What do you get when you cross a politician with a beer? A good old Aussie bloke or a skeptical debate about whether he is being authentic? We want you to tell us your opinion today. Was Tony Abbott’s beer skolling, a fun moment in time, a real attempt to become an authentic politician or is it just another cog being turned in what looks like a rather well-co-ordinated marketing approach for a man that has rarely shown the wherewithal to do so? And what do we really want from our politicians? Is it the ability to be their true self, with authenticity, or more slick marketing that makes us feel like everything is going to be OK, all the time? It is a funny thing to stop and think about, but it is the question of the day.
I think there is one thing we can all agree on, and that is, the one thing we want from our politicians in our country right now is stability. We want to feel like the person guiding the ship knows exactly where it needs to go, and how to map the course to get there. We want leadership, we want strategy and we want consistency. Do we want authenticity with it? Is authenticity even important right now?
Our politicians today are fighting a much harder amount of scrutiny than they have ever had to before. Everyone using social media is a reporter and critic of the leaders of our country and all are looking for a reason to critique every single day. A politician has to relate to everyone, if they can, but to do so they often have to reach outside their real persona and morph into someone each of us, in our places in life can relate to so that we can see them as our representative. It’s just good marketing essentially. But is it also smart politics, or is it becoming just too transparent to us that we are being marketed to through falsified authenticity?
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Tony Abbott is not the first to have his behaviour over-examined online for its authenticity. We’ve seen the marketing machines behind Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Clive Palmer and others set them up for moments that leave us shaking our heads in wonder at why and what they might have been trying to achieve.
Kevin Rudd used to stand up on stage make all sorts of rather odd “ocker” statements that made people look at him sideways. “Fair shake of the sauce bottle” and the like became colloquialisms for which he was famous; and which made him both authentic and imitable in many ways. But did it make him a good leader? That only you can decide for yourself. One thing for sure, he was memorable for the discomfort it made us all feel.
Bob Hawke was famous for loving a beer; memorable even for skolling one in his youth that got him into the Guinness Book of Records. “A good aussie bloke” we’d say about Hawke in his prime. Does this make him authentic? And does his authenticity make him a good politician and leader, or was his leadership qualities the more important component of that?
Almost everyone in the country is fed up with the rolling team of well-marketed people that have paraded through our Prime Ministerial offices over the last decade trying to impress us, each bringing their own short term approach to budgets and policies. Each one tried to be someone that they thought we wanted them to be. But what’s wrong with just being a great, stable leader with their own personal hobbies? Do they have to be our hobbies for us to relate to them?
Many an Australian politician has drunk beer in public, without it being seen as a massive moment in history. It is funny when it comes so out of the blue for someone like Tony Abbott, our health and fitness oriented leader, that we try to see through it.
Do you think this was a moment of fun or a staged marketing moment?