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.