Six years on, and nothing’s changed.

The inimitable BK provided his much loved links today and one of them bears closer scrutiny…

“Jaqueline Maley with a long and reasonable article about the issues that will dominate this election year. Note how thin the Opposition’s stances are.

“Reasonable”? BK is too kind.

It looks like Maley’s spoken to Mark Textor pretty exclusively for her analysis (with Hawker-Britton looking on). It boils down to how things will “play”, from a institutionalized Liberal spruiker’s point of view, written up by the SMH’s “parliamentary sketch writer” as proper “journalism”.

On the Carbon Tax Maley posits that the punters will hold a grudge against Gillard for the “lie”, made in August 2010, even as they realize Abbott has been full of shit about the dire effects of the CT. As droughts and fires take hold over the next ten years, she assumes the punters will STILL vote against the government, even if it means their houses burn down and their water runs dry.

For someone who treats her own readers as if they have no memory, Maley now asserts they never forget anything.

“But that doesn’t mean voters have forgiven Gillard her carbon tax “lie”, and it doesn’t mean they are convinced of the value of the carbon pricing reform on its own merits.”

The same goes for the Surplus “promise”. Millions – amateurs and professionals – have been begging the government for relief from spending cutbacks. Swan, according to the experts with a vested interest in doomsaying, waited months longer than he needed to, just to make sure everyone was on board. He finally did what they were clamouring for him to do. And that’s dumb?

It’s so typical of a “parliamentary sketch writer” to obsess about broken promises, years old and now irrelevant, indeed welcomed in many quarters as sensibly and wisely broken. Yada-yada, I guess Jackie would say “It’s all about perception”.

No, it’s not. It’s a last fling Maley is having before she is forced to wake up and realize the public is concerned with outcomes, not the mindf**ks of political opinionistettes who see everything in terms of Journalists Club rules and regulations.

“Thou shalt not breaketh promises, for parliamentary sketch writers will … um …  houndeth thou for them, even if the public doesn’t… um … give a toss.”

How about this for a possibility? Labor convinces the punters that Carbon pricing is a good thing, is essentially un-repealable (without causing more chaos than it’s worth from something that’s now basically bedded down), that Global Warming is real – which it is, conveniently – and needs to be countered, and that ditching the obsession with Surpluses is not only a good thing as far as outcomes are concerned, but a good thing for the political process, breaking the chain of reflexive calls for a yearly credit balance no matter what. At least if she countenanced this possibility Maley would distinguish herself from the groupthink that passes for “political analysis” nowadays.

On IR, Maley believes (or is it Textor in her ear again?) that the public will welcome a return to Work Choices (in name or nature) because Craig Thomson is alleged to have used hookers nearly a decade ago and a Labor vice-President looks like he’s ripped off the same union.

She confuses the issue de jour of about a year ago, one of those that excited calls for Prime Ministerial resignations (along with Slipper, who I will come to later) and was classified as a government-busting scandal, with the more sanguine point of view that Thomson was only important because of the numbers in a hung parliament. Any attempt to make it bigger than that and to sustain this until, and throughout an election campaign is risky business, indeed.

The two – union power and petty union corruption – only seem to be connected, and that only in Journo World, a theme park where two flies crawling up a wall make it to the front page. If they crawl back down again, Peter Hartcher writes an obtuse leader and Michelle Grattan tells us either one could come out the winner (or maybe the cockroach will beat them both).

One – union power – protects all workers from the Americanization of our places of employment, which, given our stubbornly low jobless metrics and position as just about the world’s best economy, are things to worry about losing, and which are being worried about, even if the (paradoxically, heavily unionized) Journalists Club thinks it’s a trivial matter of what “she said” while “he said”.

The other, union corruption, can be fixed with a couple of court cases, fresh, clean union elections and stricter regulations. Then we can get onto millionaire Point Piper merchant bankers not being prosecuted for stealing the life savings of gullible self-financed retirees. Why one and not the other?

Punish the wicked, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s not get too carried away thinking that scandals only happen to the Labor side of politics. If Textor/Maley think Craig Thomson and AWU are going to bamboozle the people into loving work Choices, begging for its return, over an alleged (but importantly not yet adjudicated and vigorously denied) bit of t’other by Craig Thomson, they’re even further gone than I thought.

