1 Before this win, Labor was last in power for six years from 2007-2013. Before that, you have to go back to 1993, when Paul Keating was Prime Minister. The Coalition has dominated the intervening years, and it has done so with the assistance of the newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Things changed forever on May 21 2022. People, in their wisdom, decided that Rupert’s mastheads were part of the problem and not the solution. The influence they once carried in the form of deception, misleading headlines or straight outlying was no longer.
The traditional means by which we gathered our information is now well and truly antiquated.
The control over how we once sought our political news, namely newspapers, has been eroded to the point of obsolescence. This election has proven it. The Murdoch newspapers – try as they may – had very little influence on the election results. There is now a significant disconnect between those who produce news for consumption and its consumers. The monitoring of information from Murdoch and the election outcomes show just how out of step they are with the voting public.
The public rejected traditional media like the Murdoch mastheads for the same reasons they shied away from the Morrison Government. They were sick and tired of all the lying, for example, about climate change, neo-conservatism, and significantly, the state of play in the theatre of politics. They preferred to get their information from social media outlets and reputable online sources such as The AIMN.
The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail, The Advertiser, The Mercury, and the Northern Territory. News Corp is reported to control 70% of the printed news in all capital cities.
So much for Rupert Murdoch’s claim that “there are no climate change denialists in News Corporation. “ This mob are full of lies. Yet they control 70% of Australian print media. Time for #MurdochRoyalCommissionhttps://t.co/xXTg6k0Lid
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) January 14, 2020
In terms of politics, they are now a defunct rabble. Their opinion isn’t worth the cost of the ink that adheres itself to the newsprint they use.
News Corp in this election was at its bombastic best. Its front pages were full of dangerous, destructive insulting and harmful pictures. They savaged independent candidates with articles that knew no boundaries.
Writing in The Guardian, Malcolm Farr was critical of elements in the Murdoch media, postulating that:
“The most destructive, harmful and dangerous vote anyone can make in the forthcoming election is for a teal independent or the Greens,” wrote the Australian’s Greg Sheridan on May 3. “They are both a direct threat to our national security.”
A futile comment, as it turned out, as the Greens picked up another three seats, and the Independents stomped home in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Most were women replacing men.
So, what comes out of all this rejection of Murdoch and his acolytes? There are still some good sports pages to read and pics galore, but I wouldn’t trust the politics.
In debating their tactics with colleagues and friends, I have noticed that the Sky (and Fox) viewership seems to be marked by a collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they’ve been let into a secret society. Arguably, this has been the election in which the bias of its tilted reporting has been exposed?
When the polls have been analysed to the nth degree, and all the data is done and dusted, one of the biggest stories of this election will be how Murdoch’s News Corp failed to have the desired influence on the result. From newspapers to television; it has become impotent. Maybe forever. I want to think so.
If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity, but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements, then dismiss the piece as having no cogency.
2 The new Ministry:
Ups and downs
On the last count, Labor had secured 77 seats from which it has to select a Speaker or select a Speaker from the crossbench (which would be a brave move). Either way, it will govern in its own right.
Albanese has been quick out of the blocks selecting a Ministry to take Australia into the future. He advised all the Ministers “not to waste a day” of government.
Jason Clare, Labor’s campaign spokesperson ended up with education. A little surprising given the work he had done on housing policy. And Albanese wanted to promote the Queensland left-wing senator Murray Watt, and he did. Straight into the cabinet.
Women will be an issue for both major parties, but Albo is way ahead of the Coalition, boasting of appointing the “largest number of women ever in an Australian cabinet.”
Relative to its importance, early childhood ended up in the outer Ministry. “Given cheaper childcare was so central to Labor’s campaign“, that really surprised me.
I’m also surprised when a person with expertise in one area is given another. Murray Watts is a case in point. He has vast knowledge in communications yet ended up in foreign affairs.
The ins and outs
It’s a bit like selecting a football team. You need 22 fit players, and you have 30 players competing for the 22 spots.
Three females have “moved from the backbench to the outer Ministry“:
“Left-winger from Western Australia Anne Aly, Anika Wells from Queensland, and Kristy McBain, both right-wing are from New South Wales.”
Remember, all the factions have to comply with Labor’s Affirmative Action policy. Wells “needed to replace the Queensland right-winger Shayne Neumann” (formerly, veterans’ affairs) on the new frontbench.
So, Aly ended up with early childhood education, and Wells got aged care and sport. McBain got regional development. There are now ten women in a 23-person cabinet, which I think is a record.
Albanese has invested in a talented professional team with Marles in defence, Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Katy Gallagher in finance, Jim Chalmers in Treasury, Mark Butler in health and Tony Burke as leader of the lower house and in the workplace relations portfolio.
NSW right-winger Chris Bowen will implement the plan he set up in opposition for climate and energy.
Bill Shorten was given the portfolio he wanted, disability, even though they are not close, or so it is said.
Pat Conroy will work with Penny Wong on the Pacific in the outer Ministry- left-winger Andrew Giles will manage immigration. Victorian Clare O’Neil in home affairs), and the left-wing senator Tim Ayers will be assistant minister for trade and manufacturing.
As a reward for having delivered four lower house seats to Labor’s column in 2022, Patrick Gorman was appointed assistant minister to the prime minister.
Andrew Leigh, an economics professor, is always disadvantaged because he is not a faction member. He is one of the Labour party’s best brains. Albanese has kept him as an assistant treasury minister responsible for competition policy and charities in honour of his substantial expertise.
The South Australian right-wing veteran Don Farrell has also kicked a goal; now, he’s Labor’s deputy Senate leader. Farrell also keeps the portfolio of special minister of state, which he held in opposition, together with trade and tourism.
The to-do list
The first Albanese cabinet and Ministry were sworn in at Government House on Wednesday morning, and the subcommittees of the new cabinet met for the first-time last Thursday. There is much work to be done.
With a trip to Tokyo out of the way, Albanese is now on his way to Indonesia.
Upon his return, he will nominate Sue Lines, a Western Australian senator, as the new Senate President when the 47th parliament meets for the first time in the last week of July.
As for the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Queenslander Milton Dick and Victorian Rob Mitchell have shown interest, but the more exciting prospect would be Tasmanian veteran independent Andrew Wilkie who has expressed interest in sitting in the Speaker’s chair.
My thought for the day
Would you rather play in a team of champions or a champion team?
My previous post: The villain takes centre stage
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