Why does the media believe it must hold governments to account?

Newspapers should hold governments to account according to John Hartigan, News Limited chairman and chief executive. Interviewed on the ABC’s 7.30 last week by Leigh Sales, the actual words to this effect that appeared in the transcript were: “I think we take them to their official capacity and responsibilities.” This boldly expressed assertion, backed by many other similar statements he made, begs the question: “Who assigned the responsibility for holding governments to account to newspapers or for that matter any section of the media?” I for one certainly haven’t; how many others have? I have always believed that it is the electorate that should hold governments to account, not a third party. Does the media have a role in this process. If so, what is it?

Tony Abbott seems to be in accord with Hartigan. In rejecting the notion of an enquiry into the media, Abbott declared that politicians ‘complaining about the media is like footballers complaining about the umpire’. To use the term ‘umpire’ seems be assigning an even more onerous role to the media, one where it not only holds politicians and governments to account but also imposes penalties for misbehaviour. What is going on here? As it’s an Abbott utterance, not scripted, I expect it is in the category of a glib but superficially plausible off-the-cuff quip without depth or meaning. If pressed, he might not be so willing to be subject to media ‘penalties’, as evidenced by the way he walks away from pressers when the going gets tough.

Let’s begin then by agreeing what we mean by ‘holding to account’. One definition that seems to fit the bill is: “The strength of resolve to hold others to account for agreed targets and to be held accountable for delivering a high level of service.” Although written to apply in a business context, it seems applicable to any endeavour that involves reaching targets and providing service, such as governing. 

In a political context there are several aspects where accountability might apply: ideology, planning and implementation.

Although governments are elected for a variety of reasons, many of which are financial (the hip pocket syndrome), there as still some who vote according to the ideological base on which their preferred party rests. Labor supporters prefer the concept of social justice and concern for workers that that party espouses, whereas Coalition supporters prefer the free enterprise and market based approach of that party. Of course there is now much overlap in ideology between the parties, but the basics are still there for voters to choose.

More important to most voters are the policies and plans that the parties present to the electorate for the time ahead, how they will be implemented and at what cost.

Traditionally governments are expected to detail plans and costings, whereas oppositions are allowed to be much more vague about them. Why that is so can be attributed, at least in part, to different treatment by the media of governments and oppositions, where scrutiny of the latter is too often lacking.

Perhaps as important to voters as plans for the future, is the way in which past policies and plans have been implemented – the Government’s record of achievement. The current federal Government has been criticized heavily for the way it has implemented its policies and plans, by both the Opposition and the media. Hartigan had this to say: “…I think most people would think that the BER program was a sham and very badly organised and I think that some of our newspapers reflected that very strongly. Some of the other issues - the NBN, I think, you know, Australians are asking a lotta questions about the transparency of huge amounts of billions of dollars. So I would suggest that we're acting in the public interest.” Here we have it again: ‘acting in the public interest’, which is code for ‘holding to account’.

The fact that three Orgill Reports have documented a 97% satisfaction rate with the BER seems to have had no influence on the views of Hartigan or his editors. They have made up their minds that the BER was a ‘sham’, whatever that means, wasted a lot of taxpayer’s money, and therefore deserves to be repeatedly castigated by The Australian, which took up the cudgels against this program from the outset and pursued it relentlessly. It seems to believe that it has not only the right, but also the responsibility to pursue this matter. Is this pursuit on behalf of the electorate, as it likes to imply, or is it simply following its own anti-Government agenda?

In his masterful piece on The Failed Estate: If the cap fits… Mr Denmore had this to say on this issue: “A vigorous, questioning press is indeed an asset to a functioning democracy. But only if it employs that vigour against all sides in politics. News Limited does not do this on even the most charitable measure. Instead, it has run a nakedly partisan anti-government line on the NBN, the fiscal stimulus, asylum seekers and any number of issues with the clear intent of breaking down a minority government it has never accepted as legitimate and in which a major part is played by a party it has openly vowed to destroy. What's more, it has done this with little respect for the facts.”

What is it that gives the media the belief that it has an entitlement to act on the electorate’s behalf in holding governments to account?

I submit that this is an assumed entitlement, one that the media has taken on itself, without public authorization, and having enjoyed the power that such entitlement endows, exercises it ruthlessly in pursuit of its own political agenda. Hartigan went on to say: “…we're the only organisation that really takes it up to the Government”, and talking about The Australian says: "...it really is very strident in the way that it covers politics and I'd argue it's really the only newspaper in Australia that properly covers politics, national politics." He discounted the Fairfax media and the ABC as sympathetic to the Government. Anyone who still doubts the role New Limited believes it has in politics should read the full transcript of the 7.30 interview, particularly about his paper’s assault on Rob Oakeshott. If you are still not convinced of his aggression towards the Gillard Government, look at the video.  

Another of the News Limited newspapers, The Daily Telegraph, has engaged in vigorous anti-Government behaviour ever since the new editor, Paul Whittaker, took over in April. Its negativity has been so gross, turning as it does even positive stories for the Government into negative ones, that it has been named and attacked by Stephen Conroy. He has accused the newspaper of ignoring the basics of journalism - accuracy and balance: "The problem you have when you run campaigns in newspapers is that you are not prepared to give equal coverage to both sides of the argument…the Daily Telegraph is interested in distorting the debate, it's interested in demanding an election campaign purely intended to try and get rid of the Government."

So we have two papers hell bent on attacking the Government with a view to removing it from office; other Murdoch papers are following similar lines.

Conroy acknowledged that newspapers were entitled to take a political position, but my question is whether they are entitled to do so without declaring their hand, instead covertly, and often overtly, undermining the party they oppose by distorting the facts and offering their influential opinions in a way that steers public opinion.

The Murdoch empire has exercised an influence over political debate here and in the US and the UK. In the US, through Fox News, it has become a virtual mouthpiece for the Republican Party, promoting its position relentlessly; some celebrities, such as Sarah Palin, even have their own segments on that network. In the UK we have seen recently how much influence Murdoch has had on politics there. In The Drum Opinion, Stephen Mayne reports on what UK PM David Cameron actually said about the relationship between the Murdoch media and politicians: “Over the decades, on the watch of both Labour leaders and Conservative leaders, politicians and the press have spent time courting support, not confronting the problems. Well, it's on my watch that the music has stopped and I'm saying, loud and clear - things have got to change. In future, politicians have got to stop trying to curry favour with the media, but instead regulate properly. We were all in this world of wanting the support of newspaper groups and, yes, broadcasting organisations and when we are doing that do we spend enough time asking questions about how these organisations are regulated, the malpractices and the rest of it? No, we did not. We have to.”  

If the media has no inherent entitlement to be the voice and opinion of the people, what are its rights and responsibilities?

For my part I expect the media to report the facts, the verifiable facts, and to report them accurately and in full. The media is geared to ascertain the facts, and ought to do so. It then has an obligation to inform the public of them in a balanced and unbiased way, so that voters can use that information to make a judgement about the Government's performance when they come to cast their vote.

Is the media entitled to express a political opinion? It must be in a society that has enshrined free speech as one of its basic tenets. In turn the public is entitled to know what is opinion, as distinct from the facts. Yet opinion and fact are too often inextricably mixed so that it is difficult to know which is which. Murdoch believes that opinion is news, never mind the facts.

So we have Hartigan volunteering on 7.30 that the BER was a ‘sham’, an opinion unsupported by any facts he was prepared to offer. It is simply a sham, don’t ask how or why it was. Opinions such as these are offered endlessly by The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and other News Limited outlets, with little or no confirmatory evidence, opinions deliberately cast before the public, much of which unthinkingly accepts opinion as fact. Indeed because the purpose of these Murdoch outlets is to influence public opinion to their way of thinking, facts are irrelevant and sometimes inconvenient. So they do a typical Murdoch – misrepresent the facts, leave out those that don’t suit their case or dispense with them altogether; instead just offer an opinion.

Later in his piece: If the cap fits… Mr Denmore offers a similar view: “…the media also has a responsibility to get its facts straight and provide honest reporting of primary information before it starts opining on it. It should also separate out straight reporting from analysis and opinion. This is not the way of the Murdoch titles, which revel in openly partisan journalism. And while fearless scrutiny is wonderful, it needs to be applied to everyone - including Tony Abbott. ‘Accuracy, balance and fairness’ were the three principles rammed down the throats of journalism students when I went into the trade and they still should be the bedrock upon which everything is built.” Mr Denmore’s whole article is well worth a read. 

In my opinion the media has a responsibility to give us all the information we need to make a judgement about our governments, information that we otherwise may have difficulty accessing. It has the right to express an opinion so long as it’s clear that it is just that. Its opinions would be worth having if they were based on all the verifiable facts and a well-reasoned argument, but to hope for that from most of today’s media is pie in the sky.

In my view, the media has no right to arrogantly inflict its opinion or its personal biases and preferences on us, devoid of facts and reasoning. Yet that is what it does over and again. It has no entitlement to hold governments to account on our behalf. It ought not to assume that it has a divine right to speak for us, or to influence us to its views. After all, the media is just the media, a group of people: proprietors, editors and journalists, who gather and analyze facts, reach conclusions and offer opinions, which we are entitled to take or leave. They ought not to assume that their opinions are more worthy than ours, and they ought not to believe they have they right to tell us how to think. Yet that’s just what many do, especially those from the Murdoch stable. Let the voters hold governments to account, not the media.

What do you think?

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2353

20/07/2011Well said. The media *really* exists to report the news fairly, without favour and certainly without bias. Bluntly, the media should report both sides of a story and give the reader/viewer enough evidence to make a considered judgement. It can't be that hard (to coin a phrase) as they all used to do it. That I and the next poster on this thread could have diametrically opposed judgements is not the problem of the media, we all assess the facts presented through our own filters. Regardless of his personal opinion of the various political leaders in Australia, or their programs - stating that a program that delivered a 97% success rate, kept a lot of trades based employees in work and delivered lasting infrastructure across the country was a "sham" is blatantly demonstrating Hartigan has a underlying political bias which is certainly reflected in his sphere of influence. Hopefully there is an enquiry into media power and ownership in Australia. With the CEO of the organisation that controls 70% of the newspapers, the only cable TV production network and has ongoing connections with the CEO of a television network making such blatantly biased political comment - what other examples of the media "writing crap" will be unearthed? No wonder the media is against it - you would have to ask why the LNP is also against it if they have nothing to hide.

Ad astra

20/07/20112353 You are quick off the mark. Thank you for your supportive comments. My fervent hope is that the current scandal will result in some modification of the Murdoch media’s aggressive attacks on the Government, but if one can judge from the truculence of John Hartigan on [i]7.30[/i], that seems unlikely. Remember how easily he brushed off the Melbourne Storm scandal.

Lyn

20/07/2011Hi Ad You have written another superb article for us, thankyou very much. Ad Astra you are just wonderful. Mr Hartigan sure seems to have his duty to the public all mixed up, seeing he thinks it is The Australian Newspapers resonsibility to brainwash the public with, distorted "never mind the facts" reporting. [quote]The media is geared to ascertain the facts, and ought to do so. It then has an obligation to inform the public of them in a balanced and unbiased way, [/quote] It seems to me that Mr Hartigan is saying Julia Gillard is comparing News Limited here to the UK phone hacking, which is not what Julia said at all. See! what Julia has said about News Limited is being distorted. Mr Hartigan and his journalists are all saying there is no evidence in Australia of phone hacking, that might be so, but how do they explain their straight out false reporting. How come as Mr Hartigan said, they have no competition, and how come one person owns 70% of the media in Australia, what about cross media laws, fit and proper been changed by Howard to suitability test. "Suitability test",scoff, that means there is no limit to how they report and no regulations, they don't need to care about honesty and integrity. News Corp boss John Hartigan: Gillard’s attack is unjustified [quote]News Limited boss John Hartigan has responded to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s claims that the company needs to answer “some hard questions” in Australia, describing her comments as “unjustified and regrettable”.[/quote] http://mumbrella.com.au/news-corp-boss-john-hartigan-gillards-attack-is-unjustified-52932 [i]News Ltd has questions to answer, PM says, ABC[/i] Senator Brown has had some celebrated run-ins with News Limited journalists and calls News' flagship paper, The Australian, the "hate media". He wants "fit and proper" character tests for newspaper proprietors and a review of ownership regulation in the light of News' domination of the capital city newspaper market. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-20/gillard-demands-answers-from-news-ltd/2803108?section=business Cheers :):):):):):)

Jason

20/07/2011Aa, Hartigan is like a dying man! Regardless of what happens now,the only thing I think that can be taken for granted from here on, is "News Corpse" power and influence is going to be severely diminished. Watch out Abbott when they turn!

