Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese gave a speech, the Gough Whitlam Oration, where he laid out a future for the Labor Party. It almost goes without saying, that the Murdoch ruperters’ spin on this is that Albanese is angling for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s job. Even the normally sensible Michelle Grattan has fallen for this spin1.
Albanese noted that “successful Labor governments collaborate with unions, the business sector and civil society to achieve positive outcomes in the national interest” and he criticised Turnbull for setting business and unions against each other1. However, it is not just Turnbull who has done this. It has been a mantra for conservative governments for a while, not only for Turnbull but also Abbott and before them, the Howard government. This is part of the reason for the stagnation of wage growth in recent years. Only cooperation will remedy this, but this is anathema to the Turnbull government. They are all about giving power to capital, because the only people that matter to the Turnbull government are those in big business and the very wealthy, because it is they who donate to the Liberal Party.
One of the worst examples of this spin put on Albanese’s speech, as you would expect, is that by Geoff Chambers in Murdoch’s Australian, where he said that Albanese ‘repudiated Bill Shorten’s anti-business crusade’. Chambers tried to spin this as Shorten declaring war on big business during an unfriendly lunch with the Business Council of Australia (BCA), and noted that Shorten led Labor’s campaign opposing company tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of more than $50 million2. The BCA has been strident in its support of the government’s tax cuts for big business, to the extent that its head Jennifer Westacott looked a little foolish spruiking for the ludicrously outdated and inaccurate trickle-down ‘model’3.
Another of the worst examples of the Murdoch spin is that by Sky News, which in its headline stated ‘Albanese defies Labor’s anti-business stance’4. This simplistic drivel masquerading as analysis is symptomatic of the garbage put out under the Murdoch name. As for Shorten, putting together a $1 billion manufacturing future fund5, doesn’t sound like he is anti-business given that it is to support innovative businesses; nor does his stated concern for businesses dealing with rising energy prices6; nor his stated plan that he will give tax cuts to small businesses, and provide tax incentives for businesses that invest in increasing their own productivity7. What he seems to be mostly against with reference to business is greed, with his opposition to the government’s tax cuts for big business, his opposition to franking credit refunds, and his stated aim of decreasing negative gearing.
This spin put on Albanese’s speech is symptomatic of Murdoch’s ‘Kill Bill’ strategy8 to attempt to make the Labor Party seem as riven by factions and dissent as the Liberal Party, which given recent events9,10, is simply preposterous. Murdoch is a danger to what is left of our democracy, and the longer we allow him to get away with it, the worse things will get. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it will be interesting to see how much coverage the recent admission from Tony Abbott that he will cross the floor of parliament if he does not like the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) that the government has cobbled together11. Abbott’s main concern is that the NEG is more about decreasing emissions rather than energy prices. Will the headlines about this bleat ‘Abbott repudiates Turnbull’ or ‘Abbott declares war on climate science’. If you think they will; call me, I have a bridge to sell you.