Tag Archives: ALP

Rally for Climate Action

3 Apr

Yesterday, a number of my friends and I went to the Rally for Climate Action at Belmore Park. It was a great event with some good speakers, in-particular Simon Sheikh from Get-Up.

I was however very disappointed there were no ALP representatives there. This is, after all, their policy that they are trying to sell and they should have representatives ready to speak to a crowd of supporters. It may be because they are scared of being labelled hypocrites by the Coalition if there are extreme leftists holding up anti-Abbott placards. Or it could be because the ALP are the party of Government, and in the eyes of some who would have been in attendance, they have made some questionable decisions regarding asylum seekers, banking, etc. etc. so there is always the prospect of anti-Government feeling, which would then become the story.

But within that audience, there was a good deal of respect for the Government for launching a pragmatic environmental policy that has led to negativity and even attacks from some on the right-wing. Essentially, the left is displaying our martyr worship again.

Anyway, below is an incredibly short video, just to show the size of the crowd.

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Communications is the key to political success

10 Jan

I’ve just finished All that’s left – What Labor should stand for, which is a reasonably interesting read looking at the future of the Australian (and in the process global) Labour momevements. It a philasophical look of where we on the left are, where we’ve come from, and where we have to go to ensure social justive and the future of social democracy. There was some interesting articles in there,  but there is a gaping chasm that we on the left we seem never to fill and it is one of my greatest irks.

Where is the section about selling ideas to the public? There is plenty about how the labour movement needs to increase social engagement and that government should be out to help the people, but there is nothing so far as to how to sell it to the public. There is a section on getting trust back into politics, but that isn’t quite the same.

Kevin Rudd made a number of mistakes, some big, some small, but I still believe his biggest one and the err that ultimatly led to his downfall, was the cutting of department communications budgets. When I was looking for a job when I got back to Australia, a public affairs recruitment agent told me that when Rudd got into power departmental communications and marketing positions dried up. This got me thinking, how much did this have to do with his downfall and I figure a lot.

Put it this way. This was a time where a new Government with a relativly progressive agenda wanted to sell in grand new ideas and new ways of doing things. But there was no one to sell it. Communications budgets were cut, so the advertising was left to the Prime Ministers’ office and the cabinet members’ press officers and they couldn’t do it. Not because they weren’t talented enough, but there wasn’t enough time in the day to package it and get it out there. That made it look like they couldn’t engage with the public.

You could also probably guarantee that the communications teams weren’t included in concept planning from day one either. Its important for a comms plan to be included in planning right from day one, so pit falls and wins can be planned out right from the begining.

The CPRS and the Mining Super Profits Tax are two examples where poor comms planning completely blew up in the ALP’s faces. In the case of the CPRS, the Government was trumped by the Opposition having a) not being able to sell the concept to the public b)  not being able to forsee the right wing views that took over in the Opposition and c) Abbott had a catchier line with “a great big new tax”, which is devilishly brilliant. The great big new tax is also an example of  sometimes the left needs to get down and fight with conservatives  in the dirt and throw some mud. That’s where they fight and to match them, we have to do. One person on the the left who did do this succesfully was Alastair Campbell (you know I had to chuck that in somewhere).

But still, despite all of this, the book doesn’t even list communications as an important issue. Reengaging with the community and the public is vital. Sometimes we talk to the public, not talk with and we wonder why they don’t hear us.

Pragmatism in Politics

26 Jun

What happened on that 24 hour period in Australia had to happen, it’s that simple. I was an admirer of Kevin Rudd during the first two years of his term as PM, however, it was clearly starting to unravel. The placement of the ETS on the back-burner; the awful messaging surrounding the Mining Super Tax; the number of times the Coalition were let of the hook despite some hideous mistakes including Julia Bishop’s horrendous national security passport gaffe; Tony Abbott’s numerous mistakes culminating in his statement on the 730 report that in the heat of the moment, not everything he says can be considered gospel; the complete lack of effective policy from the Coalition. As Gillard stated, this was a good government that had lost its way and the Coalition now will have a brand new, re-energised foe to face.

What the ALP must do is reconnect with the electorate.The public must understand what the Government is fighting for and why. The Government has the ammunition to blunt any of the Coalitions economic arguments and this ammunition should be used constantly. overtime the Opposition mention the debt, the Government should be screaming from the rafters that the ALP got Australia through the second worse economic crisis the world has ever faced. Australia’s forecast of being out of debt in three years has the rest of the world green with envy. Sure, the Government had to spend money to stimulate the economy, but it worked. Sure Australia have briefly gone into debt, but the fact that the economy was handled so well, employment never went as high as was forecast, debt never went as high as forecast, borrowing never went as high as forecast and Australian is in great shape because of the ALP. We will soon be out of debt and far from any  The ALP should scream this, often, frequently, until they are horse.

