Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

The Parallel Universe of Opinionatas

Posted by Possum Comitatus on June 3, 2008

This was me earlier in Crikey today.

Petrol prices have ended the Rudd honeymoon” proclaimed Dennis, Rudd’s honeymoon was “well and truly over” declared Gerard McManus, while Clinton Porteous got stuck into the Journo Juice and questioned “whether Kevin Rudd will be a one-term wonder?“.

It was hard to find an article during the week that didn’t have the phrase “political crisis” scrawled in it somewhere – the government was in a crisis over Fuelwatch, over leaks, over threatening the public service; even over Brendan Nelson’s parliamentary performance, of all things.

We had Glenn Milne on Agenda (replacing his Comrade Confidential hat of trawling through the private lives of politicians, for some new headgear as a political theatre critic) telling us that Labor needed a Costello or a Keating because they were in danger of not cutting through in Parliament. Yeah, because we all know how 5 second grabs on the nightly news of aggressive boofheads yelling at each plays out in the wider electorate. No wonder Laura Tingle looked like she wanted to slap him. No wonder David Speers looked like he was thoroughly going to enjoy it if she did.

Yet today’s Newspoll has the ALP two party preferred stuck exactly where it was before this manufactured media melodrama began; 57/43 riding off the back of a one point reduction in the ALP primary to 46 and the Coalition primary stuck on 37.

The world of the Opinionatas – a sort of deafening echo chamber of electoral ignorance and lemming like commentary- has never been more irrelevant to the wider public. Costello was right when he told them that they don’t need politicians around to generate noise, they can just make stuff up among themselves. Which is all too often what happens, and the public can see right through it.

One would think that the Newspoll reality being incompatible with what passed for last fortnights fictional narrative of a government in trouble, would have invoked a little reassessment amongst the guilty, perhaps even a little humility, at the very least a reappraisal of the authenticity of the narrative itself – you know, when you’re talking shit and it becomes pretty obvious, it might be time to stop?

Alas no – not in the rarefied air of political punditry where attachment to electoral reality isn’t a KPI. “Petrol has blown up in Kevin Rudd’s face“, says one pundit this morning, in that sort of Japanese soldier on a deserted Island refusing to believe the war is over kind of way.

To do something novel here and add a bit of fact to this tawdry spectacle – this is what the areas around Brisbane and Sydney would look like under a uniform swing to Labor of 4.3% given by Newspoll – the pink seats are Coalition seats that would fall to Labor, 23 in all across the country.

The mathematical reality is far removed from the commentary.

There’s a reason the Morgan Polls continually have journalists near the bottom of the list when it comes to the public’s opinion of professions. It’s also not surprising that a large majority of people think the media is biased. When these headline act Opinionatas repeatedly lose touch with how issues play out in the only place that counts – the electorate – and when that electorate sees acres of rubbish being rammed down their throats that bears little resemblance to their lived experience and their own views, it’s no wonder their opinion of journalists everywhere, good and bad, suffers as a result.

And a lot of it comes back to these Piñatas of public opinion, dangling out there on a limb, swaying in a political breeze of their own imagining.

Could someone please hit them with a stick and give us the lollies.

If not for our sake, or for Gawds sake, or for the sake of Tarago drivers with a wheelchair and five kids in the back everywhere – then at least for the sake of a credible national media landscape.

—-

Crikey also has some questions on this running in their Media Forum that might be worth a look if you’re a Crikey subscriber or if you wish to join up for one of their trial runs.

UPDATE:

And another thing – Dont tell me Dennis turned his comments off again?

It’s a pity – they’re always the best bits of the article.

There hasn’t been a comment since 10:35am and it’s 2:50pm as I write this.

Oh well – there’ll always be another 40 allowed through for the next one before it becomes too embarrassing.

Small Update:

As of 4:17pm there was a small trickle let through.

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50 Responses to “The Parallel Universe of Opinionatas”

  1. David Richards said

    Newspoll has Libs down 3.6%, Nats down 1.5%, ALP up 2.7%, Greens up 2.2% from the election. Please explain to me how this equates to an impending coalition victory? On that basis – the coalition looks like heading to holding party meetings in a phone booth territory come 2010/2011 election.

