Truth in advertising?

Let me start off with a confession: I like French cars. So much so that I have been a regular poster on for a number of years. I could bore you silly with the differences between a 2009 and a 2012 Peugeot. But I won’t.

Like most internet forums I have seen, and heard about, there is an ‘off-topic’ area on Aussiefrogs that a certain level of membership will allow you to access. Aussiefrogs calls their off-topic thread ‘The Toad Pond’.

Someone recently posed there the question of the future of interest rates under the new Federal Government. After a number of comments from others, I made a comment that the last time the ‘official interest rate’ fell under a Coalition Government was in 2001.

The reality is that official interest rates are controlled by the Reserve Bank of Australia Board. But both sides of politics have claimed in the past (and probably will in the future) that ‘Interest rates will always be lower under a [insert party name here] Government’, while suggesting the media should call out both political parties for blatantly misleading statements.

In The Toad Pond I then pined for a return of some truth in political reporting – if not politics itself. Following my comment there came a number of good-natured ones suggesting that my request for a tad of truth in politics was an impossible dream (as well as questioning my grasp of reality).

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s website states:

The Governor and the Treasurer have agreed that the appropriate target for monetary policy in Australia is to achieve an inflation rate of 2–3 per cent, on average, over the cycle. This is a rate of inflation sufficiently low that it does not materially distort economic decisions in the community. Seeking to achieve this rate, on average, provides discipline for monetary policy decision-making, and serves as an anchor for private-sector inflation expectations.

Clearly, while the government of the day’s policy affects to some extent the monetary policy of the RBA, so does the world economy and other factors that will, in the view of the RBA Board, have a good or bad effect on the Australian economy. Effectively, ‘monetary policy’ is a tool used by the RBA to maintain inflation within the two to three per cent target band, and it changes its policy to achieve that result.

Financial institutions determine their interest rates in some shape of form using the ‘official rate’ from the RBA: products such as home loans are deemed to be newsworthy and usually track fairly closely to the current RBA determination. Business loans and instruments such as credit cards, which don’t really generate as many headlines, are not as volatile. While it might be nice for the Government’s Treasurer to stand in front of the press and suggest that he and the Government he is a member of have produced a fantastic result, in reality they had little to do with it. The recent policy of some banks to set rates independently of RBA decisions bears this out.

So I ponder:

Why are politicians allowed to claim credit for decisions they had little input into?

How is it they are able to make such misleading statements as well?

And how did they get away with the recent bout of election advertising that promised the world if we voted for whomever?

It has long been understood in Australia that there is some legislation that deals with truth in advertising. Clearly, claims that official interest rates will always be lower if a certain party is in power are incorrect because the RBA sets the ‘official interest rate’, not the government of the day.

If we look at the ACCC website, we find a number of organisations that determine if advertising is basically truthful, and that a number of these organisations publish their results.

The ACCC states that:

Honest advertising practices are not just good for business – they are required by law. The Australian Consumer Law contains a number of rules that businesses must follow when advertising and selling products and services …

A number of industry groups regulate advertising within their specific area of expertise, with assistance or oversight from the ACCC. In the case of vehicle manufacturers/importers, that industry body is the Federal Chamber of Automotive (FCAI) Industries. One of the issues FCAI monitor is the impression of ‘dangerous driving’ as reported on the Car Advice website recently when people complained about the lack of truth in a Nissan advertisement, where:

… the ad shows a man driving through the streets as his seemingly pregnant wife is in the passenger seat appearing to be in labor. When the couple arrives at a hospital, the man looks at his watch and proclaims a “personal best”, then the woman lifts her jumper to reveal a pillow playing the part of the baby bump. Reported by Mumbrella, the ASB investigated the ad following complaints that is [sic] displayed dangerous and illegal behaviour and promoted unsafe driving.

Apparently the Nissan advertisement was filmed at slow speed and ‘sped up’ using a faster frame speed and the addition of ‘suitable’ noises. There are two versions of the ad: the second was missing a number of tyre-screeching and engine revving sounds that the first advertisement contained.

In May 2012:

The Federal Government instituted an enquiry to investigate concerns that some ads promote dangerous driving. The inquiry comes in the wake of several car ads falling foul of the advertising watchdog, including an ad for Volvo V60 that this month was ruled to give an impression of ''reckless speed'' and ''unsafe driving''.

Volvo agreed to pull the ad from television after the Advertising Standards Board ruled it should be modified or withdrawn. Last month a Suzuki ad was changed after the ASB determined it promoted reckless driving.

Numerous examples of regulation are available: from protecting people from medicines that have no clinical proof of actually doing what they are claimed to do, to the colours and descriptions of foodstuffs, to claims that are unsubstantiated – such as sugar-filled cereals being ‘good for you’. While opinions may vary on the justification for regulation that can ban advertising that:

  • can be construed as dangerous driving,
  • suggests a medical benefit from taking tablets when there is no proof
  • promotes consumption of food with dubious health claims,
there is here an underlying theme: protecting society from harm.

Why isn’t the act of a political leader offering obvious falsehoods, such as ‘interest rates will always be lower’, also considered ‘illegal’ - given the regulatory theme of protecting society from harm?

Because it isn’t.

The Australian Electoral Commission’s Backgrounder on political advertising states that politicians or potential politicians can advertise whatever they like, provided they do not mislead or deceive us on how to cast a valid vote.

So, the situation is that Nissan, Volvo, Kelloggs or any other company advertising in Australia must remain within the bounds of truth, or someone will complain to the appropriate advertising standards agency. But if you are a politician, the content of your advertising is not regulated, provided you don’t suggest to people they ‘vote early and vote often’ or imply they don’t vote (because ‘it only encourages them’). Even worse, the politicians voted on this law, with an obvious double standard entrenched in its legislation.

Our politicians can tell us that they will ‘stop the boats’, ‘rectify a budget emergency’ (which has suddenly disappeared since 13 September) or anything else they like without any fear of exposure, legal consequences or, sadly, examination by a complacent media.

Why is it that society needs to be protected from ‘perceptions of dangerous driving’ when most drivers are well aware of the implications of the act while society is deemed to be quite able to determine the accuracy of arcane claims by politicians, such as ‘interest rates will always be lower’, without any requirement that the claim has any fact to it at all?

What is the real problem here:

  • that the Electoral Act doesn’t regulate the content of political advertising, or
  • that society, as demonstrated by a number of people in ‘The Toad Pond’, understands, accepts and is comfortable with the suggestion that politicians cannot be believed?
I’m not sure. The people are not ‘storming the barricades’ to eliminate such an obvious double standard.

What do you think?

The Political Sword is under new management

Two weeks ago TPS’s marvellous political blogger, Ad Astra, wrote Where to from here for The Political Sword?. The wise and compassionate and oh so politically astute Ad Astra advised it was time for him to retire. He also advised that the incredible Lyn, of Lyn’s Links on The Political Sword was retiring.

Oh no!

Was The Political Sword all over?!!

Well, it seems not.

Those of us who have loved, and found enormous solace and advice and companionship and a sense of family and support at TPS, thought ‘no!’ We need TPS. We need the Sword, even more than before the 2013 election. We need the Swordsters. We are not ready to let go!

So, a group, team, collective, board (finding a term to describe us is quite a challenge!) of some 10 Swordsters (regular readers and commenters) have formed the ‘TPS Team’ (with Ad and Lyn’s wonderful mentoring).

The brand new TPS Team is organising, behind the scenes, to continue TPS.

The Political Sword is moving from essentially a single-writer blog to one which can flourish as a forum for many writers.

Within a couple of days the team will post the first piece submitted as a conversation-starter from a writer.

We hope this is just the first of many offerings from many different voices.

Are you someone who believes that progressive political voices need to be heard?

Would you like to submit a piece, essentially from a progressive perspective, for consideration?

You are enthusiastically invited to do so!

But first, read through our brief guidelines for submitting an article. Then do be in touch with the TPS Team .

When Ad Astra wrote his final, and farewell piece, he thanked a great many people, including his loyal readers. There is one person remaining, however, who missed out on being thanked because … well, that’s Ad Astra, himself.

Ad, this is just for you.

And all your grateful readers are singing along.

Ad Astra, we applaud you. Thank you.

Where to from here for The Political Sword?

There are pivotal points in the lives of all of us, no less in the life of a political blog. The Political Sword has reached such a pivotal point.

Last Friday The Political Sword had its fifth birthday. The previous Saturday, Labor lost government. Among many who blog here, that was a great disappointment. The long road back to government for Labor lies ahead. They were pivotal points.

Moreover, key players in the life of this blog seek to take a different direction. Last week, Lyn, whose links have attracted thousands of regular visitors every day, decided to take a break. She has now decided to retire permanently from this very time-consuming and onerous task. For my part, I wish also to take a permanent break.

The Political Sword has been sustained over the years by the loyalty and contributions of a growing number of commenters, now over four hundred, and the visits of thousands of ‘lurkers’ who never comment but who visit regularly, thereby keeping the traffic through the site running at a consistently high level. They come to read Lyn’s Daily Links, the weekly pieces I write, the occasional guest authors’ offerings, and the many, many well-informed comments that run into the hundreds for every piece.

The constancy of the contribution of daily links, and of writing weekly pieces that often run to three thousand words with numerous references and links, has taken its toll on Lyn and me. We have spouses and families, and many other things we would like to do. Our commitment to The Political Sword has made other commitments and other pursuits almost impossible. We have done our bit to promote and support the values that progressives hold, but it’s time for a change. More of that later.

Some background may be of interest to those of you who have not been with us from the beginning.

During the final six years of my medical career I was editor of an Internet site that provided medical information to a worldwide audience of family doctors. That experience gave me insight into how such sites work, and the elements of HTML programming. In the year I retired from that, Kevin Rudd became Opposition Leader and the hope of Labor replacing the Howard Government became a reality. Being a Labor supporter, this excited my interest, and heightened my desire to write on matters political.

Even as far back as 2007 it was so obvious that journalists in the Fourth Estate were afflicted by groupthink, that this was the subject of my first blog piece: Is the media in Australia suffering from groupthink?. Having nowhere to publish it, I sent it to Possum Comitatus seeking advice as to how I might have it published. He kindly offered to post it as the first piece on his blogsite Possum Box, which he did on 14 June 2008. I will always be grateful to Possum for giving me a start in the Fifth Estate.

I was encouraged when the piece attracted over thirty comments, one of which was from janice, whom you all know is still a regular contributor to TPS. Subsequently, Possum published another three of my pieces, on Kevin Rudd and the media, on an emissions trading scheme, and on adversarial politics.

By then I was thinking that it would be appealing to have my own blogsite. My son-in-law, Web Monkey, set me up with this off-the-shelf freebie, BlogEngine.NET, which has served us very well since it began on 13 September 2008. He has maintained it ever since, updated it as each version arrived, transferred it to ‘the cloud’ (in Singapore), and developed TPS M@IL, a program that allows users to email politicians and disseminate pieces to selected parliamentarians. His contribution has been magnificent, for which I am deeply grateful.

The first post was an introduction to The Political Sword, and on the next day, 14 September, I posted In search of the political Holy Grail – the Rudd Government narrative, something that is still a mystery to many Fourth Estate journalists.

Since that modest beginning, which attracted just three comments (one was from janice) and almost no traffic, it has expanded to a busy site where each piece attracts from two to six hundred comments, and high ratings. Our stats show us that there are hundreds of regular commenters, and thousands of visitors who choose not to comment. The cumulative total of original pieces is 469, close to a million words; there have been over 61,000 comments; and over 2,000 raters.

In 2009 along came Lyn, at first commenting, then adding some links to her comments, then posting more and more links and posting them more often, until they morphed into her regular ‘Today’s Links’, archived regularly in Lyn’s Daily Links, and then, as they expanded, into Lyn’s Daily Links Archive, which dates back to early February 2011. It now contains many thousands of links of great historic interest. One look through the Archive demonstrates Lyn’s extraordinary and brilliant contribution to The Political Sword over the years, a contribution acknowledged over and again by those who comment here.

Lyn’s Daly Links Archive is invaluable. It will remain as a permanent monument to Lyn.

There have been other contributors of pieces on The Political Sword. Bushfire Bill, Hillbilly (Feral) Skeleton and Acerbic Conehead, who together contributed hundreds of pieces, John L, then, more recently, Victoria Rollison, Kaye Rollison, Marian Dalton and Jan Mahyuddin @j4gypsy. There have been poets too who have added verse to enrich the site with colour and movement: Talk Turkey, Patriciawa and Truth Seeker. They have all added immensely to the quality, reach and appeal of The Political Sword, for which I am hugely grateful, as are all the visitors here.

So here we are: Lyn has retired, and will concentrate on her family, her crafts and her hobbies; and I wish to give attention to family matters, complete the writing of my life story, do some more motoring across our vast land, which we enjoy, and taking some shipboard tours. To do this we both must take a new direction.

What then becomes of The Political Sword? It has become the home for many kindred souls, mainly Labor advocates, who enjoy the links, the pieces that are posted, and the discourse here among the participants. It has indeed become The Political Sword family. I have welcomed each new commenter, and have sought to respond to the comments as often as I was able. Insightful comments deserve a response, although responding is time-consuming and at times a demanding process.

