And the Bludgers Award goes to….

The esteemed Press Gallery continues to fantasise that Question Time and related parliamentary events should be the determining factor in the public’s mind when it comes to political analysis.

Perhaps this isn’t as surprising at it may seem, as the word often missing from “Press Gallery” is “Parliamentary”. Their be-all and end-all is what happens in Parliament, or to be more precise between 2pm and 3.10pm during Question Time and the the endless points of order, SSOs, and other stunts brought on by the Opposition.

They also maintain the fiction that “both sides of politics” are as bad as each other, because for every tactical stunt by the Opposition there is a Dorthy Dixer or a balancing catcall from the government.

But consider the logic…

Why would the government seek to wreck its own parliament?

This simple and obvious question is rarely asked, because the answer is also obvious: childish as it may seem to say it, in the overwhelming number of cases,

“It wouldn’t. The Opposition starts it, almost every time.”

Q. Which side makes the overwhelming majority of pointless Points Of Order? Which side calls unnecessary (and 100% doomed) Suspensions Of Standing Orders? Which side asks virtually no policy questions at all (causing, for example, Craig Emerson to complain that he’s not received a single question on Trade in the life of the Parliament. Ditto for questions from Pyne on Education, Turnbull on the NBN, and Bishop on Foreign Affairs – except for her bogus “Boganville” question, which doesn’t count).

In short, which side is out to wreck Parliament, to discredit it and make it unworkable, despite promising (when it suited them) that we would see after 2010 a new paradign, a “kinder gentler polity”?

A. The Opposition.

If Question Time is to elicit information, what choice has the government but to ask itself these questions, as ridiculous as that may seem (perhaps more ridiculous because the Press Gallery ignores every one of these Dorothy Dixers)?

In the Daily Telegraph today we have a Steve Lewis penned article listing a supposed “poll” of Press Gallery journos “awarding” gongs to various ministers and members for things the Gallery finds important: Best Moment, Biggest Gaffe etc. The contributors to this “poll” keep themselves anonymous, perhaps a case of protecting their journalistic sources, even though their sources are themselves!

Ironically the single mention of policy is an award for the “Smooth Introduction Of The Carbon Tax”, although from the way the same bunch stenograph the Opposition’s outrageously exaggerated claims about the Tax, you could be forgiven for believing they thought it was an abject failure. So, a bit of a surprise there.

Predictably, Steve Lewis cites the Peter Slipper texts as the low point of the Parliamentary year. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he, seeing as Lewis himself was the chief enabler and purveyor of the egregious abuse of process that Mr. Justice Rares found these Slipper “revelations” had become.

Lewis published the stories found to be irrelevant. Lewis suborned the diary leaks found, in part, to prove the abuse of process.  The female genitals comments that finally caused Slipper to resign were not even uttered while Ashby was in Slipper’s employment, but in the spirit of stitching-up the Speaker for anything and everything, Ashby threw them into the mix at the last moment anyway, after Slipper’s abuse case had been made, and therefore not included in the judgement. Nothing to do with Ashby’s employment, so probaby they would have constituted part of the abuse of process, if they had been made public earlier. Rares did not mention these, but hey, he only had 76 pages to make his case! He’d have needed hundreds of pages if he was to really give this disgraceful legal episode the write-up it well and truly deserved.

So, we have the Press Gallery delivering their judgement in their terms of what made up the best and worst of the year in politics. They have a monopoly on Parliamentary coverage, so naturally they would reckon what goes on in Parliament is the most important thing of all. You could call it “Protecting their proprietary interest”.

But what was truly important, and while we’re at it, what do the PBers believe were the worst journalistic performances of the year?

I’ll kick off with the Bludger’s Award for “The Most Morally Bereft, Nihilistic, Senseless and Unnecessarily Cynical Article Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty” for Michelle Grattan’s recent column on the upshot of the Ashby court case, where she said that a scandal over which she had once, before the judgement was delivered, called on the Prime Minister to “fall on her sword” had become, by the time that judgement was delivered, a “battle which had been lost, but a war that had been won by Ashby.”

Grattan could not find it in her heart to express one scintilla of synpathy for the ex-Speaker, despite the travesty of justice that had brought about his political demise.

Why? Because even though the judge believed the case was an abuse of process, Ashby had succeeded in wrecking Slipper’s reputation and ruining his career from a position of millions of dollars worth of subsidized legal aid and the liberal use of lies, irrelevancies and outright bullshit, spread evenly around the place by the very people who now call this “the Lowest Moment”.