Feral Skeleton

20/07/2011Well said Ad. Might I add that another ray of light was let in on a dark political journalism landscape in Australia today with the news that Arianna Huffington has announced an Australian HuffingtonPost! Huzzah! I believe that will certainly put the cat among the political pigeons, or 'Roof Rats' as me old mam used to call them as they danced around on our roof in Inner City Sydney as I was growing up(pigeons, not political journalists that is!). Not overtly a Progressive Media outlet, it instead at least allows a Progressive voice to be heard along with the Conservative voices, in a mass market media outlet. Which is all we should ask and hope for in our media, surely? Now, it's off to bed for someone who made themselves stay up till 2am this morning to watch the Master Prevaricator and His Apprentice on the TV from the UK last night. Night all!

Ad astra reply

20/07/2011Hi Lyn Thank you for your kind comments and your interesting links. Isn't it fascinating how the likes of Hartigan squirm and protest innocence and take offense when their integrity is questioned, while they dish out the same to Julia Gillard and her Government every day. As Jason suggests, Hartigan and his News Limited are beginning to look like a threatened species. Will they react like a trapped animal and become more vicious, or tone down a bit? It's anyone's guess. BTW, I have to get a very early start in the morning, so will leave posting your links to your special page until late morning.

Ad astra reply

20/07/2011FS Thank you for your comment and the exciting news of an Australian Huffington Post. That will be very interesting. Good night - sleep well.

D Mick Weir

20/07/2011Ad, In trying to answer on of the questions you pose: [i]“Who assigned the responsibility for holding governments to account to newspapers or for that matter any section of the media?”[/i] there is a need to separate a few things out. How good, bad or indifferent a particular media organistion is at holding the government, or any of our other institutions for that matter, to account is a separate issue from whether they should be entitled to, and also separate from whether anyone has given them permission to hold the government to account. On the permission question only; I gave the media permission to hold the government to account. We have all given that permission. In the world in which I live I do not have the time or the resources to hold the government, or any of the myriad of institutions I pass on various responsibilities to, to account. We pass on many resposibilities to others, as we must, otherwise, we would not be able to live the lives we do, and doing so we choose various ways to hold to account those we have passed the resposibilities to. I passed on the resposibility of exposing the irregularities in the Wheat Board's dealings with Iraq and then pushing for the holding of the government to account. How well they did that is a completely different matter which I will let pass through to the keeper for the moment.

Acerbic Conehead 2

20/07/2011Well said, as usual, AA. The (begging) question ,then, to people like Hartigan is, to whom are they responsible?

Patricia WA

20/07/2011AC The answer is, "No one." They aren't responsible.

Casablanca

21/07/2011If the Government should not be picking winners, but instead leaving it to the market, then surely the market should not be picking Governments, but instead should leave it to the people to decide.

Patricia WA

21/07/2011Thanks Jason for the link to the Abbott views on the need for understanding from the Australian public about the priorities of government which mean that not all pre-election commitments can be met! I used the link in a comment on Ross Gittins latest column on trust. Hope it gets used. TT, couldn't wait for you to get around to helping me with that extra verse. I did it all by myelf! http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/ Cheers and goodnight. At last! "Hear! Hear!" woofs Tacker who will never get into bed till I'm all tucked in.

Ad astra

21/07/2011Folks I have an early appointment. I'll respond to your comments later today.

Lyn

21/07/2011 [b]TODAY’S LINKS[/b] [i]blocking a media inquiry , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion[/i] The standard defence of News Ltd in Australia takes the form of opposing any media inquiry on the grounds that News Ltd is entitled to its media bias because of the freedom of the press. Any attempt to regulate bias represents a stifling of critical comment and extensive scrutiny. http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2011/07/blocking-a-medi.php#more [i]No Rules For Murdoch To Break, Wendy Bacon, New Matilda[/i] The Howard government abolished the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and replaced it with the Australian Broadcasting Authority that later became the Australian Media and Communication Authority. This change abolished the "fit and proper" test for television owners and gave television and radio owners more power http://newmatilda.com/2011/07/20/no-rules-murdoch-break [i]Media In The Firing Line, Wendy Bacon, New Matilda[/i] Do News Ltd editors respect the professional independece of their journalists or do they compaign to impose certain views or political lines on their journalists to the detriment of the public - e.g. in relation to climate change. http://newmatilda.com/2011/07/20/media-firing-line [i]Murdochs before the culture committee – what we learned, Cyril Washbrook, Spy Report[/i] Rupert Murdoch insisted throughout the hearing that he knew little or nothing about key moments in News International's handling of the phone-hackingscandal. He defended numerous gaps in his knowledge by stating that the News of the World was "less than one per cent of our company" http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2011/07/20/murdochs-before-the-culture-committee-what-we-learned/? [i]Murdoch most Foul, Tess Lawrence, Independent Australia[/i] I doubt that anyone in Australia would have easily published it here. And that is an indictment of the moral cowardice of our profession. Perhaps we will find greater courage now that the beast is wounded. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/media-2/murdoch-most-foul/ [i]Murdoch hearing: everything you need to know, Bernard Keane, Crikey[/i] The really significant political development of the day, however, was before the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which heard from, successively, the outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson, his Public Affairs director Dick Fedorico, http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/20/rupert-murdoch-james-murdoch-inquiry-key-details/ [i]Feel that? The media power axis just shifted, Margaret Simons, Crikey[/i] Murdoch’s habit of slapping the table to make a point, which for years has caused editors and others to quake, looked less like authority and more like the sad mannerism of an old man trying to assert his authority — like the thump of a walking stick on sidewalk. http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/20/simons-feel-that-the-media-power-axis-just-shifted/ [i]Rupert Murdoch to Staff,Margaret Simons, The Content Makers[/i] The following message from Rupert Murdoch just landed in News Limited employees’ inboxes. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/contentmakers/2011/07/20/rupert-murdoch-to-staff-2/ [i]All in all, a good day's work for Murdoch tag team, Tim Dunlop, ABC[/i] I have to say, this line of counterattack - that it is the Murdochs and their companies that are the victims in all this, that the whole thing is 'hysteria' whipped up by their enemies - is the most ill-advised and offensive response imaginable http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2802712.html [i]Trust makes the world go around, honestly, Ross Gittins,[/i] Tony Abbott's gross misrepresentation of the carbon tax's effect on prices, employment and whole industries exceeds all records in effectiveness and dishonesty.I would never have believed one politician could, by all his reckless claims, stop retail sales in their tracksas frightened punters close their purses in fear for their futures. Why the retailers aren't tearing him apart I don't know. http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/trust-makes-the-world-go-around-honestly-20110719-1hn4y.html [i]Projection, Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] This is not fantasy. It is obvious that the more fossil fuels we consume, the greater the emissions. Add to that the ever increasing population and you can also see a rise. But more importantly, since only under 2 billion people enjoy a western energy consumption http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/projection/ [i]Abbott clears up another carbon comment, Jeremy Thompson, ABC[/i] Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has been forced to clarify another contradictory climate change statement - this time on why he claimed yesterday he had never supported a carbon price. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-20/tony-abbott-carbon-price/2803206/?site=melbourne [i]Except for Tony, we all want answers, Miglo, Café Whispers[/i] He wants “fit and proper” character tests for newspaper proprietors and a review of ownership regulation in the light of News’ domination of the capital city newspaper market http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/some-of-us-want-answers/ [i] And this man is the preferred Prime Minister, Opinion Dominion[/i] From the Tony Abbott "Just Say Anything" tour of Australia (it has the asterisked subtitle "Consistency and logic are for mugs") we get the following story: http://opiniondominion.blogspot.com/2011/07/and-this-man-is-preferred-prime.html [i]Carbon Dioxide is Polluting the Ocean: Ziggy Switkowski is Wrong, Peter, Aussie Views News[/i] My unpublished comment and a recent blog on Aussie Views News observed that the world’s oceans were dying. The oceans currently exhibit three consequences of global warming that are detrimental to the oceans http://www.aussieviewsnews.com/2011/07/20/carbon-dioxide-polluting-ocean/ [i]Questions the media should be asking in the carbon tax debate,Michael Rowan, ABC[/i] There is considerable discussion in the media about the ethics of journalists and the fairness of reporting, relating both to the scandals surroundingthe Murdoch press in the UK and the actions of Australian media outlets in the domestic carbon tax debate. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2801580.html [i]Eating Humble Pie, Patricia wa, Polliepomes[/i] Both men seemed to me to have been advised that if not honesty then humility was the best policy. I was sickened by their evasions laced with fulsome expressions of regret http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Greg Baxter, News Ltd PR spokesman, on News Radio has just admitted that News Ltd media HAS invaded the privacy of Australian individuals in the past!!! However, he also said that was no reason for the government to bring in blanket Privacy Laws. Yeah right.

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Thank you lyn for your link to Cafe Whispers blog post. Here's a link that TomR put up that may interest us as well: http://heathenscripture.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/australiar-and-the-fcking-idiot-dilemma/ Might I also add that he alluded to a cohort of 'Australiar'. I think we should just start referring to a certain newspaper as 'The Australiar'. :D

janice

21/07/2011Ad astra, Thank you for this well thought out piece. To answer the question heading your article, IMO the media have, more and more over time, looked upon themselves as king makers and have chosen to back one side or another at every election. Over the past 15 years or so the Murdoch press in particular have become emboldened to actively campaign to overthrow a government, not simply to influence the outcome of an election. It is a relatively new argument put out by the press that they have the responsibility to "hold the government to account" which sounds a reasonable proposition to the mug punters out here. This notion is a sort of justification for the peddalling of misinformation, distorted and dishonest reporting and character assassinations in order to achieve regime change. There is a great need for a full inquiry into the Australian media. An inquiry that looks into all forms of media with a view to define its role in our society regarding adherence to privacy, integrity, responsibility and accountability. There needs to be severe and strict penalities imposed on any section of the media (including shock jocks) who stray from the straight and narrow with mis-information, distortion and the indulging in calls for revolt or seditious behaviour.

psyclaw

21/07/2011Once again, thank you Lyn for your great daily links. Sometimes I don't get to them all and I'm not sure if you have already posted the following article by Malcolm Farr yesterday. Anyway, here is the salient extract, yet again showing what a fool Abbott is, not to mention his abrogation of the truth. The old saying that to be a good liar you need to have an excellent memory certainly appears to apply to Abbott, however I really doubt that being found out worries him too much ....by then he has had plenty of publicity about "today's lie" and he happily moves on.....is it pathological or merely hypocritical? Here is the quote and the link: Malcolm Farr July 20, 2011 12:08PM OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has switched position on climate change by saying he has NEVER never supported an emissions trading scheme to reduce global warming. However, he campaigned for an ETS while a cabinet minister and publicly endorsed one up until he took the Liberal leadership in December, 2009. Mr Abbott insists "it's always been my position" that action had to be taken against human-induced global warming. "...but I've never been in favour of a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme," he told an FM radio station in Gippsland, Victoria, yesterday. But he backed an ETS when a minister in the cabinet of John Howard. The Howard government took an ETS to the 2007 election and it continued to be Coalition policy in Opposition. In October 2009, Mr Abbott said: "We don't want to play games with the planet. So we are taking this issue seriously and we would like to see an ETS." And in November 2009 he said: "You can't have a climate change policy without supporting this ETS at this time." In December 2009, Mr Turnbull wrote of his leadership successor, "Tony himself has, in just four or five months, publicly advocated the blocking of the (ETS), the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and, if the amendments were satisfactory, passing it, and now the blocking of it. "His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with "Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weathervane on this, but . . .". http://www.news.com.au/national/opposition-leader-tony-abbott-changes-line-says-he-never-supported-ets/story-e6frfkvr-1226098237952 End quote

