Would you give either of these people a job?
The most illuminating observation about this campaign I’ve heard thus far wasn’t from someone whose job it is to report and make observations about politics, but, as is generally the case, someone who tunes in and out and has the ability to see the forest for the moving forward.
At a farewell drinks at a rather mouldy old Melbourne pub it was pointed out to me by a well-informed but not particularly politically engaged friend, that if any of us spoke like Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott do at press conferences and interviews we’d have a hard time getting a job:
“If I sat in a job interview and said Moving Forward 23 times and didn’t answer any of the questions you’d be cut off half way through and told to start making sense or told to leave. And it’s like Abbott can make an argument on boat people that doesn’t make any sense and that’s just the way things are. I can’t get away with that at work,” I was told with splashing pot glass in hand.
Maybe try to view the election campaign as what it ostensibly is: a five week job interview. So far I’m struggling to understand why the two Prime Ministerial applicants and a lot of their candidates are allowed talk and act in a way that would wouldn’t see them employed in any other job.
I’m generally loath to argue there’s ever been a golden era in politics or the media when things were much better, but the present obsession with packaging and presenting rhetoric that defies comprehension is that it obscures a politicians’ ability to sell their actual policies.
Take Julia Gillard on Alan Jones. I wouldn’t ever want to be interviewed for a job by Alan Jones, but it was probably the first time Gillard’s been in a position where she’s been captive, job-interview style, and been forced to (albeit with Jones theatrics) answer straight questions about her Government’s policy.
You can listen to the full interview here, but the upshot is Gillard couldn’t answer a pretty simple question as to when the company tax rate will actually be cut. This isn’t some obscure gotcha stuff - it’s a key policy that the Government itself is lauding as central to its re-election.
Why can’t the Prime Minister answer a legitimate question on her own policy? Perhaps because she’s been memorizing the same speech to deliver a thousand different ways rather than just answer the question at hand.
Tony Abbott was snookered a couple of times last week on industrial relations with some good work by Neil Mitchell, his answers largely unconvincing and unintelligible and forcing him to sign a meaningless pledge not to reintroduce WorkChoices.
How about you just tell us straight up what you plan to do Tony? You know, like the rest of us would be expected to do if we wanted a job.
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