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Too little too late

The switch has been flicked. Extraordinary. I have seen more reporting of government policy in mainstream press over the last week than I saw in the last three years. This is probably an exaggeration, but isn’t perception reality? All I remember seeing throughout 2010 to 2013 was yet another report about Gillard’s ‘unstable grip on the leadership of the Labor Party’.

Political journalists treat their readers like idiots by pretending that they got the Labor leadership call right. How dare they now pretend to be innocent bystanders and justify their newfound interest in political policy by saying it was all Gillard’s fault that they couldn’t report her policy success. Because when you’re saying something is going to happen for years and it eventually does happen, you still just look like an obsessive, one-track mind with a Murdoch narrative that no journalist had the courage to rise above. A broken clock is right twice a day; however in this case of course it’s worse than that. The mainstream media just kept picking away, kept writing article after article about Rudd’s campaign to destabilize Gillard’s leadership until they gave her no choice but to give in to the bullying. They made the story a reality.

The excuse that Rudd’s campaign was newsworthy, and therefore justifiably reportable is rubbish. We all know there is leadership tension in any party. Anyone keen to use Turnbull or Hockey as their unnamed source would find the same thing on the other side of the chamber. We all know there is plenty of news going on in Canberra and elsewhere all the time. It’s journalists’ decision, it’s their judgment call, to decide, with their limited column inches and word count, what news is important to report. When every political journalist in the country was writing the same article every week, they were declaring to readers that nothing else of importance was happening in this country. And isn’t this how the mainstream media have really failed? Because I can’t believe anyone could argue that Rudd’s blind ambition was a bigger story than any of the things they missed, namely:

Gillard’s Success

It’s amusing now to see so many political journalists writing glowing obituaries about Gillard’s career as the first female Prime Minister of Australia. Actually, it’s not funny. It’s pathetic. Where were these articles before Rudd challenged last week?

Gillard’s amazing legacy will be intact, and future analysis will only improve our understanding of the significance of the last three years of policy reform to the social fabric of our community. That is, on the assumption that Abbott doesn’t dismantle all Gillard’s good work. But no, this was never the story. The story was never on policy, was never on Gillard’s exceptional negotiation skills. It was never on her poise in the face of constant abuse from Tony Abbott, from his colleagues, from many in the media and all their foul mouthed foot-soldiers across social media and deep, ugly dark parts of the internet. Abbott changed this country the day he stood in front of the ‘Ditch the Witch’ sign (twice). He gave permission to the Grace Colliers, to the Larry Pickerings, the Alan Jones, to the Mal Broughs and his fundraising dinner, to children throwing sandwiches. Abbott’s message was that it’s fair game to personally denigrate your opponent for political gain, and to denigrate the position of Prime Minister in the process. He made it fair game to call Gillard a liar every day until it became part of her name. That is Abbott’s legacy. And this is what we saw in the press instead of hearing about Gillard’s amazing success while leading a minority government constantly referred to as ‘chaos’. Journalists should hang their heads in shame when the only way to get an accurate account of Gillard’s leadership is for the Victorian Women’s Trust to buy space in a newspaper.


I can already imagine the groans of mainstream journalists about this next topic. But this time, before you all start complaining, I’m not imploring you again to take interest in the campaign designed by Mal Brough to remove Peter Slipper from parliament, with the hope of bringing down the Labor Government. I’m not asking you to track down James Ashby and to find out exactly what went on. I’ve come to terms long ago with the realization that you’re just not up to investigating Australia’s own version of Watergate. But again, aren’t you shamed by the Ashbygate trust, which has raised over $50,000 from the public to dig into this story and to reveal the truth? While you complain you can’t afford to do any investigative reporting, we’re all donating funds to see this job done properly by someone else. Well played.

Policy, policy and policy

Is it not a huge embarrassment to the mainstream media that they are now trying to spend the few weeks before the election playing catch up in political policy areas far too complex to leave to sound bites? The electorate deserves better than this. We deserve to know about Abbott’s plans, and how they differ from the current Labor government. I could write fifty posts about all the policy areas that have been totally ignored for the last three years, replaced and wiped out by the unending narrative of ‘Labor leadership tensions’. Here’s a snapshot of a couple, and some questions I would like answered which should, in a decent mainstream media, have been asked years ago:

Climate Change – we saw Abbott on the news every night in his latest stunt, wearing yellow safety vests, stacking bananas and driving trucks. What exactly is his Direct Action Policy? How much will it cost? And how will it actually work? Did you not think when you went along on one of Abbott’s stunt trips it might have been worth asking about this? And to keep asking until you got an answer?

What about the effect of the Carbon Price which was meant to wipe Whyalla off the map? Have you held the Liberal National Coalition to account for all their easily disprovable propaganda and lies, designed to scare voters and to undermine action against climate change? If you bothered to check, the effect of the Carbon Price has been to reduce emissions and to increase investment in renewable energy which will further reduce emissions in the future. This is great news! Also, it’s slightly newsworthy that, even after Abbott spent all his tax-payer funded time and travel allowance on his anti-carbon-tax road trip, the majority of voters haven’t been fooled. Doesn’t this story warrant as much of your attention as a leaky Rudd? It’s just the health of the planet we live on at stake after all. Is the tenant in the Lodge really more important than that?

Paid Parental Leave – This is Abbott’s ‘signature policy’. He is offering to pay women a full time salary, capped up to $75,000 for six months maternity leave, presumably to help them pay their mortgages while they take leave from work. Apart from the fact that this is middle and upper-class welfare on steroids, I am quite concerned that many voters have very little information about the mechanics and cost of this scheme.

Abbott has said he will tax companies to fund this policy. However he hasn’t mentioned it much since business said they weren’t happy about it. I don’t need to imagine Gina Rinehart’s reaction to a tax increase. Can someone please follow up with Abbott about this? Is his policy a policy or not? We want to see another blood oath! One question, which still hasn’t been answered, is a fairly simple one – will a woman who already receives paid maternity leave as part of her employment contract receive Abbott’s paid leave as well? Or does it just top up the employer’s contribution to six months fully-paid leave? Or is it instead of the employer’s contribution? I would have thought this information is kind of important, no? Is anyone going to ask the question?

We could have seen three years of policy analysis, including plenty of comparison of Abbott’s broadband plan, his education funding versus Gillard’s Gonski plan. We could have heard how Abbott’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policy of turning back boats was not going to be accepted by Indonesia, and how it contravened the agreement Australia has made by signing the UN Refugee Convention.

But no. All we saw was sound bites about how Abbott wants to destroy the Labor government, how Rudd wanted to take over from Gillard and how Gillard’s government was always on the brink. We will surely look back at the last three years as a proud, successful time for the Labor Party with an amazing leader. And a time where trust in the mainstream media was eroded to the point of no return. Because journalists and their vested interests in the vested interests of their bosses have failed the electorate. We are now seeing too little too late and democracy is the loser. Shame on you all.


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  1. mark delmege

    That the media (aka Murdoch) wanted Rudd should make us all suspicious. Sure he makes Abbott look 2nd rate but just what are we getting instead?

  2. PeterF

    “If you bothered to check, the effect of the Carbon Price has been to reduce emissions and to increase investment in renewable energy which will further reduce emissions in the future”.

    It is happening already – there has been a lot of talk about a proposed GAS FIRED power station near Wellington NSW, but here is an extract from the Wellington Times on line:

    “In a statement issued to the Wellington Times over questions on the the development of a gas fired power station in Wellington, ERM Power says it remains committed to developing a gas-fired power station at Wellington and a gas pipeline from Young to Wellington.

    However the project will be developed only in response to market signals supporting the need for new generation in New South Wales.

    Lower projections for growth in demand for electricity across Australia have pushed out the date when new generation is required in Australia.. . . .”

    This is a gentle way of saying “we are keen on the proposal, but the way demand is slowing, we may not have a market for this extra electricity”. The carbon price IS beginning to work

  3. puffytmd

    The bigger question is not what we are getting, but what Murdoch will get.

  4. puffytmd

    This is an excellent piece that raises serious questions about the media in Australia. I have voted with my wallet and will not pay for the drivel that masquerades as reporting in this country,

  5. Heather

    What can I say that you haven’t covered fully and clearly? Thankyou once again Victoria for your clear-sighted analysis.
    Words fail me about our media in this country.

  6. robert

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  7. diannaart

    Thank you, Victoria. I have forwarded your article to people, who like me are feeling wounded and are tired of battling those who believe in “end justifying means”.

    Those people are the ones who value the journey less than the destination and miss the point of why we have a democracy and why progress is about improving the lot for all people not just the powerful minority.

  8. Robbie

    Clearly presented: faultlessly argued, spot on Victoria! The media & journalism have been co-opted by Murdoch in the interest of Tony Abbott. Now watch him disintegrate under pressure brought to bear on him by Rudd. It should never have come down to two personalities deteremining the road for the future, but that is what you get when you debase politics to ‘sound bites’ of the absurd!

  9. Allan Richardson

    A self-fulfilling prophesy has never been better defined.

  10. Pingback: Too little too late | lmrh5

  11. lmrh5

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  12. Colin Thai

    Very well said Victoria, really enlightening article. The media must be a little bit downhearted at the moment, they have not got Julia to hound, but they have got Rudd, let’s see how they go, something old something new, I’m waiting for it !!! . Is Mr Abbott an angel, the only things we see and hear about him are in these articles. You would think the Press would give two sides to the situation, but NO !. Over the last few years I have lost faith in all news, it’s rammed down our throats from morning to night, their opinions only. , …..thanking you…….

