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The state of play

Election 2019: Some background

Bill Shorten took over as leader of Australian Labor Party in 2013 and resigned in 2019 after taking the party to two elections.

He lost both narrowly.

In 2016 he came within one seat of becoming Prime Minister after adopting a strategy of prematurely revealing major policies well before the election.

He also adopted a confrontational approach to the everyday swings of Australian politics. An approach that was seen as sensible for some and light-on by others.

He wasn’t expected to win in 2016 so his narrow loss was seen as exemplary. In 2019 he was in better shape and given the dreadful performance of the Coalition was expected to win easily.

Labor had led in the polls for the better part of three years. It repeated Shorten’s plan of revealing policy early.

In the face of arguably the worst governance the nation had ever experienced, with infighting and three Prime Ministers in three years it is hard to see how Labor lost.

Until now I haven’t ventured down this path, the why Labor lost road, but I knew I would have to face it sooner or later.

To say that it was a shocker would be an understatement. It was a devastating loss. Nobody expected it. It was as we say, an unloseable election.

Labor had lost, but what wasn’t acceptable was that they had lost to the worst government in Australian political history. And might I add, they lost a fair slice of their base.

The eventual winner, Morrison campaigned with all the ferocity of a leader with nothing to lose, lying at will, exaggerating and inventing successful scare tactics that Labor failed to counter.

Was Morrison a better leader and campaigner? Did the Coalition have better policies? Was it how the votes fell in different states? What effect did religion have on the result? What part did the press play?

Morrison in his acceptance speech said it was:

“The quiet Australians” who voted for his party. “It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day, they have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing.”

“To start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight.”

Anthony Albanese the favorite to take over the leadership said that the task was to respect the election outcome, “go back, talk to people and do better, because our people need us to be in government. I think Australia needs a Labor government.”

Before I go on there has been an event that will directly affect the approach of both parties as we move toward the next election.

Morrison meeting Trump and the subsequent words uttered by both confirm that both parties intend taking a nationalist approach to their politics.

In Australia the Liberal Party is now dead and buried. Morrison has confirmed it with his cloning of Trump’s speech to the United Nations.

At a time when what the world needs to solve problems of great importance is “internationalism” Scott Morrison has chosen to take the Trump path of “nationalism”.

The problem of climate change, international trade and indeed the human rights of the world’s citizens will not be resolved by nations looking inward.

Imagine if you will, a world where each nation outside of those able to stand on their affluence was subservient to the rich nations. Australia first, America first, England first, Japan first.

Where does it end? No nation is an island. (“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” said John Donne).

It is indeed sad, even hilarious, that after a week with Trump, Morrison was converted by the greatest fraud of our times into his illogical thinking.

Trump declared that the future belonged to the “patriots” and not “globalists.” Then Morrison echoed Trumps intemperate language.

By choosing to follow the ideology of the dangerous sociopath, Morrison by his own mental incapacity has humiliated our nation and placed us in the position of holding the hand of the imbecile.

He has no mandate for this.

Now back to the election background

Labor was so far in front in the polls for so long that it seemed inevitable that they would win. They had introduced policies that would result in a fairer more equitable Australia.

They were up front about where the money would come from and how it would be redistributed.

Conversely the Coalition was in a mess changing its leader three times. Internal disputes kept pulling them apart.

The Coalition for three years had been so riddled with infighting about its ideology. And so poor was their governance that they were criticised on a daily basis for it.

Their words and actions brought into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence. Just because clowns were governing us it didn’t mean it was a laughing matter. Well, on reflection sometimes it became so.

We had gone through the Abbott years of incompetence followed by Turnbull’s years of hypocrisy.

Now almost 12 months into its third term the chaos and incompetence of Morrison continues with the same moronic ministers still in do-nothing mode.

It has become deeply imbued in either no policies for energy or climate change or enquiry after enquiry that are never revealed to the public.

The only legislation put forward is that which will further erode your civil rights or give the police more powers.

But this isn’t new, its stuff they have been working on for six years.

Yes, that is so. For six and a bit years the Coalition – while trying to re brand itself as a right-wing, deeply conservative political party – has at the same time been performing double back flips to produce policies that are of no importance to the people. It has all been about the brand. We are the best to handle the economy, the best on immigration, border protection and so on. We are the tuff party.

The battle for supremacy between the wets and dries, that is, the moderates and the hard-right has been fought and won by the hard-right. The Liberal Party exists in name only.

One might in fact argue that it is this internal debate that is dragging them into a dysfunctional rabble.

Malcolm Turnbull for all his pretension of being a moderate never offered his vast intelligence to this debate instead parking his views on climate science and energy least it upset the far-right colleagues of the party who were busy fighting nationalist wars.

