Archive for May, 2012

May 31, 2012

Rob Oakeshott smacking down the Media and defending Parliament

Rob Oakeshott, (Ind, MP for Lyne), speaking on ABC television has said that the negative image of politics as portrayed by the media in this country was overdone.

Oakeshott said:

If you listened to public policy discourse right now and nothing else, you would think that our parliament is worse than Papua New Guinea, our economy worse than Greece, our electricity system worse than North Korea… This perspective question … is something we all need to have a good hard think about it…
We are also seeing private members bills at a level no Commonwealth parliament in history has been able to get up – that is the community’s voice being heard.

May 31, 2012

Are the Media seeking regime change because a Car-Crash Abbott government would increase sales?

This post was originally a comment left on this blog by RX to the post Fairfax: their Rights At Work are more important than Yours. It also makes a brilliant stand-alone piece. Thank you RX. Posted with permission.

You make good points as usual. I concur with your theories as to why the previously balanced Fairfax and ABC have followed the News Limited lead into right-wing slant. There is a blinkered groupthink evident in much of the ‘reporting’ of Australian politics. Journalists interview other journalists in the electronic media (eg Insiders, Meet The Press and talkback radio). This results in a right-wing echo chamber where Coalition spinners and media ‘opinion leaders’ set the stage for the slant which others adopt. And which become accepted conventional wisdom.

Memes such as the “BER debacle” are an example of this. In reality the BER was NOT a debacle. It was a successful, efficient and highly effective economic stimulus measure, delivered in a timely fashion by the Rudd/Gillard administration, whose quick implementation was instrumental in helping to avert economic catastrophe as the early waves of the GFC threatened to overtake the domestic economy. But the way it was spun by the Coalition/media was that the money was wasted (the percentage of documented waste was actually low compared to private spending and most government spending). The spin from the anti-Labor forces in the Coalition/media took over, became the accepted ‘reality’, and was never successfully corrected/defended by the government – to their shame.

There are other examples too. The Home Insulation Program, another highly effective stimulus measure which triggered economic activity in every postcode are of the country and resulted in fewer housefires per thousand dwellings insulated than had previously been the case – was depicted in a topsy-turvy fashion as causing untold deaths and destruction. Again the government, to their discredit, did not work hard enough to set the record straight.

Perhaps the government were naive, assuming the public would be smart enough to see the truth for themselves. Unfortunately, the great percentage of the public only get to see and hear what the media want them to hear, meaning truth and facts are thin on the ground and difficult for the average time-poor and politically disengaged voter to assimilate.

The Coalition, it seems, have nothing better to do with their days than set spotfires of spin and misinformation burning, which are naturally taken up by their media supporters, and before you know what’s happening, there are wildfires of lies consuming the political debate.

Clearly the government needs to be more vigilant here. Perhaps their media office needs a kick in pants and tasked to put out the spot fires as soon as they are lit. This is distraction which the government does not need, but must do anyway for the sake of survival. If there were such a thing as a Labor-supportive media outlet or two (which we know there is not), they could take up the cudgels on Labor’s behalf, telling the truth which would negate the Coalition’s lies. There being no progressive mainstream media whatsoever, the government must – must! – become more pro-active and assertive in its media relations.

I agree also with your contention of car-crash government under Abbott. The guy is a walking, talking gaffe generator. As you’ve documented here on the blog in instance after instance he’s only got to open his big mouth and the gaffes start flowing like water from a tap. As PM (perish the thought) he would give rise to daily stories of foot-in-mouth. The clangers would fill newspaper columns, the stories would practically write themselves. Which would be considered a bonus by the lazy, self-serving commentariat who’ve given up on honestly reporting policy, preferring instead the trivial and personality-centred rubbish which enlightens no one but would stimulate sales of papers. It would undoubtedly be highly entertaining in a way to see the daily reports of the fool’s faux pas… but what a price to pay for the country to be subjected to such an inane extremist at the helm.

May 31, 2012

Not fit to be in Government – how the Liberals have trashed the “Politics” brand (image)

After yesterdays scenes of Liberal politicians fleeing from democracy (The moment that Craig Thomson Pwned Tony Abbott), afternoon question time would always have a sting in the tail. And when Chrissy Pyne, Manager of Opposition Business in the House, was expelled by the Speaker Anna Burke, he responded with all the grace and class of an adult.

May 31, 2012

Fairfax: their Rights At Work are more important than Yours.

As a result of industrial action, Illawarra Mercury becomes the ‘New Zealand Mercury’ as jobs go offshore.

I support the right of anyone to strike, this is not union or strike bashing, this is hypocrisy bashing.

Ever since that fateful day in 2007 when Kevin Rudd and his government kicked out the Tory overlords, the media in this country have done little else but champion a return to a Coalition Government. Not just the obviously right-wing Murdoch (70%) media, but also the ABC and Fairfax.

Why? Murdoch’s right-wing leanings are just how he does business, and is no surprise. But why have the ABC and Fairfox given up balance and fairness – and accuracy – to present a highly partisan news?

There are several theories, partisan journalists present partisan stories, which means other journalists report from a right-wing perspective to keep up. or, because they have an agenda to achieve regime change. Or it is car-crash government, Tony Abbott as prime minister would be so spectacularly bad that daily disasters would reverse the sales slide.

