"What were once only the rights of the well-off and the entitled, Gough made available to every Australian.
“We now take those rights as our own, particularly the right to a national first-class public education and the right to a national first-class public health system.
“These two citadels of equality still define us as Australians and we are rightly proud of them.”
Margaret and Gough, Susan Mitchell
Late last year, Tony Abbott said his Ministerial reshuffle provided “an important opportunity to reset and refocus” after what was a year of broken promises and shambolic governance.
The reshuffling of his communication team also suggests it was not just the talent, but the messaging that has been reset and refocused for 2015.
But if the conversations I had over the summer break with baked-on Liberals and “North Shore conservatives” are anything to go by, the Abbott Government’s troubles have nothing to do with poor talent and communication and everything to do with poor policies and judgement – particularly in light of this week’s decision to knight Prince Philip.
Because so many of its policies attack our core values and what defines us as Australians.
Many of its policies cut into our very social fabric.
Many of its policies attack what we so proudly defend.
Many of its policies attack the citadel of a fair go.
The Abbott Government’s policies, particularly on universal healthcare and higher education, stink to high heaven. And the Australian people, who have great bulldust detectors, know it.
So no amount of new talent or dazzling spin is going to make these policies any better.
And no amount of government advertising is going to change people’s minds.
But this is not just the view of Labor true believers.
It’s not just the view of the many Canberrans I’ve doorknocked and met at mobile offices and community forums.
It would appear from my conversations over the summer break it’s a view shared by Coalition bastions, who from what I can tell, have their fingers in their ears, their eyes tightly closed and are humming loudly.