Language is a great thing. The way in which you frame something makes all the difference. Consider the following truly frightening government positions:
- All Australian states have colluded to pass legislation that allows an unelected official to determine who is fit to drive. In order to be allowed to drive on the roads, you will be required to pay for a “licence” and the rules and costs vary from state to state.
- Unless the elites at some university agree, you are not allowed to practice medicine and to call yourself a doctor.
- Government legislation will prevent you from marrying the person of your choice without consent.
Ok, they all sound pretty scary… unless, of course, you think about them and realise that we’ve had driving licenses nearly as long as we’ve had cars, it would be terrifying to discover that the person about to amputate your leg has had no formal training and that the consent referred to means the consent of the person, not the consent of the government.
And, while I’ve grown used to picking apart the rantings of Andrew Bolt and other nuts, the way in which Peter Dutton has started to frame things is making me start to wonder exactly what he’s hoping to achieve. The Liberals are sounding less like an alternative government and more like that uncle who tells you that he’s no longer going to vote for Pauline Hanson because she’s too much of a lefty.
Now let me be quite clear here: I think that there needs to be a massive reset in Australian politics. For too long we’ve had the Labor Party referred to as the left and socialists when most of their policies are less socialist than the Nationals who seem to believe that we should be subsidising all sorts of things like mining companies, farmers and country pubs where drought envoys stop off to send the odd text telling the PM that the biggest single cause of a drought is the lack of water but beer may work as a substitute. For too long we’ve had the Liberals referred to as the conservatives when their policies on everything from industrial relations to climate change has nothing to do with keeping things the way they’ve always been but ripping away any institution which prevents them from doing exactly as they like.
I don’t accept the view that the two major parties are just as bad as each other but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a number of areas where Labor need to lift their game. The trouble with the current state is that when you have The Greens telling the world that Labor aren’t doing enough and the Coalition saying they’re doing too much, Labor are in an electoral sweet spot where they seem to the average person not paying attention to be doing just fine.
But back to Peter Dutton. At the moment, he’s pinning all his hopes on scuttling the Voice referendum and using that to make Albanese look bad. The trouble with this strategy is twofold. First, if he loses after opposing the Voice it’ll be the first time a Constitutional referendum has succeeded without the support of both major parties. Second, there’s not a lot of people who are going to change their vote over his “success” in stopping those “elite Canberra Indigenous” from having a voice. When you have the likes of Andrew Bolt in your corner, you’re not going to win over many people who don’t already think that we spend far too much time and money on people who should just get on with their lives and be successful by doing what Gina Rinehart did and work hard.
Yes, attacking big companies may have some support amongst the left, but when you follow it up and suggest that they really don’t support the Voice and that they’re just doing because they’re not prepared to stand up to woke bullies, you seem to have lost the plot if only for the fact that you’re suggesting that a powerful executive is likely to be bullied by Socialist Sally who works at the Vegan Grocery store.
Ok, ok, that’s a slightly absurd stereotype but the point remains. For Dutton to suggest that secretly people agree with him but they’re not prepared to say so publicly for fear of upsetting the “elites” is the sort of nonsense that we’re used to hearing from One Nation senators. Oh, and apparently Linda Burney is an elite, according to Dutton.
Then I suppose in Dutton’s world view anyone who disagrees with him and has sufficient profile to be reported IS an elite and the only people we should listen to are the ones who aren’t saying anything because, in all likelihood, they agree with him.
I’m looking forward to the framing of the Fadden by-election as a referendum on the Voice. An interesting take, given we’re going to have an actual vote on the Voice in the next few months, but…
Anyway, in the next couple of weeks the polls on the Voice will jump around amazingly because the methodology of the various companies taking them is so widely different, making them almost useless. Each poll will undoubtedly be reported as though it’s 100% accurate and reflects the fact that several million people have changed their mind in just a week. We’ll have discussions about the by-election being an indication of how much ground the Liberals are making up on Labor even though at this stage of the electoral cycle in a safe Liberal seat at a time of rising interest rates and inflation a five percent swing to the Liberals wouldn’t be a bad result for Labor… And finally, sometime after the Voice referendum, we’ll have someone put their hand up for the Liberal leadership…
Probably not Scotty from Marketing. Although he may decide that it’s the only job that he’s qualified for.
Someone needs to tell him that he wasn’t even qualified for that one.
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