Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party of Australia’

How Your Liberal Branch/Club/Division Can Massivly Improve Efficiency

August 18, 2009

I want to talk about emails & the Liberal Party.

After all, emails are the backbone of everything we do. From getting people to attend events, to read articles, to give donations – emails are the main focal point of much of our campaigning. Emails are pretty important. Yet we completely neglect them from any strategic perspective.

As a body fail to realise that we are not sending out emails just for the sake of it. We are sending them out for a specific purpose. We actually want action to be taken. We want people to actually do something as a result of the email. Yet we pay no attention to this. We do nothing to see how successful our emails are. We do not know if something works, or doesn’t. We are effectively shooting blind.

Indeed, for the most part we do not approach email in any sort of strategic manner. All we do is send out an email, and that’s it. Cross our fingers and hope people read it and take action. Which would be all well and good if we were still living in the 1990’s. But we’re not. Technology has advanced considerably and we need to take advantage of it.

What we need – desperately – to invest in email software with tracking and the capability to do proper analytics. What do I mean by this. I mean rather than doing it through a free server, we need email software that can tell us 1)how many people actually opened the email 2)how many people clicked on  a link in the email 3)how many people forwarded the email and so on. These are very basic, very simple, measurements of success. And yet we do not do them. Yet how can we move forward if we do not know if our actions are working or not?

But this is just the beginning. What you can then do is experiment with sample messages. For example, you can send out two batches of ‘test’ emails. Both identical in content, but with a different subject line. And then see which one people actually open. And then THAT subject line to the rest of your email list.

This isn’t rocket science. It is simply an easy, quantitative measure to be able to increase the efficiency of your actions. Considerably. And the cost is rather minor. Companies like mailchimp provide top of the line analytics for a very, very reasonable price. If you’re a small group interested in this, I might even chip in a bit of money to get this off the ground if you ask.

I have various samples and studies I’m unfortunately not able to post here backing up my point, but let me know if you’re interested in discussing this further and I’ll send them to you. Because we really do need to enter the 21st century.

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A Simple Yet Important Question For My Liberal Readers On Our Leadership

August 4, 2009

I just have a very simple question for my readers.

Who of you actually thinks Malcolm Turnbull is doing a good job as leader, and why?

I’m not asking if you think he should be leader or not. That is a totally different question. He could, after all, simply be the lesser of the evils and deserve to stay in the job by virtue of that fact. I’m interested in what you think of him.

So. Simple question. Do you think he’s doing a good job? Politically? Ideologically? Does he represent you? Is he a smart tactician? What do you think?

I know from the stats I get at at a bare minimum a couple of hundred hits to this site a day, and I assume at least half are Liberal Party members, and I know they come from a fairly wide distribution of all the ideological sides of the party. So if this thread isn’t filled up with people stating their support for Malcolm, there is obviously a problem.

So. It’s very simple. If you support Malcolm, just make a note in the comments. If you do not, stay silent. (And yes, with the volume of hits I get, silence is considered an opinion. So if you read this, and don’t comment, I will count it as indicating lack of support).

So have your say. Easy 🙂

Solar Panels, Start the Change, and NSW Coalition New Media Successes.

June 21, 2009

Earlier today, the NSW Coalition released a policy on renewable power, supporting government subsidies for solar panels. In my opinion, this is a horrid policy. It will fail to achieve its aims, and will cost the taxpayer millions at a time the NSW economy is desperately calling out for tax cuts and lifting the burden of big-government.

But this is not the point of this post. My point is that this was put up on the NSW Coalition’s new Start The Change website as a blog post – and was freely available for public comment. The first thing I did was to criticise the plan – publicly, and on the Liberal site – and this was allowed. To me, this is a great example of the NSW Coalition’s determination to embrace the inherent two-way dialogue embodied in web 2.0. Rather than simply broadcasting out messages, they are beginning to engage with people. Sure, there is a long way to go, but this is a great start.

