Features Australia

From red-shirts to red shoes

8 December 2018

9:00 AM

8 December 2018

9:00 AM

Maybe like Dorothy of the ruby red shoes former foreign minister Julie Bishop is hoping that the scarlet stilettos she wore to announce her resignation from the Cabinet and has since donated to a museum have magic powers. Bishop said the colour ‘red’ was a symbol of solidarity and empowerment for Australian women which is kind of ironic given that stilettos tend to stop a woman from doing anything other than totter like a new age form of Chinese foot-binding. And you don’t see Tanya Plibersek playing footsies with the enemy. As Dorothy’s opponents were witches from different points of the compass, this could be a warning about Bishop’s new cross-bench buddies.

Fairy tales like politics carry lessons. In Hans Christian-Andersen’s fairy tale, The Red Shoes, a vain and spoiled girl demands red shoes so she can feel like a princess. She leaves her ailing adoptive mother alone to go to a ball and misses her funeral. The cursed shoes dance her to death but not before she has her feet amputated. Bishop could do worse than click her shoes three times like Dorothy and pronounce the words, ‘there is no place like home.’ In fairy tales the wages of disloyalty are dire.

Politics used to be ‘the art of the possible’. Now it is ‘the art of the impossible’.  Czech leader Vaclav Havel believed that ‘we should seek the good even if there seems little chance of achieving it’. What the red wave showed in Wentworth and Victoria is the Wicked Witch of the East has risen again as if everyone has amnesia about past bad behaviour.

It should have been impossible to re-elect a government so dodgy no less than 21 Labor Members of Parliament are accused of abusing their parliamentary entitlements to the tune of  nearly half a million dollars. It should have been impossible to re-elect a government that has allowed machete-wielding youth gangs to run riot across Melbourne. It should have been impossible to re-elect a government that gave away more than one billion dollars not to build a road the state needed.

The answer is billboards, barking and bamboozlement. There are broadly two groups of people – those who seek the truth like Vaclav Havel and those who only see what they want to. This accords with the right and left of politics. When people have too much information but are unable to sort it because our educational standards lag behind Kazakstan’s, voters go with what makes them feel good.

As Victoria’s red premier says, ‘People have said no to negative politics’.In fact, they responded well to Labor’s interminable round of scary, anti-Coalition television advertisements. Like the Mediscare campaign, it was a scarefest about fantasised cuts by a Coalition government. In Box Hill, held by Robert Clark for 26 years, Labor ran ads in Mandarin telling people that Coalition policy meant family and friends would not be able to visit from China.

Andrews has a ready supply of one-size fits all bromides like ‘We will put people first’. As distinct from say goldfish?  Looking like Bob the Builder in high-viz vest and hard hat, Andrews never stopped semaphoring that Labor was building stuff. The silly old Victorian Coalition in government did the equivalent of sweeping under the furniture, pouring money into railway maintenance, neglected by Labor, adding 10,000 public transport services a day to which Labor has added little, building hospitals, refurbing and building schools, removing a few level crossings and increasing the number of students in vocational education by 50 per cent. Not to mention lowering ambo subscriptions and extending energy concessions for battlers year round. Yet vox pops show that people think Labor stands for battlers and is best for health and education.

Andrews and Labor understand what the Liberal Lites or Not Quite Rights who dominate state parties never do. When you ditch conservative principles you are only left with a grey managerialism.  Being for the climate change apocalypse, gender fluidity and diversity makes you like cheap Chinese knock-off Doc Martens rather than the originals which voters can get at cost from Labor/Greens HQ.

In Victoria, whenever anyone so much as lifted up a hard-hat, a billboard was erected to tell the punters just like those Soviet banners in Moscow streets which used to say things like ‘We greet the new Five Year Plan with joy’. When reality started to intrude on the leftist idyll, Andrews would, like the fair-ground barker, get out there spruiking his circus acts. ‘Redshirts? Nothing to see here.  Come and see race-horses on St. Kilda Road.’ It was a fantasy but it bamboozled the populace.

The most telling moment in the Sky debate between Daniel Andrews and Opposition leader Matthew Guy came when a woman questioned Labor’s extreme leftie mind-bending for children, ‘Safe Schools’. Andrews pretended it was about stopping bullying, leaving aside the fact it is itself a form of bullying. Guy danced around the question when all he had to say was ‘Enough of political correctness!’

You can’t have a real democracy if people don’t know what they are voting for. A new Australia Institute poll revealed only 75 per cent recognised Scott Morrison and 82 per cent Julie Bishop. Maybe it is time we gave voters a quiz before being allowed to vote. Here are a few questions.

Are the redshirts a) a baseball team b) a new Kardashian clothing line c) campaign workers hired illegally by Victorian Labor.

Climate warming is a) leaving polar bears homeless b) means our grandchildren will choke to death c) costing Australia a motsa despite achieving no benefits.

A surplus is a) whatever the ABC says it is b) a store selling ex-army goods c) exporting more in value than we import.

One or more a or b responses renders a person unable to vote until they become more informed. The only way you can win against Labor is by going bold to differentiate your product from Labor’s. Donald Trump knows you need to call out your opponents’ lies at least as frequently as Clive Palmer’s ads. And of course be loyal to your friends and the Munchkins will think well of you.

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