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Does the Labor narrative narrative stand up?

We all complain Labor lacks a narrative. But what if positive narratives are now impossible to effectively communicate? Look overseas and it may well be the case.

It’s funny, but no one in Labor is laughing: the very week the Gillard government produces its most coherent economic and political statement of the entire time Labor has been in office, it gets accused yet again of lacking a “narrative”. Waleed Aly, joining Fairfax’s new “all leadership speculation, all the time” format, says governments “thrive on narrative” and Labor ain’t got one.

Ah, the irony — Labor’s actual narrative can’t be heard over the clamour of leadership speculation and insistence it hasn’t got a narrative.

This is only the most recent of almost countless articles about Labor’s lack of an overarching narrative — many of which, I readily confess, I’ve authored myself. It’s taken as an article of faith that governments need a central story around which to structure their communication with voters and to guide their governing priorities. Labor’s peristent problem, we’ve all maintained, has been it lacks such a theme and that that is reflective of its lack of core values.

Well perhaps it’s time to reassess how much we rely on the “narrative” narrative.

You see, this government isn’t the only one about which, it’s lamented, there’s no narrative. The Obama presidency has been dogged by complaints he lacked a narrative, or (premature, as it turned out) declarations that he’d finally found one. One Washington Post writer in 2010 was already toting up the number of times Obama’s loss or lack of narrative had featured in mainstream commentary. In the lead-up to the 2012 election, there were complaints Obama had lost his “narrative mojo” or allowed Republicans to impose their own narrative. A re-elected Obama had finally found “a strong narrative arc”, another writer opined in December. His State of the Union address was seen as an attempt to replace an “austerity narrative” with a more progressive economic narrative.

David Cameron hasn’t fared any better. The Tories lack a clear message because Cameron doesn’t have one, the New Statesman’s political editor complained earlier this week. Cameron lacks a convincing narrative, a Guardian commentator noted at the end of last year. And it’s not just the Left in the UK. “There is no leadership and no narrative. Kids are running Downing Street,” an unnamed Tory MP was quoted as saying a fortnight ago. Cameron had allowed Labour’s Ed Miliband to create a narrative of government incompetence, a senior Telegraph commentator explained in October.

Sound familiar?

Still, Gordon Brown had the same problem. There was no distinctive Labour narrative, the Independent’s Peter Hain lamented in 2009. Or if it existed it was confusing, a Spectator columnist suggested. Brown allowed Cameron to paint him as incompetent, too.

So what’s going on — do we have an entire generation of Anglophone politicians who have entirely lost the capacity to communicate narratives effectively, who can only stand idly by while their opponents portray them as incompetent? It seems unlikely — does anyone seriously suggest Barack Obama is a poor communicator? Or is our concept of a “narrative” now flawed? Before we read the next article on Labor’s failure of narrative, think about these points:

  • A constantly reinforced government message requires rigorous top-down control of ministers and MPs that the media complains about. Remember the media’s incessant complaints about the Rudd office’s control of messaging? The media says it prizes authenticity and politicians who resist spin in preference for talking about things realistically. But you don’t convey a consistent message by offering nuance, detail and “calling it as you see it”.
  • Narratives are made, not born. The Hawke government didn’t come to office in March 1983 with an economic reform agenda; it was compelled to embrace one by economic circumstances and the wretched budget situation John Howard bequeathed it. And the agenda changed over time as economic circumstances changed. Governments have to operate in the real world, and the real world throws up problems to be dealt with. Labor has had to govern with a global financial crisis, a European depression, a mining boom and a bulletproof currency, and has maintained economic growth, low inflation and low unemployment, despite the apparent lack of a narrative. During the GFC the “narrative” was about protecting jobs. The strong Australian dollar has now prompted Labor to put together a coherent economic policy based around jobs, productivity and innovation, within a strongly fiscally constrained environment. It is actually a narrative. It isn’t the sort of narrative that gets the media excited, but it’s the one we need.
  • It’s easier to communicate a negative narrative than a positive one. Just ask Gordon Brown while David Cameron was painting him as incompetent, or David Cameron as Ed Miliband paints him as incompetent. Negative narratives are simple; positive narratives are complex and nuanced. It’s easier for oppositions to communicate narratives than governments, because governments have to govern in the real world, with all its imperfections, while oppositions govern purely in rhetoric, where things are always easier and everything runs smoothly.
  • It’s easy to communicate us-and-them narratives — whether it’s the Right targeting asylum seekers and Muslims or the Left targeting foreign workers. Inclusive narratives that seek to unite rather than divide are harder to sell because they’re more complex.
  • Leaders with a long history in public life find it easier to communicate with voters because voters instinctively know what they stand for; politicians who are relatively recent arrivals have no values recognition to draw on in the electorate. No one ever asked what John Howard’s “narrative” was, even as he shifted from a neo-liberal economic hardliner to a tax-and-spend big-government advocate of centralisation.
  • And, maybe most of all, in a fragmented media, and with people able to select their own media or select none at all, communicating to the whole electorate is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s no longer the 1980s when there was a limited number of media outlets across TV, radio and newspapers and even tabloid current affairs programs ran prime ministerial interviews. Governments can have the most compelling narrative possible, but if a substantial chunk of the electorate simply refuses to pay attention to political coverage, it’s irrelevant.

