KIM WINGEREI. Bill Shorten – where the bloody hell are you?

As the Morrison government stumbles from fumble to bungle on a daily basis, Labor leader Bill Shorten is keeping a low profile. Would this not be his turn to shine, or is he just biding his time?

I am no fan of either of the big parties, or rather of the role that party politics plays in distancing democracy from its purpose – which is representative government of the people. The parties as custodians of democracy has failed. However, the prospect of a hung Parliament with a group of sensible independents holding the balance of power may just be the start of a change for the better.

I recently pleaded with Bill Shorten not to gloat over the Coalition’s loss in the Wentworth by-election. I commend him for avoiding that temptation. But since then he has avoided publicity beyond some policy announcements on social media. He and Tanya Plibersek even chose to do a live Q&A cast on Facebook instead of seeking a major media opportunity.

With only two weeks left of Parliament sitting this year (3 for the Senate) breaking his self-enforced vipassana, there is every likelihood that his low-key approach will continue until closer to the 2019 election. One can only hope that the introspection leads to divine policy announcements when the time comes.

But I fear that the reason behind the strategy is neither a sign of magnanimity nor meditation practice.

Resisting the calls for an election now is probably just good politics in the minds of the Labor strategists. They may well be right, but the six months or so until the likely next election is an eternity in politics, so much can change.

Maybe the Labor party-room is only too aware that Bill Shorten doesn’t resonate with voters beyond the Labor die-hards. Despite the shambles of the Morrison Government so far Shorten still trails Morrison as the preferred Prime Minister by 8% according to the latest Newspoll.

 call on the real Bill Shorten to stand up. I call on the Labor Party to take the lead and announce how they will address the issues voters say they care about. To go beyond party political tactical considerations and announce substantial policies on combating climate change, end the travesty of our border protection policies and show that the inevitable pronouncements of “governing for all Australians” are not just words but a credo to stand by.

Tony Abbott got into government back in 2013 without having to announce much in the way of policies as Labor in government had shot itself in the foot with a cannon. Not just once, but many times. The rest is history, but the lessons should not be ignored.

Instead, ignore the shrill voices from a government with its back to the wall. Ignore the inevitable scare mongering, ignore the half-truths of campaign slogans, rise above the petulance of personality politics, heed the calls for transparency and don’t shirk the difficult issues that risk popularity in the face of solid policy making.

Voters want not just a change of government but a government that acts. Will the real Bill Shorten either stand up now, or step aside for someone that will.

Kim Wingerei is a former businessman, turned writer, blogger and commentator; passionate about free speech, democracy and the politics of change. Author of “Why Democracy is Broken – A Blueprint for Change”. Follow @ kimwingerei.com

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9 Responses to KIM WINGEREI. Bill Shorten – where the bloody hell are you?

  1. John Boyd says:

    I find this criticism a bit ‘over the top’. Shorten and Labor have been releasing serious policies steadily for the last three years. The msm just doesn’t cover them. Try https://www.fairgoforschools.com.au/?fbclid=IwAR0TGc6Du-w21KnH01q-CI8DSprDutByeLF36bc4s-O6SdhUcRtWBaH1Nzo .

  2. Nigel Howard says:

    Great advice – if Bill is listening. Since ALP seem to have the tin ear on Adani, Coal, price on Carbon and Renewables and on Nauru, even after Wentworth, then likely he can’t hear any advice.

  3. Peter Farley says:

    Then, gentlemen,” said Napoleon, “let us wait a little; when your enemy is executing a false movement, never interrupt him.”

  4. David Heath says:

    There’s an old quote… “when your enemies are making a mistake, don’t interrupt.”

  5. Malcolm Crout says:

    The ALP has Shorten wedged because they are singing from the same song sheet as the LNP whenever they waffle on about balanced budgets and all the neoliberal bullshit that surrounds that nonsensical discussion.
    People are fed up with economics speak because over thirty years it has delivered a shit sandwich for the community as inequality keeps ratcheting up while the only noise from the major parties blather enriching corporates to deliver jobs and growth. Shorten needs to stand up and declare Government for the people. Not the businesses or the unions but for the people. He should discard any discussion on killing negative gearing and winding back capital gains tax. Let those clowns in the LNP shuffle down that path and move decisively into the vacuum that exists in the notion that political parties are there to govern on behalf of the community. Make statements to that fact and stop this quibbling with the LNP about shite that means nothing to ordinary folk. Move away from the notion that they need to vote trade deals in because they think they can wind them back when they are in Government. Take note of the reasons why independents are gaining traction while the major parties’ popularity wains and the Greens sink into oblivion with their pointless policies.
    The ALP will fall into Government by default, there is little doubt about that. What will be key to the recovery of real democratic politics will be whether Government has to be shared with single issue independents in the lower house and hard right independents in the senate.
    Above all the ALP needs to change their message from “responsible” Government (what the hell is that anyway?) to a message that position the ordinary person into the centre of policy. Realise that public purpose policies will deliver more seats than the tired old business as usual crap around the financialised economy. Concentrate on the real economy and realise the fiscal capacity that is available to a sovereign power to advance the well being of the ordinary people, even though Bowden seems unable to understand this simple macroeconomic fact. Stop talking about those poor devils on the islands and start talking about Australians trying to survive in the hell holes of capital cities jam packed with what we presume are immigrants wandering around making noses that only they can understand. Cut all ties to corporate funding and accept only union donations with no strings. Outlaw foreign donations and the buy out of public assets which id putting ownership in foreign hands. People are fed up and want change. Give it to them for pity’s sake or suffer the consequences.
    Now that feels better!

  6. More to the point, Kim, let the minders relax and let the National Conference be a good, old-fashioned policy fight in broad daylight for all to see.

  7. Evan Hadkins says:

    I think Bill has learnt this lesson, “Tony Abbott got into government back in 2013 without having to announce much in the way of policies as Labor in government had shot itself in the foot with a cannon.”

    Labor has done best when it has let the LNP destroy themselves.

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