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The broken clocks are right twice a day

As if a switch has been flicked, as if a group memo has gone out (perhaps from Rupert Murdoch), Australian political journalists have all very neatly and in a scarily synchronised fashion all decided there are problems with the Abbott government. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but this is the biggest case of too little too late that I have ever witnessed. It is now official that the mainstream political press is exactly one year and three months behind the independent media who, like me, have been pointing out to our readers since the day Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, that he is not fit for the job. Actually that’s not true. I and most others were saying it for six years before that. And now, after over a year of relentless, daily horrors from the Abbott camp, including internationally embarrassing gaffes, broken promises, horrible and unfair revenge policy, rorting of the public purse, corruption and mean spirited behaviour, it’s as if they’ve all suddenly had permission to point out that there might be a problem here. Low and behold, I think they might be right! Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

But if only it ended there. No. There’s another clause in the ‘you may now point out how bad the Abbott government is’ memo which they have all dutifully complied with to the letter. Not that I think it took any convincing. You guessed it. They only have permission to call the spade of the Abbott government a dysfunctional spade if they also maintain their completely misrepresentative and downright dishonest anti-factual narrative of Labor dysfunction at the same time. So the narrative goes like this: Abbott’s government is bad. We only just noticed. We also can’t help but notice it’s just as bad, if not possibly not quite as bad, as the previous Labor government.

Don’t believe me? I hear people like Bolt, Albrechtsen and Alan Jones have been piling on Abbott in their own synchronised act of ‘let’s give Julie Bishop a run’ narrative, while carefully laying the blame mostly at the feet of Abbott’s support team. Because criticising Abbott himself would be career suicide for these types I assume. I’m not, however, going to link to these bottom-feeders. But I will link to Murdoch-Liberal-lite commentator Peter van Onselen, who today contributed this piece: ‘Wheels are falling off as Abbott careers to year’s end’. This article provides bad feedback from Abbott’s Liberal friends about his dire political situation, and also helpfully highlights this line:

‘So far, however, Abbott’s government more closely resembles the dysfunction of the Labor line-ups he fought so hard to defeat.’

Then we also have Peter Hartcher, who today contributed ‘Abbott’s rudderless ship won’t scrape by’, which quotes numerous un-named Liberal sources who are ‘panicking’ about Abbott’s terrible performance (Hartcher’s favourite sources are un-named). Hartcher then summarises:

‘Is the rising panic justified? The comparison with the Rudd and Gillard years is particularly striking. In a couple of ways it is apt.’

I won’t bore you with the ways that Hartcher thinks criticism of Abbott is an apt comparison with Rudd and Gillard, as it’s really just more bullshit from a journalist we have come to expect this sort of bullshit from. Anyone who has read Gillard’s My Story will understand Hartcher is the lowest form of gutter rat ever to inhabit the Press Club and can’t be trusted to report anything about Labor in a way that is objective and fair. Here is a quote from Gillard about Hartcher and his similarly badly behaved Press Club colleagues:

‘No journalist apologised to his or her readers when dramatically reported [leadership vote] deadlines passed in silence, nor publically discussed how they themselves were systematically used and misled in order to puff up claims about the number of Labor members who wanted to vote for Kevin Rudd. A few, like Peter Hartcher, became combatants in Kevin’s leadership war’.

So not only was this man, Hartcher, a key player in the leadership dysfunction that he then wrote about I assume every week for the three years of Gillard’s government (although I couldn’t say this for sure because I gave up reading him after the first broken-record Labor-leadership-tensions crap), he is also still a keen-perpetuator of the misleading information that the previous Labor government was dysfunctional. How this man is still employed and still welcome in the Press Club is beyond me. I’ve written before about how leadership dysfunction doesn’t automatically lead to political dysfunction. Note this isn’t an opinion. This is based on fact. Even while Gillard was fighting against Rudd’s betrayal and white-anting, she was delivering political stability, in a minority government. Here’s another quote from her book to back up my opinion with some facts:

‘Minority government delivered the nation effective and stable government. This was the most productive parliament, able to deal with the hardest of issues. During the terms of my government, members of parliament sat for more than 1,555 hours and 566 pieces of legislation were passed. This is more legislation than was passed in the last term of the Howard Government, notwithstanding their complete command of parliament with a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.’

