Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On the QT: Check out my big props

Now as I said yesterday, I've given up on politics for a while. But like an addict needing that hit each day to keep functioning, I couldn't resist having a quick snoop at the Question Time proceedings. I only saw a couple questions. It was more than enough.

The first question had Joe Hockey holding up some laminated graphs showing the levels of debt, and then finally a big red credit card with the words "Rudd Card" on the front.

And here I thought Brendan Nelson's cans of Vegemite and jars of strawberry jam was destined to be the most pathetic prop ever used in Question Time. But I was wrong.

If the opposition is reduced to making up pictures to try and get its points across in Parliament then it obviously doesn't have much to say.

This all came about because on Tuesday Rudd produced a stack of photos of construction being done at various schools around the country. He did this in response to the Liberals bringing in yellow hard hats in an attempt to mock Rudd for seemingly being at every construction site in the land.

The Libs don't realise this is playing into the hands of the Government. Andrew Bolt in one of his columns suggests the tide is turning because people are starting to laugh at Rudd in his yellow hard hat. He is a complete fool if he thinks this. People laughing at Rudd in his yellow hard hat is manna from heaven for Rudd. It gives him character. Rudd and everyone else knows it's dopey that politicians put on the yellow hard hat, but the fact is if the image in people's minds is of Rudd in a yellow hard hat, it won't be hard to sell the idea that there must be a hell of a lot of construction going around that the Government is funding.

Just because people laugh doesn't mean they don't want the funding. Just because they laugh doesn't mean they suddenly want to vote for the other guy. People laughed at Max Gilles doing Bob Hawke - they still voted for Hawke. People laughed at John Howard donning his Wallabies track suit each morning, or him wearing the mole skins and Akubra when he went "out bush". Heck there is a great song in the musical Keating! that parodies the whole plethora of clothes he used to wear for different occasions. People laughed, and yet still kept voting for him.

The ALP at the time thought the laughs meant people saw through Howard. Nope - it just meant people thought he looked stupid in his moleskins or track suit or whatever, but so what, Australians like to laugh. In fact a lot of Australian humour is laughing at people and things you like.

As I have argued before, the Liberal Party and right wing commentators are falling into the same trap the ALP did with regards to John Howard. The ALP hated him and assumed the rest of the Australian public would too. The ALP never understood why the Australian public liked Howard and assumed if they kept mocking him, the public would in time agree with them. The public never did.

So to the Liberals I say, please, continue to laugh away, keep reinforcing in people's minds that Rudd is connected with construction. Do it over and over again to help with the ALP's marketing team. My guess is the ALP's dream of dreams will be for political cartoonists to start as a matter of course to portray Rudd wearing a yellow hard hat.

Perhaps the Libs should pause and wonder if any swinging voters are sitting at home watching vision of Rudd on the news at one of these sites is really saying:
"Here's that Rudd again with his yellow hard hat. Geez he looks a goose. I hope they don't waste money building a new science block at little Jimmy and Jane's school".

My bet is what those people are really saying is:
"Here's that Rudd again with his yellow hard hat. Geez he look a goose. I hear they're finally going to build a decent science block at little Jimmy and Jane's school. That will be good... hey I wonder if Rudd will turn up for that?"

On an unrelated matter, Malcolm Turnbull was said by BRW to be on the Richest 200 list. Here's how he responded to suggestions that he is worth $178million:

"I don't go around calculating my net worth and it would be hard to calculate it anyway because what are various assets worth at any given time?" he said.

Note to Malcolm - it's best in times of economic difficulty not to suggest you don't know how much you are worth because it's too hard to count it all.

And that is all this person who has no interest at the moment in politics has to say!


Tomkidd said...

Someone suggested that Rudd's accidental substitution of "hard-hatted" for "hard-hearted" was for just these reasons. It's lame politics from the Opposition if they think the electorate will change it's vote because the PM looks silly in a hat. Besides, a substantial number of Australians wear fluoro vests and all sorts of safety gear daily now, so would see it as the PM responsibly following safety procedures "just like us", not dressing up for the cameras.

Watching Turnball play down his wealth at a time when he's selling himself as a responsible manager of finances is a bit painful too. He's entered the rich list during the downturn, which should be a great point in his favour in a Liberal context. Perhaps it shows how far ideas of equity trump merit in current politics.

Grog said...

I agree Tomkidd. Turnbull has to work out what his line is - the fact he came out in his first press conference as leader and talked about his life growing up in a "flat" showed everyone how worried he is about his wealth.

He can't be a proud self made man and also be the working class man of the people.

My thoughts are that Working-middle class Australians don't necessarily want their PM to be working or middle class, they just want to feel that the PM cares about the lives of the working-middle class.

I don't think such people are convinced at the moment that Turnbull does.

How he turns that perception around though is beyond me.