It would be a great pity for The Political Sword to simply close down. Already some have expressed the hope that it will continue the fight for Labor values, oppose contrary values the new Government may seek to impose, and work towards the restoration of a Labor Government whose purpose is to ensure fairness and equity across the nation, to ensure prosperity for all, and to ensure infrastructure and services are in place to serve our economy, to serve our ageing population, and to care for all those in need of help.

The Political Sword needs to find a new home, where it will be fostered, supported, and expanded by a devoted and dedicated blog manager and enthusiastic writers, where it can promulgate its values and remain a resonant voice in the Fifth Estate, in which it has established a solid reputation and has garnered the respect of other sites, who include it on their blogrolls.

It has been suggested that others may wish to contribute pieces, which would certainly take the load from my shoulders. Anyone willing to do so would be welcome. My preference though is that someone, perhaps who has experience in managing a political blogsite, take over management of The Political Sword, write for it, and act as an editor of pieces submitted by others. It has a guaranteed audience, and an intelligent, well informed and articulate following, who habitually comment on the theme of each new piece, but who also pick up on what is happening in the political world and offer links to a wide variety of sources.

For some time now Janet has provided additional links and Twitterverse, and now Casablanca has taken up where Lyn left off to provide comprehensive collections of links. If they were willing to continue in this vein, the superb and unique link facility that Lyn established would continue to bring countless thousands to The Political Sword for information and succour.

Folks, this is an opportunity for you to offer your suggestions about how The Political Sword might continue, and indeed go from strength to strength. With the Coalition Government in place and already showing stark signs of its intent to tear down much of what Labor has built, signs that it will institute its own brand of neoliberal politics where trickle down economics are the norm, where the strong prevail and the weak falter and are left behind, the need for The Political Sword, and sites like it, is even more urgent.

Please post your suggestions and comments here, and if you wish to contact me directly with proposals or ideas, use the ‘Contact’ item on the top menu.

I will not respond immediately to posted comments, as I would prefer to see them in aggregate before doing so, but of course I will respond promptly to email messages.

Finally, on your behalf, I want to extend to you Lyn, our dear Lyn, the heartfelt thanks of all of us for your many years of dedicated and devoted work to The Political Sword in bringing us the world of political comment day after day, summarized to make it easy for us to assimilate, linked and referenced brilliantly. May your retirement a very happy one, and all you wish it to be.

To all who visit here, what do you think?

And the winner is: Rupert Murdoch

In a fair contest, Kevin Rudd and the Labor team would have been more than a match for Tony Abbott and the Coalition team. But it was not a fair contest. From the very beginning of the election campaign Rupert Murdoch marshalled his formidable forces in support of Abbott while he waged a barefaced propaganda war against Rudd and Labor. When before have we witnessed such an onslaught?

Conscripted by Murdoch from his position of editor-in-chief of The New York Post, ‘Field Marshall’ Col Allan, known inside News Corporation as ‘Col Pot’, a reference to Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge genocidal dictator, was instructed by Murdoch to "go hard on Rudd, start from Sunday, and don't back off".

Allan soon got to work. His message to Murdoch’s editors was straightforward but brutal: “You have been going hard on Labor but now, with Rudd's revival in the opinion polls, you have to go harder.” Indeed, they had been ‘going hard’ with vicious front pages since July: Captain Chaos, Wreck it Rudd, Hellhole Solution and Rudd’s Boat Show (referring to the PNG arrangement), Kev’s $733 million Bank Heist, Price of Labor, It’s a Ruddy Mess and Rudd’s Carr Wreck, when the Budget revision was released, and Island Hell referring to Manus Island.

The attack heightened with The Daily Telegraph’s: Finally, you now have the chance to…KICK THIS MOB OUT on Monday 5 August.

As Bruce Guthrie, who had a successful legal run in with Murdoch, so well recorded in his book Man Bites Murdoch, writes in his Brisbane Times article It's on: Rudd gets the Col shoulder as Murdoch telegraphs his punches: “By Thursday he and the Telegraph editor, Paul 'Boris' Whittaker, had taken another shot at Rudd, casting him, Anthony Albanese and Craig Thomson as ''Thommo's Heroes'', playing on the late 1960s sitcom Hogan's Heroes. By Friday, it was the turn of The Courier-Mail, the Brisbane tabloid turning Rudd and star candidate Peter Beattie into circus clowns.” Guthrie questioned Rudd’s wisdom in ‘taking on’ Murdoch: “What can he expect? First off, News does not play fair. And it's not always troubled by the truth. The PM will be misquoted and misrepresented, photographed - or Photoshopped - any notion of balance abandoned.

“My case
[his Supreme Court case against Murdoch for wrongful dismissal] taught me there are two kinds of truth in this world: what happened and what News Ltd says happened. And in Murdoch's world his version trumps everything - given his clout and reach in this country, that can be a scary realisation. Rudd should also know he is not only taking on the Telegraph - he's taking on the entire Murdoch empire.”

Referring to Rudd’s strong reaction to Murdoch’s mauling of him, Guthrie concluded: “I hope for his sake he has thought it through. Because he's about to get a working-over he'll long remember. I managed to hold on to my house; I'm not sure he'll hang on to The Lodge.”

Not satisfied that his readers had got his message, Murdoch’s Sunday Telegraph shouted Australia needs Tony, with the Abbott face filling the front page. Yesterday, it was YOUR TURN under a smirking Abbott with a wistful Rudd looking on.

Murdoch’s power is profound. A Get Up ad that criticized the anti-Labor coverage of Murdoch's newspapers was banned on commercial TV for fear of upsetting him. Channels Seven and Ten refused to air the ad, while Nine screened it over four days in Brisbane – then cancelled it after blaming a "coding error".

The Murdoch threat to Labor is not new. Over a year ago I wrote: Julia Gillard can defeat Tony Abbott in 2013. But how does she neutralize Rupert Murdoch?

When in April 2012 Murdoch tweeted: @rupertmurdoch 
Dramatic, slimy events in Australian politics. Country desperately needs election to get fresh start, 
28 Apr 12, no room for doubt remained – Murdoch wanted an election and expected that it would be the end of Julia Gillard and her Government.

The piece argued that while PM Gillard needed to defeat Tony Abbott and the Coalition at the next election, that was not her most forbidding task. Her most powerful enemy was Rupert Murdoch. It was he who needed to be countered for electoral success: “Our PM has two virulent enemies, and an unequal battle with them.”

