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There’s still something missing from our media

Something went missing from our mainstream media after September 2013: the opinion of the opposition leader. Until then it was the most sought after voice in politics, then suddenly it stopped and has since has become blatantly irrelevant.

In November of 2013 I wrote:

‘Do you remember how most political stories used to begin between the 2010 and 2013 elections? They began with “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . ” and we were bombarded daily with whatever opinion Tony Abbott held. Even articles about the Government or a policy release began with the mandatory “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . “.

Have you seen any article begin with that since Bill Shorten was elected Leader of the new Opposition?

When Tony Abbott held that position the media used to beat a path to his door. Now anyone would be right in thinking that Bill Shorten has gone in hiding: yes, he’s been rather silent, but why aren’t the media making an effort to talk to him? Why are they no longer interested in what the Leader of the Opposition might have to say?

Well we all know the answer to that. The Government has made a mess of just about everything they’ve laid their hands on so the Leader of the Opposition is the last person they’d want to speak to these days. The Opposition could have a field day thanks to the stuff-ups from [then Prime Minister] Abbott and his team of incompetents; it’ll be a real turkey shoot.

But they can’t do it without the media giving them a voice.

Oh how I miss the good old days of “The Leader of the Opposition says . . . “.’

Well, two and a half years later things haven’t changed.

I and others have often been critical of Labor, believing they have a product to sell which they aren’t, and believing they have a government to condemn, which they aren’t. But in all honesty, how can they? The mainstream media was able to help Tony Abbott sell his message prior to the 2013 election and half the population was sucked into believing that the ‘carbon tax’ would destroy the human race and that stopping the boats could be the only thing that would save it.

And now, with the country facing even a greater crisis than the one manufactured in 2013 and one that Labor has a better chance of steering us through than the current government . . . they are muted.

There is an Opposition leader and I would like to hear what he has to say.

(But if he’s sprung texting while driving . . . then the media is all over him).



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  1. DisablednDesperate

    Yes. The difference is striking.

  2. Douglas Evans

    Haven’t noticed it. Thought I’d seen Bill Shorten pretty regularly announcing new policy, commenting on the Government’s latest slip. Perhaps I need to watch more closely.

  3. Sir ScotchMistery

    The biggest question is which PM is being asked for an opinion, that they want the opposition leader to comment on. The PM currently living in New York, pretending to be a healthful octogenarian screwing the last throwaway of an aging rolling stone; or the one living in the lodge, still responding to calls from his old boss, Goldman Sachs, who it has been reported instructed him to have an election in April.

    Seriously, we deserve these bastards if we can’t change the direction of our political march.

  4. Michael Lacey

    Well when you say main stream you have to include the ABC as well! Yes you are correct the media or rather main stream are a joke!

  5. Michael Taylor

    Douglas, I used to listen to the ABC news on the way to work. Nine mornings out of ten the lead story would start with “The leader of the opposition says . . . “

  6. Carol Taylor

    Yes indeed, as soon as the then Labor government would voice an opinion or release a new policy or scratch their noses, the msm would be on Tony’s doorstop to ask his opinion. Of course the msm expected the fabulous, amazing (cough, cough)..’moderate’ Turnbull would be shoo-in, so why bother printing anything which Bill Shorten might do or say. How many people realise that Shorten spent the break touring drought effected country areas? Where were the cameras? Yet it became a standard joke how Abbott managed to get full page, living color half to full page spread with..a loaf of bread, with a dead fish, with a pile of boxes, with a….

  7. Matthew Oborne

    my other favourite was The governments message is being overshadowed by…. and then they would usually refer again to her time at Slater and Gordon or polls indicating people wanted Rudd., there are no polls indicating people want Abbott, and Turnbulls time as Australian CEO of Goldman sachs went so well they faced a $450 million dollar class action by investors. The media refer to Turnbulls success in business but costing investors hundreds of millions of dollars is hardly good on the resume of a PM yet nothing is said, We unfortunately know why the media cover the way they do we are seeing it in stark reality in America at the moment, major Broadcasters not reporting on massive rallies for Bernie Sanders and one even reporting Sanders had lost weeks ago and was out of the running. The traditional media is in it’s death throws anyway, but they are now playing their last cards for all they are worth. Every major event in Julia’s time had Abbott getting time also for a response but Shorten is mainly kept out of the picture.

    Noam Chomsky gave us a timely reminder years ago by showing media reports that favour the choice of big business, so it is nothing new. The ABC however needs it’s rules changed because public interest is coming second to balance.

  8. vicki

    … and Julia Gillard, when PM, was almost always referred to as Gillard and not given her legitimate honorific of Prime Minister (Gillard).

  9. Möbius Ecko

    It was actually “the leader of the opposition says”, “the opposition says” or “such and such from the opposition says.”

    I often commented on it back then, especially on the ABC who by far did this the most. The government couldn’t say or do a single thing without referral to the opposition in one way or another.

    But it was worse than that. The opposition, whoever they referred to, got more air and press time than the government in their responses, were allowed to get away with just about any statement and blatant lie without being questioned and the photos, lead-ins and video shorts nearly always showed the opposition, especially Abbott, favourably, but showed the government in a unfavourable way. Indeed some of the current affairs and news intros only showed images of Abbott but rarely of the PM, especially when Gillard was PM. Very deliberate.

    Even to this day on the ABC I’ve noted the inordinate amount of times there are low quality video, glitches and drop outs when they conduct live interviews with anyone other then the L-NP and how many times the current opposition are cut short when answering questions. Most times the sudden cut back to the studio is not even excused or given explanation, the studio presenter goes on as though nothing untoward occurred.

  10. kerri

    Bad news sells and the current leader of the opposition is selling good news stories whilst not completely sledging the government. Abbott played to the medias attraction to colour and like lambs to the slaughter they followed, believed, wrote, published and gave the whole thinking game away!

  11. Gangey1959

    You know when you walk down the street (yeah yeah it’s a rare occasion) and out of 25 trees down the middle of the road there is ONE tree full of bird noise. You can’t see them, you don’t know how big they are, you don’t know how many there are, but you can hear them over ALL the other noises going on, the trucks, the construction, the trains, the people.
    And over the good ideas.
    You can tell which tree it is that they are in because of all of the shit below it, and the seed pod refuse, and the mangled leaves and general debris they create. we all bitch about them to one another, but no-one does anything, because we know that eventually they will just piss off and find somewhere else to screw up. Unless some over-monied moron from wentworth parks his bmw under the tree with the sunroof open. Then we all know about the national plan for bird removal, and how the highway will be shut in both directions while a bunch of under qualified tree?surgeons argue about what brand of chainsaw should be used, and whether a quiet shake might just move enough of them on to stop people talking about them, or whether they will just ride the top of the tree to the ground and still be there in the morning so let’s not do anything just now and they might just fly away earlier that expected.
    That is our current leader of the backbench. The species “abbottis dumbasasackofbirdshitus”. Except that you can’t use him on your garden because his excrement is environmentally toxic and greenhouse detrimental and bad for the water table too.. He had his feathers ruffled a bit a few months ago by a bigger rooster, but now he’s back in his tree, shitting and squarking and making rude bird noises and generally upsetting all and sundry to the point that his is the only voice that we hear about, while he creates misery and destruction around himself as far and deep as he can.
    There is a solution. Two actually.
    1) We could extradite him back home along with Johnny Depp’s dogs for illegal entry.
    2) A bloody big bird-net over the whole tree.
    I’m off to Bunnings. I’m no good at legalities

  12. Douglas Pye

    An old expression comes to mind … ” Power tends to corrupt — absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” !

    Even ‘light’ research reveals the Absolute Power Worldwide, of the Murdoch Press …. absolutely Worldwide !! ( please pardon repetition).

    Whilst in ‘light’ mode, do we ever look at the (underlying) meaning of words ? …. often everyday words ?? … think ‘opposition’ ?

    In (Australian) political terms, there’s the Government of the day occupying the Treasury benches, and another group, alliance / sundries, who scored fewer votes (?)….. clearly termed as the ” Opposition ” – which the Abbott era defined “opposing everything” as being their correct role in the Chamber! … actually, utter Bastardry in that instance !

    Now, when this ‘opposition’ factor is played out as above, in current terms the percentage of the public who voted for other than today’s Government are factually denied of any rights pertaining to their citizenship!! .?? … does ‘ winner take all ‘ fairly represent Democracy ??

    Are not the political ‘class’ simply competing for the ability to govern in terms of what represents the best value for this Nation ? … in accordance with the proposals put forward when ‘ Competing ‘ for OUR Vote come election time ? Dare I mention the ” NO CUTS” commitment … bare faced lies ?? …. utter contempt !

    Indeed, the Competitive aspect of today’s Governing does NOT align with Democracy and, when combined with barefaced LIES, tends to defy / destroy any aspect of Democracy in terms of it’s Greek origin ! … (Google ?) …

    In light of the weight of legislation passed in the last Labor (hung) Parliament, is one entitled to wonder if the ‘hung’ era will persist into the future …. in which case the personal ‘integrity’ word really comes in to play ? …. and, could this factor be playing on the minds of the neocons pursuing the D D ?

  13. Michael Taylor

    Gangey, it’s probably not a good idea that we suggest shooting people. I’ve had to remove that suggestion.

  14. Wally

    Hopefully the opposition leaders opinion will remain irrelevant after the next election has been won by Labour.

    But I doubt a LNP opposition leader will not be given the opportunity to upstage a Labor PM, that would be considered fair in a conservative (rules) world.

  15. Terry2

    Fair’s fair Michael : the former revered leader was after all the suppository of all wisdom and thus worthy of media attention ; although on closer scrutiny he turned out to be just another bum !

  16. diannaart


    The tree with all the birds in it is the one I park my car under.


  17. Bronte ALLAN

    Sure comments from Bill Shorten are not so eagerly sought, but a good percentage of the media is controlled by Rupert Mudrake, & we ALL know just what he thinks about the “left” of Government! Unfortunately for his rags, is that without Tony Abscess as PM, they don’t seem to be able to “listen” to Tony’s every uttering, not at all as good as when he was the Leader of the Opposition!

  18. Stephen

    I tend to think of it as the traffic accident syndrome we are all or at least mostly all drawn to loud and dangerous accidents and situations happening to others, slowing down to stare at a car crash for instance or the latest natural disaster. They is something very primitive about it witness apes watching and screeching from a tree if a leopard or lion takes one of them.
    It is a survival trait and we hopefully learn to recognize dangers this way. But now we have the capacity to generate artificial calamity’s in the media. It is a technique long employed over millennium from pre-classical times Egyptians Romans and many others to fear and danger of the other the unusual the strange etc. to the modern era were the expansion of the mass media to more and more of the population makes it even more dangerous to the general good. It is a technique that shuts off reason, thought, intelligence, and hooks directly into the survival instinct leading to behavior we would not in normal ways ever condone of ourselves or others. But having done so we need to justify retrospectively to ourselves and others.
    I don’t see any way to change such deep instinctive behavior nor should we we need it, but when others callously use it to control us and gain power and authority for themselves at great cost to us and the “other” that is a vicious criminal act of callous self interest we can all with 5 seconds thought think of many times it has been used to terrible effect and at a cost of millions of lives using race religion politics sex the possible targets are endless.
    Sadly I don’t have any idea what we can do I see the problem I don’t see any solution, I recognize it and try to control it in me and understand that others are acting from deeply instinctive behavior and work around it, but other than this I just don’t know.

  19. jimhaz

    Abbott’s modus operandum was to look and sound authoritarian and to say things that would make people emote. It is the way conservative govs do their politicking.

    The media are interested in the same thing. Shorten doesn’t make the grade, he is not as used to both experiencing and using propaganda relative to Abbot’s extensive life experience.

  20. Gangey1959

    @Michael. Spoil all my fun. I should have said “and then throw the whole lot into one of Roxby Down’s separating ponds” then.
    @Dianna. Mine has possums in it. No birds. Bigger lumps, but they wash off easier.
    I’ve got my net. Now where is that half-wit pommy bastard roosting today ? “Here parrot….”

  21. jim

    Good comment, it don’t sit right that the GOV of the Day has the power to edit all media before going to press there must be a lot of highly paid liberal editors out there……So….. until we do a system reboot for “fairer wealth sharing standards” which would show the new Laws/OS…… to be most beneficial to all…. hell no ! we are incapable of rational thinking (Liberals)…….now where is that missing plane……have some respect please……This from the I.A quote;Tony Abbott once described Kevin Rudd as a ‘hyper-control freak’. It has now emerged that Abbott himself is gagging his own cabinet from the right to talk to media without prior approval from his office. This might spell the end of members of the Liberal party appearing on television programs like Q&A and 7:30, which are fundamental to our democracy.

    With so much control, you could almost say that Tony Abbott is now running our country as a dictatorship. His one-woman cabinet will no longer have a voice and will be unable to speak up about important issues in the public domain, which we weren’t expecting much of, anyway…………..The media-ban decision was made after Christopher Pyne revealed in an interview the government’s agenda to take an axe to the university sector. Seems a bit like the Diaz slip-up, doesn’t it?

    These aren’t the only media bans Tony Abbott has enforced. It was revealed recently that the government would attempt to cover-up boat arrival information, taking away our knowledge on how many boats are arriving. This decision has a huge impact on our democracy, taking away transparency. link;…https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-new-dictatorship,5761

  22. Jexpat

    Spot on.

    In fact, my observations on that dynamic go even further. Take Triple J’s “news” hourly feeds (to use but one example). Over that time periond, they grew progressively worse, biased, at times promoting outright dishonesty. Station logs, if they’re available would demonstrate this unequvocally.

    This became so obvious and transparent as to be a running joke (if you could call it that) among some of us

    The typical blurb would go like this: {brief description of some event, policy announced or development in parliament} usually around 10-15 seconds} followed by 30-45 seconds of {Tony Abbott sez: or _______ insert shadow minister sez:}.

    You could count on something similar, on the hour, nearly every day.

    Not anymore of course- and certainly not in any way reciprocally. In one impressive instance recently, Triple J did one of their blurbs about the LNP attack on safe schools- the entirety of which was government propaganda from one of the usual bigots suspects in Parliament (I can’t recall which).

    On reflection, I’m not sure how well it would have gone down with the particular audience demographic, but that only highlights the extent of problem.

  23. win jeavons

    We have to stop bowing down to wealth as though its possessors are a superior breed. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then extreme wealth corrupts extremely, for power and great wealth are joined at the hip on the side where the wallet sits. O’Henry said it all long ago, when he said the rich were ripping off either their clients/customers or their workers. No wonder the party that is “open for business” is so anti union, as most workers only want their fair share and today many are NOT getting it! I can’t believe that any one on earth is worth even half a million as pay, when we treat the less-than- fully -employed so shabbily .

  24. June M Bullivant OAM

    Don’t worry the average Australian who is being taxed to the hilt know what Murdock is like, but we have your publication and social media, most people do not buy paper media at all have you noticed Newsagents do not carry the amount of papers they used to.

  25. jim

    Yep 0’mal wouldn’t stand for any bias in our media,? BTW He who controls the media controls the mindset of the population …..but……no one controls the web thingy ……..for now…….the Libs destroyed our NBN something to do with Murdoch not very happy……….Adults hu fn adults how must their kids behave?..

  26. David

    Most of you have covered it very well. I wonder if the ABC do not consider giving Labor, be they in Govt or Opposition a fair go and they don’t either way, because they know regardless of what their (the ABC) attitude toward Labor is, they will always get a fair go be it either funding or staffing from them.
    Labor are not a threat are in fact true friends of the ABC, unlike as we know the Torys. Hence the need to bend over backwards to please their Conservative masters who have no compunction in trashing the brand.
    Perhaps I am wrong, but is my perception.

  27. Tom R

    Why do you think Labor had to go to these extremes to get their voice heard (not that that is working either).


    And when the media finally do report, it is usually disparaging or dismissive. I mean, Labor are now level pegging the opposition, and this is still reported as “despite” Bill Shorten. It just doesn’t occur to them that it just may be BECAUSE of Bill Shorten?

  28. jim

    well if the MSM doesn’t show any Labor policies we can here at the AIMN……… Submarines: A constructive proposal to build, maintain and sustain the next generation of submarines here in Australia. An investment in our national security and high-skill Australian jobs – clearly supported by today’s Defence Department revelations.

    Renewable energy: Offering certainty for jobs and investors in our renewable energy industry, where Australia should be seizing our natural and competitive advantages.

    Domestic violence: A new focus on tackling family violence: a national crisis summit within our first 100 days, ending the ‘postcode lottery’ of unequal services and put the focus on perpetrator accountability, because every woman has the right to be safe in her home and in our community.

    University reform: The next step in university reform, building the bridge between enrolment and completion, a system converting uni places into degrees, into good jobs.

    Indigenous progress: Greater urgency on constitutional recognition for the first Australians and closing the justice gap – bringing together Indigenous leaders to build a consensus for progress.

    Fairer tax system: Making multinationals pay their fair share of tax in Australia. Sustainable retirement incomes: Boosting the fairness and sustainability of retirement incomes.

    Improve the family budget: Delivering long-term structural improvements to the budget trajectory, without Liberal ram-raids on the family budget.

  29. jim

    RC into the biggest rorters of all the Banks“How the banks steal from you right under your nose… Legally”

    Glen from the RBA is trying his best, cutting rates and trying to light a spark under consumer spending, the banks are taking the opportunity to line their pockets quite nicely, thank you very much. It’s a cosy cartel that’s putting Aussie investors out of pocket and putting a drag on the whole economy… Burn the banks I say.

    Is anyone else getting tired of the banks crying poor? As Aussie investors etched out modest returns where they could over the past few years, the banks continued to post record profits… I’ve got no problem with that, business is business… But they continue to tell us that conditions are “too tough” to pass on RBA rate cuts in full. …….link;http://knowledgesource.com.au/thieves_lies_cheats/

  30. Terry2


    I was just paying my NAB Mastercard account. I noticed that the annualised interest rate is 19.74%.

    Seems to me that we really do need an enquiry into banking practices and culture.

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