20 Dec 2012

The Year The Media Old Boys Got It Wrong

By Ben Eltham
After a year spent largely at odds with mainstream political commentators, NM's national affairs correspondent has earned a holiday. Ben Eltham looks back on a torrid year in Australian politics
I seem to have spent a lot of my time this year arguing against the dominant narrative put forward by my colleagues in the rest of the media.

In January, for instance, I was pointing out that the so-called "Australia Day riot" in which the Prime Minister unceremoniously lost a shoe, was neither violent nor a riot. No arrests were made. No injuries were sustained. No property was damaged. But the event was nonetheless portrayed as "mob violence", with a heavy undertone of sexism owing to the loss of that prime ministerial shoe.

In March, I was observing that the media criticism of the government's Finkelstein Review into media regulation was little more than self-serving rhetoric from an industry that likes to believe that it should be above the law. The Australian Financial Review called it a "Labor plan to control the media."

In April, the Peter Slipper story broke — a sexual harassment suit we now know was cooked up by staffer James Ashby in conspiracy with LNP politician Mal Brough. At the time, I argued that Peter Slipper deserved to be presumed innocent, and that he stood a good chance of being "hounded from office on trumped up charges, spurious accusations, or lurid sexual slurs that have nothing to do with his or her competence in office". Much of the media didn't worry about such niceties. In a low point for the national broadcaster, ABC Lateline present Emma Alberici summed up the media's ignorance when she told Attorney-General Nicola Roxon that "virtually every commentator in the land is echoing the thoughts of the Opposition on this one".

In May, I tilted quixotically at windmills with a nutty argument that Labor was actually pro-business. With unemployment at 5.2 per cent, a budget in surplus, low government debt and a smaller size of government than the Howard years, Labor's economic policies have been a model of neoliberal orthodoxy. The response of national newspaper The Australian to Labor's budget was this bizarre front-page effort.

On 1 July, the Government's carbon price and clean energy legislation came into effect. The News Ltd newspapers in particular campaigned strongly against this policy, in large part echoing the Opposition's claims that the carbon tax would have devastating impact on ordinary consumers and the Australian economy. Of course, as the grateful citizens of Whyalla can attest, the impacts of carbon pricing have been much smaller than the fear campaign suggested. As I argued in July, Labor's Clean Energy Future package is a profoundly positive one for Australia in the long term.

In July I had another go at defending the economic record of the Government, arguing that the economic gloom that seems to grip many conservative voters is completely at odds with the healthy state of the Australian economy. Of course, the economy has slowed somewhat since then, but even so, the economic performance of Australia is remarkable. Despite this, many voters seem to be taking their cues from conservative commentators in the media, who remain relentlessly and unjustifiably critical of the government's economic management.

In October, I watched Julia Gillard give the most important speech of her political career. Immediately, I argued it was one of the defining moments of her prime ministership. In contrast, much of the mainstream media covered it almost as though Gillard was some kind of hypocrite for standing up for the principles in which she believes. My favourite example of the scale of the misjudgement was this opinion piece from Fairfax's Peter Hartcher, who argued that the Prime Minster's political trajectory "reached its lowest point yesterday when she showed she was prepared to defend even the denigration of women if it would help her keep power". Yes, he really did write that.

The utter failure of most of the Canberra press gallery to "get" the significance of Gillard's misogyny speech should have shamed some of them into rethinking their reflexive hostility to the Prime Minister and this minority government. It didn't. By November, the dogs were barking incessantly about some murky goings on in the Australian Workers Union nearly twenty years ago. Once again, much of the mainstream media devoted acres of newsprint and gigabytes of server space to the largely baseless accusations regarding Julia Gillard's role in some alleged malfeasance in the AWU in the early 1990s. As I argued at the time, there was no substance to most of the allegations. When no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Prime Minister turned up, the judgment of many journalists and editors was shown up again.

