Is authenticity or stability more important? 114



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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?

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?


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Geez why on earth do people have to worry about a blokes wanting to have a beer,not a comment about a certain woman sowing or knitting this is nuts Bob Hawk a drunk, Tony Abbot not a drunk a big difference.

    5 REPLY
    • An offensive comment to make about one of Australia’s great prime ministers! lack of respect!

    • Bob Hawke did not drink at all while PM. I agree – pretty disrespectful and clearly displaying your colours. It wasn’t just having a beer. It was scholling to a chanting croud.

    • How can you say Bob Hawk did not drink as pm when what we are talking about is him knocking back beers in public more than a few times and if you went to a ALP private function you would of seen for your self.but it is only now some talk of it Bob was a big drinker from way back.

    • Plus a womaniser. What Hawke did to Hazel after all the years she stood by him, makes him lower than a snakes belly

    • He was a bloody drunk treated hazel like she was trash. Couldn’t leave her quick enough to be with Blanche.

  2. If we have to spend this amount of time dissecting one man having one beer, we are all in serious need of a hobby.

    7 REPLY
    • I make no secret about not liking Tony Abbott, but we really have way more to worry about than him sculling a beer. Move on people!!!!

    • Yes definitely Fran like Labor’s superannuation policy. For years people have been conned into putting more into their superannuation only to find that once they’ve made that commitment and are unable to take the excess out that Labor wants to double their tax rate to 30 per cent. Is that fair?

  3. What a complete beat up. Of course you are allowed to have a beer with the boys & girls PM, Arch Bishop GG it’s great to see.
    All these do gooders complaining about our PM having a beer—- really fellas get a life will yous.

  4. It wouldn’t matter what he did people would complain. If he has a beer like any other person does its wrong. If he was condoning this himself people would say he was not connecting with everyday people. So he can’t win.

  5. For heaven’s sake – the whole thing was so contrived. TV cameras all set up, ready, all quiet on set. Action! Followed by contrived comment from Shorten. Just another grab for TV. It is so pathetic, the way Australian opinion is manipulated.

  6. Funnily enough; I reckon Tony Abbott tries too hard to portray an image of ” the Aussie bloke.” Then again maybe his idea of what portrays this image is different to mine. He sometimes appears to act as if that is not really him or he says things that make one wonder if that is the real Tony Abbott. Is he being led by a marketing guru who has got it horribly wrong. Sometimes he is way too.. ” In your face” to the point that we see people pull away from him with that look of; whoa mate, give me some of my personal space back.
    Being authentic should come naturally; without conscious effort or falsehoods inspired by a marketing campaign. Any individual walks on shaky ground when they pretend to be someone they are not and in my experience Australians are experts at picking this out.
    Far better our Prime Minister is a person of integrity and strength in leadership. One who has the well being of our nation and the people at heart and has the will to make the tough decisions. One who is not prone to knee jerk reaction or with the tendency to be led by others; a person who is not only a good politician but also a good statesman/woman. A person we can respect and believe in and who represents us honestly and with dignity on the world stage.

  7. In a perfect world, where everyone is politically aware and informed, policies would stand the scrutiny test and no one would care about what the politician was wearing, saying or doing. Their personality would be irrelevant and their ability to lead, make decisions and improve our lives would be everything. Sadly, that world is not reality. We live in a world of click-bait, 150 character responses and three word policy slogans. We care about what our politicians wear, say and do. We vote for them based on whether or not we would like them in our circle of friends. We have compulsory voting where the person in the political wilderness has the same vote as the person who pours over the policies and how it will impact on our lives. We live alongside people who vote and don’t care about anything but their own comfort – the disadvantaged and less fortunate can ‘go hang’. So, marketing matters whether we like it or not. If making the politician look like a ‘regular person’ it might just get a few more votes. If the responses are cleverly scripted and the ‘real’ person is kept on a short leash, maybe they won’t say anything that can be used against them or misinterpreted. We got what we asked for when we started worrying about the irrelevant things about our politicians instead of worrying about whether or not they were up for the job.

    1 REPLY
    • My thoughts exactly. If people would concentrate on policies instead of personalities, things would be be so much better.

  8. I’m very happy to criticise the PM for most things but this is seriously not one of them. Let’s stick to the issues – the real issues!

    2 REPLY

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