bill-shorten

THE PRICE OF POLITICAL FAKENESS

We may well be a long way out from the next federal election, relegating opinion polls to mere curiosities, but this week’s drop in public approval for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has still gotta hurt.

It takes a certain something to have a lower approval rating than Mr Unpopular himself, with one poll suggesting only 40% approve of Shorten’s performance compared with 45% for Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Theories abound as to the cause: Shorten’s close connection to the union movement, the colour of his tie, the set of his jib or the unfortunate alternative translation of his initials have all been suggested.

bill-shorten

The real reason may be that Shorten has not yet found his genuine voice as the new(ish) leader of the opposition. Australians are notoriously sensitive to authenticity: their finely tuned bullshit meters can identify a fake from 50 paces, be it a newsreader, a prodigal sports star, or a salesperson (although they do seem to make an exception for the Easy Off Bam Man).

As was recently noted on Twitter by the astute @netnurse2 after seeing footage of Shorten at a rally, he’s “better with a megaphone than a microphone”. That’s because Shorten was using his genuine voice, that of the union activist who had a bit of mongrel and a lot of passion.

Shorten’s lost that authentic voice since becoming leader of the opposition. Now he adopts a sing-song cadence in parliament and press conferences eerily similar to that of the Stepford PM that we saw during the 2010 federal election before she shrugged off her minders and unleashed The Real Julia™.

misogyny-speechNot coincidentally the impromptu speech now known as Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ struck a chord with voters because of its authenticity and passion as well as its important subject matter.

Genuineness was the edge that Anthony Albanese had over Shorten during the competition for leadership of the Labor Party. Grassroots Labor voters (and not a few onlookers) felt a vital connection with Albo’s no frills demeanour and style, which beamed authenticity compared with the restrained, statesmanlike approach that Shorten adopted for the campaign.

Having proved that it takes more than authenticity and passion to get the numbers in the ALP party room, Shorten has since struggled to convert this moderate persona into a nevertheless tenacious opposition leader. It would appear that so far his attempts have not rung true with the Australian people.

Abbott is having a similar problem, with his attempts at appearing moderate and considered often coming across to voters as hesitance, obdurance and deviousness.

Meantime, other politicians with genuine voices are showing Abbott and Shorten how it’s done. There’s Nick Xenophon, the wacky self-promoter with an unshakeable quest to curb the excesses of the gaming industry, and Andrew Wilkie, the former military man and whistleblower. Liberal backbencher Sharman Stone fits the bill, risking the wrath of her leader and making an unambiguously career-limiting move by standing up and honestly speaking out on behalf of the SPC Ardmona workers in her electorate.

Then there’s Bill Glasson, the failed Liberal candidate in Kevin Rudd’s former seat of Griffith (admittedly not an actual politician) whose authenticity and consequent strong personal following had a least a part to play in the uncommon swing towards the government in the by-election. The successful candidate, Labor’s Terri Butler, has also demonstrated in a short space of time that she’s the real deal with a straight-talking and warm but grounded style.

clive-and-cathy

Finally there’s Clive Palmer and Cathy McGowan, bench buddies in the federal parliament and break-the-mold politicians who’ve captured the attention of Australians ever since they declared their respective candidacies in 2013. Both MPs derive their genuine voices from being fearless, forthright and in touch with what ‘real’ people think.

Granted, none of these genuine voices are threatened or potentially constrained by the responsibilities that come with having a leadership role in a major party. But then again, this didn’t stop Bob Hawke, Paul Keating or even John Howard from being seen as genuine.

It may be true, to further mangle the old adage, that if you can fake authenticity, you’ve got it made. But this doesn’t apply to our politicians. The price of political fakeness in Australia is high. And our voters are not shy about extracting that price, either through unnecessarily early opinion polls or the ballot box on polling day.

 

Who do you think has or had a genuine voice in politics?

 

Watch The Hoopla’s Jane Waterhouse discuss the issue with the Studio 10 panel:

If you would like to part of the studio audience for Studio 10, email studio10tickets@networkten.com.au or call 02 9650 1626 to book your ticket.

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MORE ARTICLES BY PAULA MATTHEWSON

Policy Non Grata

Is The Greens Bubble Bursting?

The Villain of the Piece

Blame is the Name of the Game

‘Drunk on Power’

 

paula-matthewson*Paula Matthewson has worked in and around federal politics for nearly 25 years, variously as a media adviser and lobbyist but now as a freelance writer. She’s been tweeting and blogging about politics, the media and social media since 2009, and in 2013 founded the popular group blog AusOpinion. She blogs at Drag0nista’s Blog and tweets as @Drag0nista.

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72 Comments

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Narelle

    “Their finely tuned bullshit meters can identify a fake from 50 metres”, if this is the case with the Australian population why are we now saddled with Abbott and his mob. Why didn’t the people use their special bullshit skills to not be brainwashed by Murdoch and others before the last Federal election. Sorry but the Australian people haven’t got a clue.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      Jo McSweeney

      I could not agree more with Narelle. I have never seen any of the LNP pollies as having a scrap of genuineness about them and I personally believe that they have misled and deceived the Australian people to an inordinate extent. They’re still doing it. Many Aussies don’t care about politics, don’t understand the issues and don’t want to. The idea that most people care about anything except their own small matters is a fib. Corrine Grant said it best recently in an article where she noted that most Australians ‘don’t give a shit.’ They don’t. That’s why we have Tony Abbott and his Government. All fakes, but hey, they’re good at it.

      • Reply February 18, 2014

        Wendy Harmer

        I don’t think the LNP pollies are all fakes – not to the people who voted for them, they’re not. And they won the election, after all. Ask LNP voters and they’ll say that the Labor mob are all fakes. No point in approaching this piece in a partisan way, I don’t think. There is a broader issue here though – how difficult is it for a politician to stay “authentic” given the 24/7 news cycle and the picking over of every word and minor style mishap? If we voters regard all pollies as “fake” ( and both sides think it of the other) how hard is it to find pollies who aren’t?
        The election of Darryn Lyons to the mayoralty of Geelong – with his mad hair, fluoro and background as a celebrity snapper gives me hope. As a former resident of Geelong, I can tell you this is one mob who can spot a fake from a mile off.
        More eccentrics and genuine articles who resist all efforts to be stage managed is what we’re looking for.
        If we brand all pollies as being ungenuine… who will represent us? Would you have a go?

        • Reply February 18, 2014

          Jo McSweeney

          Ah Wendy, I might be just be too genuine to have a go! Seriously though, the people who voted for the LNP tend to be, in my country area, people who are not deep thinkers. People who don’t understand basic economics or science in much depth and people who are easily scared by the specter of a carbon tax or ‘illegals’. The problem with the intellectual Left as represented here and on sites such as Twitter, is that it is a very enclosed world. Lots of passionate people who care about all manner of issues. There is also the Right, who while rarely intellectual, are also engaged and passionate about the politics of the day. But this is quite a small percent of the population. The masses are often badly educated, either knowingly or unknowingly ignorant or are so cynical and self-serving that any kind of social or greater good equals socialism and the evil redistribution of their hard-earned taxes. There is little chance of reasoning with these people. I’ve tried and am still trying, but they love the simplicity of Tony’s sound bites and three word slogans. These are people for whom any kind of deep thinking is anathema. There is this great desire among many people to refuse to acknowledge that many Australians are racist, uneducated idiots who are easily swayed by the Murdoch press and a few well-aimed taunts from the Liberals. The fact is, it’s the truth, unpalatable as it may seem.

          • February 18, 2014

            Tomasina

            SO SO SO ON THE MONEY JO…!!!

          • February 18, 2014

            janes

            Jo – What a wonderful overview. Absolutely spot on.

          • February 21, 2014

            Amy

            Jo – that was one of the best comments I’ve read about the mystery of Australian people. The truth hurts – but you’ve just explained it to me perfectly. Thank you for the insight.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      TomO

      Couldn’t agree with you more Narelle. Perhaps Mathewson’s links with Howard colour her opinions.

      But I have to admit that there is a problem with Shorten’s answers. For instance, whenever anyone mentions the Royal Commission into unions, I can’t understand why he bothers to go into detail when he should just give a list of names, “John, Elliott, Jodee Rich, Rodney Adle, etc, ect, etc.”

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Mark

    I think Narelle makes a very good point. When Barnaby Joyce howled that a lamb roast was going to cost $100 under a carbon tax, the public took it on board. I doubt the voters can even remember all the fake Coalition claims but they can sure remember how afraid and angry they felt at the time due to the constant barrage of fearmongering by the Coalition, which of corse was amplified by News Limited and the shock jocks. And they voted accordingly, despite not even knowing any Coalition policies (slogans don’t count). So for all the fine sentiments about how Aussies are supposed to see through fakeness, I would suggest the political use of fear and demonisation has been more than powerful enough to overwhelm it.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    TraceyA

    I disagree with you Paula. and agree entirely with Narelle. The vast majority of people are politically disengaged and react to whatever the media tells them to react to, whether it stands up to a modicum of sensible scrutiny or not. Abbott is the result.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Wendy Harmer

