To Whom It May Concern;
Now that you find yourselves in opposition, try to remember that your function is to OPPOSE the other party’s policies rather than simply reflect a slightly different version. Pay no heed to those in the mainstream media who would paint this as ‘negativity’ – this is actually what the public expect you to do!
The Post is aware that this may come as a complete surprise, but believe it or not, it’s absolutely true!
The recent comments by those two blunt-skulls, Richard Marles and Nick Champion, that newly elected Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt is correct in arguing that the carbon tax should be scrapped without interference from the opposition on the grounds that the new government has a mandate; demonstrates how deeply utter stupidity seems to have permeated the party’s thinking process.
For those of you who seem to have forgotten, a mandate simply means the authority to govern. It does not mean that the government is given carte-blanche to do as they please.
Marles and Champion’s justification of their stance on the grounds that the new government’s policies would be so abhorrent to the electorate that it would drive voters back to the ALP, simply beggars belief and is akin to arguing that if you let the fox have his own way in the hen house , why – in the morning his belly will be so swollen that he will be unable to escape!
With regards to leadership challenges, for an opposition party, the occasional leadership challenge is a reflection of the democratic processes and an evolution of party policies. In other words, its quite a natural and healthy.
In government however, it’s death! To change leadership not once but twice in one term for an incumbent government is certain death, as you have no doubt realized.
No matter what the polls, internal or external say, no matter what the media says, once a leader is elected, and when in government, voters expect them to govern and either lead the party to re-election or more importantly, to go down with the ship!
A quick glance at history would have told you this. The challenge to Gorton’s leadership stands as a good example, and while Gorton cast the deciding vote against himself (you could actually find a few politicians with principle in those days), his replacement with ‘Silly Billy’ McMahon handed Whitlam victory at the following election.
Yes, there have been exceptions such as the Hawke-Keating challenge in 1993. Hewson however, was the victim of what is known in political circles as ‘blind-shithouse-luck’, and would have romped it in under normal circumstances, but again, Keating’s case was the exception rather than the rule.
As you prepare to conduct yet another leadership ballot, it would be best to remember that at the moment, Bill Shorten is damaged goods. Whilst ‘yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look’ is considered an admirable trait in a politician, Shorten’s role in the deposition of Rudd for Gillard and then Gillard for Rudd, has left his dorsal fin exposed and all too perceptible in the eyes of the public.
The electorate however, usually has a short memory, so perhaps later for Bill – but not now.
Finally, do try and represent yourselves as an alternative rather than a slightly different version of your opponents. Stop trying to please an ever growing plutocracy at the expense of a rapidly shrinking middle and lower class. Try to remember that it should be the other way around – you’re supposed to stand for social justice on a broad scale rather than the vested interests of nouveau robber barons.
With the government now in the control of a cunning but not terribly bright individual who reduces complex foreign policy to simplistic statements such as ‘it’s baddies versus baddies’, and the balance of power in the Senate likely to be in the hands of a larger than medically recommended populist, Australia has its own Dubya and Huey ‘Kingfish’ Long at the same time.
Given this, it really shouldn’t be too hard to represent yourselves as an intelligent political alternative.
Try to remember that the party is supposed to protect the poor and disadvantaged not be their persecutors. Try to remember that your party championed and won the eight hour day, award wages, sick leave and holiday pay, women’s rights in the workplace, universal medical care, free education, workers compensation, unemployment and sickness benefits and a raft of other reforms.
Try to remember that economic theory is simply that – theory. Try to remember that deficit is not a dirty word particularly when GDP has slowed to a little over 2% and unemployment is soaring.
Try to remember that it was the application of Keynes theories that saved the nation from the worst effects of the GFC and not those of Friedman and the neo-liberals.
Try to remember that it will be the three ‘E’s’ that will dominate the political arena over the next three years; employment, environment, economy. Try to remember that these can be mutually beneficial and not mutually exclusive.
Try to remember it is the duty of the party in the main to oppose government policy save where such policies are mutually agreed on for the benefit of society as a whole, and not a privileged few.
If you can’t remember these things, at least try to remember to turn off ‘the light on the hill’ as you trudge off into the twilight of political extinction.