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Murdoch hasn’t finished yet

Did you notice anything during the election campaign? I noticed that the ferociously rabid Murdoch media unleashed itself as the most persuasive and effective media in the country for promoting the discourse that Tony Abbott had evolved into something worth promoting. And of course, protecting. I have no doubt that their murderous attack on the Labor Government and its leader, coupled with the elevation of Abbott to the status of living god, was enough to swing the election. David Donovan of Independent Australia summed it up succinctly:

There is no doubt whatsoever that Murdoch gifted the Coalition several per cent of the vote on Saturday and, when you consider the weekend’s result was far away from being a landslide, there is little doubt Murdoch, in effect, gifted Abbott the prime ministership.

But now the aftermath. Tony Abbott might have been gifted the prime ministership but he will fall short of his ultimate goal; control of the Senate. The minor parties took a big chunk away from mostly Labor, but also the Coalition and it means Abbott will have to show his negotiating skills, which are already proving to be zilch as he’s promised to go to an early election at the beginning of next year if he doesn’t get his way. News Limited has jumped to his cause quickly with “Welcome to your nightmare” as minor parties claim Senate seats and Abbott will have to deal with them. It is the first attack by Murdoch – of many to come – to engineer an early election to attempt to get full power for his puppet. The Australian – Murdoch’s premier broadsheet – with their usual scare tactics yesterday chimed in with:

Business and state governments have warned that the economy faces a multi-billion-dollar drag if Labor and the Greens block Tony Abbott’s plans to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, amid fears an obstructionist Senate could keep the carbon price in place until 2015.

After the prime minister-elect instructed his department on Sunday to begin drafting the legislation to abandon the carbon-pricing scheme, business groups lined up to urge parliament to respect his government’s mandate.

So according to the Murdoch media, the Senate is obstructionist.

The Senate’s role is basically a check on government by scrutinising bills, delegated legislation, government administration, and government policy in general. A government that does not have a majority in the Senate, and therefore do not always have easy passage of legislation is subject to negotiation and consultation with minor parties and independents, as well as with the Opposition of course. In a democracy, the Opposition party may have sufficient support to have the Senate reject or, more democratically, amend government bills.

The last time a Government had control of both Houses was in 2004. Remember how this gave Howard’s draconian WorkChoices an easy ride as it was rammed through Parliament at the horror of a stunned electorate?

The behaviour of the Murdoch media in the few short days since the election suggests that it is not happy with purely elevating the Coalition into Government. They want it to go further. They want Tony Abbott to have unbridled control over this country, for whatever reason. Many have been speculated. Some are frightening.

The manner in which a large number of the electorate succumbed to Murdoch’s wishes on September 7 leaves me fearful that they may just as willingly do the same if a Double Dissolution election were to be called, as promised by Abbott if he does not get his way with the Senate. In the meantime expect Murdoch to attack the Senate as not only obstructionist but one that is detrimental to the economic security of this country.

It has already started. Expect it to go feral.

Thanks to Mobius Echo from Café Whispers for his input into this topic.

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  1. Julie Storry

    There is a problem for the LNP here. If the senate is deemed @obstructionist’, and Abbott opts for a DD early in 2015, he will hardly have Hockey ‘cut deep and cut soon’ as the AFR trumpteted yesterday. An interesting conundrum. Depends whether he has any respect at all for the intelligence of the voters.

  2. Colin Thai

    Well it goes on and on !! I do not think he would like a DD, he is sitting in the chair at this moment and his brain is pulsating “what to do what to do” I do not think he is the kind of person to take chances. Murdoch will be pressuring him to Attack, As far as the Senate is concerned , I can see plenty of in fighting, but it will sort itself out, and he won’t get his (Abbotts)way. I believe in the next year we will see the REAL Abbott at work, and that’s going to affect the whole Australia, I can see this country shutting down yes shutting down, , thanking you…..

  3. rossleighbrisbane

    Of course, if Labor let the Carbon Tax tbe repealed that’d take away one of his potential double dissolution triggers. Not to mention leaving a hole in his budget.
    Would he be game to go on the MRRT or the PPL?
    Not saying it’d be the right thing. Just an interesting tactic.