Eventually the white flag of surrender was raised by the small “L” libs and the Liberal Party now exists in name only.

The reason Scott Morrison is Prime Minister is because he best fits the brand image of a far-right party. Remember that no one could explain why he was Prime Minister?

It has been a most bizarre period in Australian political history.

Now most of Morrison’s time is spent defending policies be it cuts to the ABC, a poor Internet service, the NDIS or their disgraceful response to the Uluru statement. The fact is that it rejected the proposal for ideological reasons, instead of having a proper debate, raises the question: Is there a place for the colour black in a “Nationalist” Australia?

Now that Morrison has adopted Trump’s language of putting nationalism before internationalism, one’s country before all others. Does it mean that our government will ignore the advice and or findings such as the UN or the international Monetary Fund or the WHO and others?

After six years is this government of the people, for the people; their sole achievement, other than introducing marriage equality, that we are a nationalist government believing that global governments are non-existent and unnecessary.

But then this is a born-to-rule government unconcerned with the views of others: of women, scientists, policy experts and particularly the young and most definitely other countries other than the United States of America of course.

If what has been done by this government; the erosion of our democracy and its institutions and a transformation into a nationalist government, putting itself first among all nations then by their own standards they need to be shown the door.

Just who does this Prime Minister think he is that on a thought bubble of his own wind, in the loneliness of his limited intellect, think that he can make decisions concerning our standing in the world with all the simplicity of a leader unsuited to the task?

It’s not often you can offend all sides of an argument.

My thought for the day

This American Conservative political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending it’s only they that have the answers is being duplicated in Australia. It seems Australians are falling for it. I thought we were brighter than that.

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  1. Baby Jewels

    I think you’re right John. Revealing their policies early and not countering Liberal lies. At the time, I was massively frustrated that Labor did little to counter blatant lies from the Liberals. Did Labor expect people to know they were lies? If they did, therein lies the problem. Gullible, not very bright voters. Willingly sucked in by scare tactics, without bothering to investigate whether it’s true. We must point out Liberal lies at every opportunity, so that they become known as the “Lying Liberals.” So that voters finally begin to question what they say, because they have a lying history. And when/if Labor does get back in, we need punitive legislation to stop lying by politicians. We don’t have a democracy if our government is elected on lies. It’s that important.

  2. Lawrence S. Roberts

    For Labor this was “The Climate Change Election.” So on the first day Adani should have been a non-starter which might have kept Dr. Bob Brown in Tasmania. The fact that the apparatchiks of the party could not see ‘the dirty pool’ of the LNP coming or were incapable of countering it would rather demonstrate that they were incapable of government.

    The ALP likes being the party of opposition. Good money, good perks, clean hands and no heavy lifting. They don’t want to win the next election either.

  3. Regional Elder

    Thanks for this fine summation John. My unpublished letter to the Editor of ‘ The Age’ is attached below. At the last election, Clive Palmer was the elephant in the room, in the mainstream media’s luke-warm response to the prospect of Shorten as Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Nine Media company is gradually turning this same newspaper into a clone of ‘ The Herald Sun. ‘ .

    While Bill Shorten has accepted responsibility for Labor not winning the 2019 election (‘ The Age’ 07/10), it is extraordinary that such brief mention is made of the saturation advertising against the Labor Party, by Clive Palmer, in the final weeks of the campaign.

    Palmer’s mainstream media blitz was unprecedented in its intensity, and reportedly its cost, upward of $50 million. No doubt this proved to be a profitable commercial investment for one of Australia’s wealthiest individuals, as little has been heard of Clive Palmer since the May election. Business, I assume, is proceeding as usual for Clive.

    Nonetheless, it is extraordinary that Labor, has saddled Shorten with full responsibility for ‘ losing the unlose-able election’ , when unprecedentedly, an Australian election was decided by a political party (The Palmer United Party) that actually won no seats. The PUP probably set a record in electoral spending, which on the basis of its scare campaign tactics targeting Shorten and Labor in Queensland, achieved precisely the result Clive Palmer wanted.

  4. Barry Thompson.

    John, in my opinion Labor released too many policies too early and in too much detail. Your average voter does not cope with such change. Sometimes honesty does not pay.
    Palmer’s massive spend on a lies campaign hurt badly.
    Labor did not refute the old furphy that the LNP are better at managing the economy. Statistics over the past 50 or so years show Labor to be the better manager’s of the economy, yet Labor did not do nearly enough to emphasise that and still doesn’t..
    Finally, Bill Shorten unfairly, carried too much baggage and the LNP, particularly that negativity expert Dutton, made unceasing attacks based on that perception.
    There are other things that did not help such as Bob Brown’s foray into Queensland, but that is my 2 bob’s worth, make of it what you will.