  2. Jack Dorf said

    The opinionatas, the parties & the MSM. All seemed to have missed the fact that the election was held in Nov. The politicking is over guys.

    Perhaps it’s the Gippsland Factor coming into play?

  3. David Richards said

    From Morgan Poll on bias:

    Strangely, 2.5% (unchanged) of Australians think John Laws is too left-leaning and 7% (down 2%) believe he is too right-leaning. Similarly, 1.5% (down 1%) believe Alan Jones is too left-leaning and 9% (down 4.5%) believe he is too right-leaning.

    Who thinks Jonesy is a leftie????? Attila The Hun? Adolf Hitler? Pol Pot?

  4. josh lyman said

    Excellent post, Poss. Last night’s Lateline was a classic case in point: Jones kept trying (in his 20 questions asking the same thing in different ways routine) to get Gillard to admit it had been a bad week/crisis/etc. Gillard kept laughing and saying “Tony, I don’t accept the premise of your question!”

    It occurred to me that if the media handles emissions trading the way they have handled petrol prices of late, our country is screwed.

  5. josh lyman said

    For what it’s worth I think Tony Jones was using the rapidly shifting polling figures of PPM as his justification (strangely I don’t think he mentioned the TPP).

  6. David Richards said

    Josh – Mike Willesee has a lot to answer for! All these journos asking the same Q in semantically different variations ad nauseum.

    Time the true situation was put to the public – energy and petrol costs are going to soar. Australians have been lied to for the previous 11 years, and it could be argued, the last 35 or so (since the 70’s oil crisis).

  7. Nick Melchior said

    Isn’t it worth mentioning that Rudd’s preferred PM number is down to 66%, down from 70%. At least according to the Age this morning. Wouldn’t that seem relevant to the story at all?

  8. Possum Comitatus said

    Nick – it’s all over the media and I mentioned it last night. The point is that PPM don’t win you elections, votes do.

    Beauty contests are best referred to with humour, for all the historical relevance they have to what’s actually going on in terms of public opinion.

  9. Kina said

    I would have thought the genuine story for the journos in these Newspoll figures was the continuing difficulty the LNP have in getting back to the election level TPP. That has to be a worry.

    Even after a week of a coordinated misinformation attack on the public no one wanted to move to the LNP.

    Maybe some would have liked to move their vote somewhere, but like in all the States, they found nowhere else to turn. Thats the worry for the LNP and the real story – even disafected voters dont find them a viable alternative.

  10. Just Me said

    Time the true situation was put to the public – energy and petrol costs are going to soar. Australians have been lied to for the previous 11 years, and it could be argued, the last 35 or so (since the 70’s oil crisis).

    Nah, it is more a case of we lied to ourselves. Anybody who was paying the slightest bit of attention to the real world knew that the energy crunch was coming, only the details of the exact timing were unclear.

    I got no sympathy for people who whinge about this problem, we had plenty of warning it was coming and what the consequences would be, yet we still bought V8s just for the thrill of it, and didn’t insulate our houses properly or install solar hot water, etc, etc, etc.

    We humans inflicted this serious problem on ourselves, and made the options to solve it even tougher.

  11. Possum Comitatus said

    Hear hear Kina. A full weeks worth of Emo Man in full flight banging on with total media coverage, with the full backing of a large part of the so called influential media in the commentariat wing… and the result?

    Nothing. Zip – zilch -nadda.

    Opinion didnt move in terms of electoral support.

    The Libs are in shit nearly as wide as it is deep.

    I’ve been building a population attrition model by electorate over the last few days, looking at how many people in each electorate are expected to die of natural causes over the next decade, then looking at how that affects the TPP vote if the current age cohorts continue to vote the way they do.

    It’s not pretty for the Coalition – sometime next week I’ll have it finished and throw up the maps, but you’re looking at a shift in 20 seats to the ALP being the new baseline if the Libs dont start making inroads into demographics that they’ve found difficult over the last 10 years.

  12. Jason said

    Poss – I look forward to the analysis you’ve just mentioned.

    I think your takedown here is spot on. That rascally Dennis up to his old tricks.

    Still and all, I think that in retrospect Rudd was wrong to even offer a shade of a hint of an implication that he could affect petrol prices as a component of the cost of living.

    One of the things you pseph bloggers have shown is that people out there are prepared to listen when someone is explaining stats/economics etc to them in a stright up and down way. I think Rudd and the government should come clean and have a national conversation about the fact that we need to rethink energy policy, with an underlying realisation that oil is going to get more expensive for the foreseeable future.

    Of course that doesn’t excuse the Nightwatchman’s Tarago farragos.

  13. David Richards said

    Just Me – don’t blame me, I have always rented accommodation, and never owned a car.

  14. Just Me said

    Wasn’t having a go at you specifically Dave. Sorry if it came across like that.

  15. Rx said

    Possum #11 Sounds great! Sure to be heartwarming reading. :D

  16. George said

    Look forward to seeing your population attrition model by electorate Poss – should be facinating!

  17. George said

    that’s “fascinating” ;-)

  18. bryce said

    Hope I’m not one of the attritioned, Possum, and miss all the fun.

  19. charles said

    Emo-man? surly this week it should be tarago-man or 5cent-man.

  20. Rod said

    Still and all, I think that in retrospect Rudd was wrong to even offer a shade of a hint of an implication that he could affect petrol prices as a component of the cost of living.

    I remember when the GST was introduced that Howard set the ACCC to watch that businesses did not take advantage of the changes. At the business I was in we had to change the prices of thousands of items.

    For over a year the ACCC watched businesses like a hawke because Howard had promised that the introduction of the GST would not see an increase in inflation.

    And I’m very sure that it worked, that prices were kept in line as was inflation. Then over time the attitude of Howard and the ACCC changed to the philosophy of “There is nothing wrong with a business seeking to maximise it’s profits”, in other words “Go for it boys, charge what you want”.

    Point is, if it was done before by a liberal govt why can’t it be done now. Why can’t businesses be overseen again to ensure they are not taking advantage of increasing oil prices, or government subsidies or a dominant market position to unfairly increase their prices?

  21. Rudi said

    Rod,

    I was involved in policing the GST implementation. Businesses were very wary about increasing prices when GST was implemented. However, it became clear to all but the most stupid business that you could increase prices as long as you did not misrepresent that the GST was the cause. All but the dumbest buisness put up prices over the next year citing increased costs etc and the GST this sidestepping the fearsome ACCC. There was no change in attitude at the governmental level just an understandable desire for people not to link increased prices unfairly with the introduction of GST. It was all politics.

  22. I Matt said

    The dumbing down of our media is realy worrying. News editors want to compete with Big Brother or Hell’s Kitchen, with sensational crises every 3 minutes to sell advertising. The same mentality is infiltrating the ABC and the limited number of “serious” print media remaining. Josh Lyman is correct when expressing concern about how the media will handle real issues like carbon emissions. There is no analysis of the complex issues facing the planet at present (apart from possum). It won’t just be our country that is screwed.

  23. imacca said

    Maybe the journo’s are hoping that there will be a dd election this year?? That might be why some like Shamahan seem to still be in campaign reporting mode.

    Its interesting that much of the reporting seems to treat the Rudd government in much the same way as the Howard Government, even though Rudd has only been in power for 6 months and Howard had over a decade. Not realy fair or balanced, but i probably shouldnt expect it from our media.

    The only to things that can think of that Rudd’s mob have done to date that may have been mistakes are:
    Means testing Solar Panels Rebate. No increase to pensions in the Budget.

  24. steve said

    I’d like to think that this rise in the PPM for Nelson is just a Dead Cat Bounce.

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-dea3.htm

  25. Rod said

    Rudi

    Some businesses may have taken advantage of the GST to increase prices.

    But, point is, as I said, that there was an ACCC overseeing price increases and it did have an effect in limiting price increases.

    Main point is though, if there was a government body in the past that it and the (liberal) government saw as having powers in limiting price increases whjy not again today then?

