Gillard needs to give the public what it wants

Julia Gillard on the front bench of the House of Representatives, signalling to the Opposition to "bring it on".Campaign with ruthless positivity: barely acknowledge the mewlings of the Opposition, except with a look of amused contempt, before emphasising what the ALP has to offer in that area instead.

Many people believe she’s being badly advised. Wayne Swan has a reputation in Queensland for campaigning hard – he should be running the show, not Arbib et al. Over at LP, there are many ideas for a more positive campaign, including these suggestions from troy:

I’d personally love to see the following and I can see from other posts I’m not alone.

1. A press conference or at least a tour every day at a school with a great BER success story. Julia should spend real time in front of the cameras with teachers, parents and kids.

2. Be much less scripted in the press conferences. Shoot much more from the hip and do it with real passion. When time comes for questions, fire back at the journos and make them look small minded for asking such pathetic questions. We’ve seen this twice now, including today. It works and will gain their grudging respect.

3. Shout from the roof every success the govt. has had over the last 3 years and importantly even fight back on perceived failures like insulation.

4. It’s the economy, stupid. Everything. Every single program, but especially the NBN, training and health.

5. Get the hell off of Liberal strong points like immigration, boats, etc. If they’re not about the ‘economy’ then they’re wasting oxygen.

6. Get every distraction off the campaign trail. This includes Side Show Bob Hawke. He just reinforces what an unnatural campaigner Julia is. This goes for Kevin too. Every day he’s on the campaign trail will make people miss him and give the media a narrative their begging for. How is that not suicide for the new leader?

7. Stop referring to the government as ‘your government’. Instead try ‘our government’ or ‘the Labor government’. Every time Julia says ‘my government’ it sounds ridiculous. The whole country knows she’s been at the helm for only 6 weeks.

8. Fight. Fight, Julia, as if every day in this job is your last. Show a passion and commitment to the Australian people that reveals Tony Abbott as the hollow political opportunist he is.

I especially like #1 and #2 but really I like them all. Give people a reason to like Julia again, and to believe that she has the confidence to lead rather than just to react. I believe she actually has this confidence, but it hasn’t been obvious over the last week, and it needs to be.

Of course, no matter what she does, I still plan to vote for the Greens in the Senate, because the ALP are too centrist for my personal ideals, and I want the Senate to act as a proper House of Review with genuine oversight of proposed legislation. But she’s still my preferred Prime Minister over anyone the Liberals can field, especially Tony Abbott, and I want her to crush him, basically.

Categories: culture wars, parties and factions

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26 replies

  1. Julia was putting into practice Troy’s points #2 and 4 at her press conference in Perth this arvo. And it was good to see. Despite the fact that the questions from the media pack were a policy free zone, she got her message across forcefully in each answer, ensuring that whatever grab was shown on the news tonight would see her feisty and on the attack against Abbott. It really sharpened up the theme that we have a serious choice to make.
    It was a very good performance, and on the front foot, from the PM.
    It was also instructive (if typically depressing) to watch the studio commentary (“analysis”) afterwards on ABC News 24. A journo interviewing another journo, and just talking polls and leaks.

  2. Go Julia!

    I hope that makes it onto the news!

  3. If if it makes the news, we need to spread these items far and wide.

  4. It didn’t make it to the ABC1 regional news, but they did have a soundbite of Julia saying that if you vote for Tony Abbott you will get Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (then a short spiel on why this would be a bad thing). They sold it as the same old thing, but at least the idea is out there now. More of this please, please, please Julia. Plus what Troy said.

  5. Only the start made the Victorian ABC TV News. The spirited defence was not included.

  6. Tigtog, thanks for the call out.
    I agree with you that a daily overdose of relentless positivity is needed. I agree with Lefty E too over at LP that we need to see more ‘going the mongrel’ from Julia. No matter what, I’m desperate to see Labor wrest control of the agenda.
    I’d frankly love to see Julia challenge Abbott to more debates. One on each of:
    – Education, equity of opportunity, access to modern education services and how this impacts the economy of tomorrow, not just today
    – NBN, telecommunications and the importance of communications technology to a 21st century economy
    – Investing in infrastructure. Public transport, roads, technology – include it all. Discuss world’s best practice and show some real vision. Talk about the role of government alongside private enterprise
    – Health (why the hell not go there again?), the positive economic impacts of a healthy population and the need to modernise our health system
    Julia is great at thinking on her feet and Tony isn’t. Call for a debate every few days. It’s likely he’d say no. This would give the opportunity to bash him daily as a backward-looking coward. If he did say yes, then be willing to meet this challenge as a positive for your own campaign.
    If the Libs call for a debate on boats, call them out for being small-minded and unable to have a discourse about the real future challenges for our future.
    This would be the way I’d get back control of the agenda. There’s only 3 weeks to go. Being radical has got to be bettter than losing.
    Sorry folks. That’s two rants for the day.