This record can’t even be compared with Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister, because any comparison would just be too ridiculous to even contemplate. Abbott’s biggest achievements are noted as turning good policy off. The Mining Tax. The Carbon Price. And his ability to stop. the. boats. Even if you’re a Murdoch hack and you think these three policy successes constitute achievements, and not crimes against Australia’s future and the lives of desperate asylum seekers, it’s still a very lonely looking policy achievement scoreboard. It can’t compare to Gillard’s success because it’s too pathetic to even begin to compare. Abbott’s budget is a barnacle covered ship that never even set sail before it became a rusted shipwreck. Abbott’s government is defined by, is awash with failure to its very core. There is no justifiable comparison with the previous Labor government that does justifiable comparisons justice.

Lastly, I’ve include Lenore Taylor. Even when Taylor is being accurate and generally reasonable in the Guardian about the awfulness of the Abbott government (and to be fair, she has been very critical since the start of Abbott’s term), she still manages to get a punch in for the previous Labor government. It does seem to be entirely compulsory for every member of the Press Club to follow this pattern. In her article today, ‘Three things that a good government would do’, Taylor wrote:

‘Abbott told his party room on Tuesday (in the same speech in which he promised to clean the barnacles and before all the confusion about what they were) that his government’s “historical mission is to show that the chaos of the Rudd/Gillard years is not the new normal”. After a truly chaotic week we can safely say that mission has not been accomplished.’

The Labor-government-was-dysfunctional narrative is just not true and everyone who repeats it is treating their readers like idiots. It’s just not true. It’s a misrepresentation of political reality. It’s certain proof of journalistic bias and misinformation. It was rampant throughout the media for the entire length of the Labor government’s previous two terms. And now the myth continues as journalists come up with ways to justify how they missed the incompetence of the Abbott government while the Abbott government was campaigning to become the Abbott government. They missed their opportunity to scrutinise the Abbott government and for that reason they should never be trusted ever again. It’s not like any of them have the courage to stand up and say ‘yes, we got it wrong. Our obsession with Labor leadership tensions led us to misrepresent the Labor government as a bad government when on all objective measures it was a surprisingly successful government. We’re sorry we did this, and we’re sorry our focus on this one political angle prevented us from properly scrutinising Opposition Leader Abbott and his plans for Australian. We’re all paying for our mistakes now’. You just won’t ever see this happen. So instead we get bullshit served up to us as truth. Even when the broken clocks are correct twice day, they’re still wrong about the Labor government.


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  1. David K

    Strongly agree with everything you say, Victoria. Journos have become players in the last few years.

  2. DanDark

    Emmas Introduction on Lateline last night was an attack on Libs, cuts, burns and slashes, broken promises etc
    Kelly O from Libs was on, she is such an incompetent big mouth, confirming the GP copayment is still firmly on the table, and the barnacles Tony was referring to was the Labor party, geez they all know how to make it up as they go LOL
    I first saw Tony on a short news clip late on Wednesday night leaving a function of some sort, a reporter asked him about the co payment from what I heard he pretty well said it wont get through because of Labor the “economic vandals” he went on to say its all their fault there will be no GP tax,
    he spat it out he was in a narky mood, I havnt seen the clip since, but did think to myself they are back to using the old rhetoric about labor “economic vandals” to cover there stinking budget
    I havnt heard that line for a while….”economic vandals”
    it is obvious the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing in the Liberal Party

  3. Peter Anson

    That’s the truth, Victoria.The whole press gang are filth. Harcher was a leader in bringing down Mark Latham. I suppose he can boast that he has brought down two Labor leaders and can feel smug about it.