You can see the pattern emerging here. I am by no means the only one to remark upon it — over at his blog The Failed Estate, former journalist Jim Parker has an excellent post surveying much of the same dismal landscape. Throughout 2012, the prevailing tone from what has come to be (rather disparagingly) called the "mainstream media" has been one of querulous conflict and cynicism. In general, the achievements of the current government have been viewed through a prism of Labor's unpopularity. There are also specific and powerful remnants of the newspaper sector — most notably, of course, News Limited — that have campaigned strenuously and ceaselessly against this government, and all that it represents.

Perhaps the most obvious trend has been the continuing hostility of much of the old media, particularly radio and newspapers, towards Julia Gillard's person and gender. It is no coincidence that the most hostile sections of the media have been those dominated by older white men — such as business commentators, press gallery journalists, talk radio hosts and conservative newspaper columnists. Their criticism of her has repeatedly been tinged with gender disdain, from the infamous "chaff bag" of Alan Jones to Hartcher's twisted commentary on her misogyny speech.

But the political animus in 2012 went further than just hatred of our first female Prime Minister. It extended, whip-like, to wrap itself around all those who assisted her to gain and remain in office, such as Greens leader Christine Milne, Peter Slipper as the "rat" Speaker betraying his conservative colleagues, as well as the lower house independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

Common in these criticisms is the presumption of the illegitimacy of the current minority government, a government which by any objective measure has been unusually productive and legislatively active.

There are also structural issues at play. For many parts of the Australian media, the rapid erosion of the media's gatekeeper business model has been bewildering, even infuriating. The old certainties, in which the possession of a television license or a newspaper monopoly guaranteed power and prestige for the owners, and by delegation, the senior editors and commentators of those industries, are breaking down. For journalists trapped in the old model and seduced by the old temptations, that's a tragedy to be railed against — and indeed it is a concern that so many journalists are losing their job. But as the Leveson Inquiry in Britain has amply demonstrated, the power that the mass media has amassed in western democracies has not always been accompanied by a sense of responsibility.

Speaking of Oakeshott, the independent Member for Lyne has a thoughtful blog post on his website this week that illuminates the changing terrain of our democratic public sphere. Responding to a typically unfocused tirade from another of those angry old men, Gerard Henderson, Oakeshott calmly and a little sadly points out his reasons for supporting Labor and Julia Gillard. "Better education and health polices, a market based emissions trading scheme being implemented, a rate of return and equity being delivered through a national broadband strategy, progress on bipartisan recognition of Australia's 40,000-year-old history in our Constitution, and the starting elements of tax reform, are all positive reasons why I did what I did, and why I stand by it," Oakeshott writes.

Oakeshott's blog post points to the alternative universe of Australian media, and what could be possible if more of us were prepared to step back and honestly assess the progress of our government and our community.

In fact, it is possible to construct an alternative narrative of the achievements and failures of the Gillard Government, one that applauds the achievements of Labor's minority Parliament and criticises its failures.

The achievements are weighty: pricing carbon and maintaining a Renewable Energy Target, maintaining a healthy economy, cutting taxes for the middle class and for low income earners, introducing important social reforms such as paid parental leave, and pressing ahead with valuable infrastructure projects for the future of Australia like the National Broadband Network.

Such an alternative narrative would also reserve harsh criticism for some of Labor's larger failures, such as its unnecessary obsession with the budget surplus, and its mean spirited treatment of single parents on benefits and asylum seekers looking for a better life. We might even reserve judgment altogether on big policy agendas like the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski reforms to schools funding, awaiting the development of these important but still unrealised reforms. Such a narrative would be much more optimistic on many things — including the economy, and on the opportunities that increased immigration affords our nation. But on the biggest issue of all — civilisation-threatening climate change — we would probably have to throw our hands up in despair.

An alternative narrative is in fact available to any informed citizen without any recourse to Australia's media-makers and journalists — indeed, without ever venturing onto Twitter or Facebook. All that is required is an independent mind. It is a narrative that a substantial minority of us are already constructing. At any rate, it is a narrative which would argue that the achievements of the Gillard government are substantial and real.

Perhaps this is why the angry old men were so enraged in 2012. On many fronts — from climate policy to the resurgence of feminism — the reactionary, conservative agenda went backward in Australia this year. The Gillard Government has endured constant criticism and no little hatred. But it has also put in place long-lasting policy reforms that will slowly make our nation a more progressive place.

Julia Gillard has done this in the most obvious and old fashioned of ways: by negotiating a majority on the floor of Parliament, and using it to change Australia's laws. For Tony Abbott and his supporters in the media, it must be especially galling to see her do this so successfully. The hard truth of being in Opposition is that power in a Westminster Parliament is not consensual. Only by winning votes can a political party changes laws and effect policy reforms.

This plain truth is what politics in 2013 will be all about. If the Coalition wins next year, Tony Abbott will have the opportunity to roll back much of what Labor has achieved since 2007. If Labor wins, Julia Gillard will likely entrench it, and continue Australia's gradual march towards a more progressive Australian polity. In contrast, a Tony Abbott prime ministership promises to be even more conservative on many issues than John Howard was.

Federal elections are always important. But 2013 will be a particularly stark choice. It should be a fascinating year.

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Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 14:53

Thank you Ben and New Matilda for your reporting and your objectivity this year. Australia would be much the poorer without you. The mainstream media or MSM as most bloggers refer to them now (with a spit) have disgraced themselves this year. Most notably now it appears over the Craig Thomson Affair in which little to no evidence has been produced inthe Federal Court to back up the allegations made by the Coalition.Just think for a second about the acres of space in newspapers, the online megabytes and the hours of parliamentary time that have been spent on this matter and it gets to a court of law and there is so little evidence the case may not proceed. Add that to the Slipper Matter and I think it is about time that the Liberal Party,if they have one shred of integrity left, dismantled the Abbott Dirt Unit and got themselves a new leader. And then all news editors need to book all their staff into law and ethics in journalism refresher courses in early 2013 hwere hopefully they will learn the meaning of objectivity, fairness and balance. Merry Festive Season to all at NM.

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 14:54

Well written Ben. You have been a trusted and welcome voice in a sea of MSM dross this year.
There's none so blind a those who will not see and the MSM, for whatever selfish reason, has poisoned the public perception of, by any standards, a great Australian government.
In their constant search to find fault and make up headlines the media have broken the public's trust in the institution of government just the way they've broken our trust in teachers, police and public servants.
God help us if they get their biased way and an abbott government takes control.
Who in their right mind doesn't look back and see that the Libs ALWAYS cut back on Health, education and government services and privatise (which puts the prices up) everythjng they can.
Just one time voters ... don't believe what the media tells you and find the history of the political parties. Find your information in a trust worthy source like New Matilda.
Give the MSM a big miss.
About all you can trust the MSM for is the weather ... and even there they've got the big picture wrong.

ü Reduce, replace, reuse, recycle - the environment is everybody's business

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 15:23

well said Ben - to have an independent mind takes courage. We need both and NM helps enormously.

Go have a holiday!

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 15:28

you really don't use the word "I" enough in this article. sometimes, whole paragraphs slide by without the perpendicular pronoun.

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 15:40

This is a good summary Ben and I agree with many of your points however your prevailing narrative is 'Julia can do no wrong' and unfortunately this erodes your objectivity. An example is how enamoured you were by her 'misogyny speech'. Come on Ben, do you really think Abbott is a misogynist? or perhaps Julia has just plucked an emotive word that rallied some sectors and alienated others? Abbott may be many things but I seriously doubt he hates women, especially given he seemingly has a good relationship with he one he is married to, and his three daughters. This was 'cheap-shot' politiking which diminished both her standing and the relevance of her speech in most peoples eyes - it was engaging in the same behaviour she was moaning about from the opposition. She could have made a great speech by using wit rather than cheap shots - it will be considered 'great' by her groupies but not by most people - an opportunity lost I think. Another example of your biais is about "some murky goings on in the Australian Workers Union nearly twenty years ago" - there is much more to this story than is being revealed which is unfortunate because it taints both Julia's integrity and that of the AWU. There was a time when the Union stood for the 'worker' but now with the revelations this year it seems it is more like a slush fund for the Union/Labor elite who are bound by sacred oaths to protect each other - much like the leaders of a cult.

