The Rooty Hill debacle

When Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced she was moving to Rooty Hill in Sydney’s western suburbs for a five-day pre-election campaign I checked the mainstream internet sites to discover how many “hits” the story had received from readers.

The answer: very few. It didn’t rate in the Top Ten list of any of the sites I called up.

In other words, the “game-changing” strategy hadn’t caught the public’s attention or its interest.

That’s because it is a very dumb idea. Ms Gillard is hugely unpopular in western Sydney and so is the ALP. Why would you send her to a zone of anti-Gillard and anti-Labor resentment?

Ten of Labor’s western Sydney seats are held by a margin of less than 10 per cent and, on present polling, most of them will go to the Liberals.

If Ms Gillard’s minders believe that the Rooty Hill tour will resurrect Labor’s electoral fortunes, they are wrong. This type of stunt will only reinforce prevailing prejudices. To me, it doesn’t seem like a rescue mission at all, but a suicide mission.

It is rather like the suggestion of NSW ALP general secretary Sam Dastyari to move the party’s headquarters from Sussex Street to Parramatta.

Why? So that the voters can see the way the NSW machine works and study the passing traffic of developers, hoteliers, poker machine manufacturers and lobbyists?

Far from assisting Labor’s cause, moving head office to Parramatta will only remind the hard-pressed electors why they have grown to despise the faceless men and women of the ALP who sit in office blocks and twitter to each other.

It is brainless tokenism – and so is Ms Gillard’s move to Rooty Hill.

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