tip off

Gillard’s extraordinary ordinary 

There was a great deal we’d heard before in last week’s Whitlam Institute much-debated speech by the Prime Minister. In fact, we’ve been in this grimly Spartan territory on several previous occasions.

We already knew, for example, that Gillard was an almost Thatcherite proselytiser for the virtues of hard work. The phrase comes instinctively to her lips, either about her own government or about what the rest of us should be doing. And you sense the Prime Minister believes the value of work lies entirely in its moral invigoration, rather than extraneous details such as financial reward. As part of this, she is particularly taken with the notion not just of working hard, but of rising early to do so.

In her first media conference as Prime Minister last June, she first spoke of Australians who “set their alarm clocks early”. The line has recurred several times since, and featured prominently in her election campaign launch speech, when she spoke of how “it can be tough getting up every morning and going to work, setting the alarm clock early, getting the kids out to school”. Virtually the same sentence cropped up last week.

Since Gillard first used it, the phrase has been appropriated by British deputy PM Nick Clegg, who must get up very early indeed such is the vigour with which he is destroying the Liberal Democrat Party. Clegg pitched the coalition government and its budget cuts to “alarm clock Britain” in January, accused Labour leader Ed Milliband of “hiding under his duvet”, and even strayed into Python territory by elaborating on a sort of hierarchy of early risers, lauding those who had to “set the alarm incredibly early”, doing jobs “long before it’s even light”.


Gillard also shares Labor’s belief in the virtue of manual labour. This is not unrelated to the continuing powerful role of manufacturing unions and conservative right-wing unions such as the SDA in the Party. But it’s ideological, too, or perhaps theological. The conviction that work yielding some form of physical output is ennobling and somehow superior to the “McJobs” of service industries has persisted even as the service economy has supercharged job creation since the 1980s.

When Kevin Rudd declared that he didn’t want to be Prime Minister of a country that didn’t make things, he was placing himself right in the machine-beat heart of Labor tradition. His government was the most protectionist since Malcolm Fraser’s, and fetishised “tradies”, a word uttered almost reflexively by Rudd, Gillard and Wayne Swan. While the Prime Minister didn’t use that word last week, it was “brickies” with whom she contrasted those sinister socialites.

And it was manual labourers that Gillard invoked in explaining Labor’s central tenet of fairness in opportunity (who, one wonders, is in favour of unfairness of opportunity?) “From the moment of our inception our mission has been to enable the son of the labourer, the daughter of the cleaner, to have access to same the opportunities in life as the son of the millionaire, the daughter of the lawyer.”

The contrast between those examples fits, calloused hand-in-glove, with Gillard’s contrast between Labor and the Greens, (a party notoriously made up of service industry professionals such as teachers). They, Gillard insists, “will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation”.

Do the right thing. This sort of politico-moral cartography (and don’t you like Gillard’s nicely traditional geographic progression, from urban degradation to the purity of the bush) is peculiar in a speech reflecting on Labor history. Kim Beazley snr might have contrasted the “cream of the working class” with the “dregs of the middle class” — indeed, that’s another, more succinct phrasing of Gillard’s speech — but Labor has not, for generations, been a party for “tradies” alone. Urban, tertiary-educated, non-labouring voters have long formed a strong component of Labor, either via white-collar unions or via progressive non-union sections of the party.

But historical or contemporary accuracy is not the point; the contrast is intended to reinforce the Labor brand by appealing to people’s sense of self, and the holiness of manual labour isn’t to be found at a workstation. While she is keen to distance Labor from the Greens, Gillard’s language is primarily designed to induce nods of self-identification from voters, from those who instinctively identify with “setting the alarm early” and “everyday Australians”, who think they work hard, do it tough and don’t get their fair share.

For the same reason, Labor flogged “working families” to death under Kevin Rudd, hoping everyone who heard it would self-select into that group. It’s language designed to appeal to people’s self-perceptions, their belief that they, too, are “driven by love of family and nation”, in contrast to the construct of the lazy, the intellectual, the late risers, the non-conformists.

Those who fail to Do The Right Thing.

The problem for Labor is, the Coalition does this much better, because it has far more experience of defining and exploiting constructs for voters to define themselves against. At the moment, for example, both sides are targeting welfare reform. It’s an area ripe for the Prime Minister’s up-and-at-‘em schtick, justifying it as about productivity and participation and the personal psychological benefits of employment. For many voters, though, and undoubtedly for party strategists, this is in essence about dole bludgers and people faking disability.

And that’s the Coalition’s home territory, like its targeting of asylum seekers and Muslims. The Coalition is much more effective than Labor at constructing stereotypes for voters to define themselves against. Labor has occasionally tried to exploit asylum seeker stereotypes but its heart hasn’t been in it; instead, Rudd tried to whip up public anger against people traffickers as a diversionary tactic. Gillard settled for giving Australians official permissions to worry about asylum seekers.

Trying to identify yourself with mainstream voters and values is hardly a new political trick. But the entirety of Australian political discourse now consists of our major party leaders pandering to voters’ conviction that they’re ordinary everyday heroes, a race-to-the-bottom-kissing between two parties desperate to explain to voters how wonderful they are and how they deserve a better deal.

The same mentality informs the bipartisan pandering to voters’ conviction they face outrageous cost of living pressures or “mortgage stress”, when the real pressure in a low-inflation, high-employment economy is self-induced pressure brought about by lifestyle choices.

Still, this is what relying on focus groups gets you: two parties competing to find creative ways to reflect back at voters what voters themselves think.

Political discourse was once much more than this. The Hawke, Keating and early Howard governments treated voters, to use Gillard’s praise of Gough Whitlam, like adults, capable of thinking beyond the next five minutes, capable of understanding more complex concepts than the malevolence of a carefully crafted, unAustralian other, capable of supporting economic reform that might have initial costs but would yield long-term benefits.

Australians were receptive to such discourse, too. The reform wave of the 1980s was coupled with a sense of urgency, that Australia was slipping behind, that it had no choice but to open to the world if it wanted to halt the slide in its economic performance. Paul Keating’s deliberately alarmist “banana republic” line jolted the commentariat and voters and laid the groundwork for further rounds of major reform.  After two decades of economic growth and, now, a vast resources boom, there’s no longer such an accommodating public mood. The job of selling reform is accordingly that much harder.

For a politician such as Tony Abbott, whose policy platform consists almost entirely of what he opposes — no mining tax, no action on climate change, no asylum seekers, no NBN, no sturdy beggars and faking disability pensioners, indeed not even any industrial relations reform — this is a perfect political environment, because he has no positive action to sell voters on. The political message of pandering, of explaining at length to voters how wonderful they are and how terrible people unlike them are, actively undermines the idea that there are significant reforms requiring support.

Labor, on the other hand, still has something left of a positive agenda of which it has to convince voters. But its efforts to sell the need for a carbon price or an NBN or a mining tax run counter to a political debate crafted entirely in terms of just how extraordinary ordinary Australians are. What’s the pressing case for change when, by the government’s own Panglossian lights, Australians are quite perfect already?

  • 1
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Why do the media continue on this line that policy has to be “sold” to anyone. It is mooted, drafted, sent to committees if necessary, debated in both houses and if the numbers fall the right way on both sides of the floor it gets the nod.

    They don’t try to sell education changes or anything else and the punters have zero say in the taxes they pay so why do taxes on mining moguls have to be sold and why does infrastructure have to be “sold”.

    It’s all a bit precious really.

    The claim is always that Howard sold the GST, but he didn’t. He actually lost the vote on the 1998 election by quite a margin because the punters didn’t want the GST. The Democrats though voted for it without fresh food and it passed.

    The Democrats as a party were destroyed.

    The So-called carbon tax is paid by the big polluters, the morons waving their stupid banners would know that if they bothered to read more than the tabloid hacks.

    And as for Gillards’ cheap shot a the Greens.

    Sarah is a young woman from Gippsland, a lawyer, properly married with one daughter who worked for Amnesty INternational while completing her law degree. She helped tear down the walls of Woomera when she was 19, campaigned for refugee rights in the streets with me at 20, marched against the Iraq invasion and has a strong moral position on human rights in the tradition of Doc Evatt and his universal declaration of human rights. So do the other Greens who continue to work tirelessly for no nukes, the environment, no refugee prisons, no wars, the rights of aborigines, gays and other minorities and they do it with a quarter of the resoources and staff of the main parties.