  4. hilderombout

    To use an Abbott’s phrase: Will this guy (Murdoch) never shut up???

  5. rossleighbrisbane

    And if someone’s got a lot of time. It would be interesting to go through every newspaper to find how often the Senate and the word “obstructionist” were used when Labor were in power, compared to the Liberals.

  6. little devil

    Why not change the Constitution and bring something like this into play

    Rather than a double dissolution, I suggest that if the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months and within 6 months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, then I suggest the proposed law be put to the people as a referendum at the next federal or state election. If it is passed by the people at the referendum, it should pass into law at the earliest possible time in the same way it was put to the people at the referendum. If a future government wants to change the legislation in any way, it would have to be put to the people again to change it.

    It would give the people a say what happens. as we all know a DD isn’t just about one bit of legislation but the policies of all the parties.


  7. diannaart


    You are not alone:

    “South Australian Labor MP Nick Champion is the first in his ranks to argue the Coalition should be allowed to scrap the carbon tax and suffer the consequences.”


    I would like to see Abbott do the hard yards of dealing with a diverse senate – Mr “No” may have to back flip and actually compromise – not his strong suit – his supporters are fully aware of this weakness, hence the pleas from them to not vote in independents and small parties – for a change they were not listened to. Shame so many senate wannabes are from the right.

    Murdoch et al, must quiver with nervousness each time Abbott is let off the leash – he may well peel off his human skin, reveal himself in all his reptilian glory, hissing, “Be afraid, puny humans, be very afraid.”

  8. A Troglodyte

    Little Devil, that would be a great idea IF we had a free and independent media that wasn’t trying to sway public opinion to it’s own way of thinking. If Abbott starts to get cold feet about a DD, then I would think that Murdoch would threaten to pull his support. Then you’ll see the puppet dance.

    Murdoch will have gotten confidence from this past election and will be pushing for his agenda to be adhered to. He knows that he only has to change the opinion of a few percent of voters (see the article on this site about that 😉 ), and an all out attack on the Senate is very likely if they don’t rubber stamp Abbott’s bills.

  9. Bill Shaw

    Unfortunately with the possibility of Senators being elected with only a hand full of votes Murdoch has ammunition to attack. It would be interesting to see what the result would be if there was a minimum percentage of votes obtained for eligibility to win a seat. For instance 5%.

  10. Brian

    One can only take heart from the fact that for all the bullshit rhetoric of Murdoch’s press the Australian public still did not give him the rubber stamp he would have loved in the senate. For all the blurb about weirdo parties getting in, the process was within the rules and they are entitled to be there. If Abbott’s policies are truly the way to go then surely he should have the ability sell his message to the senate and not rely on Murdoch to carry the can for him. Perhaps here lies the issue and the LNP recognize it for what it is. Members of the senate no matter what their affiliations can be presumed to be politically aware and engaged and not so easy to fool. One can only trust they will think of the nation and not allow threats of double dissolutions to intimidate them into conceding anything to bluster.

  11. cassilva48

    Well let’s hope these senators cannot be bought!

  12. Kevin O'Dea

    Rupert Murdoch and his toadies will soon have their comeuppance in the legal matters about to unfold in the British courts and the subsequent washup in the American legal system. The Murdoch Empire may well collapse in a heap, so Abbott and his mates will not be able to rely on their media protection to get away with their manipulation of the Australian electorate. Their outrageous lies will catch up with them in due course.

  13. Bacchus

    Governments need to be very careful playing with the DD trigger. There have been six DD elections since federation. Two have resulted in the government being defeated (three if you include “The Dismissal” election of 1975 since Labor had the majority in HoR before the election), two where the government was returned with a reduced majority, and only one with an increased majority (Hawke 1987).

    In only two elections did the government achieve a majority in the senate, and in only one was a joint sitting of both houses held…

    Be careful what you wish for Tony 😉

  14. Michael Taylor

    Bacchus, your comment above was the 15,000th approved comment at The AIMN. 🙂

  15. Bacchus

    What do I win Michael? Not that b!00$^ mousepad I hope 😆

    Seriously though, congratulations to you and the other very fine authors here. Together you have produced many thought-provoking articles for our consumption & comment. The AIMN has become a daily “must read” for thousands…

  16. OzFenric

    I suspect that Australia got exactly what it wanted with this Senate. Labor’s “What will he cut?” attack line may have blunted some of the gutting that was predicted in the upper house, but I think it led more people to want to put a protectionist senate in place. How else to explain the increased number of Greens? People wanted to see the back of Labor, but they’re scared about what Tony Abbott would do given a chance. Putting him in power, then denying him the ability to do anything, may have been seen as a least-worst outcome. And I personally think it’s likely to be quite entertaining, too.

  17. bernyl

    On ABC this morning, Linda Motram [sp] interviewed a pro RM media columnist/reporter [I can’t find reference to it on the ABC website] who suggested that the economy wasn’t in such a bad state and Joe Hockey should take a considered look at minor changes only, or words to that effect. Interesting..

  18. Michael Taylor

    Bacchus, I’ll have to spin the wheel to see what you’ve won. Prizes include a new BMW, a case of 1972 Grange Hermitage, a world cruise, fully paid 10 day holiday in Vegas for two with $20,000 spending money, a luxury apartment at Surfers Paradise, and everybody’s favourite: a rare WorkChoices mouse pad.

    Spinning the wheel shortly. Good luck!

    Result to be known soon.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Oops, got stuck between the BMW and the Vegas trip.


  20. Michael Taylor

    Bacchus! Congratulations!

    You’ve won . . .

    Drumroll . . .

    A WorkChoices mousepad, 2006 edition.

  21. Buff McMenis

    So, if Fuhrer Rupert wants to gut our Senate because it shows that the Australian people weren’t quite so keen on an Abbott “Mandate” and managed to get lots of minor Parties (?) elected to the Senate, now is the time our discontent must be brought to the fore and the true power of the 5th Estate shown! This old man who is a Yankee must be brought down! His power throughout the world is scary and his acknowledged “criminal activities” should be publicised!

  22. Roswell

    Murdoch hasn’t even started yet.

  23. Bacchus

    😆 @ Migs

  24. RichardU

    Are the anti-syphoning laws on the way out?

  25. dave the brickie

    No prize required, but can someone tell Tony to stick his suppository up his man date.Thank you.

  26. Calypso Cool

    What Abbott needs to remember is that the same people who elect the House of Representatives also elect the Senate, just to the proportional system rather than the Preferential system. As Nick Xenophon correctly stated, people tend to vote differently in the Senate to what they do in the House of Representatives to ensure checks and balances are met. Tony Windsor decided to back Julia Gillard as she was a better negotiator than Abbott and this will most likely be seen if he calls a Double Dissolution, although the worst possible situation could be Abbott being returned with an increased majority and control of the Senate. Hopefully, though, Abbott will be the next Prime Minister since James Scullin to only last one term.

  27. Fed up

    Bacchus, supporters of Abbott seem to believe that the public would fall in behind Abbott, if Labor pushed him to a DD. I do not understand this. I think the public really wants stupid childish politics to an end. How many really care about the so called a carbon tax. Did not seem to be bought up by many, outside of Abbott himself.

    Also by that time, many will be found out, how much they have lost from their budgets, by voting for him.

    It is still a fact, that even this week, Abbott does not appear to be popular.

    Unless Abbott can quickly bring about a DD, people will be waking up to the fact that they have been conned, that they are being asked to dump any action on carbon emissions.

    Not too sure, that one can be called quickly. I think the fact, that the new senate does not sit until the middle of next year, might just put a spoke in his plans.

    I still think the last election was about punishing Labor, for the shenanigans with Rudd and GIllard.

    That now has been completed. Next they will take it out on Abbott, if he causes to many waves.

  28. Fed up

    Abbott could also end up with a worse one than he has now. Are not the quota halved. c

  29. cassilva48

    Come to think of it, the last time I saw Joe Hockey he was sweating profusely during a media speech. Have not seen or heard from him, even when the Libs won victory. So where is Joe HOCKEY?

  30. JW Frogen

    For the life of me I don’t know what Donovan and company is on about here.

    Of course the Murdoch and his press had a larger goal than just getting Abbot elected, they rather wanted Abbot elected to serve those larger ideological goals, such as business de-regulation or fewer taxes.

    And while I disagree, there is nothing darkly sinister about that, Murdoch openly advocates that.

    Murdoch’s support of Abbot was not about personal loyalty or friendship, but rather common political interests.

  31. JW Frogen

    Grrrrrr no edit button.

    Last time I comment here.

  32. Jasmine Parera

    Oh gee Froggy..that would be a terrible shame.

  33. Kaye Lee

    Common political interests my ass. Murdoch would sell his children for commercial reasons. He loves the idea of being powerful and having influence. Of COURSE it had nothing to do with loyalty or friendship. Those are alien concepts to that bastard. He revelled in Abbott’s fawning sycophancy. Having an aspiring PM kneel at your feet is just what he wants.

    That aside, there is a code of conduct for journalists believe it or not. The Murdoch press has failed in their duty to inform the public. They have prostituted themselves and that is most definitely darkly sinister.

    I would suggest you read this just to see what a grovelling PM looks like.

    “John Howard has said that Rupert Murdoch has been by far Australia’s most influential international businessman; but I would like to go a little further. Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming.

    Rupert Murdoch has sometimes changed his political allegiance but he’s never changed his fundamental principles. At least since the mid-70’s, those have been greater personal responsibility, smaller government, fewer regulations and support for open societies that don’t build walls against the world.

    For our guest of honour, as for anyone deeply steeped in reporting, experience trumps theory and facts trump speculation. His publications have borne his ideals but never his fingerprints. They’ve been skeptical, stoical, curious, adventurous, opinionated yet broad minded. He’s influenced them, but he’s never dictated to them – as I happily discovered myself in 1989 while writing editorials in favour of the pilots who were trying to ground the airline that he then half owned. As a transgression, this turned out to be far less serious than spelling his late great mother, Dame Elisabeth’s name with a ‘z’ rather than with an ‘s’!

    Rupert Murdoch is a corporate citizen of many countries, but above all else, he’s one of us. Most especially, tonight, he’s a long-serving director of the IPA, as was his distinguished and celebrated father, Sir Keith.”


  34. Graeme

    There is nothing to fear from a Double Dissolution!

    Since double the seats are now in contention, the quota to obtain a seat is halved. This makes it easier for the smaller parties to get a Senate seat. In the election just gone, the Lib/Nat combined Senate first preference vote was 37%. But they got 45% of the seats thanks to preferences. Under a double dissolution, they would likely get 4-5 out of 12 seats per state, instead of the 5-6 they currently get. So they would get LESS seats!

  35. Terry2

    Before Abbott even considers a DD based on repealing the carbon tax, he has to have concise and costed legislation drafted on his Direct Action plan, there will then probably be a Senate Committee established to evaluate the coalition scheme contrasted with the alternative emissions trading scheme and, provided our media do the right thing by us, there will be an informed community dialogue so that we can move ahead with a viable plan to reduce our CO2 emissions.
    Wishful thinking ?

  36. Fed up

    Terry, Abbott intends not to put any DD legislation on the table. There is an agenda.

    Something about 30 ,60 and 100 days. Seems to be more about negotiating with business.

    Then, and only then, will we know what they really intend to do.

    Even that has a cap on the amount to be spent, that was lowered before the elections.

    Yes, I agree, both should be lodged at once.

    I suspect this new government intends to do nothing about carbon emission, and even their weak, expensive and inefficient scheme, based on dubious science will not see the light of day.

    There will be no business plan or costings. Say they do not have to, as it is a capped scheme. Would like to know what they expect to gain, with the money spent. I suspect the targets this country has signed up to will
    be abandoned.

    Heard what one of the green tape regulations on top of the list to go, is a chemical used in apple orchards to fight disease. The chemical is banned around the world. This government claims there is no evidence that it is dangerous.

    We have the Queensland Premier, demanding yesterday, that Abbott sign off mining applications, and get out of the way.

    Yes, it will be interesting, watching the list of green and black tape, plus laws that protect the environment and people disappear.

    Wonder if those that care. will be force back out in the streets, to fight battles, that before this government were won?

    Maybe we will just sit back, not caring, as we have for the last six years. Suspect it will be the latter.

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