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Liberals launch campaign with a brutally simple message

Ian Bushnell 29 April 2019 115

ACT Liberal candidates Robert Gunning, Mina Zaki, Zed Seselja, Leanne Castley and Ed Cocks. Photos: Ian Bushnell.

MC Mark Parton called the Canberra Liberals the streetfighters of this election, and the leader of the gang Senator Zed Seselja was quick to agree when rallying the party faithful at the official campaign launch at Ainslie Football Club on Sunday afternoon (28 April).

It’s not a bad analogy because the Liberals are out to mug Labor by reducing the campaign to some simple well-directed hits.

No need for nuance here – it’s all about the strong economy, lower taxes, reward for effort and keeping the borders secure.

And without too many real policy initiatives of their own beyond funding announcements, the Liberals are rightly focusing on Labor’s, and by following the tried and tested carbon tax formula, those policies are now all called taxes.

The proposed reform of negative gearing is a housing tax, the franking credits changes are a retirees tax, the emissions reduction policy is a climate tax on business  – in fact, Labor is taxing you to death according to the Liberal campaign truck parked outside.

“Here in Canberra we are streetfighters, we fight for every vote, that’s what our candidates have been doing, so many of you have been doing, going to the doors, going to the shopping centres and making the case about what we’ve been able to achieve together, what we still can achieve, and about the massive risk Labor and Bill Shorten present to our economy – we can’t afford them,” Senator Seselja told the sea of blue-clad true believers.

And that is the key message – “Don’t risk it”.

MLA Parton talked up the Liberals’ ground game and disparaged Labor’s, as the other candidates – Robert Gunning (Senate), Ed Cocks (Bean), Mina Zaki (Canberra), and Leanne Castley (Fenner) – talked about their mostly positive experiences and the characters they had met on the campaign trail – the retiree, small businessman and the jilted Labor supporter.

They were all on message, and Senator Seselja, when talking of the Coalition’s achievements, wasn’t about to mention three Prime Ministers in six years, or his role in bringing down Malcolm Turnbull, or the energy and climate wars that have wracked the Government. Nor how the Coalition’s lower taxes will be paid for without cutting programs, or why wages are stagnant.

“We’ve created 1.2 million jobs, stopped the deaths at sea, balanced the budget, paying down Labor’s debt, all the while investing in the services and infrastructure that Australia expects while cutting taxes,” he said.

Senator Zed Seselja makes a point with MC Mark Parton next to him.

In the ACT, he claimed credit for the 3.5 per cent jobless rate, said the Coalition had doubled hospital funding, made huge investments in the national institutions (well, the War Memorial at least), and delivered on road funding – all of which Labor would dispute, particularly on a day it announced that it would duplicate the Barton Highway, trumping the Coalition by $100 million.

The Senator said he could help out Bill Shorten, who appeared to struggle with questions on the campaign trail recently. Although, none of the candidates were taking questions themselves on Sunday.

The ‘housing tax’ would whack renters $56 a week here in Canberra; homeowners would lose $65,000 on the value of their homes; the ‘retirees tax’ would hit almost a million Australians, on average more than $2000 per person; and there would be $34 billion in extra superannuation taxes, he said.

Whether those numbers are accurate or relevant who knows, but they and the overall $200 billion tax hit the Coalition is warning of aren’t really the point.

It’s all designed rather brutally, with ironically more than an echo of Paul Keating, to convert what Labor hopes are positive policies, including its climate action, into negative ones that are going to potentially leave voters out of pocket and damage the economy.

Then there are the boats – they’ll be back and people will be again dying at sea.

Saying Labor is coming for you and it will be open slather at our borders may be the politics of fear but when you are in a street fight, you use any weapon at hand.

It may not change the result here in the ACT though, beyond bolstering the Liberal base and firming up Senator Seselja’s position. The odds are it will still be three Labor seats plus a senator each.

But as the polls narrow nationally, hang on for a wild ride as a desperate Coalition goes negative. The blueprint at a local level was laid out on Sunday.


What's Your Opinion?


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115 Responses to Liberals launch campaign with a brutally simple message
Rick Reeks Rick Reeks 12:22 pm 04 May 19

Both locally and Federally Labor seems to have forgotten that it is our money they spend not "the Governments". And when you look at it most is wasted!

Chris Rogers Chris Rogers 8:58 am 01 May 19

The Liberals have done nothing but bash the ACT. Why should we vote for them to get another four years of the same. We want someone to stand up for us!

    Mike Rogerson Mike Rogerson 10:24 am 03 May 19

    Labor/Greens sure do not. After 20 years it is time to put them out to pasture next year.

Wing Nut Wing Nut 7:58 pm 30 Apr 19

How can you compare Zed and Libs to Keating? Keating was articulate, engaging and whitty being able to deliver a considered argument. Zed & co on the other hand come across as nothing more than a bunch of desperate snake oil salesmen selling false hope to unsuspecting voters.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:18 am 01 May 19

    Is that the same Keating who gave us the recession we had to have along with massive interest rates?