Even without getting Textor’s imprimatur, I could think of another scandal that may provide some light relief for the punters: an LNP plot to bring the government down by dropping Peter Slipper, the Constitution’s highest parliamentary officer, into a homosexual honey trap that everyone in Canberra to the left of the Chair seemed to know was coming, at the same time as having no “specific knowledge” of it. This was followed by the wall-punching, Mr. “Sell Your Virginity Dearly” Abbott getting up in parliament to ask Madame Speaker-Thing to allow him to have a motion passed condemning… misogyny. After that came The Speech, something an insouciant Maley assured us needed to be taken in context… hers, of course.

I wonder where the pugilistic Abbott learned to lead with his chin?

Ashby-Slipper has already survived an almost impossible legal test: a successful accusation of abuse of process, an often argued but so unlikely an outcome for a court case that it makes hens’ teeth seem about as rare as an IPA talking head on The Drum, i.e. not.

If the Libs – including Textor/Maley presumably – believe a Federal Court finding that the fix was well and truly in re. Slipper is going to just disappear – has already disappeared – while 20 year old allegations that Julia Gillard had an intra-office tiff with her partners and was encumbered by a boyfriend with dubious (although as yet, again, unadjudicated) connections is going to get a guernsey as Scandal Of The Century, they may have to find their thinking caps, place them on their bobble heads, and use Velcro to keep them on in the storm that’s about to come.

A common way to cut a policy off at the knees is for a journo at a presser to yell, “Where’s the money coming from?” If there’s no money, then they don’t have to examine policy or do any serious analysis. They just shake their heads and waffle on about how “The Polls” say the voters reckon the government isn’t as good as Joe Hockey – he of “Interest rates will always be {too low|too high|out of control}  under Labor” – at managing the economy.

So Textor/Maley today throw out the tired line:

“But there will be natural voter scepticism around funding for the reforms. The review recommends increased funding of $5 billion a year (based on 2009 figures, which amounts to $6.5 billion in today’s terms) and no agreement has been reached with the states.

Textor says the Gonski review might be a talking point among Canberra’s press gallery, but it adds up to just that – talk.

“It’s seen by many as a bunch of recommendations and things they say they’re going to do . . . Have any changes resulted?” Meanwhile, he says, the Coalition can campaign on its “practical approach” to education and “proven ability to negotiate with the states”.

Note how Maley quietly divorces herself from “Canberra’s press gallery”, using Textor’s words? They’re the journos over there, those other ones, the ones who reckon Education is important, not the ones who know the Coalition has a “proven ability to negotiate with the states.” Presumably Textor/Maley are referring to John Howard’s stunning achievements with … um … let’s see… the Murray-Darling, for example? That was a brilliant success, eh? Unlike the miserable Gillard failures of actually passing the MDB legislation through the parliament, shaming the states into agreeing to co-fund the NDIS and her egregious lack of accomplishment at getting NAPLAN testing up and running. What a miserable record of “negotiating with the states” Labor truly has!

I could go on, but I have to go out into the garden and complete the breaking of my lower back shovelling compost for Her Indoors, so that it’s nice when she comes back from a zesty swim at the pool.

Suffice it to say this: before the 2007 election Jason Koutsoukis wrote weekly articles in the Sunday Age telling his readers in great detail how the Coalition had Rudd just where they wanted him: on a slab, prepped for vivisection without the anesthetic. They also had a dirt file on Gillard that proved beyond doubt she was guilty… of something. Never mind, the smear would do.

In 2007 it was scandals and meta-politics that were going to win the day for the Howard government. The Coalition’s default position was that their policies didn’t need to be considered because, well, everyone knew what they were. Jason eventually broke out of the thrall he had been in – for all I know a spell woven by the same Mr. Textor that has today been at Jacqueline Maley – and wrote the truth: the Coalition were on a hiding to nothing, and they relied too much on smear and innuendo.

Today, in 2013, little has changed.

