Cringe-worthy Labor ad paints Libs as un-Canberran

Ian Bushnell 27 September 2020 106
Rainbow roundabout

No love lost in Labor’s rainbow attack ad. Photo: File.

ACT Labor likes to take the high moral ground but its latest TV ad for the coming election will leave many people feeling a little uneasy.

After a year where we have been told we’re all in this together, and now participating in what Chief Minister Andrew Barr loves to call our festival of democracy, Labor has rolled out an attack ad clad in velvet that paints the entire Liberal Party as being out of touch with the overwhelmingly progressive values of the ACT.

It’s smug, divisive politics that pits Canberran against Canberran and obliquely portrays the Liberals as homophobic, anti-abortion and climate change deniers.

In Labor’s paradise lost, the Liberals if elected will annul your same-sex marriage, remove a woman’s right to choose and open a coal mine or fracking well in Glebe Park.

The soothing voiceover doesn’t say this outright but makes it pretty clear that the Liberals aren’t like us – the socially aware, tolerant, Labor-voting majority that makes the ACT such a lovely place to live.

”What matters to us, doesn’t matter to them,” we are told.

The Canberra Liberals team is a pretty conservative lot. Leader Alistair Coe didn’t support marriage equality, some probably have reservations about abortion, and they haven’t been as clear on global warming as one would like, but to suggest the party is a bunch of science-denying bigots while your own mob and the rest of Canberra adheres to some uniform set of rainbow values is a bit of a stretch.

It’s not just wrong, it’s not in the spirit of democracy. And unnecessary.

The Liberals are a broader church than its MLAs, who themselves would differ across social policy areas. Mr Coe is not concerned about revisiting an issue that the Australian people well and truly settled. There is no threat to women’s health choices. And Mr Coe has committed to the ACT’s climate goals.

Call out certain Liberals’ past positions, policy shortcomings and discriminatory beliefs but don’t suggest that the Liberal Party doesn’t deserve to be part of the ACT’s political fabric.

Or that some of us across the political divide don’t anguish about some complex issues or have a multiplicity of viewpoints about something as contentious as assisted dying.

Last election the Liberals polled a primary vote of 36.7 per cent, not that far behind Labor on 38.4 per cent. Throw in most of the Greens’ 10 per cent and it is a sizable majority but not enough to start labelling the Liberals and supporters un-Canberran.

Labor has so far run a finely tuned campaign. Mr Barr is a relaxed and comfortable leader seemingly at peace with himself and the media he once said he hated.

The Liberals have been forced to throw the kitchen sink at voters and have failed to say how they will pay for all their promises.

The media is applying the blow torch, and Mr Coe is looking less sure of himself and having to shift position on a number of issues.

There is no need for Labor to go down this road, and whoever devised the ad has made an error of judgment. It could backfire and actually cost them votes.

It will make most Labor and even Greens voters squirm in their seats, and Liberal voters will be justifiably furious.

This is a provincial version of being called un-Australian and should be rejected just as much.

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106 Responses to Cringe-worthy Labor ad paints Libs as un-Canberran
A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 10:33 pm 04 Oct 20

“… but to suggest the party is a bunch of science-denying bigots …” While the ACT Libs don’t very clearly and loudly distinguish themselves from federal libs such as Craig Kelly, Erica Betz, our Zed, Angus Taylor and many others who are doing all they can to hold back the tide of climate action and progressive social matters, it does not seem unreasonable to be very suspicious. Canberrans are well aware of what the federal LNP have done to undermine, defer and delay action on climate change over the past wasted decade. In the absence of very clear evidence to the contrary, why should I have any confidence that the local Libs are any different?

azel azel 9:18 pm 03 Oct 20

The current ACT goverment has been in for 20years , they not doing a good job , we massively in debt and cost are spiraling out of control . Look at the cost of rates and living expenses . The government know it doent have to perform, because many pubic servant will just vote them back in . Its time for some fresh blood and new ideas.

russianafroman russianafroman 11:16 pm 29 Sep 20

Very good article Ian. A step up from some of your previous work.

catder catder 1:12 pm 29 Sep 20

Bethany Williams your post exposes you as a hypocrite that knows nothing.

