The Liberal Party’s new publicly-funded advertising campaign promoting the party’s revised industrial relations policies* has already done more damage to the party’s cause than any benefit they might possibly achieve. Labor has been given buckets of entirely favourable free publicity on both the substantive issue of IR and the misuse of public funds in political campaigning**. Even more striking, the label “Workchoices” has been abandoned in the ads, effectively conceding that Labor and the unions have won the policy debate. The alternative, something like “Workchoices: New and Improved!” might have been corny and unconvincing, but surely not as bad as this. Of course, without an ad campaign, there would have been no need for such a choice.
Now its time for the ads themselves. My guess is that they will be somewhere between ineffective and counterproductive. Those who have been following the issue closely can only have a negative reaction, and those who remember the previous campaign might wonder why, if all the relevant conditions were PROTECTED BY LAW last time, they now need to be protected again. But I imagine the majority of viewers will tune out in one way or another.
*As far as I know, these policies have not been enacted into law, or even placed before the Parliament, so their only real status is as Liberal policy
** If there is a change of government, watch to see if the promise to have the Auditor-General examine all such advertising is implemented in Labor’s first year. If it hasn’t come in by then it will never happen.