- So, the next Federal election will take place on September 14th. Meanwhile Cairns council has voted to stop fluoridating their water supply.
- Protests in Egypt escalate, the civil war in Syria deteriorates.
- Obama pushes for immigration reform; John Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State encourages climate change activists.
- Deaths and damage are being tallied in Tasmanian/Victorian fires and Queensland floods.
What’s piqued your media interests lately?
As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).
Categories: culture wars, media, parties and factions
I’m reading about all sides of the political brawl offering to cut government spending as their big election commitment. What intrigues me is that various governments for most of the past two decades have been cutting and cutting away at government spending. Surely by now we’ve reached the point where there is no excess fat left to trim off the budget – we’re down to the bare bones, and if we cut further, we’re cutting into spending which is actually necessary for government to function. So which area are they going to cut?
My paranoid side says the only space which is politically feasible to cut these days is social security, particularly unemployment, sickness and disability benefits. Because of course, those aren’t needed by Real People with Real Problems (i.e. the well off upper middle classes) but rather by bludgers who could almost certainly find themselves work if they just looked harder and searched more and got financially squeezed even harder.
Megpie71, I hope your paranoid side is just working overtime, because that would be just too horrible.
Apart from the human decency side of the social safety net, cutting these benefits is also fiscally unsound in the long term, because it’s contractionary of the money supply – fewer discretionary consumer dollars circulating around is never going to help the economy to grow so that tax revenues rise (let alone help unemployment rates, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms).
I’m amused by the spin being attempted already on the two ministerial resignations – that it’s anything more than either of them having decided that their parliamentary careers are ending anyway, so that it makes no sense for them to be the ones in the ministerial hotseats during the coming campaign if they’re not going to even be in the parliament to hold cabinet seats in a new government.
Another day, another temper tantrum. After requesting a meeting with the British Foreign Office to discuss the Falkland Islands, Argentina’s foreign minister has pulled out after learning the British had the nerve to invite some Falkland Islanders to represent themselves.
A couple of brickbats to be given out here:
Of course he wasn’t being sexist, or racist! He was talking to cricketers, can’t you take a joke?
and to Christopher Pyne, for comparing the Gillard Government to the last days of Hitler’s Third Reich:
Arcadia, I saw Pyney’s interview on News-24 and was gobsmacked at the claim that two ministers resigning from cabinet but not yet leaving parliament constitutes some sort of constitutional crisis!
tigtog @ 3 – I don’t think its much of a stretch to speculate that Roxon is retiring from parliament because she thinks the ALP will lose at the next election though, rather than the standard “family reasons” line. She’s only been AG for a year.
Or else she always intended to leave at this next election, but was very happy to accept the boost to her pension (and her ongoing CV) that comes from having served in such a prestigious front-bench Cabinet position even if only for a year. After all, she holds one of the safest Labor seats in the country – even if Labor as a whole loses the election her own place in Parliament is hardly under threat, and she would have walked easily into any senior Labor Shadow Cabinet slot.
See? Speculation is easy, but rather pointless really when we’re talking about personality rather than policy matters. Personality gossip is what’s dragging politics around the world down.
tigtog – there’s lots of possibilities, but senior cabinet ministers resigning with an election in sight is always going to (and has always prompted) speculation about morale and the view of people within the government about their chances of winning. Given how hard it is to get there in the first place its so rare to see people a long way from the normal retirement age to willingly give up that sort of power. But many can’t bear the thought of going through another decade in opposition (again). So quitting early and getting a new job lined up is attractive.
I’ve been impressed with Roxon’s work on the tobacco legislation. But both Gillard and Roxon should have realised the damage it would do to the ALP if she only planned to stay for a year, especially given McLleland got kicked out at the time and could well end up causing a bi-election which the government can’t afford to have.
That’s the problem, right there. Why exactly does morale going into an election matter? Which ever side wins, their morale is going to pick right up afterwards, isn’t it? So which party has the better policies is still what should really count.
8 months before an election? We ended up with a change of PM close to an election because of low morale in the ALP. And a change of PM will affect policy. Leadership speculation went on the backburner when the ALP primary vote went up. There’ll be more now with the big drop in primary vote. And its not just the media which create this but also party members who stir things up.
There is also a link between morale and policy – eg Roxon getting overruled when it came to changes in anti-discrimination legislation.
Can we just get things straight here? The only part of the country currently going into an election (as in, actually involved in the campaign stage and planning to vote within the next six weeks) is Western Australia. That’s a state election, too, by the way. The Federal election campaign isn’t officially due to start before the beginning of August (and it wasn’t officially due to start before the beginning of August even before Ms Gillard announced the date well ahead of time). The press should not be in election mode as yet, because election time isn’t coming. The end of the world is not yet nigh.
For crying out loud, could the rest of you just let those of us in WA deal with one blasted election at a time here? Please?
WA’s upper house has a virtually permanent Nationals balance of power which will hobble any future progressive governnment.
This came about because The Greens, specifically Dee Margetts, voted with the Coalition to retain an element of malapportionment because they thought it would help Margetts in winning her seat.