  13. Sandra

    We here on the 5th Estate have known what the problem has been all of the time.

    We were also not just trying to support Julia Gillard (or not) but also fighting against the demise of what was once a proud profession, one that had ethics.

    John Howard aided & abetted Murdoch when he scrapped the convergence of ownership laws in this country. Were we aware of what he had done? Of course we didn’t. Murdoch had John Howard in his pocket, just as he has Tony Abbott. Just as he may well have Kevin Rudd – on this we will just have to wait and see just how much control Murdoch has over him.

    Julia Gillard was never in Murdochs pocket, that is why she was brought down. He could not control her, so he had all of the rest of those who had pledged their allegence to him do his dirty work for him.

    I would have to say this though, if we are willing just to talk this problem without trying to stop this megalomaniac from destroying our country and/or the rest of the world for that matter, then we are just as bad as he is. It’s all about self for the the good of humanity.

    The only way that we can fight this is to continue to fight for the wonderful legacy that Julia Gillard has set out for this country. Get involved with the ALP or whoever your party of choice is. Find out how they feel or what they are prepared to do about this major problem we now have in our society.

    Stephen Conroy had a go at trying to fix the problem, too little too late. He was always going to fail because the people of this country, the regular punter in the street just hasn’t got a clue as to just how badly we are being treated and worse still they probably don’t give a stuff either
    The only way Murdoch can be stopped from gaining more power here in Australia is for a government (one who is prepared to make changes in the ownership laws like Canada has done). The general public need to force the changes by making sure that the government, preferrably an ALP, make the changes that will save what is left of our democracy.

  14. Amanda Reddell

    I agree with absolutely everything that you have written but you are preaching to the converted, how do we get this message out to those people who only read MSM?

  15. Steve Putnam

    I have no problems with Abbott making promises “written in blood” provided he uses his own blood.

  16. diannaart

    Hear, hear!

    I will not be voting for anyone who is not running a platform on media ownership and diversity.

    I will also be alerting as many people as I can, that there is an alternative – the Fifth Estate which can only continue to grow, provided we are able to gain the NBN as presented by Labor (even if it is led by the megalomaniac, Rudd) and not the shoddy rip-off proposed by the ever diverging from reality, Liberal Party.

  17. Sarah Jameson

    Does anyone else get the feeling that the media is closing ranks and behaving like a closed shop? The

  18. Sarah Jameson

    (…cont) mutual commiseration (and in some cases congratulation on a job well done!) is just open defiance of any rational understanding of all main stream media output in the last 3 years. The main perpetrators are now resurfacing on twitter after having gone to ground and the mood-shapers are now openly salving each others wounds. THEIR wounds. It must have been hard for THEM to fall in line with KRudd and team… No, actually it was easy. And lazy. Do any one of them remember us? Are they so locked in their mutual admiration bubble that they don’t KNOW they have a wider critical audience in open-mouthed disbelief?

  19. abbie

    BTW Rudd did not challenge…PM Gillard put up the position of ‘prime’ Minister to her Caucus. He put his name in the ring…A big difference to ‘challenge’ don’t you think??

  20. Sarah Jameson

    correction: *Does any 1 of them…

  21. Winston Smith

    During the week, Greg Hunt announced that under the coalition’s Direct Action climate policy a 15000 strong “green workforce” of mainly young people would be created to plant trees and do other suitable things to save the environment.
    So, I thought ‘that’s interesting, a massive work- for- the- dole program for unemployed youth’.
    I had a mental image of these youthful hoards in Yakka khaki shorts, Hiviz shirts and floppy hats, probably with government issue Blundstone boots, ranging across the land, trowel in hand, saluting the Abbott revolution; a combination of Johnny Appleseed, the Midwich Cuckoos and a scene from “The Invasion of the Zombies”.

    And, here’s you, Victoria saying that our dear leader in waiting isn’t doing enough for the environment.

    This program, a clear form of conscription and indoctrination, will be the biggest social experiment in our history – and you reckon pink batts was a socialist plot !

    The MSM, as far as I can see, have just let this go through to the keeper: did I imagine all this ? I wouldn’t be surprised, it’s been a big week.

  22. diannaart

    Lovely image of healthy tanned people walking forth and planting trees (and being paid a pittance – the dole), all of which will be worth zip, if big polluters continue business-as-usual.

  23. gorgeousdunny1

    Ok, abbie, we’ll settle for that and just say that Rudd “stalked” Julia Gillard via his and his lackeys’ various media contacts.

  24. diannaart

    I have every intention of voting Greens for the senate – I fail to understand your point,

  25. helenmarg

    wonderful article as usual Victoria. Keep up the good work. Pity they do not have Real Journalists like you.Are there any left Name one. Thank you .