All of which suggests that if Labor wants to meet our benchmark of successfully communicating a narrative, it should keep it simple, negative, divisive, artificial and relentlessly controlled. As if that would keep us happy.

76
  • 1
    Apollo
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    One thing I find commentators over reaching in attacking Labors as “don’t know what they stand for” when they relate it to asylum seeker issue.

    The ALP is a party of the worker union movement, they were the ones who proposed the White Australia policy. One could say that it was Whitlam who did not know what Labor stand for and abolished White Australia policy.

    Menzies signed the Refugee Convention. The Liberals now walking away from it, one could say that they are the ones who don’t know what they stand for, in addition to the big socialist ideas of baby bonus and gold plated parental leave.

    Politics is so lame in this country. I want Clive Palmer to run for office, bring on someone like Berlusconi and inject some bunga bunga into the polity.

  • 2
    Apollo
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Also, bloc voting on asylum seekers law and gay marriage. Whatever happened to the Liberal ideal of freedom and conscience vote?

  • 3
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    You left out “delivered in three word sentences using words of one syllable.”

  • 4
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Labourers never, never, never shall be slaves!
    There’s your bloody narrative!
    Adam Smith’s “labour and capital”, economic truisms are some how so obscure in this post-modern age as to be lost altogether?
    A narrative out of context is mere gibberish, the calling -card of this post-modernity.
    It is like something out of the conversation at the Mad-Hatters Tea Party.

  • 5
    Kinkajou
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    welcome to the future….msybe the narrative is a concept past its useby date…things are no longer that simple…a government has to govern and cope with what actually happens rather than just make pictures of the bombing patterns

  • 6
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, how’s that narrative to be heard over the MSM (controlling those airwaves of information) static, not interested in broadcasting anything but their own version of their own “papal infallibilty”?

  • 7
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    … maybe it’s just not the narrative the self-obsessed media wants to hear and pass on?

  • 8
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I found Keane’s analysis most enlightening. I would add that modern parties need a narrative since they relinquished the class base of their policies and support.

    While the fragmentation of the media makes it harder for the big parties to deliver 1 narrative, it makes it easier for them to develop different positions for different groups. So potentially Labor could appeal to the knowledge workers thru some channels and to the aspirationals thru other channels.

  • 9
    Mr Tank
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Cheers Bernard some good points. I too read Waleed’s piece. Found it derivative. Anyway there is a narrative, one that was not intentional perhaps but is universally known to be the case. It is one of duplicity, ambition, arrogance and vanity. It is one of power at any cost. It is a narrative based in delusion. One that says “Yep the progressive project must depend upon my personal success.” One that in reality states “I shall tear this house down around me in the name of defending it.” Why is it that the people are awaiting with cricket bats? Because we know, that even on their worst days, these folks are better than any government the Coalition can provide. We hold them to a higher standard and we despise them when they fail to be what we need them to be. You know, better than ourselves. But there is a Labour narrative for now until the election. It is based upon sacrifice for the greater good. Not hard to work it out really…

  • 10
    Robert Brown
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Is the “lack of narrative” meme actually a reflection of the state of the media?
    As Bernard says, “positive narratives are complex and nuanced…” and therefore more difficult to sum up in a headline. A “coherent economic and political statement” needs time, research and skills to analyse. Much easier to go meta, go sensation, go with the flow.

