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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Canberra gaze: Rudd reshuffle « Previous | |Next »
June 7, 2009

In the first significant revamp of Kevin Rudd's front bench line-up Rudd said that his reshuffle was "a minor reshaping of the executive" to bring Mark Arbib, Chris Bowen, Jason Clare and Greg Combet and that he called the shots not the factions in the Labor Party. That may be the case, but Rudd also used that reshuffle to shore up his NSW Right power base.

So what does the shuffle say in terms of its political meaning? My interpretation is that places an emphasis on jobs in an economic and political landscape recast by the global financial/economic crisis. Labor's response to this crisis has been to make jobs the priority at the price of debt and deficit, not to use the crises to begin the long term shift to a low carbon economy.

So we will experience more strategically planned leaks, ever smiling snaps, and lots of happy headlines of ministers in hard hats and red vests controlled by the Prime Minister's office so that the Rudd Government looks in nightly news as if it frenetically trying to help people through the global economic crisis. Media management within the relentless 24-hour cycle is everywhere.

The cracks in wall to wall media management imagery, slogans, spin and publicity can be seen around climate change, and what has been disclosed is the political reality of the Rudd Government just caving into the big polluters and saying nothing substantive about addressing climate change.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:41 PM | | Comments (4)


It's hardly surprising that the government would try and set the agenda on the ground it feels most comfortable.

Media are running with anything that has the 'gotcha factor' written large. Aunty, for instance, seems committed to reporting any talking point that the opposition comes up with, as newsworthy, no matter how crazy it is.

In short,Gary, I am not sure how Rudd could do anything else, to try and get his message across, with such a hostile local media.

point accepted. But the media management under Rudd seems to be far more centralized and greater oin terms of micro-management than under Howard.

The other side of this is that the media are running down staff and the Canberra journalists are not asking the tougher or more searching questions.

So a new political/media relationship is forming.

It's likely more about eroding the coalition's perceived strengths - the economy and defence. Faulkner will not be stuffed around by defence, Combet will prioritise defence over climate change, Rudd will focus on the economy. These are the messages for public consumption.

What they do with everything else is backgrounded. There must be an election coming.

"...the media management under Rudd seems to be far more centralized and greater in terms of micro-management than under Howard."

True. That is inevitable because, as you say the "political/media" relationship is different.

Howard was a media darling. He was always accessible and mostly in election mode. He never seemed to be attending to the job of P.M.,in the end.

Remember also that he was always spending big on advertising, to reinforce his message.

Rudd needs to somehow bring home the message, despite some elements of the media, with much less budget on direct marketing.

To cut through he naturally manages things much more carefully. Even staying out of the way at times and irritate the 4rth estate. Just as he did before the last election, actually.

And rely on the coalition to continue making a cluts of itself, despite the easy run it should be making of such poor economic circumstances.

As well as, admittedly, better managing staged events.