Wren's week: Labor policy, Captain GetUp and Twitter discrimination

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On the campaign trail, Bill Shorten has been spouting policy while Scott Morrison tries to run him down (Screenshot via YouTube)

This week, John Wren looks at Bill Shorten's policies leading up to the election as well as a new superzero in town.

Wren’s Week


ONE WEEK of the election campaign down and some very interesting, but not unexpected trends are emerging.

Bill Shorten is everywhere. He’s talking policy constantly and Labor has much policy to discuss. Unusually, Labor has released a lot of policy, much of it quite detailed over the last couple of years. Labor has taken the clear strategy of making the election about policy. Policy. Policy. Policy. They’ve done this because the Liberals don’t have any clearly articulated policies other than tax cuts for the multinational mates and donors, with some sort of tax cut for individuals in the distant future.

Conversely, the Liberals and Scott Morrison’s strategy is to run down Shorten and create scare campaigns on everything from electric vehicles, franking credits, climate change action, negative gearing and superannuation. You can tell it’s a scare campaign if it has an associated tax — “housing tax”, “carbon tax” and “retiree tax” are all common Liberal Party parlance. None are taxes, of course. It’s utter rubbish. Closing loopholes or flagrant rorts is of course not a tax, it’s just prudent fiscal management, something the Libs know very little about.

It’s clear already that in the absence of policy, all the Libs can do is demean and scare. They’ve allowed Labor to choose the policy battleground and as such are on the defensive.

Morrison has also made himself fairly scarce to the media. He doesn’t want to be questioned too much as the holes in his position will become glaringly obvious. He has appeared at some highly stage-managed events that were attended by invitation only. In these, he answers Dorothy Dixer-type questions that will likely always have an answer that start with “Well, Labor…” or similar. He also uses an obvious technique when he is posed a question that he doesn’t want to answer, actually all the Liberal MPs are using this technique.

Denise Shrivell of Mediascope summed up the technique with this tweet:

Shorten conversely has made himself a big target. He’s not afraid to answer questions and answer lots of them. He’s been doing very well. Unsurprisingly, the Murdoch media has been hanging on every word and picking them to pieces. The slightest mistake, inconsistency or omission is leapt on like starving hyenas on an injured baby gazelle. This is then broadcast and reported and analysed to the Nth detail.

As a result, we see Shorten reported as struggling and Morrison doing well. Nonsense, of course, as the appalling lack of objectivity highlights the lack of media diversity in Australia. Post-election, we need a Royal Commission into Australia’s media landscape. The Murdoch empire must be broken up and we need to implement “truth in media” laws similar to Canada’s.

For Labor to win an election, it must not only overcome the Coalition, but also the media bias. The only way to do that is with social media and feet on the ground. Fortunately for Labor, it has huge human resources to draw upon through unions and other motivated individuals to get its message out, unfiltered by Rupert.


We also saw a number of revelations from the Treasury with their release of PEFO, the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook. It enabled us to see in black-and-white, unambiguously that Morrison’s so-called “surplus” has only been achieved through withholding funds for the NDIS as well as cuts to hospitals and school funding.

So, in other words, what Morrison is doing is stealing money from children, the ill and the disabled to prop up his economic credentials to appear to be delivering a surplus. I’m fairly confident that voters would prefer that their kids get schooled properly, that their sick family members are cared for appropriately and that disabled people, some of the most disadvantaged in our society, are able to live with dignity rather than make the Liberals fake surplus numbers look good.

Make no mistake, the so-called surplus is utterly deceitful. It is a smoke-and-mirrors trick. It is also something that the Liberals think will win them the election. I personally don’t believe voters could be that stupid.

Let’s explore the $1.6 billion NDIS underspend a little, though, and put this into context. A little over a week ago, the ersatz-PM Morrison stood teary-eyed at a presser where he announced a Royal Commission into Disability Services. While he was making this announcement, he utterly knew that he was cutting $1.6 billion from the NDIS. He was deliberately planning to financially abuse those he was announcing a Royal Commission to. The first point of order for the Commission should be an inquiry into Morrison’s abusive budget and its effect on the disabled he has pledged publicly to help. It is shameful hypocrisy from Morrison. Not the actions of a Christian (that he claims to be).

Late last year, I wrote about the conservative “supposed” alternative To GetUp, Advance Australia and how it would be doomed to fail. As predicted, we see it already falling apart. Its weird “Captain GetUp” character has been widely condemned for sexualising a large poster of Independent Liberal Zali Steggall, the suit’s occupant has been exposed as a Columbian real estate agent and YouTuber. Advance Australia has become an object of ridicule. They can’t get feet on the ground the way GetUp can and as such have to resort to dumb stunts. In my opinion, Advance Australia has become an embarrassment for the Liberal Party. They are better off without it.

And finally, the latest instalment on my Twitter account.

Still no luck. Twitter’s appeal process is automated and they make it impossible to talk to a real person. We have reached out via direct email to Twitter’s Australian MD, Suzy Nicoletti, as well as their PR and Media Communications Manager, Nathan Burman. We have also attempted phone contact with Nathan, even texted him. No response to any approach.

What is more disconcerting, though, is that apart from the @JohnWren1950 account, other Left-leaning Twitter accounts are also being suspended or disabled completely. It is beginning to appear as though Twitter is deliberately taking action to quash political dissent during the election campaign. If this is the case, then it is clear interference in free speech, indeed it could be argued that it is foreign interference in the campaign.

It is also clear that the charge of “impersonation” against the John Wren account is simply a fabricated excuse they have used to divert attention from something they’ve most likely done at the Government’s behest. They won’t talk to us as they’d be forced into admitting it. Their avoidance is telling.

When free speech is stifled by a government it is a sign of fascism. Fascism must be fought. It cannot be allowed to prosper.

You can sign the petition to have John Wren reinstated on Twitter here.

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