Albo should take a leaf out of the Bracks slogan – Labor Listens

There is probably nothing quite like making suggestions for Labor policies as a catalyst for generating even more suggestions.

Indeed, it seems there are so many more people out there with ideas about policy that it’s amazing Labor isn’t picking up on some of them rather than persisting with a series of inchoate and unconnected announcements which have no overall framing or narrative.

Admittedly they are being persistent on Morrison’s record of lies but you don’t need to be a genius to work that attack line out.

Anyway, some readers quickly contacted the blog to make suggestions and highlight omissions in Rob Gerrand and my recent 10 point plan. Among them were the following:

The first was on housing policy, suggesting that if Labor was not courageous enough to do something about negative gearing they could look at a real regional development policy which built on current trends. Our view was that any expert review would inevitably highlight the problem which would make it unnecessary to campaign on the issue.

The suggestion was an oft made one which has developed some natural momentum in recent decades but could be accelerated. The reader recommended that: “There has to be a grand vision for developing rural and regional Australia. Governments have played with decentralisation policies for decades and achieved very little.

“All of my research over the past 15 years has shown how disadvantaged these communities are and how it is possible to generate employment and other opportunities in the regions with a sustained, long-term plan. Housing prices in key regional areas have increased but are still affordable compared to capital cities.”

Another said: Redirect the billions wasted on offshore detention to provide humane care for refugees and assist regional communities.

One respondent added three points to the 10 point plan to make it a baker’s dozen and then came back with another one to make it plain old 14.

The additions, which we should have included ourselves, were:

11: Addressing the Turnbull – Morrison government’s woeful response to the Uluru statement from the heart and thus undertaking a mechanism to respond to the desire to establish a representative (of Indigenous) body to advise parliament (or at least the Minister for Indigenous Affairs affairs, an option which wouldn’t require the desired but feared constitutional change). And establishing a funded aboriginal body to boost education and skills learning, not to mention really ‘closing the gap’ in health.

12: The mistreatment of women in politics, parliament and Australia generally has never been so much in the spotlight and the voices of women have never been so clear and staunch. It’s time for government and political parties to react with real workplace reform (especially in parliament) and a serious attempt to place the obviously skilled women in leadership/ministerial roles. This also means Women’s Affairs needs a prominent position in governments over the coming generation or more. After all, the next election may well be determined by the lack of gender equality and Morrison’s shoddy treatment of the Brittany Higgins and the Christian Porter issues (and Abbott’s unforgettable speech in front of the ditch the witch sign).

13: COVID has shone a spotlight on the inadequacies of States’ and federal bureaucracies and national health funding like never before. This requires expert analysis resulting in real change to the professionalism of government departments across the country and to the complex interplay of responsibilities between federal/state governments on health, border controls, quarantine, etc. We muddled through this time and should do better next time.

  1. Sincerity. We see in ScoMo’s and Albo’s presentations well  practised, back room-crafted duelling points that lack passion and sincerity. So compare that to Jacque Lambie’s speech against the stupidity of One Nation’s anti-vaccination requirements bill, which is again dividing the coalition. It’s not just that she spoke the truth about social responsibility, it’s not just that she trammelled a cause she disagrees with, it’s that she spoke with real fire and sincerity; something our federal leaders have lost in learning the theatre of the 10-second grab; she stirs emotions and because of this it has gone viral.

Victorian Labor under Brumby and then Bracks fought and won an election with the slogan Labor Listens (in contrast of course to Jeff Kennett). Perhaps  Albanese’s Labor needs to do some listening to all those voices of people who want them to win but desperately want them to stand for something.