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Day to Day Politics: How about some decent journalism from the MSM

Sunday 19 June 2016

In just 13 days we will be voting to elect a new parliament. For me it will determine whether we continue on a political path more to the right than we have ever been, or we take the opportunity by electing a Labor government to prevent it happening.

This has been a lack lustre election campaign. The conservatives have taken the small target approach with no new policies other than a $50 billion tax cut for business.

They preach a mantra of “jobs and growth” and say that their tax cuts will address the country’s economic woes.

This is the second consecutive election where they have presented no policies that would serve the common good.

Labor has been the opposite in announcing a continuous stream of well thought through policies. Particularly economic policy. It says that an investment in social capital via education and health will do the same as the conservative’s tax cuts.

It’s old economics versus new economics.

The mainstream media decided to, as the conservatives have, play a dead bat on reporting the election. They figured that if playing a dead bat helped the re election of Turnbull then they would help by doing the same thing. In doing so, they have supported them. There might have been a lack of policy on the right side but there certainly have been issues that they could have addressed.

At this stage in the last election the right wing media were extravagant in the volume of their reporting. We were inundated with opinion. It was running riot with all things Abbott.

Now with a little under two weeks to go they have decided that, as Turnbull has, that the conservatives have won. The ABC’s Chris Uhlmann has declared that the Coalition would win comfortably. Peta Credlin says that Shorten is only running to keep his job. Mark Kenny suggests that Shorten is running a two election strategy. Laura Tingle wrote that the “sense that Labor is a serious challenger has faded. There’s not been any terrible mistake, just a puttering out of steam”.

Rather than Labor running out of steam I would suggest that the mainstream media hasn’t done, and isn’t doing, its job. If in the last election a political donations scandal like ‘Parakeelia’ had risen then, we would have had endless commentary. However the Liberals seems to be immune from investigative journalism. Yesterday we had the ABC revealing that three months ago Treasury had advised the Government that more than half of the negative gearing tax benefits go to the top 20 per cent of incomes in Australia. This completely repudiates the Prime Minister’s and the Treasurer’s assertion that Australia’s mums and dads benefited the most. “Negative gearing benefits high-income families,” Treasury said.

An observation.

The word “lying” (in political terms) has been replaced with the more subtle reference of “overstatement”.

They have been telling lies for months but it’s unlikely the mainstream media will take them to task. It’s not even a main headline on the ABCs website.

You would think that a party campaigning on the theme of “jobs and growth” might, when the jobs figures were released last week, come under some scrutiny. After all, they showed that full-time jobs were becoming almost non- existent.

But no, the story disappeared in a day.

An observation.

The mainstream media will only ever print or say whatever is in its best interests. Then it might say something interesting and truthful”.

There is a strong sense in the community that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. They have lost all credibility. That they no longer investigate or report but just opinionise.

A response to my post ‘The Future of News’ on The AIMN from Steve Laing is worthy of consideration:

“The mass media died the minute that advertising dollars became a more important source of revenue than circulation. Most of the mass media in this country (and I now include the ABC in this group), appear to have little journalistic integrity or indeed ability. Perhaps that is because those journalists recognise that a few dominant employers in the market (most of whom are right, or very right, leaning), it is sensible not to publish something that might be career limiting.

The approach seems to be all about quantity rather than quality, exacerbated by the mantra’s of the 24hour news cycle. Important stories simply disappear before they are properly examined. Many others just go un-noticed. It is now all about opinions, and little about facts. Political reporting is no longer about policies, its about politics. Journalists won’t say what the potential impact of terrible legislation is likely to have, but they will talk about the careers of those who put it forward. It has become little more than insider gossip, and of course, for most of us who are outside that cosy construct, it loses any connection. This is typified by those crass shows of Annabel Croft, but increasingly even Insiders and Q&A have lost any edge that they may have once had.

The Libs must be delighted. Any opportunity to ignore the truth and facts is a day in heaven for them! It’s probably why they bank roll Murdoch with such generous tax rebates”.

In the midst of all this negative reporting and writing off Labor’s chances yesterday we had two major polls of contrasting prediction. The Fairfax-Ipos poll shows Labor maintaining a narrow lead over the Coalition. The latest Newspoll suggests that Labor is not getting the support in the marginal it needs to win government. IPOS has Labor 51/49 Newspoll show that Labor may make gains in WA but nowhere else. But collectively the polls do point to a close election. They also show that minor parties and independents might just decide the future of either party.

Now the point is that despite the lack of credible reporting and whether you follow the polls or not I am prepared to predict that this election will be closer than the negative writers of mainstream media predict. I have a growing dissatisfaction with polls that use only land lines and I ask why they need larger samples to more accurately predict an overall result and a much smaller sample to predict the marginal seats.

After having delivered nothing in their term of office Turnbull has to convince the electorate, in the next fortnight, that his Government is worthy of another chance. Conversely, Shorten has to convince them that they are worthy of managing the economy and that there is some unpleasantness on the horizon and some immediate injustice in the way of inequality just around the corner.

My thought for the day.

“We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups”.


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  1. Terry2

    We still have Morrison saying that we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and they say that they can take $50 billion out of revenue without significant curtailment of government services.

    In the meantime we have Turnbull matching Labor in putting $100 million into a new footie stadium in Townsville – on top of the $140 million committed by the Queensland government : that is spending and for the life of me I cannot see why federal taxpayer funds should be going into a footie stadium..

  2. Kaye Lee

    Every election money goes to football stadiums and CCTV cameras.

  3. corvus boreus

    I might help if Labor members/candidates were to utilise the unfolding revelations regarding the dodgy Liberal-Parakeelia donation-funding accounting shell games to create a strong narrative that clearly differentiated themselves from the Coalition in terms of policy on donations, appointments and other form of possible corruption (beyond being ‘a bit less dirty’).
    To do so might both help focus some media attention on the matter (thus damaging the LIB-NATS), and enable Labor to gain some votes from amongst the unaffiliated ethicists (a small but staunch demographic).
    I will admit to being a political dilettante who disdains full-time media immersion (especially around election times), but if Labor people are speaking up sharply on this issue, it doesn’t seem to be cutting through.

  4. Pali

    Is it strategy or are you mentioning the mainstream media’s right wing bias now 12 days from the election,in hope attracting attention, and when you discussed the polls and the pollsters only using a land line or taking to small a small a sample in the marginal seats I thought I was reading my own blog, which I wrote three weeks some ago. Oh well I suppose it’s better late than never. Keep up the good work!!! There’s no punctuation mark for irony.

  5. babyjewels10

    corvus boreus. Totally agree. It might FORCE the MSM to deal with this. As it is, the MSM continue to destroy democracy.

  6. Clean livin

    And the winner is……….

    The non aligned parties of the Senate.

    Whoever controls the treasury benches will still have to get changes of legislation through the Senate, and that has not been easy, lately.

    It is the Senate where the swinging voters take out their insurance, and after promises about “no carbon tax with any government I lead”, along with “no change to health, education, pension, or the ABS and SBS”, is it any wonder we take out insurance from these lying bastards!

    Thanks to our constitution, we inadvertently CAN control these hypocrites to SOME degree!

  7. John Lord

    Terry. They are spending the 1 1/2 billion in the last budget for unallocated projects.

  8. corvus boreus

    Clean livin.
    It remains to be seen how much of the polled increase in support for the minors and indies can coalesce into actual seats, especially given the different possible effects of the new senate voting rules.

  9. Peter F

    It does appear that, with the ALP primary vote remaining at the level of the 2013 election, and the shift away from coalition to minor parties, that the outcome will be interesting. One possible interpretation is that those who swung towards ABBOTT’s team have now moved away, and it will be where their preferences end that will decide the lower house seats.

  10. Garth

    Steve Laings comment in your piece John, is right on the money. This morning on Insiders they were talking about the coalitions small target strategy. Mark Kenny opined that the LNP had nothing to gain by making themselves more visible and interrogated, so why do it (?)
    I’ll tell Mark why… because the politicians job shouldn’t be to just retain power, it should be to put forward your policies then allow them to be examined and questioned. It should be a contest of ideas, not just tactics. And as Steve eloquently states, it’s the media letting us all down in this regard.

  11. kerri

    Well said John! You have summed up my frustrations!

  12. Vincenza Pearce

    Funny how no one has mentioned the cost to every Australian for bombing and fighting in a war that has nothing to do with us, it helps to displace people who we then don’t offer asylum to, Want to go a long way in balancing the budget> Bring troops home, close overseas detention centres, Bring humans in detention/prison camps to Australia, settle families in country towns that are dying due to lack of population and workers.
    Invest in renewables which will create more jobs than mining does. Make mining companies clean up their sites and revegitate as they go, this will create jobs. Stop subsidising polluting companies fine them if if they endanger eco systems, our land our rivers and oceans. Australia we need a bold plan we are such a diverse nation we have the ability to lead the world in sustainability. Everything that we could possibly want is right here”be a country that believes in peace, be that smart country that uses our brain and realise we can transcend poluting monopolies
    To generate the energy we need from renewable resources, yes it is free to us by nature, we just need to use our brains to harnes and distribute it. Protect our water quality as it is the most valuable resource that we have. Be an example of unity in this country by taking care of our young, by mentoring and guiding them through education, the elderly have so much to contribute, raise the pension as a stipend for sharing their knowledge from the Council area where they live, look after the health of our people which include all indigenous and the disadvantaged. Have respect for each other, Politicians salaries and superannuation should be subject to performance indicators, and signed off by a Board of Citizens.
    Just saying ?

  13. Matthew Oborne turns out to be a domain name owned by the Liberal party. The CFA dispute isnt what it looks like.

  14. johnlward010

    Attempting to change the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 to something that suits the executive, and its’ Political donors or benefactors can only be done by going back to the Senate.

    Note: Since this was written Hunt has said he has agreed to use CEFC funds to finance the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, yet told the UN that it was ‘new money’. = $1Bn
    Hunt and Turnbull pledged to save the GBR and in the fine print added Bio fuel from the Sugar industry (Ethanol) which links back to the Oil industry as soon to be compulsory additive to petrol.= $1Bn
    Last Thursday they pledged money for the retaining of the Whyalla steel mill as part of our defence and manufacturing industry =$100 Million
    All this from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

    Prime Minister Turnbull claims he has taken $1billion from the CEFC $10 bn funds that the previous parliament created, to fund his new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF), intending to have the ARENA and the CEFC act jointly as administrators of the CEIF. A further $ 1 bn has beed ‘drawn ‘ from the “Green Bank ” to Clean up the Barrier Reef, a $100 mill set aside to prevent the closure of the Steel works in Whyalla SA.
    At the same time, Minister Hunt joined 175 Nations in New York and was reported making a commitment, to use “New Money from Treasury of $1bn over ten years,” to pay for the innovation fund. Thereby demonstrating his Bona Fides.
    His pledge described in the mainstream media as‚ a Pea and Thimble trick‚ the shifting of committed money from funds; out of the so-called Green Bank, (the CEFC) into the CEIF.

    This is still the Guts of my charge of Misfeasance, and Deceptive and Misleading Representations under the ‘Crimes Act.’

    The origin of this saga is Hockey and Cormann Attempting to change the Investment Mandate of the CEFC to ‘repurpose’ the corporation when the bill to abolish the CEFC was in the cupboard under the Senate as a double Dissolution Trigger.

    Misconduct of Public Officers.
    Section 92A(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. To act in abuse of Authority of office, with the intention to dishonestly gain a benefit for another person or cause a detriment to another.

    Concern regarding deceptive and misleading conduct by Members of Parliament:
    Prime Minister Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, Former Prime Minister Abbott, Ministers Pyne, Hockey, Cormann, and Hunt are attempting to convince the public [G138] to “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science, recognition of uncertainties becomes part of “conventional wisdom” and the Industry, that they and cabinet can ‘re-purpose and re-direct’ the corporation without going back through parliament; limiting changes can be made by the responsible ministers in the terms of the ‘Limits on Investment Mandate’.

    Let’s consider again, the limits; the CEFC Act 2012 imposes on the responsible Minister’s mandate.

    Section 65: The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):
    (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or
    (b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).

    The key is they have Deliberately ignored the Law (CEFC Act 2012) by pretending that section 65 of the Act uses clear mandatory Language to state that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment.
    I want to point out that Morrison continues to tell us we can’t spend money we don’t have. While he and his bunch of thieves are robbing the Green bank that is still under protection of the law of the land.
    They are running a huge bluff and just to make sure you understand this is urgent they imply thet most of this money is available to them on the first of July, in the Caretaker period and 24 hours before the people vote.

    This letter is not just about links to the IPA, The Dossier of Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos of Corporate Disinformation.
    This outlines the evidence so far gathered to link the Oil And Coal Giants From the seventies, The IPA since before Abbott was the LNP leader.
    To Abbots actions as being strongly links to the IPA wish list and Abbot’s pledge before Murdoch, George Pell and Mrs Rhinehardt on the seventieth Birthday the IPA.

  15. my say

    It is time that people wake up to the three word slogans, the hate, and the fear ,
    We are voting for the future of Australia, all Australians,
    This isnt just about Turnbull or Shorten,look at the teams behind them ,really there is no comparison, you only have to look at what we got from the last three years of Liberal Government ,an uterely disfunctional government,with nothing to offer All Australians ,
    They say that the pen is mightier than the sword,we have the power don’t waste it
    vote Labor ,vote Liberals out

  16. Jaquix

    I find it interesting that Newspoll and others doing “marginal seat polls” this week, have not done one (or have not released the results of one) in the oh-so-interesing bellweather seat of Eden-Monaro in NSW. Since 1972 (44 years) it has always returned a Member, whose party has formed the government. Unpopular Lib Hendy holds it by a 2.6 % margin, and is up against Labor’s popular prior member Mike Kelly. So its very telling that they have studiously ignored (or not released) figures for this seat. I heard on the grapevine that polling had been done, and the results were disastrous for the Coaltion. Is there a whistleblower who can shed some light ??

  17. Jack Russell

    Our stadiums are, more correctly, colosseums – and being used in the same way they were during the collapse of the Roman Empire, a mechanism to provide a distraction for the masses. Modern sport has been harnessed by the corrupt and has ceased to be what most of us still think of it as.

    It is bread and circuses – an obvious don’t look over here/look over there element of a combined suite of social manipulation tools by corporate/political vested interests and it is working very well – as it always has.

    So, a pox on the pork-barrellers of the 21st century!

  18. my say

    Jaquix i live in the seat of Eden Monaro ,Hendy hasnt attended one forum in any electorite, unless he is claiming credit for various policies that were funded by Labor in the 2013 election
    He hasbeen the invisable man on many occasions ,most people would only recognise him when he stood near Turnbull ,after they knifed Abbott

  19. Jaquix

    My Say, thanks for feedback! I hope this translates to many more voters not voting for the undeserving Libs. Since posting, I came across an informal video of Barrie Cassidy explaining how Newspoll are using 2013 preferences, and things have changed, so its likely their figures are even more inaccurate than it seems on the surface.

  20. my say

    Jaquix Labor could be ahead 60% to 40% and they would still have the Liberals winning,
    I despise this Turnbull Government ,but i really have to say i agree with Turnbull when he said you have to make every vote count ,well i really hope Australia do make their votes count ,and rid us of this rotten to the core government.

  21. 1petermcc

    I’m pleased you mentioned “overstatement” John. It sits right up there with “misspoke”.

    Of course describing these events as anything other than lying takes the passion out of politics and then they add insult to injury by claiming folk are bored with politics.

    The differences between the two majors are stark and any decent Journo has a wealth of material to work with. Unfortunately there seems to be a focus on soap opera rather than policies so they are up for a Leadership challenge, but sod all else.

    Its encouraging to see the frustration is shared. With the Aim Network, we may even get to a point where we can get the message out and raise the standard of politics in this country. Love ya work.

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