tip off
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Let the Great Unhinging begin

With two country independents backing Gillard, the Labor party will now pass the only threshold needed in Australia to form government – a majority on the floor of House. There is no other test, there is no other requisite, there is no other qualification needed to control the Treasury benches.

But this constitutional reality will not stop some. Indeed, it merely marks the beginning of what will become a long festival of delusion, conspiracy and outright lies – where its hysteria will only be surpassed by its grubby bitterness and its commercial exploitation.

With so many having invested so much in the defeat of the Labor government – including the leadership of what was once the national broadsheet of this country –  to be denied victory by political inches, leaving a fragile incumbent holding the most delicate of majorities and being reliant on a handful of cross-benchers representing ideologically  discordant electorates, creates a result that will not be respected.

What we will witness over the next 18 months or more is a Great Unhinging –an orgy of hysterics that will far surpass the duplicity, dishonesty – let alone the complete arsehattery – that substituted for public debate on matters of government during the previous 12 months.

The goalposts of what constitutes government legitimacy will be moved from the constitutional to the convenient, from the reality of the parliamentary majority to  concocted nostrums about mandates to govern.

Every policy and utterance the government or the Independents make will be creatively analysed, deliberately distorted and whose fabricated consequences will be shouted from the rooftops. This will not be an exercise in political analysis, but an infection of pathological political syphilis. It will not just be a campaign against the government, but one rolling, frenzied campaign after another, where each new contrived outrage will assume a greater level of mania than the last.

The Independents will be targeted in a way they are probably not prepared for – they will be demeaned, ridiculed and treated with contempt, where their honourable characters will be distorted into debased caricatures. The character assassination will be ferocious and their connection to their electorates will be serially brought into question, particularly from a group of ostensibly inner urban media elites whose acquaintance with New England and Lyne extends no further than peering down from 30,000 feet as they fly between capital cities.

But it won’t just be the usual suspects here. There will be an angry that we haven’t seen for a long time, from a group of disgruntled political zealots.

The Liberal and National parties have a profoundly successful ability at attracting a disproportional quantity of the most embittered, politically pungent elements of Australian society as supporters – a dark, angry, belligerent underbelly that believes the only acceptable outcome of any political contest is the one they believe in.

Monday’s Essential Report, taken last week before we knew who was going to be government, hammered this reality home when it looked at public views on the election result – a set of findings that aren’t new in their tone mind you, for the same theme has been remarkably consistent by Coalition supporters in the polling since Tony Abbott took the leadership of the Liberal Party . Firstly, Essential asked about the quality of minority government:

After the election neither the Labor Party nor the Coalition has a majority in the House of Representatives – they need the support of independents to govern. Do you think this will result in a better or worse Government for Australia? (A lot better, a little better, a little worse, a lot worse, make no difference)

electionfallout1

The “total worse” response from Coalition voters was nearly twice that of Labor or Greens voters. Not only do a majority of Coalition voters believe that minority government would be worse, but a plurality of Coalition voters believe it in the strongest possible terms available in the survey. If the Coalition can’t rule in their own right, many Coalition voters believe it is simply not acceptable.

Secondly, Essential asked about what should happen next:

Do you think Australia should have another Federal election in the next 12 months?

electionfallout2

65% of Coalition voters want another election in the next 12 months – the only partisan block to carry a majority on the question, and the partisan block with smallest number of open minds represented by the Don’t know response. If the Coalition doesn’t clearly win, a majority of Coalition voters believe it is simply not acceptable.

A large proportion of the Coalition vote base believes there is one and only one acceptable outcome in politics – theirs. And it is this zealotry that will explode.

The temptation for the Opposition to continue to exploit this belligerence, as they so successfully did in the lead up to the campaign and in the campaign itself, will be overwhelming. When all that stands between the Opposition and a new election – a new chance at *power* -  is one scandal, one stuff up, one member of parliament changing – the attraction of flicking the switch to rhetorical overdrive for effect, and righteous indignation to incite their masses, will simply be too great.  No distortion will be too large, no lie too audacious, no accusation too brazen.

