It’s weird to call it a campaign launch when all the parties have been campaigning madly for a few months now, with the media neatly lining up against Labor. I wrote a piece in January where I – in retrospect, rather foolishly – said Fairfax would never openly support the Coalition. Come the NSW election, however, the position of the paper was firmly behind Berejiklian. No doubt it’ll be the same this time around. But the interest contrast isn’t just in media representation; it was in how the major parties planned the events.
If voting for the Coalition parties, or any of their ‘right-wing’ masqueraders on the side, is still on your to-do list, I do recommend watching the latest videos by Friendlyjordies (get that man a glass of water, damnit) and The Juice Media. The former brings back the old “Angryjordies” memories of the 2016 election, and in standard Monday morning fashion throws a $200B bombshell regarding military spending. The media doesn’t talk about it much, but suffice to say the LNP is more focused on throwing money at companies that sell genocide as a product than it is on climate change – doubly destructive.
The latter is mostly like a summary video of some of the earlier Juice Media’s “Honest Government Ads” – the ones that caused a crackdown on satire by making it illegal to ‘impersonate the government’; the small group’s response was to rename themselves “Australien Government” and put and alien head on the Coat of Arms. Both videos are worth watching if you want a crash course of the last year or so.
With some helpful and comedic references out of the way, a quick analysis – that I coincidentally shared with the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy. Scott Morrison’s approach over the weekend to the launch was extremely presidential. It wasn’t about the Party – he was very adamant about that – it was about him. When Leigh Sales asked him who would be driving Party policy, the “mainstream” of the Party or the fringe members, like the climate deniers, Morrison’s response was “I will.”
Labor, on the other hand, did not waste time with petty infighting or power plays. The focus for them was on the Party platform and on policy. Previous Prime Ministers, despite some touchy histories between them, came together as a united group to support the Labor Party. For all the Coalition’s slandering of Labor’s disunity, the tables sure have turned – at least for Labor, the Coalition has still swapped leaders multiple times since 2007.
But Morrison had no such support, with former Liberal PM’s out and about but not standing together. Morrison very much made it about him and what he was going to do for the Party and for the country, pitching his personality as an ‘everyday bloke’ over any particular policy measure. A man who accused Labor of being too obsessed with personal political games is now the third leader in 6 years with an agenda centred around himself. Such personal aggrandisement is something that should very much stay in the US, not plaguing our election cycles too.
The few months of relentless campaigning before an election is tiresome enough, so I cannot see the US spectacle of year-long campaigns every other year being enticing here. If campaigns were about policies and actually meant politicians interacted and listened to their constituents, it might not be so bad. Sadly, personality and slander are the weapons of choice for some, and policy does not often breakthrough the cacophony of bullshit each election cycle.
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