    Gillard is a lawyer, unmarried, childless, has indulged with at least one married man, has a live in lover and no appeal ever to human rights, she stifled the ETS and now says it is imperative, stabbed Rudd in the back and has never done as well as he did with the vision thing and for fuck’s sake she allowed armed cops to shoot at refugees.

  • 2
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink


  • 3
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    When you reflect upon the fact in the news today that 8 million of us are bordering on the ‘Ignoarance is Bliss’ state, where there is no need anymore to be numerate or literate, or to even be able to hold a pen and put it to paper legibly, then you can sort of see where the PM is trying to come from and go to. These people are voters too, even though they be not like you or I. They actually might positively identify with the characterisation the PM was trying to reflect. To them Life IS Work, and Work IS Life, except on the weekend when you play sport, have a BBQ or go to the Club. These people are increasingly defined by who they are in their little world of work and family, and the PM, I think, gets that, and is trying, if somewhat clumsily, to say that they are important to the ALP, it is just not a party for the Latte Left and the Unions, they don’t exclusively belong to the Coalition, and if you follow the ALP they will actually look after your interests better than the Coalition, who, at the end of the day, despite their superior ability to appeal to these people and their prejudices, are not on their side in a clinch like Labor are.

  • 4
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Cool winds of change are blowing through the ALP corridors. The public anger over carbon tax, the issues with NBN and the likely blow out, the trust starting to emerge over the BER, the massive issues with illegal immigrants, the increases at Australia Post (18% in 20 months) and its impact on small business parcel services.

    The wheels are falling off.

    Now reports today that we wont be cutting foreign aid, so as to not awaken KRUDD, whose career / legacy will be build on getting some UN Post etc etc

  • 5
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The difference of course, C@tmomma, is that Chifley talked of the light on the hill, Whitlam the desk and the lamp and now Gillard about the every day Australians. The first two were truly aspirational; to show that there is a way to get better, to be better, to be part of something larger. The ALP should not be for ordinary Australians, they should be helping and inspiring everyone to be extraordinary Australians.

    Gillard’s speech seemed to suggest that wage slavery and getting up early was an end in itself: that the “economy” was the only reason to get out of bed. Hardly a progressive stance and certainly not one to rush to the barricades for. If the best that the party of the workers has for workers is “set your alarm clocks early” then what does the ALP stand for? Who DO they really represent?

    And they wonder why they are having troubles…

  • 6
    Frank Birchall
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Excellent piece, Bernard! Gillard’s swipe at the Greens, accusing them of not sharing “everyday” Australians’ values, is offensive to many non-Green voters and is strategically stupid.

  • 7
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Had Enough - Gee the govt must be terrified, public anger at the carbon tax seems to be pretty well matched by public support which will only increase once people realise they will get a tax cut to cover any extra expense, some made up cost blow out’s for the NBN that will apparently occur some itme in the future and a few dollars increase in postage that no one cares about, oh and “the trust starting to emerge over the BER” which I would of thought was a good thing.

  • 8
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    We already knew, for example, that Gillard was an almost Thatcherite proselytiser for the virtues of hard work.

    I said when Gillard took over from Rudd that I hoped she wouldn’t morph into Thatcher.

    I now await a “I’m not for turning” speech …

  • 9
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    The only people getting a tax cut are those on welfare and social security!! Further, the ‘tax cut’ will only compensate less than half of the increases or less, cause it will impact everything, not just petrol, but every food items, every non food items, cause they are all transported by trucks.

    I meant truth starting to emerge over the BER.

    People do care about postage increases. You mighn’t as someone else may pay for your postage.

  • 10
    Peter Bayley
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I suspect this tendency is to be found in Julia’s early upbringing - she’s old enough to have absorbed a feeling for the British (Welsh) class system from her parents. However, I think the old idea of the “working class’ is becoming less and less useful. We all of us work, and many who would traditionally be “blue collar” are, in reality, small businessmen, concerned with all the issues imposed in running a business. We are all of us literate; increasingly informed and able to make good decisions. Besides, everyone enjoys a good coffee so the latte thing is not a useful signifier.

