#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. Earlyopener,
    As I’m sure you well know, almost anything can be read into moi’s Sphinx-like smile …..

  2. Oh, and Newman has the luxury of being able to call elections still, so if Abbott drags down the numbers up there, he’ll call an early one before it’s too late for him.

    So does Giddings in Tasmania, but I think she’ll hold out for the full 4 years.

  3. Interesting that two of the biggest swings were in Tassie and SA, both States with Labor Governments looking likely to lose power at the next election.
    Victoria is just edging SA for biggest swing after Tas, coming off a record 2PP vote in 2010, plus it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few a annoyed that a fellow Victorian was dumped as PM.

  4. Fiona
    Whatever might happen here in the future never forget my half bucket of water ice helpful hint. Even with global warming you will catch up many wasted 10 minute’s.
    Also I’m going to Lau’s Family Kitchen tomorrow evening and can’t wait for the pork belly! Might have a couple of pots in The Prince of Wales down the hill prior to.

  5. Possum quote

    If you just accept the 20/60/20 rule, life is happier. 20% actively participate, 60% are too busy or can’t be bothered, 20% are lunatics

  6. Earlyopener,
    I am a Canberran by birth, and in my university years (my VW beetle lived outside, naturally) I kept one of those rubber spatulas in the glove box to deal with frost/ice on the windscreen. Yes, I understand the water trick, but have always been a little wary of it. The spatula would do the deed in just on a minute, with the advantage of warming up the (gloved) hands.

    Have a yummy evening tomorrow.

  7. “Early’…: ” And which Slav race?”
    The fifth at Cranbourne!”
    jaycee funny you mention Cranbourne today as we want our horse to run there in a months time in the Cranbourne Cup but one guy overseas doesn’t want to. We just might settle for something at Mooney Valley on Saturday.

  8. Abbott seem to think the Indonesians are just a bunch of half-civilized boonga-loongas, monkies in suits, who still take dictation from white men.

    If intimidation doesn’t work, then Mesma will travel to Jakarta and flutter her eyelashes at the darkies. As her understanding of Foreign Affairs seems to be limited to “You get to go to cocktail parties lots”, that should work. The swarthies and wogs can’t resist the thought of a white woman giving them the “Come Hither”.

    Meanwhile, of course, as we are turning back the boats, all trade and commerce between the two countries – not limited to Australian tourists in Indonesia (particularly Bali), ships traversing their shipping lanes, and heavy enterprises like mines and banking – will be allowed to ply their trades without the slightest hindrance from Indonesian officialdom.

    Jesus wept… are the Coalition in for a surprise, or what?

    The worst possible thing we could be doing at this moment is upsetting Indonesia, who have a long and unpleasant memory of Whitey ordering them around.

  9. Fiona
    There is no danger with cold water on ice. The spatula is much more of a worry with scratching.
    Your VW would have never froze in ACT with no radiator

  10. Kirsdarke,

    While I tend to agree with your summation of the forthcoming state elections, keep in mind that here in Queensland it is optional preferential voting. Most people vote 1 for their candidate and do not record preferences. The obvious result is it virtually becomes a first past the post outcome. Newman won 78 of the 89 seats with 49.6% of the primary vote. Who introduced this crazy system? None other than Peter Beattie. It backfired against Labor. With this crazy system any result is possible.

  11. AJ Canberra

    Victoria is just edging SA for biggest swing after Tas, coming off a record 2PP vote in 2010, plus it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few a annoyed that a fellow Victorian was dumped as PM.

    And it also didn’t help that Rudd only visited the state two or three times throughout the whole campaign, compared to the endless attention that he lavished on Queensland and New South Wales.

  12. BB
    From what I saw in that picture for the Liberal campaogn launch flashing a bit of leg at them won’t do the trick.

  13. BB
    From what I saw in that picture for the Liberal campaogn launch flashing a bit of leg at them won’t do the trick.

    It worked with Rudd, but I doubt Bang-Bang is a supreme narcissist.

  14. Isn’t Mesma a bit long in the tooth for eyelash fluttering and leg-showing? She’s 57, old enough to join her local senior citizens club.

  15. Yeah, OPV did backfire in Queensland. It favours the party with the highest primary vote, meaning Labor will have to try and win it back off all the minor parties as well as the LNP. While in 2012 it was the Greens and Katter, in 2015 there’ll be Palmer in the mix too.

    While at the moment I’m guessing a good result for Labor in 2015 there will be to bring itself back to a respectable opposition with over 30 seats, I don’t know how well the slashers in Brisbane and Canberra will go down there. The LNP only has to lose 30 to lose its majority after all, quite possible considering how unpopular privatization is there and that’s what they’re itching to do.

  16. Don’t you just love the way everything is back in it’s orbit now Jamie Diaz turned up on the Hammy Wheel? I mean no one ever really thought he might be an MP did they, it was all a bit of larrikin fun set up by the ace larrikin himself Abbott.

  17. The Abbott daughters will be moving into the Lodge with Margie and Tony because they intend to live at home until they marry. Or so their father says, the girls might have other ideas. I assume that does not apply to the eldest, LouLou, who has been shacking up with her boyfriend in Switzerland for quite a while. Or is Tony thinking of keeping her here against her will and locking her in her room for a few years.

    Anyways, no-one will be moving into the Lodge for at least a year. I take comfort in thinking Abbott might not be PM by the time the renovations are complete.

  18. Also the Newman government’s gleeful destruction of the environment might encourage a few of the thick ‘just vote 1’ Green voters to at least put a ‘2’ for Labor if they can’t bring themselves to make it a ‘1’ this time around.