The Press Gallery’s collective indifference to the tainted process by which Slipper was destroyed was disgusting, but Grattan’s column stood out for its particular brand of casual, indifferent cruelty. In response to all this morally barren behaviour by the complainant and his lawyers, plus the salacious coverage by herself and her colleagues while they thought they could get a resignation from Gillard, Michelle Grattan wrote one of the most disgusting “So Whats?” in recent journalistic history.

So, PBers, I give you “The Bludgers Awards For Putrescence In Australian Journalism And Politics”.

Other nominations for the worst of the journalistic-and-political worst will be enthusiastically considered.

274 thoughts on “And the Bludgers Award goes to….

  1. jolyonwagg, I think you hit the nail on the head with your diagnosis.

    The ‘quote thing’ is done by putting the right html tags around the quoted item.

    These are ‘blockquote’ and ‘/blockquote’ at beginning and end respectively and both of those enclosed in ”.

    Make sense? If I type the exact thing they will disappear as they get interpreted as commands.

  2. Bemused

    Make sense? If I type the exact thing they will disappear as they get interpreted as commands.

    Thanks for that!

  3. 6P, One last one just for fun. My brothers a trailer sales man in Brisbane so if you encounter “hugh” listen well and count fingers, Bud.

  4. j6p – I’ve worked out you’re not quite the dumb truckie passby . Enjoy New Year! (but might tease a bit).

  5. GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll How valuable is the #ABC: Very 45 (-2) Quite 41 (+1) Not very 5 (0) Not at all 3 (0)

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll Quality of #ABC TV: Good 78 (-1) Poor 9 (0)

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll Quality of Commercial TV: Good 49 (-2) Poor 45 (+3) #ABC

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll Quality of #ABC Radio: Good 61 (-3) Poor 8 (-1)

  6. Thought I’d read everything here so how did I miss first report of Fiona’s mishap? Was it an accident or a sudden onset of symptoms? Please convey my best wishes to her.

    Thanks for concern expressed to me……a minor fall, inconvenient outcome. But I’m in good shape, out for walks with Tacker again today. Trying to use fingers on left plastered arm which I’m advised helps circulation and healing. Have had a good Christmas amongst family and friends and otherwise lurking here and at CW and TPS.

    I’ve been dredging up old pomes for anything remotely relevant to what I read here, not sure how much new stuff will emerge, but I occasionally find something to recycle. It’s interesting looking back over past few years. Labor with PMJG have prevailed against the combined might of the right, OM and Murdoch as Rudd could never have. I guess she always had Abbott’s measure. But wow, what determination. And strength.

  7. Leroy:

    Interesting. I thought the OO had commissioned polling about the media in order to try to justify its attacks on the ABC.

    If the results are from June, then WTF?

  8. Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch
    @GhostWhoVotes ABC Newspoll report is from June. Is it just about to appear in a paper, or did you just get your hands on it?

    50s GhostWhoVotes GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    @Leroy_Lynch I didn’t get it from tomorrow’s papers.
    8:45 PM – 26 Dec 12 · Details

    55s Leroy Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch
    @GhostWhoVotes OK, thanks. Good to have it out there.
    8:45 PM – 26 Dec 12

  9. do they want us to take more notice of the abc

    and would those that are called well where they or are they actully tuned in to the abc every night,
    we all in aust. except the abc is and insitution always has been
    so even if you never watch or listen i would say may be you would give it tick
    wouldnt think you would need a poll i think its taken for granted

  10. victoria:

    Wonder if it has anything to do with this:

    Tony Abbott ‏@TonyAbbottMHR
    Visited Foster House with my sister Chris @resourcefultype & Sean O’Connor to serve lunch with the Salvo’s. pic.twitter.com/sWIfqR1S

  11. BK @ 6.09 pm

    Yes, that’s quite evident already. They’re all BOTOXED out.

    And I think a few of them are ‘dyeing’ to be blonde!

    Their attitudes and views are as phoney as their cosmetic assistance.

    Ditto ABBOTT !

  12. William Bowe ‏@PollBludger

    Shove that, The Oz RT @GhostWhoVotes #Newspoll #ABC Keeping Content Balanced & Even-handed: Good job 80 (-1) Poor job 7 (-3)

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