  26. gusface said

    Rod

    This link details the history of the ACCC and its various predecessors such as the PJT

    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:QJX_Dt5-24YJ:tpareview.treasury.gov.au/content/subs/133_AttachmentB_SpierConsulting.rtf+prices+justification+tribunal&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=au

    some very interesting stuff about competition and the Gvt

  27. [...] Possum did a piece for Crikey (reproduced on his blog) which was a great take-down of some MSM reporting of some pretty inconsequential movements in the [...]

  28. The Big Ship said

    The flawed political analysis of the media scribblers is constantly circumscribed by their habit of rendering all stories they present in terms of winners and losers – they have to, in effect, award ‘points’ for everything that occurs because they do not possess the ability, or the inclination for any thoughtful analysis of the current real dynamics of politics in Australia, post November 2007.

    Dennis Shanahan is the prime exemplar of this tendentious style of reporting, but by no means the only one – the list is endless – Milne, Kelly, Albrechtsen, Henderson, et al, until you reach the bottom of the barrel in Bolt and Ackerman – Howard Huggers to a man (or woman)although the jury may still be out on the femininity score with Janet.

    Through the prism of their right wing preconceptions, they will spin any remotely tenuous link from any published poll into a full blown electoral disaster for PM Rudd – “Honeymoon over!!” the headlines scream, as Dennis and company gibber and froth about Rudd’s imminent political demise, none of which is borne out by any sober analysis of the polls to which they refer. It is as if they inhabit a parallel universe where all things Howard are still in the ascendent, and those pesky socialists can, and will again be vanquished by the Man of Steel.

    Alas, the nation has moved on, but I’m sure that we can at least rely on this Howard-loving rump to remain consistent, if no longer relevant.

  29. Mr Denmore said

    The media have always sought to manufacture a sense of hysteria in order to attract eyeballs to their clients’ ads. It’s just that these days, partly thanks to the internet and the fact that their economic model is broken, their attempts are so much more transparent.

    Now, even the non-commercial ABC has been dragged into the nightly ambulance chase. I have been left slack-jawed by the 7pm News’ cheesy attempts to talk up a sense of ‘crisis’ about ‘petrol-gate’ or ‘Rudd-burnout gate’ or whatever you want to call it. The election was only seven months ago, but you would think they were still in campaign mode.

    I’m not sure what to make of this. It’s not that there isn’t enough interesting stuff to talk about, particularly as most of the economic issues the government is currently grappling with (higher oil/food prices, the rising cost of credit, commodities boom) are global in nature.

    Of course, the media in every country is parochial by nature and will always look at these issues in terms of how they impact people on the ground. But the press gallery and the associated MSM ‘commentators’ don’t even scratch that deep.

    These desperate people now reduce every issue in terms of what it means for the next Newspoll. And then when the poll arrives, they try to make it fit into the artificially constructed narrative they have cobbled together in the preceding two weeks.

    As a former journo and editor, I have a sense that this is partly driven by costs. It simply is cheaper and easier the for the media to “cover” politics and economics in this way. For a TV network, you don’t even need a roving crew. You just pick up the pictures of Question Time provided by Parliament’s Sound and Vision unit and add in-studio commentary by your own talking head. Cheap as chips.

    For the print journos, the news cycle has sped up so much that it is pointless for them to go out to ‘cover’ events. And you don’t want to be away from your desk when the Sydney news editor calls to say he wants to make politics tomorrow’s splash. Easier to stay in the office, read the transcripts of the doorstops and radio interviews and write a thumb sucker around the latest poll results. Cheap, quick, low risk journalism.

    The ABC, as a non-commercial broadcaster, is a special case. There, I suspect they have been “got to” after years of nit-picking complaints from the Howard government about being a nest of lefties. Now, you can detect almost a sense of relish in their nightly “Rudd’s honey is over” newscasts. “See, we really are impartial,” is the sub-text. (Shame they don’t seem have grasped that Howard has actually gone).

    Now, of course, we have people like Possum who provide another perspective, with context. Against this, the conventional political coverage in the mainstream media looks clunky, lazy and ill-directed. The journos there are all writing for each other, not the reader or viewer. Anyone who has worked in the press gallery will tell you that.

