Election 2016: Bill Shorten enlists Dan Andrews in key marginal seat Geelong

11-07-2018 by admin

Hi vis, high stakes: Daniel Andrews joins Bill Shorten in Geelong, where voters are looking for leadership on the key issue of jobs. Photo: Alex EllinghausenLatest from the campaign front linesO’Connor’s trainwreck interview 


It was hi-vis Monday in Geelong, but underneath his fluoro vest Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was still wearing a red tie.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was not wearing one at all.

The Premier joined Mr Shorten for the first time on the election campaign and there are several lessons the alternative PM must be hoping to learn from Dan.

At the 2014 state election Victorian Labor proved themselves to be savvy and superior political campaigners.

The party ran rings around the Napthine coalition, which had the benefit of incumbency, by articulating a clear political narrative and emphasis on the leader.

Dan Andrews lost weight, ditched the tie, suit and nervousness and talked about a positive vision for Victoria.

Mr Shorten has copied much from his comrade’s play book – he too has shed the kilos and relaxed into his role.

Polling shows that Victorian voters have warmed to Mr Andrews – except for his decision to spend more than $1 billion to scrap the East West Link.

He is a recognisable political figure that most people think is doing an OK job and he is becoming a symbol of what a good Labor government can achieve.

And for those reasons, he is an asset for Mr Shorten, who is fighting to show federal voters that Labor is not the basket case it was when last in office in Canberra.

Geelong is an obvious, and traditional, place for the Premier to join Mr Shorten on the hustings with a message about jobs. It is a key marginal seat where unemployment is a pressing issue and, coincidently, a marginal state seat.

Do not be surprised if voters in Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs also get a visit from Daniel Andrews.

The trendy seats of Batman and Wills are under threat from the Greens, particularly the former, where Labor is growing increasingly anxious.

“They aren’t anxious, they are shitting themselves,” one senior Victorian figure said.

But in Mr Andrews they have a weapon to fight the Green tide.

His progressive social agenda – standing up for safe schools, same-sex adoption and legalising medicinal marijuana – have made him popular with many inner city voters leaning towards or already voting Greens.

So there is no doubt Dan helps Bill, but does a Shorten prime ministership help state Labor?

In the short term it would probably help Victoria get a fairer share of infrastructure cash for projects like Melbourne metro and road projects.

But in the long term (read: the state election in 2018), it may be a handicap. As experienced by then-premier Denis Napthine, it is very difficult to articulate re-election when the federal government of the same political party is dealing with a tight budget.

It is much easier to attack Canberra when the other side is in power.

Victorian voters have also proved that they like balance between their state and federal governments.

Bill is borrowing a lot from Dan, and tackling the election from behind, he could do worse than follow him more.

Perhaps he should ditch the tie?

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