Bill Shorten got hit by a double decker karma bus

Bill Shorten got hit by a double decker karma bus, by Peter Van Onselen.

Bill Shorten’s loss must be personally devastating for him. I’ve heard that his house was half packed up, ready for the move into The Lodge. I know shadow ministers were organising post election briefings with heads of department, as well as lining up new names to take on such roles after the election. Shorten had already planned the timing and agenda of his first cabinet meeting before counting even started. …

Labelling the franking credits policy a “retiree tax” was deeply misleading. It only affected four per cent of retirees. …

Then there was the scare campaign on death duties. Yes some Labor frontbenchers has written about the virtue of inheritance taxes in the past — such as Andrew Leigh during his time in academia. But it wasn’t Labor policy, had been specifically ruled out by Shorten, and the chances of Labor ever changing their minds and introducing death taxes were zero. Yet the scare campaign persisted. …

While I would welcome reforms to ensure truth in political advertising, without them the bottom line is Shorten was hit by a double decker karma bus. Because he launched an equally invalid, misleading and false scare campaign against the government back in 2016. The Mediscare campaign was effective. It almost cost Malcolm Turnbull the election. It certainly reduced his majority. It drew Labor close enough such that Shorten’s campaigning skills were praised and Labor’s performance defied expectations. It meant Anthony Albanese couldn’t challenge the always unpopular Shorten.

What goes around comes around. A Labor scare campaign in 2016 saves Shorten’s leadership and crippled the authority of the then PM in the election’s aftermath. A Liberal scare campaign in 2019 cost Shorten the prime ministership and has sured up Scott Morrison’s authority as PM.