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011The media in Oz need to realise that if you only have a Right Wing then the Democracy bird can't fly Bias will not let it get off the ground

Granny Anny

21/07/2011I agree. It is not the role of the media to hold a Government to account. That is the role of citizens through their vote, or through activism if a matter is urgent or contentious. The role of the media is to report facts. Citizens then use facts to decide if they should ptotest and how to vote.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Many would agree that the following quote is an apt description of the state of play in Britain at the moment. [i]In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism.[/i] The article which appeared in the [i]Fortnightly Review[/i] was written before the current eposide in the long running soapie [i]The Decline of Journalism.[/i] If the (to me) obviously cynical author had been writing this week he may well have added [i]... the commitee had a lot ask and didn't ask it ...[/i] which is a view I can understand but question. It doesn't require much change to make this quote apply to the situation we have in this country. Depending on the day we wrote it we might say [i]We are dominated by News Ltd / The Australiar / or the villain journalist de jour.[/i] Some cynics may contend and add [i]that the Fifth Estate has nothing to say and keeps on saying it.[/i] Others would contend that the newest estate is the only bulwark against the dominance of the Fourth Estate but that is a discussion for another time. There is no doubt that the we are subject to very lousy and lazy journalism and that the News Ltd stable has a dominating influence on our politics and the discussions of all aspects of our governance. There are some glints of light, some journalists, even in the Austaliar, that inform us in a less dominating way but in the end they are journalists, mere inhabitants of the reviled Fourth Estate. The more I reflect on the above quote, the more I become as cynical as the author, Oscar Wilde (b 1854 – d 1900). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde [i]The more things change .....[/i] The quote is from this Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_estate You can read more on the Fortnightly Review here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnightly_Review Or read the [i]The New Fortnightly Review Series[/i] here http://fortnightlyreview.co.uk/

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Ad Astra, I know you are not a Health Economist, but as an eminent doctor surely you could deconstruct the allegations that Ted Baillieu is making in concert with Tony Abbott today that Victoria's Health system will suffer unduly under the Gillard government's Climate Change package and as they put a price on Carbon? Baillieu is saying that Hospitals Electricity costs will rise from $600,000 to $1 million/year and it's a price hospitals cannot afford to pay and, as a result, services will suffer. Surely they are talking a load of old cobblers and you can explode their attempt at myth-making? Do you know any Health Economists that can let us know the truth?

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Sorry if I'm putting this in and someone already has linked to it previously, it's just so good that I couldn't let it go in case you haven't listened to it. It's Stephen Long on Tony Abbott's toxic spin, aided and abetted by the media and ex-Liberal politicians in shill front organisations: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3272060.htm

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011D Mick Weir, I love an historical perspective. :)

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Beautiful riposte to a comment from a mouth-breathing Abbott supporter, like our own troll, who spouted the line of the day du Abbott further back up the blog: [quote]@Zoot. Good boy, it looks like you've read the Tony Abbott Big Book on Debating. Let's take a look at what you've written: Paragraph1: Insult the audience. Good, very good. Paragraph 2: Three-word slogans. Well done, my boy. Paragraph 3: The pitch. Yes, you need to set them up to make them fall. Paragraph 4: The Answer. Excellent, you've remembered that Facts Don't Matter. Just say whatever the hell you want, and don't forget to get the boot in...Oh, I see you have. Well done! Paragraph 5: The conspiracy. Everything will work out if you blame it all on the Greens.. Congratulations, son, you've earned the right to represent the Liberal Party at the next election. Now get out there and scare, denigrate, and lie!!![/quote] nick S. | Melb - July 21, 2011, 10:01AM Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/abbott-the-future-is-bright-brown-20110720-1hoxc.html#ixzz1ShODeR2G

Ad astra

21/07/2011LYN's DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Michael

21/07/2011Thursday Bad Abbott When interviewed about an inquiry into Australian media, Tiny observed that he would never support anything that acted against the media's "role" - to hold the government to account, in his words. Nothing about holding the Opposition to account, you'll observe. Of course, in his mind, and much of the medias', "holding the government to account" means shading the truth, playing the women in power, howling headlines that tell only a part of the story about Federal government policies, etc., etc.. The Australian mainstream media is clearly, as Shouldabeen sees it, doing just about the perfect job right now. What a "crazy" guy, huh?

Ad astra

21/07/2011FS Could you please give me the reference/link to the Baillieu estimation of the increased electricity costs in Victorian hospitals.

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Ad, The statements by Baillieu and Abbott were made today at a Prress Conference held in a Victorian Hospital(I don't know which one). It was on ABC24 at about 11am. I'm not too sure but can you access it on iView? At a quick glance this Age story also carries the theme being increasingly perpetuated by Baillieu: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/premier-not-anticarbon-tax-just-the-box-it-came-in-20110720-1hory.html Also, the Liberal Party website is a good source of information. They usually put up Abbott's daily proclamations, though I couldn't find this latest one there yet. No doubt it will be because he obviously thinks he's onto a winner by scaring sick people. :)

NormanK

21/07/2011Ad astra Thanks for another thoughtful, provocative article. After my first reading of it I thought I was going to have to find a way to disagree with some of the basic tenets on which your argument is based but a bit of reflection and a second reading shows that it might be more a question of language rather than ideas. At the heart of my concern is the question in the title. "Why does the media believe it must hold governments to account?" It is the unspoken completion of the phrase 'holding to account' that holds the key. In the mouth of Hartigan it is an Abbottism that allows the listener to complete the phrase with words of their own choosing. I conclude from your remarks that you believe Hartigan is saying 'we are holding the government to account [b][i]to the media[/i][/b]. I base this deduction on : [quote]This boldly expressed assertion begs the question: “Who assigned the responsibility for holding governments to account to newspapers or for that matter any section of the media?” [/quote] (edited) What Hartigan hopes the audience will hear (and agree with) is that his papers are 'holding the government to account [b][i]to the people[/i][/b] through the medium of the printed press. This is a significant distinction. I would agree that the media has an overarching duty to keep our elected representatives accountable to us by supplying us with the best available information based on which we can make up our own minds. However, if you don't make the distinction between the two differing versions (to the media or to the people) you leave yourself open to the riposte that you don't want the government put under any sort of scrutiny when you argue that the media has no role to play in holding politicians to account. In fact, I fully expect our Coalition mouthpiece to pop in and make that exact accusation. If we leave the political arena for a moment, I would contend that the media have a right to present to the public any evidence they may find of criminal wrong-doing. I would go so far as to say that they have a duty to the society that they serve (ho, ho, ho) to bring this to our attention. The logical steps following such a revelation should be action by the police to establish the veracity of the claims; action by the Public Prosecutor to bring the perpetrator to trial if a case can reasonably be made; a court would establish whether the alleged offender was accountable under the law and finally a judge would hand down the sentence. The court, through a judge and/or a jury, acts as the representative of the people and as such the alleged criminal can be said to be held accountable to and by the society. As we have seen with tabloid journalism ([i]A Current Affair & Today Tonight[/i] being the most recognisable) this process has been short-circuited to such a degree that now we have reports of alleged wrong-doing being 'judged' by the journalist or media house and then immediately judged in the court of public opinion such that innocent individuals are ascribed guilty status without due process and sentenced to be reviled. The fairly recent example of the mother who lost her children in a tragic gas-leak accident but was ascribed guilt because a police PR person chose to say that the mother was being 'interviewed' rather than using some less emotive expression, is typical of this type of 'public trial'. The current climate in political reporting, especially at [i]News Ltd[/i] outlets goes even further. They have declared themselves to be the reporter of wrong-doing; the investigator who verifies their own contention; the arbiter who decides whether there is a case to answer; the judge of where the guilt, if any, lies; the hander-down of sentence and, in some cases, the executor of the sentence. The fact that they have taken to themselves the duel role of prosecutor and defender means the system has no chance of being fair. As the prosecutor they can with-hold vital evidence which could aid the defence; distort and manipulate evidence to further their case and even go so far as to lie outright to the jury. As a compromised defence counsel they can offer lame rebuttal of the evidence, 'unwittingly' present information that benefits the prosecution's case and deliberately fail miserably in their closing statements. The judge and jury, being the same media house as the prosecutors, invariably look favourably on the evidence against the accused and dismiss out-of-hand any mitigating evidence or circumstances. Sentence is then handed down and the Australian public is called upon to execute it in opinion polls and at the ballot box. In keeping with this analogy, the media have a duty to report fairly, accurately and in full on political topics of the day in their [b]news pages[/b]. Commentators can then do their 'summing up' and offer recommendations in the [b]opinion pages[/b]. It should then be left to the public to judge and hand down sentence if a guilty verdict is brought down. Our governments must be held accountable but they are accountable to us, not the media. To simplify, the media have got too big for their boots and it is about time that they were slapped down.

Ad astra

21/07/2011D Mick Weir We may be at cross purposes. You say that you gave the media permission to hold the government to account, and that we have all given that permission. I have not, but what I expect from the media is that it unearth [b]all[/b] the facts relevant to the political issues that effect the nation and its people, and that it present these, unadulterated by its opinion, for voters to assimilate. The process of unearthing the facts may require asking hard questions and persisting with them until satisfactory answers are forthcoming. Questions should be aimed equally at both sides; not hard ones to Julia Gillard and soft ones to Tony Abbott. I have no objection to the media expressing an opinion so long as it is clear that this is what it is. Too often opinion is presented as if it is fact. But when it all boils down it is the electorate who must hold governments to account, not the media. The only role the media ought to assume is that of informing the public. Through its news-collecting capacity it is able to gather facts more readily than the average citizen. So its function in politics is to ascertain the facts and inform the public. Is it entitled to hold governments to account? In my view it is entitled only as a group of voters who happen to work for a media organization, although it is even debatable whether such collective action is legitimate. The fault with much of our media today is that some sectors take a partisan approach, gather and report facts that support that partisan position, omitting those that don’t, and then draw conclusions and form opinions based on this flawed information, which it then promulgates to the public with a view to influencing its opinion. How can that be legitimate ‘holding the government to account’? What would a ‘perfect’ media do? In my view it would gather all the facts relevant to an issue, analyse them expertly, display the pros and cons for all clearly to see, draw well reasoned conclusions, and if it desired offer an opinion about the analysis and conclusion, prefaced by: ‘given all the facts and our analysis of them it is our opinion that…’ Frankly, even were our media perfect in this way, I would never delegate to it the responsibility of holding governments to account as I want to do this at the ballot box, well informed by the facts. Many of the facts come via the media; the problem is that they are too often incomplete, distorted by partisan considerations, falsely analysed and then embellished by opinion that often bears little relationship to the facts. Our pitiable media leaves most of the electorate to make voting decisions with inadequate or distorted information; just a few of us seek to get the facts before casting our votes. The media is not just letting us down badly; it is also deliberately distorting the truth in pursuit of its own partisan agenda. How can we delegate to such a media our responsibility for holding governments to account?

psyclaw

21/07/2011I agree AA. If the media do the job correctly, just as you described, then a bi-product is that we voters then have the info by which we, the electorate, can bring them to book. If all we do is ascribe to the media the responsibility for accountability, there would be no change to the present low quality of media product. It simply allows them to dishonestly pursue their role as agents of accountability based on opinion, fearmongering, and prejudice. As I see it, in order of importance the media's primary role is to present the facts, their secondary role is to objectively analyse the facts, and their tertiary role is to provide opinion presented as opinion and not as fact. If they do those tasks, we can then hold them accountable. We (as a society) do this now eg by blogging etc, but unfortunately because the media do not fulfil their primary role as described above, much of the accountability is erroneous, because it is based on the non-factual rubbish which they currently put out by the truckload.

