John Singleton, “Singo returns the slings and arrows,” Times on Sunday, August 2, 1987, p. 16.
With the Federal election out of the way, JOHN SINGLETON responds to those who criticised the way in which he handled the Labor Party’s advertising.
Initially, Senator Graham Richardson approached me through Rene Rivkin to see if I would handle the Hawke re-election campaign.
For starters, both Rene Rivkin and I knew we were on a hiding to nothing. If Labor won the day the advertising would have played an irrelevant role. If Labor was beaten the advertising would have been the single most damaging factor.
On the other hand it was the most important job in the country.
I believed that the return of the Hawke-Keating Government was essential to Australia’s short and long-term competitiveness.
On the other hand, a re-election of the Liberal/National rabble at this stage would have had devastating effects.
There really was no decision but to take the risk and do the right thing no matter what the cost.
After all, neither Rene nor I have ever hidden the fact that we could actually struggle through even if all our clients left us overnight; which at about 7.30 on election night seemed a real good possibility.
Anyone who has studied democratic politics in Australia, or the world for that matter, knows you can’t retain office in an economic downturn. On the precedents, a Labor victory was just about impossible! The ANOP polls showed it.
Even Britain’s greatest hero, Winston Churchill, couldn’t pull it off.
But the Hawke-Keating team headed up by Federal boss Bob McMullan and world champion researcher Rod Cameron did pull off the impossible, with a little bit of help from the most viciously criticised advertising ever used in an election campaign.
Well, it’s over and the results of the Labor campaign are obvious in the only poll that really matters.
Now is the time to reflect on the opinions of those who, during the campaign, took the chance to take cheap shots at me while I was in no position to defend myself.
1) Leo Schofield: Leo was kind enough to say that he still had “chilling” memories of a campaign I had run some 12 years ago. That was flattering really because I cannot remember even one campaign Leo has ever been responsible for.
My memories of Leo are limited to his ramblings about food and grog as some kind of religious experience. And along with his giggling interference with anything that even has a whiff of progress.
Leo sits in his chromium-plated office pontificating on preserving everything that is outdated, useless or just plain ugly.
He is a sort of socially acceptable fine-food-and-wine Jack Mundey or a plump and somewhat effeminate Diamond Jim McClelland.
Leo is the sort of person who would have been against the introduction of the motor car, anaesthetic, TV or radio; unless he thought of them himself, which he wouldn’t.
I was pleased that Leo was so much against my appointment because it was only then I knew the appointment was spot on.
2) Phillip Adams: Like Leo, Phillip has managed to spend his whole career in advertising. Yet I can’t remember his ever developing one single memorable campaign.
I suspect that actually Phillip has always hated advertising. If so, that must be terrible, to spend your whole life doing something you hate.
But he did bring us Bazza McKenzie, who was perfect for the time. And Phillip also re-arranges millions of words that appear every day in every newspaper and magazine in the world. Or so it appears.
Phillip may be a marvellous writer but he is also a terrible editor, so you can’t read his work every week like, say, a Mike Gibson or David McNicoll, because you never know whether Adams will be really great or really boring because I don’t think Phillip knows the difference.
Alternatively, Phillip Adams doesn’t read what Phillip Adams writes either.
Phillip is now attempting to be a breakfast disc jockey in Sydney and I have even been attempting to help him. But it is hard for a bloke who has lived all his life in Melbourne and whose hobby is collecting stuffed Egyptian mummies to relate to Sydney.
Especially a bloke who confesses that he has never been in a pub, never been to the fights or the races, never seen a game of football of any kind, let alone Rugby League. Never been pissed, never been in a blue, never lost the lot on a certainty in the last at Randwick. Hates sport.
It isn’t just hard for Adams to relate — it is impossible.
But any lingering doubts I had about the correctness of working for the re-election of the Hawke Government were removed entirely when Phillip panned the idea.
The last time this great judge panned anything so fulsomely or bitterly was a movie which later proved somewhat successful called Crocodile Dundee.
3) The Campaign Palace: Rather than answer their petulant criticisms, I will hope The Palace fronts up for Nick Greiner at the next NSW election. Why? Because I think it very important that Barrie Unsworth win.
4) Tony Eggleton: This man is the ALP’s secret weapon. What a track record. Eggleton shot to prominence by looking serious over the demise of Gorton, McMahon, Snedden, Fraser and Peacock before backing up to make sure Howard got no support whatsoever.
I feel sure that if/when Peacock gets the job that Eggleton will go. But I think it likely Howard will keep him on. He makes John look like a winner.
5) John Laws: Lawsie and I have been mates for as long as either of us can forget. But John’s attempts to denigrate everything Labor during the campaign, including the advertising, shows only one thing — John Laws, CBE, is aware you don’t get a big knighthood because of the records you spin.
Maybe Howard should give Lawsie one retrospectively. He’s good at that stuff and Lawsie certainly deserved one for his sustained pro-Howard efforts.
6) The National Farmers’ Federation: If the really did have $15 million to spend, they must have decided to save it all for another election. The only ads I saw were insipid, unreadable and meaningless.
So far the NFF has only served one purpose as far as I can make out: to make former obscure Sheffield Shield cricketer Ian McLachlan semi-famous. For what purpose? I can hear the farmers ask.