  • 11
    michael in melbourne
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    If Labor is going to go down at the upcoming election, why not do so with style and substance.

    Perhaps it is time to remorselessly pump out the positive narrative outlined by Mr Kean. Refuse to answer journo’s asking about leadership challenges. Tell them the message you want. Set the agenda. BE assertive. It’s not hard.

    Back it up with all the other good stuff achieved, like the plain packaging laws, like the carbon tax, and yes, even the mining tax - who in the hell can make a call on whether it is a good or bad tax after only 2 quarters?

    These are all changes which will benefit the country in years to come. Put that out there and see what happens. It can’t be any worse than what most people think will happen.

  • 12
    Scott
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to have a narrative when you believe in nothing except staying in power. No folk songs are ever written about that.

  • 13
    kraken
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Any analysis of the Labor government’s so-called lack of narrative (which is a media construct in any case. Howard never had a narrative - he had asylum seekers and middle class welfare) should acknowledge its record, which includes “Australia’s world-beating economy during the global financial crisis, the carbon tax, the NBN, increasing the tax free threshold for low income workers, increasing compulsory superannuation, refurbishment of schools, increased pensions, pursuing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, creating ocean parks, the Murray basin buy-back scheme, and health reforms like the recently announced PBS for hepatitis sufferers. All of these and many more pieces of good legislation have been passed in the most difficult political circumstances.”

    Journalists and columnists are guilty of joining the News Ltd feeding frenzy, whose staple is endless recycling of simple-minded “Labor is doomed” or “Julia vs Kevin” narratives. The majority of the press gallery have been playing rats to Abbott’s pied piper for over two years. They’ve not only fallen for the small target strategy of the Coalition, they’re in thrall to the constant pitch to the lowest common denominator, hysterical rhetoric on a ‘crisis’ in the body politic & economy, undermining of Parliamentary process and the legitimacy of a minority government, propaganda strategies to demonize issues such as the carbon tax and asylum seekers to whip up fear, and a relentless wooing of blue collar votes embedded in small businesses.

    Poor fella my country…

  • 14
    Julia
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    A very thoughtful article. Thank you, Mr Keane.

  • 15
    moonkid
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Spot on. How can a government maintain a positive narrative when its messenger (the media) is not a coherent narrator, but instead simulates a belligerent drunkard with multiple personality disorder?

  • 16
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Apart from a little diversion in September, Labor could be forgiven for not having a clear narrative. “Why bother?” Could well be the rejoinder “We could use the words of Abraham Lincoln, and deliver a quantum leap forwards in Australia’s socioeconomic sphere and bring in the best environmental legislation the world has ever seen. But the electorate wouldn’t even hear us.They’d rather watch Chrissy Wissy Pyne doing his shimmering, simpering dance in the spotlight recently vacated by Tony Abbott.

    Bring on the clowns.

  • 17
    JMNO
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    What’s the answer Bernard? How does Labor cut through to a media that isn’t listening?
    George Lakoff, ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know your values and frame the debate’ Scribe 2005 says the progressives talk programs but people are more receptive to values which is what the conservatives are good at talking about - and that is what Abbott has done and with great success.

    I think it is possible to know what Labor stands for from the policies they have implemented/have tried to implement but that doesn’t seem to be enough.

  • 18
    Kinkajou
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The narrative is now reduced to a meme

  • 19
    Microseris
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Whilst they have battled a hostile MSM since day 1, Labor can only blame itself for the lack of a narrative. Religion in schools, funding for private schools against all evidence, me too racism on asylum seekers, a carbon tax whilst overseeing a massive increase in coal exports, exemptions for religions for anti-discrimination laws, the list goes on.

    What do they stand for? As others have pointed out, Re-election.