    The big question is what happens to journalism when they all wake up and realise that no-one really pays much attention to them anymore. They are still reporting on the theatre of politics as if it means something. But the audiences are now more sophisticated than that and understand how the game works. They also have instantaneous access to primary and global sources via the internet. This all makes conventional reporting somewhat redundant. Hopefully, we pick up on what the excellent American “satirical” newscasters like John Stewart do with politics and come at it from a more left-field, cynical perspective.

    In the meantime, Walter Kronkite’s famous quip about Australian journalism – too many reporters chasing too little news – has never looked more apt.

  30. David Richards said

    Macca – you could add:
    1)honouring the tax cuts (esp for the upper brackets)
    2)not cancelling the Super Hornet, JSF, and AWD
    3)still sucking up to the US
    4)not implementing increases to ALL government income assistance and wages for those currently below the level of income necessary to house, feed, and clothe oneself and the family in 2008

  31. Rudi said

    Rod.

    The ACCC has no general power to oversee price increases.

    With the GST specific legislation was enacted to enable prosecutions for price exploitation with the implementation of the GST: see Part VB of the Trade Practices Act. Putting aside that any prosecution under the legislation was bound to fail except in the rare cases where a business mistakenly or stupdily raised its price more than justified under the GST and said that the rise was solely because of the GST, the ACCC and the government used the threat of prosecutions to jaw bone companies into not raising their prices too much at the same time as the GST was implemented. This suited the government’s agenda and the ACCC got lots of fundign and a secure future. Of course, it was soon apparent that you could jack up prices for any reason just not jack them unreasonably and blame the GST. Most businesses did increase prices over the next year or so.

    The Rudd government of course could legislate to give the ACCC a power to regulate the prices charged by corporations, but do you think a government wants to set prices for services and goods in the 21st century?

  32. paul said

    Possum Comitatus Says:
    June 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm
    Hear hear Kina. A full weeks worth of Emo Man in full flight banging on with total media coverage, with the full backing of a large part of the so called influential media in the commentariat wing… and the result?

    Nothing. Zip – zilch -nadda.

    Opinion didnt move in terms of electoral support.

    The Libs are in shit nearly as wide as it is deep.

    I’ve been building a population attrition model by electorate over the last few days, looking at how many people in each electorate are expected to die of natural causes over the next decade, then looking at how that affects the TPP vote if the current age cohorts continue to vote the way they do.

    It’s not pretty for the Coalition – sometime next week I’ll have it finished and throw up the maps, but you’re looking at a shift in 20 seats to the ALP being the new baseline if the Libs dont start making inroads into demographics that they’ve found difficult over the last 10 years.

    The Tory’s extinction is an event I want tickets to.

  33. Rod said

    Rudi

    Thanks for that, I do seem to remember a couple of businesses threatened because they said the increase in prices was due to the GST.

    As for giving the ACCC powers to oversee price increases, it wouldn’t have to be every increase but ones it deemed unjustified like the childcare centres 10% after the subsidy increase.

    Also aside from the GST we have had inquiries into bank fees and charges, as well as credit cards?, so it is not like it has not been done recently.

  34. steve said

    It always seemed strange to me that the waters were muddied following the introduction of the GST with the the $15 000 first Homebuyers scheme so that pre and post GST was not a case of comparing apples with oranges.

  35. Bemused said

    Perhaps it would be better to say that the *media* honeymoon with the KRudd is over? It’s the media’s job to question and probe, and you’d have to say that regardless of the reporting our Kev hasn’t handled the last week well. Even the Doctor, who has trouble remembering where each of his six guitars are, was looking pretty good by the end of it — and when he’s looking good you’re getting into worrying territory.

    But Rudd is getting himself a bit trapped here: the price of fuel is on an inexorable increase, and if we really care about climate change and bring in carbon trading then it will go up even more. Promising to bring it down is like Howard promising to keep interest rates low — it’s stupid, it’s impossible, and people don’t forget that you’ve said it. Rudd has created a sense of entitlement about petrol prices which wasn’t even there before, and I can’t see how this is going to win him either praise or votes …

    An alternative idea, incidentally: instead of reducing the price of petrol, why not implement a policy to subsidise the cost of hybrid vehicles and small-engine cars? After all, the simplest way of reducing the amount of money people spend on petrol is to get them to use less petrol. And such a policy would be praised for its climate change vision — it’s taking a small picture issue, and making it into a big picture success.

