Adam Bandt’s “Google It” Answer, A Postmodern Response to The Gaffe

Somewhere, surely, Anthony Albanese was slapping his forehead, sobbing like, “Why in God’s name didn’t I think of that.” »

Bandt added a lot more about his opinion on matters like these.

“If you want to know why people turn away from politics,” he said. “It’s about what happens when you have an election that increasingly becomes this basic fact-checking exercise between a government that deserves to be eliminated and an opposition that has no vision. This is what is happening.

“Elections should be a competition of ideas.

“The policy should be to reach for the stars and deliver a better society. And instead, there are these questions being asked – can you tell us that particular statistic or can you tell us that particular statistic. »

As the Greens were wedged between the big parties and emerging independents on all sides as the federal election groaned, the press club podium was Bandt’s time to shine, his speech broadcast across the country by ABC TV and radio.

Emboldened by the opportunity, he spoke optimistically about the likelihood that his party would win enough seats to maintain the balance of power in what he expected from a minority Labor government. Salad days to come.

Anthony Albanese discovered that it doesn’t pay to get the wrong answers about key economic indicators.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

But then came the dreaded question and answer session.

This is where, not so long ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison found himself unable to name the price of a loaf of bread, a liter of petrol and a rapid antigen test . Commentators around the world decided he was out of touch with the ordinary voter.

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Morrison’s difficulties in calculating the value of the Kirribilli pantry, fuel tank and COVID cabinet paled, of course, when, on the very first day of the campaign trail, Anthony Albanese had a brain spasm.

Many enthusiastic commentators almost declared that Albanese’s chances of winning the election were kaput after he seized when asked for the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate, and wildly veered off course guessing and mistaking the unemployment rate.

Indeed, it does not pay to get the wrong answers on key economic indicators.

In the anxious days of the Labor Party in 1991, John Kerin was summarily sacked by Bob Hawke as treasurer when he forgot at a press conference what the so-called gross surplus meant. operation. The condemnation of Kerin was immense from the media, some of whom had to consult their budget documents to define what this gross operating surplus really was.

What could John Kerin have done in the paralyzed moments of that old press conference to be able to shout “Google it”?

Google, alas, had not been invented.

Meanwhile, there were those who were surprised that the wily John Howard seemed strangely unmoved by Albanese in getting the unemployment figure wrong.

“So what,” he said, before backtracking later.

Could it be that Howard remains haunted by the biggest campaign snafu of them all?

His 1987 election campaign, when he was Leader of the Opposition, stopped dead in its tracks, never to recover, when he had to admit that his much-vaunted tax policy contained an arithmetic error stark: a $540 million black hole, which would be north of $1.5 billion in today’s dollars.

Don’t you remember that frozen moment?

Google it.

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, insights and expert analysis. Sign up for our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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