The piece went on to document how Julia Gillard was superior to Tony Abbott on every parameter, but that might count for naught against Murdoch’s forces. It concluded: “We have all known about the influence he exerts via his 70% ownership of metropolitan newspapers, and through his TV outlets here in Australia, and in recent months we have seen his pernicious influence on politics in the UK and the depths to which he will stoop for a salacious story. I expect we might see something similar in the US.

“Rupert Murdoch has always sought to influence politics in every country where his vast empire has its tentacles. He has now stated overtly what we all knew, that he wants PM Gillard and her Government out and Tony Abbott and the Coalition in, and will use all his massive media power to achieve that end. He will not ease back, he will not take the pressure off, he will, through his media, one overseen by sycophantic hirelings, wage relentless war on our PM and her Government. It is to the mainstream media’s eternal shame that so many of the others have followed the Murdoch lead.

“Julia Gillard would trounce Tony Abbott were the election to be based on competence, performance and behaviour, and an accurately informed electorate. But we know that the Murdoch factor will ensure that not only is the electorate not informed about the Government’s achievements and its plans, but that it will be deliberately misinformed through distortions, omissions, and at times downright lies.

“Julia Gillard can defeat Tony Abbott, but can she counter the Murdoch menace?”

This piece, written over a year ago, was prescient. What was predicted then has unfolded before our very eyes over the last six months. Murdoch has won the election for Abbott.

The Sun's contribution to the unexpected Conservative victory in the 1992 general election in the UK evoked a Murdochesque front page headline: "It's The Sun Wot Won It", reflecting the influence of the Murdoch press over politicians and election results, something Murdoch relishes. We may see similar sentiments expressed here, although Murdoch conceded to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News International phone hacking scandal, that the headline was "tasteless and wrong".

No matter how tasteless, Rudd and Labor will be exhibited as a scalp on Murdoch’s well-endowed belt.

Of course, it would be unreasonable to suggest that Murdoch alone was responsible for Labor’s defeat. Abbott himself would want to take much of the credit, and his minders and supporters inside the Coalition and in the sycophantic media would want to take their share. They insist that Abbott has succeeded brilliantly by mesmerizing the electorate for so long with his simplistic, monotonously repeated three word slogans, by continually demonizing Labor and the PM, by being consistently ‘on message’, and by being supremely ‘disciplined’ (how the media loves that term), which is code for not disastrously putting his foot in his mouth. To the Murdoch media, all Abbott had to do was not stuff up and stay on message, and it would act as his megaphone. It mattered little that Abbott never acknowledged the global fiscal situation, nor detailed how the economy would need to adjust to the new reality of a slowing resource sector, nor how he planned to manage the transition to a different economy. His success was measured only by how well he avoided missteps.

Moreover, it would be foolish for Labor supporters to ignore the contribution Labor and its leaders have made to their defeat. Mistakes have been made, errors of judgement have occurred, some policies and plans have been faulty, some strategic moves inadvisable. Like all political parties managing a vast nation through turbulent global times, Labor has found judgement difficult. Hippocrates’ famous aphorism about the practice of medicine applies equally to politics: Life is short, the art is long, the occasion fleeting, experience fallacious, and judgment difficult.

Some Labor ideas quickly evaporated: the community forum for achieving consensus about global warming, and the East Timor ‘solution’ for offshore processing. Some well thought through moves such as the ETS were frustrated by Coalition and Greens’ opposition, but eventually it was Rudd’s timidity about calling a double dissolution election on an ETS that resulted in its suspension. The Malaysian arrangement never got to be tried because of a High Court ruling, and several sound measures were blocked by the Greens and the Coalition.

But for every unsuccessful move there were many more that were spectacularly successful: the stimulus response to the GFC that saved the nation from recession, contained unemployment and kept small businesses afloat; the Building the Education Revolution that had a 97% success rate, which provided much needed school infrastructure; and the Home Insulation Program that insulated a million roofs, reduced power costs to households, and lessened power usage and pollution, are three significant examples. Yet there was trenchant criticism of all three, from Abbott and the Coalition of course, but promulgated widely by the mainstream media, particularly the Murdoch media. Tame economists such as Henry Ergas and Michael Stutchbury demeaned the stimulus package up hill and down dale. Murdoch columnists, especially in The Australian, ran a weekly column attacking the BER, headlining every small problem in what was a highly successful program, as demonstrated in three reports by businessman Brad Orgill. The same happened with the HIP. Although there were administrative problems that allowed some shonky operators to enter the industry, what the Murdoch media highlighted was the ceiling fires, actually fewer than before the HIP began, and the sad deaths of four young workers, all shown to be the result of OH&S shortcomings occasioned by careless contractors.

The result was that by design, through Murdoch’s media, these successful programs were demonized and deprecated to such an extent that even now the mere mention of the BER immediately evokes the words ‘waste and mismanagement’, and mention of the HIP brings forth talk of ‘pink batts’, which is code for bungling inefficiency, carelessness, ceiling fires and deaths. Thus two highly successful programs that brought great benefit to our nation have been given a big black mark that has so negated all their benefits that virtually no credit has accrued to the Government. And all this has been the direct result of deliberately disingenuous and deceitful Coalition propaganda, amplified by the Murdoch media.

Murdoch’s campaign to unseat the Labor Government started long ago. He has been at it for years. His latest foray, spectacularly vicious though it is, is but the finale to a long-standing and persistent strategy of demonization and denigration.

Moreover, the spectacular achievements of the Gillard Government, such as the NDIS, the Better Schools Plan (Gonski), and the rollout of the largest infrastructure project in our history, the NBN, quite deliberately have received paltry recognition and credit from the Murdoch press. When it was not criticizing, it simply ignored and effectively hid these accomplishments.

Murdoch has supported the Abbott notion that we need to return to the halcyon days of the Howard era. Abbott gazes longingly in the rear-view mirror at a golden age of rivers of gold flowing into the Treasury, tax cuts and middle class welfare, and Murdoch stands beside him.

Of course, there is no gainsaying the damaging effects that the change of leader from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard in 2010, the prolonged sabotage of her prime ministership by Rudd and what Kerry-Anne Walsh terms ‘Team Rudd’, and the change back to him in 2013. Labor ministers readily conceded this last night and again this morning. Had there not been this destructive behaviour, Labor would have been miles ahead, and not struggling to maintain momentum and electoral support, as has been the case for the last three years. It has had to function with the brakes on, looking continually in the rear view mirror to watch for threats to its continued existence as a coherent political party. The damage that Team Rudd has done is inestimable, and in the light of the election results, spectacularly unjustifiable. Whether Julia Gillard and her ministers would have done any better than has Kevin Rudd we shall never know, but many will express learned opinions one way or the other, even if inauthentic, even if worthless.

We now enter into a dark and uncertain place. Murdoch will be certain to get what he wants from Abbott, who will be keen to repay him for his powerful and unremitting support. 'Murdochracy' will blossom. Obsequious Abbott will pay homage to him, and to Gina Rinehart and George Pell, who will continue to be his sponsors, but only so long as he does their bidding, as weaklings do.

Even before the election, Abbott was threatening his opponents, threatening a double dissolution election if they obstructed his carbon tax repeal. He insisted he would not tolerate opposition, although he had offered nothing but opposition and obstruction for the last three years. He reacted angrily to the Greens and Labor ministers insisting they would stick to their policy positions. He insisted that he would have a mandate to do as he pleased and that Labor would be acting suicidally to resist him. His bullyboy nature protruded through the thin veneer of reasonableness with which he has covered himself throughout the election campaign. This is a foretaste of what is to come. Be very afraid, the ugliness of the Abbott persona will soon be exposed for all to see.

And as this ugliness and the nastiness emerges like an erupting volcano, Abbott will take comfort in Murdoch’s protection, which he knows will always be there so long as he complies with Murdoch’s wishes. Abbott’s moves will be given sympathetic publicity in Murdoch’s outlets. He will be given a long, long honeymoon. Now that he has chosen a winner, Murdoch will make sure he protects his own reputation as a kingmaker. Moreover, he will always do what his commercial interests dictate – they always take precedent over his ideological position. In the case of Abbott and Murdoch, ideologies coincide. Murdoch will want Abbott, whose conservative pose he applauds, to look after his commercial wellbeing by protecting his Foxtel empire from any adverse effects of the NBN. In Murdoch's vicious attacks on Rudd: it's business, Paul Sheehan assesses this hazard as follows: “Foxtel has responded to this threat by launching its own content-on-demand product, FoxtelGo, and is launching an online-only version, FoxtelPlay. Foxtel's co-parent, News Corp, is engaging in a more structural response. It wants to kill the NBN threat at its ultimate source - Kevin Rudd.”

In his piece in Public Opinion, David Rowe quotes Barry Jones, who insists that the quality of political debate has become increasingly unsophisticated, appealing to the lowest common denominator of understanding. On the role of the media, Jones says: The Murdoch papers are no longer reporting the news, but shaping it. They no longer claim objectivity but have become players, powerful advocates on policy issues: hostile to the science of climate change, harsh on refugees, indifferent to the environment, protective of the mining industry, trashing the record of the 43rd parliament, and promoting a dichotomy of uncritical praise and contemptuous loathing. Does it affect outcomes? I am sure that it does, and obviously advertisers think so. The Coalition is still playing to fear and anxiety with its rhetoric about the Australian economy being a smoking ruin due to Labor’s ‘irresponsible’ fiscal policies.”

Writing in similar vein in Are You Scared Yet? The Mugging Of The Australian Electorate in The Global Mail, Mike Seccombe gives a fascinating account of the difference between progressive and conservative brains and thinking, that will repay the reader’s attention. He uses ‘mugged’ in the sense of being ‘robbed’. He writes: “Conservatives, for example, tend to have a stronger ‘startle reflex’ in response to sudden loud noise, than [progressives] do. They exhibit stronger sympathetic-nervous-system reactions to what they perceive as threatening images. They are more inclined to feel disgust and are generally more fearful.” Referring to the 2013 federal election, Seccombe asserts: “Tony Abbott, his political allies and media claque have managed to convince a significant portion of the electorate that it has been mugged. They have done this not over a few weeks in an election campaign, but over a period of years, and in defiance of the objective evidence. What’s more they have done it, in many ways, with the complicity of the Labor government, which has shown itself to be rather worse at running the debate than at running the country.”

Barrie Cassidy plays down the Murdoch effect: “The Daily Telegraph is trying to influence people who are already savvy and interested enough to buy a newspaper in a declining market. They don't fit the lemming mentality, by and large. So newspaper campaigns are limited in impact. The six o'clock news is still more influential, and the social media gets bigger by the day.” Some would wish Cassidy’s view to be correct, but most would see it as a future prediction rather that a contemporary reality. Murdoch has already done his damage for the 2013 election, damage that is now all too clear.

Victoria Rollison though has no doubts. In An Open Letter to Journalists at News Ltd she concludes: “It’s also important for you to know that we won’t forget what you’ve done. If your boss gets his way, and you do manage to deliver Australia the most conservative, austerity obsessed, downright mean and selfish government we’ve ever had, it’s very likely most of your readers, especially those in areas like western Sydney who’ve you’ve conned most successfully, will not be very impressed with you.”

Let’s give the last word on the Murdoch effect to Mike Carlton. In his article: Lies, damned lies and Australia's future in yesterday’s SMH, Carlton refers to the appearance of Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett on the ABC's Lateline on Tuesday. Carlton writes: "Here was a media mogul and Reserve Bank board member wickedly interfering in the election", and goes on to quote him: “…to be as strongly biased as News have been in the last few months, I do think does a great damage to the credibility of press, at just the time when the press needs to be highly respected as we go through this digital transition".

Carlton comments: “You betcha. It matters not that the opinion pages of The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and Brisbane's Courier-Mail are a bottomless swamp of right-wing idiocy. So be it. Rupert Murdoch and his myrmidons are entitled to their own opinions. But they are not entitled to their own facts. When you prostitute your news columns with cant, slant and bias, as News has done so relentlessly, it is a betrayal of your readers and a trampling of every ethical principle of journalism.

“This is not surprising from the global octopus that so disgraced itself in Britain, but it is a tragedy for Australia.”

While some will dispute the Murdoch effect on this election outcome, insisting that Abbott did it, or the Coalition did it, or Labor did it to itself, in my opinion the most credible explanation of the Coalition victory is that Murdoch did it. Abbott could not have succeeded on his own merits. He needed Murdoch to do it for him.

Although he might not want to say so in public, in private Murdoch will be saying to himself: ‘It's The Telegraph Wot Won It’. I believe that’s right.

So the winner is: Rupert Murdoch.

What do you think?

Say yes, yes, yes to Labor

Rusted-on Labor, Coalition and Greens supporters will vote as they always do. So this piece is directed towards the ‘undecideds’.

In this week’s Essential Research Poll they amounted to 18% who said: “It is quite possible I will change my mind as the campaign develops”, with another 4% responding: “Don’t know”. Since just 47% of those polled responded: “I will definitely not change my mind”, and another 30%: “It is very unlikely I will change my mind”, only three quarters of those polled have locked in, or almost locked in, their voting intention. With nearly a quarter not so committed, the election really depends on them. Coupled with Essential’s TPP of 50/50, there is plenty of scope for the election to go either way, depending on how the non-committed 22% vote.

Before reflecting on which party and which leader is best equipped to guide the nation through the next three years, a number of myths need to be exploded. These myths have been perpetuated over the last three years to such an extent that they have become virtual folklore, some of it ‘verified’ by opinion polls, where, for example, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, those polled consistently rate the Coalition as the best managers of the economy.

So let’s examine some of these myths, myths that need to be erased if the undecideds are to have a balanced view of the options.

MYTH: The Coalition is the best manager of the economy
This is what Stephen Koukoulas wrote in The Drum at the end of last year: “The Liberal Party and many conservative commentators suggest that the size of government in Australia under the current Labor Government is too big. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has said the current government "is addicted to taxes" and that it "is spending like a drunken sailor… mortgaging our future". In a similar vein, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says: "Labor has shown it is incapable of cutting spending”. Either these comments are deliberate mistruths or reflect the lack of understanding of budget policy from people who, within a year, could well be prime minister and treasurer.

“The facts of the budget show that the current government's budgetary footprint on the economy is small, running at the lowest level in 35 years. The current small government is made up of both low tax receipts and record cuts in government spending.”

The Kouk concludes: “In what should be an embarrassing fact for Mr Hockey, 2012-13 will see real government spending fall 4.4 per cent, the biggest cut ever recorded. This cut will see the government spending to GDP ratio fall to 23.8 per cent, having previously been ramped up to successfully counter the shock from the global financial crisis. This level of spending is 0.4 per cent of GDP below the average government spending level of the Howard government. In today's dollar terms, the 0.4 per cent of GDP amounts to around $6 billion.

“All of this suggests that the current government and the Labor Party more generally are low taxing and the only side of politics willing to cut spending when required.”

Add to that assessment the fact that during the first mining boom when there was rivers of gold flowing into the Treasury, instead of saving this ‘for a rainy day’, John Howard and Peter Costello chose to reduce tax and give overly generous middle class welfare handouts, all to attract votes, thereby creating a now unsustainable structural deficit in the budget that will bedevil governments and treasurers until they have the courage to tell the people that the age of such entitlements is over, are increasingly unaffordable, and need to be discontinued. Joe Hockey knows this, but his leader won’t have a bar of it, as it would lose him votes. The Howard government also neglected infrastructure, creating a structural deficit that will consume many billions in the years ahead.

The evidence points decisively to the incontrovertible fact that during the Howard/Costello years the Coalition was not the great economic manager it is pumped up to have been, and that Labor has been a superior manager of the economy, so much so that it has a triple A rating from all three rating agencies for the first time in its history, is regarded as the best managed economy in the developed world, remains the envy of other countries, and attracts the admiration of economists world wide.

The continual denigration of Labor and its financial management, and the persistent talking down of the economy by the Coalition and sycophantic journalists, has led voters to really believe the myth that Labor is a poor economic manager, and the Coalition is better. Yet myth is it. Erase it from memory. Indeed, economic management is one of Labor’s very strong points.

MYTH: Labor did not save Australia from the global financial crisis
The Coalition, its finance spokesmen, and Coalition-oriented journalists insist that it was the sound state of the economy gifted to Labor by the Howard/Costello Government, the burgeoning Chinese economy, the minerals boom, and RBA monetary policy that saved us from the GFC. Some scarcely acknowledge that there was a GFC at all. “What crisis?” said Joe Hockey. They still refuse to accept the continuing and devastating fallout from the GFC all across the globe.

This is the assessment of Politifact. Richard Holden writes: “So, was the Rudd Government brilliant, lucky, or reckless?

“My reading is: brilliant. For sure, they had a lot of other factors supporting the economy that many other countries did not have: a central bank with the decisiveness, and room, to slash interest rates; a major trading partner (i.e. China) enacting a massive stimulus of their own; and a very flexible exchange rate. They also arguably "played it safe" by following advice from Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.

“But two things merit the term "brilliant". One: the resolve to use overwhelming fiscal force, particularly in the face of political opposition; and two: the sophistication to understand the importance of shoring-up the banking system through deposit guarantees (announced in October, 2008).

“Together these gave Australians confidence that we would weather the crisis. That confidence prevented the kind of expectations death spiral from which the US is still battling to recover.

“Franklin Roosevelt was right. In times like 2008 "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself". Oh, and a government that doesn’t realize that stimulus only works if it’s big, bold and credible.”

Labor did save us from the dire affects of the GFC. To say otherwise is a myth, one to be discarded.

MYTH: The cost of living has risen out of control under Labor
This is Stephen Koukoulas’ assessment of this myth: “To summarise, the average household is taking home $17,250 a year more in after tax income than in late 2007, paying $6,100 a year less in mortgage repayments and their cost of living has risen by $9,240. Netting this out means a gain of over $14,000 a year. For this average household and frankly millions like them, the cost of living issue is a complete furphy, a lie and a distortion that sounds appealing but is baseless in fact.

“It is odd that so few many people realise or care to acknowledge just how well off they are.”

Read too what Tom Allard has to say in Life is much better under Labor after all, says study.

Another myth exploded. Forget it.

MYTH: There has been a wage blowout under Labor
Writing in The Guardian, Greg Jericho says: “…two weeks’ ago the latest Wage Price Index was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics; it showed that the annual increase in wages is a mere 3% – the lowest such increase, outside the period of the global financial crisis, for the past 10 years.” Later he writes: “After the GFC, and the introduction of the Fair Work Act, real wages recovered to the pre-GFC average growth of about 1%. But…they have now fallen to 0.4% annual growth.”

Later, referring to the assessment of the RBA, Jericho writes: “…it noted, “Unit labour costs ... declined over the year, with the sharp slowing in the growth of average earnings more than offsetting an easing in labour productivity growth from its recent fast pace.”

Another myth debunked. It is nothing more than a furphy perpetuated by Coalition IR spokesman Eric Abetz to support his push for Abbott’s changes to Fair Work Australia to ‘return IR to the sensible centre’.

MYTH: Cutting corporate taxes will boost real wage growth
The Coalition’s ‘Our Plan’ states: “By cutting corporate taxes we…boost real wage growth”. This was subject to examination by The Australian Institute’s Facts Fight Back. The finding: There is serious doubt that the academic and theoretical work underpinning the claim is valid in the Australian context and the available evidence does not support the claim.

Another myth down the drain. Ignore it.

MYTH: Labor has done nothing for small and medium business enteprises
This myth is common among business lobbies. Let’s read what Rob Burgess says in Business Spectator in Labor's SME 'failure' is a myth: “It’s been worrying…to see people who should know better asserting that Labor has done absolutely nothing for small business, unlike the angelic Coalition governments of John Howard. That’s a staggering position to take given that the Abbott-led Coalition voted for round one of the $10.8 billion Rudd stimulus package in 2008 – a cash splash and infrastructure splurge that kept retailers, sub-contractors and many other SME sectors alive as the first wave of GFC pain hit the nation. The Coalition did not vote for the second round of stimulus in 2009. But that $42 billion adrenalin shot to the economy, besides $950 cheques to most households, included ‘hardship bonuses’ of $950 to 21,000 farmers and farm-dependent small businesses, and $2.7 billion in additional investment tax breaks for SMEs.

“Small businesses were also the main beneficiaries of the ‘school halls’ and ‘pink batts’ schemes. Both have been attacked as administrative stuff-ups… The overspend on school halls became the main criticism of that scheme. Some cost a lot more than market value, but overall the final cost blowout was about 14 per cent.

“The logic of slamming that as one of the biggest wastes of government money ever is utterly insupportable… It prevented the financial collapse of thousands of small businesses and individual contractors and that was its primary purpose…”

Burgess concludes: “…failing to recognise the good Labor did in the SME space in the past six years is partisan revisionism that really helps no one.”

So it’s a myth that Labor has done nothing for SMEs. Indeed, some of the existing benefits are those the Coalition is now threatening to remove: instant asset tax write-offs and loss carry-backs.

MYTH: Labor’s NBN will cost over $90 billion
Peter Martin quotes PolitiFact that finds Turnbull's claim that Labor's NBN would eventually cost $94 billion possible but unverifiable. It rates it "half true".

Turnbull continually quotes the $94 billion figure and compares it with his estimated cost of his NBN-Lite. The estimated cost of Labor’s NBN was $37.4 billion, (but it may blow out to $44.1 billion,) but that is not a bottom line figure in the Federal Budget. It is an investment that will achieve an estimated 7% ROI when fully deployed. It is fiscally inept to treat it as an expense. The only ongoing expense to the budget is interest on money borrowed to fund the NBN rollout. Turnbull knows this very well, but still perpetuates his myths about the NBN.

It is a unverifiable myth that Labor’s NBN will cost $94 billion, three times as much as the Coalition’s NBN-Lite.

MYTH: The Coalition’s NBN will be cheaper, roll out sooner and be more affordable
Malcolm Turnbull states the cost of his NBN-Lite FTTN will be $29.5 billion. In response, Stevej on NBN quotes Professor Reg Coutts, a member of a seven member Expert Panel: “Essentially to go down the FTTN road would mean something in the order of greater than 50 per cent of the capital being put into digital cabinets in the suburbs…They then become an obstacle to the final solution… fibre-to-the-premise. Fibre-to-the-node is not a stepping stone to fibre-to-the-premise.” Stevej goes on: “…what was a really bad, uneconomic idea in January 2009 is now a worse idea.” He concludes: “If Turnbull wins office, we're going to hear a lot about Labor’s "costs", "waste" and "poor economic management". We won't hear the truth from him that he's planned to land the Australian taxpayer with a $30 billion write-off, courtesy of his ill-advised and wasteful FTTN.” This weekend in Despite News Ltd, Turnbull WILL kill NBN, if he wants Stevej says: “If Turnbull was really committed to building an NBN, why has he crafted a "plan" that is so complex and so riddled with omissions that the Parliamentary Budget Office cannot cost it?...Turnbull is either incompetent, which I don't believe, or working very hard to hide some very unpalatable facts."

In this weekend’s The Conversation Rod Tucker writes: “Will the Coalition’s NBN provide value for money? Compared with Labor’s FTTP NBN, which will be easily upgradeable to ultra-broadband capacity when new applications come on line, the Coalition’s FTTN NBN is a short-term, limited-bandwidth solution. At a whopping two-thirds of the cost of the vastly superior FTTP NBN, the Coalition’s NBN stacks up as waste of money.”

Forget the myth that the Coalition’s NBN-Lite FTTN is a cheaper and better option than Labor’s NBN FTTP. It isn’t, and Turnbull knows it.

The myths listed above are related to the economy and the NBN, but to illustrate that they extend beyond these areas, try this one:

MYTH: Immunization rates have fallen under Labor
The ABC’s Fact Check says this: “Given the overall vaccination rates across all three age groups over the period of the Labor governments has either remained stable or increased, Mr Abbott's claim that "this Government (has) presided over a reduction in vaccination rates" is wrong.

Another myth exploded.

There are many, many more, but to include them all would take the whole piece. I trust there are sufficient though to convince undecided voters that to make a considered choice of which party to support, these myths need to be discarded, and the mind cleansed of their pernicious influence. Indeed, in exploding these myths, Labor’s strengths are exposed for all to see.

Now let’s look at why undecideds should say yes, yes, yes to Labor.

Space dictates that just a handful of reasons be used to illustrate why.

Economic management
What has been written above suffices to support the quality of Labor’s economic management. Its brilliant carriage of the Australian economy through the GFC and to this day, its moderation of the cost of living, its achievement of low inflation and interest rates, its control of wage rises, its contribution to productivity, and its strong support for small and medium business stamp Labor as a sound economic manager, one that could be safely entrusted to manage it well in the decade ahead.

In contrast, the Coalition’s record of achievement pales into insignificance, is built on a belief in free markets and light regulation, and on cost cutting and austerity, but is redolent with deceit, another piece of which we saw publicized this week: the Liberal’s ‘Cost of Labor Calculator’. Greg Jericho delightfully debunks this downloadable app in an article in The Guardian. He concludes: “Dodgy cost calculators make for a great toy when you are trying to win an election, but as long as political parties treat voters like idiots and refuse to give them the full picture on such issues, we will forever be denied the chance of a proper debate. And while complaining about cost of living sounds like a great idea when you are in opposition, shifty claims about reducing the cost of living inevitably come back to bite you when in government.” Is it any wonder there is an insistent clamour for the Coalition to release its costings immediately?

Labor has the runs on the board for economic management. The Coalition, with its history of profligate spending, the unnecessary extension of middle class welfare, and its intention to slash and burn, doesn’t.

National Broadband Network
The clearly superior NBN offered by Labor trumps the inefficient, costly and inadequate NBN-Lite of the Coalition.

Labor’s NBN holds great promise for commerce, industry, science, agribusiness, service industries, education, health, and aged and disability care, as well as having enormous potential in the field of telecommunications. Its contribution to competitiveness will be massive. It will enable work from home and thereby reduce commuter traffic and pollution. Australia deserves the best to compete in a global economy. And in the fullness of time, the NBN will turn a profit, and repay the investment in it.

