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This Week in Politics – Election Round Up

6 minutes to read

It’s been a busy week of election campaigning with fake tradies, arts cuts and grannies with guts.

#FakeTradies

The Liberals launched a new attack ad against the Labor party on Sunday night, claiming that Labor was out to make war with banks, businesses and yes, even the humble tradie. It didn’t take long for the ad to be mocked on social media, spawning memes the hashtag #FakeTradie which was trending on Sunday and Monday. It additionally prompted the construction union, the CFMEU, to post a reply video.

Still more convincing than the ad. Source

Most of the criticism came down to the wooden acting of the advertisement’s “tradie” star, and how, if he were a real tradie, he wouldn’t be drinking from a ceramic mug on a work site, wearing a bracelet and watch, or be so clean and untanned.

In their defence, the Liberal party said that the man was a real tradie, which goes some way in explaining wooden acting.

Headspace has no space

The CEO of Headspace is leaving the youth mental health service in protest, after the Turnbull government has refused to continue direct funding. CEO Chris Tanti says that this will effectively shut down the much needed youth mental health service.

Headspace, which is now in its tenth year of operation, would instead be financially managed by 31 Primary Health Networks (PHN). This means that Headspace would no longer exist as a singular, consistent youth mental health service, but as 31 services that will vary in quality of care depending on how much funding their PHN provides them.

In Australia, one in four people aged between 16-24 will experience a mental health issue, with 75 per cent of all mental health issues developing before 25 year old.

Guerrilla Grannies

A group of women (mostly in their sixties), in conjunction with political activist group GetUp!, have come forward as the culprits responsible for altering Malcolm Turnbull’s electoral posters. During last weekend’s rain, the women attached secondary posters to the prime minister’s election posters in his seat of Wentworth. The posters now show Turnbull crossing his fingers and saying “trust me on climate change”, implying that a liberal government will do nothing to aid the current climate crisis. The women said they engaged in the political activism after feeling fed up with the lack of action on climate change.

Nannas with more guts than most politicians. Source

“We’ve got to make sure we get much better commitments [on climate change] than this government is prepared to give at the moment”

Malcolm Turnbull has previously expressed strong views towards taking action on climate change, claiming that the Liberal party’s ‘direct action’ policy is insufficient. However, in the wake of becoming Prime Minister last September, Turnbull seems to have suffered a bout of political amnesia and forgotten all about his strong stance on tackling climate change.

Bill and Malcolm take Facebook

Malcolm Turnbull and

Bill Shorten squared off online last Friday night as they held their third leaders’ debate on Facebook. The Prime Minister and opposition leader faced questions on penalty rates, affordable housing and marriage equality to an audience of around 2.2 million viewers.

Bill Shorten was declared the winner of the debate, with many people saying his direct approach to answering questions was what won them over.

Mr Shorten used the Facebook medium to his advantage during the debate, telling viewers to press ‘like’ if they wanted a better National Broadband Network (NBN), resulting in an immediate flood of Facebook likes. The NBN has been a contentious issue in the lead up to this leader’s debate, with many voters questioning if their lacklustre internet connections would allow them to watch the event.

Penny against plebiscites

Labor frontbencher, Penny Wong, has rejected the idea of plebiscite on same-sex marriage, saying it will lead to hate-speech and possibly physical violence towards those in the LGBTQIA+ community. On Tuesday, Ms Wong said that,

“Not one straight politician advocating a plebiscite on marriage equality knows what that is like. What it is like to live with the casual and deliberate prejudice that some still harbour.”

A plebiscite on whether to allow same-sex marriage will cost Australia $160 million, and will likely be held by the end of the year if the Coalition government wins the election on July 2. Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has promised that if Labor is elected they will hold a parliamentary vote to allow same-sex marriage within 100 days of taking office.

In a bizarre reply to Ms Wong’s comments, Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed that people who oppose same-sex marriage also experience bigotry and hate. I’m not entirely sure that Morrison, as a straight, white, male politician, knows exactly the bigotry and hate Ms Wong is talking about, but it was a nice attempt to hijack the debate.

Peter Dutton and the Bikies

Not your average activist. Source

In what is quite possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen to Peter Dutton, a group of bikies and unionists are protesting outside the minister for immigration’s electoral office in Dickson, Queensland. The group came together to protest the state’s strict anti-bikie laws, as well as to support the electorate’s Labor candidate, Linda Lavarch.

In Queensland, it is illegal for three or more members of a ‘bikie club’ to associate in public. The bikie protesters have set up a daily roster to prevent being charged under this law. Mr Dutton has previously been targeted this election campaign by the activist group GetUp!, who raised nearly $200,000 to try unseat him from Dickson. Mr Dutton holds the marginal seat only by 6.7 per cent.

The Arts get angry

#istandwiththearts. Source

Last Friday, artists of all kinds held a National Day of Action across Australia in protest of the government’s arts policy (or rather lack thereof).

Organised by the multi-disciplinary artist collective, The Protagonists, the day kicked off with a protest outside Malcolm Turnbull’s office in Edgecliff. The protest marked the start of two weeks political campaigning by the arts sector in the lead up to the election.

During the campaign, actors have been asked to speak on behalf of the arts at their performances, and visitors to galleries nationwide will be asked to sign an ‘avante card’ in support of the arts. Under the Abbott/Turnbull government, $300 million has reportedly been cut from arts funding. The Coalition has promised $20 million in new arts funding if re-elected, but this pales in comparison to the funding promises of Labor ($176.6 million) and the Greens ($270.2 million).