    I agree Paula, you often see politicians wrestle with trying to be statesman (woman) -like when they are elevated to a bigger job – a la Shorten, Gillard or Abbott.
    I wish they wouldn’t adopt a tired and fake template of “gravitas” because it doesn’t work.
    That thing of authenticity is what we’re looking for – even Scott Morrison has it – you know he’s an authentic hard arse.
    I wonder if Albanese would have fallen into the same trap if he’d become LOTO and tried to burr off some of his rough edges?
    It must be hard when the minders are urging you to be more moderate, hoping to appeal to a greater number of voters – when, as you say it’s the exact opposite of what we respond to.
    The idea of appearing “prime ministerial” is a crock.It did Julia Gillard no favours at all IMO
    Tanya Plibersek has an authentic voice – her life and politican concerns are in tune.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      Paula Matthewson

      Thanks Wendy, I wonder too if Albo would have succumbed to the political PR gurus and moderated his style if he had become leader. And yes, I agree with you on Tanya Plibersek, her genuine style cuts through.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Doc

    You make a good point Paula. people are awake to ‘manufactured voices’ which seems to be the way the advisory staff want it to roll these days. But it doesn’t work.
    I do go with Narelle in the aspect that if OZ BS meters were working, we wouldn;t have the current govt. They ‘sold’ their message loud and strong – as if it was fact, when if course it wasn’t. Labor are being meek and quiet atm, so they’re not offering a strong, viable alternative atm. Policies & views have to be sold, not meekly presented.

    Wendy – I reckon Albo would still have stayed his same self – his BS meter is good for the internal BS that might be attempted to be sold to him IMO. A very genuine person.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      sofia

      If Abbott’s voice is a “manufactured voice” then it’s the worst voice, with the worst vocabulary and delivery, I have ever heard in my professional life as a voice coach.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Domptor

      Albo to the fore. Albo is what we need. He would be just the man to rattle Holy Tony’s chain, to make him drop his guard, to make him slip – fast enough for the truth to come out.
      I don’t think there is anything amiss with Bill Shorten, I think he is an intelligent person (unlike the Monk) but Bill just does not have the same fight in him that Albo does. I think you need to fight fire with fire and we certainly need an Albo animal up there against a rat like Tony. And soon. IMO

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Dianne

    Sorry Paula I agree with Narelle.

    I think our BS meter needs adjustment.

    Our so-called ability to see through spin has failed on two essential measurements.

    We have a leader who is not trusted by the majority.

    We preferred the policies of the ALP but voted for a largely hidden agenda which we hoped and wished would not be too alarming.

    Why? Snap that meter underfoot.

    What is wrong with our ability to think clearly?

    I do not think any commentator has come close to shedding a light on what happened in the last election.

    We voted for a party with an unknown agenda and accepted that in doing so we would have a leader most of us do not trust. Extraordinary!

    And as for Shorten …

    I think he should be more visible and set out the framework of a clear plan for Autralia’s future. Paint the big picture Bill. Show us where we are headed.

    Was it a lesser-of-two-evils decision. Maybe. But could someone explain to me why people hollered a chorus of Juliar when TA’s tyres-on-fire doughnut turns have not incurred similar wrath.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      MerriD

      Ah, Diane, but the trouble with laying out a plan is that it also provides a plan of attack for your opposition… Something the Liberals apparently know all too well. They didn’t need a policy at the last election (apparently): all they had to do was magnify the inevitable flaws of the other bloke’s policy (no policy is perfect, after all). I think what’s chiefly at play here is the tall poppy syndrome. How dare Labor come up with high-falutin’ ideas? Tell ‘em they’re dreamin’, electorate!

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Graeme Chivers

    An enjoyable read Paula.
    I too would like to see Shorten have a dig and not be so white bread in parliament/in interviews.
    I have to agree with Narelle though.
    There’s never been a more obvious bullshit artist than Tony Abbott.
    He back tracks, obfuscates and outright lies whenever the occasion suits.
    When coupled with his oh so stage managed media events he’s as genuine as a $3 bank note.
    He’s a wooden puppet and an international embarrassment.

