4 April 2020
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Labor's lessons from Saturday's butt-kicking. Albo please note!

Stunned! That was me on Saturday night and only Bill Shorten, Chloe and the entire Labor team could have topped me. I’m a risk averse investor — that’s why I set up my listed dividend growth fund that pays reliable income with the ticker code SWTZ, which is my nickname.

When I get invited to the races, I bet for the place and I back the favourites because favourites have an unhappy knack of losing but they often run a place. The form via Newspoll said you can’t back the Coalition for the win, though on a Bill versus Scomo basis, the preferred PM rating told you another story. It was a pity that the ABC breakfast program told us on Monday that no Opposition Leader who was relatively unpopular to his government rival has ever taken out a Federal election. If I knew that before Saturday night, I would have been telling plenty of hopeful Coalition voters in my daily columns, and worried small business owners, panicking self-funded retirees who love their franking credits and spooked homeowners who did not want to see more house price falls, might have slept better over the past few months.

I might have even backed the Coalition despite my overly-cautious punter ways if I’d known that unpopular Opposition Leader had no form to believe in.

I had written that, when I interviewed ex-Labor Senator Graham Richardson at our Switzer Investor Strategy Day, that attracted around a 1000 worried investors, I asked him why wouldn’t worried small business owners, retirees, home owners and farming regions, who are always fearing Labor, all add up to a lot of people who would vote against Bill’s hardnose policies?

I also wondered whether family members worried about their parents and grandparents as self-funded retirees losing a chunk of money would vote to support their loved ones? They might have also agreed with one of my early stories, which was headlined “Bill will shrink your inheritance!”

Then there might have been employees of small businesses, banks, insurance companies, miners and others who thought Labor might make tough business conditions even tougher, so I better vote to shore up my job. I reckon people working in real estate and mortgage broking would’ve found it hard to vote Labor unless they’re smoking something.

A psychiatrist friend of ours, who started his life in a fibro housing commission home, reckons we Aussies don’t relate naturally to Bill’s references to us as “workers”. It’s so old world and he says we are a whole lot more aspirational than say those in Australia in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Ironically, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating unleashed the hounds of deregulation and opened us up to globalisation, the Internet and freer trade and business, and we have changed.

We drive imported cars now. We’d like an investment property to reduce our tax bill and add to our great compulsory super, which will create millionaires out of the younger workers of today. We all holiday OS and we can stream live out of the USA Game of Thrones and Billions. Bill was talking to a shrinking minority and, in fact, he alienated older retirees, who might still think of themselves as workers. They might think like that because that’s what they were when they scrimped and saved to pay off their house, maybe buy a weekender on the coast before trendies started chasing them.

These people often had little super because they did not have compulsory super that started in 1992, but in their 50s after they got rid of their kids, they turbo-charged their super so that they’d have a nest egg in retirement. And it was this that Bill held up as a sign that they were ripping off workers and taxpayers of today!

The masterminds of Labor’s policies are out of touch with the majority of Aussies and the fact that they are blaming Coalition scare tactics of talk about a “retirees tax” shows that these people live in La La Land and not Australia!

Graham Richardson, who knows us and has been an astute strategist, told my audience that “they should be scared of Bill, because he is scary.” He called the negative gearing and franking credits policies “dumb” and they were, and Anthony Albanese has to learn from Bill’s mistakes.

Assuming he gets up when Labor decides on their next leader, he has promised to go on a listening tour around the country, which is a good idea as politicians and men in general aren’t great listeners. We’d love to hire a female financial planner because we know they are renowned as great listeners to clients but anti-discrimination laws stop us from specifying that we want one.

I believe there are a lot of voters who aren’t too fussed about the new age politically correct rules that stop them via shouting them down and shaming them whenever they disagree with modern day protocols.

On Saturday night, the silent majority did make their point loudly to Labor and I hope for their and our sake that they get the message.

And I have one piece of advice for Albo, who does look like a good bloke, which is a start. I recommend he puts away a few weeks to shadow a number of small business owners — be an undercover pollie in a business — to actually see what it is like to employ and lead people, have your house on the line, deal with cranky customers, bullying big business, annoying public servant demands for data, deal with digitally disrupting rivals, who don’t pay the same wage levels and dodge tax like world-beaters and struggle with the threat from a potential government that wages have to go higher!

Labor before the election kept walking in the shoes of the people they know but had no idea how uncomfortable it is for those who voted against them.

Get uncomfortable Albo and you might get some comforting news in three or six year’s time.

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