Media Circus: still all about Craig Thomson?

Ken Parish at Club Troppo has a round-up of reactions to Thomson’s speech to Parliament on Monday: general opinion seems to be that his performance fell short of any sort of ringing vindication, but that he didn’t actually shoot himself in the foot either. In any case, the Opposition posturing is pointless – none of them would give up their seat until and unless their day in court went against them, and nobody really expects Thomson to do so without due process either. Their Shocked! Shocked I Tell You! soundbites are just theatricals.

But of course these events aren’t really about removing Thomson from Parliament, however much Tony Abbott may posture to that effect. They’re about prolonging and exacerbating a public aura of chaos and decay around an increasingly punch-drunk Gillard government, so that its reputation with the electorate remains at historic lows through until next year’s election. And you’d have to give short odds on Abbott continuing to succeed in that aim, absent enough ALP pollies mustering the intestinal fortitude to eat a KRudd sandwich, however nauseating, in the interest of their own political survival.

So what else is going on in Canberra? Or the state capitals? Or your local council? Are they all on the austerity bandwagon, having drunk the Austrian Kool-Aid like the Dems in the USA?

Today the official Twitter account of the Democratic Party proudly retweeted, and Democratic operatives proudly passed around a Marketwatch story that finds that federal spending in the Obama era has experienced the smallest growth in real dollars in 60 years. The Dems still don’t seem to get that this means they’ve doomed the economy to slower growth and left millions unemployed.

Or is something progressive/constructive actually going on in your part of the world?

The Opposition in Canberra is also going on about how the Gillard govt won’t be able to deliver the surplus promised in the last Budget. To which I say good, and they shouldn’t even have tried. Please build better roads and railways and hospitals and schools – keep people employed and keep on building the future: stop apologising for it! Ensuring that workers have money to spend is, after all, also the best possible way to keep money circulating which is what, in the end, keeps the economy rolling along.

Categories: culture wars, economics, ethics & philosophy, media, parties and factions

Tags: , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Well, Qld is all kinds of fun at the moment with the new government. The quick summary is that anything to do with the environment, arts, indigenous interests, and/or GLBT interests, is getting cut.

  2. The Opposition were the ones who were busy clamouring for the Gillard government to deliver a surplus in the first place, and I have no doubt that had Wayne Swan said “to hell with the surplus, we’re going to keep working to stimulate the economy” both the federal Opposition and the Murdoch press would have been all over them like a rash complaining about broken electoral promises. In that respect, the ALP just cannot win.
    I also find it interesting that the Liberals, who as a party in government have never faced an economic situation like the current one (massive international financial system meltdown triggered by lack of regulation/control/oversight of the US banking sector flowing on to every other economy in the world) seem to feel that they’d be better qualified to handle things when as far as I can tell their solution is “we’d do what everyone else is doing” (and ignoring the fact that everyone else is busy drowning economically, while the Australian economy is managing to tread water).

  3. Don’t forget women for that list, Aqua, of the Questioners – qld office for women was demoted in portfolio importance (although not cut I suppose – see how we go in a couple of years though)

  4. Down in Victoria, we’re having our own Craig Thompson moment: the member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, has been caught using his parliamentary car (and fuel cards) for his hardward business as well as moonlighting at an accounting firm. A sidenote to the Age, but the biggest nasty in the whole package for me was the point made that his ex has stated that she doesn’t want anything to do with him and has asked him to stop contacting her, yet he was found putting up a handmade sign addressed to her in the middle of his electorate.
    Unlike everywhere else, Victoria is pretty much fed up with the Liberals owing to the fact that Ted Baillieu has spent a couple of years pushing pens across a pad and not much else. When he has done something, the something always involves taking money away from programs that need it – the latest I’ve heard is Teddy’s defunding cycling programs designed to alleviate CBD traffic. More to the point, though, is the Liberals hold only one extra seat in parliament. If Shaw is sacked and the by-election goes against the Libs, it’ll turn into a general election.
    Problem for the local ALP, though, is that their last term in office was a shambles. Not to mention the problems with the federal wing’s bad PR at the moment. The Greens aren’t exactly popular around Frankston either, given that the town is full of people who rely on factory work and similar to get by.
    The whole thing, both federal and state, just speaks to me of a massive disconnect between the pollies and their constituents. I think a lot of voters these days are being shocked to find out, that while we knew pollies were behaving badly, that pollies are as downright pathetic as they’re getting revealed to be through social media. Not to mention, there’s a lot more information about the probable effects of the experiments that these pollies are running on the economies they’re being charged with handling. And the odd realisation that people seem to be coming into that pollies are rich (who else has the time to campaign?), and are only going to stack the deck to make it easier for themselves to be still richer. All of which together means there’s no actual way for the average voter to get represented in parliament.
    How to solve that? I don’t know, but I do know that the current parties (not even the Greens, by the look of things) are going to manage it.