  36. Grumps said

    Thoughtful reply Mr Denmore @ 29, to many good bits in it to pull it apart and quote a particular section. It is a real gem.

  37. Andos said

    Bemused: I don’t think Kevin Rudd is responsible for an entitlement mentality about petrol prices. During the election, he repeatedly stated that there was ‘no silver bullet’ to increasing petrol or grocery prices. I think that the Opposition’s 5 c/L excise cut has more to do with any kind of entitlement mentality, although I’m not so sure this does exist. I think it’s much more a case of the media talking it up hugely, as opposed to being related to how people in the street really feel.

    Additionally, one of the Rudd Government’s pre-election promises was to provide funding for a ‘$500 million Green Car Innovation Fund’ for research and development of hybrid cars, among other things. When it comes to subsidising the cost of hybrid cars, I think that an effective way to do so would be to ensure that there is a robust market and manufacturing capacity to drive down costs. I think we’ll see a marked change in the cost and availability of such cars over the next few years.

  38. Bushfire Bill said

    I agree with Mr. Denmore (up to a point) about the ABC (Well written post, Mr. D). He posits that the journos there are still trying to impress Howard, even after Howard is well and truly gone.

    As I said: up to a point.

    I think there’s also been an institutional change. Many freer thinking journos have left and the time servers, hack reporters and outright Liberal Party plants (Chris Uhlmann comes to mind) have increased their influence proportionately. This guy, Uhlmann, was a small time Canberra breakfast announcer (or drive, or whatever) not long ago. Then he went from that to radio’s “senior political correspondent”, and from there to the ABC’s Political guru. His head pops up on TV, his sneering voice is on radio seemingly 24/7.

    Let us not forget that on the Board of the ABC we have Janet Albrechtsen, one of the more strident, shrill the Liberal Party urgers. She divides her time between her right-wing rants in The Australian and witch-hunting ABC journos for alleged bias. How she can justify her Australian columns with her position at the ABC totally escapes me. If there wasa Lefty on the Board and he was writing inflammatory columns for the socialist Worker on the side, there’d be absolute hell to pay from the Right.

    On Poll Bludger a few months ago some chap called “Antonio” argued strongly for the “Stenography” approach to the ABC’s news coverage. That is, he said it wasn’t the ABC’s job to analyse or criticise politicians’ announcements, merely to repeat them. Hence we get Norman Cow-Cocky from a NP electorate in Oodnagarlarbie claiming Rudd is child molester, or hates working families, or is on the take, or is wasting money on a Mr. Jeeves-type butler, and his inane expostulations, as often as not, get exactly equal time with Rudd’s defence (if he chooses to dignify the original statement with a response).

    I’m proposing that this is more than just safe stenography on the part of the ABC. I think it’s deliberate policy driven by a few higher-ups who definitely do have an agenda. Very often a has-been Shadow Minister (e.g. Downer) is given minute after miute of precious public air time to rant and rave on in typical Howard Revisionist mode. Turnbull is another example. He’s ubiquitous on AM and PM. Minchin, too. Just as you expect a reply from the relevant Minister, the story ends right there. Sure there may be a few journos at the ABC just keeping their heads down, but I’m certain there are some who are outright spruiking for the Libs for all they’re worth.

  39. Bemused said

    Andos: I hope you’re right, but Rudd should never have weighed in to this make-fuel-cheaper debate. It’s both bad politics and bad policy.

    Tim Flannery has a rather interesting opinion piece in The Age today:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/green-in-your-dreams-20080604-2lu1.html?page=-1

    which also points out the danger of promising to bring down fuel prices when carbon trading is about to be introduced.

  40. joe2 said

    “I’m proposing that this is more than just safe stenography on the part of the ABC. I think it’s deliberate policy driven by a few higher-ups who definitely do have an agenda. Very often a has-been Shadow Minister (e.g. Downer) is given minute after miute of precious public air time to rant and rave on in typical Howard Revisionist mode.”

    Bushfire Bill, i noticed your comments were at 9.45.
    “The World Today” did exactly, the Downer thing, as you suggested, after 12.00.
    There is more to this stuff, as you suggest.

