Yes, Mums and Dads, Malcolm wants you. He wants you, he wants you, he wants you as a new recruit.
Sing it with me now….
With the Liberals, you can watch Malcolm Shoot the Breeze
With the Liberals, Nodding with Tony he agrees
With the Liberals, come and join the born to rule brand
With the Liberals, against the worker take a stand.
I mean where else can you find pleasure? Search the world for treasure?
Learn science technology? Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true?
On the land or on the sea? But with the Liberals? (or so they want us to think)
A clever positioning of the demographic – all is fair in love and politics
Linked to the Liberals’ strategy to promote Mum and Dad businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors etc., is that any criticism of this strategy can be misconstrued as disrespecting hard working mum and dad business owners. The Liberal’s appear to be bouncing an election strategy off the hard work and dedication of many who have made a success and are offering this to all mums and dads as the easy-don’t-have-to-work-hard-for-it panacea to all of their world problems. They have positioned this demographic as such, to try to make it difficult for Labor to speak out against their policies, without the Liberals trying to wedge Labor as not supporting the demographic targeted – regular mums and dads.
This blog post is not about critiquing mum and dad business owners or investors. It is about the use of a particular demographic “Mums and Dads” in emotive marketing and as a tool of deception in an election campaign.
The Mum and Dad Narrative
When Turnbull was in his Communications Portfolio happily destroying the NBN, he was strongly arguing for mums and dads along with pesky students to be sued by Film Studios (Which the CEO of Village Roadshow laughed at by the way.)
Now he is Prime Minister, all he talks about is how great mums and dads are.
In the last few months, he has used mum and dad property investors as the Investors to protect from Labor’s Negative Gearing policy. Though he has no sympathy for mum and dad renters who will be able to purchase one home that they will probably live in forever, under Labor’s new scheme.
He has used mum and dad owner-drivers as the owner drivers to be protected from the RSRT and the key driver for the abolishment of same. However, other’s have pointed out that this was not driven by mum and dad owner drivers, but larger corporations.
In his statement to sell his version of “innovation” he has used mum and dad investors and entrepreneurs as the target group to enjoy tax breaks and create start-ups and think beyond real estate and blue-chip stocks and diversify their nest egg. Never mind the highly educated young people who should be encouraged, or single tech wizards or entrepreneurial friends, but it is mums and dads who are touted as the new breed of innovative entrepreneur. Because, you know, all regular mums and dads have ‘real estate and blue-chip stocks and a nest egg.’
Agenda Setting and Priming by the Media
The media are intrinsically woven into election campaigns. They have the ability to set the agenda by framing narrative or topics through a particular lens and use that to sway votes. Turnbull needs the media to frame his narrative about mums and dads as ‘the modern worker’ as a positive for the Turnbull campaign, but so far the response from this journalist seems more tongue in cheek, than setting the agenda and priming voters with this message.
This is a subtle hint that journalists are seeing the ‘mum and dad’ pattern woven into every answer to every question. Below is either a case of clever journalism or mum and dad contagion:
When the mums and dads of Australia come to vote on July 2 or whenever else –
Prime Minister, do you really think that the mums and dads of Australia are going to be as seized with the building industry as you are? How do you make the link between what we see here today, and the ABCC, and their lives?
(Excerpt from Doorstop Tuesday 19 April 2016)
Turnbull’s Impression Management
Turnbull is between a rock and a hard place. He built up a persona through self-impression management to win votes in his own electorate. I view him as a chameleon. A man who does not particularly believe in anything, but manages his self-impressions for what is deemed vital for him to survive at the time. The false-world he has built himself in his pursuit of the Prime Ministership now has him stuck between the false world he created and the real-world of the right wing party he signed up to and now leads.
Essentially, Turnbull has managed his self-impressions extremely well for so long and has painted the public a very convincing false impression of the world he would lead. Now he is the Prime Minister and because of his real-world actions, the public are doubting if he can actually deliver, the paint is so flaky it is just peeling off.
There is a term to describe what we see happening to Turnbull and that term is “Face.” If the false world does not match reality or that person can’t deliver they don’t ‘maintain face.’ The difference between Abbott and Turnbull is that Abbott ‘maintained face’ before the election and lost it after he gained power.
I know people criticise Abbott, but because he built realistic impressions of who he actually is, it is my opinion that Abbott had a stronger chance than Turnbull in the election, if he was given an election period to play with. Turnbull struggling and losing face at this point, so early in the election campaign period, should have the Liberal party campaign team seriously worried.
Using impressions to create a false world
This election campaign is clearly being fought as a class war (workers/unions vs. the big end of town). So how does Turnbull try to maintain a self-impression that he is still the supportive-Malcolm he has built up in the false world he has previously created? To satisfy the message of the right (anti-union) he needs to create a new false world where the mum and dad-owner-investor-start-up-entrepreneurial-innovative-worker are the new class of modern worker to be protected (and all without those pesky unions).
In a class war election, it is essential that the Liberals counter Labor’s record of standing up for the worker. The Liberals hate unions and oppose workers in general and their main campaign will be rubbishing unions – ie workers and they will use as much as they can from TURC. In fact, the premise that unions need to be torn down is significant in motive behind this DD election.
