A glimmer of hope for the Labor Party
Bill Shorten has reminded us he is in actual fact human and not a zinger-producing political robot. Footage has surfaced of him making, what seems to be an impromptu speech at a Sydney pub, just days before he was set to face the Royal Commission on union corruption.
This footage was published just a day after the latest Fairfax opinion poll which shows that Shorten has the lowest approval rating since becoming leader of the opposition.
With these poor opinion polls and the Royal Commission, Shorten is about to experience the most trying period of his political career. Some have suggested that these could be his last days as Leader of the Opposition. I contest that this is hyperbole; unless there are some highly malevolent findings and accusations thrown at him from the Royal Commission, we will still have the Bill-a-tron 3001 leading us into the next election.
I believe that the speech he made served to show a glimmer of hope for the now Leader of the Labor Party that he could in fact possess the vision and conviction to catapult the Labor Party and Australia into the future. The speech he made highlights his hopes and dreams for a future Australia. Some of the key impassioned quotes he made about his hopes for Australia were:
“Where marriage equality is legitimate”
“We have a Medicare system that is defined by your Medicare card not your credit card”
“Where you can go to university and not have to pay 100 thousand dollars”
“And we will have a country where women are treated equally”
The speech showed Shorten getting highly animated, even smiling at one point, something I thought near impossible for the predominantly robotic Opposition Leader. This footage has made me question my existing impression of him. Simply, I’ve considered him to be populist, uninspiring and lacking in imagination and personality. This video hasn’t totally swayed me, but has offered a glimpse into what he could potentially achieve.
Our best-dressed and former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, one of the best politicians at swaying the public to his perspective, once said this about leadership.
“I think leadership’s always been about two main things: imagination and courage.”
Bill Shorten has shown neither of these two qualities until now. Preferring to take populist opinions and not attempting to sway the public. As Paul Keating’s quote suggests, a politician’s role should be to inspire and take the nation on a journey and convince them of the direction they should go. Previous Prime Ministers like John Howard, Paul Keating and Bob Hawke have all possessed the skill to both tug at the nation’s heartstrings and clearly articulate their respective visions in order to change the nation’s perspective on an issue. Bill’s speech has demonstrated this ability, as is evident by the reception of the enthused crowd. He showed a glimpse of what Australia could become, all we need is a leader who can carry the nation on this journey.