Last week the Labour Party announced their new Veterans Policy. It revolves around extending the Veterans Pension to all veterans, regardless of their impairment status. The granting of a veteran’s pension has other benefits for those concerned, such as payments not abating after extended periods in hospital. It is a policy that is projected to cost something like $11mil extra a year, decreasing over time for reasons that should be obvious. However, no where on the policy page on their website do they mention the fact that veterans will not gain any increase in weekly payments.
This has prompted well known Twitter personality Graeme Edgeler to ask questions along these lines on Twitter. On Saturday he asked Clare Curran questions around this policy, after she tweeted a Labour party graphic about it.
The question that Graeme asked was:
Now this is a legitimate question. Clare answered by linking to the policy page I linked above. Which is a far enough response, assuming there was any real detail on the page. Graeme replied rather bluntly:
However it is Clare’s response that pushes things off topic:
Graeme’s question is pretty straight forward, if Clare doesn’t know the answer right away and it isn’t available in the policy documents, then she should say that she will find out and get back to him, which she does later. But before this she makes a number of errors. Firstly she stats an opinion as fact, “of course they will be better off”, without providing any evidence to back this up. She also levels accusations of not being genuine in his questions at Graeme. After having it pointed out that most people who apparently benefit from this policy won’t be any better off week to week, she then attacks Graeme and accuses him of being sanctimonious.
This exchange resulted in Jessica Williams joining the conversation, to clear up some points with her understanding of the policy.
Graeme does make it clear that he isn’t intending to pick out Clare as being responsible for this policy.
This exchange is an example of how not to handle questions. Instead of treating it as a legitimate question, Clare has attacked the person asking the question, which is not a good look. However, if Labour had prepared policy documents that had the full details in them, this exchange would most likely never have happened. So one omission by the Labour party has led to two issues for the party. They now have to explain why they haven’t been fully forthcoming with the details.
This is not the first time that questions have been asked about the details, or lack of, of Labour policy announcements.