    JC JC 5:48 pm 03 May 19

    He of course was right.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:30 pm 30 Apr 19

“The greedy rich people want it all.”

Like Peter Marshall, boss of the United Firefighters Union who revealed an annual salary of over $400K recently?

    Wing Nut Wing Nut 8:00 pm 30 Apr 19

    Looks like the union is getting better value for money than what the Australian public get’s for Morrison.

Ann Lean Ann Lean 12:32 pm 30 Apr 19

Should that read “simplistic” - a ‘campaign’ led by simpletons if that is all they have got to offer when Australia faces so many complex issues going into the future!

    Betty Simpson Betty Simpson 6:05 pm 30 Apr 19

    Ann Lean Oh Ann, what's the answer? 😢

    Ann Lean Ann Lean 3:48 pm 01 May 19

    Betty Simpson not sure Betty🤔 but I think some policy options would be an honest attempt to address issues the community is concerned about.

    “We can’t afford Labor” is not a policy.

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 12:10 pm 30 Apr 19

The average worker can't afford any more of your trickle down garbage. Cut taxes for the rich by cutting services for the poor. Stealing wages, Medicare freeze, corrupt water deals drying up rivers, no thanks!

Harry Sotiropoulos Harry Sotiropoulos 9:28 am 30 Apr 19

Morrison got owned last night, all he did was cut Shorten off and show us how pathetic he really is.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:23 am 30 Apr 19

“……What we can’t afford is SloMo and his ilk thinking that we approve of their moral- and intellect-free shenanigans….”

Your Bull Shitten me, right?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:20 am 30 Apr 19

“I’m sorry, but what has Zed really done for the community?”

Actually, he has done a lot more than his Labor counterparts Katy Gallagher and David Smith. Go to his website and check.

Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 8:05 am 30 Apr 19

Don’t care about your political flavour - our rates are ridiculous!

    Mark Parton Mark Parton 10:08 am 03 May 19

    Jim Hosie Ain’t that the truth. It’s really biting now.

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 12:28 am 30 Apr 19

Look, I was only a girl, but I remember the extremely expensive stuff ups if the last liberal government. So. Stones. Glasshouses. Grass from Queensland anyone?

Shawn McIntyre Shawn McIntyre 11:38 pm 29 Apr 19

Nice to see a couple of women folk there to make the tea and iron the men’s shirts. How any self respecting woman could vote for, let alone join this privileged boy’s club defies logic.

    Annie Mills Annie Mills 6:53 am 30 Apr 19

    Shawn McIntyre there are a lot of people who vote against their own interests, it baffles me!

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 11:26 pm 29 Apr 19

Bugger off. We can't afford Zed and his desertion of the APS and abstaining from the marriage equality vote.

Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 11:00 pm 29 Apr 19

We cant afford Labor to fail at this election or we will be stuck with Mobster Inc ...rorters and economic -environmental vandals. ZED has voted down penalty rates impacting thousands of Canberreans who can least afford it ...no increase to pensions or newstart and allowed Corps to escape tax and voted against Royal Commisson on Banks ...just another suck up to the big end of town.

Scheherazade Roberts Scheherazade Roberts 10:41 pm 29 Apr 19

Fear tactics and a questionable record on economic management (oh and tax cuts for the wealthy) are all the coalition has to offer. Scomo is doing his best to sell it but I think/hope voters will see through that.

Richard Flook Richard Flook 10:22 pm 29 Apr 19

I really dislike political campaigns based on “I’m not as bad as the other person”. They have no merit or substance and are an insult to the electorate.

Maria Greene Maria Greene 10:13 pm 29 Apr 19

We can't afford ACT Labor - no one can. As for Andrew Leigh pushing the light rail, it's enough for dyed in the wool Labor voters to vote Liberal

    Daniel Königs Daniel Königs 10:15 pm 29 Apr 19

    Maria Greene you realise Zed is a federal senator and this has absolutely nothing to do with the light rail? He did however support moving jobs from Canberra by relocating departments.

    Maria Greene Maria Greene 8:35 pm 03 May 19

    Daniel Königs I don't like Zed at all and would never vote for him but I am sick of paying for Andrew Barr's thought bubbles. Andrew Leigh should not encourage him because it makes ppl hate the Labor party

Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 9:54 pm 29 Apr 19

I'm sorry, but what has Zed really done for the community?

Amanda Sue Rochford Amanda Sue Rochford 9:25 pm 29 Apr 19

The greedy rich people want it all.

    Chris Hill Chris Hill 10:30 pm 29 Apr 19

    Amanda Sue Rochford : and unfortunately nearly getting it all.

Babs Mabbs Babs Mabbs 9:05 pm 29 Apr 19

We can’t afford the Climate Inaction more

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