I think there is little doubt that the NSW Division of the Liberal Party of Australia is at the forefront of engaging in New Media. While many use Facebook and have a  Twitter account, Barry is the only state opposition leader to actively engage with people – and you can tell it’s him, not a staffer. As a further example, he’s also the only Australian parliamentary leader who tinged his profile green; irrespective of what you think of the act, it certainly shows knowledge and true use of Twitter as a two way mechanism.

The era of top-down political broadcasting is dead, and has been replaced with two way dialogue; it is only a matter of time till the Australian political establishment realises this. In the meantime, we are fortunate in NSW that, under the leadership of Nick Campbell and Mark Neeham, the Liberal Party is moving to the forefront of political engagement and new media. Let us hope they continue down this track.

The Leave Us Alone Coalition – A Way Forward For Conservative/Libertarian Fusionism

June 17, 2009

In my previous post, I took umbridge at faux-conservatives who repudiate core conservative beliefs in small government, and instead argue for the power of the state to achieve their aims. These people – the Mike Huckabees of the world – are a cancer on centre-right politics, and are anathema to the core values that we as a movement believe in.

The question remains however, how traditional conservatives – by which I mean people who believe in small government, but have socially conservative values, can reconcile such views with libertarianism within the Liberal Party, and work together towards a common goal.

I would suggest a possible way forward for the fusionism of conservatives and libertarians revolves around the “Leave Us Alone Coalition” – a direct opposition to the “Takings Coalition” of the left.

This dichotomy was first articulated by Conservative Guru Grover Norquist, and can be expressed as follows:

The Reagan Republican party and conservative movement can best be understood as a coalition of individuals and groups that — on the issue that brings them to politics — want the federal government to leave them alone.

The “Leave us Alone” coalition includes taxpayers who want the government to reduce the tax burden, property owners, farmers, and homeowners who want their property rights respected, gunowners who want the government to leave them and their guns alone, homeschoolers who wish to educate their own children as they see fit, traditional values conservatives who don’t want the government throwing condoms at their children and making fun of their religious values.

The Leave us Alone coalition also includes those Americans who serve in the military and police as they are the legitimate functions of government that protect Americans’ right to be left alone by foreign agressors or domestic criminals.

The modern American left is a “Takings Coalition,” a coalition of groups and individuals who view the proper role of government as taking things from one group and giving to another. This often is in the form of money. And the recipients of others money are usually the leaders of the “Takings Coalition.”

The Takings coalition consists of the Trial Lawyers, the corrupt Big City Machines, the Labor Union Bosses and the two wings of the Dependency Movement — those who remain trapped in dependency and those who make $80,000 a year managing the dependency of others and making sure they don’t get jobs and become Republicans. They are joined by the various coercive Utopians who want to reorganize society through force to make us stop wearing leather or driving sport utility vehicles or owning large toilets or otherwise run our lives as they see fit.

The Left puts forward the fiction that the Right want to force their morality on others. However, the homeschooler movement does not demand that homeschoolers be recognized as an alternative lifestyle. Gunowners do not insist that schools teach ten year olds books entitled “Heather has Two Hunters.”

Grover has spent at least the last decade building this movement, and expanding on these principles. Late last year, he released the book “Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives“, which I strongly suggest you all read.

Here’s a video clip of Grover elucidating on this principle:

What we see is a vision that conservatives and libertarians can agree on 90% of the time. One of a government that leaves people free to spend their money how they choose, leaves people free to practice their religion and does not force socially progressive programs down their throat.

Conservatives often rail about the breakdown of the family unit and call for government intervention to ‘fix’ this. Yet this ‘breakdown’ can be traced directly to government actions imposed upon soceity, through things like top-down changes to the Marriage Act. Similarly, one can make the case that sexual permissiveness was formulated through government mandated educational programs. Indeed, virtually every complaint on family issues by conservatives was caused directly by government action.