  4. john o'callaghan

    Thanks Victoria,you have echoed my sentiments regarding the Canberra Press Gallery fools,and yes Hartcher deserves special mention,they will never admit they all got it wrong but i dont think that is the only reason. They all know that eventually most of the Media in this country will end up in the hands of Murdoch Stokes or Rinehart or variations of and they are hedging their bets,or to put it more crudely,are covering their arses to protect their job prospects into the future because they know at some stage they will have to work for one or all of these right wing Media Barons.””””’

  5. 2gravel


    I was just having the same discussion on twitter before I read this. This is an excellent article.

  6. John Kelly

    Perhaps another reason for the Murdoch turn-a-round is the proliferation of citizen journalist websites like this one and New Matilda, as well as others, whose aggregate cut-through on Abbott’s appalling performance has begun to hurt. With MSM journalism so one sided, the public can see when they are being played. They are looking for an alternative point of view. Citizen journalism is providing that and doing it with an independent voice, laced with facts.
    If Victoria delivers for Labor, the LNP Feds will be looking for blood and Abbott will be under the microscope.

  7. CMMC

    Not Julie Bishop, the Mad Uncles who control the numbers in the LNP will not be led by a sheila.

    They will turn back to a suitably chastened Turnbull, this has been something like a private-school bastardization ritual for Malcolm. And he has been meekly eating the ‘dog food’ while still smiling.

  8. vivienne29

    My exact thoughts too Victoria. You think and write my mind. That Hartcher creep was also certain Howard was going to win in 2007.

  9. Ralph

    Lo and behold*

  10. DanDark

    I have just got back from voting and noticed that our 2 ambulances are parked one on each side of the road with their own brand of journalism written all over the windows, and how bad Naptime is when it comes to our ambos, its not a good look for Naptime and Co that’s for sure..
    I used to clean our local ambulance station, I quit because the pay was so crap.

    It took them over a year of begging to get a 4WD ambulance as the other rigs kept getting bogged, or they had to carry injured people a mile through paddocks to get them back to ambulance, the job they do is priceless,
    but the conditions they work under are a disgrace thanks to Naptime,
    it will be good to see our ambulances with no colored writing on them in protest to Naptime like it has been for past couple of years now, They are a vital part of our community but are treated like ” loonies” by Naptime and CO

  11. townsvilleblog

    The task we now have is to make the Queensland LNP government meet the same fate as the Victorian LNP government will meet today and become a one term government, then finish the job in 2016 or asap and rid ourselves of the Abbott LNP scurge reintroduce a fair go to Australia, even if that means voting for the mealy mouthed Shorten as PM.

  12. Peter Deane

    The Rudd/Gillard challenges were distinctly short and sharp. I remember back to 1992, when the Hawke/Keating palava was going on, the late Bob Collins said of the year that they “literally threw it away” while the two men fought the challenge of their careers.

  13. stephentardrew

    The brilliant way that Julia juggled the independents and rolled Abbot then producing so much effective legislation while negotiating the mining tax and ETS was brilliant. She was in charge of a stable and functional government as Abbott lied while sooky boy micro-manager Rudd did his best to destroy her. I didn’t agree with everything Julia did, including the way she rolled Rudd, however I can let that one slide because of the incredible negotiating she did with independents. I doubt if Rudd could have achieved anywhere near the same results.

    Funnily enough she made Abbott look like a fool yet, so incensed by failure, the LNP determined that only way to power was to lie your way there in the most vile and despicable manner. And these doyens of media credibility trotted along sniffing dumb-asses but.

    Now where is a fair and demonstrably provable version of these events coming from in this laughably unbiased media scrum of fawning corporate shrills.

    Damn cowards most of them.

    Insiders has become Outsiders.

  14. Heather

    Astute as always Victoria.

  15. Tim Atkinson

    Them mongrels are not worth writing about. They’re far too biased, shifting the funds more to their mates and rich people, pathological liar, profit before people, want suffocating surplus over manageable debt, economic rationalist, and the sad list is too long…

  16. stephentardrew

    John Kelly:

    Absolutely I have bashed on about keeping going and trusting the process because Abbott will not be able to help his narcissistic self from lying and conniving which will inevitably bring him down. Just a little patience.

    My advice is to ignore Victoria whichever way it goes. If Labor wins or the independents and Greens have the balance of power so be it however that is not going to be the blow needed to fell federal LNP and their lying corporate media sycophants.

    The side plate is just a temporary diversion.

    Remember the game is never won until it is won so keep the knives sharpened and the blades slashing.

  17. David

    Interesting and right that you should take Hartcher to task Victoria. Co incidentally I had commented after his article about the ‘special’ relationship he enjoyed with Rudd. It hasn’t been published as yet as the SMH probably find it too close to the truth. I include my comments here for interest.

    ‘Mr Hartcher is one amazing hypocrite. He the same Hartcher was the recipient of many if not most of Rudds Cabinet and party room leaks and drove the get rid of Julia Gillard force on behalf of the Rudd supporters. He will deny it but knows it is the truth as some of those now in the Shorten team know it.
    Be man enough sir to get off the fence, the splinters must be most uncomfortable where they are inserted’.

  18. Gilly

    Yeah Victoria, time enough to turn the heat up, not on a vacuous fool like any of the LNP, but on the carrion crawler MSM journalists. They are a poisoned prostitute to their profession, a puerile plagiarist for their paymaster, a reactionary redactionists to their readers, a mealy mouthed moron to their alma Marta, draconian danger to democracy. Basically not worth feeding.

  19. Phi

    Well said – bloody well said.

  20. Sad sack

    Wow if you work for Murdoch you do his bidding and it takes only a little tweak to show the men of labor were equipped with the same fear of losing their job and were quiveringly tweakable falling over each other to bare their bums.
    The numbers stopped Gillard from administering the coup de gras to the lemon and giving the lash to wimps like the gibbon and husic but ultimately it was labor’s failure to expose the coalition on ch 7/9 that allowed the lies to prevail. A failure that is still deep in the psyche of the current labor leadership.

  21. John Lord

    Lenore Taylor is the fairest and best journalist in Australia but having said that they all got sucked into a certain mindset from time to time.

  22. Loz

    I agree with every word. These journalists have no integrity and no paper worth it’s salt should employ them.

  23. hannahquinn

    Agree with all but the comment regarding Lenore Taylor. The example in this article is not Lenore’s words but what was said in the Lib party room, by Abbott. Yes, like almost every member of the MSM, Lenore too failed to interrogate the then opposition and went with the easy ‘bash Labor at every opportunity’ attitude. On the surface, it did look like the then Gov was chaotic; and there were headlines to be written. We all know that ‘mob mentality’ took over, just as Abbott and co intended, although we expect a far higher standard than the schoolyard from, at least, the majority of reporters. It only needed some genuine interrogation of actual governance, and opposition’s failure to provide real alternatives, for the truth to be available to all voters to make a genuine choice at the ballot box. The lure of the dramatic outrage was irresistible, obviously, and it’s lasted beyond the election. There are many in the MSM who still interrogate Labor and not Liberal, which is about as topsy turvy as it gets. Finally, there are some changes happening, including Lenore Taylor. We need to get behind those who are now actually looking like they are doing their proper job: interrogating the government and working past the heat and excitement of drama and group think – and blood lust.

    Let’s hope the blinkers are truly coming off and the light of investigate reporting shines in.

  24. Neil

    Sales of newspapers have been falling ever since we were stopped using them to wrap the fish and chips. Not much use for most of them now.

  25. Gregory T

    With the lock that MSN has on political propaganda, one has to wonder, other than used as unreliable sources, why are journalists necessary ?

