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Today’s long-awaited review into Labor’s election panned Bill Shorten. However, Albanese is far more confused and divisive than his predecessor.
Ever since the other shoe fell on Bill Shorten, Craig Emerson and Jay Wetherall have endeavoured to find out why the ‘unlosable’ election was lost.
Today, they published their findings. According to the verbiage of The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy, “Labor lost the federal election in May 2019 because of three overriding reasons, according to the party’s official campaign postmortem: weak strategy, poor adaptability and an unpopular leader.”
Murphy later referenced the findings of the review, noting that polices “appear to have been decided by a combination of the leader and his office, a shadow expenditure review committee and an augmented leadership group” – and there was no overarching strategy to inform the messaging…unsurprisingly, the Labor campaign lacked focus, wandering from topic to topic without a clear purpose.”
In the simplest of definitions, they lost because they didn’t win. But this is a new Labor, one with new leadership, with a clearer, more thought-out message, right?
Well, allow me to direct you to two brainchildren of Albanese’s making. On November 4, he tweeted in response to Scott Morrison’s unexpected crackdown on grassroots activism, defending our right to protest, and our right to be heard.
We’re living in a democracy, here.
People have a right to speak up.
People have a right to be heard.
People have a right to disagree.
And any so-called Liberal trying to change that isn’t a leader – he’s dangerous. pic.twitter.com/fEtRAYfudN
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) November 3, 2019
This came as his representatives in Labor-held Queensland had already moved to make sure those who protest on behalf of the environment are sent to jail, directly to jail.
The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) said that the proposed laws, “infringe Queenslanders’ right to freedom of expression, association and assembly”. HRLC lawyer Alice Drury said the following to the ABC, believing that the legislation is a step too far: “Devices such as sleeping dragons, monopoles and tripods are commonly used in peaceful protest across Australia — our criminal laws already adequately cover their use when they cause major disruption.”
Exhibit B was the announcement of Albanese’s transformative energy plan, one that vaguely promises renewables, but absolutely maintains reliance on fossil fuels. A plan panned for a lack of a stance, or as the University of Melbourne’s put it, “Albanese tried to walk both sides of the highway by wandering down the middle.”
Ostensibly it’s a quiet alliance to the maligned “Big Stick Energy” of the Coalition. Despite the calls of a climate emergency, Albanese has allied himself to vagueness, or as Christoff wrote, “Labor fools no-one by supporting both a clean energy revolution and a business-as-usual future for fossil fuels. It’s akin to the party’s evasive and self-harming position on Adani, which left workers in regional Queensland feeling patronised, dispensable, anxious, hostile and disaffected — and the growing majority of Australians who are deeply concerned about climate change, furious.”
Christoff also noted that “Australia is among the world’s largest fossil fuel exporters. These exported fossil fuels are responsible for an estimated 3.6% of the global emissions total. If we add these emissions – for which we are morally responsible and from which we benefit financially – to our domestic pollutant load, this places Australia among the planet’s worst emitters.
While bickering about domestic emissions targets, neither Labor nor the Coalition have tackled Australia’s parallel carbon economy – our growing exported contribution to global warming. It’s a big, dirty, lucrative, open secret. It involves jobs in marginal seats. It can determine the fate of governments.
And so Albanese’s vision statement, while extolling the virtues of a hydrogen export sector, also pumps up our fossil fuel trade. He nods at jobs from liquified natural gas exports from northern Australia, and at how traditional industries might benefit from a low-carbon future, such as by providing metallurgical coal to produce wind turbines.”
Yes, they were confused, complacent and perhaps lazy, but at least they stood for something.
The current iteration of Labor is your partner asking you what you want for dinner when you’ve asked them what they’ve organised.
Perhaps it is as Alan Jones gleefully said on election night, in that Labor will suffer another three years of confusion before emerging anew.