From White Ants to Soldier Ants

22 Mar

If Labor is to defeat an Abbott-led Coalition in the next election, it is up to Labor. It is up to them to forget the Murdoch press and the many forces lined up to knock them down. There is little to nothing that can be done about them, especially at this late stage. There are two things Labor need to do, and two things only.

The first is to speak directly to the Australian people, in whatever way they can. In this they must mostly forget about the Coalition, forget about Tony Abbott, forget about the negativity. It is obvious in its obviousness. Trying to confront it head-on hasn’t worked, it won’t work now. Leave it until it is the election campaign proper – if it is necessary. Even then, the story, the narrative Labor needs is the many, many positives it has achieved, is achieving and continues to plan to achieve if re-elected. The focus needs to be on Australia’s position in the world, speak of it with pride, it should be spoken of with pride. The rest of the OECD world admires us, is even in awe of us. Yes, we have luck on our side. The tyranny of distance is less so, and will continue to be less so as we move further into the Asian Century. The hardship of our land is also our advantage and we have proven capable, willing and able to utilise it. If we continue to do so in a manner which enhances the environment as well as the coffers, the better we will do in the long run.

It is vital to dismiss the negativity and silliness of the Opposition and the mania of the mainstream press, especially News Ltd. The likelihood is it will get worse the nearer the election draws, not less. To engage it is to fuel it and to steal the energy of the many, many positives of this Labor Government and, therefore, of this great country. If the order of the day is to refuse to engage on the negativity and silliness, it will have far less fuel.

As Paul Wiggins reminded me recently, Gandhi said ‘First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.’

The second is to remain cohesive. The spill happened. It was predictable to most that it’s outcome would be what it was, despite the frenzy surrounding it and the hopefulness of some. It is time for the speculation and the fear within the Caucus to now stop completely. Great harm has happened because of the whiteanting, the rumours, the leaks. More harm has been done by these things than the negativity or the media because it has created and allowed the environment in which both those things could take a strong hold and grow, like a virus without an obvious cure.

No-one in the Caucus has to ‘like’ Gillard, but to not get behind her for the sake of the Government, the Party and the people you supposedly represent, is appalling and marks you as being unworthy of public office. Pull yourselves together, pull your heads in if necessary and turn your focus to the positive, capable narrative of this Government and the achievements already made and the many capabilities of the future.

And accept there is no-one, no matter whatever else they might think or feel, or say who can deny Julia Gillard is one hell of a negotiator and has and continues to grow as a Leader and a Prime Minister. Honour that, and honour your electorates and your country by pulling it together and selling the positives despite this environment of negativity. Give it, the negativity, no more fuel. Steal it of your oxygen, focus, attention. Like a brat throwing a tantrum, it only works if attended to. Tony Abbott and his cohort are very much a brat throwing a tantrum and trouble arises because everyone attends it; not unlike some of the reality shows currently on air. Hardly a way to govern or demonstrate worthiness of government.

If you hand the Government to Tony Abbott and his cohort, you are effectively turning your personal issues loose on the Australian people. Australia does not deserve that.

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