Week 2 Election Wrap And The Fine Art Of The Scare Campaign

Scare campaigns need to have a semblance of truth behind them to work effectively and Labor’s strategy of making pensioners think they’ll have their income managed through the cashless debit card if the Coalition wins the federal election, does gave some solid foundations.

For a start: the scheme already exists. And the legislation to apply the scheme to age pensions also exists. And footage of many ministers outlining their support for the scheme – that also exists as well.

Is it a “scare campaign” if it’s actually close to the truth? The media has been quick to point out that it is, and make the claim it’s hurting pensioners to have this “scare” aired in public, even though they didn’t seem so concerned during the 2019 election campaign, when they were very happy to talk up “Labor’s retiree tax”, even though such a plan has never existed, and never will.

But given Scott Morrison was the architect of the disastrous “Robodebt” scheme – which cost the Australian taxpayers $1.2 billion – and was also Minister for Social Services when the Indue card trial was implemented, it’s likely that he’d also like to apply this draconian system to age pensioners. Why? Because that’s who he is.

“Where’s the money going to come from?” It’s a question asked of Labor, but never of the Coalition, even though the answer is the same for both parties. The money comes from the Reserve Bank of Australia, as it always has. Why do political journalists continue to humiliate themselves by asking the most basic questions available to them?

The opinions polls are still pointing towards a Labor victory at the next election, although a hung parliament is also a distinct possibility. If this comes into play, who would the crossbench support? It’s quite possible their numbers could come up to 13 and, as most of these would be taking seats away from the Liberal Party, would they support the Liberal Party to form government? It’s unlikely: all of these independents are campaigning strongly on several key issues – climate change, integrity in politics, women’s safety, corruption and mismanagement.

It would be hard for them to support the Liberal Party, considering their lack of action on all of these issues over the past nine years.

And it’s still quite predictable: the media has an intense dislike of Anthony Albanese, and doesn’t it show. He’s the man who cannot do anything right. He’s on stage at the Byron Bay Bluesfest: he ‘gatecrashed’, that’s obviously wrong.

He wins the leaders debate on Sky News, 40 to 35 in an audience of 100 undecided voters: but the public doesn’t understand, so that result is obviously wrong too – Albanese didn’t win, Scott Morrison did. And, oh goodness me, now he’s gone off to catch COVID: that’s obviously wrong and it’s an absolute disaster and ‘nightmare’ for Albanese and Labor’s campaign! (hint: no, it’s not really).

Australia has a paucity of quality political journalism and it’s a pity so many journalists swayed towards the one-sided disaster-style reporting when Albanese revealed he had contracted COVID. They could have thought a little more creatively and looking at the possibility that it might actually work in Labor’s favour. But squawking from the sidelines is far easier and far more enjoyable. And what better to make people disengage from politics by telling everyone how “boring” and “dismal” the election campaign.

Who’s got time to report on the important matters?

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