#OneTermTony – back to basics

While I’m not entirely in agreement with Ms Rollison’s opinion that Labor needs to return to its union roots – we should also, in my opinion, be focussing on those who are no longer employees but who, thanks to Howardism, are now “aspirational” subbies – we are, as ever, are grateful to Ms Rollison for permission to republish her latest piece.

As the dust settles on Abbott’s election victory, I can’t help but feel extremely optimistic about this country’s future. That might sound like an odd thing to say, having blogged for three years about the nightmare prospect of an Abbott government. Don’t get me wrong, I know as well as anybody that we’re in for some very scary policy shifts in the next three years. However, since Abbott, thankfully, doesn’t control the Senate, and Rupert Murdoch doesn’t control the Senate and Gina Rinehart doesn’t control the Senate, all the money in the world isn’t going to help any of these three people to strip back the progressive reforms that were successfully implemented by the Gillard/Rudd government, should the Senate majority choose not to support these changes.

Abbott is going to have to sell his new policies and Labor policy rollbacks to small independent parties who owe him nothing. He’s promised not to negotiate with independents and minor parties to win power. But what point is there being in power if he can’t get anything done? He’s promised every angry bogan in Australia that he’s going to ‘axe the Carbon Tax’, and presumably they expect him to now axe the Emissions Trading Scheme. He’s promised every angry bogan and Gina Rinehart that he will axe the Mining Tax, but will he be able to do this without a majority in the Senate? So I hope Abbott’s feeling pretty impotent right now. And worried. Come the next election, not even hot daughters and a Murdoch media campaign can hide the fact that the angry bogans haven’t been given what they’ve been promised.

But Abbott’s impotence isn’t the only reason for my optimism. I also think an Abbott government is going to give the Labor party, and all progressive voters, a golden opportunity to go back to basics, and to question what exactly it is that we want from a progressive government and how we can bring about change without hitting the same hurdles which have damaged progressive reform in the last decade. Here are the lessons we need to learn to get things back on track in time to comprehensively beat Abbott in 2016. Bring on the One Term Tony campaign!

Labor’s relationship with unions

The issue of industrial relations was practically absent from this year’s election, even though Abbott’s front bench will essentially mimic John Howard’s front bench, the creators of Work Choices. There is no doubt that Abbott, or his backers at least, have an industrial relations policy in the works, ready to spring on unsuspecting voters who seem completely comfortable voting for a party who refuse to tell them what they plan to do in government.

But my question for progressive voters is this – should we wait until Abbott threatens worker’s rights to rise up and fight like we did in 2007, or should we be shoring up worker’s rights constantly, with a Labor Party that works in alliance with the Labour Movement through strong, fair, effective unions?

The problem with a strong, successful union movement is that unions have become the victims of their own success. Workers no longer acknowledge they need union support, until the moment they need union support. Union membership is at an all time low, especially amongst a younger generation of voters who have benefited from and lived complacently with union negotiated rights from the very start of their working lives.

I think it’s time progressive voters start to have a frank discussion about the role of unions in Australia, the benefit of unions, the relationship between the Labour Movement and the Labor Party, and the importance of unions working with the Labor Party. I think we should talk about the role of unions in the executive branch of the party – is it possible for them to have a fair influence without controlling everything? This sounds like a huge can of worms, but what better time to open it than now?

Uniting to get what we want

Long time readers of my blog will have noticed my frustration throughout this election campaign with the failure of progressive Green voters to unite with Labor voters to defeat Abbott with a unified front. Many will no doubt argue that Labor had no intention of unifying with Greens either, which may be so. But when Greens are actively campaigning against Labor, it does make the prospect of a united front a little hard to envisage.

When I say that progressive voters need to go back to basics, I think it’s really important that Greens voters and Labor voters start to realise that we’re not each other’s enemy and that we should be able to work together to bring about progressive reform, to the benefit of all of us.

For instance, using the policy of the Mining Tax as an example, it would be helpful if Greens supporters could at least acknowledge that Labor was forced to engage in a huge battle with rich mining companies over this policy. In a perfect world, Labor would have preferred a mining tax that more resembled the one outlined in the Henry Review, however progressive reform is not implemented by flicking a switch. You can’t just say ‘here it is’ and expect the policy to succeed. So when the Greens base their entire policy platform and costings on the assumption that if they were in power, they would instantly be able to introduce a much higher rate of tax for mining companies, it does make Labor supporters a little wary of these ‘perfect world’ scenarios, which would, from Labor’s experience, not be possible without a huge fight by some of the most powerful, influential industries in the country. Whether it’s right or not that mining companies influence policies affecting them, it’s reality. Labor has to work within this reality. And so would Greens if they ever had a chance.

It should be obvious, but it obviously needs to be said, that it would be much more productive for all progressive voters to fight on the same side. It would be much more productive for us all if the Greens didn’t spend their entire lives bagging Labor as ‘not being left-wing enough’, while also ignoring the political reality of the battle required to pass progressive policy. Rather than the Greens leaving all the battles to Labor, I think we all need to go back to basics, and battle this out together. We need to acknowledge who the real enemy is, which is anything getting in the way of progressive policy, surely?

I acknowledge that there will always be times where Greens don’t agree with Labor about various policies. But if a Green is judging Labor against an unobtainable utopian outcome which would never be possible in Australia’s political reality, I don’t think Greens are either being fair to Labor, or helpful in furthering progressive reform. I think Greens need to grow up and learn that some progress is better than no progress, whether a policy is perfect or not. We all also need to learn that the only way we’ll get anywhere is fighting for progressive reform together. If that means Greens have to compromise and negotiate, they have three years to work out how to do this.

Communicating the right message

The mainstream media’s political reportage has been in a downward spiral from low quality, low integrity, to downright unethical and immoral in the last few years. Following Murdoch’s lead, it now appears to be completely acceptable for political journalists from a range of media organisations to be completely devoid of the ability to be balanced, fair, and objective in their scrutiny of the political choices faced by voters.

Abbott not only had a free pass throughout the entire election campaign by avoiding examination altogether, he was also able to get away with hiding his costings and policy details from voters until the very last days of election. Even when they were released, they were barely reported.

This isn’t just disappointing. This is a travesty and a huge embarrassment for Australia’s mainstream media. For Murdoch to gloat on Twitter after Abbott’s victory speech that other countries will follow Australia’s lead in moving to the right, just shows what a scary, megalomaniac, wannabe dictator we have controlling the vast majority of newspapers in Australia. Progressive voters should be incredibly concerned about this situation.

So what do we do? The first thing we should acknowledge is that angry bogans who have delivered Abbott his victory are not reading this blog post. They are much more likely to be Daily Telegraph readers than they are Twitter users. So how do we reach them? Labor needs to improve their communication skills. This means the communication carried out centrally by the party, and the communication skills of the individuals within the party. Labor members know exactly what the ALP stands for, but do angry bogans?
Since we know swing voters are not going to learn anything good about Labor by reading the newspaper or watching the nightly news, we need to find ways to communicate without relying on the mainstream media. When Labor has a chance to communicate with voters, whether it be individual MPs in interviews or via political advertising, Labor’s message needs to be strong and clear. And all the leadership infighting has to end right now. The party needs to go back to basics and remind voters why they need and rely on progressive reform to improve their lives. If Labor has learnt anything from the last 6 years it is that the electorate won’t automatically give them credit for popular policies – they need to learn how to sell these policies to get the political success they deserve for their hard work.

Progressive voters need to go back to basics to beat Abbott in 2016. I think we can do it. Who is up for the challenge?

591 thoughts on “#OneTermTony – back to basics

  1. If Rudd wants to hold a secret meeting of his loyal troops he can use a parliamentary broom cupboard. There’ll be plenty of room.

    Not with Rudd’s oversized ego crowding the space, no matter how big the cupboard/room/hall/superdome…

  2. Tony Abbott is in for a rough time in Indonesia. When he finally gets there. If he gets there.

    “The Jakarta Post reported on Thursday that Dr Natalegawa had said Jakarta would reject plans to pay millions of dollars in bounties to Indonesian villagers for information on people-smuggling rackets.