We know there are members of the Libs who are conservative but there are also moderates. I’m sure (like there are different sides and priorities in the Labor party) these moderates are working to try and change the party to be representative of all views rather than a small minority.

In the current sitting group, as well as Elizabeth Lee you have Mark Parton, Jeremy Hanson and Nicole Lawder. To lump Guilia Jones who is perhaps the most conservative MLA shows your ignorance.

I hope the Canberra Progressives who have endorsed you for the election aren’t lumped in with you and your opinions the same way you are lumping candidates from different backgrounds.

Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 8:53 pm 28 Sep 20

This is great satire ... putting words in ALP s advert BUT then agreeing they would be a true reflection of the LP ... weirdly satirical ...So folks there we have it ... LP are religious zedlots ... homophobes hypocrites climate and science deniers ... wow as if we couldnt figure that out!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:47 pm 28 Sep 20

“Canberrans voted for marriage equality. “

The (almost) three to one vote in favour, by ACT participants in the 2017 postal survey, is a powerful reminder that the dark fantasy of Gilead on the Molonglo under an ACT Liberal government is just that – a fantasy.

The Liberals would be well aware that if they manage to scrape in, it will be with the votes of many Canberrans whose support for them is equivocal, and that support would evaporate quickly if an ACT Liberal government went rogue on social issues – a sure fire way of losing the 2024 election.

The mastermind who came up with the image of Alistair Coe in a Poldark-style outfit deserves special mention – that will do no harm at all to his DILF rating.

paulmuster paulmuster 7:08 pm 28 Sep 20

Nowhere near as cringe worthy as a liberal slogan. After this election, I’m sure the ad makers in Coe’s office can get straight back to their old jobs of preparing carpet warehouse closing down sale ads

Ghanaian Aussies Ghanaian Aussies 4:42 pm 28 Sep 20

That is hypocrisy in the highest degree. If we are talking about inclusiveness and progressive as Canberrans, does that excludes people who hold different opinion although they respect yours???

    Tom Munro Tom Munro 7:36 pm 28 Sep 20

    Ghanaian Aussies Not at all. It refers to a party who actively try to decide other people’s rights. Your right to an opinion goes as far as to when it impacts others’ lives.

    Against same-sex marriage? Don’t marry someone of the same sex. Against abortion? Don’t get an abortion. Their “opinions” should end there instead of trying to legislate away others’ rights.

    Ghanaian Aussies Ghanaian Aussies 4:35 pm 29 Sep 20

    Tom Munro Bullying someone who identifies differently to them is what I am talking about. This is not a fair go for all. So if your views don't align with Labor views then you are not Canberran, is that the case? Do we call this progressive and inclusive??? I respect your views and your beliefs; likewise, I expect the same.

Acton Acton 4:38 pm 28 Sep 20

Thought for the day: Politicians and nappies should be changed regularly for the same reason. 19 years is a long time between changes.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:02 pm 28 Sep 20

    You do realise that of the 25 current MLA’s only 10 of them have been elected for more than one term right?

    5 Liberals,
    4 Labor and
    1 Green.

    Not sure who you’re aiming your comment at.

    russianafroman russianafroman 11:04 pm 29 Sep 20

    Chewy14 That’s an ineffective work-around. It’s still the same party.

Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 2:46 pm 28 Sep 20

‘we’ is as inclusive as we can make it.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 2:30 pm 28 Sep 20

I would have thought it was pretty un-canberran to take away people’s public transport, sell off public housing land to private developers, close public schools and not properly fund public hospitals.

Canberra Libs may have too many conservatives in their ranks and certainly don’t connect and speak with voters such as myself. BUT ACT Labor is solely focused on winning seats in their targeted electorates and stuff people or areas who don’t align with Labor Powerbrokers lust for political control.