Lyn

21/07/2011Hi Psyclaw Thankyou for your informative very interesting comments each day, they appreciated a very welcome read for everybody. On your comment above [quote]Once again, thank you Lyn for your great daily links. Sometimes I don't get to them all and I'm not sure if you have already posted the following article by Malcolm Farr yesterday[/quote] Firstly thankyou for your compliment, I am pleased you find "Today's Links" usefull. You mentioned you were not sure if Malcolm Farr's link was already posted. Well! I need to tell you not to worry,it doesn't matter all links posted by everybody on TPS are important and valued they provide interesting information continuously throughout the day. A lot of our readers help me when they post links of interest, that can be added to Today's Links the next morning. Ad Astra enters "Today Links" on the TPS home page from there they are linked to and from other blogs on their side bars also on twitter and facebook. Don't worry if anyone posts an interesting link I will come along and snavel it quick smart to include in "Today's Links". Keep your comments coming, keeping our wonderful TPS the most interesting and informative place to visit. Cheers :):):):):):):)

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Hi Ad, I have had the advantage of reading NormanK's response before I read your comment. Having read both I can see how you may think we are at cross purposes and to a point you are right however I will claim for the moment that I am on the cross benches rather than this side or that. Our system only allows for the people to hold a government to account once every three years through the ballot box. Even then I posit that, most people, at most elections are not so much interested in holding a government to account as opposed to being reassured that whichever team they choose to vote for is going to govern in a way that suits their individual betterment. In between elections we have few ways to hold the government to account. We can of course write to our local member and hope that we are heard. We can if we are sufficiently aggrieved about a particular course of action get together with a group of simalarly agrieved people and make some noise (and hope the media picks up on our cause). We can also choose, as most people do, to sit back and ignore it and allow it all to happen around us and wait to perform our triennial duty and turn up at a polling booth to have our named ticked off the list. And consume at least one of the obligatory sausage sangers to help the fund raising efforts of the local school. The system we have and the way most people operate within it is such that the media are our watchdogs and for the most part we have been happy with that way of operating. We have what some have called a 'social contract' with the media to perform some tasks on our behalf which have included, in my view, to hold various of our public institutions including government to account. Given the the way some sections of the media have been performing under that 'social contract' it may well be time for we the people to review the contract.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011NormanK (and maybe some others) you may be interested in a post on one of my 'hobby horses'. http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/07/21/asylum-seekers-an-update/ I find some of the comments a bit, hmm, ugh but the article is interesting and re-informs my thinking.

janice

21/07/2011What psyclaw said. The role of a responsible media is to report facts. In doing so it allows the voting public to hold governments to account at the ballot box. If we go with the notion that the media's job is hold governments accountable, we blythly give them the power to rule the roost by proxy. We go to the ballot box and elect our reps and under our democratic process, the party with the most votes/reps wins government. The role of the Opposition party/parties is to hold the government to account within the framework of parliamentary debate. The media should report to people the factual outcomes of debates, and have no business adding their own partisan opinions to distort those facts. We should always be mindful that journalists are not smarter or more able to weigh up the pros and cons of an issue/policy than you, me or the next-door neighbour provided we are given the facts from both sides of an argument.

Patricia WA

21/07/2011AA, sorry this is a bit off your main topic about accountability of governments to media, but I love the irony of this reported by the UK financial times http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fbe021de-b2f2-11e0-86b8-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss&ftcamp=crm/email/2011720/nbe/InTodaysFT/product#axzz1SdBzrDqn. Seems it's Rupert Murdoch's American citizenship which makes him subject to US corporate law investigations. This is years after he had settled with the complainant for some $29m and later bought out the company for some massive sum! Lovely too to think that the Dirty Digger could never claim asylum here either. I wonder if he was entertaining that idea when he was accusing other media organisations of persecuting him! Poor Rupert! Did he ever imagine that one day he might be the victim of a witch hunt!

nasking

21/07/2011ad Astra, this is an excellent & insightful post that deserves to be posted on 'The Drum' and Facebook etc. John Hartigan's biased assessment of this government & their programs/schemes has coloured the entire Murdoch media's reporting and voicing of opinion - including SKY NEWS of which he is overlord. Considering the amount of ownership of media outlets involved this calls for immediate changes to media ownership laws, including cross media ownership. I was heartened of late to see political scrutineers from both the Conservative & Labor parties in the UK standing up to the arrogance of this insidious media empire by way of the House of Commons select committee and its queries into the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the role of the Murdochs & their appendage Rebekah Brooks. It's taken the British parliament decades to find the spine to stand up to this arrogant, brutish, overbearing news corporation...a corporation that puts profits and pursuance of expansion goals ahead of the "common good" time & time again. Due to Rupert Murdoch and his cronies' growing influence with authorities, including the London Metropolitan Police & top politicians, essential investigations into media-related criminal activities and necessary changes of media laws & regulations have been hindered, delayed and watered down to a point that they exist it seems to benefit News International's ambitions. This has led to copycatting by other media outlets in their attempts to gain more influence and compete with the Murdoch empire dominance in the marketplace... this includes using similar forms of tabloid reporting that focuses on sensationalism, character assassination, extreme methods used to invade privacy, fear-mongering and a herdish mentality when it comes to attacking political parties...enhancing partisanship...and destructive "dividing communities" tactics. Facts are regularly distorted, polls used ad nauseum, opinion pieces are promoted in the guise of factual reporting...with the purpose of undermining democracy and useful government in order to create and breathe further life into corporate governance of our nations that profits the few and retains their privileges at the expense of the many. One only needs to look at the flood upwards of money & grotesque accumulation of assets by a few privileged individuals since the dominance of the Murdoch media & its hold over 24 hr cable/pay tv news in various countries to recognise that this is not a corporation that works for "the people", regardless of its phony proclamations of being "fair & balanced" & taking on "the elite". Certainly Australia has not yet reached the disastrous levels of media-related criminality that we've seen in the UK...but it cannot be ignored that the very same corporation with its "cowboy" attitudes in the UK has tentacles that reach aggressively into many areas of the Australian media landscape...and the influence of Murdoch on this nation's body politic has led to "summoning" of leaders on a number of occasions. When leaders feel the necessity of placing a media mogul in NY on their "must visit" list, alongside the President of the USA & the UN, you know that something stinks. This is why I give David Cameron, PM of the UK, credit for calling for essential enquiries into News Ltd & other media outlets & the media's relationship to politics & the police as a whole. It could be said that Cameron was led kicking & screaming into taking on this media monolith...hand forced by the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal... but the fact is we've seen leaders that preceded him offered up plenty of opportunities to take the bast*rds on...but instead they fell into the "Rupert must be obeyed" category. Considering Cameron is in the early stages of his first term as leader and vulnerable to media onslaughts, I think it pretty gutsy on his part to "go for it". The survivability of the Murdoch papers is well known, crises have hit Rupert before, yet he has withstood them & incrementally prospered...rewarded constantly by spineless politicians & morally bankrupt markets that put their own gains ahead of the "public interest". Going by history, PM Cameron is taking one hell of a risk. So for that I give him credit...particularly as his relationship with Rebekah Brooks & Andy Coulson could bring him down in the long run. He deserves credit. This is far too big an issue to be playing partisan party politics...as is the "debt ceiling" problem in America. It's essential that individual politicians, and other influential & "insider" figures in media, the justice system, corporations and so on, find the courage to break free of the bonds of intimidation & "greed for gain" mentality and enslaving confidentiality contracts...in order to help deal with the undermining of our democracy due to this insidious cancer that is the Murdoch empire...and its many copycats. The line up & be sycophantic towards News Ltd. approach taken by many a Coalition member in this country, Australia, is quite sickening to behold...opportunistic to the point of grotesque...and further demonstrates the reach of influence of this media conglomerate. In fact, the Opposition leader Tony Abbott once worked for The Australian, the national broadsheet. Abbott is certainly demonstrating loyalty to this point...and it is not surprising that the ongoing barrage of negative campaigns against the government & its programs/policies are not reproduced against the oft politically clumsy, flipflopping & offensive negabore Abbott. It seems to me there exists a symbiotic relationship between Abbott & his former employer. I doubt that Tony Abbott or the bulk of his Coalition allies would ever have the courage & integrity to stand up to the Murdoch empire, nor the oft "wrecker" talkback radio supporters, the way a number of Tory members of government have in the UK. A sad state of affars. That I believe undermines their credibility. And puts our democracy at risk...as we witnessed occur in the UK the past couple of decades due to similar sycophantic attitudes. This is no time for partisanship. The "alarm bells" are ringing. N'

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011A few links to give some other perspectives on the [i]The Media is Crap[/i] soap opera. Fiona K nails it. Again: [b]Bad News[/b] http://newmatilda.com/2011/07/21/bad-news-0 some good giggles in this four panel 'toon. Ben Pobjie @ New Matilda gives us [b]I Get Paid To Write This Crap![/b] [i]Thanks a lot, Julia Gillard. Journalists across the land, including Ben Pobjie, are floundering in the wake of the PM's injunction not to write crap[/i] Be careful to note where Ben has tongue placed as you read along and enjoy the advice he offers the PM. [b]Has News Ltd Actually Done Anything Wrong?[/b] - Mark Fletcher [i]Writing in defence of News Ltd when not employed by News Ltd is no doubt career-suicide for a young writer on a progressive website. It’s also astoundingly difficult: News Ltd is so very easy to dislike. I get extremely frustrated that Piers Ackerman, Andrew Bolt, and Janet Albrechtson have utterly trashed Australian conservatism and continue to push us down the Tea Party path. And while I’m hardly a fan of the Greens, I still find the petty personal attacks on Senator Lee Rhiannon distasteful and undignified. They are similarly petty in their openly declared vendetta against the Greens (though it would be unfair to disregard their defence).[/i] Can't say I agree with everything Mark writes but I like his line of thinking and he lays out his view well.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011oops here's the link to Mark Fletcher's Matilda piece http://newmatilda.com/2011/07/21/has-news-ltd-actually-done-anything-wrong

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011I think it's about time WE started holding the media to account! Ooops, sorry, that's the motto of The Political Sword. ;-)

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Nas, A slumbering giant has awoken. PC Plod has now dragged other UK tabloids into his net, and is starting to look under their journo's rocks. :)

Jason

21/07/2011FS, email Scotland Yard, their search will be futile no matter how many rocks are looked under! a journo will not be found.

Sir Ian Crisp

21/07/2011[quote]Why does the media believe it must hold governments to account?[/quote] A question posed by a tony fellow to be sure. I must say I tossed and turned trying to find the answer. Then I experienced an epiphany. The answer is very simple; the media holds the government to account because The Political Sword refuses to fulfil that role.

Jason

21/07/2011SIC, Your standards are slipping "old son" the funniest thing you ever wrote, and only seen by a few of us ended up on the cutting room floor!

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Has anybody else read this? [b]Intelligent discussion all but extinct[/b] Barry Jones, National Times http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/intelligent-discussion-all-but-extinct-20110720-1hos2.html [i]People are better educated than ever yet debate is dumbed down. ... Tony Abbott's approach to the carbon tax debate is illustrative of a general collapse in the quality of rational discourse.[/i] Mr Jones being well, Mr Jones but worth the read all the same.

Ad astra

21/07/2011NormanK, D Mick Weir, Nasking, janice Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments about the central theme of this piece. NormanK, you raise the question of whether the media believes it is holding governments accountable to the media itself, or believes it is holding governments accountable to the people through the vehicle of the media. I suspect the media believes the latter, but acts as if the former is so. I’ve been away from the computer much of the day with appointments. While in one waiting room I browsed through a newspaper that I would never otherwise read – Melbourne’s [i]Herald Sun[/i], a Murdoch tabloid. Today the front page was devoted to a story about a widow of a bizarrely murdered man getting her hands on $14 million from her husband’s business. There was no mention of the story that made headlines all over the world, the News International scandal, David Cameron’s speech to the House of Commons, and the day long debate itself. I found on pages 8 and 9 an abbreviated account of these events, and it was not until pages 30 and 31 that I came across the editorial and opinion pieces, some of which touched on this story. The editorial, after giving a benign account of the Murdoch interviews, chastised Julia Gillard, labelling her suggestion that News Limited had some ‘hard questions’ to answer as “slyly damaging” and “mischievous” and “unjustified and regrettable”. In another comment it rebuked her for [i]“attacking the newspapers that had done the most to hold her Government to account for its policy failures”[/i], labeling her action as [i]“a transparent ploy to shore up her waning support over the carbon tax by innuendo”[/i]. She was accused of using the media issue to distract attention from “her collapsing policies”. Fascinating isn’t it how News Limited retaliates when its integrity is questioned, although it does this to others every day with impunity; how it manages to turn a damaging story about a worldwide scandal involving its counterpart into a negative for Julia Gillard. Steve Price had a piece “Grilling is a must for leaders” and Miranda Devine had a long opinion piece, just her opinion, nothing else. No facts were advanced; no reasoned argument was offered to support her trenchant condemnation of our PM. This is the media we have to deal with – 70% of all newspapers in this country are Murdoch media. The words they use strongly reinforce my view that this part of the media believes that governments are primarily accountable to it, and maybe, maybe, secondarily to the electorate through its offerings. I thought that vignette of news in just one paper summed up what this piece asserts about the media and what several of you have reinforced in your comments today. It's been a long day - I'm packing it in for the night.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Hi Sir Ian give me your list of the top, say, five things you believe the government should held to account for and I'll give it my best shot.

nasking

21/07/2011Feral, yet another disappointing report by Chris Uhlmann on 7:30. The man has no spine. The moment the News Ltd. papers attack the ABC for their generally useful & frank appraisal of the UK scandal & the Murdoch papers' role in that sordid affair, Uhlmann feels the need to respond by kowtowing... his useless story demeans The Greens (surprise, surprise - how News Ltd & talkback of him) & the government by referring to their calls for media inquiries as "vague" - yet he puts on some so called expert who basically repeats what Bob Brown said... then provides corporate suckhole Malcolm Turnbull w/ the opportunity to ridicule the idea of examining media ownership laws and such...yes, the undermining of our democracy by the media giants deserves snide comments from a man now obviously castrated who once had the courage to take on Kerry Packer... and we were then offered up the now limelight starved Senator Xenephon to make some droll comment about politicians speaking "absolute crap" in order to get a cheap finale chuckle. Absolutely hopeless. It just goes to prove that there are some in the ABC who are more worried about their own possible future and ambitions...and keeping in w/ their News Ltd mates... than having the integrity to do the right thing when it comes to providing the facts...and explaining the reasons why investigations & reform of the media as a whole is required in order to enhance the democracy... and prevent the kind of bullying by certain private corporations that Uhlmann & his News bosses have obviously just responded to in knee-jerk fashion. As for Malcolm Turnbull, he has proven himself to be nothing but a partially self-interested, partial corporate sycophant when it comes to the media question...and the NBN. The Liberal party seems to offer nothing but corporate zealots or religious zealots these days. Helluva choice. N'

NormanK

21/07/2011D Mick Weir I'm usually pretty comfortable with going along with Ken Parish with regard to asylum seekers and his latest offering is no exception. I can't follow him in his call for the use of Nauru and I still remain ambivalent about PNG. If the proposal for Manus Island is for a detention centre and not a fully fledged regional processing centre that will handle individuals other than those who arrive in Australia, I don't understand the rationale. As for Nauru, have a look at where it is on a map - a speck of bird poo in the middle of the Coral Sea. It is so isolated that the intent of sending someone there can only be punitive.

Sir Ian Crisp

21/07/2011Jason and D Mick Weir, you are both guilty of breaking TPS's omerta. Remember, I am to be ignored.

Lyn

21/07/2011Hi Ad I just walked past my TV on ABC 24, and I couldn't believe my ears, Turnbull is doing a speech and he is undermining everything on Climate Change that Tony Abbott has ever, ever, said: Some Twitter comments: [quote]AshGhebraniousAshGhebranious Someone any one, get a microphone in front of Abbott's face and ask him his thoughts :)[/quote] [quote]MightyChewbaccaRoss McGregor Abbott is a used syringe @Thefinnigans: Malcolm Turnbull: We must act responsibly and respect the Science. Take that Abbott [/quote] [quote]BillablogBill Two possible things happen now: Either Turnbull takes over the Liberal Party or is expelled from it.[/quote] [quote]AshGhebraniousAshGhebranious I bet @TurnbullMalcolm Is going 2 get his head kicked in on the far rt wanker shock jock trail 2morrow. & Abbott probly foaming at mouth[/quote] [quote]BillablogBill Just Liberal party practice? RT @mfarnsworth Turnbull: The rejection of the consensus scientific position is not Liberal Party policy...[/quote] [quote]MightyChewbaccaRoss McGregor Turnbull: "Rejecting the CSIRO science isn't Liberal Party Policy" But it is Abbott's insane policy. Knifing Abbott, commences #auspol[/quote] Cheers :):):)

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Any that might need a little uplift re the prospects of the government at the next election might like to read this: [b]Windows of opportunity[/b] - Inside Story http://inside.org.au/windows-of-opportunity/ [i]A week might be a long time in politics, but two years mightn’t be long enough, writes Norman Abjorensen[/i] Despite the teaser Abjorensen does give some cause for hope.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011NormanK, that's about how I read it as well. The only thing I could figure about Narau was well at least it is somewhere that will take them.

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011SIC, true to form, change the topic when under pressure. Not up to the challenge then, or are you not able to admit that you can't actually find even one thing that the government needs to be held to account for.

nasking

21/07/2011Brilliant Clarke & Dawe segment on 7:30. Should go up on YouTube. "Apparently criminals broke into News of the World...", "There are some police left...one in Norfolk" (somethin' like that). Showed up the absurdity of the Murdoch UK top echelon claims. Criminals did what they wanted for years in News of the World, get their legal fees paid for...and the editors/gatekeepers & corporate bosses shrug & go: WE KNOW NOTHING How very Nixonian. N'

NormanK

21/07/2011D Mick Weir I meant to add that I hope Australia decides to use on-shore processing for the 400 or so currently in limbo. Once the agreement with Malaysia has been signed of course. Lyn That all sounds very exciting. Is Turnbull making a move or committing suicide?

Ad astra

21/07/2011Hi Lyn, DMW Thank you Lyn for your account of tweets regarding Malcolm Turnbull's address on climate change - it will be interesting to follow up this event. Thank you DMW for the Abjorensen link - very interesting reading.

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Sir Ian Crisp, It's dead easy for me to ignore you because your contributions to TPS are essentially pointless. That is all. :D

Lyn

21/07/2011Hi NormanK Oh dear! I don't know what his intentions are, but he is going to be in an awful lot of trouble from his leader I am sure. Here is audio of the speech, you only need to listen for a short time to get the message loud and clear: Turnbull Condemns Rejection Of Climate Science, Australian Politics Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech pleading for the science of climate change to be respected. http://australianpolitics.com/2011/07/21/turnbull-climate-science-speech.html Cheers :):):):)

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011NormanK, good point I still hold the view that on-shore processing needs to be part of the regional solution. re Turnbull haven't seen anymore than what Lyn posted but doubt it is a move, more a shot across the bows to remind Abbott that although he is leader he is still answerable to the party, Abbott hasn't used all the rope he needs to hang himself; YET.

Jason

21/07/2011Normank, "That all sounds very exciting. Is Turnbull making a move or committing suicide?" Hopefully it's a move! the liberals have two problems as I see it! one Turnbull stacked his "branch" to oust the incumbent so you could assume most of the voters that helped put Turnbull in would follow their "man". The other is the seat of "Wentworth" whilst a "conservative" seat I don't think they are Abbott's people! and Turnbull would win the seat in a canter!

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Nasking, I am a part of 7.30's declining ratings. :) I mean, what do we really need it for anymore? Neither Leigh Sales or Chris Uhlmann contribute anything to the debate except smarm and sneer when it comes to their assessment of the attempts by the Gillard government to actually address this nation's problems. Which is never acknowledged by the pair. It's all either censorious tut-tutting and snide asides from Uhlmann, if it's to do with the government, or the blind obedience of a sick puppy when it comes to Tony Abbott. And when you take into consideration the fact that Tony Abbott avoids real scrutiny like the plague, it's hardly the feather in his cap that Uhlmann probably thinks it is to have Abbott agree to an interview with him. By the way, you mentioned the Liberal in Independant's clothing, Nick Xenophon; Malcolm Turnbull from the Coalition; and...? from the government? Or are they supposed to be grateful that he mentioned them at all?

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011Great speech by Turnbull. Basically, stand up for science and scietists. Ignoring the CSIRO is NOT Liberal Party policy. Some very good analogies used. some interesting tweets on that site. RT @Pollytics: It says a lot about the state of Labor that it's up to @TurnbullMalcolm to try & right the ship of rational Australia on this @Pollytics It's a class(ic) illustration of why Gillard is a total dud.

TalkTurkey

21/07/201121/7/11 The title of this thread by Ad astra is: [i]Why does the media believe it must hold governments to account?[/i] * The following was Ad astra's very first posting, and I keep coming back to it as our Pole Star. Saturday, 13 September 2008 16:04 by Ad astra "This is the first posting of The Political Sword blog. Its focus is Australian politics. It is intended to give expression to those who have opinions about contemporary political events. In particular it will provide a forum for exposing deception among politicians, bureaucrats and commentators." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Whatever the momentary alarums and diversions, Ad astra and TPS have remained unerringly true to that goal. Likewise the contributors here, even those who come to deride the Government's progressive program, come here with current politics and perceptions of politicians as our focus, and it is clear that overwhelmingly we believe that the media in English-speaking countries - which everywhere are heavily influenced, if not as in Australia absolutely dominated, by the Murdoch empire - including in Australia the publicly-funded ABC - to be heavily biased to the Right. I most definitely do. And I reckon that those who write on this medium are on average at least as perspicacious, as knowledgeable, as the few anointed of the media whose chitchat plays such a part in forming public opinion. And who chooses these people? Not I! They are not elected like politicians, they are chosen on uncertain basis by faceless people with questionable political and economic agendas. It has taken this horrid example of media immorality to bring to the boil the resentment in a vast undercurrent in our society, stop press Now Wendi Deng is a heroine, the Tiger Wife. O me. O my. I’m going to bed.

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011Golden information: The newly-formed Australian Trade and Industry Alliance included the Australian Coal Association, Australian Food and Grocery Council, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Logistics Council, the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association and the Minerals Council of Australia. They include (but not limited to): Australian Coal Association - Wesfamers, Xstrata, Peabody, Rio Tinto Australian Food and Grocery Council - Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Unilever, Kimberley-Clark, George Weston Foods, Cadbury, Coca-Cola Amatil, Fosters, Coopers, Colgate, Heinz, Kelloggs, Mars, McCain, Sara Lee, Sanitarium. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Master Builders Australia, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, Oil Industry Industrial Association. Australian Logistics Council - Coles, Linfox, Woolworths, Toll, Onesteel, Bluescope steel. Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association - BHP, Dow, Orica, Dulux, Exxon, Shell. Minerals Council of Australia (with dodgy 'This is our story' ads) - Thiess, Rio Tinto, BHP, TRUenergy, BP, Ernst & Young, IBM, International Power (owners of Hazelwood). MrRabbitt | Wonderland - July 21, 2011, 10:33AM Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/abbott-the-future-is-bright-brown-20110720-1hoxc.html#ixzz1SkCpcp78

D Mick Weir

21/07/2011[i]It is symptomatic of today's politics that any leader can set aside months at a time for a single issue, to the exclusion of everything else. Never in the past has this indulgence been possible. It only happens now because [b]government by and large is run for the benefit, not of the country, but the media.[/b] Some of the ministry have a direct or a passing interest in the climate change issue. What on Earth do the rest of them do?[/i] My emphasis added. Ouch, someone in the media saying that government is run for the benefit of the media rings alarm bells for me. What about you - what do you think? The quote is from Barrie Cassidy: [b]Gillard's counterproductive carbon tax conversation[/b] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-21/cassidy-gillards-counterproductive-carbon-tax-conversation/2803232

Feral Skeleton

21/07/2011I too saw the Virginia Chadwick lecture by Malcolm Turnbull tonight. It looked like he had the flu. His nose waas very red, the way it gets when you have been blowing it all day. Which also gave him a haunted mien. Which is probably the case as his last salvo failed to dislodge Tony Abbott's recalcitrance over Climate Change, so Malcolm has gotten out of his sick bed to deliver a more forceful salvo tonight. And, in reply to Possum Pollytics, only a fellow Conservative could exemplify Margaret Thatcher's Climate Change belief, that is, in economic/scientific terms, whereas the PM and the Greens come at it more from the environmental axis, with the economic benefits tacked on. Anyway, at least the PM took the bit between her teeth and charged forward. Malcolm has taken this long to say 'Boo!'. Now, let's see the Murdoch media organisation bury it. Aided and abetted by the ABC, of course, filled as it seems to be these days with committed Christians(Mark Scott, Chris Uhlmann, Tony Jones, and probably more), who, like Abbott, appear to subscribe to the 'mediaeval scholastic view of how the universe works'(thank you, Barry Jones). That is, believers in Faith over Reason.

Jason

21/07/2011FS, I'm on hold on "shock jock" radio! and wish to ask the question as to how the boss of "Kimberly Clark" can supposedly be on holiday, and as they are based here in South Australia y ring the morning show and complain that they don't like the carbon tax but fail to mention they're a member of the food & grocery council that is part of the new "anti add" campaign! Until you put your list up I had no idea, although most of the 5AA audience would think it's ok to live in the dark!

Miglo

21/07/2011Hello all. Australian Blog Sites have come up for renewal and I have decided not to renew. Whilst it has been widely supported, the expense of keeping it running - given that I can no longer edit the site since it was hacked - is not warranted. I have appreciated the support that TPS members, in particularly Lyn have given the site over the last year. I believe that setting up and rigorously promoting the site was still a worthwhile exercise. If our cause was taken up by just one person, then it was a success.

Jason

21/07/2011Miglo, Sorry to hear that you are no longer going to keep the cafe open!

Miglo

21/07/2011Hi Jason, The Café isn't closing! Only Australian Blog Sites. There are some good people helping run the Café: if I were hit by a bus tomorrow the Café will still be open. Though I'm sure our vast cellar will be raided if I ever disappear off the scene. :(

Jason

22/07/2011Miglo, Sorry I mis read what you wrote! been a long day!

Lyn

22/07/2011 [b]TODAY’S LINKS[/b] [i]Taking up the Whittaker challenge: examining The Daily Tele’s GST coverage[/i] The Daily Telegraph is simply doing what it has always done, and done well — [b]holding the government of the day to account[/b].” It suggested Conroy “should examine our archives for previous instances of this stance, which ranges across all political parties.” http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/21/taking-up-the-whittaker-challenge-examining-the-daily-teles-gst-coverage/ [i]CO2 Emissions – The Omen (Or where have all the real journalists gone?), Ash, Ash’s Machiavellian Bloggery[/i] Oh Mr Abbott. I can smell you from here. You stink and reek of your own self importance. CO2 is not weightless. It CAN be measured.And you CAN smell it when in concentrated amounts. Here is a thread for New Scientist where some guy who http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/co2-emissions-the-omen-or-where-have-all-the-real-journalists-gone/ [i]Windows of opportunity Norman Abjorensen, Inside Story[/i] Abbott, like Howard, reads and exploits the public mind well. He has played on fear of rising prices and job losses by skillfully reframing the issue of climate change not as an urgent ecological remedy but as a tax, a ploy that http://inside.org.au/windows-of-opportunity/ [i]A Close look at Abbott’s Direct Action Plan, Ben Eltham, The Drum[/i] Stephen Long finally examined some of Tony Abbott's claims. In a stunning piece of forensic investigation, Long single-handedly dismantledthe distortions, misrepresentations and bald-faced lies that Tony Abbott continues to advance. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2804206.html [i]Abbott free of the shackles of truth, Bernard Keane, Crikey[/i] Abbott’s difficulty in asserting he has never believed something is of course problematic because he has professed to believe everything at various points. As we know from his no-holds-barred debate with himself, Abbott once claimed “atmospheric concentrations of carbon http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/21/abbott-unbound-free-of-the-shackles-of-truth-and-consistency/ [i]Australia to consider right-to-privacy law,Stilgherrian, CSO[/i] In the wake of the UK's News of the World voicemail scandal, the Australian government announced today that it will consult the public on legislating for a right to privacy. http://www.cso.com.au/article/394458/australia_consider_right--privacy_law [i]Australian government announces push towards new privacy law, Mumbrella[/i] In an announcement this morning, Brendan O’Connor, the minister for privacy and freedom of information, said http://mumbrella.com.au/australian-government-announces-push-towards-new-privacy-law-52955 [i]Welcome to the world of Nineteen Eighty Four: The U.K. scandal and Australia, Peter West, Online Opinion[/i] Let’s keep demanding an inquiry. It’s simple really. Do you trust politicians to tell the truth? Do you believe what you see on TV and read in the papers? Do you think we could improve things by setting up an independent regulator? It’s well worth getting this right. We all rely on the media to tell us what’sgoing on. What hope is there for rational decision-making if politicians, the press and even the police are in bed together? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12354&page=1 [i]Rupert Murdoch and the state of American journalism,Glenn Altschuler, The Conversation[/i] The rise of online advertising has devastated traditional sources of revenue for newspapers, depopulated newsrooms, and degraded content. My own local paper, the Ithaca Journal, once employed two dozen mid-career beat journalists and editors. Today, it is staffed by three entry-level reporters and two editors. http://theconversation.edu.au/rupert-murdoch-and-the-state-of-american-journalism-2401 [i]The Murdoch Boys in Westminster a Review, Independent Australia[/i] One point observers noticed was Rupert Murdoch’s hitting the table. Both James and his wife, Wendi, seated directly behind him, gently cautioned him to stop this, perhaps an indication of the fury in his breast at being http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/politics/the-murdoch-boys-in-westminster-a-review/ [i]“DON’T WRITE CRAP. CAN’T BE THAT HARD, Pip, Café Whispers[/i] Forget about any coverage of the economic imperatives of the carbon tax.Not surprisingly, the journalists did exactly that, and so did Mr. Farnsworth !Which maniac has been running around the country and never shutting up ?? http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/dont-write-crap-cant-be-that-hard/ [i]News without Limits, The Business of quantifying TB infection,[/i] News Ltd's Australian papers have "largely abandoned" valuing or attempts to achieve "journalistic impartiality", embarking instead on a "series of vendettas against its designated foes". Such enemies included Victoria's former police commissioner, http://quantiferon.blogspot.com/2011/07/news-without-limits.html [i]Tony Abbott: Carbon dioxide 'weightless' Kevin Rennie, Red Bluff [/i] It's great to know that Party Headquarters are so proud of their Tony's Science homework, even the mistakes.It gives extra meaning to 'snollygoster' when applied to Abbott http://redbluffr.blogspot.com/2011/07/tony-abbott-carbon-dioxide-weightless.html [i]NATURAL WORLD SLAMS CARBON TAX - EXCLUSIVE REPORT, Andrew Catsaras[/i]"When Tony Abbott came here last week, he told us that the carbon tax would stop the grass growing so there would be little food to eat; that the tax would not allow us to bound along as we had been used to doing without restriction; that we wouldn't be allowed to lie down http://andrewcatsaras.blogspot.com/2011/07/natural-world-slams-carbon-tax.html [i]A Media Empire Under Pressure, Paul Budde, The Buddeblog[/i] This new report also includes News Corp financial information prior to the closure of News of the World, prepared by Indigo Equity Research http://www.buddeblog.com.au/news-and-views/news-corp-a-media-empire-under-pressure/ [i]Where is Malcolm’s Policy, David Havyatt, Anything Goes[/i] From what I can figure out Turnbull is now saying that it is important to have a plan to improve broadband services in Australia. That's a big change since through most of the Senate NBN Committee hearings the coalition stance was we don't need a faster network and all its for is entertainment. http://davidhavyatt.blogspot.com/ [i]More Of That Damned Rubbish, Neil Cook, The Bannerman[/i] Chris Mitchell should catch up on the 1990 BBC drama series, House of Cards. He might realise that those who write crap, often wind up being crapped on. .http://www.waddayano.org/blog/2011/07/more_of_that_damned_rubbish.php#more [i]Karl Rove Forms "Apology Task Force" to Assist Rupert Murdoch , BCBass, The Bennington Vale[/i] Between 2009 and 2010, News Corp. donated $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association, a political committee that works t o defeat Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $75 million to defeat http://www.benningtonvalepress.com/2011/07/karl-rove-forms-apology-task-force-to.html [i]Special Report - Murdoch affair spotlights dirty detectives, Reuters[/i] Reuters) - In a small, semi-detached house overlooking a park in the unlovely suburb of Croydon, Jorge Salgado-Reyes sits at a glass-topped desk in his living room plying his trade as a private eye. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/07/20/uk-newscorp-privateeyes-idUKTRE76J2UP20110720 [i]Abbott’s unprincipled and reckless scare campaign continues, Climate Change Action[/i] Today’s false and misleading claims follow Mr Abbott’s remarkable assertion last night on Star FM in Gippsland that “I’ve never been in favour of a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.” http://climatechangeaction.org.au/abbotts-unprincipled-and-reckless-scare-campaign-continues/ Turnbull: [i]Turnbull takes shot at climate change deniers,Louise Yaxley, ABC[/i] "Our regular references to their [India and China's] emissions and 'Why should we do anything until the Chinese and the Indians do something' – theyfind those references incredibly galling," he said."How incredibly embarrassing statements like that are when you actually confront representatives of those countries." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-22/turnbull-climate-speech/2805536/?site=melbourne [i]Turnbull defends climate change science, Video Late Line[/i] Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a passionate speech defending climate change science and accusing the coal industry‘ of adopting big tobacco's tactics http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-21/turnbull-defends-climate-change-science/2805422?section=business [i]Malcolm Turnbull lays down alternative blueprint to the NBN , John Durie, The Australian[/i] Yesterday the opposition communications spokesman was at lunch with JPMorgan and on Wednesday at a CEDA luncheon in Sydney where he laid down his blueprint to replace the NBN http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/malcolm-turnbull-lays-down-alternative-blueprint-to-the-nbn/story-e6frg9io-1226099312191 [i]NBN contract could be torn up by Liberals, Technology Spectator[/i] Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said although he had not read the contract between Telstra and the federal government, it would be cheaper to rip it up than to follow through with the NBN. http://technologyspectator.com.au/nbn-buzz/nbn-contract-could-be-torn-liberals

Ad astra

22/07/2011LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Feral Skeleton

22/07/2011D Mick Weir, I think Barrie Cassidy is running with the latest Press Gallery Groupthink. That is that the PM should stop 'running around the country' staging photo opportunities for the media in order to try and sell her Carbon Tax and 'get back to governing the nation'. Yet I can still remember those such as Barrie saying that she'll have to go out and convince people of the policy once it has been released because Tony Abbott has had months to fill the vacuum created by her announcing the intention to tackle Climate Change again and then vacating the field while the MPCCC worked out the details. As his justification for his latest stance Barrie says this: [quote]Tony Abbott will, of course, continue to beat the drum. But after a while, he will sound shrill and off the pace. The public will soon tire of him banging on about it.[/quote] Well, I can't say as I agree with him considering the fact, as I outlined above, that when Julia Gillard vacated the field Tony Abbott ran riot and his stocks improved almost exponentially. As for sounding shrill, well, people seem to love it because the community have started sounding just as 'shrill' as him. I would say, rather, that they are sounding mean, vindictive and spiteful like him and loving the disinhibiting effect Abbott has on them. Still, it won't stop the Grand Poobahs of the Canberra Press Gallery, like Michelle Grattan and Barrie Cassidy, from their pious pontifications, that are worth 3/5 of 5/8 of bugger all at the end of the day, but serve to contribute to the background white noise that colours people's opinions about the government, which they are assailed with from both sides of any debate these days.

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011FS, of couse, how silly of me to overlook a bit of good old fashioned groupthink. I must have been too tired to see the obvious. All groups engage in groupthink and must jealosly gaurd their right to think as a group and gleefully point out to those who don't think like the group that they are so obviously wrong. In such a powerful group as 'the mmeja' it would be only natural for them to think that politics is primarily run for the benefit of 'the meeja' and everbody else can go just hang on the outer. I wonder if Cassidy will be hung, drawn and quartered for letting the cat out of the bag?

Patricia WA

22/07/2011Just been watching the debate between Monckton and Dennis which took place just two days ago, video recording uploaded to YouTube from the NPC. Why can't I access similar video recording of PM Julia Gillard's address to the NPC the week before? Is it my IT ineptitude that I can't access it from their July Archives where it is clearly listed? Can anyone give me a link to it from elsewhere?