    I feel the pollies are chasing a chimeric “bloke” and “sheila” that no longer exist - at least in great numbers. The fact is, it is more pleasant (and in fact cheaper) to live in a society which cares for its members and in which most of its members are relatively happy - so we pay into the pot to ensure the society functions smoothly. This impulse has nothing to do with unionism and if the government properly ensured the people are given a fair deal and a proper right to negotiate, there is not a great deal of need for unions in the traditional sense any more.

    In fact, I think many of Labor’s problems stem from having too many members from what have become anachronistic class-based institutions. So I find myself somewhat adrift, looking for voices that speak for me. I am very suspicious of NSW’s new Opposition leader John Robertson - he represents exactly the union extreme the ALP could well do without - he appears totally self-serving and would be better suited to the sad Greedocracy the US has become. I can’t take Tony Abbot’s destructive “Noh” play seriously and I hope Turnbull and Hockey will be allowed another chance at enunciating a gentler liberalism. The Greens have some attractive ideas - but also some loony ones, especially in NSW - so they will continue, I think, to be fringe-dwellers for some time. So - what’s left? - perhaps we need another Don Chip to surface and create something afresh.

  • 11
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    @ Marilyn Sheppard

    Yes Gillard has indulged with one married man that we know of, and the current one is a decoy.

    Sarah HY, Lee R and a bunch of others are extreme and we get what we vote for come July 1. 8 years of hell in the Senate.

  • 12
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Had Enough - I didn’t realise you worked in the upper eschalon’s of the Gillard govt and were privy to detail on the carbon tax policy that hasn’t been announced yet, actually I didn’t think it has even been decided yet but you would know. Also those on “welfare and social security” (isn’t the same thing) generally don’t pay tax in the first place so I am not sure how much of a “tax cut” they could get but they will be compensated just like most low and middle income earners are expected to be, but we will just have to wait for the policy on that.

    And what truth about the BER is that, less than 3% complaints and less than 5% premium, or is there some other truth out there?

    I am an accountant which deals with small business (we even deal with some parcel services) everyday and I have not heard one complaint about the increase in postage and as for private individuals an extra 5c-10c to mail a letter is hardly going to bring down the govt, plus if mailing a letter is becoming to expensive doesn’t it strengthen the case for an NBN?

  • 13
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s a methodist/baptist thing this whole work ethic crud.

    Why don’t people who went to university, got decent degrees and therefore don’t have to get up at sparrow’s fart to milk cows or lay bricks or clean streets with their tongue get any credit?

    It’s the same with the prejudice against latte sippers and chardonnay sippers. Go and blow your wages on the pokies then stagger home with a carton of VB and you’re the salt of the earth.

    Dare to actually get yourself an education and you’re some sort of dilettante.

  • 14
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The idea of politicians frantically trying to claim the allegiance of the entire population with meaningless, all-inclusive, ego-flattering truisms like ‘working families’ is depressingly old news. ( I have always particularly liked ‘Family First’ - so who’s second? Anyone not part of a family please raise your hand.)

    It is good, however, that Bernard extends the analysis to point out that this brand of politics sits so much more naturally with a conservative agenda than progressive policy. Hence why the Liberals have trounced Labor at this game for years. It’s so much easier to sell yourself sycophantically to everyone if you’re peddling every-man-for-himself capitalism.

    Howard convinced Australia that we’ve all got to look after number one - not only is it okay to be selfish, you *need* to in order to protect yourself from lurking menaces. Anyone trying to sell a progressive agenda is therefore to be viewed with suspicion and is probably trying to make you feel bad and/or take money out of your pocket.

    As awful as Labor have been at playing the pork-barrel game, they’ve had to start from a long way behind. The poor buggers have never quite been able to distance themselves from the remnants of progressive policy. You can’t stand for something and please everyone - but the knots they tie themselves into trying to do just that must delight Abbott on a daily basis.

    You can’t help but wonder whether, particularly with this tenuously-balanced lower house, the ALP would be better off (or at least no worse off) pursuing actual policy and breaking a few eggs rather than losing to the Coalition on its home turf of spin and focus groups. Bleh.

  • 15
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    I am talking parcels - 18% increase in 20 months (3 increases in 20 months). Not EVER has Australia Post ever done this, Its a Swan, grab.

