Main Game: Time To Tear Bill Shorten To Shreds

AS THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT adjusts its direction in the wake of Monday’s abortive leadership spill, a plethora of issues require address as it seeks to regain the political initiative; one of the more urgent of these is the need to pull Bill Shorten — a purported “leader” who, far from being held to account for his fictitious version of Labor’s record in government and the resulting mess, has barely been challenged — into the crosshairs of its main attack.

I’m going to be busy today — exceedingly so — and consequently this morning’s post is a brief one made on the run, although there are other issues we will come back to: and not least, confirmation of what this column has known for most of the past couple of years, namely the formalisation of Labor’s likely return to the government benches in Queensland.

But following my post yesterday detailing the comprehensive “reset” Tony Abbott must now make where his government’s activities are concerned, one of the issues the Coalition must urgently rectify is the apparent marginalisation of Bill Shorten and the ALP — whether to ignore them, or to try to paint them as irrelevant in an appallingly misguided political judgement — and the need to recognise that at root, Labor was, is, and remains the Liberal Party’s number one opponent in the national polity.

I want to share this morning the editorial from today’s issue of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph which launches a fairly blunt attack against the Labor “leader,” and note that in the fight to sell its budget — defective as it is — there has been very little done of any note by government figures to tear Shorten, and the scandalous legacy of mismanagement and waste his party left behind in office, the proverbial “new one.”

Whatever the government’s current and historical problems, they are not a patch on the abysmal record of its opponents: and Bill Shorten is a lightweight with little of value to offer where matters of public administration are concerned.

Just yesterday he was making a concerted effort to reap political capital from the unlikely and dubious subject of the cut of Malcolm Turnbull’s suits, and when alleged Prime Ministerial candidates resort to using such tasteless material to give form to their vision (and not least with the ready supply of substantive material that exists for Labor to work with at present) then allowing the perpetrator to waffle on unretarded simply doesn’t cut it.

As Turnbull himself thundered during Question Time yesterday, it’s a bit rich for someone like Shorten — wielder and twister of the knife in two mid-term Labor leadership changes, to say nothing of being a disloyal, scheming, treacherous gnome — to be throwing accusations of instability and disunity around the nation’s political discussions.

And as the Tele notes, Shorten has little of any meaningful substance of his own to offer: the Tele states, incorrectly, that Shorten offers only one solution: “closing tax loopholes for multinationals,” which is one of those ideas that might sound good to a slavering and sycophantic audience but which in practice is merely code for instituting measures that will see jobs and investment withdrawn from Australia in favour of other markets internationally.

Especially if botched and mishandled in the standard Labor way. The thoughts of former Treasurer Wayne Swan could be illustrative in this regard.

The Tele has forgotten Labor’s other “new” idea, which is to abandon the private health insurance rebate altogether, and this stinking germ of an idea — which would almost certainly result in the collapse of Australia’s public hospital system — is one Shorten is at pains to avoid having attention drawn to, but one Labor has never entirely dropped, awake as it is to the risk of sustained political attack over one of its pet portfolio interests if the blowtorch was ever seriously applied to it.

There are those in the ALP who resent the fact that Murdoch-owned mastheads (and the Daily Telegraph in Sydney especially) continue to prosecute the case against it that should ordinarily be made by the federal Coalition, and it bears reminding them that unlike the monoliths of the Fairfax press, the ABC, the Guardian and Crikey, Murdoch’s titles have seen fit often enough in the past, at state level as well as federally, to advocate on Labor’s behalf, although we presume there is nothing conspiratorial in Shorten’s view in the fact those left-leaning tomes never seem to find favour with the Coalition in the same way.

Even so, the job of tearing Shorten — and Labor — to pieces is one that should not be left to friendly voices in one segment of the national press.

There is a rich seam of material for the Coalition to mine, and the arguments against Labor being permitted to return to office can be readily located in its own handiwork and its own dysfunctional record in office between 2007 and 2013.

As the Abbott government readjusts its strategies and priorities, the methodical dismantling of Shorten should be accorded a high priority indeed. Allowing him a free run, unchallenged by the factual contradictions to the rubbish that passes for Labor’s contribution under his “leadership,” is something neither the government nor the country can afford.