    The public haven’t a clue or he’d be where everyone thought he’d be before the hard right rolled Turnbull, a nasty back bench bovver boy with a penchant for making a cartoonist’s day.
    Labor’s ineptitude in selling good policies undoubtedly aided and abetted his success, as did the relentless negative Murdoch press, but on the face of it political fakeness currently results in a Prime Mnister’s guernsey.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Johnsie

    Albo seems like a top bloke and the ALP made another enormous error of judgement in going against the wishes of their base. He is genuine, Shorten is not.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Peter Bayley

    Labor will always be hamstrung while it is a child of Organisations (Unions) rather than directly of people. I strongly support Unions but I don’t think they should still be running political parties (Nor should the IPA). We’re a much more nuanced and varied electorate than the old Boss/Worker dichotomy allows and our political options need to reflect that. Shorten is there precisely because these same Unions biased the outcome to the detriment of the actual (Labor-voting) “rank and file”. He hasn’t yet managed to lift himself beyond the megaphone and to start talking to the rest of us – the 82% of Australians that don’t belong to unions.

    Under Rudd, a complex, probably well-meaning politician but with significant personality flaws, Labor tried to out-bovver the consummate bovverer, and paid the inevitable price. Now it can’t even rail against the iniquities of asylum seekers processing because the measures were slapped, carelessly and perfunctorily into place on their watch.

    I feel Shorten is too close to the unions but doesn’t have the depth required to elevate himself and connect with the wider community – something Hawke excelled at. The clock is ticking and the parasite that is the Right under it’s current puppet is burrowing in and consolidating. If Labor doesn’t clean itself up urgently and comprehensively, we face the prospect of three or more terms of an arrogant, self-serving, divisive political climate with the country becoming and international pariah.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      Wendy Harmer

      Top comment Pete… balanced and thoughtful. Thanks for it!

      • Reply February 19, 2014

        Avesallround

        So well stated Pete. Clear.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Johnsie

    The BS meter of anyone who thinks Julia Gillard’s “mysogyny” speech was impromptu or unscripted is very much in question.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      Anon E Mouse

      I agree with you Johnsie. From all accounts this was a rehashed speech originally used in the British parliament.

      However I do believe that it was a good speech, well delivered, but out of context. If Gillard had let it rip on other occasions, like in the dodgy interviews with shock jocks, that would have been appropriate and I would have cheered. Instead Gillard simpered and took the nasty misogynist comments with a simper.

      • Reply February 18, 2014

        Sandy

        “From all accounts this was a rehashed speech originally used in the British parliament.”

        Really Mouse? Who’s speech was it rehashed from? The assertion sounds absurd considering the speech was directed at Mr. Abbott’s unquestionable instances of foul misogyny toward not only the Prime Minister, but every woman. The speech was exactly in context given LNP’s hypocritical response to Peter Slipper vagina comments.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Avesallround

      That speech could not have been impromptu could it ? Surely she would have planned it carefully, maybe 3-4 drafts made before she delivered it. I mean, she was a politician, surely she would never have been silly enough to deliver an impromptu speech on that topic. And anyway I thought it was a pretty weak speech at that. A little bit too Bill Shorten for mine. I would have loved to have been PM at that time and I think I may have been able to deliver an impromptu speech on the subject and packed a whole lot more punch than Julia did. But then she was always playing at being such a lady – imagine if Michaelia Cash had delivered that speech. She is such a woman of calibre.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Carole/m

    My BS meter tells me you wouldn’t know Johnsie .

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    MickyD

    Johnsie, the BS meter goes off the chart every time you make a post here. You clearly don’t understand parliamentary procedures. If you did you would not have made such a silly (and pointless) statement.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Johnsie

      MickyD, Please enlighten me on the parliamentary procedures that evidence the speech as impromptu. I’m all ears. Or are you just making stuff up?

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Ruth

    Tony Bourke,Tania Plibercek,Penny Wong.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    gabrianga

    “Their finely tuned bullshit meters can identify a fake from 50 metres”,

    Of course this applies to political advisors who favoured the “wets” in the Liberal Government and has a long lasting distaste for anyone from the Right of the “progressives”

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    JoanneH

    There was the usual BS from Hockey this morning on the news of Alcoa closing its plant in Geelong. He sneered at Labor’s past financial support, and went into his usual tirade about the carbon tax being a cause.
    There was no mention of carbon tax from the Alcoa management, and I’m sure Abbott and Hockey would not have been pleased to hear the praise Alcoa heaped onto the workers and the union for all their co-operation over the years. but luckily for them it won’t make the MSM.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Ruth

    As for who had a genuine voice…
    Cant go past Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Carole/w

    Any Corporation ” worth it’s salt ” factored in the cost of carbon pricing at least a Decade ago.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Hockey stopped the nodding head clown routine and started addressing the facts .

