I’ll preface this by saying I am not a member of the ALP. I am a member of the Greens. Yet I do admit that even under Scott Ludlam, the Greens will not win Government.
No! The alternative leader in Australia is Bill Shorten. And, if we listen to vocal ALP members and the MSM and Tony Abbott, he is not doing a very good job.
So what is the job of an opposition leader?
It is to convince the electorate that he, or she, is capable of doing a better job as Prime Minister than the incumbent.
Last century this was done by putting forward policies which counter-acted the unpopular policies of the Government, or by putting forward policies which the Opposition felt would improve Australia.
But that is so last century. Kim Beazley did that and look where he went. Mark Latham tried out the new 21st Century style and was booted out by his own colleagues. Then Kevin Rudd tried a novel approach. He tried to look so much like the incumbent that the electorate couldn’t tell the difference. For him, it worked.
Then we had the rise of the first genuine 21st Century opposition leader. tony abbott. Not a policy in sight but plenty of character assassination, obnoxiousness and three word slogans. This has been the opposition we have obviously grown to love because it swept him into office. Now we have had six years of tony abbott, the Opposition Leader.
In 2015 we have two opposition leaders because abbott is the first PM in Australia’s history to fail to grow into the Prime Ministership. And we expect them both to act the same. But Bill Shorten is not playing the game.
In the six years of abbott opposition the electorate has come to expect, not reasoned policy alternatives and quiet politeness but aggressive name-calling and ever more three word slogans and thought bubbles.
Bill Shorten is seen as a failure and is constantly being denigrated for being a “do-nothing” Opposition Leader. For not being a loud critic of everything the Prime Minister does. For failing to be loud and obnoxious. For this is what the electorate has grown to expect from its opposition. They want Question Time antics to be extended into the real world. Just like tony did.
Yet Shorten is, somehow, the preferred PM, leading his party to a huge lead in the polls. Despite only being famous for his “Zingers”. Not recognised for his thoughtfulness and his questioning of the future. Not recognised for not having ALL the answers NOW! This Instant. Not recognised for wanting to have a full answer and a full plan for the future. We need our daily thought bubble NOW, no matter how senseless or impractical or stupid.
Rather he is spending time planning his policies. Refining them. And he has promised to have them out in public by the end of this year. Yet it seems this is not good enough. We need our daily thought bubble NOW, no matter how senseless or impractical.
Apparently this is proof of Shorten’s failure. We are told we must have those new three word slogans. We are told we must have those thought bubbles. We are told we must have loud aggressiveness. And we are told that we want it NOW! Not after it has been considered and refined and honed to current conditions but NOW!
Ignore the fact that a truly effective opposition plans carefully. Shorten does not want to act like abbott because then he would fail as this Government has done.
Australia needs a careful, planning opposition so that we can have a careful, planning Government.
His failure is such that his party is leading 55%-45% in the polls and his own popularity is at 44% compared to abbott’s 34%?
Why should he change?
He is quietly succeeding in his job!