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The cupboard was bare!

By Ad Astra

It wasn’t easy getting into the nerve centre of the LNP – the secret place where talking points, election strategies and day to day tactics are brainstormed by the Coalition’s eggheads in the dead of night – but eventually, more by good luck than good management, I found myself in the inner sanctum.

The secrets of the LNP were stored there, not in neatly labelled filing cabinets, or cleverly organized computer files, such as would befit a modern, forward-looking political party. Instead, they were stored in a wooden cupboard, like those that once graced the kitchens of our grandmothers. Its surface bore that worn, ‘distressed’ look that now appeals to upmarket millennials. It was surrounded by an untidy mess: kitchen paraphernalia, a few bottles of wine in a basket and a tatty rack, and a couple of barrels, presumably left over from a late-night drinking session.

Surprised as I was, I reasoned that such an ancient cupboard at least did capture the image of a well-established organisation with a rich history extending back many decades. But it did seem strange that such an old-fashioned object could be the repository for the Coalition’s visions, secrets, plans, and tactics. But who was I to judge?

Intrigued, I began exploring, pulling out drawers and opening doors via knobs worn smooth by continual use. I was surprised there were no visible labels, but soon discovered that they were inside, scribbled on bits of paper browning around the edges with the telling signs of age.

In a top drawer, written with blue Texta on half a page of yellowing newspaper, I found a telling label: ‘Good Slogans’. Underneath I found a rich lode. Scribbled with crayon on a large piece of Butchers Paper, I found:

  • Jobs and Growth
  • Coalition runs strong economy
  • Strong economy needed to provide services
  • Labor can’t manage money – would weaken the economy
  • If you can’t manage money, you can’t run an economy
  • Labor: higher taxes, more debt, weaker economy
  • Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver lower taxes, more jobs and a stronger economy which underpins record spending on essential services
  • Under the Coalition, Australia will be stronger
  • Under Bill Shorten’s Labor government, Australia will be weaker
  • Labor’s debt and deficit
  • Coalition is paying off Labor’s debt
  • Coalition is ‘in the black’
  • Labor will hit you with $287 billion of new taxes
  • Labor will tax everything and everybody
  • Labor’s Retiree Tax
  • Labor’s Housing Tax
  • Labor’s Higher Income Tax
  • Labor’s Investment Tax
  • Labor’s Family Business Tax
  • Labor’s Superannuation Taxes
  • Labor’s Electricity Tax
  • Labor’s Car Tax
  • Labor’s (and Greens’) Death Tax

In another corner of this drawer, I found a battered Bushells Tea Tin. On the lid, scrawled in red Texta, I read: ‘Great Anti-Shorten Slogans’.

Inside were scraps of paper, a motley collection of what the Coalition regards as telling zingers, recognizable to us all through repeated use:

  • Bill Shorten lies all the time
  • You can’t believe anything he says
  • Bill Shorten can’t lie straight in bed
  • Bill Shorten doesn’t know what he’s talking about
  • Shorten gets his facts wrong, again and again
  • Shorten is coming after your money
  • Shorten will have his hands in your pocket
  • When Shorten spends, you pay
  • Bill Shorten will send you the bill
  • Shorten’s taxes will hit you all
  • Shorten won’t tell you how much he’s spending
  • Shorten is dishonest with the Australian people

I marvelled at how much effort had been put into these anti-Labor and anti-Shorten slogans. They looked like a schoolchild’s first project, with words scratched out and over-written. Many hours of thought must have gone into refining them. No doubt the authors were proud of their efforts.

I looked for, and eventually found a tin labelled: ‘Pro-Coalition Slogans’, but was surprised how small it was. I looked inside and was even more surprised at how few slogans promoted the virtues of a Coalition government. Apart from the boast of its economic superiority and its sterling record of managing the economy and creating jobs, there was little else. I thought that surely there must be more to crow about after all the years the Coalition has been in power?

What about an energy policy? In one compartment, I was excited to find a piece of paper with ‘Energy’ scribbled on it. Alongside it, there were several scraps of paper. Filled with expectation I looked through them. All had been screwed up, all had different dates, all had the same word scrawled on them: NEG. I looked around for one with a recent date, but all the dates were old.

With more hope than expectation, I looked in the next compartment eager to find something on climate policy. I was astonished. In a large rusting biscuit tin I found a collection of what looked like climate change notes. They were in Tony Abbott’s handwriting: “Climate science is crap.”, “Climate change is a relatively new political issue, but it’s been happening since the earth’s beginning.”, “I am hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change. I just think that the science is highly contentious, to say the least.”, “The climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now.”, “Are we proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years.”, “Climate change happens all the time and it is not man that drives those climate changes back in history. It is an open question how much the climate changes today and what role man plays.” The notes were well fingered. No doubt they had been a rich source of inspiration and quotable quotes for his climate denier mates.