However, there is a clear and present danger here if social conservatives become social authoritarians. To quote Grover once again:

In the 1980s, conservatives looked at polling data, and 70 percent of the people in the country were for prayer in school. And they introduced bills in Congress and constitutional amendments to legalize prayer in school. But most people who are for prayer in school think everybody else is for prayer in school, and therefore it’s not really a threatening issue.

But there’s a strong contingent who fear prayer in school because they’re pretty sure the prayer won’t be one they like. Some of these people may be antireligious, but some are other religious people who don’t get enough votes to be in charge of writing the prayers: Jews, the Amish, religious minorities. They hate prayer in school. So even though 70 percent tell you that they’re for prayer in school, 3 percent of the people in the room will say, “I hate you forever.” On Election Day, those 3 percent remember what you did, and you just lost votes on a 70 percent issue, as impossible as that sounds.

The answer, therefore, lies in fusionism:

“When you go from prayer in school to school choice, where you can send your kid to a school with exactly the kind of prayer you want—or no prayer at all—then all of a sudden the 3 percent you scared to death will be going, “Hey, I’m for that.” You’ve just turned opponents into allies.”

Another issue that often divides libertarians and conservatives is that of immigration. Libertarians often call for complete free trade in labour – ie open borders. Conservatives on the other hand are concerned about community and assimilation. This could lead to tension. However, if we look at the concerns conservatives have, again, it is government action that is to blame.And a similar solution can be applied. To once again quote Grover on the problem:

“People don’t become assimilated. They don’t learn American history. They don’t learn English. They don’t learn what it means to be an American. Well, that’s because we have a public school system that’s run by a monopoly, a unionized set of bureaucrats, and they don’t teach the people born in Nebraska how to be Americans and American history and how to speak and write English very well. So we have a problem with our government monopoly education system, and we have a problem with the welfare system.”

Fix that, and many of the concerns about immigration will become moot.

Perhaps more controversially, let us look at the issue of gay marriage:

“Sometime around 1600s, religion allows the state to nationalize marriage. So when people say, “We can’t let the state change a sacrament by allowing same-sex marriage,” I go, “Where were you 300 years ago, when you handed the state control of this issue?” So the proper political answer is: Churches, synagogues, and mosques should write marriage contracts, and the state should enforce contracts. You shouldn’t have sacraments organized, managed, and defined by the states. Communities of faith ought to be into denationalizing marriage, just as I want to denationalize healthcare and education, rather than trying to get the federal government to run the post office correctly or manage marriage correctly.”

Again, an outcome conservatives and libertarians can be happy with. And the list goes on.

Sure there are some things that conservatives and libertarians will disagree with, yet if we place politics into the dichotomy of a Leave Us Alone vs Takings Coalition, we can focus our energies on the 90% of things we agree on – and make a difference!

Obviously this will involve some compromise. Libertarians will have to accept that a total end to drug prohibition is unfeasible anytime in the foreseeable future, and conservatives will have to accept that they can no-longer support any financial or other discrimination against same sex couples,  to use but two examples. But at the end of the day, this is a model that works.

Conservative/libertarian fusion formed the basis of the Reagan & Thatcher Revolutions. It achieved real results. Working together, we can make it happen again. But it involves a recognition that the heart of true conservative values are those classical liberal/libertarian principles of small government, individual freedom, and free markets.

Australian Liberals on Twitter

April 23, 2009

I’ve recently started up a new project, Australian Liberals on Twitter which I strongly urge everyone to check out.

Based on the widely successful started Top Conservatives On Twitter, this new project will allow Liberals from around Australia who use twitter to link up, share information, and better co-ordinate our plans.

The full website isn’t up yet, just a very rudimentary wordpress, but will hopefully develop into a more sophisticated and fully functioning website soon.

Check it out at aussielibsontwitter.wordpress.com.

Also, if you havn’t already seen it, check out rebuildthelibs.com – an exciting grassroots new project to rebuild the Liberal Party of Australia launching on May 10!