    • Troy, I don’t understand why Labor didn’t agree to the “traditional” 3 debates. Julia wipes the floor with Abbott in debate formats, and that makes a nice counterpoint to attempted spin tactics. I really hope whomsoever’s brilliant idea it was to only have one debate has their head handed to them on a platter in the near future.

  7. Tigtog, I’d be happy to break out the family silverware for the occasion.
    Do you agree that it will take something bold/radical to wrest control of the agenda from here? If yes and if you had Julia’s ear, what would you recommend?

    • I’m not sure how bold simply being yourself needs to be, Troy. But certainly, if some remotely credible/senior LibNat was to start crowing about only one debate taking place, I would advise Julia to pounce on it with a show of simply giving people what they want as she offers to do another two appearances. Sure, most people don’t actually watch, but they are still interested in the concept, and so long as she gets a few good zingers in (as of course she will) it will be OK. Even though the ALP’s policies are not all that I wish for, they are quite clearly superior to what the Libs have to offer, and that is all that needs to be harped upon.
      I wonder whether Somebody(TM) was worried about Wayne Swan’s performance in the inevitable attached deputy-PM debate – and I grant that Julie Bishop does have her sophomore-level debating skills well honed – but honestly, how many people really care about the deputies (even though they probably should)? What were the ratings figures for the last deputies’ debate? And is he actually all that bad, although describing him as unexciting is fair enough? He strikes me as solid, and that’s a hell of a lot more appealing than the Libs’ crop of flaky reactionaries.

      • Looking at the above – am I basically suggesting getting Wilson Tuckey (or similar) drunk with cameras around and a few loaded questions primed and ready to deploy? You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment 🙂

  8. I couldn’t ask anyone to put any of their hard earned’ over the bar for a Tuckey.
    There’s so many senior libs doing the rounds of radio and TV right now, surely they’d take the bait if a host or caller offered it.
    Great little opinion piece by Richard Glover in the SMH today too. Gems in every paragraph.

    • Thanks for the link to the Richard Glover piece – I often find him too smugly self-satisfied, but when he takes the gloves off and lets rip, he’s marvellous. This one’s a beaut:

      Meanwhile, what should be the main issue — climate change — is ignored by both sides on the basis that doing anything real would add to electricity bills. Both sides acknowledge that human-made climate change is occurring, they just don’t want to inconvenience anyone by taking action.
      In military terms, it’s the equivalent of a leader who agrees his country is about to be invaded but decides to freeze defence spending lest it adds to the price of a loaf of bread. It is the triumph of the trivial over the substantial, the short-term over the long-term and of our own interests over those of our grandchildren.

      Right on.

  9. Tony Abbott got away this week with gravy policy – money for disabled students, health for military families. Nice and cheap and appealing to people’s better, albeit limited, instincts and distracted from any larger policies they’d have to be contained in.
    Labor’s minor policies just distracted or just showed their limitations;
    – $500 for school uniforms (why is this even prime time policy??) when they could have been bragging about school infrastructure. Jeebus even maybe drag out MySchool – people seemed to like that.
    – NBN, once you’ve alienated anybody interested in it with the filter.
    – Cash for Clunkers, which topped a stupid response to climate change with a big stupid cherry.
    They’re the fricking government. Focus on the big stuff. You think people don’t realise the limitations of the market after the government sorted out the GFC? Environment – if you’re not going to have a market response then don’t let the Liberals get away with a command and control solution. Don’t go to water over talk of mortgaging the economy like mortgaging’s a bad thing. How about instead of saying they’ve sorted out x and y bureaucratic discrepancy for same sex couples take a punt and go for same-sex marriage; how’s that for going forward and might get a few needy progressives on board. Maybe they don’t have any big policies and that’s the problem. When they were comparing one of their policies to Medicare it made me laugh. But they’d better get their shit together, soon – shiny new lady leader’s not cutting it

  10. I was sitting in the dentist’s reception room yesterday and on the TV came Julia and something to do about some broadband thingy, national system of some sort or other.
    Didn’t get the details cos after about 10-20 seconds the topic switched to Mark Latham who apparently had said something and after about 30 secs to a minute of that it switched again for about a minute talking about Julia’s partner Tim having been sprung for speeding in her car.
    The talking head, Ann Sanders I think, summarised all this as ‘a bad day for the government’.
    Now just how is she, Julia that is, or anyone, supposed to be able to communicate policy?

