Bill Shorten speaks at a volunteers rally in front of red Labor banners, in the style of American campaigning. Picture: Kym Smith
Bill Shorten speaks at a volunteers rally in front of red Labor banners, in the style of American campaigning. Picture: Kym Smith

Shorten’s US-style campaign can’t hide Labor’s bad record

Bill Shorten was trying to channel Barack Obama yesterday, with an America-style rally in Burwood in the marginal Liberal seat of Reid in Sydney's inner-west, complete with young Labor volunteers brandishing red banners behind him.

Shorten also has been channelling Tony Abbott, circa 2013, with a penchant for hi-vis vests as he hits the campaign trail in trademark klunky style.

He shares with Abbott the mantle of deeply unpopular Opposition Leader. Having been in the job for six years, Shorten has scored the highest number of negative satisfaction ratings of any opposition leader in history.

His supporters cite Abbott to dismiss Shorten's dismal appeal as irrelevant, pointing out that the member for Warringah won a landslide victory in 2013 despite his unpopularity.

The difference is, of course, that Labor's Rudd-Gillard-Rudd fiasco had well and truly worn out the public's patience.

Labor limped to the line in 2013 having delivered nothing but deficits, debt and baked-in social spending, 50,000 illegal boat arrivals, 1000 deaths at sea and countless bungled policies, from deadly pink batts to school halls no one wanted, as well as hated imposts such as the carbon and mining taxes.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Shorten in 2018. Picture: Lukas Coch
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Shorten in 2018. Picture: Lukas Coch

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison period, by contrast, has been far more sensible, despite its own descent into regicide, with wins on border protection, record jobs growth and an imminent budget surplus. It's hardly the basket case Rudd hauled into the 2013 election, which makes Shorten's unpopularity far more relevant.

That's why Prime Minister Scott Morrison loses no chance to exploit his opponent's popularity deficit: "If you vote for me, you'll get me," he likes to say. "You vote for Bill Shorten and you'll get Bill Shorten."

Say no more.



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