Shorten delivers last rites to the Hawke-Keating model

Shorten delivers last rites to the Hawke-Keating model, by Simon Benson.

What little was left of the traditional Labor model under the Keating and Hawke governments died with Bill Shorten’s speech to the press club yesterday.

The Labor leader delivered a hollow but unquestionably populist manifesto that sought to tap the rich vein of discontent in the community.

In defining Labor’s vision for the year ahead, Shorten borrowed from the playbook of the radical UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who used to great effect the concept of the “left-behind society” by exploiting class envy in an appeal to the disaffected. It almost won Corbyn an election. …

The speech was a vision of an empowered union movement and interventionist government based on a bombastic class-driven promise to carve up and redistribute Australia’s wealth by taxing high income workers more and everybody else less.

The rhetoric around the disenfranchised drew an obvious ring around low-income workers, welfare recipients, students and pensioners. These have become the Labor “dependants”.

Where Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan drew the income line between the haves and have nots at $150k, Shorten has lowered the bar to $87k. …

On energy policy, Shorten appeared to suggest the path to lowering energy prices was to build more wind farms.

Old Labor has been submerged under the new Labor of identity politics.