Despite winning the election in May, the Coalition seems to still be stuck in a lot of their campaigning habits. The reason, in my opinion, is a relatively simple one, but it’s mind-boggling to think that a government can be so awful that, only six months into a third term, all they can think to do is self-promoting PR.
The main tactic used by the Coalition in this year’s election, as in previous ones as well, is to simply attack their opponents. The question of policy was left comparatively untouched, and the facts relating to their accusations against Labor, the Greens, or any other party may have been contested, but the damage is done for most people. It worked for them, seeing as they won the election despite the polls pointing towards a Labor win.
Putting aside arguments about how tedious and infuriating election campaigning is in general, usually after a party has won they move to implement the vision that they laid out for those who voted them in. There is, however, one key detail that explains why the Coalition appears to have rejected this norm. That is the fact that they had no vision for Australia in the first place.
All throughout the election campaign, we saw attack after attack, but we saw very little in the way of policy, let alone policy that might actually be worth anything. So it only makes sense, after their “miracle” win, that the easiest way to hide that fact is to continue what they did whilst campaigning. I hadn’t really considered it too much until today when the Liberal Party shared a video of ABC’s Fran Kelly interrogating – sorry, interviewing – Anthony Albanese.
“Will you start today on this program as saying that franking credits are gone?”
“So why not just put … if they’re the people you’re trying to get back on your side, why don’t you just say now ‘don’t worry, that’s gone, that’s off the table’?”
I’m sorry, it’s bad enough that the ABC essentially campaigned for the Coalition this year through their timidity towards them and their hostility towards Labor, but to have an ABC presenter try and pressure the Opposition Leader six months later with Coalition talking points is pathetic. And this is the woman who had calls for her resignation for being a fiery, leftist feminist on that one Q&A episode? No, she is, like Leigh Sales, a woman who happens to be on TV under the watch of the (tellingly male dominated) government – hurrah for equality brought to you by the ABC.
I don’t really think much of Albanese, but his responses to both of those statements by Kelly were amazing and do give me hope that the Labor Party hasn’t completely capitulated.
“No. We’ll make our announcement under our terms with proper processes as well.”
“Because the election is in 2022, Fran.”
Labor has acknowledged that franking credits was one of the many issues that they had with their campaign, mostly because the Coalition slammed them (and, as evident here, are still slamming them) for the so-called “retiree tax”. But Albanese wasn’t bullied into giving an answer, explaining that it was something they needed to consider for the future. Unlike the Liberal Party, which tweeted the video with the caption “Albanese doesn’t want to drop Labor’s Retiree Tax. Labor can’t manage money, that’s why they come after yours.”, he does not appear think that franking credits was such a big concern. Realistically it wasn’t, as it affected relatively few people, but the hallmark of any successful business-oriented parties is their ability to convince the masses that what “damages” the rich will destroy the poor.
For bonus irony points, accusing Labor of not being able to manage money whilst crashing the economy into a recession is some next level propaganda.
That’s just one example, and a hefty one at that. But there are other things that, when considered from this angle, could also be seen as campaigning as a way to hide a lack of action. My Federal MP, Andrew Laming, has for years attacked the State Labor MP in my area, Don Brown, and Kim Richards, who I think is also Labor but I don’t know her position. Not even his level of politics, Laming runs about six or more fake Facebook pages, including one masquerading as a media outlet, and spends a lot of time portraying his State “rival” as “Do Nothing Don”. My house is getting NBN next week, that may or may not work and was promised over three and a half years ago – what’s Laming been doing, I wonder?
It really is childish nonsense, and Don does try to avoid it, which only causes Laming to goad him for not being willing to debate and score easy points from the utter idiots who support him. But this is merely a continuation of a campaign – but not the Federal one. Laming is very insistent on throwing out the QLD Labor government, yapping on about the damage they’ve done to the state – because the Liberals and Nationals have been saints in the past, right? He actively campaigned against Don Brown in the last State election, which is a bizarre thing for a Federal MP to spend his time and money doing, and now the vitriol appears to be adding up as we in QLD head to the 2020 State election.
The last example I want to mention is the accusations against the Greens regarding the bushfires. Barnaby Joyce took time out of his busy schedule of betraying his family to make wretched assumptions about the political leanings of two bushfire victims. He, along with many of his colleagues in Federal and NSW State Parliament, blamed the Greens for preventing back burning and other safety measures – because a few Greens MPs and Councils have a say in that, sure.
Deflecting the blame from themselves for gutting the fire services and national parks of much needed funding is not a surprise, and scapegoating the Greens creates an ironic twist by accusing the party dedicated to the environment of being at fault for environmental catastrophe. But this is a vicious campaign that still has some sparring over it, which is quite bizarre considering the Greens are only a minor party. Sure, much of it has to do with controversy and distraction, but to so violently target the Greens that even the dead are dragged into it?
To me, that isn’t a simple smear against the Greens, it seems like much more than that. The Greens have already gained a lot of support after Labor’s election loss and subsequent backflipping and floundering, on a Federal level and a State level here in QLD. The Greens stand a real chance in the Brisbane City Council to take a few spots from the Liberal National Party, which has caused the BCC to adopt various small “green” projects to make them appear more environmentally friendly.
The Greens offer a real threat now that Labor has been thrown back again. Perhaps not in terms of being the new ‘opposition’ in any way, but their influence, should it grow, would not bode well for the Coalition on any level of government. To hide the fact that the Coalition has absolutely no environmental policy whatsoever, the only other way to “convince” people that they are doing anything about it is to crash down upon the one party that is taking it seriously.
Which is, unbelievably, actually working.
Other than slowly dismantle Australian society and democracy, what exactly have the Coalition done since being elected? Not a lot, and the Ensuring Integrity Bill is making its way through the various crossbenchers, which is a disaster for Unions if it passes. In itself, that Bill is essentially an attack on Labor and its backers.
For the next few years, it’s quite likely that everything will continue to go slowly downhill, and that we will hear a lot more slander towards anyone the Coalition deems to be an opponent worth fearing. All the more reason to continue backing parties and groups that do oppose them. Join a Union, attend protests, vote for Labor/Greens/Independents – this isn’t a fight we can just let rest for another three years.
They don’t appear to have stopped campaigning, so neither can we.
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