NormanK

22/07/2011Patricia WA Give this one a spin for Julia Gillard addressing the National Press Club on Putting a Price on Carbon. http://australianpoliticstv.org/2011/07/19/julia-gillard-national-press-club-address-price-on-carbon/

Feral Skeleton

22/07/2011DMW, Hope you're not trying to take the pee out of me :) It's just that I have heard the same line from a few political commentators recently.

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011FS only a little bit :) Yep, my par about groups defending their groupthink was a bit of piss-taking, no apolgies, I take it out of myself more often than others and when I do sometimes I learn something. On groupthink the 'get back to governing' line may be an example, however, without saying I thought of it first as I am sure I didn't, I was arguing that line here this time last week or thereabouts. Did Cassidy get the idea from me? I would be chuffed if he did but somehow I doubt it. What I was asking about was this comment: [i]'... government by and large is run for the benefit, not of the country, but the media.[/i] I am not clear on what Cassidy was implying with that part of his piece. If he is saying that the media, and possibly, particularly the oz, think that government is run for its' benefit I can buy that line of thinking. Don't like the thought but I can understand the line of reasoning. The way the the opposition is running itself I can more than believe that it opposes for the benefit of the media and the exposure it gets from it and while concerning, understandable. But, Cassidy specifically said 'government'. If he is saying that the government is running itself for the media's benefit, and given the way Rudd operated, and in some ways the government still does I can see why he might say that. If there is the smallest element of truth in the proposition then I reckon we might as well give the game away and let the two of them just get on with it. Second thoughts, best we don't give the game away, but I find it disturbing that it is even slightly possible that any government would operate in the way Cassidy implied.

Michael

22/07/2011Bad Abbott's have become infectious in the strangest places. Malcolm Turnbull, who is often seen as the white knight who could rescue the Liberal Party and restore it to unTonytainted 'glory', seems to have caught some of Shouldabeen's capacity for slip sliding away from fully assaying facts. Courtesy of the wonderful Lyn, http://technologyspectator.com.au/nbn-buzz/nbn-contract-could-be-torn-liberals wherein: Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said although he had not read the contract between Telstra and the federal government, it would be cheaper to rip it up than to follow through with the NBN. "I haven't read the Telstra contracts, nobody has outside the deal," Mr Turnbull said at an industry conference in Sydney on Wednesday. "There will be costs associated with a change of plan, but they would be tiny compared to the savings that would be achieved." Malcolm asserts that a contract he has not seen, with details he is thus completely ignorant of, can be dumped and result in savings to all involved. Voodoo economics fair dinkum style has now achieved perfect triangulation, linking the electorates of Warringah, North Sydney, and Wentworth. One might ask the member for Wentworth, what worth speculation founded on ignorance, policy based on the same? Oh, now I get it. He truly is an Abbott man.

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011While I almost completely over the great debate of the moment I note there is some serious questioning of various aspects of the policies of both sides going on. Peter Martin has posted this: [b]The Coalition plans to install 273 solar panels per day. Really.[/b] Shane Wright of the West Australian examines its Direct Action Plan http://www.petermartin.com.au/2011/07/coalition-plans-to-install-273-solar.html [i]Ultimately, you can talk about feeling green and doing our bit but unless the policy is working it is just empty rhetoric that comes at a cost borne by the taxpayers of the country.[/i]

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011thanks for that one Michael, Yep 'bad abbotts' are infectious. I even have a couple myself!!, though not the sort the are suitable for discussion on a family blog. :) The member for Goldman Sachs has probably been working on a plan to sell the NBN to Telstra and in doing so ensure some nice juicy fees for the merchant bank constituents.

NormanK

22/07/2011D Mick Weir Cassidy may once have been ahead of the game in reading what is happening in federal politics but I have not read or heard one thing from him in the last twelve months that would lead me to believe that he still has his finger on the pulse. His remark about government being run for the media is 'just so last year' as to be embarrassing. I remarked earlier this year that the press gallery don't seem to have caught up with a shift in the way that the Gillard government is operating since the start of the new year. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I reckon the government is going for broke over the next two years to get as many of what they consider good policies in place before facing a potentially disastrous election. Whether it is through laziness or an unrelenting desire to hang on to the previous narrative (poll-driven, focus group, populist, hanging onto power at any price) the press seem to blissfully overlook the fact that much of what is being undertaken at the moment is not poll-driven or popular. Of course, asking for good sense or consistency from the media implies that it is a single entity instead of the multi-headed monster that it really is. It won't matter what this government does for the next six months, group think has got it covered. Adopt a popular policy stance (live cattle exports) and they are condemned for populism. Adopt an unpopular policy (carbon price) and they are out of touch and not listening to the people. It strikes me as curious how little has been written for and against the plain packaging legislation. I suspect they just haven't worked out whether to be for or against it because the public haven't expressed a definitive opinion either way. And Tony Abbott has been forced to back it in principle. "No conflict here, folks. Move along." Feral Skeleton [i]7.30[/i] is not as bad as you might imagine it to be. Over the last three or four weeks they have done some good even-handed work with the notable exception of this weeks homage to [i]A Current Affair[/i] when they asked advertising companies to evaluate Julia Gillard as a product and suggest ways of lifting the standing of the brand. It was embarrassing and worthy of the very worst of tabloid television news. Apart from that I can't recall being horrified by any of their articles. Bearing in mind that I don't count fair and reasonable criticism of the government as being 'bad'.

Patricia WA

22/07/2011Thanks, Norman K! We must make sure we keep this Prime Minister! PS - Where were those tears? Seen in context, there was perhaps a gulp for breath as she was a bit overcome by reminiscence. But surely very fleeting moment!

Michael

22/07/2011It's occurred to me re triangulating the voodoo economics espoused by the members for Warringah, North Sydney, and Point Piper, that if you dived right into the middle of that triangle, you'd end up... At the bottom of the Harbour.

psyclaw

22/07/2011PS-ers The following is a copy of an email to M Turnbull earlier today: "Good Morning Mr Turnbull Thank you and congratulations for the wise words you spoke in your VC speech last night. As you said, the climate debate is almost wholly based on belief and ideology at the expense of recognising the expertise of the scientific community. Ironically the scientific community so disrespected in this debate is the very same one we rely on in all other aspects of our lives. There is little doubt that your party must wear much of the blame for this, the denier influence of Minchin, the shallow ambition of Abbott, and the spineless moderates, some of whom have become sycophants of Abbott and the remainder of whom have fortuitously discovered silence. Please do not let this speech “die”. It needs to be repeated over and over by you. Please seek other forums in which to express these views, especially some of the shock jocks. I am not a coalition voter but have many friends and relatives who are. Very few of them voted for the coalition last year, specifically because they think Abbott is a fool. As a political opponent of you, whilst I prefer that Ms Gillard remains PM after the 2013 election, I would still sleep at night if the coalition won under anyone else’s leadership than Abbott’s. However, if he were to become PM, I would be devastated because he would quickly and assuredly devastate our nation. Please get on with the job of putting Abbott out the back door. Yours sincerely" End quote

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011NormanK your suspicion re plain packaging is so close to the mark it doesn't matter. "No conflict here, folks. Move along." Watching the paint dry is more engrossing maybe? I have some recollection of you talking about 'nothing to lose' etc. and I don't recall thinking in terms as expressed in that Cassidy bit. Guess that one has slipped passed to Mr Grout for me :) Probably a white ball instead of a red one and I didn't see it coming. Agree the govt. is damned either way and every which way but loose and when they are a bit loose they are in deep doggy doo. It seems it is not a question of if they are in the doo it is an argument over how deep.

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011In a comment to the Peter Martin piece I linked above [b]The Lorax said...[/b] [i]But Direct Action is what people want. People really do want solar panel freebies, which both reduce their electricity bill and allow them to feel like they're doing something. People really do want tree planting. They do want wind farms (as long as they're not near them) and they do want solar power stations in the desert. What they don't want is a higher cost of living. They don't want gas. They don't want nukes. They don't want CCS. They certainly don't want to pay the true environmental costs of the annual trip to Europe. They want renewables and daisies. Lots of daisies. They want to feel good about things. Its hopelessly unrealistic and expensive, but there it is. Its a political opportunity you could drive a truck through, and Abbott's going for it.[/i] I fear Lorax may be right. Abbott is certainly a political opportunist almost without (current) peer

nasking

22/07/2011Feral, I noticed you made a useful list of corporations & groups above that have decided to put their own self-interest before doing the right thing re: carbon price. You & others might find Ralph Nader's piece on the phony patriotic corporations worth reading: If They're Not Loyal to Us, Why Should We be Loyal to Them? Whatever Happened to Corporate Patriotism? By RALPH NADER CounterPunch http://www.counterpunch.com/nader07222011.html Like the Murdoch empire, these multinational corporations seem to have no allegiances bar w/ those who help them spread and prosper and kill off competition. GW Bush & his supreme court appointees have ensured they have little to worry about from YOU the people, the workers. I'm sure they have enuff gold shares, land ownership, other assets to weather any disturbances in the volatile & rigged markets...it's "what me worry?" when they know they can be bailed out as "too big to fail" & "essential" companies. Would an orchestrated economic collapse in various nations, leading to a depression, or deep recession worry them?...when they have the deep pockets to be able to acquire your property, assets & businesses at discount prices...as they increase the pension age, raid your Super, force you to pay more community taxes & fees...ensure that your healthcare, childcare & education is privatised and extorted enuff to provide them w/ more revenue streams. What do they care if they pull the rug out from under the economy now & then, panic small investors to sell dirt cheap?...as long as you end up in debt for yer entire lives...a slave to their finance companies...desperate to work obscene hours and too tired to question the sanity of the system...just enuff money provided to you to incentivise you to produce more wee consumers, and possibly warriors (wars are also profitable ventures) and borrowers. There's always the tabloids & never-ending reality shows filled w/ scandals & tits & bums to keep you occupied...plenty of fast food to keep you tired...plenty of big pharma to keep you running at that maintenance level...plenty of booze & cigs to relax yer mind as the bulldozers rip up the adjacent bush & trees & other species you enjoyed for awhile...eminent domain, resumption/compulsory acquisition has no time for "beautiful views", "food bowls" & "nature's lungs"...not when corporations need ever-expanding highways for their trucks...and land to dig for energy resources...and malls & McMansions to sell, feed & shelter the new customers, taxpayer's for the rich, possible warriors and their exhausted parents & guardians. And if you WAKE UP...then they always have a TEA PARTY for you to drink from...in yer blind & exhausted enthusiasm...then you can charge around & bellow & vote against yer own interests and feel mighty pleased w/ yerselves until the next tooth that's rotten falls from yer aching head right under the pillow of the new consumer you bred...and scares the wee one due to it's grotesque colour & dried puss...kids terrified of the unhealthy reality of no denticare for irritable, too oft anxious, fatigued & agressive Mummy & Daddy...when they thought an Ipod, mobile phone & laptop was all you needed to have a happy life as an adult. Few rational, useful changes ever...when yer disposable...like the products the corporations spruik. What need for loyalty when the customer pool is in its billions? What need for consistent "fair-go" treatment of workers...when the pool of unemployed and workers is in its billions? What need to observe laws & fulfil social obligations when you can move yer business to places who don't give a stuff?...particularly if those places are desperate for employers and investment after you helped create an infrastructure levelling war there...or used yer investment bank, sharemarket, reserve bank, credit card, political connections to pull the rug outa their economy? Vertical & horizontal integration...consortiums...hedge funds...casino markets...private equity funds...business channels...manufacturing & manipulating public perception...the games go on & on. And the patriotic individuals take their kids and grandkids to the advertised flag waving celebrations...grinning insanely in desperation...like children of cults...like James Packer sitting next to his corporate God... thinking about "loyalty"...hoping for "loyalty"... when in fact there is NONE. There's nothing there...but a BLACK HOLE. The same one in the eyes of Abbott, Turnbull, GW Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Saudi Kings & princes, Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires, Tea party leaders, Michelle Bachman & Sarah Palin...so many they pull our rational world into their singularity of insanity... feel the WOBBLE again. As Obama weeps on the event horizon. N'