Labor’s NBN is what this nation needs.

The ground breaking reforms inherent in Labor’s Better Schools Plan (Gonski) will revolutionize school funding, cater for the disadvantaged, and enhance fairness in schooling. Added to a national curriculum, the MySchool website, NAPLAN, enhanced teacher education, more teachers, and incentives for better teachers, the foundations of a strong and equitable system of schooling are already in place. Labor will retain and improve it. Despite being on 'a unity ticket' with Labor, the Coalition does not show the same determination. It does not believe the funding system is broken, has committed to fund only the first four years, not the expensive years five and six, and wants to encourage public schools to become independent.

Labor has increased university funding, has created 190,000 new higher education places and 50,000 apprenticeships and training places, and will spend $14.3 billion in skills and training over the next four years.

Education has been a signature policy area for Labor. It has done more in its two terms than the previous government ever did.

From the outset, Labor has focussed on improving the health care system. It has moved to better integrate the contributions of State and Federal governments, often against resistance. Its efforts have been directed to enhancing community-based primary care and prevention through Medicare Locals and GP Superclinics, cancer care through many new centres, aged and dementia care, disability care through the groundbreaking NDIS, mental health care, and dental care. The NBN is seen as a crucial tool in home monitoring to keep the aged and disabled at home, to enable remote consultations, and to extend medical technology by bringing city expertise to regional and remote areas.

Health is another signature policy area of Labor. The originator of Medicare and the NDIS, it has always been superior to the Coalition, and will do even more in the future.

Industrial Relations
This is yet another signature policy area for Labor. It was responsible for the changes to WorkChoices that removed its punitive aspects. It has always been a champion of workers. It remains the defender of fairness in the workplace that would be threatened by an Abbott government, one hell bent on complying with business demands for ‘more flexibility’ and a ‘move of the IR pendulum to the sensible centre’.

Labor was the first to introduce an affordable paid parental leave scheme, now threatened by Abbott’s unaffordable and inequitable PPL, being marketed as a workplace entitlement like annual leave.

IR is Labor’s long suit; it is the Coalition’s bête noir.

Labor has embarked on the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history – its NBN. Bigger even than the Snowy Mountains Scheme, it promises to elevate Australia into the top echelon in the communications world, thereby ensuring international competitiveness as it facilitates manufacturing, agriculture, service industries, tourism, education and health care.

Labor has made record spending on transport infrastructure in its six-year term. It favours, and has costed the Melbourne-Brisbane fast rail project and intends to proceed. Tony Abbott wants to be the ‘infrastructure prime minister’, but is stuck on roads, and against urban rail. He would have a lot of catching up to do.

Labor has a fine track record of infrastructure development, and would continue in this vein. The Coalition would be in catch-up mode.

Labor has been supportive of the struggling car industry, recognizing that beyond the 50,000 direct car-building jobs, there are 200,000 jobs supporting the industry. The Coalition is indifferent, and disinclined to offer support, operating from a ‘survival of the fittest’ mindset.

Ship-building is set for a boost if Labor is re-elected with the building of more Navy frigates in Melbourne. The possibility of moving Navy assets from Garden Island to Queensland opens up new opportunities for manufacturing.

Labor is manufacturing’s best bet. It plans to open up new industries as older ones fade during the transition that is in train. The Coalition never mentions the needed transition.

This is a most vexed area. On the positive side, Labor proposes to increase the humanitarian intake eventually to 27,000. The Coalition intends to curtail it. Labor has taken many steps against people smugglers, including the recent arrests in Australia. The Coalition’s policies become more and more retaliatory by the day, this week scrapping free legal services for asylum seekers.

Labor’s track record is not good, but is less punitive than the Coalition’s.

Climate change and the environment
Labor has a price on carbon that will evolve to an emissions trading scheme with worldwide trading in mid-2014. The Coalition does not take global warming seriously. It has a discredited Direct Action Plan that analysts Reputex say will have a $35 billion cost blowout in achieving its emissions reduction target!

So much for the ridiculous 15,000 strong Green Army, cleaning up waterways and planting 20 million trees in countless hectares of semi-arable land!

Labor’s approach to global warming is based on science, is feasible, and is already reducing our emissions and power usage. It encourages the development of renewables. The Coalition’s approach is virtually the reverse and will be ineffectual. The choice between them is easy and logical.

Labor’s insistence on fairness, equity, and concern for the disadvantaged, permeates all its policies. It is the party that supports the less well off, the disadvantaged and the disabled, those that need a hand. It seeks to close the gap between the richest and the poorest. The Coalition is less concerned about those at the bottom of the pile, supports those at the top, and believes the ‘trickle down’ theory of economics works, which study after study shows is not the case. The contrast between the ideologies of the two parties is stark and telling.

Any undecided that seeks to live in a fair and equitable society has no choice other than Labor.

This piece is already long enough. I trust that having exploded the many myths that have been spread about Labor, myths that turn out to be strengths, and having shown how much Labor has done in the last six years, more than any prior government, most of it the excellent work of Julia Gillard, work that Kevin Rudd now seeks to carry on, undecideds will be convinced that Labor is the most obvious choice for the next three years, and that the Coalition offers far less.

The Economist agrees: “The choice between a man with a defective manifesto and one with a defective personality is not appealing – but Mr Rudd gets our vote, largely because of Labor’s decent record. With deficits approaching, his numbers look more likely to add up than Mr Abbott’s.”

Labor has had its upheavals and its leadership unrest, but on sheer performance, on its forward-looking strategy for this nation, despite what most of the media says to the contrary, it is a long way ahead of the Coalition.

Labor has the long term vision and the coherent plans for the period of transition ahead and for the decades ahead; the Coalition does not.

So undecideds, say yes, yes, yes to Labor.

Should you decide to ‘Disseminate this post’, it will be emailed to: Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Anthony Albanese, Julie Bishop, Chris Bowen, David Bradbury, George Brandis, Tony Burke, Mark Butler, Bob Carr, Jason Clare, Mark Dreyfus, Craig Emerson, Joel Fitzgibbon, Julia Gillard, Joe Hockey, Greg Hunt, Ed Husic, Barnaby Joyce, Bob Katter, Andrew Leigh, Jenny Macklin, Richard Marles, Tanya Plibersek, Christopher Pyne, Andrew Robb, Kevin Rudd, Bill Shorten, Tony Smith, Wayne Swan, Warren Truss, Malcolm Turnbull, Andrew Wilkie, Penny Wong and Nick Xenophon.