Once upon a time, the Liberal party had a very simple strategy for communicating to the public and political opponents: Keep it simple and shout, often and loudly.
If there is a competition for one picture that sums up the reason for Tony Abbott’s demise, this one would have to be a strong contender.
It is been a significant shift in tactics since Abbott exited (not, unfortunately, pursued by a bear). It is seen most frequently in the television interviews of Marius Corman, Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison. The technique is to speak incredibly quickly and at length.
It’s baffling to understand why they would do this because it sends all the wrong messages. The speaker looks nervous and gives the impression they are reciting from memory and if they don’t get through the whole script I will forget what they were talking about. It’s a bad look for a politician.
Julie Bishop doesn’t do it. She is capable of articulating ideas clearly and succinctly. Unfortunately, when she has to explain the government jobs and growth policy, she does it so clearly that she makes it look ridiculous.
Julie Bishop is by far the best communicator in the Coalition
Perhaps it is better to speak quickly when explaining Coalition policy.
Here is Scott Morrison on 7.30 last night answering a question on taxation on superannuation earnings.
SCOTT MORRISON: Well, they were making 6.2 per cent. And the issue is: where the returns are will be based on asset allocation as much as anything else, which is what many fund managers and other advisers have said.
But the assumption is based on a 25-year average return of 3 per cent over inflation. Now, that is what Treasury has advised and that’s what those calculations are based on.
And that calculation puts the return at around four times – four times the earnings of the single-age pension. And the assets cut-off is more than double what the cut-off is for access to the aged pension.
So we think that’s a very reasonable mark to set, in terms of better targeting what are very generous superannuation concessions. So you can have a fund of up to $1.6 million in assets and you pay absolutely no tax on the earnings of that $1.6 million.
Motormouth Scott Morrison pauses, uncharacteristically, for a breath
He did all of this without taking a breath. It was pretty much incomprehensible even to those who are interested in listening to him.
Neither Morrison nor Corman are good communicators so it’s surprising that the Coalition is giving them so much airtime. No one would argue that Morrison was doing a better job of selling the Coalition budget than Joe Hockey did.
So here’s some advice to Scott Morrison. Speak slowly and loudly (and get a megaphone).