“We are a Government that believes in the mum and dads of Australia who mortgage their homes to go and buy a truck so they can be their own boss and say no to the union…” Turnbull 19/04/2016
This links back to the impression management of creating a false world for the voting public that most mums and dads just have the ability to a) even own a home or b) mortgage that home and to c) have all the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to create a viable competitive business and d) create the false impression that mums and dads are oppressed (or unions equal no freedom) and must free themselves from the oppression of a union.
Turnbull is repainting mum and dad small business owners and investors as the proletariat rather than the capitalist bourgeoisie. I think this will be their key driver to set themselves up with emotive marketing as ‘caring for the worker’, whilst in the same breath bashing unions.
Before the election is over, the Liberals will exhaust every avenue to convince voters that every small business, investor, entrepreneur or start-up venturist and the struggling multiple property owner, all have regular mums and dads as the centrepiece. These groups will not be represented by siblings, friends and relatives, young people or singles. Definitely no super wealthy millionaires who have inherited bucket-loads of money and pretend they are ‘self-made’ will be included.
This is another key example of the Liberals pretending to be who they are not and Malcolm Turnbull pretending to be who he is not. The Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are NOT pro-worker, they are pro-capitalist.
The clear difference is Shorten has and is still self-managing realistic impressions for who he actually is, not who he thinks people want him to be. That is the difference between honesty and dishonesty. With Turnbull setting the campaign agenda on “Trust” voters need to think hard about this.
I predict that the accusations by the Liberals against Labor for holding back mum and dad businesses will become increasingly rabid as the campaign shapes up. We have already seen the Liberals organise protests with truck drivers for a piece of Legislation that they had the power to abolish (which they did). They essentially protested against themselves – the Government, which is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen happen in politics. They truly still believe they are in opposition.
Whilst Labor battles to give our children the education required for the future and save Medicare and implementing fair policies to give us a fair go, the Liberals will try to smack Labor over the head for not lifting up mums and dads.
It is up to the voters (and the media’s agenda setting) to see through the smoke and mirrors of this tactic.
Recruitment to a Liberal Utopia – Sign up’s on the right
Malcolm will paint Mum and Dads of Australia a Liberal/Libertarian Utopia in a real lot of words, where everyone works for themselves and the unemployed, homeless, pensioners, welfare recipients do not exist. In time, these groups will be bracketed and labelled as “choosing not to ‘make it’. This is an underlying construct of the Liberals’ ideology.
More importantly, under the Liberal ideology, everyone is in charge of their own destiny. Being a Malcolm recruited mum and dad businesses or investor, the Liberals will encourage mums and dads to think that they will be a success like Malcolm and the taxpayer will no longer need to fund hospitals, Medicare, Schools, NBN, community housing or Infrastructure. This will save us a lot of taxpayer dollars, because mums and dads all be able to afford to pay their own way, just like Malcolm. This is the ideological Liberal Party dream in real terms. This is creating a false impression of a world that does not exist.
This is linking the self-impression of ‘self-made Malcolm’ to the creating of the false world where everyone can be a success, if only they try hard enough. (Here, Turnbull is really getting right down into the Liberal ideology, more so than Abbott every did.)
I predict, this message about mums and dads will be delivered at all opportunities, even awkward ones where the message doesn’t really fit. Like in Question Time where a serious question was asked about cancer and blood tests and Malcolm Turnbull, laughed and started talking about the RSRT (which he abolished for the ‘mum and dad’ truck-drivers.)
What Turnbull won’t tell the mums and dads – The real world impression
I see the Turnbull Government selling mums and dads a new Australia. A Utopia where they will have the freedom of not working for someone else. What he won’t tell voters is how many hours mum and dad small businesses must work to stay afloat, or the financial and family sacrifices that are necessary. He won’t tell voters about the worry of paying business taxes and he won’t tell you when consumer spending is down how tough it will actually be. He won’t tell you about the special individual qualities of tenacity and drive that are a necessity, nor will he mention the part about the ever-evolving visionary process to remain competitive. He certainly won’t tell you about the implications of flooding certain markets with new competitors, when there may not be enough demand for your service or product to remain viable. He will just tell mums and dads about freedom from the shackles of labour by rejecting Labor.
Liberal Voter Recruitment Side Effects
Will Turnbull be successful with creating this false world where Mums and Dads are the saviours of our future and the new modern worker? I hope not, but if recruitment to Liberal voting is successful, severe side effects of recruitment may persist after signing up. These are:
No Gonski – No real fairness in education
No Gonski – STEM jobs at risk
People still locked out of the housing market
Inferior NBN – costing our nation jobs
Destruction of Medicare, Privatisation and Fee for Service co-payments
No Marriage Equality and a very expensive opinion poll
A risk to the increase of the GST
A risk of non-monetary payments introduced instead of wages
A return to unfair work choices and individual contracts
No investigation into the Banking sector
Multi-nationals continuing to not pay their fair share of taxes
If you do not like any of these side-effects of recruitment to the Liberals as a Liberal or National Party voter, the only preventative medicine is to: