It might surprise those who believe the media, particularly News Limited, is anti-Government and pro-Coalition, that some Coalition supporters believe the media is pro-Government and not nearly hard enough on Kevin Rudd and his ministers. Perspective governs perception. For those who believe the former, or more ominously that there is a deliberate media campaign to change the electorate's favourable view of the Rudd Government, there are signs the tide may be turning.
Despite adverse comment around Rudd’s recent visit to the US by Andrew Bolt in the Sun-Herald, in the editorial in The Daily Telegraph, in the preamble to Dennis Shanahan’s audio report, and in several TV programmes, as detailed in the previous post, The Cringe Dwellers, there have been some articles since then that indicate a change of tone.
In Glenn Milne’s article in the September 29 issue of The Australian Market injection well planned, it was gratifying to read “The decision by the Government to pump $4 billion of confidence boosting taxpayers' money into the non-bank mortgage lending sector is a significant milestone in the developing stature of Treasurer Wayne Swan. It may also be the first signal lesson that the phase of policy constipation in the Rudd Government is coming to an end; that the period of policy review and consideration is moving on through process to resolution and final implementation. In other words, things are finally happening.” What a revelation. At last someone in the media has woken up to the fact that the “all talk and no action” mantra is nonsensical. ‘Talk’ - talking to experts, talking to stake-holders, talking in committees and reviews ARE action, as are data gathering, analysis and decision making, all processes the Rudd Government insist must precede implementation.
Even the editorial Some Good News for Main St., Australia in the September 29 issue of The Weekend Australian was positive for Rudd. It applauds the $4 billion package to non-bank lenders.
Paul Kelly in his piece Two cheers for Rudd in his September 27 article in The Australian says: “The difference between the Australian and American systems of capitalism has rarely been so stark. Kevin Rudd in New York at this time of crisis - a fortuitous accident - deserves two cheers for his response”. Later, Kelly explains what Rudd needs to do to earn his third cheer: “...to reduce expectations within Australian society for handouts, whether for welfare or business subsidies”. He concludes: “It suggests the Government got the May budget correct in its balance between anti-inflation and maintaining activity. But Rudd must further adjust policy and political settings, with the prize, if he gets it right, being the mantle of economic credibility.”
A Peter Hartcher article in The Sydney Morning Herald on September 27 on Rudd’s visit to the US reads, in part, “While Rudd has been quietly seeking solutions, Malcolm Turnbull has been noisily acting out his new schizophrenia as Opposition Leader. He advances responsible Turnbullesque policy on one hand and defends populist ideas he inherited from Brendan Nelson on the other. In his Nelson mode, Turnbull shamelessly spouts the nonsense that Rudd must rush home to solve problems here. Yet Turnbull knows full well that the biggest problem facing Australia is the crisis in the US, and that’s exactly where Rudd should be. Rudd is trying to do his bit.” More positive comment.
These may be but straws in the wind, but they suggest an awakening in at least some of the media to the modus operandi of the Rudd Government, its steadfast emphasis on sound process before implementation, its determination to get it right first time, and its steadily growing aura of competence and confidence.