Ben, being equally biased but opposite to the mainstream may seem like bringing 'balance' but I'm not so sure. I think there is a place for journo's to remain neutral and report without influence - the radical middle. Just my thoughts.

Cheers and have a great break.

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 16:13

Yes, I agree with the general assessment of the quality of the nation's "political" reporting. News Ltd is essentially the Coalition's propaganda arm and performs accordingly, however it was particularly disappointing when the ABC contracted the disease of "follow the rumour". The obsession with reporting every poll and the tedious recounting of day to day events in Parliament is extremely boring---where is the analysis of policy? Perhaps it's too difficult.

The Government seems so vulnerable but it's survived, Coalition politicians and their media parrot supporters can't disguise their frustration, they will try anything.

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 16:17

Ben Eltham does not moderate his articles even GrantD's.

Worthy Criticism GrantD, We needed a Female Prime Minister, my Question is did it have to be Julia, I used to like her, then she went to the U.S and Cried, reckoned America had saved her country, England. What a Joke, she lost me from that point on, other then that no drama.

Either way well done Ben, hope its not your Englishness thats trying to save her. You get my vote!

Cheers and have a great break.

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 16:27

Ben, were it not for you, political reporting would have been so much poorer in Australia this year. Thank you for your preparedness to say what needed to be said even though 'the world' was saying otherwise. I have enjoyed your articles immensely. Keep up the good work and have a very merry Christmas.

peter hindrup
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 21:56

I cannot go along with you on the economy. Across the board Australia is going well, but the small business sector is doing poorly, and a good many of the employed are working longer hours, doing unpaid overtime, in fear of losing their jobs. It is patchy, but one needs to look hard for a small business ‘doing well’.

I have no problem with a minority government, have argued for years that Australia would have been better served had the Country Party/Nationals stayed on the cross benches.

I would support any change which encouraged/supported independents, have consistently put an independent as my first preference whenever the opportunity present itself.

Gillard: as a ‘spokeswoman’ for the country, a disaster. Anyone running a company would never put such a person forward as their representative. Doesn’t speak well, present well, gawks like a country hick in the city for the first time, does totally unforgivable things like climb into a Yank tank wearing a Yank helmet.

As a government: Refugee policy: mindless support of the US: US bases in Australia: Troops have not been brought home — or at least gotten to hell out of where they are not wanted! What you do with them is immaterial. Mindless and indefensible support of Israel, and this especially applies to Gillard.

As somebody else has already observed, Gillard's gushing speech at the US, prattling on about Australia being saved by the valiant Yanks. Wonderful ‘Girls Own’, starry eyed, seduced by a uniform teenage stuff, from a prime minister of whatever gender, totally unforgivable. Even if she lacks the education to better understand history, where the hell were her advisers?

Parliamentary behaviour? As poor as it was under the Howard regime, in fact Gillard manages to get to be almost as bad as was Howard, something I never thought possible.

The acid test is could you, would you vote for this outfit? Could you vote for a party lead by Abbott?

I know I couldn’t!

K Brown
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 22:33

Thanks for your analytic articles over the last year Ben. Your observation of the MSM's behaviour in the past political year is sound and serves as a dire warning for the 2013 election year. The past year indicates that the MSM have learnt little from Grog's Gamut (Greg Jericho's) critique of their coverage of the 2010 election campaign when they were shipped around the country like sheep heading for the Haj and supplicantly reported their daily ration of party political chaff.

Sadly, most of Australia's MSM political reporters are either totally ignorant of, wilfully blind too, or fail to understand the data and science of the subjects on which they are reporting. They are simply purveyors of opinion formed within the Canberra's incestuous political environment. Sadly there are only a rare few reporters like George Megalogenis who study and report the facts. He commands respect from the all sides of politics. When are the rest going to shape up?

K Brown
Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 00:08

GrantD - Your failure to recognise the extraordinary resonance that Julia Gillard's misogyny speech had with Australian women indicates that you like Tony Abbot fail to understand that his abysmal approval rating with women is because they not only intuitively sense has a deep prejudice against women (Macquarie Dictionary definition of mysogyny) but have also witnessed enough of his behaviour (failure to approve RU482, his "over-my-dead-body" hypocrisy at the last election when he made an economically irresponsible maverick promise to introduce the World's most generous paid maternity leave regime that was such a blatantly obvious attempt to mend his poor standing with Australian women that he clearly considered them fools that he could suck in) to form this view.

