Too little too late

mouse-on-wheelThe switch has been flicked. Extraordinary. I have seen more reporting of government policy in mainstream press over the last week than I saw in the last three years. This is probably an exaggeration, but isn’t perception reality? All I remember seeing throughout 2010 to 2013 was yet another report about Gillard’s ‘unstable grip on the leadership of the Labor Party’.

Political journalists treat their readers like idiots by pretending that they got the Labor leadership call right. How dare they now pretend to be innocent bystanders and justify their newfound interest in political policy by saying it was all Gillard’s fault that they couldn’t report her policy success. Because when you’re saying something is going to happen for years and it eventually does happen, you still just look like an obsessive, one-track mind with a Murdoch narrative that no journalist had the courage to rise above. A broken clock is right twice a day; however in this case of course it’s worse than that. The mainstream media just kept picking away, kept writing article after article about Rudd’s campaign to destabilize Gillard’s leadership until they gave her no choice but to give in to the bullying. They made the story a reality.

The excuse that Rudd’s campaign was newsworthy, and therefore justifiably reportable is rubbish. We all know there is leadership tension in any party. Anyone keen to use Turnbull or Hockey as their unnamed source would find the same thing on the other side of the chamber. We all know there is plenty of news going on in Canberra and elsewhere all the time. It’s journalists’ decision, it’s their judgment call, to decide, with their limited column inches and word count, what news is important to report. When every political journalist in the country was writing the same article every week, they were declaring to readers that nothing else of importance was happening in this country. And isn’t this how the mainstream media have really failed? Because I can’t believe anyone could argue that Rudd’s blind ambition was a bigger story than any of the things they missed, namely:

Gillard’s Success

It’s amusing now to see so many political journalists writing glowing obituaries about Gillard’s career as the first female Prime Minister of Australia. Actually, it’s not funny. It’s pathetic. Where were these articles before Rudd challenged last week?

Gillard’s amazing legacy will be intact, and future analysis will only improve our understanding of the significance of the last three years of policy reform to the social fabric of our community. That is, on the assumption that Abbott doesn’t dismantle all Gillard’s good work. But no, this was never the story. The story was never on policy, was never on Gillard’s exceptional negotiation skills. It was never on her poise in the face of constant abuse from Tony Abbott, from his colleagues, from many in the media and all their foul mouthed foot-soldiers across social media and deep, ugly dark parts of the internet. Abbott changed this country the day he stood in front of the ‘Ditch the Witch’ sign (twice). He gave permission to the Grace Colliers, to the Larry Pickerings, the Alan Jones, to the Mal Broughs and his fundraising dinner, to children throwing sandwiches. Abbott’s message was that it’s fair game to personally denigrate your opponent for political gain, and to denigrate the position of Prime Minister in the process. He made it fair game to call Gillard a liar every day until it became part of her name. That is Abbott’s legacy. And this is what we saw in the press instead of hearing about Gillard’s amazing success while leading a minority government constantly referred to as ‘chaos’. Journalists should hang their heads in shame when the only way to get an accurate account of Gillard’s leadership is for the Victorian Women’s Trust to buy space in a newspaper.

Ashbygate

I can already imagine the groans of mainstream journalists about this next topic. But this time, before you all start complaining, I’m not imploring you again to take interest in the campaign designed by Mal Brough to remove Peter Slipper from parliament, with the hope of bringing down the Labor Government. I’m not asking you to track down James Ashby and to find out exactly what went on. I’ve come to terms long ago with the realization that you’re just not up to investigating Australia’s own version of Watergate. But again, aren’t you shamed by the Ashbygate trust, which has raised over $50,000 from the public to dig into this story and to reveal the truth? While you complain you can’t afford to do any investigative reporting, we’re all donating funds to see this job done properly by someone else. Well played.

Policy, policy and policy

Is it not a huge embarrassment to the mainstream media that they are now trying to spend the few weeks before the election playing catch up in political policy areas far too complex to leave to sound bites? The electorate deserves better than this. We deserve to know about Abbott’s plans, and how they differ from the current Labor government. I could write fifty posts about all the policy areas that have been totally ignored for the last three years, replaced and wiped out by the unending narrative of ‘Labor leadership tensions’. Here’s a snapshot of a couple, and some questions I would like answered which should, in a decent mainstream media, have been asked years ago:

Climate Change – we saw Abbott on the news every night in his latest stunt, wearing yellow safety vests, stacking bananas and driving trucks. What exactly is his Direct Action Policy? How much will it cost? And how will it actually work? Did you not think when you went along on one of Abbott’s stunt trips it might have been worth asking about this? And to keep asking until you got an answer?

What about the effect of the Carbon Price which was meant to wipe Whyalla off the map? Have you held the Liberal National Coalition to account for all their easily disprovable propaganda and lies, designed to scare voters and to undermine action against climate change? If you bothered to check, the effect of the Carbon Price has been to reduce emissions and to increase investment in renewable energy which will further reduce emissions in the future. This is great news! Also, it’s slightly newsworthy that, even after Abbott spent all his tax-payer funded time and travel allowance on his anti-carbon-tax road trip, the majority of voters haven’t been fooled. Doesn’t this story warrant as much of your attention as a leaky Rudd? It’s just the health of the planet we live on at stake after all. Is the tenant in the Lodge really more important than that?

Paid Parental Leave – This is Abbott’s ‘signature policy’. He is offering to pay women a full time salary, capped up to $75,000 for six months maternity leave, presumably to help them pay their mortgages while they take leave from work. Apart from the fact that this is middle and upper-class welfare on steroids, I am quite concerned that many voters have very little information about the mechanics and cost of this scheme.

Abbott has said he will tax companies to fund this policy. However he hasn’t mentioned it much since business said they weren’t happy about it. I don’t need to imagine Gina Rinehart’s reaction to a tax increase. Can someone please follow up with Abbott about this? Is his policy a policy or not? We want to see another blood oath! One question, which still hasn’t been answered, is a fairly simple one – will a woman who already receives paid maternity leave as part of her employment contract receive Abbott’s paid leave as well? Or does it just top up the employer’s contribution to six months fully-paid leave? Or is it instead of the employer’s contribution? I would have thought this information is kind of important, no? Is anyone going to ask the question?

We could have seen three years of policy analysis, including plenty of comparison of Abbott’s broadband plan, his education funding versus Gillard’s Gonski plan. We could have heard how Abbott’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policy of turning back boats was not going to be accepted by Indonesia, and how it contravened the agreement Australia has made by signing the UN Refugee Convention.

But no.  All we saw was sound bites about how Abbott wants to destroy the Labor government, how Rudd wanted to take over from Gillard and how Gillard’s government was always on the brink. We will surely look back at the last three years as a proud, successful time for the Labor Party with an amazing leader. And a time where trust in the mainstream media was eroded to the point of no return. Because journalists and their vested interests in the vested interests of their bosses have failed the electorate. We are now seeing too little too late and democracy is the loser. Shame on you all.

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10 Comments on “Too little too late”

  1. JamesH says:

    Yes and to all those political journalists and so called political analysis drongos who treat the Australian general public like idiots, are the biggest pack of MSM village clowns this world has ever seen.

    As for Abbotts constant bullying, expresses two things to me. One, he will never change and the other is he doesn’t have a clue on how to be the Prime Minister and run Australia like any well balanced person and sincere negotiator like Julia Gillard has done, during those tumultuous three years of her leadership. It is a wonder Julia didn’t flip her lid more than once. Must have been saved from doing some stress relief knitting. Good on her. I commend her for her dudigilence in keeping Australia afloat while on this un-even playing field created by this minority government, by the majority stupid delusional Australia voters had placed us in. Yes those ones who think they had voted for the Prime Minister elect. Lets hope Smiling Rudd can do better next time around instead of going off the rails like a bull our of hell.

    Abbotts direct action policy. Well I thought it was to fill up Australia with quick growing trees. Might work if we had the water where we want it but that will never happen as it would also take 100 years to plant all those carbon suckers and that’s if the rabbits don’t eat them first.