  5. wam

    How delicious, lord, just one seat.
    How many did he lose in Qld?????
    Congratulations booby a double 2009 the rabbott- 2019 scummo.

    As for poor old billy with his labor sense of honour and respect and limited access to sunrise and today, was a quiet leader and 6 years of quietness was shattered by a flurry of policies announced on the ABC which allowed the mnm to cut and paste snippets making billy look silly. The fat controller hit the papers full page 2/3 to complement the litany of lies by rupert et al and scummo did nothing but grin and be seen.
    The choice was clear labor and the greens or not.
    The workers frightened for their current and future jobs switched to adani with scummo winning two seats and the loonies got their cash.
    ps good thinking, lord was that shiny black?? Perhaps since 75 scummo’s lot have successfully not painted labor white?

  6. Terence Mills

    The AEC have called for the petitions [to the Court of Disputed Returns] involving Liu and Frydenberg to be dismissed.

    In the case of Liu, the signs in AEC colours and written in Mandarin Chinese, it is argued, were designed to tell Chinese voter that the correct vote was to vote 1 Liberal.
    The Liberal party’s acting Victorian director, Simon Frost, “intended” the signs to say “to make your vote count put a 1 next to the Liberal candidate” but admits the translation meant “correct way to vote”, “correct voting method” or “the right way to vote.”

    In my view the very integrity of our voting system is called into question by the clear intent of these signs : they were misleading and intended to deceive Mandarin speaking voters who had come from a more authoritarian background and to direct their votes : this matter must be tested.

    As regards Frydenberg, there have been consistent claims that to investigate him concerning his possible acquired citizenship under section 44 has anti-semitic undertones particularly from the noisy right wing. That is clearly a smoke screen as all that is happening is a call for the High Court as the Court of Disputed Returns to further clarify the implications of section 44 (i) particularly the still vague reference to a person who is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power. Depending on how the High Court interprets this in the Frydenberg case will determine if we need to change the Constitution or to introduce clear legislated guidelines for intending politicians.

    Attempts to block these matters from being ruled on are patently undemocratic : there is of course the possibility that if these seats were to be subject to new elections at least one could be lost to the government and perhaps that explains the push to avoid scrutiny with all that that implies.

  7. totaram

    ” It seems Australians are falling for it. I thought we were brighter than that.”
    Nothing to do with being bright, and all to do with the information on offer: coalition/IPA propaganda 24/7, with massive overload with $60 million spend just before the election. Remember Goebbels.

    Everything else is irrelevant. All your wonderful analysis and description hasn’t been seen or heard by the masses. They will never know.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Leaflets delivered anonymously to letterboxes in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville have been slammed as “disgusting” and “illegal”.

    Written in English, Chinese and Arabic, the flyer advises people not to vote for Labor “if you want to protect family value and future” or ‘if you do not want your children become homosexuality”.

    The flyer’s slogans, which were incorrectly translated into English also discouraged people from voting for the party ‘if you do not want the children have 63 genders’.

    The other side of the leaflet includes cartoon images of a man masturbating, as well as what appears to be two men in bed and two women in bed.

    A similar leaflet appeared across the suburb before the same-sex marriage vote in 2017.

    According to the 2016 census, 36 per cent of Hurstville’s population were born in China.

  9. Phil Pryor

    Australia usually has been well enough educated by world standards, but is not necessarily bright. Our base was British lower and low middle class mainly, but with many of those seeking opportunity which had been denied and repressed. Few get into a professional approach to investigation, analysis, consideration. It is and always was a conservative, revert to type electorate, with pushy right wing diehards in each of the major groups. Progressivism means some sacrifice, some loss, to most people, who will not accept that unless it is clear the sacrifice is equal, by all, for all. ALP base now, like the Greens, contains the rump of progressivism, but that is hard won. The conservative parties now have fewer than ever moderates, with the old “Mill or Gladstone or Deakin” liberal attitude. While our nation needs strong reform and progressive attitudes, it will be a hard fight to get understanding, commitment, pay and support. The older, stronger, union base has shrunk, people are just consumers, fit to be lied to on everything from groceries, cars and housing by the expanding class of liars, manipulators and crooks, represented so well by such as Murdoch, Morrison, Joyce, Stokes, Palmer, etc. Hanson is the whooping, whining, whingeing whore to suit a small hopeless section. Corporations, with enormous amounts of USA sourced money in institutional investment, control us, dominating banks, finance, retail biggies, mining and energy sources. Ordinary Australians are betrayed, in insolence, by superstitious fools and liars, from the top down, and that stinks. It’s KING GREED in control, with egodrenched grinners and sluts for money and pose that prevail.

  10. RomeoCharlie29

    The polls may have been wrong about the likely result but they weren’t wrong about how the voters felt about Bill Shorten. He never once got within cooee of any of the Lib leaders as ppm. Towards the end of the campaign he was making wild, and expensive policy offerings —- we will pay childcare workers? — which were both not thought through, and not convincingly explained. Meanwhile the Palmer/Lib lies went basically unchallenged – where was the repudiation of the $387 bn in new taxes? I wonder how many times the idiots of Queensland are going to swallow the Palmer bullshit? Bitter? You bet I am. We are saddled for another three years with the worst government in Australia’s history, the dumbest but cunningest (?) pm, an economic illiterate treasurer and surely the most dangerous man in Australian history, the fascist Dutton hellbent on invading our privacy and civil rights. And short of sudden deaths causing byelections, we have no way of getting rid of them. Meanwhile they stack the appeals tribunals with their failures, destroy regulatory agencies and the protections they are supposed to offer us and blindly pursue their holy grail, the surplus, while overseeing a worsening economy, flatlining wages and the destruction of retail. With a mostly compliant media — apart from a few honourable exceptions probably not read by the hoi polloi — they will continue to turn a once great country into a vassal state of the US and it’s seriously unhinged Leader and Government. We need to take to the streets, starting in Queensland where Labor seems to be implementing a new Joh-style police state.

  11. whatever

    The Coalition run these ‘micro-managed’ campaigns all the time, and they are not just about winning the hearts and minds of individuals – they are betting on a ‘multiplier-effect’ whereby entire congregations of churches, Shooters and sports clubs can swing a whole electorate.

  12. Keitha Granville

    Agree with most responders. I was shattered after the election, in total disbelief that many voters had been so easily conned. Lied to, bribed, misinformed, bamboozled with cheap slogans.

    We used to be the clever country, we are now a bunch of dumb hicks like most of the rustbelt in the USA, and our PM is now a total clone of D Trump. I would say god help us, but he doesn’t exist. If he did the planet would not be dying, people would not be starving and we’d all be nice to each other.

    I foresee years in the wilderness, not unlike the Menzies era. Except we don’t have Menzies, who had many faults but I’d even prefer him to the current schmuck.

  13. Kampbell

    Regional Elder, I agree, Palmer’s adds were running several months prior to the election on YouTube before just about every video I watched. The effect of these and the constant debasing of all things Labor on all fronts took a toll on the truth. I was was surprised at the vitriol for Bill Shorten, personally.
    I was always optimistic about Australia, but all I see now is a bitter, divided nation of greedy, grasping individuals, a political class being over run by religious fanatics and US style evangelicals, and the left side hoplessly divided. I dream of a Labor Green coalition that will one day, get rid of the grubs and chancers ruining our country.

  14. Wam

    Kampbell at last the lord did some adding up of the seats, noticed that labor wins if it holds the qld seat and almost mentioned the loonies.
    You talk about the ads months before when labor was leading. You avoid the days before ‘loonies’attack. Did you see it on the mns news? Did you see it with yellow vests being screamed at by boobby’s women?
    Get off your arse albo and speak to the workers who thought shorten and the loonies were going to take their jobs.
    The modern greens are not the ideals based men and women of last century they are the diludbransimkims with an agenda replacing principles. The last thing labor needs is dinatale’s boys.
    So go for it Albo and dump dinatale and his boys.
    Lord bite the bullet on the loonies and I will give a woman I happen to admire, despite calling her torpid Tanya, credit for giving Katter and the Queenslanders a boost with her attacks on adani
    Whatever it took shorten 6 years to get to a winning position and, with help, labor blew it.

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Shorten was not trusted by many loyal Labor followers and with the polls running so far in their favour, many voters thought that a protest vote would not be enough for Labor to lose.

    Also the CFMEU were running facebook posts saying Labor was going to introduce death taxes and tax pensioners. This is why Albo is so very right in getting rid of Setka.
    Who can forget the union that supported Campbell Newman to win in Qld – then he sacked a lot of the same union members in the public service.

    Something fishy is going on.

  16. wam

    Lord keep fit and strong.
    good to see kaye moving into queensland??

    Whatever was the scummo miracle the confrontation in townsville or am I just biased against boobby and Tassie’s bass and braddon were the killers?
    So forget the loonies, billy was right as confirmed by the 68 year old ‘labor twit from ravenswood whose words””I don’t trust Bill Shorten and I think Labor would have won if he hadn’t been the leader,” show how easy it is to cut off your nose to spite your face?? Sorry boobby nothing wrong with chasing a quid and you did lose the influence a balance of power.

    climate change
    As an answer to rabbottians, I tried the ploy of telling a story that if I collected the urine from deniers and then injected it back wouldn’t that upset the system??

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