If A Federal Election Was Held Today…

April 22, 2009

As you know I’ve argued previously that the Liberal Party has a problem with its messaging. As more and more polls come out, I’m starting to worry that more and more about the possible consequences if we continue to ignore this. To move forward, the Liberal Party must reflect on exactly why we’re not cutting through.

Some people, unfortunately, remain in denial. They claim this is just a cyclical thing and we shouldn’t concern ourselves too much. Part of this is obviously true – politics does work in cycles. However, to deny that any of this is caused by a failure of messaging on my part is willful blindness to the point of gross negligence. We must recognise the fact that, if nothing changes, we are staring at near electoral oblivion.

If we not only lose the next election, but our our vote drops significantly,  there will be three immediate effects:  it will hurt our policies (because people will wrongly blame policies not messaging), it will significantly diminish our resources for the next election, and it will make the chances of winning in 2012/3 virtually impossible.

I don’t think people realise however just how bad this could be if we look at the polls.

Allow me to illustrate my point. Currently, using the weighted pollytrack average as provided by Possum, the Two Party Preferred vote is  59.2%-40.8% in favour of the ALP. So, what would this mean if an election was held today? Assuming a uniform swing, we can look at the Makkerras Pendulum and see what seats would be lost.

As such, if an election was held today, the following Coalition MP’s would lose their seats:

Fran Bailey
Andrew Laming
Steve Irons
Peter Dutton
Peter Lindsay
Jason Wood
Patrick Farmer
Christopher Pyne
Luke Hartsuyker
Michael Keenan
Bob Baldwin
Paul Neville
Luke Simpkins
Danna Vale
Barry Haase
Andrew Southcott
Alex Somlyay
Jamie Briggs
Peter Slipper
Michael Johnson
Malcolm Turnbull
Bruce Billson
Joanna Gash
Alby Schultz
Rowan Ramsey
Louise Markus
Russell Broadbent
Chris Pearce
Joe Hockey
Don Randall
Nola Marino
Tony Smith
Kevin Andrews
Andrew Robb

ALL of these MP’s received a 2PP vote at the last election under what the current polling is showing.

In fact, the only Coalition members remaining would be:

Scott Morrison
Peter Costello
David Hawker
Ian Macfarlane
Greg Hunt
Warren Truss
Dennis Jensen
Margaret May
Philip Ruddock
Judith Moylan
Mal Washer
Sophie Mirabella
Patrick Secker
Tony Abbott
Petro Georgiou
Stuart Robert
Sussan Ley
Alex Hawke
Darren Chester
John Cobb
Bronwyn Bishop
Mark Coulton
Brendan Nelson
Julie Bishop
Steve Ciobo
Bruce Scott
Kay Hull
Wilson Tuckey
Sharman Stone
John Forrest

Thus out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the Coalition would have 30 . I repeat – 30. Out of 150. Twenty percent. Not exactly a particularly high number.

Obviously polls tighten during an election campaign, and the Makkerras pendulum  has significant flaws as a measure of forecasting. As such, I do not mean to suggest that we are in any way on track to such a drubbing. I do think however this should cause us some pause for reflection. Because if, after the fiscal vandalism that KRudd and Swan are inflicting on the Australian economy, we’re doing this badly, something is very very wrong. The problem is not in our beliefs or policies, rather it is in our message – we’re just not cutting through.

Now more than ever the generation of new ideas and engagement with our supporters – as I’m trying to do with RebuildTheLibs – is critical to moving forward. I hope you all join with me in this task.

Update: My initial calculations were slightly out. Rather than winning 12% of the house, the Coalition would have 20%. Post has been updated to reflect this. Thanks to Ben Raue for pointing this out.

How YOU can help Rebuild The Libs!

April 12, 2009

Thank you to everyone for the incredible positive response you have shown for rebuildthelibs.com. Working together, we can really make a positive change, and engage with our supporters in a real, meaningful way. If all goes to plan, rebuildthelibs.com will be launching in early May.

So, what can you do now to help?

1)Contribute

Rebuildthelibs.com is about what you – party members and supporters – want to see. It isn’t about my ideas, or what the party machine wants. It’s about you. So submit ideas! This whole site will be premised on user generated content, and the more great ideas we have when we launch the better. So if you have an idea you want to see, write about it, and submit it to contact@rebuildthelibs.com.

Please note, we do not want lengthy analyses of what is wrong with the Liberal Party, or attacks on any individuals. We need to be proactive and forward thinking here. Similarly, for the sake of site simplicity, please keep each submission to one key idea. Long complex arguments drawing together multiple strains of ideas are great for articles, but not what makes for a good website. Remember KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Your submission can be a lengthy essay, it can be as short as a paragraph. It doesn’t matter. As long as you articulate one idea to help rebuild the Liberal Party, we want your input! And if you want, you can even be anonymous!

At the moment – and this is very liable to change as per your suggestions – I plan to have the website divided into several main categories, something like Policy, Campaigning, Outreach, Technology, Fundraising, Regeneration and Internal Structure. Each of these will then have each idea to improve these areas listed under them, which will link to an explanation. This will be open for public debate/comments. Obviously there is overlap between the categories, but I think we need to distil each idea to its core essence in order to make this attractive for people, easy to read, and in a manner that facilitates discussion. Again, I fully expect many idea submitted to be mutually exclusive, and I certainly don’t plan to agree with all of them – but the whole point is to promote debate!

2)Endorse rebuildthelibs.com.

In order for this to be seen as a credible force for change, we need as many endorsement as possible. If you are a branch president, club president, a Member of Parliament, or just a Liberal Supporter – we need your endorsement!

Endorsing this site does not mean you agree with all – or indeed any – of the ideas. What it means is that you recognize the need for debate about the future of the Liberal Party

If when launched we can say “Rebuildthelibs.com has been endorsed by 40 Young Liberal Branches, 30 Liberal University Clubs, 20 State MP’s and 10 Federal MP’s etc” the Party machine will have no choice but to listen. On the other hand, if all we can say is “This site is endorsed by Tim Andrews and a few crazy friends”, we won’t have the same impact!

To add your name to the list of endorsements, please click here.

3)Promote the Site

Tell your friends!

Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook Page! But don’t stop there! Tell all your friends! They don’t have to be a Liberal Party member, or a Liberal Student. They don’t even need to be all that interested in politics. All they need is to share our commitment to Liberal values, and a desire to make these values a reality.

4)Donate

Creating an innovative web presence like this requires money. We’re lucky enough to have a great IT guru who has offered to create the site free for us, but there are a lot of other expenses to make this site truly great. I’ve already donated some money for the domain name and limited hosting, but, to be blunt, I cannot afford to put up as much money as we really need to make this a great success.

We’re not talking about a lot. Just a small donation – $5, $10. For instance, $10 will buy us another month of Deluxe Hosting. $30AUD will allow us to register rebuildthelibs.com.au to help redirect traffic. When these costs are covered, we can ever look at some google ads.

So please, make a small contribution to rebuilding the Liberal Party. Every dollar WILL make a difference.

5)Email me your ideas!

I’m sure there is a lot I haven’t thought of. So please, email me any suggestions to contact@rebuildthelibs.org.au!

Together we will make a difference!

PS – A contribution of just $10 really will make a big difference to the success of this site. Donate now!

RebuildTheLibs.com: Crafting a Way Forward for the Liberal Party

April 9, 2009

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the Liberal Party is in trouble.Our poll numbers are abysmal, and we are in Opposition Federally, as well as in every State & Territory bar one.

