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

political froth + bubble « Previous | |Next »
August 28, 2011

The Canberra Press Gallery is very absorbed in the Craig Thomson affair which they suggest is a big political and moral crisis that could actually bring down the Gillard Government. Gillard and co already have one foot in the abyss, and it will only take a bit of pressure to tip them in.

Yawn. It's how you sell newspapers these days: manufacturing things into a crisis---it recalls 1975 for heaven's sake--- so that we have permanent state of crisis. That is the frame though which the Canberra Press Gallery views political events, such as the conflicts between and within unions and the political factions. The media has turned against the Gillard Government:


The main game is the Gillard Government's governing the nation---that is, pushing on with its reform agenda and getting as much of it done in the next two years whilst it has the support in the House of Representatives and the Senate for its reforms--health, the carbon price, the mining tax and the national broadband network.

Governing is what they are there for and reform is what they say they are about. They need to get get as many things done as is possible. If the Gillard Government is tossed out in 2013 (as most expect), then at least it will gone down in history as a reform government.

The political froth and bubble is the culture of outrage and a vortex of animus from the vested interests (eg., the big miners and their local cheer squad) resisting reform that is sucking everything into the vortex of political hatred.

The more rational of the right wing commentators avoid the "illegitimate bad government" talking point and say that the minority Gillard Government is not really doing much. Thus Graham Young writes:

This government lacks fortitude and that is one of its fundamental problems. It came to power with a limited agenda, has picked fights on too many fronts, and then modified policies in the face of opposition to the point where its victories are only Pyrrhic.

I would have thought that the problem with the Gillard Government at a governance level was that its reform agenda was very broad. Hence all the fights.

The Gillard Government lacks fortitude? The first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions--increasing the carbon price--will pass this session of Parliament. That means Australia is on its way to implementing an emissions trading scheme in the face of intense and hostile opposition from both the Coalition and business.

Others like Jennifer Hewitt write in terms of the Gillard Government already struggling badly to sell its various policy "reforms", especially the imposition of a carbon tax. The reforms----pricing carbon, the national broadband network, plain tobacco packaging, taxing the miners to ensure others benefit from the boom---aren't really reforms.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:29 PM | | Comments (7)


I predicted as soon as the minority government arrangements were confirmed that Abbott's mob would devote their efforts to finding Labor 'scandals'. Much easier than being a plausible alternative government. I'm only surprised the Thomson thing is the best they've been able to come up with. It speaks volumes for the integrity - or the cunning - of the current ALP front bench; a nice contrast with the shambolic clown car of crooks and weirdos that we saw in NSW before Labor disappeared from view.

Another cartoonist to add to the list of COALition propagandists.
A more valid rendition of the drawing above would portray the ship of state sailing proudly and determinedly with billowing sails labelled 'carbon price [not tax], 'GFC", "Tax reform', 'better health' etc
with a small school of yapping [?] journos and Abbotts being swept aside in the wake.

Mind you that would not be totally accurate either but at least it would have some credibility as not being the result of media massage.

the right wing noise machine is baying for Gillard's blood. Its manufactured outrage makes everything the government's fault including the weather.

The 'permanent crisis' thing is getting very old, but it seems to be all the Abbott opposition has got. Meanwhile, legislation is getting through that's building the scaffold for some major stuff that won't be easy to undo if the polls stay the way they are for 2 more years.

Contracts around the NBN have been signed, farmers can get carbon credits, the mining tax will get through, the carbon tax-associated assistance package for steel manufacturing is being brought forward. Not that you'd know it, but Abbott hasn't managed to stop anything.

This thing with Thompson, do they seriously think that Labor doesn't have a pile of dirt files sitting around somewhere? If Abbott had any sense he'd have locked Brandis in a cupboard.

the right wing media sure are turning up the volume around the Thomson affair.

there is a big disconnect between what is happening at the governance level--reform legislation being passed--and the surly mood of public opinion. In between stands the media that has, by and large, dumped any pretense to interpret political events in terms of its professional objectivity ethos. By and large the media support the Coalitions' strategy to create ever increasing polarization.

The media world has shifted:-- its portrayal of politics has become increasingly like a form of reality television where reality is faked, hyped and manipulated to increase the tension and the angst. That means its form is that of popular entertainment.

the NSW Labor Government certainly was the most inept, accident-prone and possibly corrupt administration the nation has ever seen. Only the Bjelke-Petersen government in Queensland was worse.