  26. Monicas wckd stpmthr (@Monicas_WS)

    A further question on Abbott’s PPL. The taxpayers pay six months of the mother’s salary. How is that salary calculated? For example, what is to stop a husband-and-wife who are working in a family business paying their combined income to the mother alone, so that she could qualify for a much higher PPL than she would otherwise? What about family businesses who give an expectant mother a sudden promotion (and salary) before she takes maternity leave? This is taxpayers’ money, and it should be spent wisely.

    Abbott’s PPL has huge holes – and nobody has managed to find out exactly how it is to be run!

  27. Louise

    Thank you for another fine article. You have put into words exactly what I have been feeling for the last three years. How did the MSM suddenly find the ability to report policy when it appeared to have been lost forever?

  28. doctorrob54

    Victoria thank you very much.You and your team are priceless.The straight,down the line way you folks describe,explain and write make it easy for simple persons as myself to relax.Meaning,that everything you write is already in my head,but I don’t have the ability that you and your team has in expressing myself with such clarity.Thank you very much again and please never surrender.

  29. helenmarg

    well expressed doctorrob. i feel much the same.

  30. Maureen Walton

    Thank you Victoria You have put everything, that I think about into a great honest article, all well said. Julia Gillard, unlike the men who are trying to be Prime Minister both can be brought, but Julia the Lady will not go down their path. So Murdoch can not buy her and he knows it well. And you can tell Julia is a Lady as she has refused to play Rudds dirty dishonest games.

  31. women of many facets

    The first thing that comes to mind about the direct action plan is bushfires negating any effect.

  32. Bridget

    Thank you Victoria. You took the words right out of my mouth, and I’m equally overjoyed at all the people here who feel the same way, if only because we seem to be in such a small minority in this country. But at least we exist, so there’s hope! I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to post your article in full on my Facebook page as well as share the link of course, so that all my friends can benefit from your words of truth as well.

  33. doctorrob54

    Think about the $1200 he is going to tax every house hold,no means test,and hand to the dirtiest companies as an initiative to change their outdated practices.To be effective Abbott would need to usurp half the land presently under crop cultivation.The man doesn’t even believe in man influencing climate change,He is simply continuing BS spin if if God forbid that they ever get in he will end up doing nothing.But I think there is nil to worry about because I am sure the Libturds have no chance of winning.

  34. Bridget

    Basically, Rupert Murdoch succeeded in ousting a sitting Prime Minister of this country, without even being a citizen of it, simply because he controls the majority of this country’s media. That’s the power of the media that we saw at work, This is why it is so very wrong and dangerous that one man has the control. This is what people in this country need to wake up to, before he starts feeding us anymore lies that serve only his own interests, with no consideration whatsoever for what’s good for the people of this country at all.

  35. Adrian Coulter

    Thank you Victoria Rollison for putting in writing what many of us observant people have been thinking & talking about for some time. I personally have been repulsed by the ugly side of Australia that News Corp has brought out by their dogged mission to get rid of such a great Prime Minister.I have been reminded time & time again of George Orwell’s 1984 by News Corp articles, which have been written to achieve the outcomes required by Big Brother (Rupert Murdoch). I am so glad that there are others out there, like you Victoria, who see straight through the News Corp ‘newspeak’.

  36. chris gould

    Does anyone think treachery is too strong a word for a protracted campaign to bring down an elected government. Murdoch and his minions ought to look at this. I for one would like to see it taken to court. The disgraceful unprofessional bias displayed by nearly all MSM should never be forgotten or forgiven and the people who call themselves journalists should hang their heads in shame for prostituting themselves for reasons of profit and ego. Spot on once again Victoria.

  37. Chris Gould

    In addition to my previous comment I believe we owe it to ourselves to treat the MSM with the same contempt that they display for our elected government.

  38. doctorrob54

    Do as I have done,stop buying the rags.

  39. Lisa Henderson

    Thank you Victoria for your well-put view on the last three years. Hard to believe that the ‘Lucky Country’ is full on corruption and ‘dumping’ the tall poppies – not a pretty OZ trait.

    Unfortunately, I am one of those that sits quietly in the back listening to the static noise errupting, without rising and turning it off!

    As an individual I feel the enormity of the media brain numbing ruse to deflect from the true happenings and with realisation, feel helpless in stopping it. We are bombarded from all quarters – TV, Radio, Papers, even corner street and backyard conversations (repeated word for word rubbish media fed). Hopefully with the number of repost we will be able to start our own rumblings using your summation of very enlightening thoughts and questions.

    Thank you for your insight!

  40. doctorrob54

    Have not bought a MSM rag paper since Peter Slipper was portrayed as a rat on the cover of one of them.And now look who turned out to be the largest lying rodents.

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