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011FS, the thinking woman's crumpet is at again. He just can't help himself he has to come up with some simple answers and examples. [b]The Power of Prices[/b] Andrew Leigh http://www.andrewleigh.com/blog/?p=1242 (also on the ALP Blog - no link) [i]This incentive will exist for both firms and households. For firms, carbon pricing will encourage them to think hard about how they can reduce emissions. A recent Economist article gave the example of the potato chip firm Walkers, which discovered its carbon footprint was unexpectedly high. ‘It turned out that because Walkers was buying its potatoes by gross weight, farmers were keeping their potatoes in humidified sheds to increase the water content. Walkers then had to fry the sliced potatoes for longer to drive out the extra moisture. By switching to buying potatoes by dry weight, Walkers could reduce frying time by 10% and farmers could avoid the cost of humidification. Both measures saved money and energy and reduced the carbon footprint of the final product.’[/i] Simple ingenuity - surely there is more than a microgramme of that in Aussie idustry. Recaptcha: hypothesis ilabot

Feral Skeleton

22/07/2011Nas, You might also be interested to read about these souless creeps linked to, you guessed it, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin: http://www.politicususa.com/en/alec-puppetmaster-palin-bachmann-walker

Ad astra

22/07/2011Folks Apologies for my absence today; I’ve been busy all day sorting our problems with my new modem, which operates only intermittently in central Melbourne among the tall buildings. There are some spots in the apartment where the WiFi works better than in others; nobody can explain why. So while up here we’ll have to settle for indifferent performance, and be happy about the good performance that we enjoy on the south coast. I’ve listened to many commentators and read many pieces where Julia Gillard’s ‘inability to cut through’ has been dissected. In no instance has anyone attributed this, even in part, to a largely hostile media. Several writing here on [i]TPS[/i], including myself, have criticized the Government for not having a better media strategy and a more effective media unit, but even with the best in the world, how can the Government make headway when it is frustrated at every step by an aggressive media with the News Limited outlets being particularly vitriolic? I wondered what we might see as headlines and leading paragraphs were the target of media venom the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. Try these: ABBOTT BACKFLIPS AGAIN ON CLIMATE The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has back-flipped yet again, now saying that he has never been in favour of an emissions trading scheme, despite him being on the record as advocating one when he was a minister in the Howard Government. TURNBULL AND ABBOTT CLASH HEAD ON OVER CLIMATE In a speech last night Malcolm Turnbull insisted that the opinion of climate scientists must be respected and that Australia must pull its weight in combating global warming. The day before, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, ridiculed Australia’s 5% reduction target by 2020 as ‘crazy’ while China was increasing its emissions by ten times that amount. Mr Turnbull said it was embarrassing to keep referring to Chinese and Indian emissions when Australia's are much higher per capita He said it is galling to those countries, and is making negotiations with them difficult. The two men are at loggerheads and tension in Coalition ranks is rising. ABBOTT”S GHOST TOWN PREDICTIONS WRONG BlueScope Steel has declared its satisfaction with the Gillard Government’s compensation package for the steel manufacturing industry and confirmed that its Whyalla plant will continue production and no jobs will be lost. This contrasts with the dire predictions of the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, who insisted that the steel manufacturing industry would be wiped out and Whyalla would become a ghost town under the Gillard Government's carbon plan. ABBOTT WON’T STOP POLLUTION Mr Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, said yesterday that he would not close any power generating plants, not even the dirtiest of them all, Hazelwood in the Latrobe Valley. Under an Abbott government, pollution from electricity generation will continue as before. ABBOTT THREATENS PENSIONER PAYMENTS The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has vowed to claw back pension increases granted under the Gillard Government’s carbon plan. Pensioner payment checks will be less under an Abbott-led Coalition, should it gain office at the next election. ABBOTT CHANGES HIS MIND AGAIN ON CLIMATE Mr Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, has again changed his mind about climate change. Once a supporter of an ETS who urged the Howard Government to adopt one, he has changed his position several times: first calling climate science ‘absolute crap’, next urging the Coalition to fight an ETS, then saying he accepted climate change, then taking a defeatist view that anything Australia did would be useless, and now saying he has never supported an ETS. His ‘weathervane’ approach to this matter leaves observers wondering what his next position will be. See how easy it is to write damaging headlines and introductory paragraphs while being factually accurate. How would Abbott cope with such headlines, and how would his poll ratings fare against such an onslaught? This is what Julia Gillard has to put up with every day all day. No one can convince me that if the boot were on the other foot the public’s opinion would not be very different, perhaps the opposite. While the Gillard Government could do better with its PR, my contention is that the largest impediment to getting its message out is the hostile reporting of its plans by a media that is largely antagonistic to her and her Government, and wants her out. What do you think?

Feral Skeleton

22/07/2011Nas, Sorry, but to my way of thinking Ralph Nader sucks bigger than just about anyone he rails against these days. He effectively lost the election in 2000 for Al Gore. VP Gore would have won by the length of the straight over George Bush, who wouldn't have been able to engage in any James Baker shenanigans and steal the close election. Whatever motivation Nader had for running, some say vanity, others say he was a dummy candidate inserted by ??? to draw votes away from Al Gore on the Left, his presence in that election changed history to the point that we are where we are today as a result. Maybe it keeps professional whiners like him in a job but I would have rather had real environmental action enacted by the Democrats, which would have happened if Gore had been elected. Nader would have been better advised keeping his powder dry in that election and working with Gore after he had become President. He would have achieved much, much more for the causes he supports that way.

Jason

22/07/2011FLAMBOYANT South Australian federal politician Mary Jo Fisher has been charged with allegedly stealing groceries from a supermarket and assaulting a security guard who apprehended her. In a sensational development, the Liberal Senator could face the loss of her Senate position if she is convicted of either charge in the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Senator Fisher, who in March attracted national prominence when she mocked Prime Minister Julia Gillard's proposed carbon tax with a dance routine in the Upper House, has hired prominent silk Michael Abbott, QC, to defend her. She will stand trial in September after being charged with one count of dishonestly taking property without the owner's consent and one count of assault. The charges will be contested. While the alleged offending occurred on December 15 last year, Senator Fisher was only charged on summons on May 5 this year The matter was last in court for mention on July 12, where Magistrate Bill Ackland set September 1as the trial date after Mr Abbott requested the matter be dealt with rapidly. The police apprehension report into the incident alleges that Senator Fisher allegedly took foodstuffs valued at $92.92 from the Foodland supermarket on Glen Osmond Rd at Frewville. She is further alleged to have assaulted a female security guard in the supermarket carpark when the guard sought to stop her from leaving. The report alleges the security guard saw Senator Fisher place numerous items into a shopping trolley in the supermarket about 7.10pm on December 15. She watched her place some items on the checkout counter as she proceeded through the checkout and out of the supermarket. It is then alleged the security guard then approached Senator Fisher outside the store and asked her to accompany her to the security office, which she did. Police were then called to the supermarket. While waiting for police to arrive Senator Fisher allegedly asked to use the toilet. After doing so she allegedly walked away from the security office and was stopped by the guard, who told her she was not allowed to leave until the police arrived She made her way outside and once outside went to her car and attempted to get into it. The report alleges the security guard sought to block Senator Fisher from closing her car door by standing between the open door and the door jamb to prevent it being closed. It is alleged Senator Fisher then tried to close the door, but the guard managed to stay in position. It was at that point a police patrol arrived. In a subsequent interview with police Senator Fisher allegedly told them she had left the store without paying for all of the groceries because she did not have enough money on her and she was going to her car "to call for someone to bring some cash to pay for them." She had not advised the store staff of this prior to leaving the checkout and while she had credit cards on her, she alleged that she could not remember their PINs to use them. When questioned over the alleged assault of the security guard, Senator Fisher allegedly conceded the guard had been trying to stop her from leaving. Senator Fisher has been a Senator for South Australia since June, 2007, when she was preselected to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Amanda Vanstone. She formerly worked as a barrister and specialist in industrial relations before beginning her political career and also was a senior adviser to then Industrial Relations Minister Peter Reith. Under the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, a politician will be disqualified from holding office if they are "attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer." Under the Criminal Law Consolidation Act the maximum penalty for assault is imprisonment for two years and the maximum penalty for dishonestly taking property without the owner's consent is imprisonment for 10 years. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/liberal-senator-mary-jo-fisher-arrested-for-shoplifting-assault/story-e6frea83-1226100010591

Casablanca

22/07/2011Feral Skeleton (July 21. 2011 10:59 PM) Thanks for the list of companies which comprise the Australian Trade and Industry Alliance. The following comment, in response to "Abbott: the future is bright, brown" sums up the thoughts that I had after reading the list. "I'd like the government to publish a list of companies (and the products they produce) that are part of this Australian trade and industry alliance. They have the right to publish ads - I have the right to boycott their products. We'll see what hurts more - the carbon tax, or about 30% of their customers walking away to more open minded and progressive businesses. They might call it blackmail - I call it a free country. If you take a stand you have to be prepared to live with the consequences". Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/abbott-the-future-is-bright-brown-20110720-1hoxc.html#ixzz1SohtvbCA Also, let's not forget that Kate Carnell, CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council is the former Liberal Party Leader and Liberal Chief Minister of the ACT. She resigned in 2000 after losing a no-confidence motion.

D Mick Weir

22/07/2011NormanK, I've been musing on and off around the cricketing analogies you have proffered recently. I think I have finally worked out what part of the problem is with the media reportage. The media are reporting a twenty-twenty smash and dash while it is really a five day test that the government is playing.

NormanK

22/07/2011Ad astra Well done. It's not that hard is it? And no reasonable person could describe your 'articles' as overloaded with emotive rhetoric or hyperbole. I am disappointed that you didn't manage to include 'thundered' in some of your examples. It seems 'thundered' is the new slammed. [quote]"There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead," Ms Gillard [b]thundered[/b], five days before last year's Federal election.[/quote] http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/opinion/post/-/blog/benharvey/post/21/comment/1 [quote]"The carbon tax the Prime Minister and Rob Oakeshott are inflicting on Australians will be hard felt in this community," [b]thundered[/b] Mr Truss, a non-thunderer by nature.[/quote] http://www.theage.com.au/national/oakeshott-under-fire-on-his-home-turf-20110713-1he4g.html [quote]"What an amazingly stark, if unwitting, confession," the editorial [b]thundered[/b] .... [/quote] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/a-robust-debate-in-our-press-is-healthy-for-democracy/story-e6frg99o-1226082410651 D Mick Weir I can go along quite happily with that analogy. It also fits with Abbott's batting style - the next shot could win the game! I hope Michael picks up on one of today's gems from Mr Abbott. Apparently, Julia Gillard [b]promised never[/b] to send asylum seekers to any country that has not signed the UNHCR Convention. Not my recollection of events.

nasking

22/07/2011Feral, Nader has made many a valid point over the years & has been scapegoated far too many times by some Democratic leaders who are either corrupt & too corporate-linked themselves...or politically spineless due to the districts they live in. I prefer Democrats over Republicans...but I've watched the Democratic party bailout investment bankers & car companies that has lost taxpayer's billions... and mishandle their previous congressional majority allowing the tax cuts for the rich to continue...fail to bring about universal healthcare...and continue much of the corporate & dynastic thievery that occurred from Reagan thru to Bush. Republicans, like the Coalition here, have a tendency to drive thru their oft ghastly reforms w/out much fear of retribution...the Democratic party often comes across like they're scared daily of the independent voters jumping out of cupboards going BOO. It's too easy to blame Nader...sure he's made mistakes...but he's also done some gutsy, useful stuff in his earlier years...I don't reckon he's a saint...but it's not his fault America is stuck w/ a sh*tty two-party-dominated structure, a media that helps scare off voters, major parties that prevent voters from being on or getting to the polls...plenty of apathetic voters...a flawed electoral college system...and a court system that is oft biased to the corporate Right...and politicians that dance to big donor's tune. If the Democratic party can't get the votes required then maybe they need to have more consistent goals & integrity...and some guts & fire...rather than blaming the "also rans". N'

Ad astra

22/07/2011Folks I have just posted another piece of Acerbic Conehead's clever sature [i]A nice juicy tale[/i]. Enjoy the experience. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2011/07/22/A-nice-juicy-tale.aspx
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?