  26. Kyran

    At the risk of sounding pedantic, they are not journalists. I don’t have a dictionary with me right now, but I believe a journalist attempts to collate facts and present them as reports, for the consumers to interpret. Over the past decades, there has been the increasing practice of the “journalist” having a predisposed position and collating facts to support their hypothesis. I regard them as commentators, not journalists. We’ve now evolved to a third category – the apologist. Names I do not care to utter, but those (largely of the Press Gallery) who have no intention of presenting fact. They subscribe to an ideology, and will spin whatever crap they can to justify utterances that are untenable. Since when did the ABC need to have IPA apologists on most of their political programs? And, more importantly, since when did the “presenters” consider it acceptable not to question them when they are lying? For my money, Ms Ferguson is a huge loss to the ABC. Quentin Dempster will be “finishing” next week. These are journalists. Sites such as this are great to enable thoughtful conversation and, hopefully, robust discussion. MSM. Hmmmm. Who?

  27. stephentardrew

    Victorian LNP gone 3-4% swing to Labor. It’s a done deal according to Anthony Green.

    Gunna have a beer or two on that.

  28. John Fraser


    Shepparton lost to the Nats and Barny Joyce.

    That will teach the bastards not to support SPC ……. and Aussie industries.

    2 Greens get up …… keep watching Labor, because you and Abbott Abbott can't destroy a political party supported by the generation of youth.

    newmans turn next !

    And then to make the 3 word slogan come true ….. "One Term Tony" !

  29. stephentardrew

    Great news John Greens are on the move.

  30. John Fraser


    Yes Stephen it is good news.

    But not unexpected.

    I wonder when Labor will wake up to that fact.

  31. Matters Not

    Still watching the outcome in Victoria.

    It would seem that the CFMEU ‘thugs’ will now be in government. ‘Thugs’ will be driving the bus.

    We’ll all be ruined. Worse still, we were warned. Some were scared ‘shitless’. Others are still hiding under beds.

    But still the defeated rant about CFMEU ‘thugs’ ‘pushing’ people at voting booths. The allegations come thick and fast.

    Seriously, this is a very welcome development, in that a one-term for Abbott et al is a distinct possibility.

    Look out Newman, you’re next. (Hopefully).

  32. John Fraser


    @Matters Not

    And thugs buying SPC products.

    Shepparton ……… Barny and the Nats are gone !

    That should be a lesson to the bastards to support Australian industry.

  33. Matters Not

    John, re Barny and Shepparton, he ran away days ago claiming that it was the Libs’ responsibility to ‘rescue’ SPC.

    Or to put it in the vernacular of Downer et al – he chose to ‘cut and run’.

    While I have some interest in the Victorian outcome, it’s the federal implications, I am most concerned with.

    But keep in mind that Abbott really doesn’t give a ‘flying fcuk’ about the loss of State Governments because if every State has an ALP government, the odds are that the voters will choose a Federal Government of different colour.

    Abbott is really concerned about himself. He is the ‘end’ that matters. Any means will do.

  34. DanDark

    Some clever person thought of SPC Sunday and set up on Facebook, it had recipes and stuff you can do with can fruit, it was a huge success and kept SPC floating, Barnaby sold Shepoarton out, Sharon Stone from Libs called Tony Abbott a liar over the fiasco at SPC..but we don’t hear much from her these days 🙂

  35. DanDark

    If I had a dollar for every time I have heard CMFU in past couple of weeks from all Libs even Asbestos Julie, I would be a rich woman… Lol. Overkill by a mile

  36. John Fraser


    @Matters Not

    Yes I saw that interview with Barny when he "cut and ran".

    The Victorian win for Labor is substantial because it directly affects the GST debate.

    And the last hope for Hockey.

    What's even better is that all the Abbott Abbott gang are painted with the same brush and will be unable to form government until the majority of them are out.

    Queensland is another matter …… who knows if we will wake up and dump newman next year.

    Can only hope Abbott Abbott continues doing what he does best …… fcuking everything up.

  37. Annie B

    A well written article Victoria – to put your points across.

    I still cannot believe ( and have said this before here, and elsewhere ) that the majority of people ….. BELIEVE ….. take to heart, whinge, wring their hands in desperation, worry and fret ……..

    ———– about what they read in newspapers, hear on radio – or see reported on their TV screens ————-

    For heaven’s sake. …. ( and shame on me, I have done it myself ).