Stephen Grbavac Stephen Grbavac 1:59 pm 28 Sep 20

Couldn't agree more

Kylie Robinson Kylie Robinson 1:47 pm 28 Sep 20

None of the candidates are talking about improving mental health services for youth in the ACT! No one

    Kylie Robinson Kylie Robinson 2:23 pm 28 Sep 20

    Ben Murphy Thankyou. I look forward to reading

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 6:50 pm 28 Sep 20

    Kylie Robinson You can also read the 'More Buses, More Often' policy from ACT Labor and consider whether their commitments ever meet reality. Mental Health is important at all times, not just election time. I hope all the parties understand that mental health needs more than buzzwords and empty promises.

    Kylie Robinson Kylie Robinson 7:37 pm 28 Sep 20

    Jeff Smith it is listed on the fourth page of their election commitments so am thinking not too high on the priority list but they are the only ones that have addressed youth mental health. The Greens are committing to drugs, alcohol and mental health but from what I read, if you don't suffer from issues from drugs and alcohol, it will still be hard to get help. Canberra is suffering from a shortage of psychologists and have been for the last few years. Our youth want face to face not Telehealth or internet based solutions. Feeling disappointed really.

    David Pollard - Independent for Yerrabi 2020 David Pollard - Independent for Yerrabi 2020 2:22 am 29 Sep 20

    Kylie Robinson I’m concerned with mental health support for young people, particularly - but not only - through schools.

    I don’t post links on someone else’s page, but my mental health policy is linked from my homepage.

    Check out the minor parties and independents in your electorate. Some of us might resonate well with you.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 12:23 pm 29 Sep 20

    Kylie Robinson I notice the Labor Party policy paper that was previously promoted in this thread and attached to your comment has been removed from this page. I also notice other ACT Labor promotional policy papers regarding 'more buses, more often' have also been removed from the internet. This all goes back to my original point that words are cheap, proven actions and effective outcomes are what really count. That goes for all political parties.

    Jose Black Jose Black 10:37 pm 29 Sep 20

    The ACT Greens have a major policy on supporting the community sector (including youth and mental health services) and giving them a louder voice in decision making, more funding and funding certainty, etc. Shane Rattenbury spoke about it at length during the ACTCOSS leaders debate which is on YouTube somewhere.

chewy14 chewy14 1:33 pm 28 Sep 20

You do have to laugh at the people thinking the author of this piece is right wing or supports the Liberal party.

They clearly don’t read much of the Riotact or the author’s previous articles.

    russianafroman russianafroman 11:08 pm 29 Sep 20

    People assume being centrist now makes you right wing. Even giving the tiniest credence to the “bad party” will get your tarred and feathered by some of them.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:39 pm 30 Sep 20

    I go from being called a right wing nut job to a Socialist Comrade in the space of a few stories these days.

    Apparently those are the only two alternatives.

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 12:55 pm 28 Sep 20

So Canberrans, apparently unconcerned about how expensive a place Canberra has become, are preparing to re-elect the perpetrator of this situation while dumping those who are proposing a more affordable alternative. All in the name of being “progressive”. Perhaps we should look towards the culmination of Barr’s current tax strategy in 2032. By that time, Canberra will have careered much further down the path of unaffordability. We could expect to see large numbers of middle-class people abandoning the place, leaving Canberra’s population comprised largely of the very rich and welfare-dependent poor. The former will be able to afford the cost of living and will quite like the undoubted amenity living in Canberra brings. The very poor will continue to live in heavily subsidised public housing although they too will struggle with the cost of living (but of course they will get support from Canberra’s very wealthy charities). Everyone else will be gone. How diverse will that make Canberra? And Barr calls that progressive. What a joke!

Oh, and to those who decry the alleged influence of religion on the Liberals, do you not understand that a key underpinning of the values of enlightened western society is the Judeo-Christian ethic? And do you decry all religions, i.e. Islam, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist? Remember, being a devout Christian didn’t hold back Barack Obama and his progressive administration. So do you find him, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden saying “God bless you and God bless the United States of America” after every public appearance offensive too?

    chewy14 chewy14 4:12 pm 28 Sep 20

    Why do you think the cost of living will increase to those levels?