The majority of Limited News ownership was offshored to an American billionaire, and their journalists seem to have no problem with it.

So now that Fairfax are planning on offshoring subeditors jobs to New Zealand – first the Illawarra Mercury and the Newcastle Herald, and later on more jobs from more papers and websites.

Which is a strange reaction coming from a media group that have been nothing short of a PR machine for the Coalition – a party that if they ever got into government would most likely outlaw strikes and other industrial action as part of their “flexibility Work Choices”.

A media group that have run “union thug” stories and how striking teachers “don’t care about your kids” stories. Perhaps they think their right to be in a union and take industrial action is more important than every other worker in this country.

Howard’s Work Choices left workers with little rights, and the conditions they put on some industries such as the Construction Industry were draconian, where a union member Ark Tribe was imprisoned for taking part in a union meeting about safety on a work site.

And now Fairfax journalists are on strike about their rights at work? While they have every right to strike as much as the next worker, they should perhaps have a little more self-awareness of what their editorial direction has become, and what regime change would mean for millions of workers in this country.

May 31, 2012

Tony Abbott the self-described “big scary man” (video)

From Wil Andersons ‘Gruen Nation’ comes this – Tony Abbott scaring babies.

May 31, 2012

image: A Woman’s Place is in the House

A Woman’s Place is in the House… and the Senate

May 30, 2012

Even Tony Abbott now admits that Julia Gillard won’t lie

Tony Abbott “Gillard won’t lie”.

Okay, it was half a sentence, and the full sentence was “Gillard won’t lie down and die, and where there’s life, there’s fight.” but it may have been Freudian slip from the current Leader of the Opposition. Abbott said one thing but he may have meant amother.

May 30, 2012

Run Tony Run, Craig Thomson is coming (video)

For more about what happened in Parliament this morning, see The moment that Craig Thomson Pwned Tony Abbott

May 30, 2012

The moment that Craig Thomson Pwned Tony Abbott

This was the moment that the Member for Dobell, Craig Thomson sent the Tories fleeing from the House.

Barely had the clock ticked past 9am when Thomson voted with the Tories and in one move completely negated the idea of a “tainted” vote that the Opposition had been squawking about for weeks.

In a debate about debt, the government moved to end debate, and Craig Thomson made his way to join the others from the crossbenchers who don’t support gag motions. Thomson had always continued to vote with Labor since he moved to the crossbench, but not this time.

The reaction from the Opposition side of the chamber was almost as if someone had shouted “boat person”, and Tony Abbott and Chrissy Pyne, the manager of opposition business, made a break for the doors.

While the Leader of Opposition running to the doors to avoid voting is fun to watch, it doesn’t say much for the man who thinks he should be the Australian Prime Minister.

Abbott was ordered back by Anna Burke, the Speaker, because Tony was just too slow.

However, Chrissy “I was as fast as a gazelle” Pyne made it out, which from a purely numbers point of view, negated Mr Thomson’s vote. Politically, it sent a message to the Tories.

Joe Hockey was ranting and raving at the Speaker, about just who was exactly where when the bells were rung and the doors were locked.

Once more Labor tried to gag the motion from the Coalition to debate debt and Craig Thomson voted again with the Tories. Pyne returned to the house while Tony sat in his office and… sulked perhaps.

Craig Thomson taunted cowardly Opposition Leader telling Abbott that “if he is truly negating my vote” he should cross the floor and sit on the Labor side.

Twice more Thomson voted with the Coalition, when a gag was called for a third and fourth time.

Tony Abbott had been crying for weeks that the government should refuse to accept Thomson’s vote, and there Thomson was, four times taking his “tainted” voted and sitting with the Opposition.

Abbott said to media during this that ALP should refuse Thomson’s vote the same way that Howard’s government refused the turncoat Mal Colstan’s vote. However Colstan voted for the sale of government assets, with the Telstra privatisation bill. So much for not accepting tainted votes.

Paul Bongiorno, ch 10’s national affairs editor said “It is no longer “merely hyperthetical” that Craig Thomson would ever vote with the coalition. Run Tony Run.”

This was a shameful display from the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Sturt, who both refused to adequately represent their electorate on a vote. Shameful politics. Shameful from the Tories to refuse to even participate in the democratic process.

Thomson denied his actions were a stunt, and accused the Tory Opposition of pulling stunts with motions to suspend standing orders.

One more thing, the issue of debt is a side show. As the Tea Party backed republicans showed in the USA last year, the issue of debt ceiling can bring a government to its knees.

May 30, 2012

Bob Carr – Expulsion of Syrian Chargé d’Affaires

Thoughtlines with Bob Carr

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr said Mr Ali was advised at 4.30pm today that he and one other diplomat from the Syrian Embassy were required to depart the country within 72 hours.

“The Syrian Government can expect no further official engagement with Australia until it abides by the UN ceasefire and takes active steps to implement the peace plan agreed with Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan,” Senator Carr said.

“This massacre of more than 100 men, women and children in Haoula was a hideous and brutal crime.

“The Syrian Chargé has again been advised to convey a clear message to Damascus that Australians are appalled by this massacre and we will pursue a unified international response to hold those responsible to account,”.

Senator Carr said an international response could include referrals to the International Criminal Court and imposing UN sanctions such as an arms embargo as well as…

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