27 September 2020

Cringe-worthy Labor ad paints Libs as un-Canberran

| Ian Bushnell
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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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A Nonny Mouse10:33 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?

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.

russianafroman11:16 pm 29 Sep 20

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

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.

HiddenDragon7:47 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.

Capital Retro6:54 am 30 Sep 20

Gilead? Poldark?

Who are these people?

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

Love it. Too funny and too true.

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

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.

russianafroman11:04 pm 29 Sep 20

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

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.

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.

russianafroman11:08 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.

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 Canberra12:55 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?

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?

russianafroman11:15 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.

Capital Retro11:44 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”.

Appealing to a person’s sense of moral narcisissim is a tried and tested tactic of the Greens; Labor should leave that sort of nonsense to them and not try to emulate it.

Narcissism, sorry.

Oh dear, the advertising people with the ponytails and the Porsche have let Labor down on this one. It reminds me of the NSW Labor ad in 1988 which depicted Liberal leader Nick Greiner as an octopus. It seemed like a good idea when the storyboards were being drawn up but when the finished item is on the screen? Sorry guys, no cigar.

It ain’t a good political ad John unless it terribly produced and utterly cringeworthy lol.

Canberra really needs a change.

If we vote along standard lines, Labor and Liberal will almost certainly win 10 seats each, with each electorate returning two Labor and two Liberal politicians. That means the final seat in each electorate will decide the election.

This isn’t really representative. It’s essentially a duopoly and it’s corrosive to our democratic process, increasing hyper-partisanship that creates a race to the bottom – with us being the losers.

So, what to do?

In my opinion, the answer is more diversity of representation and voices in the democratic process and the ACT Legislative Assembly.

There are several great minor parties and quality Independents and if you like the idea of introducing more diversity and debate through having quality minor parties and independents in the ACT Legislative Assembly – giving your FIRST preference to a quality minor party or independent is the way to do it.

Who are the “quality” minor parties and independents? Well, of course, that depends on you, but for me they should provide a strong voice on the issues that matter to us and align with our values. There are several great choices which you check out for yourself on this page: https://www.elections.act.gov.au/elections_and_voting/2020_legislative_assembly_election/list-of-candidates

Mike of Canberra1:15 pm 28 Sep 20

Chris, perhaps you haven’t been around long enough to remember the early days of ACT self-government. Our first couple of Legislative Assemblies were a shambles, with the biggest single party being Labor, then the Libs and then a hodge-podge of independents with “diverse” views to say the least. In those days, the Assembly was no less political but also completely unworkable. This led to the first, minority Labor government falling on the basis of an Assembly vote and being replaced by an unloved “coalition” government. Having looked at the opinions and attitudes of the so-called Canberra “Progressives” as expressed in these comments, I don’t see the inclusion of them or most of the other so-called independents in our new Assembly as a step forward from those days. We either should elect the Libs or re-elect Barr. In either case, it should be a majority government – simple as that.

The ad states “Canberra is diverse”. Yes we are, with diverse opinions also.

The left as usual are really saying;
We’ll respect diversity…so long as you agree with our opinion..

Well said , left normally cancel you if you don’t agree with their views .

You have to have rocks in your head to vote barr in again . 20 years of a poorly run goverment

It’s a silly “we’ll be rooooned” ad, and although “they all do it” is hardly a justification, we shouldn’t be surprised because, frankly, they all do it.

What we need is some kind of independent fact-checking body that officially vets any election ads before they can be posted or broadcast. Any untruthful, exaggerated or even just overblown claims (especially about other parties) and the ad does not receive approval. Since none of them can be trusted to be even vaguely truthful they can hardly complain if that trust is forced upon them.

Stephen Saunders8:55 am 28 Sep 20

Beautifully said, Ian. One reason the Albanese-Chalmers ticket is unelectable. They pretend they’re morally elevated, and thus send forth their little homilies. Foolish of Barr to step into that kind of “thinking”. He’d do better to reread the ageless thought of Machiavelli.

Capital Retro8:24 am 28 Sep 20

The ad is just like stuff one sees on ABC TV all the time and most Canberrans are inured to it.

I do like how you obviously watch political ads on ABC Tv Capital Retro, when there is still no advertising on ABC TV (beyond for its individual programs)…..

Capital Retro10:11 am 28 Sep 20

I said “stuff one sees” (same sex themes, climate change etc.) and obviously you don’t watch ABC TV because there are Canberra Election political promos being shown now.

They are promos about the election coverage, not campaign ads from the parties…

You truly talk some tripe sometimes.

Capital Retro5:45 pm 28 Sep 20

And I eat tripe too! Delicious.

Capital Retro9:23 pm 28 Sep 20

I think you owe me an apology JS9. On ABC TV 2 tonight, between the end of The Drum and the start of the 7.00pm Canberra News there was an election advertisement featuring Andrew Barr. There was authorisation by the Labor Party at the end of advertisement and lets be clear that just because nothing may have been paid for the airing of the advertisement doesn’t mean anything. This advertisement was similar to other political ones seen last week. Clearly, you don’t watch ABC TV.

I am sure 99% of contributors to this thread would be avid ABC TV viewers so perhaps they can confirm what I say.

Capital Retro9:46 pm 29 Sep 20

Alistair Coe was on tonight for the Canberra Liberals at the same time, JS9.

russianafroman11:16 pm 29 Sep 20

JS9 Let’s not ignore the egregious bias of the ABC.

Capital Retro1:34 pm 30 Sep 20

Does that mean you saw the ads too, russianafroman?

russianafroman5:25 pm 30 Sep 20

Capital Retro I don’t watch or listen to the ABC. But it wouldn’t surprise me.

Yes, it’s a ridiculous ad, that will likely do them more harm than good.

Although it also probably provides a window into the growing arrogance that has defined a number of decisions made by the ACT government in recent years.

The ACT is crying out for a shake up, but the Libs still haven’t shown that they’re capable of any sort of decent and evidence based policy direction.

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