Since it has become such a hot political issue, made all the more so since the election was called, with urgent action on climate change now supported by a majority of electors and most stridently by young people, who see their planetary home disintegrating before their eyes, I looked through the other scraps of paper for the Coalition’s thoughts on climate change. There were a few scrawled in what looked like Morrison’s hand: “We’re taking positive action on climate change through Direct Action”, “We’ll meet our emissions targets in a canter”, “We’ll meet our Kyoto 20 and 30 targets”. “Emissions are falling”. I looked then for the newspaper clipping of his recent concession that emissions, in fact, are not falling, searching for his actual words: that emissions ‘had lifted’. I couldn’t find it.

Climate change action seemed a low priority. There were though bits of paper with “Coal will be a part of our energy mix for many years”. “Coal will remain a major export commodity”. There was even a photo of our PM fondling a piece of coal in parliament telling us not to be afraid of it!

I got the impression that there was nothing more to find about climate change action.

Tiring, I looked around for a compartment that might give me a picture of what the Coalition thought about this nation’s future, apart from its mantras about a strong economy, and more jobs and growth. How did they see our nation developing? What future did they envisage for our people? What could they promise our young folk? Surely any plans the Coalition had must be based on its vision of our future.

I was becoming desperate. I looked and looked for a compartment labelled ‘Vision’. There must be one somewhere. Eventually, I found a small door, stuck closed and festooned with cobwebs. I managed to prise it open with a screwdriver that I found in the cutlery drawer. Inside, I was delighted to find a faded, dog-eared label: ‘Vision’.

I fossicked around expectantly looking for the Coalition’s Vision for our Nation. I explored every nook and cranny. Surely there must be something that would reveal its shining dream!

The compartment was empty.

If the Coalition hadn’t got a vision, surely they must have some plans, some new policies for the next three years. Having listened to the Coalition launch, where Morrison boasted that he had ‘a plan’ for everything, I expected to find a bundle of plans stashed away somewhere. So I looked for a receptacle labelled ‘Policies and Plans’. Eventually, I found a small tin. In it, there were a few dog-eared bits of paper. On them were written “economy strong”, “jobs growing”, “revenue solid”, “sponsors happy”, “everything’s fine”, and a fresh piece with “surplus coming” on it.” Then on a large piece initialled ‘SM” was written in capitals: “IF YOU HAVE A GO, YOU’LL GET A GO”, “BUILDING OUR ECONOMY, SECURING OUR FUTURE”, “WE BROUGHT THE BUDGET BACK TO SURPLUS NEXT YEAR”, “THERE’S MORE TO DO. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TURN BACK”, “YOU CAN’T TRUST BILL SHORTEN”, “LABOR CAN’T MANAGE MONEY”, “THIS ELECTION IS NOT A HOOPLA EVENT”, “I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT GAY PEOPLE GO TO HELL”, “I’M NOT RUNNING FOR THE POPE, I’M RUNNING FOR PRIME MINISTER”, “I WILL CONTROL COALITION POLICY DIRECTION”, and last of all, his coup de grâce: “IT IS MY VISION FOR THIS COUNTRY AS YOUR PRIME MINISTER TO KEEP THE PROMISE OF AUSTRALIA TO ALL AUSTRALIANS”.

Was that all the Coalition has planned for the years ahead?

Frustrated, I looked again for clues, any clues, that might spell out the Coalition’s story, its vision and its intentions for the next three years. I ransacked the entire cupboard looking for more than the few scraps of paper that I had already found.

The cupboard was bare!

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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20 comments

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  1. Wat Tyler

    Don’t forget, all of you who hope for a victory for decency and humanity and good old Aussie ‘fair go’, that this nation endorsed a coup against the only government that put Australians first – not the Hawke government, the Whitlam experiment.

  2. wam

    The image of the cupboard is so nostalgic. I can see the bread box with its rusty catch and a mouldy crust with the heart torn out.and rabbott droppings all over a note that said hawke heart of labor and a liberal brain.
    I see the stained glass windows with a couple of notes – don’y answer question about where the women are?
    spot on kronomex what a well written piece and ganley and the clp are rubbish but.

  3. Phil

    Old mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch poor Rover a bone. When she bent over Rover came over and found he had a bone of his own. Getting a little pissed up, big day tomorrow.

  4. Michael Taylor

    When Carol and I wake up in Edinburgh tomorrow morning, we will be glued to this site and Twitter.

    6pm in Canberra is 9am in Edinburgh.

    We hope that a Labor victory is called early.

  5. John Lord

    Is it in English Michael?

  6. New England Cocky

    Now perhaps people will understand a few of the frustrations of Australian voters living in urban regional centres and watching the Australia government representing the best interests of foreign owned multinational corporations to the detriment of the future of all our Aussie kids.

    The 18th of May 2019 has arrived!!

    VOTE!!!

    Indeed, vote early vote often and remember in regional electorates VOTE ANYONE BUT NAT$ & get a better parliament.

    The future is in my vote.

  7. Lawrence Winder

    Ah I think this place might have been in the IPA’s kitchen!

  8. Kronomex

    David Bruce,

    Take your bloody crap and peddle it somewhere else! You are like a scratched record…scratched record…

  9. ajogrady

    If Australia is a fair and open democracy and that those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom did not do so in vain then Labor should win the election by a landslide. Labor will need a landslide election win to buffer against an opposition that has been practising being in opposition for 6 years and a corrupt and biased Main Stream Media intent on making Labor’s stint in power as short as possible. But Australia is not a free and open democracy because of the corrupt Main Stream Media who have turned our Westminster system election into a Presidential style election because even though Morrison is a bare faced liar and a hopeless and corrupt politician, he is better then the hyenas that are his dysfunctional and divided parliamentary trough dwelling rabble that constitutes the L/NP’s true believers. Shame on the journalist who have sold their souls and sold out our democracy.Shame on them for betraying those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Main Stream Media prove that the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance of the Main Stream Media.

  10. Ad Astra

    Folks
    Thank you for your contributions to this piece.

    Indeed, the image of the cupboard brings back long-past memories. Your observation Lawrence Winder that the cupboard may have once been owned by the IPA is astute. It symbolises its antediluvian thinking.

    Michael Taylor, the portents for Labor are good with the polls and betting markets pointing to a Labor victory. But we cannot be confident until the votes confirm that they are right. Antony Green says that by 7.30 pm we should know if there if there is a clear winner, or whether we will have to wait until much later. So you should have some fix on the outcome by 10.30 am Edinburgh time.

  11. Henry Rodrigues

    At last folks, we’re almost there. As for Murdoch and his minions, Kerry Stokes and Peter Costello and the rest of the corrupt MSM, I certainly hope you all rot in hell. Never have I felt so strongly about any election before.

  12. Peter F

    For those who criticise parties on the left: .Please ask yourself ” How many governments around the world are Socialist at the moment? If the RWNJs with their ‘trickle down’ economies are so wonderful, how did we get to the present situation where gloom and doom are forecast?

  13. Egalitarian

    If the LNP win it will be monumentally sad day. Lets hope Australians are wise enough to make a change.

  14. Phil

    ‘ socialism works until you run out of other people’s money ‘

    Utter unadulterated bollox.

    Oh that’s right global warming is crap.

    Go back to sleep, get some rest Australia may need you.

  15. Phil

    ‘ At last folks, we’re almost there. As for Murdoch and his minions, Kerry Stokes and Peter Costello and the rest of the corrupt MSM, I certainly hope you all rot in hell. Never have I felt so strongly about any election before.’

    Me too. However my frustration is showing.

    I am 66 going on 16. I actually called a One Nation supporter handing out how to vote cards this morning a NAZI to his face. I was expecting a reaction, wanting with all my heart to give him a Liverpool kiss. He did not oblige me.

  16. Josephus

    19 May. Ad Astra you have horribly acutely described ( I wish it was a satire) what has been done to democracy in this country. Hung parliament or not, no major party in future will dare try to redress cruelty, indifference, greed , selfishness, because the media ensure that fear wins. Lies, crude slogans, populism. Feudalism wins: the coal barons, the banks, the property moguls .
    In my rural village Labor beat the Coalition at first preferences, doing so more clearly at stage two when the Greens’ 2nd preferences were added. Do not generalise that urbanites are progressive while ruralites are rednecks. I note too that immigrants interviewed on radio and tv were mostly pro Coalition- where is their sympathy for the off shore detainees, the homeless, the planetary future? Dutton voted back in! I feel like curling up into a ball.

  17. Jean

    Ad Astra – thanks for some light hearted relief after such a heart breaking result! The polls clearly were totally wrong – I doubt if we will ever place any trust in them for a long time. Time now to watch for the ‘Back in the Black’ next year and remember what was predicted. I too have felt like curling into a ball – but I think of Bill Shorten and his team, and wonder how they feel. They had the courage to plan something exciting for Australia and I have been silently saying ‘goodbye’ to many ideas as the day has passed. Uninformed voters and voters who don’t want to be informed!

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