    The current tax reform policy is to swap stamp duties for land taxes. The net result to government coffers if fully implemented properly should be zero.

    If you want to deride the government for spending too much, go at it. But it has almost zero to do with higher rates, land taxes or the tax reform.

    What you’re actually finding is that long term residents who are used to paying almost nothing are now unhappy that they’re being asked to pay for the significant amenity they’re receiving from living on expensive land.

    Apparently they thought it was fine as long as someone else is paying?

    russianafroman russianafroman 11:15 pm 29 Sep 20

    Well said. It’s a common move by the left especially the more radical sects of the left to try to diminish the middle class. The middle class was a product of the right, but it seems the left wants to make the middle class poor while begrudgingly retaining an upper class. It seems even being Christian today makes you a “right winger” or a “homophobe”, “xenophobe”, or “insert new-age post-modernist leftist insult here”. It seems as though going to church might have you tarred and feathered. But again the left hates the idea of individualism, this extending to you being able to choose your own religion and your individual political views.

Christopher Stuart Veilands Christopher Stuart Veilands 12:16 pm 28 Sep 20

How about we have a look at the record of Labor, in particular on rates. Exactly how much have they increased, despite Barr saying they didnt. And calling it a 'scare campaign'. Wasnt a scare campaign, more a campaign of lies from Liebor

    Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 9:07 pm 28 Sep 20

    Christopher Stuart Veilands compared to other authorities ... shires etc ... ok.

Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 12:11 pm 28 Sep 20

well I am sorry but I think Liberal party may be a tad out of touch...I refer you back to a certain individuals comment about the pandemic being over and another's about school lunches.

Steve Herczeg Steve Herczeg 11:57 am 28 Sep 20

Labor must be scared. It's only when they are scared that they pay for such divisive attack ads. The one with Coe's totally out of context and not completed "the pandemic is over" quote is another one.

Then again, neither party is showing enough difference to even prove themselves worthy of consideration. This being Canberra, Labor will win minority government with Greens making up the numbers. Nothing will change, the trough will be filled and the pigs will feed.

    Brenton Higgins Brenton Higgins 12:08 pm 28 Sep 20

    Divisive attack ad? By talking about success like marriage equality? A fair and equitable Canberra?

    Gees cobber if you think that’s divisive, it says more about you...

    Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 2:37 pm 28 Sep 20

    Steve Herczeg it’ll change if you elect Canberra Progressives to the cross bench to take the trough away from the snouts!

    Steve Herczeg Steve Herczeg 2:40 pm 28 Sep 20

    Really? With a name like "Progressives?" Isn't that just another mob that will continue to raise rates to fund even more distributive schemes and push a wedge in further to divide the community? Building further resentment from those who receive higher rates bills every quarter and see nothing in return?

    Charny Barney Charny Barney 3:58 pm 28 Sep 20

    Alistair is loose with his language, and with what he really plans to do. He clearly has ultra conservative positions that unless he tries to conceal will alienate the majority of Canberra voters. The ad is spot on.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:44 am 28 Sep 20

“calling a spade a spade”

That’s a very offensive word to some people. Better to say “call a shovel a shovel”.

Julian Hamstead Julian Hamstead 11:43 am 28 Sep 20

Instead of bullying someone who identifies differently to them. Surely Labor should be advertising what they've done for the last 20 years for Canberra & how they plan to grow Canberra. While trying to show how the other sides proposals would send Canberra backwards (with proof).

Or are the ACT Elections just like a primary school yard. Where one side has cooties & Andrew pulled Alistair's hair?

    Yuri Shukost Yuri Shukost 11:55 am 28 Sep 20

    Urban in-fill with ugly apartment buildings, allegedly dodgy land swap deal with Dickson Tradies, Barr giving the finger to older residents. Yeah, that and more are a lot to hang their hat on.

    Julian Hamstead Julian Hamstead 11:59 am 28 Sep 20

    These are things that the Liberals need to point out, especially aiming for the older suburbs where the elderly live.

    Then aim for housing commission areas in newer suburbs. How Labour pushed this on you (the resident).

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