    They have no unearthed more BER rorting (in the last 2 weeks) and now we are getting softened up on NBN blow outs.

    The Carbon Tax tax cuts wont compensats fully, you will have to eat your words

  • 16
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Amen and “Arbeit macht frei”!

  • 17
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Had enough - I have never used the words “fully” but even if the weekends figures are true (and seeing they are based on a $30 a tonne carbon tax which is a the upper end of what the govt is talking) we are still only talking about $800 including petrol which may not even be included, if the govt were to increase the tax free threshold from say $6k to $10k and increase the low income rebate from $1500 to $2000 those earning less than $30k will be more than fully compensated and those on $60k would be fully compensated.

    Any links for the BER rorts uncovered in the last 2 weeks?

    As for the postage increase, again I haven’t heard one complaint from the many small business I deal with so I hardly think it is a vote changer.

  • 18
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I will tell you what has changed since Gough, Hawkie and PK, and that is the press, and the decided lack of accurate information that is delivered to a public.

    We have been tretated like mushrooms for so long, they will even tolerate the bullshit this article tosses up as considered thought.

    The “news” has become entertainment. It is no longer of any value in providing information. It is entertainment just like a cartoon, a movie or more appropriately, an advertisement. It is chewing gum for the mind, aimed squaley at the 4 out of 10 in Australia that have the duty to vote and cannot read or write, according to todays statistics.

    To accommodate the illiterate, they import protest signs for them to display with uniquely american spelling on them. They know that no one will complain because most of the programs they watch are american and because they cant spell either. “I am illiterate and I vote”. “I am ignorant and I vote.” If you can read this, please read it to me.”

    If you get told tht you are stupid often enough, you will believe you are stupid. If the paper, the radio and the TV keep saing the same thing, over and over, no matter which channel you turn to, you will begin to belive;

    that we need to go to the polls quickly and put the poor bastards who were robbed back in power quickly.

    that the sky isnt falling and evertyhing will be OK

    The poor bastards that own mines are doing it tough and we should send them more money.

    The ignorant idiots who were careless enough to live under a flooding rain should look the f**k after themselves and not get any taxpayers money - bludgers

    That the poor bastrads that own cigarete companies are doing it tough and need to be able to sell their products to anyone they damm well like right now.

    Tha the poor bastards who own the banks are doing it tough and we should leave them alone and let them get on with ripping every last cent out of us that they can

    We should reject outright any attempt to improve the quality of education in this country. this is patently wrong for a number of reasons that we will be told about later

    We should reject outright any future planning regarding IT . It may never happen, and if it does, it will be inferior, but just in case it is not, it will become that big that it will be a monopoly and tht is unfair on business.

    What bullshit are you going to come up with next Bernard? Maybe that all the negativity isnt just coming from Mr Rabbit?

  • 19
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    What a disappointing swipe from the Prime Minister. I work hard, like the footy & a beer, have a bbq every once in a while, brought up 3 kids in suburbia, and also sport a greenish tinge. Bacause of that unfortunate political leaning apparently I don’t share the “values of every day Australians ….. driven by love of family and nation”. I sincerely hope the PM doesn’t really mean to exclude me from her utopia.

  • 20
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    With a 98% success rate on the BER it’s time Enough read the real reports instead of the liberal stacked one that wrote a report based on nothing more than the word of one man who had nothing to do with it.

  • 21
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The Liberals are doing well to have made the debate on climate change become centred on an $800 per year increase in the cost of living as a result of the tax, and whether or not one will be ‘fully’ compensated, rather than the social and economic cost of increasing CO2 emissions and diminishing oil supplies – both which have no compensation. No one is even talking about the Liberals’ own expensive Direct Action plan to match Labor’s emission’s target – Abbott seems to be a brilliant strategist in the short term, and at shaping ‘narratives’.

  • 22
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Kemp - ” Liberals’ own expensive Direct Action plan to match Labor’s emission’s target” - Abbott’s plan claims to match Labors target but does this by relying a massive amount’s of soil sequestration, which the UN doesn’t include and which the govt will allow to be traded in the ETS (generating income for farmers) but they will add them on top of their target.