  5. Medivh, I’ve been following the Shaw story with interest as well. I really hope that he does get shown the door if he has broken the rules. I also hope that if they can’t oust him on alleged-rort-related grounds, they’ll demote him or prevent promotion. Because, in addition to the alleged rorts, well: [TW; coercion, homophobia]
    It was reported last week Mr Shaw erected a sign on a busy road in his electorate using a biblical quote to plead for his wife to take him back.
    He not only made the sign, but tried to use his wife’s (presumably shared) faith as a weapon against her wishes to be free of him. Also, this:
    And last year he said a young gay constituent’s wish to love whomever he wanted could be compared with a paedophile or murderer’s justification for their crime.
    I don’t even know where to start with that.

  6. Perla: yeah, the more I read about MP Shaw, the less I like him. I’m also disturbed by the fact that I’ve learned more about Shaw from you than the Age or that screwed up mess calling its self the Herald-Sun. I’d read about (and forgotten, poor form me) the bigotry towards the gay constituent, but the extent of it was… softened quite extensively. The fact that it was a biblical verse on the sign is news to me, though. And both should have been more important than the triviality that is an MP wasting money.
    This could be part of the disconnect I mentioned: we’ve got the parliamentary enquiry and the news reports talking about Mr. Shaw *gasp* RORTING MONEY! Oh, and btw, he’s a creepy stalker-arsehole and has been a bigot to a constituent. There’s been some hints that he’s been violent before too. BUT THE MONEY OH EM GEEZ! But most of the people who are reading about this at home, in my experience, are thinking about the harm to human lives first and the money’s just a symptom of too much ignorant priviledge. Or whatever terms they’re thinking in if they haven’t learned about priviledge.

  7. The “Geoff Shaw” archives at on the Age rephrase his past actions in a way that shifts the ‘seriousness’ of it up and down a bit (obviously, they can’t use the same wording every time). I see the money aspect as an important breach of regulations, especially if the assertion that there is documentary evidence is true.
    I also agree with you, and see it as a way in which an odious fellow can get booted out of the legislature. How often does that actually happen?
    But then again, I’m a cynical sort who views Craig Thomson’s emphasis on the fact that he’s had “two little girls” in the time since investigations began as a ploy to cast doubt on the escort-hiring-with-union-credit-card business.

  8. Because, I mean everyone knows this, no-one who’s a fatherparent has ever paid for sex, amirite?

  9. There’s many layers of dodgy happening around these allegations, for sure.
    In what-else-is-happening territory, I’m rather gobsmacked and disappointed by the deal with Gina Rinehart regarding the license to recruit immigrants to fill jobs that could go to the hundreds of skilled workers who just lost their jobs here in Australia over the last few months.

  10. tigtog @ 9 – I think that’s been pretty widely misreported. Yes Gina Rhinehart’s company has been given general permission to use migrant labour, but what lots of the newsreports have been omitting is that they still have to attempt to hire locally first. And they have to pay normal Australian wages and conditions.
    I’d imagine there’s lots of people who have lost jobs in the manufacturing sector on the east coast who can’t or won’t move to regional WA to work (or even FIFO).

  11. I’ll take my comment on Gina to Otterday thread.

  12. Shaw also told a woman with a teenager with aspergers not to “bug him” when she called his office to find out about accomodation for her son – I can’t find the whole article free online but if anyone has access to the Hun’s paywall here it is
    I have to disagree with Medivh’s assertion that all pollies are rich – it’s certainly true of *some* politicians, but it’s certainly not true of all or even most. People are always complaining that Labor politicians all used to be either political staffers or union peeps; neither of which (HSU antics aside) could generally be seen as a road to riches.
    There’s more than one school teacher among Labor ranks, too. People have time to campaign because if they’re in a winnable seat the parties support them in various ways so that they can.
    And Labor in Victoria was hardly a shambles in their last term.

  13. Rebekka:
    Cutting and pasting the title of the article into a search engine circumvents the pay wall (Shhh! Don’t let *them* know that we know!).
    My IR lecturer is appalled a the idea of a union staffer (Like Thomson) earning six figures. She reckons that it compounds feelings of detachment and foolery and well, HSU-style antics. I think that some unions might alter their pay structure and elected terms as a result of this mess.

  14. Thanks Perla, good to know! I agree, union staffers earning six figures not on really – especially when they’re representing some of the lowest-paid workers in the country.

%d bloggers like this: