Politics has become the art of making your opponent look bad. Of course, this gives Labor a distinct advantage because the Coalition have managed to do it all by themselves on a number of occasions in the recent past. From trying to tell us that the best person to lead the country was Tony Abbott to the latest fiasco involving Barnaby Joyce. (By this I mean his suggestion that he may not be the actual father, so any comparison between him and Darth Vader were ridiculous because he was doing the right thing and giving the kid a mother and a father, so there’s no inconsistency with his position during the marriage equality debate,)
I was all set to be totally misunderstood by talking about the signs I saw while passing through Preston on Saturday. Underneath signs for The Greens, I saw plenty of “Stop Labor’s Adani Mine”. Why the mine is Labor’s I couldn’t work out. It seemed a bit ingenuous to be putting all the blame on Labor. If there’d been a Liberal running in the seat, would it still have been Labor’s mine, or would there have been some acknowledgement that Labor is the only major party expressing doubts about the mine going ahead? And while the Liberals and the mainstream media are trying to get you to believe that Labor is saying one thing in Queensland and another thing in Victoria, Bill Shorten has actually been fairly consistent: The mine shouldn’t go ahead if it doesn’t stack up commercially or environmentally, but we may not be able to reverse that when we get into government because contracts may have been signed and approvals have already been given. You may not agree with his position but it has been consistent.
Anyway, I was all set to write about Adani again and point out that the only way that it’s likely to go ahead is if the federal government lends them the money, but then I read Amanda Vanstone’s column. (By the way, Adani have recently extended their self-imposed March deadline for getting finance.) Reading Amanda’s column was a bit of an accident. I didn’t see the by-line and I was halfway through before I asked myself, “What nuph-nuph has written this?”
Vanstone had the interesting view that really things we just fine and it was the 24 hour news cycle that led to people clicking on the rubbish and ignoring the more substantial policy announcements. See, it’s not really a politician’s fault, nor even a journalist, it’s all the rault of you and me for being more interested in Barnaby’s member than the announcement of another new stadium in a marginal electorate.
In the midst of her attempt to argue that politicians score highly, but we, unfortunately, have a tendency to focus on their own goals, she told us: ” Then Cher comes along to Mardi Gras and tweets with the guy who actually delivered same-sex marriage and lefty activists mobilise on Twitter.”
By “the guy who actually delivered same-sex marriage”, she meant Malcolm Turnbull. To argue that we should be thanking him is akin to suggesting that really it was Tony who first suggested the plebiscite, so really Mal was just following on Tony’s good work. And given that it was the Coalition that insisted on holding a vote – which some of them ignored anyway – I don’t see how Malcolm did anything more than delay the process.
But it’s a bit like the tariff situation in the US. Our steel and aluminium didn’t have them, then there was the suggestion that we might get them, then Turnbull talks to Trump and Trump agrees to do what he promised last year and we’re all really happy at the great outcome. It’s a bit like someone threatening to throw a brick through your window and after you have a bit of a chat, he agrees not to and you go around telling everybody what a great relationship you have because, well, he’s not going to launch an unprovoked assault on you, and the rumours that you had to agree to drive the getaway car if he throws a brick through some other guy’s window are just not true.
And so with marriage equality. After leading the party who held it up, Vanstone wants us to be grateful that Mr Turnbull and company stopped holding it up and let Parliament vote on it, but only after spending money on a postal survey. And guess what? The postal survey didn’t cost as much as predicted so that’s another thing we should be thankful for…
Vanstone finishes off by asserting:
“I think our Parliament does a pretty good job. We are just lemmings to the swill trough of rubbish that masquerades as news. And then we say we’ve lost faith. Cut the rubbish out, seek the substance and you might have a brighter view.”
The interesting thing, however, in her entire column she chooses to write about examples of the “rubbish” and doesn’t give a single example of these things of substance. I guess that’s why she tells us to “seek” them ourselves.