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      nerofiddling

      Yes, I wish he would stop with the head nodding and halfwit grin.
      I can’t stand seeing him on television at the best of times, but the big boofhead nodding makes it even worse. Absolute moron.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Julian

    When politicians speak, it is often not because they have something to say, but because they have to say something. Authenticity is a casualty of the 24 hour news cycle, as politicians strive to be everything to everyone. Soundbyte politics puts the cart before the horse. Ultimately, their hypocrisy gets exposed and authenticity eroded.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Bill

    I think Joe Hockey is the one high profile politician able to fake authenticity.

    Shorten needs to lift his game. When I’ve previously seen him on Q&A he’s come across as having empathy for people suffering hardship. His work on the NDIS suggests he can listen and has genuine concern for people who need assistance. So there’s potential there.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Tim

    We have this quaint belief that beneath the laconic, deadpan, toughened exterior, there is the considered, no-bullshit real-world, fair minded mate – an inner Bill Hunter. Were it were so. We are timid insular and narrow, easily persuaded to embrace the dark side by venal careerists and self-absorbed sycophants. Our current trajectory suggests more of the same. You get the Bolt you deserve. Still, the surf’s pretty good today.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    RhodaD

    At the time of the election the Labor Party was still moving right with a leader everyone knew would be gone before lunch time. Minor parties had mushroomed out of nowhere like rain lilies after a storm. Who could take any of it seriously. I remember the despair I felt – and still feel.

    It is remarkable that people have turned so conservative they think holding people down, withdrawing services and financial help, locking them up, displaying their contempt and lack of empathy is going to advance this country. It will do the opposite. They only have to look to the economic an social disorder in the US for an example of how unhindered capitalism can send a country broke. They only have to look at our history to see that granting land to convicts helped them to prosper and the country with them.

    And the US is also oppressed by religious bigotry and intolerance. Why do Australians want to go that route?

    Australia’s international reputation is now in ruins and we’re only months from the election. The ship of state has been steering itself and foundered on an Indonesian reef. We now run a gulag that will haunt our history books for the next century. The Liberal Party has become a refuge for those who hate anyone that looks like they need a handout.

    Authenticity? If there’s any sort of authentic discourse I’ve yet to hear it.

    Yes we’ve lost the plot and this is where I’m at. I’d like to see Shorten go because he’s never going to turn left and I won’t vote for a Labor leader that doesn’t. That’s where those who care about the direction this country is taking should start. At the crossroads.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Lulu Respall-Turner

    You hit it right on the nose, Paula! To Johnsie: it might help us understand if you provide evidence that the Gillard speech was scripted. And yes, you might benefit from actually watching Parliamentary debates. And thank you, Pete Bayley for your intelligent comment.

    Bill Shorten needs to up his game. He is probably a nice fellow, and a highly intelligent one, but he does not inspire. He need to stoke a fire in his belly and show it. From the start, he had two things against him: (1) being identified with what Abbott & Colabelled ‘invisible men’ and (2) his union background. I agree that the recent slump in the polls for Shorten has a lot to do with the union corruption scandals. However much Shorten and his ministers might try to distance themselves from these scandals, most voters will still associate the ALP with unionism. It would be difficult to break this link, seeing as the AWU gave birth to the party, all those many years ago. But data shows that union membership has decreased substantially – by 20% over the last two decades. So why allow unions the greater say in selecting ALP leaders? Don’t get me wrong — I am not anti-union.What unions have done to improve workers’ pay and conditions should not be overlooked. Clearly, unless both the unions and the Labor Party institute drastic reforms in their respective organisations, and in the ALP-union relationship —and do it quickly —the Coalition will reign supreme, perhaps for a long term.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Anon E Mouse

    Paula, the only thing fair dinkum about Clive Palmer is that he is a complex person but his business interests and NP roots are his primary purpose.

    Clive was schooled by the best BS artist there was, Joh Bjelke Petersen, he knows where the LNP skeletons are hidden and is not afraid to flex his ties to the LNP machine to get what he wants.

    Clive appealed to the common person, but sides with big business (especially his own). His preferences went to the LNP – his money was used to donate the Abbott election war chest.

    His positioning in the political scene offered an appealing option to those Labor sympathisers who didn’t want to vote LNP or ALP, and most of them have dodgy BS monitors and they didn’t see their preferences supported the LNP. I have spent a lot of time explaining this to previous ALP supporters. One said to me, ‘ but I watched his DVD he sent me – he wouldn’t lie, would he?’

    One thing is sure about Clive, ultimately he will do whats best for Clive.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Tim the beard

    I agree RhondaD. The crossroads is the best place to start, like the one we’re at with manufacturing. Ok fine, globalization has won with its free trade deals and no industry handouts under this neo-con government.