  11. The fact that bloggers are about the only people providing political commentary who actually have time to do real analysis is disastrous. The MSM need a new headline every 12 hours or so, therefore poll results and personal squabbles are reported. Nothing is analysed. The media only report polls, so the politicians only consider polls. It’s a vicious cycle, right when we need strong leadership. Perhaps the best thing right thinking folks loathers of Tony Abbott could do to get Labor re-elected would be to place many, many bets at Centrebet.

  12. Ooops, sorry, I didn’t realise the strike tag doesn’t work. That “right thinking folks” was meant to be struck out – I was being flippant. 🙂

  13. Fixed, Ariane (and there’s a lovely little button just above the comments box that says “del” for next time).
    The current obsession on who is and who isn’t a leaker, and especially the categorical denial by Downer that he said what was attributed to him about Rudd, makes it more and more obvious that the media at the moment will report any soap-opera story they get told no matter how little evidence there is for it other than pure rumour. It’s a disgrace.

  14. Possibly I’m the only person in the world who wants to see more statistics in election campaigns. Science-based, evidence-based statistics. Numbers like:
    3000 refugees on boats is a tiny number, and 90% of them have really good reasons for getting on those boats.
    Climate change can be proven with science. It has Z% probability of causing [N] effect in [Q] years.
    Violent crime is low in most capital cities, and is decreasing. Putting people in prison for longer doesn’t reduce crime. Gen Y is no more sociopathic, antisocial or nihilistic than any other.
    The huge massive debt the Liberals keep talking about is actually teeny weeny. We’re doing great compared to countries x, y and z.
    So many things are just quoted as truth when they have no evidence at all. Maybe throwing numbers around would just start a science war, but that’s no reason just to accept someone’s erroneous premise.

  15. Maybe throwing numbers around would just start a science war, but that’s no reason just to accept someone’s erroneous premise.

    It’s one of the moments I loved a few weeks ago, when Gillard went on the 7:30 report, and O’Brien asked her a loaded question, and she just calmly replied “I don’t accept your premise, Kerry”.
    More of that, please.

  16. Actually, on ABC news tonight they had Tony Abbott talking to a pet therapy duck. I think I would sell most of my principles for a country-wide roll-out of pet therapy ducks.

  17. Obviously Tony is ignoring the dangers of avian flu from pet therapy ducks with this latest policy announcement. Not surprising for a former “Health” minister. Also I see that he has allowed no funding for additional fox eradication programs to ensure the safety of avian flu carrying therapy ducks. /silliness Actually I wish it was an end to silliness, but a large part of the country still persists in thinking that Abbott is a viable Prime Minister even to the point of voting Liberal.

  18. Not to mention all the neck injuries caused by people yelling “duck!” all the time. The duck was in the paper today, too. Its name is Quacksie. Awwwww.

  19. I’m glad she’s actually shedding some of the overly-stage-managed stuff, but Why The Fuck did they make it a big announcement yesterday? As Mark said over at LP – The first rule of West Wing… Is don’t talk about what you decide in the West Wing!
    They needed to just make the change and let the LibNats accuse them of making a cynical change, and then just smile politely as they go on doing it.
    They’re damn lucky Abbott shot himself in the foot today.

  20. I’d really like to see a reply from the PM, treasurer, every other minister who keeps getting asked stupid questions about leaks, Rudd, or what the f*ck ever irrelevant BS the journalist can come up with, along the lines of:
    ‘I’m not here to address gossip, I’m here to talk about serious matters/our policy. Do you have a question about (topic of the day)?’
    I’m not saying it would stop these idiotic questions masquerading as serious journalism, and it will generate headlines like ‘Gillard refuses to answer questions on XXX’, but the headlines are already biased. What it should do is strike a chord with viewers who are sick of the circus and want some real answers.
    EG the Barrie Cassidy interview of Swan last week was shocking. I kept waiting for him to ask a real question, good thing I wasn’t holding my breath. Swan refused to be sidetracked for the most part, but I would have liked to have heard him call the ‘questions’ what they were—gossip-mongering.

  21. tigtog, I think someone should send your post with Troy’s dot points to the PM and we could all offer to keep her on track, possibly a short klaxon blast at press conferences if she strays from topic.
    And a liberal dose of Rowan’s suggested response to gossip-mongering journalists’ dumb questions. Maybe even cutting question time short if they persist with those questions. She wouldn’t have to do that too many times to make them realise she’s serious.
    And the insects who really persist could be excluded.

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