The ‘Gold Star of Dishonour’ for the most unedifying display in the first week or so on the 2022 Federal Election campaign is a tough call.
Is it George Christensen announcing his cynical candidature on the One Nation Queensland Senate ticket? If an elected politician runs for election and fails, or is disendorsed by their party, the taxpayer funds a ‘resettlement’ allowance of around $100,000. Christensen, who announced his resignation from the House of Representatives at the conclusion of the last Parliament has announced he is contesting the election as a member of One Nation. One Nation have placed him in the third spot on their Senate Ticket for Queensland, which makes Christensen almost unelectable. According to their website
We are a party that stands for Australia and Australian values. We defend our constitution and stand up against global agendas for the individual rights and fundamental freedoms of all Australians.
The team at One Nation puts people before politics and we will continue to fight for Australia and its citizens.
Facilitating an existing politician to potentially access a $100,000 ‘golden handshake’ is an interesting interpretation of ‘Australian values’.
Or is the winner the Australian media? Looking for cheap sensationalist headlines rather than actual reporting and information sharing has brought them to relying on the cheap ‘gotya’, rather than seeking out information and presenting it in a readily digestible package for their consumers.
A few weeks before the election, Prime Minister Morrison was asked the cost of various staple items including milk and petrol. He didn’t have an answer, which brought howls of how out of touch he was. If you pop down to the local Aldi, Coles or Woolies, there is a range of milk so vast, even a milk producer sent it up in their advertising of yet another variation on the theme some years ago.
Do any of the media actually expect the Morrisons to jump into the family car on a Thursday night and do next week’s grocery shopping? You’d hope the security people would ensure that won’t occur.
On Day 1 of the campaign, neither Albanese or Morrison covered themselves with glory according to the media. Albanese was asked what the ‘cash rate’ was. He didn’t know the answer. The question showed a lack of understanding, rigour and research.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese was asked straight up: What’s the unemployment rate and what’s the “RBA rate”.
He didn’t answer the second question at all and fumbled on the answer to the jobless rate.
Later he fronted the media and apologised for getting it wrong.
But immediately after that a journalist asked him again, “What is the cash rate?”.
He answered: 0.1.
This time, it was the answer the journalist was looking for, but in this case they were both wrong.
The cash rate, as set by the short-term money market, as of Monday, was 0.06 of a per cent.
It’s the interest rate banks pay to borrow funds from other banks in the money market overnight.
That’s different from the Reserve Bank’s “cash rate target” which is currently 0.1 per cent.
Morrison was ‘caught out’ on the composition of his cabinet, which is a little more concerning as he is the one that chose his cabinet. Education Minister Alan Tudge announced he would be resigning from his position in March. As at Day 1 of the campaign, Morrison correctly stated while Tudge had stood aside and an acting Education Minister had been appointed, Tudge still held the warrant from the Governor-General to hold the position and still was technically Education Minister. Regardless of the election outcome, all Ministers return their warrants to hold office at the end of the election process so even if Morrisons Coalition wins, there is no guarantee that Tudge will be in cabinet in the next Parliament. Arguably sloppy management but equally as arguably it could be a compassionate response to an employee of the Crown that is under severe stress.
Regardless of the media’s obsessive chase for the easy story, our political leaders are human and make mistakes. The wisdom of effectively ‘winding up a clockwork doll’ that looks like Morrison or Albanese every morning and expecting them to perfectly parrot overly rehearsed responses to expected questions day after day is ridiculous and shows there is no substance behind the facade. It really doesn’t matter if Morrison doesn’t know the price of milk or fuel for his car (which fuel are you talking about – E10, 91,95,98, diesel or even LPG?). It’s probably a good bet that anyone who drives an EV or relies or public transport with occasional use of taxis or ride shares has no clue on the current petrol price either. Chances are if he loses the election and retires he will probably have to be retrained in filling a car, pushing a shopping trolley, using an ATM and many other ‘life skills’.
Greens Leader Adam Band spoke at the National Press Club on Wednesday 13 April and said
Like, elections should be about a contest of ideas. Politics should be about reaching for the stars and offering a better society.
And instead, there’s these questions that are asked about – can you tell us this particular stat or can you tell us that particular stat? And those questions are designed to show that politicians are somehow out of touch and not representative of every day people.
Bandt is correct, What is important is that Morrison and Albanese do have an understanding that the recent significant increase in fuel prices has increased transport costs for a wide variety of goods, services and materials that come into the country, moved around the country and are exported from the country rather than how much they would pay for petrol if they took the Comcar into the closest petrol station on the way to their next engagement. In a similar way, while the price of a bottle of milk does influence your living costs, there are greater concerns than the media’s implied ‘crisis’ – if the price goes up 10 cents, no one can afford milk on their corn flakes every morning.
While Christensen is a deserving nominee – we expect no better of a politician that has been in the business of attracting attention to himself for years – the winner of the ‘Gold Star of Dishonour’ for the first week of the election campaign has to go to a significant proportion of the Australian media. While we all like to expend minimum effort in the successful completion of what ever job we are attempting, in a lot of cases we have to try harder. As most of us will not have the opportunity to talk with both Albanese and Morrison during this election campaign we are relying on the media to ask meaningful and relevant questions on our behalf. So far they have generally failed miserably.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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