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Crikey Says

Feb 24, 2016

Bill Shorten grows a spine

Don't look now, but we might actually have an Australian Labor Party. After three years of somnambulance with only the occasional weak "there is no daylight between the government an

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Don’t look now, but we might actually have an Australian Labor Party.

After three years of somnambulance with only the occasional weak “there is no daylight between the government and the opposition on …”, Labor appears to have suddenly jolted awake and remembered it might be in its political interest to start representing the working class and marginalised.

Hour after dreary hour of question times spent castigating Mal Brough and demanding that the government rule GST changes in or out have faded into a Stilnox-induced nightmare, with Labor finally committing to an eminently sensible policy to do away with negative gearing for existing housing stock from 2017. Labor also wants to change capital gains tax concessions to make a dent in upper-class welfare.

Malcolm Turnbull went on a blistering attack of the policy. “Bill Shorten’s policy is calculated to reduce the value of your home,” he thundered to Parliament. By “your” we assume he meant the blue-blood millionaire constituents of the Liberal Party. And in the hope that housing may one day be affordable for the young and low-income, we are crossing our fingers he is right. “Unlike the Liberal Party, who thinks that the Australian dream is to negatively gear your seventh house, we think the Australian dream is to able to afford to buy your first house,” said Bill Shorten, looking for all the world like an actual opposition leader.

Shorten, not a gent we usually associate with the phrase, seems to have a fire in his belly of late. He has defended anti-bullying program the Safe Schools Coalition, after Turnbull caved (again) to his conservative masters and called for an investigation into it. And in mic-drop exchange with Cory Bernardi this morning, Shorten called out to him: “At least I’m not a homophobe either, mate.”

Perhaps metadata, mass surveillance and offshore detention could use a little attention from Labor, since they’re awake anyway?

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11 comments

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11 thoughts on “Bill Shorten grows a spine

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    Dear Crikey,

    In the old days, Mr Mayne used to like constructing lists.

    I would like to know who(m) among the politicians currently have investment houses, and of those, which ones are negatively geared.

    I would also ask the same of journalists covering these stories. Why none have yet declared their personal positions when writing stories on the costs/benefits of such a policy seems to me counter to the code of journalistic ethics.

  2. AR

    One can only assume the gumBoil Shlernt has felt the maaaate’s hand on his shoulder & the stiletto at his ribs wielded by his “colleagues” not keen on another 3-6 years in the wilderness.
    As for “Perhaps metadata, mass surveillance and offshore detention could use a little attention from Labor, since they’re awake anyway?“,… yeah, no.
    That’d be burning the bridges before they reach them.

  3. zut alors

    Shorten is gaining momentum – helped by the Abbott-devotees who are white-anting Turnbull by setting his gaze on tired old tunnel vision policies.

  4. CML

    I have been saying for a looong time that Bill Shorten is NOT as bad as the MSM makes him out to be.
    Suddenly with Newspoll at 50-50 TPP, everyone is now taking a second look.
    Not before time…can’t resist the obvious: ‘I told you so’ many times before that this could happen!

  5. Jaybuoy

    The agile explainer clownshoeing it..if the LNP are going to try and scare campaign it back into office they might as well re-install Il-geltino ..

  6. MJM

    I don’t agree that the time spent castigating Brough was wasted. It was important to establish how poor Turnbull’s choices were, to remind people of the huge disparity between the treatment of Peter Slipper and (name almost any LNP member – your choice) and to show how Turnbull remains beholden to those who voted for him rather than than standing for any government of the people for the people..

    But I do agree that it is great the the ALP has found its voice at last.

  7. Venise Alstergren

    The Libs had time, when, on the opposition benches-to work out a philosophy. They didn’t. So Malcolm Turnbull finds himself echoing Tony Abbott’s negativity. All shouting and clichés. Perhaps if he spent less time buttering up the hard right-wing religious loonies of his party and more trying to steer this rancid old party into a modern 21st century entity the electorate might listen.

  8. Iskandar

    ”Unlike the Liberal Party, who think that the Australian dream is to negatively gear your seventh house, we think the Australian dream is to able to afford to buy your first house”. Great line! I hope to see it repeated on numerous campaign posters.

  9. drsmithy

    Three years ?

    Labor gave up the good fight a decade and a half ago, when they gave up on refugees and started fruitlessly chasing the Liberals off to the far right.

  10. klewso

    Bernardi sparked that exchange, calling him a “fraud”? As if it’s suddenly a bad thing?
    Look at the evidence exhibited by most of our sponsored politicians – surely it’s largely a prerequisite, a large tranche of those points needed to qualify, to become a party politician on both sides?
    [Look at Cory’s own party’s conga-line of leaders :-
    Start at “non-core promises”, “Children Overboard”, “Iraq”?
    Then “Lock-step with Labor on Gonski”, “ABC/SBS funding”?
    Now Spitbull with his “principles in tatters”?
    And who could forget “Manhattan” Hockey and his “Age of Entitlement is finished”?]

  11. WelBil

    Could it not have been a strategy? Shorty’s ‘small target’ gave the Libs nothing to shoot at and the ALP time to come up with policies.

    Now that Mal is struggling and the election looming and Tones lurking, time to apply some pressure.

    This should be intesting.

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