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Dec 11, 2009

Sydney's newspapers petition for an early election - a step too far?

I've been trying to think of precedents, and I can't. Today the Sydney Morning Herald is campaigning to get its readers to

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I’ve been trying to think of precedents, and I can’t. Today the Sydney Morning Herald is campaigning to get its readers to sign a petition for an early election, and a constitutional change to overturn four year fixed terms for the state government.

All of which is very interesting, though not original. The Daily Telegraph did it two weeks ago, although in their case the petition lacked the constitutional subtleties and simply called on the Governor, Marie Bashir, to dissolve the parliament.

Now, heaven knows it is easy to understand where these populist moves come from. The present NSW Government is such a sorry beast. But has there ever been a time before when both the state’s daily newspapers actively promoted a petition for an election?

I can’t think of it.

And is it a proper thing to do? The newspapers wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t condemn the government and its shennangans in their editorials – but promoting a petition? Is that a step too far in campaigning journalism? Where does it leave their political reporters, particularly if, against the odds, such an electdion does indeed come about.

Not sure what I think yet. Views invited.

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