    But what comes next? Smaller cottage style industry like California? That has a high knowledge/ skill input coupled with an environment more friendly to venture capital. We currently have got ether of those. Which leaves us with not much but exporting foodstuffs and minerals. After SPC the foodstuff processing doesn’t look promising… Which leaves us with only raw minerals.

    Like Papua New guinea, or the Congo. They have thriving economies and a comfortable life style? Don’t they?

    No sorry I was thinking of the Scandinavian countries that also have high knowledge/ skill industries and fantastic public welfare, healthcare and education. My mistake.

    I don’t think we can spot a fake Paula, I think Labour done messed up so badly nobody wanted them. Which left only the libs.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Kest

    I agree wholeheartedly with Wendy’s comments re Tanya Plibersek. Hers is the strongest and most genuine voice coming from the Opposition benches these days, in my opinion.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Alistair

    Shorten seems not to have been able to build a profile where he is readily recognisable. He was on the ABC the other morning, listening on the radio he came across as knowledgeable and informed and I was wondering who they had as a guest – only to be surprised at the end of the interview when his identity was revealed. Albo seems more like the sort of bloke you would expect as an opposition leader.

    With respect to the “Misogyny” Rant buy Ms Gillard, it’s beyond debate that it was a confected and rehearsed bit of theater just waiting to be pulled out at an opportune time … which makes it even more puzzling that the PM should have used it to defend Peter Slipper (a man with bona fide misogynist credentials). I guess as it turned out it was just another example of the sort of judgement the electorate rejected in September.

  • […] The price of political fakeness. Regular post for The Hoopla. […]

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    James Gillard (no relation)

    Albo reminds me of John Curtain – a fierce intellect, hidden under a carapace of head-kicker and a Labor man of the old school.

    It was to Labor’s eternal shame that the caucus threw their weight behind Shorten…I’m reminded of that lovely para-phrase of the bible from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
    “My brother Esau was a hairy man while I am a smooth one!”

    In a phrase, Albo and Shorten.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Dianne

    MerriD – I take your point except I think in a time of great change people are hungry to know where we are headed.

    The Govt either have no plan or have a concealed plan. Abbott’s language on job losses amounts to little more than don’t-worry-something-better-will-turn-up.

    I think there is a vacuum waiting to be filled.

    I would be advising Shorten to take the initiative and explain why our economy is in transition, what it will mean for us and what must be done to safeguard our future.

    It is not enoughdescribeJG describe what we all know is happening, decry job losses and blame the govt.

    All this has been coming for 30 years.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    ro.watson

    Tanya P. for Opposition Leader, and for P.M. Just because I like her relatively open style.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    JER

    Alistair – Julia Gillard did not defend Peter Slipper. She (and all her Labor colleagues who spoke prior to her speech) condemned his txts etc. After Tony Abbott brought to parliament’s attention Slipper’s pathetic and sexist sms he (Abbott) said to Gillard (something along the lines of), “Now defend that”. Julia Gillard’s speech was about Abbott’s hypocrisy and misogny.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Bea Conley

    Esau was AN hairy man, I think you’ll find…

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      James Gillard

      Thanks Bea…The analogy still applies, simply in reverse!

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Nick

    I would agree that at face value, Julia Gillard appeared to be genuine, but she lost all currency over the leadership debacle, the broken carbon tax promise and the ongoing Slater & Gordon investigation.

    As for the aussie electorate having a good BS detector, I absolutely agree with Paula. Of course people here like Narelle are going to claim otherwise. Her side lost and therefore, everyone else must be stupid or naïve. With the MSM including (Newscorp, the ABC and Fairfax) and with all of the social and online media, people probably had more information about the candidates and their parties than any other time in political history, and they chose the LNP.

    And let’s not forget, it’s not just individual politicians that have credibility issues. A lot of holes have been poked in the global warming / climate change movement as well. People are becoming more and more sceptical about the science behind AGW and even more sceptical that the massive amounts of money being spent will do anything at all to impact upon the climate.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Karen James

    John Howard seen as genuine? Seriously?
    I would be more convinced about the ‘good BS detectors’ argument if there were actually more genuine voices to be heard in all forms of politics.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Tom Watson

    Bill Shorten comes over too measured to the point of looking weak..not what we need against the likes of Abbott..
    He may improve and there are moments when there is real SINCERE passion – not enough though!

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    megan

    Did anyone see Eric Abetz on Q&A last night? Is that his genuine persona? I wanted to scream!

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    MickyD

    Agree with others that Shorten looks like he is trying to stage manage himself and it’s a turnoff. Where’s the passion? Just look at that totally off the cuff and unplanned smack down that JJ gave to that lying turd Rabbit when he was trying to lecture her about misogyny of all things. The world took notice of someone finally biting back and with conviction. Yet here in Oz we still have toadies trying to rewrite history with their own untruthful spin on it. Shameful.

    One term Tony on the other hand, plays the marionette superbly. Doesn’t mind looking the fool with others pulling the strings, wrecking jobs, working conditions, the economy, and the environment. Handing out plum jobs to his bedfellows and making it easier for his backers to make profit at the expense of the mug punter. Yet the lickspittle fawn and defend. Go figure.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Sayitagain

      That’s so, very correct Mick. So well put.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    rob

    Tim’s right, the LNP got the vote because Labor had stuffed it up.
    I think Bill Shorten is trying to be, or has been told to be, a kind, considerate antidote to TA and it comes across as fake, just like the managed Julia did.
    Having been a union official (honorary and unpaid) for over 25 years I can say with some degree of knowledge that the union movement as a whole isn’t responsable for electing Bill over Albo. The right wing unions such as the AWU, who have a massive voting block advantage, tend to call the shots. Albo who is more left wing was always going to win the rank and file vote, but loose the factionalised party room vote.
    I hope Bill and his minders don’t overplay the nice guy persona, nice guys tend to finish last in politics…

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Darrenj

    A few things to remember about Gillard and Shorten.
    Twice both these so-called Labor politicians introduced and passed legislation to remove the grandfathering provisions from Howards attack on soleparents in 2006.
    In the end 100,000 sole-parents were moved from Parenting Payment single to Newstart in January 2013 when their youngest child turned 8 years old.
    At a cost to us of between $ 65 – $ 135 a week.
    This is the same legislation Labor vehemently attacked when Howard pushed it through in 2006.
    Gillard and Shorten both justified this by saying it was now fair because we were all under the same system now.
    Is anyone’s BS meter screaming right now !!
    The fact is this was done because welfare recipients are an easy target to attack even for the Labor party.
    Because of this as long as Shorten is Labor leader i will continue to view Micheal Moore’s famous ficus plant as a better candidate for my vote !!
    Labor need to get back to it’s grass roots and exorcise the demon that is the right from the party once and for all.
    Tanya Plibersek or Albo , but more than likely Tanya is the perfect candidate for opposition leader.
    I have seen and listened to her many times and am extremely impressed by her logic and calmness even when under fire !!!
    The only other person for the job i believe would be that great voice of Independent reason Nick Xenophon , but that would mean enticing him to work inside the political machine that is the Labor party and i think that would be near impossible.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    RhodaD

    Well put Darrenj and I agree with you. Shorten is not the man to lead Labor right now. We need someone who is a true believer in the saying that people come before profit. Someone who can articulate his case and has the necessary courage and vision.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Krystyna Schweizer

    Elders’ wisdom: “there is a grain of truth in everything” (little voice from the wilderness of OZ)

    Shorten = Judas

    Bill Shorten had ambition to become PM many years ago.
    First step: encouraging Gillard to take on Kevin Rudd.

    Shorten knew Gillard would get lots of women votes. My former mother in law who always voted for ‘country’ parties voted for Gillard! I bet a lot of country women did by keeping it secret from their husbands! No BS! Most loathe Abbott and Barnaby Joyce.

    Shorten betrayed Gillard by voting for Rudd. The hardest decision of his life? BS!

    The Duo of leadership contest between Shorten and Albanese ? More BS!

    Trio contest among Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong and Albanese would have been of interest. No BS !

    Gillard had a good a chance of winning the election would she have been allowed the opportunity!
    I can hear you all laughing! I am serious! I am a feminist ‘country bumpkin’ who listens to Radio National over many years!

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    janes

    Re – BS meter I agree with Narelle

    Re – Bill Shorten (Really??? One poll & all is lost???? 2.5 years from election. What was the context, news cycle, national events, etc)

    I always find people’s “perception” of others interesting. What exactly are Paula & Wendy commenting on?

    It is really Shorten’s ability to present himself in the media, ie broadcast media. Not his ACTUAL capability, his vision, or his ideas.

    Paula & Wendy know that a Leader will need the ability to communicate & connect.

    It is a difficult position as Leader of a major Party. Most people (the public) only see the “outward” person. These days many expect a “performer” – a larger than life character. (Like Hawke, Keating, Whitlam)

    So if you are not really “larger than life” or overly animated or interesting or a riveting orator – how do you create that without being false?