And they will be ably assisted and their supporters commercially exploited, by the leadership and opinion section of The Australian – not to mention the curmudgeonly Lesser Scribes infesting the sewer end of the News Ltd tabloids and that growing group of feeble minded cowards at the ABC whom appear to have lost any capacity for intellectual autonomy when it comes to independently assessing the dynamics of Australian politics.

Yet the Great Unhinging won’t be a one way street. The forces of good within the Liberal Party – the Malcolm Turnbulls, the Simon Birminghams, the Greg Hunts of this world – will, must, start to push back against the tawdry politics and tea party style behaviour that the Coalition will ultimately pursue under Tony Abbott. Someone will take a rhetorical step too far, and the tinder box that has been the Coalition will ignite with a fury.

The National Party – the political group that has done more to piss the living standards of rural people up the wall than any other – now face rural independents that for the first time have real power. The Nats ultimate weakness threatens to be publically exposed in their heartland – that they are impotent, do nothing ratbags that rely on the ideological patronage of their constituents  and give them three fifths of five eighths of sweet fuck all in return. When, later this term, the fruits of Windsor and Oakeshott start rolling out through regional electorates – from health upgrades to the NBN to a plethora of inevitable policy programs – the National Party will start to be seen by their own constituents for exactly what they are, and the fallout will not be pretty.

What we are about to witness will indeed be a new paradigm, but not the one being advertised. This term looks to be the most policy rich in a generation – the NBN, health reform, a tax summit, campaign funding reform, federal whistleblower protection, a Parliamentary Budget Office and a proper review of climate change policy to name but a few – yet while this incredible agenda with its long, far reaching consequences for the nation will be on the table, there will be one side of politics and one wing of the media doing its best to turn it all into a complete and utter circus.

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  • 1
    middle man
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Holy sweet mother of God! Poss!! BRILLIANT!

  • 2
    Mack the Knife
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Well put Possum.

    The immediate crisis will be Fielding’s ridiculous promise of blocking supply where despite all his rhetoric condemning Fielding recently, it can be expected that phoney and the coalition will join him a la 1975 in their desperation to have a go at a second election.

    If this happens I would hope that the GG would sign off on supply to ensure stability of government’

  • 3
    John Higham
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    “the only threshold needed in Australia to form government – a majority on the floor of House. There is no other test, there is no other requisite, there is no other qualification needed to control the Treasury benches.”

    Pos, you also need support of the Governor General if the GG is John Kerr

  • 4
    David Richards
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Lib supporters are the most unhinged pack of loonies you’d ever be likely to come across. Even the LDP look sane by comparison.

  • 5
    Kit
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Great one Poss. And, I’m certain, oh so prescient.
    This one goes straight to the pool room.

  • 6
    David Richards
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Mack – Antony Green has already pointed out that this year’s supply bills have already been passed, and Fielding is irrelevant

  • 7
    Socrates
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Well said Poss. We may be looking not so much at a Tea Party, as a Rum Rebellion :)

  • 8
    Lucid Lex
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    A much more impassioned post then normal offerings possum, and it does look like an amazing period of politics. However I believe that those on ‘progressive’ side of politics would have been just as bitter had Abbott snatched victory, the main difference being that we lack a masthead to follow through.
    The death of the Nats has been long foretold, I hope you aren’t calling it too earlier either.

  • 9
    Kit
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I note that Mr Kelly says that the independents have ‘saved Gillard’s neck’.

    While the Coalition was in an identical position (i.e needing 4 independents to govern) I would hazard a guess that Mr Kelly would have had a slightly diffreant take if the independents had gone with the Coalition.

    Maybe, ‘Tony’s brilliant triumph has ushered in a new era of political stability and good governernce’

  • 10
    ozpeter
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Loved the blue book. Do we get to see the red book – or was that shredded?

  • 11
    peter Mcilwain
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Possum
    I should have felt happy about the announcement yesterday with this new government but instead I felt a lot of rage against the ABC. Their coverage of the announcement was so right wing it was outrageous. But that aside, there was this uneasy feeling which you’ve put your finger on very well. Thanks.

    We need to mobilise to do things to change the ABC and media laws. We just saw the media nearly bring down a very successful government and as you say they in concert with the right wing camp, will keep trying until they succeed. I’m worried about the damage they will do and we must do what we can to get at least some of our media back so that people can see what is really happening in this country and be engaged by it rather than isolated from it by this cynical view of politics as a kind of punch and judy show that our media present to us.

    Write letters, make t-shirts, demonstrate outside the ABC (NO MORE PUNCH AND JUDY!!), get the Get Up people involved, whatever. There is a narrow window of opportunity here in which something might be done I think. Shall we grizzle and shake our heads sadly or do something?

  • 12
    Yo ho ho
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Dude

    Love the last paragraph (largely cos I agree with it). I’m strangely optimistic that an ALP free from trying to be the most popular girl in school, will be faced with the fact that they can be popular for being smart…

    Or something.

  • 13
    David Stephens
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Great piece Possum (and hi Peter McIlwain). Reminds us that this is the end of the beginning only and there is much bastardry still to come. Much will depend on the Greens, I think.

  • 14
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Yet the Great Unhinging won’t be a one way street. The forces of good within the Liberal Party – the Malcolm Turnbulls, the Simon Birminghams, the Greg Hunts of this world – will, must, start to push back against the tawdry politics and tea party style behaviour that the Coalition will ultimately pursue under Tony Abbott. Someone will take a rhetorical step too far, and the tinder box that has been the Coalition will ignite with a fury.

    Poss can you elaborate on this. Their hasn’t been a significant moderate pushback in my lifetime.

  • 15
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I do want to thank you Possum for running this blog and providing such thoughtful and detailed analysis.

    The work you do here is greatly appreciated by many. I wish you well in whatever role you land.

  • 16
    kymbos
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The Government needs to just ignore the Oz and get on with business. Yes it will be ugly, but they gained nothing by trying to dance with the MSM last term. By accepting that Murdoch controls the media message, they made it true. Hopefully Julia understands that and just gets as many runs on the board as possible before the next election.

  • 17
    1934pc
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The ALP should point out to the Greens voters if , they want Abbott as PM, keep voting the way they did in this election!.
    Labor 38.0 -5.4 72
    Coalition 43.7 +1.5 73
    Greens 11.7 +4.0 1
    Others 6.6 -0.1 4
    If some of that SWING had gone to the ALP we would not be in this predicament.

  • 18
    Johnny Come Lately
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Great post Poss……….the powerful vested interests have lost and they are shitting themselves – there’s no doubt that they’ll come out swinging. Labor and co. need to hold it together, otherwise a huge opportunity for this nation will be lost.

  • 19
    Keith is not my real name
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Yeah baby :)

  • 20
    PASOK
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Maybe when Oakeshott was talking about “beauty in its ugliness” he was actually referring to “teh unhinging”?

    Everybody on 1, 2, 3: “We woz robbed!”

    In any case, the Tories are going to need News Ltd more than ever because they have become (even more) irrelevant. For a bill to pass the HoR, it will essentially need Green approval and I cannot see the Green senators amending or rejecting something that Adam Bandt has voted for. So the major hurdle becomes getting RO, TW, AW & AB to say Aye, and not, as in previous parliaments, negotiating with a hostile senate after the bill has passed the house.

    The other big talking point is whether any meaningful legislation will be passed before June 30? Or will Gillard spend her time getting the policy framework and consensus positions sorted in order for the new senate to vote of them? Seems like there is no point presenting any legislation to the current senate other than for some potential political point scoring.

  • 21
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s all coming, and I’ve already got my HazChem suit on to protect me from the Great Troy Sh!tstorm that’s started blowing.

    I’m half expecting the TeaPotty Mouth Party (TMP) to rally in the streets, making claims that Gillard is a secret Muslim, or maybe Windsor and Oakshott took big brown envelopes yesterday, but whatever batsh!t crazy stuff the Orcs of the Oz start spewing, you can bet it’ll be on the wind, covering the nation like a toxic duststorm.