Tony Abbott doesn't hate women. He just can't handle being bested by them whether that is being beaten by Barbara Ramjan for SRC president, chided by Nicola Roxon for turning up late to a Health forum or the ultimate fail of losing out to Julia Gillard in negotiating with the cross benches to secure government in 2010 when he was prepared to do anything but "sell his Arse"!

K Brown
Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 01:07

GrantD - Please reveal the facts that you are obviously harbouring about the "murky goings on in the Australian Workers Union nearly twenty years ago" to substantiate your claim that "there is much more to this story than is being revealed". News Ltd, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, George Brandis, various police enquiries, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all have not been able to cite a single allegation so I wait with bated breath for your disclosure.

Julia Gillard gave free legal advice to two AWU members about incorporating an association to support their election in an upcoming AWU election. This was common practise at the time according to other legal practitioners. When the WA registrar asked if the entity was a trade union she gave advice that it was not which is a simple fact. As soon as it was revealed that some dodgy financial transactions had occurred within the Association she severed her links with the Trustees. If you have other facts to add I'm sure NM readers and the rest of the country would be keen to learn about them?

Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 04:06

I recently heard an ABC repeat of the July speech at the National Press Club by media darling Ita Buttrose, at the height of debate about the Leveson Inquiry. She dismissed any need for media regulation and Julian Disney's revamped Press Council, which had no working press people on it so was flawed; a cosy club of insiders seems to be preferred. The attendant press accepted this in silence.

This proprietorial attitude to the news function is about what you'd expect from a monopoly or oligopoly business, and consistent with the recent comment from a senior journalist (I forget who) who said that in all his time in newspapers, he had never heard of a reader survey being conducted by his employers. When I think of the thousands of dollars I've spent over the years to buy the dailies, and the pathetic products they have now become, I feel foolish.

Now that we've all grown up and got educated, and knowledge and insight is widely distributed in society, it's not surprising that a less ego-driven and discussive, more respectful news model has gained traction, the rise of infotainment notwithstanding. Congrats to NM, the many marvellous bloggers, and grounded media "outsiders" who have taken the higher ground.

Dr Dog
Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 09:24

Well when you say it like that Ben of course the mainstream media is going to look bad. you have left out the hundreds of times they got it right. I would refer you to the hundreds upon hundreds of correctly spelled sex shop classifieds and beauty mud advertorials.

In addition they have made life better for all by their ongoing employment of men like Henderson, Sheehan, Bolt and Penberthy, keeping them from a career spouting their hate speech from behind the wheel of a taxi. Imagine being picked up for a ride to the airport only to find Sheehan was your driver. You would fair dinkum jump out of the moving cab.

GrantD, there is enough hate in Tony Abbott's heart for all women and men different to himself. Perhaps misanthropist is a better term, or bigot, nut, weirdo ad. inf. Gillard may be flawed but this self serving, self important twit is beyond the pale.

Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 10:02

Ben on
Posted Thursday, 20 December 12 at 4:17PM
I foolishly said.

"Ben Eltham does not moderate his articles even GrantD’s."

It seems that I was wrong I came across one of your Articles that you Moderated, only minutes after makeing my foolish assumption.

Moderation is a fancy term for censorship or as you put it.

"I seem to have spent a lot of my time this year arguing against the dominant narrative put forward by my colleagues in the rest of the media. "

The problem is and always was that your colleagues in the rest of the media that you belittle were protecting their morgage repayments, their jobs, by protecting advertisers, the main stream from unfavourable comments, through enitialy, Moderation, and then out and out blatant censorship.

You know how easy it is to manipulate the Complaints Hot Line.
I used to try all sorts of stunts to test the Media's so called freedom of speech during the anti Muslim tripe.

