Plays for the Prime Ministry: Labels lead early Plays


The first three days of the Australian Federal Election has seen the start of the election gavotte, the running of Plays and counter-Plays with the Label at the forefront.

The Playcalling can be disassembled and analysed using the Playmaker’s Standard Table of Influence. To every Play there is a counter-play, for every announcement there is a deeper  meaning. The end goal? To out-Play the opponent on September 7th.

As you might expect, Labels Label (the application of a memorable word, phrase or symbol, self-given or attributed to another, to make it stick) tend to stand out, and that’s the reason they are used, either to provide a catchy hook, or to pigeonhole an opposing position.

Examples over the past three days are treasurer Chris Bowen’s Label for the Coalition’s corporate tax cut funding as being an “it’ll be all right on the night” approach to costing its policies, and Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey’s assertion that “Labor has lost control of the budget and is losing control of the economy”, with that phrase “Labor has lost control” the cut-through Label.

The counters to Label Plays include Deflects [DF]-Deflect, Discos [DX]-Disco,  Mirrors[MI]-Mirror and of course counter-Labels. Tony Abbott linked the announcement of the proposed reduction in corporate tax to his child care scheme, offsetting the impost of a levy on the 3,000 largest Australian companies to pay for the child care scheme against the tax cut, and linking the funding of the tax cut to the levy (in essence, balancing the two out). He ran a Disco on what we can assume he knew would be Labor’s counter-attack on the funding behind such a tax cut, in which he focused on the larger, and to him arguably more important, child care scheme.

In short, he talk the hit on the funding behind the tax cut to be able to focus more freely on the child care scheme in the coming weeks. 

Expect, Call-Outs[CT]-Callout, BaitsBait and Challenges[CH]-Challenge in the coming days.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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