This morning while reading an article by Minister Gary Gray, I noted this concluding paragraph:
..they have allowed us to deliver on our priorities in areas like education, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and important measures like paid parental leave, aged care reform, mental health reform and the biggest aged pension increases in our history.
These words echoed a previous speech by Bill Shorten who added, “and action on climate change – would ensure national benefits long into the future.”
This most important element, and that which is so clearly lacking in Opposition policies and promises.
It would seem that this particular Opposition can rarely even inspire themselves to be (as John Howard would have put it), “aspirational”.
However, dwelling on the failings of the Opposition will not in itself win the election for Labor.
It is certainly gratifying in the past week or so, that the mainstream media has at long last given Tony Abbott and his policies (or lack thereof) some semblance of scrutiny. But is this just an aberration, a sudden quirk of the media’s and that all will soon return to situation: normal, with the media doing little but adding their Noddies to interviews with Their Tones. Will the media once again return to headliners which include little more than photo ops of Tony attending the opening of an envelope?
However, back to my original question of what must Prime Minister Gillard and her government do to obtain recognition for work done?
One thing is clear and that is that the mainstream media cannot be relied upon for impartial commentary. As has often been noted, even positive stories for the government come accompanied with provisos and negative inclusions, with the aim clearly being to negate anything which might possibly provide a positive impression.
It is my opinion that far more should be done to utilise one of the government’s prime assets and this is Julia Gillard herself.
It seems to me that Labor has shied away from promoting Julia Gillard, First Female Prime Minister, and ever since the nit-picking media drew attention to Ms Gillard’s derrière, ear lobes and empty fruit bowl. It also started with Tony Abbott’s whinge that Julia as Prime Minister would be an unfair fight as “the she” would use her gender against..well, who knows what against, but it is assumed that Abbott meant against himself. Of course the opposite well and truly happened. Therefore is it now time for Labor to Get Over It!! and start to promote Julia Gillard, the woman and the person?
The other thing which came to mind is that Labor needs to promote itself as The Team. This Kevin Rudd did very successfully in the lead up to the ’04 election. By looking at Team Gillard, focus will then be forced back onto Team Abbott. Currently Team Abbott is most definitely a one man show. This clearly has been Liberal Party tactics, firstly an attempt to overcome Tony’s less than savoury background on a number of important issues (lots of photos and minimise the talk), and also because for the most part his team are John Howard’s B Team who showed little aptitude while in government. One could add, and even less while in opposition.
Certainly Labor needs to concentrate on the positive and as Bill Shorten put it:
Labor’s vision was defined by its core principles of prosperity and equal opportunity for all Australians.
Bill Shorten states “was defined”, but that is what differentiates Labor from Liberal: equality of opportunity. This is what must be emphasised in the lead up to the next election.