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Chris Uhlmann and various other political journalists have been a little sensitive recently. There have been a number of stories about how partisan people are on social media and how some of them have the temerity to suggest a lack of balance. Outrageous! Apparently, both the left and the right are accusing them of poor reporting so it’s clear that they’re doing ok. However, that’s a bit like suggesting that because both Collingwood and Carlton supporters suggest that it was terrible centre bounce that the umpire doesn’t need to lift his game in any way.

I was particularly impressed by a couple of puff pieces that told us what a good bloke Morrison was and how he was winning hearts and minds by going from town to town and sipping a beer, sampling a pasta and sharing his curry recipes. One even lamented that it was a shame that he couldn’t get around more because by showing his human side, he’d romp in the election because nobody likes Bill…

Now, it is true that before Shorten made the list of celebrities I’d like to have to my dinner party, I’d need a much, much larger house. However, that’s not the point. The prefered PM question is not and has never been: “Which of the following candidates would you most like to go on a date with?”

I repeat, it is not a popularity contest. If I suddenly needed brain surgery… Well, let’s say in the next ten months. If I suddenly needed it, I’d be rushed into hospital and probably wouldn’t get much say… Anyway, let’s say it’s been recommended that I have part of my brain cut away and I want to ensure that the surgeon cuts away the right bits and doesn’t leave me sounding like Barnaby doing an interview with an ABC journalist, I’d find out who people recommended. what various doctors said about the qualifications and skills of the various potential candidates and make my decision based on who seemed most competent.

I wouldn’t use the method the media seemed to be suggesting we employ when we pick our PM: “I was at this barbeque today, and this mate of mine was cooking the sausages and he introduced me to Scottie who told me that the guy I was planning to use was a really nasty piece of work… A social climber who’d probably cost me a lot. Anyway, Scott took over the barbeque and took a sip of beer and said that he could do the whole brain surgery thing at a fraction of the price. and I was really impressed by the way he handled the sausages. Then he gave me this bonza recipe for a curry, so there’s no way I’m going to waste that money on that surgeon guy, because apart from anything else he’s rude to the nurses and they don’t like him…”

No, I’d still probably use the guy with the best track record and some medical qualifications… Even if I discovered that he’s using a Cayman Islands scheme to reduce his taxable income to zero, meaning that he can still benefit from refund of franking credits.

Of course, in the interests of balance, I should point out that the Liberals would argue that Shorten’s track record and qualifications are the things that should worry us. They’re suggesting that Bill will actually do something about climate change and that’ll cost business lots of money and they’re really worried because they don’t like anything that costs them like paying people wages when they could just as easily use interns and sack them when their internship was over.

On a completely different matter, Clive Palmer has been sending me stuff lately. I joined his party with the idea of offering to stand as a candidate just to see if they did any vetting and whether someone like me who’d been publicly critical of him would sneak through the process. I was talked out of it when someone suggested that I’d probably make it through and, even if I tried to quit in a blaze of publicity, Palmer candidates quitting would hardly make the news as it’s so common and then I’d be remembered as someone who stood for Palmer.

But speaking of standing for Clive Palmer, does anyone find it slightly absurd that Clive has spent millions of dollars telling us how bad both major parties were, only to end up agreeing to preference the Liberals?

Now, I know that some will argue that Labor would have probably done a deal too if they could, but that’s not the point: It’s the fact that Palmer is prepared to horse-trade to improve his chances of election.

I’m not even going to pick on the Liberals over this one. After all, if I want to pick on them, I have:

  • Three PMs and three Treasurers in less than six years
  • The flagrant lack of process when giving money to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Paladin and a whole range of others which would take longer than an Oscar acceptance speech.
  • Their pretence that the projected Budget surplus is different from Wayne Swan’s because his didn’t eventuate whereas they know theirs will because of the presumed improvement in growth, wages, commodity prices, etc to levels not seen in the past decade.
  • The NBN
  • The fact that they have a Finance Minister who doesn’t check his credit card statement closely enough to notice that a holiday costing several thousand dollars hasn’t been charged.
  • The response to the dead fish…The actual dead fish, not Malcolm Turnbull’s supporters.
  • QandA’s main challenge becoming just which Liberal can we get on to make the one we had previously look good by comparison. (Jim McGrath did a stirling job to outdo Teena McQueen. I think he had to be considered the winner and I defy them to beat that performance prior to the election.)
  • Making up Labor policy
  • Making up Labor policy and still coming with fear campaigns about things that a majority would support. For example, battling climate change or higher taxes for higher income earners.
  • Tony Abbott trying to suggest that’s it’s only by re-electing him that Manly will get better public toilets. (Alan Jones has been quiet on this issue.)
  • A Queensland Liberal Senate candidate suggesting that more preschool education was a plot to ensure government control over children, before going full conspiracy theory about the Bureau of Metrology and climate change.
  • Pauline Hanson suggesting that the elimination of the dinosaurs wasn’t caused by man, so climate change can’t be real. I add Pauline because – apart from Malcolm Turnbull’s changes to the Senate helping her re-election – it must be remembered that the only reason she came to national prominence was because they endorsed her as a candidate in the 1996 election, only to disendorse her too late to have her name taken off the ballot. She was disendorsed for suggesting cuts to Aboriginal funding and complaining about migrants. This wasn’t supposed to be released until after the election.
  • Peter Dutton… Need I elaborate?