In fact, the only people who got it right (apart from pros like the PM himself, and his hunchmen like Cassidy, Farmer, Sorby, Hogg and Emerson) were astrologer Athena Starwoman, who predicted it to the minute by the stars, and Sydney journalist-humorist Frank Crook.
On the last day of the election, Frank wrote that our advertising was pitched to the “orangutan mentality”. Frank got it dead right: we were after the swingers. Have you ever seen an orangutan swing?
Anyway, now it’s all over and the campaign results, like all campaign results, speak for themselves.
I am proud of the role we played. I believe that it was right that we stick with Hawke and Keating on the right track. I would not have done the campaign for any amount of money if I didn’t believe that to be true.
Now let us hope that the best Labor Party this country has ever had is given an Opposition worthy of it and that good men who believe in real competition, especially in political thought, will now be encouraged to revitalise the Coalition in the future. Or begin a new force as Menzies did with the devastated UAP.
The great thing about this election is that for sure now the Coalition will realise that they are not born to rule. And the prime ministership will never again be competed for by a man as lacking in leadership or credibility as the dogged, determined but totally unsuited John Howard.
Sure, I feel sorry for John Howard the man. But I would have felt even sorrier for Australia if John Howard and his disunited rabble had been allowed to bribe their way back to power no matter what the cost.
- Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
- Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
- Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
- Singo and Howard on Compromise
- Singo and Howard on Monopolies
- Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
- Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
- Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
- Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
- Singo and Howard on Drugs!
- Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
- Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
- Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
- Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
- Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
- John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
- John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard on Aborigines
- Singo and Howard on Conservatism
- Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
- Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
- John Singleton changes his name
- Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
- New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
- Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
- Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
- Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
- Singo and Howard on Rights
- Singo and Howard on Crime
- Singo and Howard on Justice
- Singo and Howard on Unemployment
- John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
- Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
- Holed up, hold-up and holdout
- The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
- Workers Party Platform
- Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
- Singo and Howard on Business
- Singo and Howard on Discrimination
- Singo and Howard on the Greens
- Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
- Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
- Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
- Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
- Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
- Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
- The last words of Charles Russell
- Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
- Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
- Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
- Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
- "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
- Introducing the new Workers' Party
- Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
- Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
- Voices of frustration
- Policies of Workers Party
- Party Promises to Abolish Tax
- AAA Tow Truck Co.
- Singo and Howard on Context
- Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
- Singo and Howard on Apathy
- Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
- Singo and Howard on Decency
- John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
- Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
- The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
- Who's Who in the Workers Party
- Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
- A Farewell to Armchair Critics
- Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
- David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
- David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
- Bludgers need not apply
- New party formed "to slash controls"
- The Workers Party
- Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
- The great consumer protection trick
- The "Workers" speak out
- How the whores pretend to be nuns
- The Workers Party is a Political Party
- Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
- Workers Party Reunion Intro
- Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
- Singo and Howard on Young People
- Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
- Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
- Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
- Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
- Singo and Howard on Consistency
- Workers Party is born as foe of government
- Political branch formed
- Government seen by new party as evil
- Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
- Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
- Singo and Howard on Licences
- Singo and Howard on Gun Control
- Singo and Howard on Human Nature
- Singo and Howard on Voting
- Singo and Howard on
- Singo and Howard on Education
- Singo and Howard on Qualifications
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
- Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
- A happy story about Aborigines
- John Singleton on Political Advertising
- Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
- Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
- How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
- The Discipline of Necessity
- John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
- Libertarians: Radicals on the right
- The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
- Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
- Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
- Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
- The impossible dream
- Why can't I get away with it?
- The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
- Time for progress
- The loonie right implodes
- Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
- John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
- Censorship should be banned
- "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
- John Singleton on Advertising
- John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
- Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
- Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
- John Singleton defends ockerism
- Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
- The Census Con
- Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
- Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
- Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
- John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
- John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
- John Hyde's Progress Party praise
- King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
- Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
- Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
- John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
- Save Parramatta Road
- 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
- Smoking, Health and Freedom
- Singo and Howard on Unions
- Singo and Howard Smash the State
- Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
- Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
- A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
- Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
- Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
- John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
- Thoughts on Land Ownership
- 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
- The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
- The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
- The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
- Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
- The mouse will roar
- Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
- Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
- Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
- Hancock's playing very hard to get
- Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
- Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
- John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
- John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
- Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
- John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
- I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
- Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
- John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
- Singo and Howard on Ballet
- Product innovation comes first
- Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
- A party is born
- Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
- John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
- Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
- Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
- John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
- Counterculture must exclude government handouts
- John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
- John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
- Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
- Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
- Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
- Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
- Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
- Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
- John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
- Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
- John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
- Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
- Return Australia Post to Sender
- Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
- John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
- John Singleton on cigarette advertising
- Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
- John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
- John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
- Gortlam rides again
- Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
- John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
- 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
- Singo asks two prickly questions
- VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
- Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
- Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
- Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
- An Ode to Busybodies
- Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
- How many tits in a tangle?
- Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
- John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
- A speech from the Titanic
- A crime must have a victim
- John Singleton vs Australia Post
- Minimum wages the killer
- Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
- John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
- John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
- John Singleton vs Don Lane
- John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
- John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
- Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
- John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
- Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
- Charity: An Aesop Fable
- Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
- New improved moon
- Announcing people ... YES, people!
- Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
- John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
- Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
- John Singleton schools ad course
- John Singleton: advertising awards
- Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
- John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
- John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare