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.
Canberrans voted for marriage equality. We support a woman's right to choose. We know that climate change is real. And we believe every person should be able to die with dignity.These are all things that matter to Canberrans. But they don't matter to the Liberals.Tonight, we're launching this video to remind Canberrans where the Liberal's values really lie. But we need your help to keep it on TV and in people's social media. They would unwind decades of nation-leading reforms that have made Canberra the most progressive jurisdiction in Australia.We need to raise $10,000 in the next 4 days to ensure Canberrans see it before they go to the polls when early voting opens in just 11 days time!Can you help us? Donate towards funding this ad with the link below.https://www.actlabor.org.au/keep-cbr-progressive
Posted by ACT Labor on Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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.