Politics, Poetry and Reviews

Victorian State Election 2018 – Meet the Australian Labor Party (ALP)

I don’t have time to read all of this!
The Basics


Website: https://www.viclabor.com.au/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VictorianLabor/
Current leader & Campaign page: Daniel Andrews
Themes: Centre left, a bit more left than other Labor branches.  Big on infrastructure, especially public transport, education, hospitals.  Pro-union.

With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket

Like many other parties this year, the ALP are more consistent in who they don’t like than who they do.  All of their tickets put the Australian Liberty Alliance last, and the Liberal / National Party second last.  The Democratic Labour Party and Australian Country Party are also always in the bottom five, but the fifth member varies a bit.  Wherever there are ungrouped independents, they are in the bottom five.  Other contenders are Hudson for Northern Victoria, Health Australia and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

At the top of the ballot, there is more variation.  Fiona Patten’s Reason Party and Transport Matters are almost always in the top five.  I’m pleased to see that in South Eastern Metropolitan, they put the grouped independents who are campaigning to end violence against women first on their ballot.  Sustainable Australia, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and the Animal Justice Party tend to be in the top five a fair bit, as do the Socialists.  The Greens are either in the top five or just outside it.  Once or twice the Liberal Democrats and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers make it in.

I’m getting a bit of a sense again that some of the variation in these ballots relates to what is likely to be popular with voters in that region, but I can’t be certain.

The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations

The ALP gets lots and lots of media coverage without any help from me, so I’m not going to do a deep dive into their policies on this blog. Though I do want to at least acknowledge how much I completely adore the plan for a gigantic outer railway loop, even though I’m likely to be too old to enjoy it by the time it’s built…

I will take a quick look at their slogan, though, because I do think that the way parties market themselves tells us a lot about both their values and what they think of their electorate.  Victorian Labor has chosen to go with ‘We’re delivering for all Victorians’.  This is nice and straightforward – it feels down to earth and not too fancy, and basically says ‘if you like what we’ve been doing, vote for  us, and you’ll get more of the same’.

There are two key parts of this slogan.  ‘We’re delivering’ is a very confident starting point from a government whose biggest selling point is that it has been getting things done.  The slogan invites the voter to look at its track record over the last four years and vote accordingly.

(My brain has decided that the accompaniment track for this slogan is ‘If you like it, then you’d better put a ring on it.  You’re welcome.)

The other part is ‘all Victorians’.  Not just the inner city elites.  Not just the salt of the earth country types.  Not just the people who’ve been here for generations.  Everyone.  This is about inclusiveness.  (And probably about not scaremongering over African gangs.  If the Liberals are dogwhistling with their talk of crimewaves, then Labor is dogwhistling right back by talking about ‘all Victorians’…)

Essentially, the values that the ALP thinks will appeal to the voters is a track record of doing stuff, and being inclusive.  This is very classic ALP territory – they have a long history of being pro-multiculturalism, and they are, traditionally, the party of the working class.  Infrastructure is what we want from them, and that, it appears, is what we will be getting.  I’m pretty OK with these values.

I should probably note, for the sake of transparency, that I’ve been really liking what the Andrews government has been doing, and am seriously considering putting Labor first on my ticket, which is not something I’ve done before.   This is not because I think the ALP has behaved perfectly.  Refusing to cooperate with police investigations into rorts for votes is not a great look, for example.  On the other hand, I am a big fan of improved infrastructure and public transport, and I’ve appreciated his government’s approach to refugees, and refusal to be drawn by the racist tactics of the far right.  I am very glad to see the ALA right down at the bottom of their ballot!

Mostly, though, I just like the fact that the Andrews government has been coming up with positive policies and then actually implementing them.  This is, in my view, what governments are supposed to do, and it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of from the Federal government in some years.

I’m hoping that if the ALP wins big in Victoria on a platform of Doing Actual Stuff, that this might inspire Bill Shorten to think – hey, having actual policies worked for Victoria – maybe we should try this federally!  (I’m an incurable optimist, I know…)

Because I’m looking ahead to the Federal election, and right now the ALP looks likely to win that purely by default. Which, don’t get me wrong, is still preferable in my book to a Coalition victory.  But it would be so *nice* if instead of winning by default, the ALP would have the courage to campaign on policy, rather than on not being the Liberal party.

I am so, so tired of this whole ‘politics as a team sport’ approach, where the goals are about kicking your opponents in the shins rather than actually doing something for your electorate.

So yeah.  I may find myself seduced by a tiny party or an independent.  But I think the ALP is going to go higher up my ticket than usual, even though I’m not especially keen on my local member, because good behaviour should be rewarded and encouraged.  And I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of imperfection if it gets me a government that does stuff.


  1. Simon

    Is your local member Lizzie Blandthorn?

    • Catherine

      Yes. I’ve heard varying reports. I don’t think she’s terrible, but I gather she is rather pro-life, which is something I’m always wary of in a candidate.

      • Simon

        She was president of the student union at Melbourne Uni way back – she got there by forming an alliance between the ultra-right of Labor (ie her supporters) and the Liberals.
        She was appalling.
        Her personal politics are much more DLP than ALP, but I guess she wants a career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2024 Cate Speaks

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