They continue to run on sensational headlines that come to nothing. they continue to cling to the belief that John Howard – who not only lost office, but got chucked out of his seat as a bonus – is on the comeback trail. Not the man himself, but his successors – Abbott, Hockey, Robb, The Puff Adder, Mesma, The Poodle, that bloke from Queensland who’s never asked a question, the stylish Truss, the Human Caricature, Barnarby Joyce, and of course the glamourous Lady Bronwyn Bishop – will stage the revival.

The question that seriously needs to be asked about the next election is: “Are they serious?”

Continuous polling snapshots show the Coalition still in the lead, yet the gap is narrowing. To any reasonably sentient observer that would mean the government is gaining. Yet the Gallery continues to frame its blather around a conservative lead in the polls that is dwindling, the smug spruikings of hired guns like Textor, and an Opposition leader who is about as popular as a fart in a knife drawer, and who has never, ever been popular.

They are up against a party and their leader who have accomplished so much, given the incessant harping, whingeing and moaning from the media and political opponents alike, plus the millstone of a hung parliament strung around their necks.

The media see no future for themselves as they sit in their empty offices, working double shifts to meet the 24 Hour News Cycle. So why not bring everyone down to their level?

The Opposition, stenographed through the media, mindlessly trash-talk the economy into near-recession, then seek to blame the government, without producing alternative policies, except gimmicks like subsidized nannies and more highway bypasses.

A lot can happen in 8 months and it doesn’t necessarily have to be all in the Coalition’s favour, no matter how hard the media push that barrow. Abbott leaves us with a picture of… sameness. Same faces, same policies, same tactics, same telecommunications infrastructure, same negativity. They, and their supporters, have made the fundamental mistake that the Republicans made in the recent US elections: they believe their own publicity.

Also believing the publicity is Jacqueline Maley, who would be better off finding a new career as a waitress, rather than in her chosen, but dumbed-down profession. After all, they say Hospitality is the new boom industry.



463 thoughts on “Six years on, and nothing’s changed.

  1. “Wearing speedos is probably no longer recommended ever since the appearance of the red ones.”

    Was it here that someone referred to them as “dick pants”?

  2. HaveAchat

    You must be way done south. It’s obvious somethings going to happen but a drop of 1.5c is all and a little wind.

  3. Bb beautifully put -news and opinion (one sided) viewed through the MSM’s distorting mirror- the one where inconvenient facts disappear- and the public is compliant..Where she is both in and out of the media/in and out of the know/and does not allow comments! Guess there could be a job opening in PR

  4. An excellent post as always BB. Pity fairfax have gone the way the have.
    What Aust. needs is a genuine labor leaning forum to counteract the LNP. mouthpieces.
    The reason that murdoch/fairfax, all media are anti-govt. can be summed up in 3 initials

  5. Love it.

    I read Malley this morning and wondered why she’d ditched her much-vaunted ‘Punters Panel’ in favour of a couple of partisan hacks to tell her which are the top 10 election issues.


  6. Is there any way the moderators can modify the blog settings, so it doesn’t automatically generate a “via @wordpressdotcom” when you go to tweet an article via the share:twitter button?

    Maybe set up a twitter account of your own, but otherwise the wordpress thingo is redundant, their twitter account doesn’t need the publicity. 🙂

  7. CTar1

    Yes, right down south and our little weather impact is now over, a little bit of damage in the garden (one banksia branch broken off, small plastic glass house laying on its side and a couple of tomato bushes needed more poles to hold them up again. Ground all sodden and no need to water for a day or so, wind has gone, rain has stopped.

    Across the road one house lost its pagola and the youth directly across the road are re-erecting their basketball hoop and backboard. I suppose I shall have to continue to listen to the thump, thump, thump of them practicing until dark for a few more days. 🙂 Feel sorry for the people that have lost their pagola, it is peeled back like a sardine can and is now half on the house roof and half hanging from the framework.

    It is now 25 degrees in my backyard, calm and no clouds. Looks like the event is over for me.

    Hope you are not effected too much on the north side, but the drop in temperature sure is welcome 😉

  8. Top post, BB. I particularly agree with your view that the Coalition are so very same, same, same.
    Anyone got the video?

  9. joe6pack – I mean a setting of this blog, it should be possible to amend what happens when someone tweets an article (via the button) directly from your page, even if you have no twitter account.