    Also “Greg Hunt believes 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide can be abated in one year over one million hectares but using the CSIRO’s best estimate, you’d need a land mass of at least 75 million hectares to do this. And if you take the CSIRO’s figures at the lower end of the scale, then you’d need 500 million hectares, or 65 per cent of the land mass of Australia” (this quote is from lateline on the 31st of March.

  • 23
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    MikeB I know a lot of Greens voters who have similar circumstances to you. I hope some of them submit video questions to Q&A with all the family in the shot and ask the Labor politicians if they believe that Green voters aren’t driven by a love of family. (You’d have to explain you’ve read the policies and know what you’re voting for because a condescending tactic the Labor employs to explain the popularity of the Greens is that people don’t know what they’re voting for.)

    Perhaps they could ask the Labor politicians to explain to the children of Greens voters why their parents don’t love them.

    The Greens voters I know do so precisely because they are driven by a love of family. Gillard says they don’t ‘do the right thing’, but the shock jocks call them ‘do-gooders’. It’s that the Greens voters have values and everyone knows it that really worries Labor.

  • 24
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jimmy. You’ve pointed out in a few lines that it is a ridiculous unfeasible plan - but no one is talking about it in the mainstream media. Tony Abbott won’t even talk about it.

  • 25
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Kemp & MikeB - I wouldn’t get to uptight about Gillard’s words about the Green’s it’s all just play acting and theatre. She wants to try and get some space between her and the greens in the swinging voters eyes and trusts that the ALP and Green voters will be smart enough to look past the rhetoric and judge her by the fact that she is actually trying to do something on climate change. I would be very surprised if she and Bob Brown didn’t have a chat about the speech well in advance of her making it.

  • 26
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes Jimmy

    Its shadow boxing.

  • 27
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take one bit of advice from Gillard ie: to set my alarm clock early for the morning of the next federal election to ensure my timely vote for the Greens. This is despite them being, allegedly, lacking in Australianism and other noble qualities touted by the PM.

    As for that trite ‘working families’ line which is designed to paint a picture of domestic bliss for the hardworking nuclear unit, I know more than a couple people who have little time for their kin folk. Perhaps it’s a stone better left unturned by Gillard’s speechwriters.

  • 28
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    DRMICK - what good is “news” if you can’t turn it into a buck? Like the other, professional, clowns with their balloons - bending and twisting it to make their funny things with their “medium”, if not getting as much by way of “returns” from it?

  • 29
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy: They also stated that the reason they wouldn’t accept the Liberal soil carbon plan is that the research is yet to be peer reviewed, given the disparity between current data and this research their plan looks awfully sketchy. Funnily enough this scenario is a common one ‘realist conservatives’ often level at renewables, that other than wind, no mature renewable baseload technology exists that we could confidently being to scale up and invest in.

    Is there a sense of nostalgia that prevents people from addressing some realities of the Hawke government? As former Labor MP Bob Catley outlines, during the Hawke/Keating term:

    -They introduced focus group techniques from the US,
    -Strategically polled the marginal electorates using advanced techniquies,
    -Altered the rules to ensure that electorates would be managed to move towards being marginals,
    -Disposed of Hawke because he was no longer popular enough to win the next election, the point at which the leader could no longer rely purely on purity off principle to lead, but was only expected to win elections as the method of winning had changed, and the strategy to get there. Self-inflicted to some degree.

  • 30
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy to me that just seems part of the problem for Labor - that there’s too much play acting and theatre, that there’s a difference between what Gillard says and what the Labor party do. I want Labor to pick up the swinging voters but I think they’re going be turned off by the spin. It plays right into Tony Abbot’s lines about real and fake Julia (instead of all of us talking about Phoney Tony the gospel truth weather-vane who has a different line and fundamental set of beliefs for every different audience).

  • 31
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    So when are the Liberals going to make a speech denouncing businesspeople and the wealthy ?

    Yet the Labor party always finds it necessary to attack its core voters to attract the lower middle class slobs who will vote Liberal if they feel a “bogan” might be getting more than they are.

    >”They, Gillard insists, “will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation”.”

    I believe this is a direct quote of Benito Mussolini !

  • 32
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Klewso, Kemp has enunciated the problem.

    It is a battle of the spin doctors/ The truth,fact and reality are all victims.