    David K …… ” Journos have become players in the last few years. ” ………. David ! — Journo’s ( I have to say actually ‘reporters’ ) have been players for AS LONG as print has been available, or radio heard & TV / film screens have been seen, and since they have been paid to do their jobs. FOREVER, that means. Real journalists exist here and there, but are few and far between. ….. If you want a good view of journalism, grab a copy of the rural newspaper ” The Weekly Times ” …….. and read facts, not reporters fancies. They might not be your cup of tea, and they may appear boring, but I’ll just bet you they will be reported facts – not fanciful ‘fillers’.


    Ever hear the saying “don’t believe everything you read” ? …….. When Googling those words – it comes up with ” about 299,000,000 results ” …. because it relates to just about everything on the planet. But it certainly relates to our daily news via whatever medium.

    Ever watched 3 or 4 news telecasts in one evening ? . 4 Stations will cover the same story ……. but in listening to them – there are only small evidences of it being the same damned story. We get the location of the event ( tick ) …. we get an idea of what happened ( tick ) and then we get the extra bits – most of which are all different and depend on the reporter, anchorperson, and ….. the TIME devoted to the piece. They often can’t even report the same info. on a weather forecast !!!!. Try listening to a couple of radio stations reporting an incident – see if they agree 100%.

    They all have their little ‘props’, and their pet camera angles, and preferred nuances. Newspapers will search their archives for photographs that show a person in a good light and look – or in a bad light and look …….. depending on which end of the field they are kicking to at the time of writing / reporting.

    Reporters ( who are not journalists in the strictest sense ) will do ANYTHING……………… for ratings, for headlines. And they will turn on a threepence, do a 180° – when it suits them to do so. Their favourite this month, will be their least favourite next month, or worse – will be ignored altogether.

    Editors slash copy, demand ‘more impact’, require re-writes, want added ’emotion stirring’ wordage, and the fleshing out of material …… to appeal to their gob-smacked public. ……. And they know much of it will be discussed around the water cooler in offices / wherever, the next day.


    As far as the MSM is concerned, that being Newscorp and Fairfax in printed ( and some TV form ) here in particular, a recent frenzy appears to have been how bloody marvellous the Abbott has been. At the SAME time however, they have ALSO reported how very badly his draconian measures and policies have been received by the Australian public – and then they turn around and make excuses for those measures – finally ending a report by ‘fence sitting’ – in order to have the reader / listener, read or hear what he/she WANTS to read or hear. ……….. Clever stuff … …. sells newspapers, and has almost everyone tuning into newscasts.

    They fence sit, keep their options open, and wait to pounce. And while waiting to pounce, they write drivel. ………. and WE BELIEVE IT ? We take it to heart, we accuse the media of favouring this and that, when we should accuse them only of what they do – that is …….

    ** seek ratings
    ** write personal essays on topics
    ** use emotion filled language
    ** make a lot of it up as they go along.
    ** seek a boot up the pay ladder – for ‘good reporting’.


    Forget it ……. Pffft …….. not worth the worry.

  38. sperring

    The tired critique of the hacks on the Insiders this morning confirmed Victoria’s hypothesis. When commenting on the impact of the Abbott government on the Victorian election, the particularly nasty Uhlman compared it to the dysfunctional Labor government. This was a government that passed 409 bills 2007-2013.

  39. Matthew Oborne

    It will be interesting to see if the other Liberal Premiers understand now that they must stand up for their state against the federal Libs. The Nationals understood before the 2013 election that they may need to get away from an Abbott Government, so we have interesting possibilities,

    It does look like a memo was sent out, possibly – we cant hide this joke any longer, just push the line of Labor disaster.

    As an efficiency dividend measure cant the Libs just train parrots to say a few of their well trodden lines?

  40. David

    The Nats are too accustomed to sucking on the teat of the (Libs), As an identity in their own right they would never be heard of again and that would be the end of the Torys as well, as far as ever becoming the Govt. They also cannot foot it with Labor on their own and they know it.

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