    “We will have a discussion with Abbott prior to the APEC Summit in October. We will reject his policy on asylum seekers and any other policy that harms the spirit of partnership,” Dr Natalegawa said.”
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/we-will-reject-abbotts-policy-on-asylum-seekers-indonesia-foreign-minister-marty-natalegawa-20130912-2tmkw.html#ixzz2eep1Yf8J

  3. leonetwo

    ““We will have a discussion with Abbott prior to the APEC Summit in October. We will reject his policy on asylum seekers and any other policy that harms the spirit of partnership,”
    Hilarious. In diplomat speak a real “Tony, stick it where the sun don’t shine”

  4. Leone & Kaffeeklatscher,
    It is interesting to speculate on what Blood Oaf might do. A minute-long head bobble? Or declare war?

  5. I’m favouring a sudden illness that makes Abbott cancel his visit about ten minutes after the offical welcome. It will save embarrassing head bobbling if he is suddenly ‘taken ill’ and has to return home.

  6. Rudd truly lost a few supporters at the election – those that lost their seats. Of the remaining, the switchers will be bitter for having had their illusions shattered, and it goes without saying that the Gillardists as a block will be more inclined to spit on him than be polite .

    All up, it’s a fair bet that the anti-Rudd forces would now be a majority of the caucus.

    Following from this, why wouldn’t the Gillardists in particular choose one of their own to stand for party leader against Shorten? Particularly if such a one had already expressed an interest. And doubly particularly if that one was an outstanding medium-term prospect to be the next Labor PM?

    Step forward Jason Clare. Your party badly needs you.

  7. Like many I worry about the potential problems of Rudd.
    But, and this is a big but, I wonder if JG could bury him once and for all if she writes her book?

  8. JG is going to answer questions at her up-coming talks/ interviews at the end of the month. I’m hoping someone asks a very pointed question about Rudd that allows her to reveal all.

    Anne Summers announced yesterday that FPMJG is not taking any payment for these events.

  9. About Rudd, I agree completely with Craig Emerson. Rudd is staying, waiting till Labor are about to win another election, the will try the take over business again. If he does that, Labor won’t get my vote.

  10. Has anyone here heard Jason Clare give a set speech? I did – it was nearly 2 years ago in Parliament. Electrifying.

    Now here’s an important point that weighs heavily against Bill Shorten: in 2019, the most likely change date, Shorten will be 53 – too old. The already noticeable jowl beneath his chin will be touching his tie by then. In the UK, USA, France, the successful trend has been to younger, more dynamic, and certainly photogenic males. Jason ticks all three.

    Heck, even the bogans voted for Jason. He’s made Blaxland a safe seat. Paul Keating would be proud of Jason.

    Tanya Plibersek? Forget it. However, women do make very good deputies.

    That was meant to be an ironic comment – but you have to admit it has a ring of truth to it. Sadly. Very sadly.

    Maybe it’s some aural thing. Maybe you need someone with a deep voice. The killer for that theory is the demise of Mike Kelly, who had the prettiest deep voice in the Parliament. I haven’t heard Hendy, but he must have had a hell of a deep voice to have beaten Mike.

    Anyway, I’m an ALP party member, and if Jason stands he’ll get my vote.

  11. Fiona..waddya mean BB. ” Have a wonderful weekend”…? what?…is he “on a promise” or sumfing?
    And also…what is that tiny smilie doing at the top of the page?

  12. “Fiona
    September 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm
    Bushfire Bill,
    Have a wonderful weekend ”
    What’s this, less than a week of ascension of Abbott and life already beer and skittles!

  13. Mrs Mirabella is said to be’clawing back’ votes. Hmph! Sophie is no feline, cats – big and small – have standards and principles. If Sophie has claws it must be because she is a – er – female canine.

  14. Dedalus…Tanya Plibersek is from that Slavic race of people that would “bust your arse” !….and do it with the merest flicker of a smile!…..luv’ ‘er!

  15. I do not watch The Drum.
    What is this about Abbott phoning world leaders to introduce himself? I thought the protocol was to wait for other leaders to call the new PM.

  16. WHY do any of you bother watchingThe Drum? All anyone here does is complain about how awful it is and how ghastly the guests or whatever you call them are. Vote with your remotes. Turn it off. The more people who watch that drivel the longer it will be infesting our lives.

    Here’s another reason to give it the flick – when she loses her seat Sophie Mirabella will more than likely become a regular on The Drum.