    Just the same, there are some pretty precious poppet’s upset that their views and Julia’s version of reality is different.

    I repeat my earlier point, just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to or that you should, and it definitely does not prove that you know what you are doing.

  • 33
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    An excellent article BK, fabulous.
    The ‘should be’ straight forward has become quite kinky so what will the kinky become other than insane.

  • 34
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Kemp - If they are turned off by Gillard doing this they aren’t going to go to the Libs are they because Abbott’s record is far worse as you pointed out. Those that are offended will be the ones who were leaning towards voting Green anyway (most of who’s votes come back to Labor).
    I don’t put this in the spin category, this is just politics.

  • 35
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what Gillard has against shift workers — people who sleep during the day and get to work at 3.00pm, or 10pm. Perhaps they should join the Greens those unworthy family-indifferent country-knocking wretches!

    Really — the whole speech was just a long r*cist and right-wing populist dogwhistle. “Everyday Australians” roughly translates as white, reactionary under-educated Alan Jones listeners as opposed to the “intellectual elites” Howard was always on about in 1996.

    This may have been the “Whitlam” oration but as others have noted it sounds like Menzies would be wondering if it wasn’t an appeal to his view of the world.

  • 36
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, Jimmy - I don’t know what would attract the vote of a swinger voter. There are loud voices, however, whipping up a frenzy about Gillard’s contradictions - so both are bad but the momentum seems to be against Labor. And it’s not just about who is offended, but how Abbott can use it - he can keep saying why did you form an agreement if you really believe they’re so extreme? And if swinging voters are as simple-minded as the spin advisors seem the think they are, then you’d have a choice between two liars, only one of which is going to introduce a great big new tax….

  • 37
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    How is this even an issue, it isn’t like she has announced an anti green policy and judging by the comments here it hasn’t drawn criticism from anyone who isn’t going to vote green or labor next election regardless. It is designed soley to fight the “greens are running the govt” scare campaign that Abbott and co a spreading and trying to change the perceptions of people who pay very little attention to politics.
    Surely our time and Bernard’s time would be better spent discussing actual policy rather than fcusing on the politics.

    I would note there are just 3 the very good article on renewable enrgy targets and 35 on this.

  • 38
    Robert Ross
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Bernard describes the Greens as “a party notoriously made up of service industry professionals such as teachers”.

    Does that mean that Bernard thinks Labor is “a party notoriously made up of union leaders” and the Liberal Party is “a party notoriously made up of professional lawyers”?

    Give us a break, Bernard. I think Crikey is a company “notoriously made up of journalists”.

    By the way, I’m a member of the Greens, and I’m not a service industry professional such as teacher.

    Bob Ross

  • 39
    Had Enough
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    @ Robert Ross

    Some EXTREME stereotypes here!!!

  • 40
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Kemp - “only one of which is going to introduce a great big new tax….” and only one of which is going to give new individual tax cuts, and only one of which will increase their super contributions and only one of which will cut the corporate tax rate and only one of which will provide concessions for small business.

  • 41
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I know Jimmy, and I hope they corner Abbott with those policies nearer the election, but so far, great big new tax on everything seems to be having more airplay and more resonance. The scare campaign is working because of the attacks on Gillard’s credibility. How can you persuade people with a positive message if they don’t believe what you say?

  • 42
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    @SHEPHERD MARILYN - Your comment at 1.34 pm. I too add, ‘Amen’!

    Bernard, I’m a pensioner, who worked for about 15 hours in the week leading up to and including polling day. I was handing out how to votes for the Green’s candidate who doubled his 2007 vote - the highest in NSW. I was pleased and proud to support a man of integrity, who works hard supporting his local community and beyond.

    I found Julia Gillard’s comments offensive - again she just showed how she’s out of touch with the community, not the Greens! I support a tax on pollution, and I wish it was launched as such. This pollution should be included in costs, and has never been. Now, at last, they’ll be forced to include it which is great! I cannot understand people my age being against it. You’d think they’d want a ‘better world’ for their kids and grandkids - I certainly do!

  • 43
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    God help the artists, writers, scientists, mathematicians, medicos, and actors, intellectuals and computer nerds of this country if Gillard gets to serve another term; worse still if the budgie-smugglers wearing lout currently leading the Liberal Party should get into power.

    The workers, our valiant home-spun heroes, will, indeed, have a tonne of work. Trouble is all the people who would ordinarily use their buildings, will have been coerced into more productive streams of consciousness. Mushroom farming anyone? Night-soil collectors?

  • 44
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    …. Greens, (a party notoriously made up of service industry professionals such as teachers).”?
    I read that as facetious, as in “Gillard’s attempt at differentiation and appeal to a certain demographic”?

  • 45
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Bob Ross said:

    Bernard describes the Greens as “a party notoriously made up of service industry professionals such as teachers”.

    Does that mean that Bernard thinks Labor is “a party notoriously made up of union leaders” and the Liberal Party is “a party notoriously made up of professional lawyers”?

    The language Bernard used — notoriously- should have been your clue that he was mocking this attitude by those accepting the trope Gillard coughed up.

  • 46
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    who, one wonders, is in favour of unfairness of opportunity?”

    The immediate and obvious reply: “Anyone who sends their children to a private school”. And that is a large number of Australians. Bless their egalitarian little hearts.

  • 47
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it a tad arrogant to pidgeon hole people? And dangerous as well. I don’t like to think I’m the same as lots of others? I’m very pro Unions, yes, I’m also very pro lots of other things, including against domestic violence and the sexual assault of children by catholic clergy? What pidgeon hole am I in now? I abhor all forms of violence including war and the bashing of asylum seekers plus the use of any form of guns used by those paid very well to protect them. Another pidgeon hole Bernard? Where exactly do I fit now?

    As I said, dangerous Bernard!

  • 48
    Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    What a lot of over-analytical fluff. Fran Barlow, are you serious? People who set their alarm clocks early — it’s a simple, earthy, almost poetic phrase that speaks volumes. I doubt if shift workers, or the cleaners she mentioned, are so stupidly literal as to miss the point and feel excluded. As for implying any rac-ism, you’ve totally lost me.

    This was a speech written for regular people. People who see work as something hard that you do, and take pride in doing, to make a better life for your family. There is another class of people who see work as a form of self-actualization, living your dreams, doing what you love and getting paid for it. These are the kind of people most likely to split hairs and look up five different dictionaries for a single word. Sure, some of them are Labor voters, maybe even loyal Labor voters, but a large proportion of them are left-wing swingers. Maybe they vote for Labor, maybe Greens, maybe some other progressive party that catches their fancy on the day. For them, it largely depends on the personalities which, like these voters, will come and go and come again. Offend them one week, no great loss, they’ll be back.

    The problem Labor is facing is a huge attrition of its core support base. People who are taught certain values, and certain tribal loyalties, from an early age. By and large they don’t love their work; they endure it, often with a feeling of bureaucratic isolation which is offset only by pride in their own stoicism and having a few laughs with their workmates as they count the days to the weekend. You need these people more than they need you, and so does the ALP. They are fiercely loyal, and their loyalty once lost is extremely hard to regain. They will back you in a fight and tell you later in private if you stretched the friendship. And that, I believe, is the message Labor has been getting. The party has stretched the friendship. That, I believe, is what Gillard sought to redress in that speech, and I think she did it pretty well.

  • 49
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Tuesday, 5 April 2011 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    @SHEPHERDMARILYN — Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 1:34 pm
    I am with @LIZ45 in encouraging recognition of your very pertinent point about ‘sold’.
    Top salesman and good leader aren’t really the same thing. You contribute needed focus.
    Maybe a great idea (one that the masses feel can be theirs with value) just has to be intelligently and honestly expressed with meaningful passion then stood up for rather than be ‘sold’ (merchant leaders belong to some other group).

    @FREECOUNTRY - Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 10:56 pm
    You have an interesting worthy angle here.

  • 50
    Posted Tuesday, 5 April 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Next, it’ll be the ‘ivory tower intellectuals’ who’ll be the target. You know, those with the intellectual heft to properly criticise this stupid govt. No-one can yet explain why Rudd was removed. Arbib the traitor, Shorten and the rest of the small-minded sell-outs should get out of public life. The only thing Gillard is doing is keeping that uneducated lout Abbott from getting his hands on the keys to the treasury.

    can both parties reform NOW, please?