  • 20
    CML
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Good article, Bernard!
    Of course Labor has a narrative, as many commentators above have pointed out. It is not Labor who has changed, but the society in which it operates. Sure the media have relentlessly attacked the Labor “narrative” because it is not the one which most of them (particularly the media barons) want to hear. So the brainwashing of the electorate continues day in and day out, like a never ending monologue.
    Therefore, the current government is forced to operate within the framework of that famous saying: Politics is the art of the possible!

  • 21
    David Hand
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Of course Labor has a narrative. It got it from Western Sydney focus groups.

    The Narrative is to deliver ever more ambitious social policy schemes to “share the fairness” and “Spread the benefits of the boom” to Labor voters. Gonski and the NDIS are merely the two latest iterations, following the carbon tax, mining tax, the health reforms, fairness to refugees and the NBN.

    It will all be paid for by greedy billionaires, greedy multinationals and greedy rich people. The narrative works well until they actually try to implement. Then the woeful fantasy of it all becomes real.

    This government came unstuck when Kevin was knifed. Whatever had happened before looked to me like the hard edge of policy aspiration meeting the real world. All governments experience that and the Abbott government will be no exception. It is usual and survivable.

    But what Julia did on 23 June 2010 has dogged every move since. The idea that “the dogs are barking but the train moves on” is exposed as self-serving delusion. Julia is doomed because people don’t like her anymore and her political obituary will point to 23 June 2010.

  • 22
    Sam
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Labor does have a narrative. It’s right there in the name. This is something that’s visible in both Labor’s workplace and industry policies. There’s a grab bag of other values whose absence in the Labor platform today is lamented by some left-wingers. While these may have coincided with Labor positions in the past, they often have nothing to do with Labor’s central message (or even run contrary to it, as in the case of banning coal exports).

    Labor’s problem with narrative is not that it lacks one, but that it’s all too ready to accept the conservative narrative, even when doing so is contrary to reason, good policy and Labor’s historical preferences. So instead of calling out as nonsense the idea that good economic management is all about building a surplus, Labor enthusiastically embraced it, only abandoning it when continuation of the fetish would have been at odds with Labor’s core narrative of protecting jobs. In the aftermath, there was an attempt to redefine good economic management in terms of ensuring growth and employment. This is something that ought to have happened long ago.

    The same sort of pliancy was on display with regards to tax cuts for the wealthy and private school funding. The continued commitment to the latter shows that no lesson has as yet been learned.

  • 23
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Pretty hard for the media to report Labor’s ‘narrative’, let alone even notice it, while it’s so busy building the bonfire to burn the witch.

  • 24
    gazo
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Simple, negative, divisive, artificial and relentlessly controlled”? Well, that sounds exactly like the ALP’s stance on Julian Assange (to name but one example).

    I thought the key element of Waleed’s article was buried in the 3rd last para: “Once Labor embraced a deregulated, liberal economy, the political landscape was forever changed.

    And I think that is their real problem, not media management. After Howard was obliterated, I thought the Liberals might become a far-right minority, with ALP being recognised as right wing and the Greens emerging as the only real left wing alternative. But the LNP is still able to market themselves as (at least potentially) more capable free market disciples, so the ALP is left floundering.

    As for the media angle, of course we all know the Murdoch press is biased against Gillard: but then why hasn’t the ALP gone after Rupert? The Leveson Inquiry was an ideal opportunity to wind back media ownership rules in Australia. But to do so would be anathema to a party that embraces monopolies like Coles/Woolies etc.

    So you get what you deserve, Labor. And if an extremist like Abbott takes power you will have only yourselves to blame. Feel sorry for the rest of us.

  • 25
    andy shandyfromtonypandy
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    One would think that having a command of the language in which one is attempting to craft said narrative would help, non?

    First Gillard and her swinging (sic) cuts and, if my ears did not deceive me last night, that porcine gutlord Howes squealing about gutless pricks underminding (sic) la Gillard…….!

  • 26
    Douglas Evan
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Must be a low news day. C’mon Bernard you are usually a lot better than this tripe.

  • 27
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    So in summary Keane “Do the same kind of media porridge that Abbott does - for his Goldilocks!”?