    Now for my final continue attack on Tony. I still say Tony Abbott would have more luck in flapping his wings and flying to the moon than, Stop The Boats, Turn the Boats Around. When the laws of this globe says NO! NO! Tony you are not allowed to do it that way, even the Australian Full High court has ruled on that one.

    Another great masterful work of art in literacy Victoria.

  2. tex says:

    Thank you Victoria
    What I take from this period of government is that we have been failed by people who call themselves journalists but are nothing more than charlatans. I have found the members of the press gallery are below contempt and this is particularly the long standing members Michelle Grattan is a prime example and has not written an article on policy analysis for years I fidf that to be just pure laziness.
    We look at group think and we see the press gallery who should be ashamed of their complete failure to address policies and benefits or lack of for differing sectors of the community.
    The press gallery should be opened up to allow people with a domain name to have access to parliament.

  3. Helen Errington says:

    The msm in this country including those in the press gallery should be taken to task for the assassination of a good PM. Never have I witnessed such bias, venom and bile metered out to a PM who had to continually fight off, a rabid and nasty opposition, a stalker, the msm and her own colleagues. Well done JG u are my hero and I amongst many other decent and moral people will always hold u in the utmost esteem. Rest easy now because let me tell u time wounds all heels!

  4. Bob Lloyd says:

    Well stated, as usual, Victoria. I fully agree. I have just finished reading “The Stalking of Julia Gillard” by Kerry-Anne Walsh. I found it well researched but difficult to read as it highlights the duplicity between political “journalists” and commentators in the press gallery and beyond and members of Team Rudd to continually feed leadership stories and other lies to destabilise the government but more so the Prime Minister. I agree with one of the final points made in the book that the National Press gallery should not be situated within parliament house as it promotes a far too close a relationship between journalists and politicians so that the journalists are doing less reporting of news and more creating of the news. Unfortunately I can not see any government having the guts to do something about it as they have all become too reliant on this relationship.

    • Lawriejay says:

      Jurpollists can file their ‘analysis’ and opinions on opinion polls from their on line home computers, there is no reasonable excuse for them to be provided with the best of the best accommodaton to report on Polls from parliament house. I believe that the Press Gallery should be handed over to behavioral scientists for research and development purposes ??

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thank you

  6. Murfomurf says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m wondering why noone has made a decent story about how wonderful the Home Insulation scheme has been for Australians! Journalists only ever seem to mention the deaths* that occurred (which were less than the past rate, according to CSIRO research). Noone wants to tell us about all the energy that is being saved, and will be saved long term by the home owners who installed insulation under the scheme! Sure, some licensed installers didn’t train their labourers properly, nor follow OHS guidelines, but a lot of good work was done and people employed. You might have expected that there wouldn’t be enough trained and experienced installers to suddenly allow the public to take full advantage of the scheme, but it’s odd that no journalists have spruiked the energy benefits. Come on Green journos- give it a go! What do you say, fellow fence-sitter?!
    *Any deaths in the workplace are tragic and I do not mean to belittle the grief of the victims’ families and friends.
    PS. I didn’t recognise you from your photo- just the odd 31 years since…

    • JamesH says:

      Yes those negligent employers, who forgot to give those who had died from installation of the insulation bats and the silver aluminium foil with those Mitre 10 and Bunnings how to install the insulation brochures. Even better still, just go online and seek how to install on Youtube.

      I first handled CSIRO yellow bats in 1962 when I started my plastering apprenticeship. My that was a long time ago now. The first thing those old blokes said whatever you do DON’T CUT THOSE WIRES WITH YOUR KNIFE. They weren’t live then either. This same warning message was given when cutting and trimming those fibrous sheet (plasterboard) on the walls which were handmade in those days too.

      Last year alone there were 64 deaths caused by accidents within the Australian Building Trade across Australia. Is Mr Abbott going to have a Royal Commission investigation into that amount of deaths that had occurred. Better still lets go back to when Howard introduced his Workplace Reforms for a look see into why so many deaths occur in the Building Trade.


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