  10. A flotilla of boats is the lifeline for thousands of people stranded on the Tasman Peninsula as bushfires continue to rage out of control.

    People are braced for a second night of bushfire horror with two major blazes, which have emergency warnings, threatening more homes and businesses.

    Recreational and commercial vessels are being used to bring in thousands of meals and other essential supplies and to evacuate people most in need.

    Read more:

    The PM has declared affected householders will get assistance.

  11. Haveachat – I just took an accurate read of the temp with an old fashioned instrument.

    23.5c wet bulb now.

    More bloody rain please!

  12. C@t, read the instruction manual ASA, or get one of your sons to do so. The e readers are marvellous. I wouldn’t have a clue as yet how to download books, using them is very easy.
    Did you listen to the interview of PMJG by Drew Morphett? It’s stuff like that that gets around the likes of Ms. Maley, who, in my view, is just another mouthpiece for the LNP.
    I’m getting just a bit more sure as the year starts to unfold, that we’re going to see something similar to the U.S. election outcome, as I’ve also been reading more about that, though nothing I can link.
    They all believe their own bullsh*t, people such as Maley.
    If Labor get back in their own right, what are these idiots going to say?
    I got it wrong? I don’t think so. They’ll spin some other rubbish, and wonder why they’re out of a job.

  13. Oh, oh, looks like our storm is building again, wind is picking up a lot and clouds building again, feels like it is going to rain again, just saying that it has started to fall and now thunder in the distance.

    CTar1, take care the wind will really gust when it hits your area, make sure there aren’t too many loose items around your garden, check on your animals and hang on it will be a wild ride, short but pretty intense.

    Hope you get plenty of water without the nasty stuff, I wish we could push some to those suffering fires.

    Rummell take care some of those grass fires can be tricky.

  14. Dan, yes you can do that, I just wondered if they’d be able to change the settings on the blog to avoid traps for beginner players. I note that most established wordpress blogs don’t have that setting (when you go to tweet from the article, it comes up with “via” their own twitter account or omits it altogether), just newer ones or one man band efforts, who don’t realise. Its obviously something that can be changed by the account owners.

  15. Leroy,
    You do realize that I am a beginner player don’t you and this is my 1st attempt at a blog.
    I didn’t even know we had a tweet link.
    I’ll see what I can do

  16. “The reason that murdoch/fairfax, all media are anti-govt. can be summed up in 3 initials
    Yes, that’s about it. Abbott is ideologically in favour of living in the past, the MSM’s life depends on it.

    A week or so back someone (C@tmomma?) said they’d seen a glimpse of what’s coming down the pike from the murdoch/MSM/liberal propaganda machine, & I think those inclined to look should pay attention to tomorrow’s S.A. Sunday Mail. Didn’t catch the details but saw an ad for a feelgood beatup wherein one Peta Credlin outs with a sob story of some kind & lavishly applauds that nice Tony Abbott for his comfort & support.

  17. joe6pack – no worries. If you look at the bottom of each article, just before the comments, you’ll see…

    Share this: [Press This] [Twitter] [Facebook]

    Those are the buttons for a reader to link the article to his/her own wordpress, twitter, or facebook profiles. The reader has to be loggedin to their relevant account (e.g. twitter) at the time for it to work, or they are asked to do so at the time.

    Somewhere in the account settings for your blog there will an area that allows you to change how that looks or what it does when you “Share this”.

  18. Take care Rummell. I don’t know if there is a Patron Saint for firefighters, but if there is, he/she/it had better have clocked on for work this week.

  19. Haveachat

    [check on your animals]

    I’ve locked the rest of the family in the garage along with the Merc.


  20. I’ve just listened to PM Gillard chatting with Drew Morphett (hat tip for the link, J6P). It was delightful: down to earth, gently funny, not unctuous (now, which Oz PM did unctuous really well?). Just a thoroughly nice woman putting her message across in a particularly powerful way. Good on her.

  21. Leroy

    It’s got nothing to do with “beginner” blogs, its one of the limitations of using the free wordpress service. They give you a free blog, they get free publicity.

    The ones that don’t have that are ones where the blogger has set up WP on their own server. That’s still free to use except for the server costs of course.