  • 28
    Michael Hilliard
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    “Simple, negative, divisive, artificial and relentlessly controlled” sounds a whole lot more like Abbott’s narrative.

  • 29
    Christopher Nagle
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Bernard’s ‘narrative’ riposte is a glorious example of baloney spiking. And it is particularly apt in relation to the seemingly impossible task for the ALP and its federal leadership, to resist the march of the critics, who will get them no matter what they do.

    The socialist narrative is dead and buried, and that all that is left to us from that is an increasingly powerful oligarchy that thinks the time has come, where everyone takes their orders from them, or else.

    The ALP is doing its best to play ball, but their best isn’t good enough, when there is an Abbott government coming that is just that much better trained and responsive to orders.

    Of course the bloody ALP hasn’t got a narrative, or anything else that is ever going to save them short of the second coming. Nothing is going to because nothing will be allowed to. The narrative has already been programmed. Take it as read…

  • 30
    Heather
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mr Keane. Great analysis.
    And “Michael in Melbourne”, I like your ideas.

  • 31
    Michael Hilliard
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    If I am not wrong didn’t Hitler have a strong narrative?

  • 32
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Gillard now attacking and abusing the Greens is pretty pathetic, shows again that she has no loyalty to anyone but herself.

    The ALP are racist cowards in a party born to shut out Chinese workers in the gold fields.

  • 33
    Peter
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Who gives a bugger about narrative, do the things government is elected for and the public will embrace you…but they’ll kick your bum if there are stuff ups…enough said about Labor stuff ups, we all know what they are and there’s too many of them…and too much of some ugly stuff… the AWU slush fund, support for Thomson & Slipper, the HSU, NSW Labor, ICAC, …..arrrrghh, it’s horrible… the error prone PM sets the course for her government and the public have not embraced it, in fact they are repudiating it, see the polls. Slippery slope, exit time is near.

  • 34
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    And the narrative of the supposed, next federal government is that the Labor party is bad?
    Is that all they need?
    We will rule you because of someone else and not because of anything we are or do.
    Sounds vacuous, and perfect for conservative voters.
    Come September Australians will reject this mindless negativity because it is, basically, Un-Australian: something which Abbott does not understand because it is foreign to his character and unseratanding.
    He’s faking it, and he won’t make it!
    And no amount of self-delusion on the part of his supporters will change the reality that Australians will not insult themselves with an Abbott government, just as they did in the “unloseable” election of 2010.

  • 35
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    unseratanding=understanding. Lazy proofreading.

  • 36
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Tree word narratives for Abbott:
    Two Time Loser?
    Not Ready Yet!

  • 37
    John Anderson
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    It was a pleasure to read your article and that written by Waleed Aly. Both are thought provoking and both make valid points. More please. Unlike the Fairfax coverage of Gillard [and probably that of News Ltd, which I don’t read], there was no orchestration.

  • 38
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the lack of narrative is at the media’s end…

  • 39
    مكينSouthPacificSpunk
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    by the rivers of babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remember sion

    when the wicked carried us away in captivity
    required from us a song
    now how shall we sing the lord’s song in a strange land

    let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
    be acceptable in thy sight here tonight

  • 40
    Patriot
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    RADIO announcer Ray Hadley has called on the Federal Government for a detailed report and explanation after he revealed 80 asylum seekers have been living inside the grounds of a Sydney university.

    On his radio show this morning, Hadley said approximately 80 Sri Lankan men were living at student accommodation inside Macquarie University.

    In the grounds of the university there are two dorm buildings housing young women - those dorms are surrounded by the dormitories containing the 80 Sri Lankan men,” Hadley said.

    According to people I’ve spoken to at the university, the young women feel both intimdated and frightened by having the men in close proximity. Some are in fact scared and conveyed that to police officers on the scene yesterday.”

    NSW Police today confirmed officers were investigating reports a man indecently assaulted a female university student while she was sleeping in her dormitory…

    The man is described as 20-25 years old, thin build, dark skinned, with dark short curly hair.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s like a parody of naive lefty stupidity.

  • 41
    burninglog
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Waleed Aly, joining Fairfax’s new “all leadership speculation, all the time” format”

    Great comment. Media Watch might steal that line on Monday night

  • 42
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Abbott’s “Austerity” Narrative to Axe AAA Rating!
    Just like Cameron’s Austerity has done in the UK?
    Strange how the ‘narrative’ of an existing government is the the sole focus while the ‘narrative’ of a putative government gets no focus at all.
    Articles like these absolutely define the media imbalance in Australia.
    And the palce eunuchs brazenly shrug off the criticism as usual?
    How about the “Story of Tony”, by that Henderson fellow, to balance it up?

  • 43
    Pia Robinson
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    One of the best things I have read for ages, thank you.

  • 44
    taylormade
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    David Hand “This government came unstuck when Kevin was knifed”

    May as well go over old ground, but it was earlier than that. Rudd should never have tried to wedge Turnball on the issue of climate change. Turnball just needed some time and space and they could have achieved a deal, but no, Rudd and Penny Wong had to rub his nose in it.

    ALP’s position today could have been so much different.

  • 45
    David Hand
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    You’ve got a point, Taylor.

    I guess that the ETS was a policy conundrum that Labor could have come back from. After all, most people even today want something done about carbon emissions. Maybe not the carbon tax but that’s only one policy response and a pretty poor one at that.

    Labor was ahead 52-48 on the two party preferred on 23 June 2010, a comfortable winning majority. 8 weeks later it was a hung parliament.

    Labor apologists point to economic indicators and wonder why the ALP is so disliked in voter land. Well maybe they want action on climate change but I am convinced they still grieve for Kevin.

  • 46
    Peter
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    The voters turned off Julia in the couple of weeks before the 2010 election, it was the”real” Julia appearing…people wanted to know why the real Julia hadn’t been there from day 1, it was so obviously insincere…”going forward” x 10, was just as bad, did she think voters were so stupid as to lap that rubbish up? And there was “There will be no carbon tax….” from Julia and Wayne..then there was the knifing of Rudd by the faceless men, and the stuffed up mining tax…and it went on and on……we don’t know whether an Abbott government would be just as bad…maybe they will be, but at present the punters just want Gillard and Swan et al to disappear from the TV screens.

  • 47
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Is it futile to point out that poll answers are not votes?
    Must this really be stated?
    Before it becomes “received wisdom” that polls are votes, can the nation adopt the direct democracy of Switzerland, seeing as the enthusiasm for almost dailly polls has become so great?
    Instead of being fobbed off with this pathetic polling pantomine of the MSM, why not some real votes, after debate and properly regulated and across all those eligible?
    All made more possible by the NBN, the enemy of Mainstream Media?
    Poll answers are not votes and are not a substitute for real votes, such as might be given more regularly than the life of any present governments; direct democracy, there seems to be a demand.
    Don’t be fobbed off with second best.
    Polls are not democratic.

  • 48
    Patriot
    Posted Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    To all the MSM whingers - your fundamental problem isn’t with the MSM. Ultimately it’s with free enterprise and freedom in general. You’re p_ssed that conservative media is in ascendancy because people are willing to pay for that rather than the loony left crap that you all enjoy.

    Any conservative media publishers that are destroyed by punitive regulation will be replaced - if they’re replaced by anything at all - by new conservative media publishers, not by Crikey, The Green Left, The ABC, or any other loony crap for the simple reason that normal people have no interest in that.

    The media landscape that you all wish to see could only be achieved by forcing people to believe the crap you believe - you would need to legislate against thoughtcrime.

  • 49
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The fundamental problem with the MSM is that it is not free-enterprise at all but a monopoly which denies free-market competition.
    Only the terminally brainwashed fail to recognise this.
    So paranoid about extremism that they embrace totalitarinism as a defence and poison democracy with their polluted nightmares about thought police.
    A free-press is not the momopoly that the MSM is in Australia. Sad but true.

  • 50
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bernard,

    No one is listening to Gillard anymore, except the rusted on 28%. They are leaking on each other and its a rabble.

    Hope they keep Gillard there for the election, so the lesson can be complete

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