27 Comments

Dear Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Dear Julie,

You and I have a lot in common, I notice. I am only thirteen months older than you and we both grew up on farms: mine was sheep and cattle. We are both female, something I will look at again later. We are both degree qualified and we both work.

As you know, I used to be a member of the Liberal Party. Recently I was sent a reminder by text message to renew my membership. I replied no, including a link to my published article explaining why I would not be renewing my Liberal Party membership.  I have to say a few more things have popped out of the woodwork about our young Tony since I wrote that. Very sad.

Yesterday a really strange thing happened. I got a phone call on my mobile and a male voice announced he was calling to let me listen to a recorded message from you, Julie. Your voice (I assume it was your voice) then assured me you needed my membership to fight the terrible Labor government.

Apart from the fact I am yet to be totally convinced the Labor government have been worse than a coalition government would have been, you didn’t really tell me why I should vote for your party, let alone renew my membership.

It seems since the idyllic days of our respective childhoods, we may have moved apart. I am so sad about this, Julie, because we should be closer. I just didn’t feel terribly flattered or needed listening to you criticise the current government. If you want to attract me, you have to tell me what you are proposing, to improve life for my family and me, for Australia and for the causes which I am passionate about. Of course, as an accountant, I’d like to know how much your policies are going to cost. For example, will you be reducing the fees for partner visas?  Will you be supporting a humanitarian approach to the treatment of asylum seekers and prevent Scott Morrison from inciting moral panic in the community? Actually, just teaching Scott enough manners to respond to dinner invitations would be nice.

Really though, a RECORDED MESSAGE? How uncouth! If you want to beg me to renew my membership, at least have the decency to make a damn phone call. It doesn’t have to actually be from you, after all we know how busy you are preparing costed policies to release before the election. I just feel the personal touch might be nice.

I’m also very puzzled about the gender aspects here. If I had been a male ex-member, would my recorded message have been from Tony? Was a female reaching out to me in a recorded way supposed to make me feel special? If that is the case, I seriously suggest you look for a new public relations team because frankly, unless everyone got your voice and no-one got Tony’s voice, I find the whole damn thing rather sexist. You might be aware I am not that keen on sexism. Please tell Tony I rarely iron anything.

Then there is the little issue of any support offered to me during my battle with this government you declare to despise so much. You see, I’m not at all sure, despite the Liberal Party’s fundamental principle of individual freedoms, that you would have put MY right to my individual freedom to marry my husband ahead of Howard’s attitude to African migrants. Howard never did seem to comprehend that Africa is a continent, not a country, but never mind. I don’t see you stepping in now to encourage the current Minister to review my CDDA claim. Furthermore I hear you have a plan to reduce the public service numbers. So will that mean people waiting years for an appeal hearing now at the Migration Review Tribunal will wait even longer? Or that a twelve month visa decision time line will become twenty-four months?

I’m just curious, Julie.

Now let’s just revisit Tony for a minute. I’m really not at all interested in having a Prime Minister who thinks all children should read the bible before they leave school – unless it is in English Lit. as a fiction piece. I’m not interested in having a Prime Minister who stands nodding his head at reporters and saying nothing then walking away. It is embarrassing to watch, Julie, it really is. I’m not interested in having a Prime Minister who hasn’t got the gumption to appear on QandA.  I admit I don’t watch it any more, I got a little sick of Pyne and Mirabella saying silly things. I’d just like to see Tony perform unscripted.

I’m very sorry, Julie, because I really don’t think you will understand my perspective. I am sure Malcolm Fraser was sad to walk away too, after all he had been Prime Minister. I am just a lowly voter, but I am also sad to see the Liberal Party become a clone of the GOP. You know, that silly party in the USA that has men standing for Congress that don’t know how pregnancy happens. Really very sad, don’t you think?

Julie, I have nothing against you personally but I really would prefer you not call me again with a recorded message. Do please accept this as my “recorded” response.

Kind regards,

Robyn

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27 comments on “Dear Deputy Leader of the Opposition

  1. […] position? The ONE woman that did make it has, effectively, been demoted. Julie Bishop was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and could reasonably have expected to be Deputy Prime Minister, but no, that position is now filled […]

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  2. Hi Robyn,
    In the comments section the political arc is mentioned, left and right. I was myself completely bewildered as to why my political leanings had changed so much, how had I changed without noticing, but a very smart lady, Jane Caro in fact, pointed out, that she still held the same ideologies however the political parties themselves had shifted, I believe to the right. To conservatism of the unbending type, both parties to some extent. I’m not sure how we redress this, how we instill a true choice, but I’m thinking a revolution may be needed. I don’t want to go to the polls and think who is the lesser of two evils. I sat my mother down with vote compass…..an interesting outcome for a died in the wool liberal voter.
    Sorry, rant over, but once more have enjoyed reading your words, thank you.
    Karen

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    • Thanks Karen. Yes, I agree with Jane – they have shifted. The biggest thing for me is the fundamental principle of the Liberal Party is “individual freedom” yet they seem to want to control us all beyond belief!