The ETS must be brought back and fought for at the next election, completely blowing away any chance the Coalition will have to block it in the Senate because there will be a clear mandate. The Coalition should be tarnished as the party of no and a party willing to play dangerous games with the nation’s future by putting climate change as an issue of little importance. The Greens have to be attacked as the Party of our way or the highway and as being just as responsible for the blocking of the ETS as the Coalition. This will get the ALP’s environmental credentials back and would mean votes would stop leaking to the Greens.

The Super Mining Tax is a good tax, but it must be communicated in an effective understandable way. It should be framed as the People’s Resources Fund, not a ‘Super’ tax on miners, which is currently how it sounds.It is necessary, it will help our economy and the voters agree that money derived from our resources should stay in Australia. But it needs to be sold properly.

A discussion surrounding a pull-out date for Afghanistan will also help. With casualty numbers up, people are losing faith in the war and Karzai. Obama, Cameron and NATO as a whole are discussing a pull out date, so should we.

Gillard is an excellent choice and will be a brilliant leader of the ALP and the country. She is strong, frank and very Australian. She doesn’t act or sound like the academic that Rudd did, despite being incredibly intelligent and exceptionally politically savvy. Being the first ever woman will naturally be a positive for half of the electorate and I believe the other half will soon catch up.

She has fought Abbot on numerous occasions and has generally won more often than not. She will be able to take the fight back to him, question his odd statements and show him to be the extreme right leader he is. Already, the Coalition are playing a dangerous game by attacking the ALP for having blood on its hands – Abbott is the third Coalition leader in three years – people can do the maths.

If the ALP can get this messaging right, they can regain their popularity and win the next election convincingly. It will be hard and it will be a lot of work, but they can do it.

Labour’s Australian sister party makes significant gains against Conservative Coalition

29 Mar

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Australian Labor Party has made significant gains against Tony Abbott’s Coalition in a recent poll.

Despite Abbott’s strong showing in an Australian Iron Man competition on the weekend (and you thought Boris Johnson looked silly on a bike), he hasn’t been able to keep up his momentum in political circles that at one stage saw Rudd’s lead down to only 4 points. In the Australian newspaper, according to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, Labor’s primary vote jumped four percentage points to 43 per cent and the Coalition’s primary support fell three points to 38 per cent, a clear election-winning lead on a two-party-preferred basis of 56 per cent for the Rudd government and 44 per cent for the Coalition.

This is a significant lead and is a clear indication that Abbott’s honeymoon may well be over.

Campaign ads – the best and worst. Part two – political ads

12 Feb

This is the follow up post to the advocacy ads blog I posted yesterday.

The vast majority of these ads are from the USA and generally from Republicans. Like them or loathe them, they do campaigning very well, especially during the Karl Rove era.

First up however is one of Obama’s ads. He never created “great” ads, but a good deal of his involved just him, speaking directly into camera to the audience. This has the benefit of giving a personal message and engaging directly with the viewer. In this ad, he also personalises the story of his mother’s death and the extra pain of her death due to the insurance system in the US. He then brings that story back to the personal lives of everyday Americans which is vital for a successful visual engagement strategy.

If only he was still showing this ad in the last 6 months.

This Carly Fiorina ad is bizarre. Named the Demon Sheep ad, it has become the object of ridicule but also fascination. It is weird and out there and I guess that is its charm. I don’t think it will work, it’s too long, appeals to a fairly small part of the population (the Tea Party) and most importantly, it doesn’t actually target the candidate that is leading the race. This is an attack ad for a spot of the Republican California Senator ticket. Fiorina attacks Tom Campbell, who is a leading member of Governor Arnie’s Cabinet. They are both losing ground to Republican Chuck De Vore, a State Assemblyman who is know for his ultra conservative stance. No wonder she was rated as one of the US’s top 20 worst ever CEOs.

George Bush Senior’s attack ad on Michael Dukakis is one of the most infamous ever. Drew Westen describes it as “one of the low points in American electoral history.” Willie Horton was a felon of the worst order and whatever happened for him to be released was clearly a mistake. The ad however has become part of history. Using emotive, almost subliminal written messaging such as Rape, Kidnap, Stab, stuck in the heads of the public. Fear is everywhere in this ad, the frightening statements, the scary mugshot, the fact that you could be the person stabbed, kidnapped and raped under a Dukakis Government. It is enough to frighten anyone. In fact, this ad wasn’t even an “official” Bush Campaign ad. It was made by the Americans for Bush arm of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC).

Willie by the way wasn’t his real name, he went by William, but that’s not as scary either.