Despite the gleeful cries of the mainstream media and by disgruntled, failed former Liberal Party members who should have been in the Greens in the first place that conservatism is dead, the problem is not in our value. Indeed, traditional Liberal values are as strong as ever. Rather, the problem is in our messaging. We can no longer afford to simply lament how lucky Rudd is. It is imperative we address our own failings.

To put it simply – we suck. When it comes to campaigning, fund raising,  community outreach, new media, promoting talent and articulating our vision – Labor walks all over us. We continue to use the same grassroots campaigning techniques used in the time of Menzies. We believe in decentralisation, yet run the most centralised campaigns imaginable. We fail to  utilise the intellectual capital of our members, particularly our younger generation. We protect dead-wood parliamentary incumbents, and we have a media policy that belongs in the age of the dinosaurs. The list goes on, and anyone who fails to recognise this is living in denial. Our values and beliefs are great. Our salesmanship? Terrible.

One of the direct causes of this malaise  is the culture of meekness when it comes to publicly recognising the party’s failings. We tend to shy away from criticising anything the party does, other than in hushed whispers to fellow members. Compare this to the US, where following the 2008 election lost, a host of Republican blogs and websites were formed in a spontaneous grassroots effort to help rebuild the party: to use one example, rebuildtheparty.com prepared a plan which was ultimately endorsed by 6/7 RNC Chair candidates – including Michael Steele, the current RNC chair.

Our culture of secrecy, and top down decision making must change. We can not continue to rely on elected party officials to decide what is good – rather we must engage our membership directly, and indeed, our supporters in the community. At present, vested interests have personal stakes in the current system, and are threatened by change. As such genuine internal debate is stifled. This must change. We need take down the ‘Members Only’ sign and replace it with a welcome mat.

As such, I am excited to unveil a new project – http://www.rebuildthelibs.com, which I have just registered and hope to launch in about a months time.

When this site is officially launched, it will be an opportunity for not only party members, but our supporters to have a direct say in the future direction of the Liberal Party. No cow will be too sacred, no idea to radical to consider.

Essentially what I propose to do is start by releasing a series of articles by a number of experienced young people on how to move forward. Some will be controversial, some will be mutually exclusive. All will be stimulating, innovating and thought provoking.

I think they will probably be divided into a number of categories – policy, community outreach, technology, internal party structure, fundraising and so forth. Each will be divided into sub points, with an article on each of these, available for public comment (also some of these will have to be anonymous/under a pseudonym). I am also toying with the idea of using google moderator or something of that nature to allow people to submit their ideas, and have them voted upon. We must move debate as to the future of the party away from stale old voices, and out into the open. Only then will we truly succeed.

This idea only came to me yesterday (and I must thank Brian Johnson from the Alliance for Worker Freedom for the inspiration), so it’s still in rudimentary stages, and I appreciate feedback and suggestions. I strongly feel such public discussion is vital for us to rebuild the party and move forward in a strong, positive direction.

We are lucky to be members of a great party – the party of freedom and prosperity. The sooner we address our weaknesses, the sooner we shall triumph. Let us all work together and REBUILD THE PARTY!

Who should lead the Liberal Party?

April 9, 2009

Obviously there has been continuing speculation in the media as to the future of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. As I feel my blog covers a fairly broad spectrum of the conservative & libertarian young members of the party, I’m somewhat curious to see what you all think!

So – vote!

Update: Due to a glitch in WordPress, it would seem Tony Abbott isn’t on the list. Please feel free to write him in and those results will be tabulated at the end.

Polls, Messaging & Leadership: Why the Coalition is Screwed

April 7, 2009

Another day, another woeful poll for Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Coalition. Newspoll has Labor ahead 47-36 on primaries, 58/42 on 2pp with Kevin Rudd’s popularity at 68%. Nielsen has Rudd’s popularity at a record 74%Morgan demonstrates a Coalition wipeout in the Senate. The left wing front pollsters, Essential Research has a 2PP of 63/37 (although I have little faith in their credibility, but still). And so on.