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  3. Great letter Robyn, but didn’t you know JB is a Fembot, programmed by the LNP to spew forth the party line propaganda? None of them have an individual thought. I love your spunk!

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  4. Dear Robyn
    Thank you for your blog. I made a recording for the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party as a way of contacting former members of the Liberal Party to ask if they wished to renew their membership. It is more cost effective than sending a letter and more efficient than sending emails. Of course I would love to call people personally but that is not always possible, and my recording was used to contact men and women alike. I am pleased to report that many people have responded positively to the initiative.
    Our 50 page policy plan Real Solutions can be downloaded at http://www.liberal.org.au. I can be contacted for more detail at Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
    For example I would be happy to give you more details of our vision for northern Australia, our water management proposal, our New Colombo Plan for Australian students to undertake studies and business internships in our region, our paid parental leave scheme making it a workplace entitlement instead of a welfare entitlement, our trade policy to expand export opportunities and generate economic security and i could go on. Much has already been published but I am happy to provide more details
    However, i suggest the question that needs to be asked at the next election should be – is Australia a stronger and better place as a result of the Rudd-Gillard governments? On any objective measure the answer is no.
    We have plans to make Australia a stronger and more secure nation with a stronger and more dynamic economy with to return stable, competent government.
    However it is a fact that since 2007 our budget position has deteriorated from 10 budget surpluses under the Howard government to 5 straight budget deficits – at record highs – under Labor.
    There was no government debt in 2007, gross debt is heading towards $300 billion (yes billion!) and we are now more vulnerable to a global slowdown or economic shocks.
    Since Labor changed our border protection laws, the system is in a shambles with over 600 boats and 35,000 people taking that dangerous sea journey to Australia, hundreds of whom have died, with a $6 billion blowout in the detention centre costs.
    Our relations with Indonesia have been damaged by the live export ban, implemented without notice and causing harm to Australian beef producers as well as Indonesian consumers.
    I could go on with all the bungled policies – laws to attack the freedom of our press, a people swap with Malaysia found to be illegal by our High Court, the pink batts scheme, cash for clunkers etc.
    I could refer to the ugly politics of class and gender wars and demonising single mothers and overseas skilled workers – the kind of rhetoric from the Prime Minister I had assumed had disappeared from political discourse. Australia is a great country with enormous potential being let down by its government. We intend to inject the confidence and stability that is so evidently missing under this government. Best wishes Julie

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    • Dear Julie,

      I do agree with you that Australia is a great country with enormous potential. So let us not throw it away.

      The concept of calling mobile phones may be more cost effective than sending a letter, given the Liberal Party no doubt has corporate calling rates, but with bulk mail rates I would like to see the comparisons. Either way, using modern technology is not always the most effective means of communication. I don’t know about you, but I for one hate the automated menu systems. “Please listen as our menu items have recently changed”. Five menu levels later and often one has still not spoken to a person. While my letter was humorous, trust me my first reaction was to hang up in annoyance at yet another recorded something. You are lucky I bothered to listen at all. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned. The young public relations whiz-kids are not always right, sometimes those of us with more experience need to listen to our gut. I would much rather have had a personal call from someone I could have COMMUNICATED with than be lectured to by a recording.

      I appreciate you taking the time to respond, Julie. I would like to point out I have been a Liberal voter for as long as I can remember. I have made it perfectly clear in other articles on this site why I can no longer support the “new” Liberal Party, so I am not going to repeat those reasons here.

      Humorous take on the situation or not, it is interesting that you did not directly address a single one of the points I raised. Some of those were, of course, personal and I agree would perhaps be better addressed off-line, but I do notice you do not offer. :)

      I am not the only disaffected Liberal around the place, I speak to quite a few. Not many of us speak out publicly – I do in the hope I will encourage others to do so. I am pleased you have noticed as hopefully, despite your canned response, you may take some note and discuss the issues with other front bench MPs. But, generally it seems Malcolm Fraser is ignored, so I don’t hold much hope I would be listened to!

      Like many others, I would like to see the Liberal Party return to the fundamental principles of the party.

      Again, thank you for your response, Julie. Even though we don’t seem to agree at this point, I do appreciate your input to the discussion.

      Kind regards

      Robyn

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      • The lack of addressing any of the specific issues you raised suggests a form letter Robyn, but if there is a form letter for this then that suggests you are not alone in objecting to the recorded message. Didn’t John Howard pioneer their use? I remember getting a couple of his, and they were for everyone, not just members (or former members). I found them most irritating, and I think a lot of people did, which is why they haven’t been generally used in the last couple of elections.

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      • So are you suggesting this is another “recycled” idea? It may be I was out of the country at the time – I do not recall any discussion about it, but it sounds to me like a very strange idea!

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      • Plus, of course, Tony is not allowed out at present and is clearly under orders to keep his mouth shut. The ALP is doing such a good demolition job on itself it would be tempting (speaking as an experienced campaign manager) to go ‘small target,’ even if your candidate didn’t have the habit of sticking his foot in his mouth every time he opened it. With Tony, it’s a no-brainer. Bit like the man himself. ;-)

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      • :lol: No, he isn’t. You know, they talk about Labor’s “faceless men” yet it seems to me the parties are as bad as each other when it comes to faceless men.

        What disappoints me about the political landscape today is this. My recollection of the good old days is party members and even elected representatives could constructively criticise. These days it is like Collingwood vs Carlton and many are such rabid supporters they are unable to question their own party. If anyone questions, the pack descends. I’m NOT saying this has happened to me personally (well, there was that silly troll a few months back) but I do see it happen in social media and it is not constructive. This is detrimental to the country and the political system.

        Then there is the question of many politicians seeming to be in it more for their personal gain than for public service. I’m not naming names here, but there are examples both red and blue. Part of the problem, I believe, is as a country we’ve had it too good for too long: there are no REAL battles for us face. No World War, no depression, no disease epidemic. The public service “runs” the country, while the politicians spend most of their time fighting.

        Not my idea of how it should be.

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      • Sadly, in the Australian political scene at least, you and I Robyn are dinosaurs. Whilst our political views are far from identical, we have this in common – we can place ourselves on a left-right spectrum. I’d be surprised, shocked in fact, if the number of Australian voters who can do that nowadays exceeds 5%. We live in a ‘dumbed-down’ body politic, where tribalism is the only loyalty the major parties have left. And, since the deregulation of the Hawke/Keating (Thatcher/Reagan) era, the politicians have much less to do, so they squabble. Because the electorate is so politically ignorant, the main game is simply to make the other side look bad, which we all know involves mindlessly throwing mud until some of it sticks. Then they will vote for you, regardless of whether they actually support your policies or not, often without even knowing what they are, just because you are the other lot. That’s where a politically illiterate electorate gets you.

        The current analysis of politics (and I’m looking at you, mainstream media) never rises above parroting the sloganeering of the parties. Take the current govt. for example. Those of their policies which are just plain wrong, such as those on immigration and refugees, are assessed only on their populism, never their ethics or morality. Those which are probably quite good (Gonski, NDIS, etc) are scarcely mentioned. All we ever hear about is whether there’s going to be another leadership coup or not. Well who bloody well cares? I’m over it. I want to here about policies, not personalities. Because frankly the personalities aren’t that interesting. None of them. We’re not talking Whitlam and Fraser here, are we?

        We saw how this works courtesy of Dubya. Mention ‘Iraq’ and ’9/11′ in the same sentence often enough, and those voters who aren’t really paying attention (which is most of them) will eventually start thinking the two subjects are linked. This is true. A majority, let me stress that, not a few barking mad conspiracy theorists, a MAJORITY of Americans still believe Iraq attacked the US on 9/11. Tony and the Libs have learnt this lesson well (and now the American spellchecker on here is telling me ‘learnt’ is not a word. Good grief!) and have spent the last two years repeating the mantras, sticking the words they want to link in the public mind together in sentences, pretty much willy-nilly, and the polls would indicate that it’s working well

        The old adage goes that you get the government you deserve, and in Australia at the moment we don’t deserve much, because as an electorate we’re just not trying. I strongly suspect that later this year we’ll get just that – a government and a Prime Minister who reflect our laziness, ignorance and complacency. It’s hard to think of anyone who fits that description better than Tony. I mean we are apparently prepared to accept his assertion that the current govt. has presided over an economic disaster, despite the fact (yes, fact) that there isn’t an economist in Christendom who seriously thinks that, and the ALP once again allow him to set the (false) agenda. Only today I heard Joel Fitzgibbon saying the are families earning 1/4 million who are struggling! No Joel, there are perhaps families on a 1/4 million who THINK they are struggling, because they wouldn’t know a struggle if it sneaked up and bit them on the arse!

        I should go, I think my restraint is slipping ;-) but yes, Howard used recorded messages, not sure if it was 2001 or 2004, but I distinctly remember hanging up on him.

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      • You said that so well! :)

        *Clapping*

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    • Just to validate Julie Bishop’s comment:

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  5. well said as always I love that you are so truthful and not afraid to stand up for what you believe big kiss thankyou for being you no Im not a wiedo

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  6. Being in the US, I’m afraid to say that I am not up to date with my Australian politics I’m glad I got go get a small glimpse through your open letter. Thank you

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  7. Nice one, so polite yet full of valid points.
    Excellent read.

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  8. A very light hearted but honest assessment to the Oppositions Front Bench. Tony Abbott could be the Phantom? The Ghost Who WALKS

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