    It took Julia Gillard, John Howard, Hilary Clinton, all a while to hit the right note. Tony Abbott is still struggling – but has improved considerably which has taken a huge amount of time & modification. We can assume there will be a barrage of media management & media trainers assisting & developing Shorten’s presentation & media persona.

    Shorten has a history of conciliation not combat. He is possibly very authentic at an inter-personal, face to face or town hall level. (Which Gillard excelled at) Through Union experience he would be used to building support for a purpose to achieve an acceptable outcome all round – not criticising & demolishing his opposition. (Like Abbott & Albo.)

    Addressing a case to a national audience via the media is a different matter.

    Were those larger than life characters actually good leaders? Can one person be it all? (Obviously in real life the team around them matters as well – but do the public care).

    Is the Leader just the “brand label” to the outside world – like Tony Abbott – and there are really lots of monkeys behind the scenes cranking the wheels & pulling the strings?

    Does the Leader actually have to have substance – or just be able to give the appearance of it?
    (It would be a bonus if they had it all.)

    In the real world – it is interesting how often the President of an organisation is a “”front” person. The person who presents well in public & communicates well to groups & events. Often they are not “workers” or ideas people – others do that. But they are people who can talk about the ideas & give the impression they know what they are talking about. (It is a bonus if they actually are more rounded & have more depth!!)

    Do we want the “front” or the “depth”? Or can one person have it all?

    (Like others above – I have to question who Paula has presented as examples. There is a marked difference between people who the media love because they are a “spectacle” – and whether they are actually good leaders – or actually say anything meaningful.)

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    RhodaD

    janes, absolutely the leader has to build support behind the scenes. But he also has to articulate his ideas to those who vote. I can tell you right now i haven’t the least clue what Shorten believes in, whether he has a vision. Whether he cares one jot about single parents trying to survive on Newstart or has been galvanised by the bloodshed on Manus. Which makes me think he doesn’t.

    At the moment we not only have a leader who isn’t communicating with us but an opposition leader lying doggo as well. To cap it off our news media is beholden to an American who wants them to keep a lid on anything that might make Abbott’s government look like a failure.

    A leader of men would be filling the void. Would reveal his passion for social justice. Would speak up.

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Helena

    @ jomcsweeney I wouldn’t bother trying to convince anyone if your starting point is that left wing people are so much more intellectual – those same “uneducated idiots” you scorn resoundingly voted in Rudd and Hawke, did you find them or the murdoch press who supported them, at that time, so unreasonable?

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    MickyD

    Helena, I think you are misinterpreting Jo’s statement. The left form opinions based on facts and rational reasoning, and can understand complex issues that aren’t solved in 3 words. The right are racist, misogynistic, bigoted homophobes, who don’t believe in science or morals. Remember, conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    By the way, it might be a bit early l, but I’m calling Jo McSweeney as comment of the year! Absolutely nailed it!

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Johnsie

      When will the chorus of condemnation arrive in regards to the writings of MickyD. Do you really all support the vile hatred, abuse and childish name calling he spits every time he writes? The hypocrisy is very sad.

      While I quite enjoy it and look forward to the next instalment, I’m shocked at the implicit endorsement of the contributors and owners of the site. Now just imagine if it were a conservative spouting the reverse. It is why this is the left fringe version of the Bolt Blog I guess.

      • Reply February 19, 2014

        Ella

        Yes Johnsie, I support MickyD’s posts: The question is, why are you on this site?

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    MickyD

    Hiya Johnsie. Vile hatred? Abuse and spitting? Dear oh dear you Tories have no sense of humour. Can dish it out but cant take it. As the great man PK once said you’re “the salmon that jumps on the hook for you”.

    I am a peaceful loving person Johnsie, I care for mankind and the environment. I just happen to call out Tories for their misogyny, racism, bigotry and lies. This is not hypocrisy Johnsie, its called reality. If you cant handle it, then tootle back to Bolts Blog and get backslapped by the lickspittle and toadies who fawn a convicted racist. They don’t do intelligence there so I am not sure how you can compare the blog of Melbourne’s Village idiot to this fine publication. Love and peace bro.

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    ro.watson

    Anyone, or group, which says they are organised is showing off or has control issues they possibly cannot handle. Big shouts, big shushes, big benefits, big losses.

  • Reply February 21, 2014

    Soozka

    John Howard seen as genuine? You’ve got to be kidding!!!

    The “Honest John” soubriquet was ironic – in much the same way as redheads are called “bluey”.

  • […] The Price of Political Fakeness […]

  • […] The Price of Political Fakeness […]

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