    I particularly loved this introduction to another “story”…”with the high price of petrol draining the governments’ political capital…”.

    It is none too subtle.

  41. Bushfire Bill said

    Joe2…. noticed both of these on TWT. After a while you get particularly attuned to it.

    What the hell was Downer doing, tutoring Rudd on Foreign Affairs like an landlord showing a tenant the light switches? And he was taken so seriously, raved on for about five minutes. Our “Foreign minister in Exile”. And Downer had the hide to snark at Gareth Evans the other day for “relevance deprivation syndrome”.

    The “draining the government’s political capital” line was not in keeping with the ABC’s self-professed “stenographic” role.

  42. David Richards said

    yes – you’d almost think that Rattus and Co had won, the way the ABC is carrying on. Mind you, the ABC is now moving closer and closer to 7 and 9 every day – standards have slipped in all areas – not just political reporting, everything from science to simply the grammatical standards and yanklish buzz-phrases infesting nearly every report.

  43. PASOK said

    I cannot believe I have read these quotes from Nightwatchman:

    “Symbolism is important but it’s substance that counts,” Dr Nelson told Parliament.

    “It is of little consequence and meaning to everyday Australians … if we only preoccupy ourselves with the future, being indifferent to – if not aloof from – the day-to-day struggles of everyday life, none more so than which at the moment is getting petrol into the car, diesel into agricultural machinery or indeed groceries into a shopping trolley.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/energy-smart/pm-sets-out-vision-for-car-industry/2008/06/05/1212258986721.html

    Forget the future, 5c a litre on a non-renewable resource is more important. What a twit. He’d give Dubya a run for his money.

  44. Larry Buttrose said

    After the DenShan piece earlier this week I could not help but post:

    Larry Buttrose
    Leura NSW
    Tue 03 Jun 08 (07:05am)
    Give it a rest Dennis. Support for govt unchanged, despite all your Shanahanigans,
    And even with his gross populist pitch, Nelson’s satisfaction rating fell too.
    As regards the rising price of fuel, has it perhaps come to your attention that the
    international price of oil is skyrocketing, with riots in Europe? Facts
    are inconvenient, aren’t they.

    This led to a friend suggesting a definition of Shanahanigans as:
    “to beat up, massively and desperately. Extreme hyperbole.”

  45. Doug said

    Note Morgan is out – increase in ALP 2pp to 63%.

    Greens up 3.5% to 9%

    The govdernment had a terrible week last week …

  46. Mark said

    Bushfire Bill:-
    >What the hell was Downer doing, tutoring Rudd on Foreign Affairs like an landlord showing a tenant the light switches? And he was taken so seriously, raved on for about five minutes. Our “Foreign minister in Exile”. And Downer had the hide to snark at Gareth Evans the other day for “relevance deprivation syndrome”.>

    Ah, but remember, Lord Downer was Australia’s longest serving Foreign Minister, as we are are endlessly reminded. Therefore, his every pronouncement drips with authority.

    “Australia’s longest serving Foreign Minister” – sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But so does “World’s tallest dwarf”, until you think about it for a minute. He spent 11 years doing…..what exactly?

  47. josh lyman said

    Mark: working with our allies to commit war crimes by invading another country would certainly be a highlight. Negotiating a deal with the Nauruans to use their land to lock up traumatised refugees certainly rates. Oh, and an honorable mention for refusing to sign the Optional Protocol on Torture.

  48. Harmless Cud Chewer said

    I wonder if it is now possible to see the John Howard cult factor (or rather its absence) in the polls?

  49. Rod said

    “Mr Costello has spent the past few months weighing up offers from the private sector and starting work on his political memoirs.”

    Political memoirs shouldn’t take long, I had a sneak peak at them, consists mainly of

    Asked John yesterday if he was going to step aside like he promised, said no, will ask again soon. (this is repeated quite often throughout the book). and

    Money still rolling in from mining boom, don’t know why Keating found it so hard.

  50. [...] to whom Labor’s large lead in the 2PP vote is evidence once again of voters’ continuing rejection of the Liberals and of diabolical nature of inside the ‘beltway’ media elitists who still pine after [...]

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