Paul Keating was a hit at the National Press Club address during the week, but members of the federal government were not so happy about this. Because he spoke positively and realistically about China and Australia’s place in the world: which rubs against the grain of the government’s narrative of depicting China as a massive threat to Australia. And the media is happy to jump in and offer their support, using every negative cliché about China in their reportage – falling short of using the “Yellow Peril” rhetoric from the 1900s, but coming close. Good things do come out of China, but you wouldn’t think so if you only listened to Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, and their friends in the mainstream media.
And we’re finding out more about the Coalition’s re-election strategy: lie about the past, lie about the future, lie about the lies. There can be no end to this. And there are two new election slogans to add to Scott Morrison’s reductive lexicon. “Labor wants to tell you what to do”, which, at eight words, is a massive improvement on the three-word version – and supporters of the shorter version slogan will not be disappointed. “Can-do capitalism” is the latest revelation, and it’s as empty as all of the previous slogans. But that’s not the point: this is a government that governs for the politically disengaged.
Or, if we want to be more sophisticated, it’s what Mark Twain would call a paralysis of intellect, a label he placed upon Australia when he visited in 1895, a country which, to him, seemed quite incurious. And, 126 years later, an incurious Prime Minister who is afflicted with a paralysis of intellect is gradually being exposed as a marketing trickster.
Anthony Albanese is becoming more assertive in his attacks on Scott Morrison, and in his attacks on journalists. And these actions suggest Labor’s internal research is giving them a greater level of confidence that they can win the next federal election.