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t run his,” Mr Shorten said.
“My party’s united, Malcolm Turnbull’s party is divided. I don’t have to pretend to be what I’m not – Malcolm Turnbull does.”
Bingo! Bill Shorten wants to do something about climate change and Malcolm Turnbull is a leader of a divided party.
But this article began with the suggestion that Bill Shorten is taking a risk in making climate change mitigation an election issue. I disagree with this suggestion. I believe we are taking a risk if we don’t address climate change. This is, and should be, one of the major issues this country faces. Bill Shorten wants to talk about it, but meanwhile elsewhere we’ll be reading we should be having discussions whether or not climate change is real, or they’ll keep promoting the opinion of deniers, or this suggestion from Lenore Taylor that much about this election is unknown.
Well this is known: Bill Shorten and Labor want to do something about climate change. One of the reasons they lost the 2013 election was because of their climate change strategies. I commend Bill Shorten for having the guts not to be deterred, and for putting issues and policy at the centre of the table.
If that’s a risk, then it’s one worth taking. The electorate deserve to know that he’s prepared to take it.