15 thoughts on “Main Game: Time To Tear Bill Shorten To Shreds

        • I suppose the reason you spend so much time attention seeking amongst well-informed conservatives capable of independent thought is because you are bored interacting with left-wing, ‘progressive’ drones whose opinions are as predictable and conformist as your own, Bobby D. But I think it’s time you stopped bothering your betters and went back the ALP hatchery.

        • There was this thing called an “Election”. It may seem strange to you, but the government was installed to put their policies into action, not to negotiate with the losers. If the voters had preferred the ALP view of the world, they would have voted for them.

          They didn’t and the ALP/Greens should respect that decision. However that would mean treating the population like thinking human beings and not mindless drones. Since the ALP/Greens consider themselves Parties of “The People” and they are full of mindless drones and they think that everybody else is just like them, I doubt that this will happen.

          On a non partisan note, I’m generally dissatisfied with the way the Senate has been used in recent years. It’s supposed to be the “States House of Revue”, not a “Party political sh*t fight and place for moronic splinter groups”. Perhaps instead of dividing the seating Government/Opposition we should make them sit by State to remind them of why they are there.

  1. Yale, you’re simply wrong on the “closing loopholes” bit. What Apple and others are getting away is nothing less than obscene. It’s clever and it’s technically legal, but it’s “intent to defraud” under the spirit of the law.

    We have an entire department full of experts in Canberra who I’m sure can write something to close these bullshit loopholes. No Mr Apple, you don’t get to make billions in profit and ship it offshore to a tax haven as “Licencing Fees”. And neither will anybody else. They won’t close the iStores around the country as people won’t buy a computer from overseas as mail order.

    As a fiscal conservative I think that governments should live within their means and that industries should pay their fair share. Few things in a tax debate get me as ropeable as this. I won’t blame Abbott alone either, the ALP had 6 years and did nothing. Mining companies pay billions in royalties to the various States (At over 25% of State revenue, WA would collapse without them) and yet Gillard wasted time and effort to hit them with a tax that brought in nothing while letting these others off scot free. Imbecile.

    How about we nail these bastard companies that pay nothing before worrying about whether an individual Aussie is paying 2% too little?

  2. Abbott needs to study the ALP very hard. The ALP ‘s hit and run tactics have been learned from comrade experience in the Unions, religious following of Karl Marx, Frederic Engels, Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe and KGB memberships of the old guard. With friends like Lee Rhiannon (Brown) schooled in Soviet tactics, the ALP have the upper hand in gutter tactics. For this government to be successful, Abbott has to be equally unemotional (but less robotic) as Penny Wong. He needs the knife throwing skills of Shorten, the understanding of simple minds in the form of Wayne Swan and the viciousness and hatred of people in the form of Tanya Pleb-in-a-sack.

    • Yes, the jungle training camps in leftist ideals and tactics, subsidised unwittingly by the Australian people are finally paying dividends. Next thing you know, the ABC will send out subliminal messages to force you to drink lattes….

  3. International companies such as Apple operate under the strictures of domestic and international tax laws and treaties. Nothing was done to close ‘loop holes’ during the Labor Government for the simple reason they don’t exist. The Cameron Government is currently having difficulties with it’s own ‘Google Tax’ which was supposedly going to close these elusive ‘loop holes’ international companies are able to exploit.

    This useless idea is yet another attempt by Shorten to shift the debate away from cutting spending. This from the man who said “revenues must match our spending” and “you go for growth and the way you do that is by investing in education and skills for the future. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

    Austalia does not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem which Shorten, Labor and the Greens dearly want to exacerbate. Don’t listen to them.

    • I disagree Bryan. While not strictly speaking a “loophole” the actions of Apple and Co are definitely tax avoidance. The problem is that tax “thinking” is still in the 16th Century and business is operating in the 21st. Banks and major institutions (where all the “advisors” come from” still think it’s usual to take 10 days to send money over seas. I can arrange $1 million in finance, order stock from an overseas company, arrange for shipping to 6 other overseas nations and pay for the lot before morning tea. (All from my home)

      The tax system doesn’t reflect the new reality and needs to change. We don’t need to close loopholes IN the tax laws, we need to close the loopholes OUTSIDE the tax laws. 😉

      None of the above negates what you say about a spending problem.

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