    People are tweeting links to these articles on to Twitter. Should I be happy about this?

    Yes you should. It attracts visitors to the site.

  22. Have A Chat,
    Thank you for the invaluable advice and links. I will definitely follow them up. 🙂
    I imagine I’ll get around to it after this blog winds down, as I have been too preoccupied with keeping an eye on it in case no one else was around to do the moderating.

  23. fiona:

    It’s only the press gallery journos and those who think they’re above our MPs (like Paul Kelly) who are disrespectful to the PM and cynically sneering about Labor.

    Not surprised to hear she had a good interview with a sports commentator – it usually is the case.

  24. Confessions,

    Now that you mention it, I prefer almost all the ABC sports commentators over almost all the other ABC people. Most of the time.

    It was particularly nice that when they were discussing the Jane McGrath foundation, Mr Morphett mentioned his own wife’s battle with breast cancer.

    Ms Gillard has the capacity to connect at a deeply personal level that IMO goes way beyond that of most politicians.

    (Grecian 2000, anyone?)

  25. What I liked most about the coverage of Jane McGrath day and the PM at the cricket is the person who DID NOT EVEN RATE A MENTION. In the spirit of that silence, I won’t mention the name either.

  26. Leroy,

    As I’ve said in comments on previous threads, the free service is good to learn the basics of WP, but to use its full potential you need to go the paid route.

    Decent server space can be had for around US$6-7 a month with a utility called Fantastico included. This allows you to set up a WP blog (amongst other things) with just a couple of clicks and entering some basic info about the blog.

    Once you’ve got it set up you can then add plugins to the setup that do all manner of things.

    It’s the ability to add plugins that makes WP such a fantastic platform.

  27. fiona:

    Yes, except for Kerry O’Keefe. I listen t the cricket commentary on the radio, but when he comes on I switch back to the TV.

  28. Confessions,

    I must admit to considerable ambivalence regarding Skull. On the one hand, I detest his sexist jokes and blokey commentary. On the other hand, he has remarkable insight into the game. If only the radio coverage came with some sort of visual clue as to which hat he was wearing: if pink, then OFF, if green then listenable.

  29. Bushfire Bill,
    How long do you think these shysters in the Canberra Press Gallery, with their now well-worn schtick, obvious even to Blind Freddy, can keep it up?

    We know how they do it. We know why they do it. We know it when they have done it. They have been pinged so many times now for it you would think they would be a little shame-faced about it and want to strike out on a new path, like say telling the truth of the matter, in order to actually maintain an interest in their work from the readership.

    I mean, is this stuff actually popular with those who click on to the Fairfax websites? Are there people still so gullible, in this age of the World Wide Web, that they don’t yet have the likes of Ms Maley, and her ilk, sussed?

    We know there are those who believe every little bit of propaganda that the Lieberals churn out, however, they’re just being willfully obtuse as far as I can see it. Wanting to believe because they have invested so much time and energy in demonising Labor that they cannot throw in the towel now.

    Or the simply needy, who have to keep up with the Jones’ political voting stripe so that they do not become socially ostracised among their peer group.

    However, surely the sensible middle part of the electorate don’t think that some Jacqueline-Come-Lately to the Canberra Press Gallery, has greater political insight than they do? She sure doesn’t inspire that sort of confidence in her work for mine, that’s for sure and all.

    Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to keep on pinging until she wakes up to herself. 🙂

  30. Concera Vota ‏@conceravota
    Jaqueline Maley made me laugh “… Abbott’s robust masculine strength” = his lunatic muscle flexing w NO follow-through ie extreme wanking

    Yuk! I don’t remember reading that, but may have stopped reading the article by then.

    What is it about Abbott that repulses everyday, normal women, yet has female press gallery journos falling all over him?

  31. fiona:

    The blokey, sexist stuff just turns me right off. It’s why I turned off the TV commentary in the first place.

    But O’Keefe’s laugh. What on earth is that, that wheeze that crackles through the speakers? And he’s the only one who finds his jokes funny. Oh god, it makes me wince just thinking about it!

  32. Tony Abbott is a clown.
    Increasingly this is a sentiment that I hear
    Australians will not vote for Clowns

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