With the election called for May 18th, as if the last few months haven’t already been tedious enough, we are entering the ‘official’ campaigning period. Sadly, what this tends to imply is the parties with worthwhile ideas are viciously shot down by those with corrupt and self-serving motives. And somehow, way too much of our population soaks that garbage up.
It is quite a contrast to watch Labor and the Coalition campaign this time around. Labor has, for some time now, backed away from petty political point scoring and has instead focused on introducing good policy. Much room for improvement, of course, but compared the Coalition it shouldn’t even be a topic of debate who is ‘better’. The Coalition, on the other hand, has made it rather personal, with consistent attacks on Shorten himself rather than bringing forward a substantial argument.
I’d use my local Federal MP, Andrew Laming, as my example again because I see his social media posts almost daily, but he seems to forget he’s a Federal MP. He has an incredibly unhealthy obsession with QLD Labor, not the Federal ALP, and is often calling out the local State MP Don Brown. So much so that last State election, Laming was actually running the campaign against him – to this day I do not know who the LNP candidate was, nor do I care.
Today, he put up a bizarre poster style image of him and Don Brown entitled “The Battle for Bowman: Laming vs Brown” as though it were some kind of wrestling match. I mean, what the actual fuck? It had me chuckling – does Laming even know who the Federal ALP candidate is? It’s Tom Baster. Someone might need to tell him. And someone might also need to tell him his childish nonsense, while funny in a pathetic and pitiable way, is not exactly conduct one would expect from an elected MP.
Many of the ads I have seen for the Coalition elsewhere have all been rather sketchy. “Less tax. More for you” can be seen on a billboard in my area, which I would argue is a lie masquerading as a campaign slogan. But many of the ads I have seen seem to directly involve Shorten in some way. Shorten is the one planning to implement a “car tax” (another lie). Shorten is the one we can’t trust to keep our economy ‘afloat’ (because the Coalition has done so splendidly creating a surplus with all that gutting of public services). Shorten is the one hurting businesses (although only in the context that some people think workers have rights too, arguably more than said businesses’ profits).
Yes, a political party or campaign might need a good ‘PR’ face, and Shorten isn’t the best for that. Someone like Penny Wong would be excellent, although female politicians don’t have a good track record of surviving that role. But that really is besides the point for two reasons. The first, that many seem to forget, is that we don’t vote for our Prime Minister. You only vote for Bill Shorten if you live in his electorate. If you hate Bill, good for you – he isn’t your problem.
The other is, even if he was your MP or candidate, who the person is and their ‘likeability rating’ is irrelevant. What is relevant is policy. If you see a banner for a party, from One Nation to the Greens, and think “I’m going to vote for them” simply by how they look, or if you vote a certain way because it’s just how you vote, then maybe mature a bit and cast aside that ignorance. Look at policy – i.e. the actual policies, not the spin people put it – and determine for yourself what works in your best interests.
My Greens candidate is called Emerald Moon – I have no idea who she is, but she sounds like a healing crystal from a trinket store. But I don’t particularly care who she is, so long as she is consistent with the other Federal Greens party members, I’ll probably have her listed first on my preferences – unless some badass Independent rocks up. Same with Tom Baster, the ALP candidate here – I have no idea who he is, but he’ll most likely get my second preference because I’d rather have the ALP in than the Coalition. Laming, on the other hand, is easy in both ways – I know the kind of person he is and detest him, and his party is absolute trash.
So keep that in mind – policy over personality. Keep an eye on the media, who will always undoubtedly run marathons with the latter. Just watch any interview or read any article done by the Murdoch press, or one of the commercial media stations, and not only will you have wasted your time, but you’ll see a difference between how the Coalition and Labor are spoken about or spoken to.
It’ll be a messy campaign, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail.
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