    Most of the Katter voters will probably go for Palmer instead though, so not much can be done about them as far as I know.

  19. Another Coalition campaign promise debunked, public transport is the way not more roads for more cars, imagine what we could do with a full light rail network.

    In terms of who’s pulling their weight on the streets of the city centre, the report released yesterday by the NSW Government, Sydney city centre access strategy: for further consultation, makes it clear that buses are doing the heavy lifting. Cars aren’t doing much at all


  20. Leone,
    Given that neither of the younger Misses Abbott appears to have gainful employment, living with Mummy and Daddy at The Lodge and (oh, preferably) Kirribilli House seems to be the only option.
    Puir wee lassies.

  21. Ever wonder if all those micro party’s were a Lib set up?, just see how these prefs panned out.

    (Click to enlarge – BB)

  22. Mike,
    More than possible. Especially PUP.

    If there’s one thing to be said for Mr Palmer, he is transparent – in his behaviour, at any rate.

  23. The post election consumer boost might not last till October let alone Xmas, are we on the cusp? Labor had a very steady hand on the levers, Abbott will be yanking them all over the place.

    Just watching Myer CE whinging about OS companies not paying GST, hang onto your hat there.

  24. Mike,
    If Myer or, for that matter, DJ’s, actually had staff at the tills so one could buy their mostly overpriced goods, maybe they wouldn’t have to complain so much.

    Confession time: several decades ago, I was in a now-defunct store chain in Canberra, at the counter, wanting to purchase a reel of cotton that I’d selected from the shelf. There were several staff apparently on duty. Two were busy gossiping about what he said / she said last night; the other was on the phone chatting with her boyfriend.

    I waited for 15 minutes. I coughed, said wtte “anyone there?”, tapped, then knocked LOUDLY on the counter. All to no avail. In the end I was so irritated I just walked out, cotton reel still in hand.

    It’s my one and only episode, and I still feel guilty. However, if the company hadn’t been so derelict in their training and supervision, it would never have happened – neither, indeed, might the company have gone belly-up.

    Still sorry for the seriously good staff, however, and even for the unwitting shareholders.

  25. mikehilliard

    Ever wonder if all those micro party’s were a Lib set up?

    Of course. The US Repugnians have long been known to “Astroturf”

  26. mikehilliard
    September 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm
    “Ever wonder if all those micro party’s were a Lib set up?, just see how these prefs panned out.”

    I have doubts about Palmer, I feel there was an agenda not to punish the LNP but to steal the ALP vote.

  27. Fiona/ jaycee sorry about that – understand perfectly RE woofle dust on that one! Off to watch a movie with OH so catch you all in the morning. Good sleeps all round.

  28. The thung that worries me about that theory of Palmer stealing the ALP. votes is that the political / media players have worked out how the thick and gullible voters react and the equation can be repeated in all elections…..Pavlov’s Dog elections?

  29. If that chart is correct, the Greens preference deals resulted in a Family First Senator.

    Can everyone recall the squeals of outrage from Greens supporters about the ALP deal that ended up with Fielding in the Senate?

    I can remember arguing that parties make these deals to maximise their chances, but the results can surprise. The Greens supporters were all holier than thou saying their precious party would never stoop to base politics.

    Seems they do – just like everyone else.

  30. Speaking of “suppository of knowledge”, OH and I have just come back from a show by that name. Forty or so of us in Smith’s Bookshop with John Shortis and Moya Simpson. They definitely are not RAbbott fans: gave him a big serve. Not too keen on Kevvie either. Maybe we could get them to comment here!

  31. Unfortunately TLBD Yvette D’Ath is too.

    Strange, approx 1,000 votes can either you glad or sad depending on the recipient.

  32. ms2,

    Sad about Yvette. She’ll be back in 2016 if she chooses to run. Petrie will feel her loss. Who is this Luke Howarth LNP anyway?

  33. He has been around for a while, he ran for the state seat of Sandgate some time ago. His father owns the Sandgate Pest Control Co. He was the campaign manager for Reg Gulley (the LNP member for the state seat of Murrumba) I believe. He has been enormously cashed up in this election. A number of billboards, mountains of direct addressed mail (which costs a fortune) and unaddressed mail and enough leaflets to paper an outhouse and the last week four personal letters from “Tony Abbott”.

  34. I see the Abbottabad Era is off to a predictable start. First: Sack someone. Second: Wake various leaders of countries to let them know is the Prime Minister of Australia. Third: Insult Indonesia. Fourth: …Where is Eleventy Joe?

  35. { Where is Eleventy Joe? }

    Grog was asking the same thing. Blimey, he gives Joe a bit of a lashing here. Well deserved I might add. The likes of Grog show up the so- called mainstream journalists for the shallow, empty vessels that they are.

    Don’t they have any pride or shame?

    {Hockey has spent the past three years trying his best to undermine voters’ confidence in the economic and financial institutions of this country in order to have people think Labor has lost control of the budget and the economy. As Treasurer, it is time he realised that his words now carry weight. No longer will they be dismissed as the ranting of a man willing to say anything to get into office. Treasurers’ words move markets.

    The Tresasury’s forecasts are also relied upon by many organisations to frame their own budgets – from charities and unions looking at expected levels of unemployment to commercial organisations looking ahead to the economic environment in which they are thinking about investing.

    They are serious things and they are taken very seriously by Treasury. For Hockey to brazenly claim they need to be audited, with seemingly no comprehension that a full review of the forecasts has just been completed, suggests he has yet to make the switch from opposition to government.

    Given his responsibility, let’s hope he makes the transition soon. }


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