Only today I yet again had cause to link political decline to simpleton journalists.
This time the obvious candidate is the ABC’s Queensland commentator, Chris O’Brien, turning out two stories that are so shot through with ignorance, and an absence of a single clear thought, the ABC should feel cheated to have paid O’Brien this week.
How lack of political talent and the rise of hand-held online chatter levelled Australian politics, and exposes the Labor fraud under Shorten of presenting itself as a desirable alternative to the Coalition.
How analysts, commentators, and politicians are distorting Australia’s political landscape. A personal assessment of the battle for Australia as an independent nation rather than as a minor feudal colony of imperial powers.
The election outcome is not yet entirely certain, and much less certain even than it seemed last night, but it is clear the LNP was rejected in a historic reversal of fortunes after just three years.
What went wrong?
While I’d like to propose my own reasons for wanting to see the back of the Newman Queensland Government as the principal points of failure, that would be inaccurate. What brought the LNP undone was Clive Palmer. A feud to the right of the Labor Party.
All those who predicted that the Liberal National Party (LNP) would be returned with a slim margin were right when you look at historical trends and numbers. Precedent suggests that no party routed as decisively as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was in 2012 could make it back in just one term.
But that’s if you only look at the numbers, and the substance of politics is assumed not to matter because it is assumed to be anodyne.
Reading Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s Australia Day message was a disconcertingly embarrassing experience. It made me cringe to think Sawn is almost part of my peer group, and quite so chauvinistically stuck in a pre-war mindset that he thinks recalling the Bodyline discourse is of relevance or appeal to any contemporary Australian demographic.
For sane people everywhere, but particularly outside the cricket-playing Commonwealth, Bodyline was the style of attack used by English fast bowlers during the antipodean summer of 1932-33. That’s right: 80 years ago. The bodyline strategy was simple: bowl the cricket ball straight at the batsman with intent to injure or wrongfoot him. It was considered an unsportsmanlike reaction to the almost superhuman batting skills of Australians like Don Bradman, whose batting average was an astonishing 100 per game.
Following my previous, tongue-in-cheek comment on this subject, I received some feedback that I was not taking this ‘gravely important’ issue seriously enough. And I plainly wasn’t, but this analysis aims to ameliorate that ‘oversight’.
The draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 presented by Attorney General Nicola Roxon represents at once bad law, politicisation of jurisprudence, and the deliberate ideological fabrication of a stereotype class of ‘victims’, encouraged to act on emotional hypochondria to assert that discrimination has occurred under vexatiously ambiguous new grounds that include language or actions subjectively judged to be insulting or offensive in relation to social origins or political views.
Under such broad terms, the Bill could easily become an instrument for grotesquely malicious and massively expensive actions, including some explicitly designed to curtail freedom of speech and political expression. More likely though, it is capable of encouraging mercenary exploitation with a view to compensatory damages payouts.
This is particularly the case since the Bill subverts the fundamental legal principle that guilt must be proven, instead requiring an accused party to prove innocence in a setting in which language and meaning are up for arbitrary interpretation based on alleged emotional responses by an aggrieved party.
The decision to call for an election on a Saturday would be otherwise unremarkable had it not meant that new voter registrations close at 20:00 on the following Monday, almost certainly disenfranchising a swathe of first-time voters.
One must assume that the ALP party machine was aware of the consequences of its timing for calling the election, and therefore doesn’t care about these votes, or has reason to fear them. In either case, that can’t be a good sign for Gillard because that constituency is likely to share a mind-set with a larger group of already registered voters.
One might be tempted to draw the conclusion that Gillard’s centerpiece education reforms aren’t really that popular with its intended consumers – students. One might also infer that ALP strategists have decided that the election will not be fought and won education policies; a reasonable assumption, I would think.
These matters notwithstanding, the timing of an election so soon after a leadership change was probably smart. Gillard hasn’t yet had time to make mistakes in her own right as leader of the party, enjoys a substantial honeymoon boost in the ratings, and is likely to slip in popularity the longer she waits if there aren’t any major new initiatives she can deliver prior to and separate from election pork barreling.