Hilary Clinton’s 3am ad made a big difference during the 2008 primaries and was one of the reasons why she stayed in the race so long. Questioning Obama’s ability and experience, she came up with a pretty powerful and effective ad. It preyed on the fears of parents and grandparents alike. It gave her a good boost in the polls, but let’s face it, the rest is history

Gough Whitlam was the Australian Labor Prime Minster from 72-75 after 23 years of Liberal-Country Government, mostly under Sir Robert Menzies. This ad may seem a tad naff now, but at the time, the ad and the slogan “It’s Time” was hugely influential. Delightfully simple, the slogan simply pointed at the last quarter of a century under a Conservative Government, similar to the Change slogan used by the Obama campaign. No one over in the UK would realise, but the singers are all Australian celebrities and politicians. Australian’s might notice a young Jack Thompson, Jackie Weaver, Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton singing away. Whitlam however only lasted 3 years before he was controversially sacked by the Governor General Sir William Kerr. Whitlam, on the stairs of Parliament House then made the statement “God Save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General.” Thus started the first big push for an Australian Republic.

Ronald Reagan put this ad out for his re-election campaign in 1984 and it is brilliantly simple. Patriotic, conservative and a vision back to the halcyon days of America. He doesn’t even appear or speak in it, but at the same time he seems both Presidential and grandfatherly.

Just like his father, Bush Junior wasn’t officially behind this ad, but it was paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There were plenty of memorable negative ads that hit Kerry hard, but this was particularly effective. Kerry made a big deal out of his Vietnam veteran status saying in a time of war, it was important to have a Commander and Chief who had proper military experience. Kerry won two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his heroism, but there were controversial circumstances surrounding this award and this came to the fore in the 2004 Presidential campaign. Kerry also immediately came back to the US post the war and began protesting against it. His initial campaign strategy was to portray him as a war hero, but not long after, these swift boat vets came out and hit Kerry hard. Again, the rest is history

Kevin Rudd improves in the polls

16 Nov

The Australian has released the latest polling figures for Kevin Rudd. They look good for the ALP and show that, for the time being anyway, the asylum seeker issue has run its course. This is also impressive considering that the polls were taken in 6 QLD marginals, if I’m reading my blogs correctly.  Let’s be honest, the Queensland ALP are slightly on the nose at the moment, so that means that the QLD public aren’t letting their issues with Bligh override their opinion of Rudd.

But lets face it, Rudd is currently very poll driven and his news drive after the negative figures came out last time could have made all the difference. Apologies separate, he has a mandate for change and it might be a stronger mandate come the election, so he really needs to use it to his advantage and push some high profile issues through.

It will be interesting to see how the results improve after the internationally positive coverage Rudd has received for trying to get the Climate Change talks back on track.

I’ll have a look at the Pollytics results this evening.

Here is the Australian article;

KEVIN Rudd is back in landslide territory if an election was held according to the latest Newspoll but the trend confirms a fall in two-party preferred support.

Malcolm Turnbull is also rebuilding trust with voters after the Utegate affair, recording the best result since his support crashed after he relied on a fake email to target the Prime Minister.

Newspoll, published exclusively in The Australian today has found two-party-preferred support for Labor is 56 per cent and support for the Coalition is 44 per cent.

That compares with a 52.7 per cent result for Labor at the last election.

The Prime Minister is still riding high with 63 per cent support on the question of who would make the better PM, unchanged from the previous Newspoll.

But Malcolm Turnbull has clawed back support from uncommitted voters, rising from 19 per cent to 22 per cent on the better PM question.

In the previous Newspoll primary vote support for Labor plunged by 7 percentage points, a result that appeared to spook the Prime Minister, who immediately undertook a saturation campaign defending the government’s border control policies on talkback radio.

Newspoll’s Martin O’Shannessy said the poll confirmed the trend picked up in the previous poll of a fall in two-party-preferred support for Labor since September.

“The interesting thing about Malcolm is he is rebuilding back to the levels before UteGate,” he said.

“But the Prime Minister’s support as the better prime minister has remained high in 11 consecutive Newspolls.”

Australian political polls – October

9 Nov

By Nick Osborne

I love political polling and electoral math, they make me happy, I don’t know why, especially when I hate normal math with a passion. Anyway.

I was on Pollytics this morning, which is an Australian blog that looks into polling and I thought I’d share some stats.

According to the media, Australian PM Kevin Rudd has allegedly taken a battering because of Australia’s reaction to the Asylum Seeker issue. But as you can see from the poll, little has changed and if there was an election, the Coaltion would be in severe trouble.

As Michelle Gratten states in her article, it only seems to be Rudd’s preferred leader numbers that have been hit and the ALP is only down 1 point in the two-partied preferred stats.

Essentially, people are saying, Rudd is being a bit soft, but Turnbull and the Coalition are nowhere to be seen, plus they were the party of Howard’s immigration policy

Love to know your thoughts on any of the other numbers.

Seat projections

Australian voting intention