  17. Yeah!..too right!…I’m with you ; Early’….what gives?…is there a party going on that we weren’t invited to?

  18. “What is this about Abbott phoning world leaders to introduce himself?”

    “Hello!….I’m the dickhead’s moved in down the road!…hope my thinking doesn’t keep you awake at night!”

  19. Interesting –
    Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs? Hardly.
    “If the swing against the Coalition in Aboriginal communities was replicated across Australia, Tony Abbott would be leading a minor party, writes Chris Graham.”
    “…..no-one, including within the media, ever stopped to ask Aboriginal people if they actually wanted a “Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs”, and in particular whether or not they wanted Abbott.
    As it turns out, they apparently don’t.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-12/graham-prime-minister-for-indigenous-affairs/4951900

  20. “Fiona
    September 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm
    Bushfire Bill,
    Have a wonderful weekend ”
    What’s this, less than a week of ascension of Abbott and life already beer and skittles!

    A slightly “sticky” weekend away in the country coming up. She’s paying.

    All those rams rutting, and bulls mounting that we’ll see as we drive up the Mudgee Road are supposed to inspire me into thought patterns that I have not had since younger and happier days.

    During the day we are inspecting gravestones pertinent to HI’s family history.

    The trip will be Life in a nutshell: “Man, Woman, Birth, Death… Infinty”

  21. Pertaining to my earlier comment on repeal of the Carbon Tax. …

    Is it not usual for any major tax reform/repeal to take effect from the commencement of the next financial year, and if the Carbon Tax repeal can be said to be one of these, then, if it is not repealed before the new Senate takes its seats on July 1 2014, the first available date will be July 1, 2015… the date it was due to end anyway?

  22. Oops, sorry, Bushfire Bill – for a brief moment I thought it was Friday and that you had already headed for the country!

    Earlyopener,
    It was damned cold one morning in June: it took 10 minutes for the ice on my windscreen to melt.

  23. ” The trip will be Life in a nutshell: “Man, Woman, Birth, Death… Infinty”

    Well, Ben Casey…..you’ll have to keep us informed how “the operation” went!

  24. On The Guardian ….”Kevin hands keys to the lodge to Tony”….: Mug gives keys to the country to thug!

  25. Transcript of several of Tone’s calls to OS heads of state:

    “Tony who?”

    “Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia.”

    “You have to be joking”.

  26. Hi Every-one 😉
    Oh & Fancy meeting you here Gravel 😉
    I just wanted to jump in on this Rudd thing shitful white ant that is.

    Is it possible that he was Soooooo Happy when he lost because he knew that what he had done re: leader shit changes is just what he had planned.
    Perhaps he received a sweetner from Rupert that was just too good to refuse.
    Yes he would be pleased to stay around to keep up his destabilizing, if Rupert thought that would help Tony look good & help Rupert, Gina & co make a killing out of the….. “The Culling of Australia”…. For want of better words.

    Well that’s my brain fart for the evening. Crazy I know but I just thought I’d throw it into the ring of conspiracy theories, just for fun 😉

    Have good night & I’ll catch yas on the flip side.

  27. BB
    That’s nice to hear even if sticky as rumour had it that you were going away fly fishing in the Snowy Mountains with Peter Hartcher for the week-end. Well that’s according to the reading of Fiona’s smirk!

  28. This little black duck

    More like

    “Tony Abbott ? Tony Abbott ? Now where have I heard that name before ? Oh that’s right the misogynist guy. Or am I thinking of the suppository of knowledge guy ?

  29. Fiona
    No ice ever in Bayside.
    A little tip – half a bucket of tap water before leaving and no 10 minutes or even 10 seconds.

  30. I’m wondering what sort of effect Abbott would have on state elections.

    While the remaining ALP governments in SA and Tasmania are in pretty bad shape at the moment, those elections aren’t due until March next year. Then from November 2014 to March 2015 there’ll be the Victorian, NSW and Queensland elections to watch out for. While NSW and Qld are unlikely to change, Premier C10H8 of Victoria might not appreciate the Blood Oaf and co. ruining everything with boganomics.

    I suppose it all depends on how extreme and nasty the LNP wants to be. On current form, yeah, bad news.

    If Labor wins in November 2014, I hope Andrews cleans out the police force here. They have been way too friendly with the Liberal party lately.

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