Been interesting to see Fairfax press outside Canberra using words like collapse, chaos, disaster when describing the resignations and Cabinet changes, while the Canberra tumes is using neutral descriptions more.
Pen – the newspapers know their audience 🙂 Canberra is a bit of a bubble – in a nice way!
Oh Megpie you have my sympathy! Would be interested to hear how things are looking in WA politically – perhaps on the Otterday thread if you have a moment?
The Geek over at Margo Kingston’s new venture Australians For Honest Politics asks ”What’s Happened to our ABC?” and lays out a series of examples of clearly non-leftist bias.
via The Conscience Vote
[edited to add link]
Chris, I grant you that it feeds the media speculation and that feeds into potential destabilising egos. It just annoys the hell out of me that this circus is what gets all the media attention.
All about those Facebook ‘Like’ scam posts
Michelle Grattan criticises Abbott for a change:
tigtog @ 18 – I think its getting worse but really its the media giving us what the general public want. There’s always going to be people saying they want real policy discussion etc but these days the papers get very detailed feedback about what people actually read and click on. And the money for them isn’t there – its in the outrage, the stunts, the personality and presidential like politics. I don’t see it getting any better.
And oppositions don’t have much incentive to release detailed policy beforehand. They learnt that lesson well after Hewson’s experience where the ALP scare campaign was very effective against a policy which Keating had actually lobbied for within his party. So now we end up with no detail, nothing too controversial and elections based on fairly vague things like “trust”.
Interesting things going on down this way at the moment between the endorsed Liberal candidate replacing the retiring Alby Shultz and the ‘gone independent’ Nationals candidate who thinks the Nats should run one of their own in the seat arguing over the Barton Highway duplication which is a big issue around here. The Libs have apparently put out a document stating some of their priorities and the BHD has fallen off the list. The local Christian Democrat has suggested that the Federal Government stop funding ‘fraudulent’ [his words] carbon abatement policies, and the Katter party nominee that perhaps a toll on each bit of the highway as it is completed might help. Like, no dude, we pay taxes already and it is a major highway link.
If anyone is interested the story is here.
@crazyjane13 appears to be threatening to storify her #qt tweets on a regular basis.
Don’t expect any sort of consistency in policy from any national government, including Australia.
Apart from one – “the national interest”
I’m going to add some #auspol links/comments in threes in the hope that the comment will go through (culled from the latest FS Reader, because it was way too crammed).
* 5 Feb AntonyGreenABC: What are the caretaker conventions and when do they apply from? http://bit.ly/11Dr5f6 #auspol
* 5 Feb AntonyGreenABC: Does the Fed govt have to exercise care in decisions after naming election day http://bit.ly/11Dr5f6 #auspol
* 5 Feb newmatilda: Canberra gets back to business – and Gillard isn’t in caretaker mode yet. @beneltham on a tumultuous week in #auspol http://ow.ly/hq76D
* 5 Feb NewtonMark: Telstra to implement deep packet inspection on p2p. http://arseh.at/4eqz
* MrDenmore: The longest suicide note in history: @latingle looks at the compulsive self-harming in the ALP. Perhaps just HTFU? http://afr.com/p/opinion/the_longest_suicide_note_in_political_jNcxl2pjI3nFCmkNDcvw9L
* GrogsGamut: blog post – Unemployment rate – all the graphs with trend lines and everything http://bit.ly/YctZ3M
And finally, Michelle Grattan’s final column for today’s Age typifies every habit criticised in this widely shared piece by Andrew Elder
* Politically homeless: The impact of Michelle Grattan http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-impact-of-michelle-grattan.html
The Greens are threatening to try and impose their preferred outcome in the Tarkine by a forceful blockade. Typical that they try to win by force what they lost in a democratic decision.
It’s why I will always be a progressive but never a member of the Left. The two were not historically synonymous and i hold to that distinction.
You appear to have rather rigid personal definitions of both “progressive” and “the Left”, Tom. Many others acknowledge that these terms are actually broad, nebulous and intersecting.
Perhaps more precision about actual policies rather than rhetorical labels might help make your arguments clearer to the rest of us.
The ACT Senator Gary Humphries is being challenged for pre-selection by the former ACT Opposition leader Zed Seselja. I think there must have been some backroom deal go on here. The ACT Senate seat for the Libs is pretty much a done deal. It usually goes one Lib one Lab. Maybe they thought the Greens got too close last time?
I’d have more respect for both the American and Australian Left for example, if they did things like own their own responsibility for their defeats. As I found out recently when studying the U.S. Equal Rights Amendment, the American feminist Left was so arrogant and confident in their victory and that the rightness of their cause was self-evident that they failed to do the work to carry the people with them and let Phyllis Schlafy outmanouver and defeat them.
Australian republicans in 1999 were exactly the same.
Once again you hijack a thread meant for discussion of current events with an agenda that appears to be decades old. I’m not playing your off-topic game. Link to a current media piece that you want to discuss or quit it.