In contrast, the Republican Party polling numbers are soaring: both Rasmussen and NPR polling have a dead tie between Republicans and Democrats in generic congressional ballots. Obama’s net approval rating has plummeted by 20 points.

Why is this? The situations between the Republicans and the Coalition in their present situation are almost identical. Both lost an election after a prolonged period in power to a new leader who promised ‘change’, both opposed stimulus packages, both have been pilloried in the press. Yet the Republicans are succeeding where we are not. Why?

Of course, you could argue Rudd really is the most brilliant politician in the world, and was quite right to take offense when Obama gave the popularity title to President Lula, or alternatively that we’re simply in the midst of a Rudd-bubble that shall ultimately pass. Of course, there’s also that old time classic “the voters are stupid”.

None of these approaches I find particularly helpful, the latter downright damaging. The reason for this is that it shifts the burden of responsibility away from the Coalition to our opponents. It is effectively a way of us trying to blame others, and absolve ourselves of any wrongdoing. Any way forward should be based in honest self-analysis, so that we can recognise exactly what we are doing wrong to allow Rudd to be so popular.

So. Where to begin. Obviously the matter of leadership has received significant media speculation: with Kevin Rudd leading Turnbull as preferred leader by 70% to 17% , replacing him no doubt seems tempting, my thoughts on Mr. Turnbull are well documented. However, such a thing seems unlikely at the moment, for the simple reason that any aspirant would wait until we lose the next election in a landslide, the economy tanks as Julia Gillard’s Job Killing Act comes into full effect in 2010, and then shall ride in as a saviour. A similar point could be made on conviction.  The Australian public are a smart bunch, and can smell when politicians speak without conviction, and this is certainly happening. And it is clear that this isn’t happening, whether it be the delayed and forced opposition to the stimulus, on industrial relations, the environment or anything else.

Such arguments, however, do little to assist in the short term. The real failure there I feel has been the lack of credible, properly prepared messaging. Simply put, we can’t sell ourselves.

Let us be frank – the party sucks. When I compare the tight, disciplined, messaging of the ALP – the poll tested lines, and the concerted effort to use the identical phrases, to the rabble emanating from the Coalition, I really do despair. There is no coherent messaging from the Coalition. There are no zinger lines, no decent soundbites. And we are  really lagging behind because of this – you can see this on any TV interview; we get completely creamed. All of our MP’s are using different lines, none of them focus group tested, none of them researched. As much as I may have disagreements with Frank Luntz, words do matter – it really isn’t what you say, it’s what people hear. The ALP has mastered this. Yet this is a powerful concept it would seem we have not even begun to address. I do not think I’ve watched one head to head where I feel we have come up ahead.

Linked to this is our failure to create an emotional metanarrative. We have made no effort to engage on deeper themes with the voting public, to appeal to them on this emotional level. We have not looked at linking our policies to their core values, core beliefs. We have not fashioned any coherent opposition. I can not remember the last time as an opposition we linked our policies to core values of reliance, individualism, responsibility. Things every Australian can relate to. And we are suffering for it.

Indeed, we have failed to deliver any true alternative. One of the things that struck me speaking to Brian Johnson, Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom, who spent the last two weeks in Australia, was how we fail to propose alternative whilst in opposition. Whereas the Minority Parties here consistently present alternative legislation – and really are an alternative government in many ways – we tend to seek to oppose, or at best amend – and leave policy to the election. Why? There is nothing stopping us from doing so, why must we hide? Why must we avoid being the alternative government. I mean why can we not present a credible alternative plan now? Let us look at the current global financial downturn. This is a perfect opportunity for us to – we can look progressive, forward thinking, and not the reactionary party of No we now seem to be.

Replacing Turnbull as leader is an easy solution, but is not a panacea. Unless we address such underlying issues, we shall not achieve the electoral success that Australia deserves.

None of what I say should be news to anyone in the Liberal Party. Anyone with even half a brain should recognise this. So why don’t we actually start acting upon it?