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Writing the Narrative, or should that be “Righting the Narrative”?

narrative

 

“As a result, a story has emerged about Labor that goes like this. Faced with the transformation of its old supporter base, and having failed to build a new one, it has lost belief and self-belief. Machine men predominate. Policy is made only with an eye on the focus groups.

 

But another story is also true. Through a traumatic period, Labor ministers have focused on producing good policy. They deserve more credit for it than they have got. Their response to the global financial crisis led the world, and they have kept the economy strong since then.”

A Year in My Father’s Business James Button

 

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted Labor did not have a mandate for introducing a carbon tax, naming it as a major policy the party “got wrong” during its term in Government.

Asked on Insiders this morning why the Government deserved to be re-elected, he said all governments make mistakes.

ABC NEWS 25th August, 2013

We initially were told that Gillard was the worst Prime Minister since Whitlam before it was decided that she was the worst PM ever. So, I’m going to throw a couple of questions out here, just for fun.

How much net debt did the Fraser Government inherit from Whitlam?*

Which Australian Government left the highest debt to GDP ratio when leaving office?

The answer to those two questions may surprise you. The answer to the first is “None”#, while the answer to the second is the Fraser Government, with Howard as Treasurer.

Howard’s record as a Treasurer is impressive, he remains the only one to get the 10% inflation while unemployment was also 10%. When Howard was PM, rather than use the proceeds of the mining boom to build infrastructure or to invest in our future, he established more middle-class welfare like the Baby Bonus or the private health insurance subsidy

Yet, somehow the Liberals have been able to write the narrative that they’ve been good economic managers. Whitlam had to deal with the oil shocks of the 70’s, and Rudd/Gillard had the Global Financial Crisis. And somehow, the Liberal narrative ignores these to suggest that it was thanks to Labor that these things occurred.

How?

Well, Labor doesn’t exactly help itself. Kevin Rudd’s mea culpa on the Carbon Tax is symptomatic. “We made mistakes, but we’ve learned” seems to be the way Labor approach being voted out of office.

Rudd, of course, made that comment while still Prime Minister, so he got in early. Labor reacts like someone who feels the relationship break-up was all their fault. “I know that it’s not you, it’s me. What can I do to get you back?”

The Liberals react like someone who should have a restraining order. “I’m going to stand here throwing rocks through your window until you realise you should take me back!”

Labor thinks they get voted out because they’ve made too many mistakes, whereas the Liberals seem to think that it’s the electorate whose made the mistake.

I’d like to see someone from the Labor side of politics say that Whitlam was a far more successful Prime Minister than Malcolm Fraser. He achieved most of his agenda and is probably proud of the way he left Australia. Medicare, for one thing.

Hawke and Keating transformed the economy. Rudd and Gillard saw us through the GFC and established the NDIS. I know there’s more. but it’s Labor who should be selling the narrative of their achievements, not apologising for the bits they got wrong.

(When did you ever hear Abbott or Hockey say that the Howard Government was anything less than perfect?)

Howard? His greatest achievement was the Goods and Services Tax – he said so himself. (Although, I think most of us would have said gun control.)

And Fraser? Well, he promoted Howard to the role of Treasurer. Perhaps, there’s something I missed.

  • http://www.marketeconomics.com.au/2024-labor-or-liberal-government-debt

#Many dispute this. I read the reasons. It’s a bit like an argument that Isaac Newton didn’t contribute to Science because Gravity hadn’t been invented then, and anyway, the story about the apple tree isn’t real.

1 comment

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  1. Brian

    Exactly the points I try and make to Liberal friends when they crap on about how Labor ruin everything. Keating handed Howard a strong and growing economy and claimed all of the success. Labor has never defended the perception they are bad economic managers when it’s easy to prove otherwise, just use facts!!

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