No, I’m not going to complain about the Liberals and Clive. There are too many other things. But I think Palmer has shown himself a little shallow for doing any deal with a major party after his advertising blitz.

And I’m sure some helpful readers will probably add another ten or fifty things.


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  1. Perkin Wetkecks

    Uhlman is a snake. The other day he burst into print saying that Morrison was s brilliant, competent politician.
    They can’t help themselves. From the 7.30 report’s hostess (can you use that word, now?) shouting ‘yes!’ on election night when Barnaby Joyce was re-elected, to Katherine Murphy wetting herself every time someone said Malcolm’s name.
    At least Pisser Snakeman doesn’t pretend to be neutral.

  2. New England Cocky

    That is the trouble with north side people; they forget that on the south side, Bondi in particular, there is the now closed Alan Jones Memorial Pickup Pissarium where all sorts of naughty things happened between consenting adults. Trust the north siders, never happy unless they are one-oping the south. Don’t they remember the cliff walk around Kingfisher Point and the going on there that interested certain police officers during the 80s?

  3. Aortic

    Uhlmann should be writing for the Australian. Hanson should know about the demise of the dinosaurs, being around to witness it personally.

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    Perkins Wetkecks………you’ve nailed it. The ‘other’ media are just as bad or worse than Murdoch’s minions. Katharine ‘starry eyed’ Murphy is the most readily identifiable sycophant in that group. She’ll never get over ‘nice’ Malcolm Turdball.

  5. Kronomex

    All I can say is that Potato Dunceolini is the escaped portrait of Dorian Gray made flesh. And horrible flesh at that.

    Oh yes, the blimp of Queensland is now saying that Labor tried to do a deal with him –

    I wonder if part of the deal is that he won’t have repay the tax payer funding of $67million to Clives slaves, er, workers.

  6. corvus boreus

    Henry Rodrigues,
    ‘The other media are just as bad or worse than Murdoch’s minions’.
    ACMA stats on the percentages of complaints of inaccuracy directed against ‘News’corpse media that are validated, compared with the ratio of successful complaints levelled against other agencies, suggest that your claim belongs on the front page of the Daily Telegraph (alongside the photoshops of Labor pollies wearing nazi uniforms and the ABC logo printed onto daesh flags).

  7. Judith

    Murdoch papers are free in government schools in Victoria (not sure about NSW). With almost 3 weeks of getting their news elsewhere, I wonder how the school staff will view the gaps in their information when they return to the staff room.

  8. Jack Cade

    And they all count as ‘circulation.’

  9. pierre wilkinson

    even the ABC was waxing lyrical on the change to a blokey bloke that has overcome the PM, sipping beers, blaming Labor, calling bingo, blaming Labor, eating curry, blaming Labor and all the while extolling the dire threat that voting Labor would be to Mum and Dad businesses, the economy and our great country

    sigh< and 22 days until the final reckoning for this mob of misfits

  10. Paul Davis

    Breaking news! It’s official cos Sky says so.

    Scot Moribund has had a brilliant opening coupla weeks in the campaign with his old fashioned good old boy electioneering style showing watta multifaceted everyman he is from churchgoing to pub crawling to ute driving pie eater. A natural marketing guru. And he does it all on his own …. as even a DarkSky commentator observed, his ministers are weighty saddlebags.

    By contrast that drab colourless uninspiring limp biscuit Bill Nobody just waffles about policy policy policy trying to answer questions in detail rather than shouting or spitting inspiring stirring three word slogans. And he often invites one of his shadow ministers to answer questions and make comment. He must be so insecure to need those women supporting him everywhere he goes. And what about allowing Bowen and others to hold pressers without Bill’s hand on their shoulder.

    No contest really.

  11. Henry Rodrigues

    corvus boreus……

    . I should have differentiated more accurately. AIMN, The independent Australian are just a few who cannot be lumped under ‘other media’. But the commercial TV channels, even the ABC and SBS are aping Murdoch either through ignorance or fear of retribution or loss of revenue or all three. Certainly individual “journalists’ on many media and news websites can easily be recognized by their slavish behaviour. The afore mentioned Uhlmann, Katharine Murphy are examples of weak journalism. Most of the others, from time to time, succumb to pressure from their employers.

  12. corvus boreus

    I think it is important to distinguish the distasteful and impalatable from the utterly toxic.
    Personally, although I broadly agree that there has been an alarming general decline in journalistic standards, I still see a wide gulf between the mainly conservative bias shown by most commercial media outlets and the cacophonic chorus of rabidly reactionary bullshit brayed by the Murdoch opinionistas and presstitutes..
    Similar to how, even though the ALP have, over the decades, shifted more and more towards worship at the altar of economic rationalism, I still view them as a far less repulsive electoral choice than the utterly corrupt climate-deniers of the coalition .

  13. Henry Rodrigues

    corvus boreus….

    The best we can do is recognize and separate the wheat from the chaff, call it out as we see it and spread that view far and wide.

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