Currently, I’m sitting in the Adelaide Hills having been driven out of Melbourne by gangs… ok, not really, but that’s a much more sensational story than I’m having a few relaxing days staring at the view and not checking my phone every few minutes to see if any Australian politician has managed to outdo Trump’s “my button is bigger than your button” comment.
Of course, it’d be hard for any politician to beat the wonderful absurdity of “The Herald-Sun” last week. Splashed across the front page we had a story about Dan Andrews being on holidays – which the article acknowledged was something he was entitled to have, even if the state was in chaos because of African gangs running rampant – while on the letters page we had a cartoon from Roy. The regular cartoonist, Mark Knight was also on holidays. Roy’s take on the situation was two panels: One labeled “Country” where the fire danger warning was low, and another labeled “City”, where the African gang situation was “extreme danger”. I don’t know whether he was commenting on the hyperbole of the Federal politicians. I hope so. Otherwise, I’d suggest that he checks the weather forecast before ranking the fire danger as low. However, there was no apology from the paper about their main cartoonist deserting his post at such a time.
While it seems that cartoonists are entitled to their break, the inference I drew from the front page was that Dan Andrews should have rushed back from his holidays and dealt with the situation. Although exactly what he was meant to do remains unclear. Parliament isn’t sitting so we can’t pass laws requiring judges to hand down tougher sentences on people for possession of darker skin. Perhaps Mr Andrews should be ringing Malcolm to ask exactly what he had in mind when he suggested that the Federal government might take over if something wasn’t done. Or perhaps the Dutton approach would work: Attack Labor until you’re in charge, then deny that there’s a problem and it’s only because Save the Children/refugee advocates/the UNHCR/greenies/health professionals/anybody with first hand knowledge are lying, that this is even being talked about.
Apparently, there are a number of “no go” areas in Melbourne, and not just the Melbourne Club. There are areas where gangs have taken over and people don’t feel safe. Recently one Melbourne city councilor resigned because she no longer felt safe in the Lord Mayor’s car. And Matthew Guy was so concerned about the growing lawlessness that he went to a lobster dinner with someone who could offer protection and return the city to sort of family values that the good fellas of the city so enjoy.
Of course, given how the Murdoch press do everything possible to suggest that Andrews is incompetent, it’s hard to see why they’d want him back from holiday to deal with the situation. Lately, we’ve been treated to stories about how work to widen roads and remove levels crossings was going to lead to traffic chaos over January. (Yes, you can argue that making things easier for cars doesn’t actually solve traffic problems; for this though, I’m more intrigued by the idea that January is a bad time to do road work.)
One wonders whether they can keep the African gangs rhetoric going all the way to the election in November or whether they’ll go back to their old favourites like renewables are causing your power bill to rise. It’ll be interesting to see if they run with the Apple store in Fed square story, or whether Apple are untouchable because they advertise.
Whatever, it’ll be interesting to see how many times Turnbull and co try to start discussions about state issues in the hope that it distracts journalists from asking any questions about what they’re doing!