    Batten down the hatches, get your HazChem suits on, the Great Tory Sh!tstorm is upon us now.

  • 22
    JamesH
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Planet Janet is off and running with the personal smears! “almost as brazen as Stalin”, “media tarts playing kingmakers” (look who’s talking), “undemocratic”, “haystack amigos”, it’s a trainwreck of confected outrage!

  • 23
    george
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Possum – you are a legend sir!

  • 24
    peter Mcilwain
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Look, Labor had huge advantages going into this last election, a large majority in the reps, the one of the most, if not the most, successful economy in the world, they where a first term government etc. Sure they made some mistakes but I can’t see how a country moves from where we were about 1 and half years ago to the result now. If you think that there are great opportunities that the minority government present (as I do) you must also realise that it is a fragile thing. If those US style right wing bully boys can nearly bring down a government like we have just had, with all its advantages, what can they do to a minority? You can dance around going “we won, abbott lost, nah nah n nah nah” but it will be a short lived joy unless something is done to improve the way politics are reported in my view.

  • 25
    Jackol
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    As you say Possum, there’s a lot on the policy agenda. I hope hope hope that Labor takes from this near-death experience that if they had actually lost executive government and were facing a coalition majority in the lower house that they would not even have the chance to do anything for the foreseeable future.

    The lesson being to not put off trying to push worthwhile legislation through just because you’re afraid it might (might!) lose you the next election. Just do it while you have the opportunity, the chance may never come again. Carpe diem and all that. Politics, like most things, favours the bold.

  • 26
    David Richards
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    and the Lib twits are out in force too – with all sorts of nonsense and abuse of all nonLib tweeters and JG, the independents, the Greens

    Such putrescance!

    It would serve the bastards right if JG does hold it together without any crises for 3 years and all the country seats ditch the Nats and Libs en masse at the next election.

  • 27
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Except, 1934pc, that’s not how voting works in this country since we introduced preferential voting. And Adam Bandt has sided with the ALP in any case.

    This whole “voting Greens risks the Liberals getting elected” only works if people switch from preferring the ALP to the Libs after voting Green. If people don’t want the ALP, they will make that abundantly clear.

  • 28
    dk au
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    This meme seems appropriate for the Flying Monkey Organ (formerly known as the Opposition Organ)

    http://dump.fm/m/dealwithit

  • 29
    marce
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    ‘the National Party will start to be seen by their own constituents for exactly what they are, and the fallout will not be pretty.’

    I want this to be true, but can’t you just see the Nats swinging this in their own electorates as ‘that bridge was built while I was the member, therefore it’s thanks to me’?

    They’ll certainly be there at the opening of every ribbon-cutting, same way the libs were often up for a BER school hall opening.

  • 30
    Country Kid
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Possum

    This is a seriously great piece of writing. Well done. On Poll Bludger there seems to be a growing swell to take on MSN bias. I feeling pretty motivated to get on board.

    My thinking is to start with Australian Journalists’ Association Code of Ethics. To be honest, I’m not sure what the latest version says, but an earlier version included..

    “To report and interpret news with a scrupulous honesty.”

    “Not to suppress essential facts nor distort the truth by omission or wrong or improper emphasis.”

    They both sound perfectly reasonable to me.

    If we can get a system going where people who claim to be journalists are held to account to the AJA code of ethics, then we can make a start.

    Further down the track, I reckon the occupation of journalist needs to be defined by a specific qualification as applies with other professions such as doctor, registered nurse, teacher, psychologist etc. For example, to be a reigistered nurse, you need to be … well registered, same for psychologists and numerous other professionals.

    So bring on a registration system for journalists – so they must meet stringent educational standards to become registered and abide by a strict code of ethics to remain registered.

    That still allows others, anyone really to freely write in the press – it just means that cannot claim to be journalists if they are not ‘registered’ as such. So they would simply call themselves, opinion writer, freelance writer or whatever.

    Publications could then ‘market’ themselves according to their point of difference – some might only have ‘qualified’ ‘registered’ journalists on board – others might opt to have well informed bloggers, opinion writers etc.

    I’m keen to look into this more when I get a chance…

    Is anyone with me on this?

  • 31
    peter Mcilwain
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Country Kid, you’ve got my support. I’ve just written to my new local member (a Labor gain here in VIC) and asked for a public enquiry into reporting at the ABC. We need to get away from the childish anti-bias policies that have hamstrung the ABC and discuss ways that journalists can move beyond horse race politics. I’ve also contact Bob Brown (who I know is thinking about these issues) and will also be looking at how Get Up might be involved. Letsx get ideas going.

  • 32
    JamesH
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Country kid, I think that registering journalists would just add a level of pseudo-legitimacy to their already incestuous elitism. It’s like having a registry for homeopaths, it just legitimises them.
    A register of journalists’ and their employers’ interests, with mandatory disclosure, might be a better idea. Eg Every time the Oz runs a story attacking the ABC they have to have a statement saying “The Australian is owned by Rupert Murdoch who also owns Sky News, one of the ABC’s competitors”.

  • 33
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’d guess that most of us here are escapees from the greater swill that purports to be ‘journalism’ but is really just paid for partisanship.

    More strength to Crikey and it’s ilk…and God bless the intertubes! Who knows, there may be even more Crikey subscriptions at the end of the NBN rainbow!

  • 34
    my say
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    brilliant poss, may the good forces of light protect you,

    mary mackillop intercede for you.

    I am doing a scrap book for my 2 year old grand daughter, our daughter married in to a labor dynasty ( past prem) so it will mean a lot to her.
    I am going to include if you dont mind your thoughts today, in 20 or so years when she starts to take an interest as i am sure she will its in her genes, she will read this.
    will it have changed will the forces of evil subsided, lets hope so.

  • 35
    my say
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink
    Country Kid, you’ve got my support. I’ve just written to my new local member (a Labor gain here in VIC) and asked for a public enquiry into reporting at the ABC. We need to get away from the childish anti-bias policies that have hamstrung the ABC

    me to also to my senators, a senate enquiry into how much they now spend of our tax payer dollars on wages for staff and journalists and areas like the drum, unleashed and abc 24, as opposed to good drama which is now mostly repeats
    what do they do with their allowance from us the tax payer.
    may be a good place to start.

  • 36
    John64
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “The Liberal and National parties have a profoundly successful ability at attracting a disproportional quantity of the most embittered, politically pungent elements of Australian society as supporters – a dark, angry, belligerent underbelly that believes the only acceptable outcome of any political contest is the one they believe in.”

    Possum mate, the Labor party are the same on that. Both sides of politics have very strong proponents. While Liberals have the support of the News dominated media, Labor have for decades elevated their former leaders to hero status, written numerous books to their glory and praised them from the rooftops – while denigrating the “Liberal conspiracies” that were responsible for bringing them down (Dare I mention the Loans Affair? And for another example, Mr. Ellis article on the ABC recently – which made no mention of Labor’s own moves against Rudd, in particular ignoring the whole ‘forcing his hand to dump the the ETS’ bit which saw support for Labor plummet earlier this year).

    The upside of this is that with Independents in power, the Labor party will be prevented from resorting to form and dumping everything out the window based on what their right-faction leaders whims are of the day. Julia actually has a stronger chance of surviving as leader to the next election and we might actually see the Labor party stop trying to crowd in on the Liberals on boat people.

    “The “total worse” response from Coalition voters was nearly twice that of Labor or Greens voters.” That might have something to do with the fact that Labor voters didn’t particulary want a Labor Government. See Labor’s low primary vote and how the swings went not to the Coalition but away from Labor and towards the Greens (Bandt and Wilkie both winning what were strong Labor seats shows that). A substantial number of Greens voters weren’t “going Green” but were more “avoiding everyone else” (the “I’m not voting for Tony Abbott” and “I don’t like the way Julia came to power” factors – both of which were heard repeatedly from voters on polling day). It’s no surprise that the conservative rural states strongly backed a conservative Liberal leader, while the more moderate states of SA, Tas, Vic (and in some aspects, NSW) bent towards Labor (resulting in the two different elections).

    “No distortion will be too large, no lie too audacious, no accusation too brazen.” Or, you know, we could have another pink batts scandal (you can argue statistics on that as much as you like but electrified roofs, dead people and Billions to fix it aren’t indicators of “good Government”. It’d be like arguing the recent deaths in the construction of SA’s desalination plant are “statistically acceptable” within the construction industry, so why would we shut things down to investigate? That’s just a waste of time!).

    “The National Party – the political group that has done more to piss the living standards of rural people up the wall than any other” – statistics for this please. When you focus on the statistics, your posts are quite good. When you degenerate into the sort of tripe that I read in The Australian on a daily basis (only in this case, from the other side of the fence) – not so good. Of course, my own bias factors into that. ;)

  • 37
    Pritam Sekhon
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Great post again, Poss. This is probably a good time to join the growing tide of feeling to deal with the corruption at the ABC. We can’t do anything about the putrescent News Ltd. But the ABC runs on our tax dollars and owes it to us all to behave like it’s meant to.

  • 38
    spur212
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    You’ve done it again! Excellent post and excellent analysis.

  • 39
    Bellistner
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Disturbingly accurate summary. The fallout will be both entertaining and frightening.

  • 40
    Oscar
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Terrific post, Possum.

    I for one am quite looking forward to the antics of that “ferocious” Mr Rabbott.

    It should put Mony Python to shame!

  • 41
    lefty e
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Awesome piece, Possum.

    And dare I say, whats needed here is some organised rank and file support for this government and reform agendas.

    The media cannot be trusted to play the ball fairly, the opposition cannot be trusted to respect the result – so civil society will have to step up with a new level of engagement with the processes that are tackling these key policy issues.

    Lets hold “our” ABC more accountable. I want dispassionate critical analysis, not the sorry and lazy he said she said ‘balance’ style press-release cut and pastes, followed by totally non-illuminating, zero-dimensional “gotyas”.

    Lets get more involved.

  • 42
    Mad Dog
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I posted this on PollB last night, but I would like it to be read and understood as widely as possible.

    I listen to ABC Classic FM nearly all of the time. They generally have news on the hour. Last night the 7 pm news started, without a lead in, with a recording of Abbott telling two lies in his press conference, first, that the coalition had received more votes than Labor, and second that they had more seats than Labor. This was left to stand, with no comment. The news reader then began on the actual news, that O and W had supported Labor, and hence that Gillard remains PM.

    There is a cancer at the centre of ABC news, that continually carries out acts of bastardry like this. I have been collecting direct examples for some time, since March in fact. Their most common trick is to take a straight story, about something the government has done, and headline it in non-peak times with a bland, even factual headline. A couple of hours later, they will collect a negative (of course) response from an opposition spokesperson, and create a headline with a direct quote of the negative statement, unattributed. The factual story will be amended so that the first several paras report the opposition criticism, and just a couple of small parts of the original story remain. This will then remain as their headline and story for the next many hours, throught the main evening bulletins on radio and TV.

    As a specific example, take the announcement of the Government’s NBN deal with Telstra. This is just one of many I have collected.

    Thodey (Telstra CEO) and Rudd held a joint press conference early on the afternoon of Sunday 20 June. This story appeared on ABC News Online:

    “Government strikes NBN deal with Telstra”
    Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:58pm AEST

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/20/2931852.htm

    Within two hours, it had been removed, to be replaced by this:

    ‘No certainty’ about Telstra’s NBN deal
    Sun Jun 20, 2010 4.37 pm AEST

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/21/2932024.htm

    The second version of the story removed nearly all of the positive, factual material, and substituted some entirely misleading lies about what the Government is buying, and tripe spouted by Robb, as is indicated by the headline. The final version, linked above, removes even more of the positive, and leaves virtually only opposition denigration. This version of the story was that which led the Sunday evening news, the following morning’s AM, and all bulletins throughout the day.

    The cunning part about his, of course, is that Scott can point to even-handedness, in that there was a pro-government story, and one which ‘put the opposition’s point of view’. What is not mentioned or measured is the prominence, and simple longevity of the two stories, ostensibly about the same topic. One is hidden early on a Sunday afternoon, when nobody is watching or listening, and the other is plastered all over the evening bulletin, the next morning, and on into the next night.

    This pattern is repeated over and over. There is definitely organisation and intent involved. Over and over, there are two or more versions of a story. First a government announcement, reported straight, with a bland objective headline. Then a short time later, a new ‘anti’ headline, and destructive lead in paragraph or two, with much of the original remaining. Then often, a few hours later, there is an even more biased story, with quotes from opposition spokepersons, and a strongly partisan headline.

    Last night the added destructive headline was as blatant as possible, a recording of Abbott lying about the vote and seats.

    This is the way ‘their’ ABC works, and the evidence is crystal clear in their own archives.

    cheers,

    Mad Dog

  • 43
    Ulysses
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Great stuff Poss. You are a legend.

    It is going to be interesting. If the government holds it together then the coalition is going to have serious problems in this term.

    The Nats will have to leave the coalition during periods of opposition then negotiate their way back into coalition whenever they win. I can’t see any value in it for them to be in coalition while in opposition. The Indies are embarassing them to oblivion.

    The Australian and its subs are beyond contempt. The ABC is a cause for concern.

  • 44
    peter Mcilwain
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    great work Mad Dog – you’ve nailed it. Lets push our reps and senators to hold an inquiry where evidence like this can be presented.

  • 45
    Holden Back
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It won’t just be the Nationals exposed, please God. Country Liberals like my member, the always charming Sophie Mirabella, will be running scared if the independents get too much benefit out of the minority government arrangements. This will manifest in even more rabid behaviour, swinging wildly to make all issues from roads to fuel reduction burns Federal.

  • 46
    twobob
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    peter Mcilwain and country kid

    Totally agree, I will do my little bit with letters to my local member and to my senate reps. Get up is a good idea and I will be visiting their site soon to cough up a bit of my hard earned for this cause.
    It NEEDS to be done, media reform 1st, ABC bias next.

    As you peter, during a triumphant afternoon I sickened from hearing from joyce, and milne on ABC24. And trioli, what a brain dead {snip}.
    If we don’t make noise and lots of it it won’t change and the batsh*t insane will come from everywhere. Every news item will lead “The opposition claims …” I am already sick of it

  • 47
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Written in Glorious Technicolour, Possum.

    I’m inclined to organise myself a similar commentary betwixt my news bulletins on the Adelaide community radio station where I work this coming Monday (sans brand names, of course).

  • 48
    rjh
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    @1934pc(18), Green voter points out to ALP they’re not 100% with ALP policy, but realise that the Green preference vote will go ALP, rather than LNP.

    Green voter welcomes the current outcome, and hope that ALP takes note and does some analysis on which policies caused the swing away from ALP to the Greens.

    If that 4% swing to Greens went to ALP instead, or that 1 Green seat went to Labor instead, there would probably still be the same “predicament”, Green voters would have voted against their conscience and ALP would be think they’re on a good thing with the policies that had been presented (well, a better thing than the current message being sent).

    Green voter wouldn’t feel to badly if LNP got in, since as point out in the article, they’d be back at the polls when they feel their strength is up to try and get a majority vote. My guess is they’d be interpreted as time wasters, and either would not attempt such a thing, or just get voted out when they did.

21 Trackbacks

  1. ...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mr Onthemoon, Possum Comitatus, Robert Corr, Zombie Mao, Ryan Baker-Smith and others. Ryan Baker-Smith said: Let the Great Unhinging begin: http://bit.ly/d3NrjW (via @Pollytics) #auspol [...

  2. By Just the Beginning | A Senex View on September 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    ...] Pollytics.com [...

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