Despite having the easiest job in the country, Anthony ‘Albo’ Albanese’s brand of nice guy opposition hasn’t cut through, and I think I know why.

 

 

Despite demonstrable evidence that our current Prime Minister is a callous, indifferent clown, a religious zealot with questionable friendships, someone who barely shows up to work and is overseeing a government of staggering levels of grift, corruption, criminality and god only knows what else, he still seems to be the preferred PM among the great Australian public. Why is this? Probably because after serving up a hot cup of blah with teeth that was promptly rejected by the voters, the ALP have decided to go all-in on Anthony ‘Albo’ Albanese.

Now, ‘Albo’ as we’re supposed to believe he goes by, is from what I can tell, a genuinely nice fella. He apparently was a bit upset when he decided to back Kevin Rudd in the former PM’s first (failed) attempt at reclaiming the throne. Everyone seemed OK with Albo’s erring to the Rudd side of the Gillard-Rudd battle. A top bloke that Albo was. 

Now, some countless years into 2020, and the prime minister (Scott Morrison), who doesn’t seem to mind that one of his cabinet has been found to be engaging in criminality, who just happens to be at the helm as tens of millions of dollars are being handed over in small bills to a church chum of his for reasons which apparently a federal ICAC have no business looking in to, is still the preferred PM. And that’s fine, really. The voters, per the axiom, never get it wrong.

And while I’d not go so far as to say that I’d prefer Scott Morrison to be the prime minister over, say, a wet sack of woodchips, I can sort of, kind of understand how opposition leader Anthony Albanese hasn’t really cut through with the Australian people. 

 

And while I’d not go so far as to say that I’d prefer Scott Morrison to be the prime minister over, say, a wet sack of woodchips, I can sort of, kind of understand how opposition leader Anthony Albanese hasn’t really cut through with the Australian people. 

 

Should we turn our attention back to the early part of the last decade, and everyone knew who the opposition leader was. He was an attack dog. A consistent polar opposite to all and every notion, motion and idea that either Rudd or Gillard put forward. He never relented. He went for the jugular. 

And, if memory serves, he ended up as prime minister for a spell, until his own party realised that he wasn’t so much in control of the government’s will and direction as he was essentially the face and voice of a disturbing ventriloquist act being conducted by someone who now has their own show on Sky News. As much of a laughing stock as it turned out to be, it was the result of – and a pale comparison to – his effect as an opposition leader.

It seems the public likes, wants and needs an attack dog when it comes to opposition in federal politics, and for all the allusions one could draw to Mr Albanese, ‘rottweiler’ isn’t one of them. Take for example his either wilful inaction and/or unwillingness to call out Morrison for any number of the actual literal crimes that have been committed by members of his cabinet, or for the seemingly absent resignation of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

For all the spin that’s been applied here (and I’m dizzy from it, there’s been so much of it), we’d believe that all Gladys, poor Gladys was is a victim of having a dud boyfriend, who she kept secret for five years, who she fired a couple of years ago, who is about as corrupt as anyone in NSW politics has seen since the Rum Corps. Gladys, who we are meant to believe simply did not know that her secret bit o’ crumpet was nothing more than a sympathetic ear to turn to and get tummy rubs from at the end of a hard day’s plaque unveiling in NSW. 

I mean, c’mon. It’s wall-to-wall horseshit from start to finish, and if you believe she simply didn’t know that Darryl Maguire did everything short of sub-let the Opera House as a shonky timeshare arrangement, then bless your cotton socks, it must be nice to live in a state of Forrest Gump-level ignorance as bliss. 

 

It’s wall-to-wall horseshit from start to finish, and if you believe she simply didn’t know that Darryl Maguire did everything short of sub-let the Opera House as a shonky timeshare arrangement, then bless your cotton socks, it must be nice to live in a state of Forrest Gump-level ignorance as bliss.

 

But there’s Albo on the tele giving her the benefit of the doubt. Which, if you’re one for elegant decorum and raising the bar to a higher standard, he’s definitely winning. He’s not winning the next election, but at least he’s on the right side of the moral argument.

I might assume Albanese is playing the long game, and I’d like to simultaneously think that I have enough insight to strategy and political mindsets that I could read the play as it was happening. But the fact is that he has, thus far been an empty vessel. The media (some sections of it, at least) have been the actual, tangible opposition to all of these shenanigans, at least at a federal level. 

Dan Andrews has, for the last 100+ days showed us what a Labor leader can be. That’s your aspirational figure, right there. No matter what mud’s being slung, from the Murdoch press, the foetid Victorian opposition or the loathsome federal treasurer, he’s stuck with it, done what was necessary for the greater good, which also ran a risk of being profoundly unpopular. But he did it. The strategy’s worked, and history will (hopefully) look upon him, as a leader, kindly. 

But, regarding Albo, this ain’t it, chief. For all his merits, I see a world-class seat filler. We need someone with a bit more sting. 

Penny Wong? Your country is calling.

 

 

 

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