I used to get on there by saying I was going to say such and such and then when actualy on air i would give my best Pro Muslim Tripe instead, you'd be suprised how quickly they would pull the plug and when forced to listen, they would listen to every word until they came across anything that could be considered to test somebodies sensetivities and use that as an excuse to cut you off. The fact that the Anti Muslims said things that were ten times worse was conviniently over looked.

So Ben are you already protecting your morgage from those who cleverly use the complaints Hot Line to manipulate output, to force you to moderate, how long before your on the slippery slope, like your colleagues who have all fallen victim to the Complaints hot line
The Numbers Game, Prove me right, I dare you.

Are you a Protector of Ego's or Truth.

It has never ceased to amaze me how people can allow their Country to go to War 15 times in 143 years and kill millions, Women and Children, for nothing more then Financial Gain/Greed. Yet apparently suffer hot flushes and heart attacks when somebody uses the words Arse, Bloody or even Jew.

Sensetive little Ego's or cunning little Trolls, Cunning Human Trash more like. One can appreciate why Humanity has considered bullets far more effective, then written words, until Simon Wisentahl, Churchill, Roosevelt and Hitler proved that the Pen is indeed mightier then the sword. Fancy speeches to con brain dead idiots.

Its one thing to dispose of Dictators its another not to become one yourself. Thats one lesson Hitler obviously forgot, or did he.

Test yourself Son, are you a man or just in need of an Income.
ask Mister Laws which is more important, money or ego.

I'll try and keep you honest my boy, I've seen and watched many Trolls come and go over the years for many reasons. Anti Establishment, Anti Religion etc. etc.

So, Hot Potatoes, chew em or spit them out, Son.

tan ramone
Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 10:08

GrantD - I sort of see your point on the Abbott/misogyny biz, but may I add this. Talking about racism, Ta-Nehisi Coates (editor at The Atlantic) said "Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others". I think we can apply this definition to Abbot in terms of his attitude to women. I really doubt that he 'hates' women, but from what I see of him, I do feel he thinks women have their place, and it's below him. He has some antiquated ideas about women (the ironing incident comes to mind) and he does 'appear' to struggle when dealing with women in power. That struggle could be outdated beliefs not only about women, but his own masculinity. He just doesn't quite fit with the times.

Also, having daughters and a wife does not exempt you from being misogynist or sexist. It just doesn't. Just look around you or asking any female in your life.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 10:13

tan ramone
Brilliant, I like, wise words indeed.

Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 11:27

Excellent article Ben, almost echoing my sentiments exactly.
The lack of community awareness about the actual legislation passed by the Labor minority government is due to a lack of responsible journalism by the mainstream publishers.
They seem quite happy to mislead the public, leading them up many 'garden paths' of media scrutiny on Julia Gillard's character and past and then conveniently neglect to inform the public of her achievements.
It's Tony Abbott who still has many questions to answer about his past actions, especially those concerning the setting up of the Australians for Honest Politics Trust.
There was a Gallup Poll done recently and only 13% of the population believed that the Labor minority government had been more effective rather than less.
Strangely statistically those 13% are the only ones who actually got it right!
That's the frightening thing about a lack of credible, balanced mainstream journalism, they are still a very powerful source of information and unfortunately most people believe everything they read without even asking one question.

Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 - 17:50

Just a plug for an informative and thoughtful article on this theme in Overland Spring 2012 by Jonathan Green. http://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-208/feature-jonathan-green/

I always wondered how the quarter by quarter, goal by goal reports of Saturday footy games could be printed in the Sporting Globe and on the streets by 6 pm. The process is revealed in his article.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. paul walter
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 01:05

It's a shame we have to go to blogsites to read what we read there, because its news and opinion that ought to be the staple for newspapers and media, except that actual news is now regarded by execs in that industry as a bothersome intrusion, as the msm robustly attempts to turn their audiences and readerships into receptive, spending, consuming zombies.

Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 - 13:19

Have a Good Holiday Season, Ben. As one who has been out of the work-force for 20 years, not sure what the whole she-bang is about, but some obviously enjoy it all.
Good Little Consumers. Good Little Suckers.
Not happy about the CENSORSHIP prevalent in NM these days, but the same sort of thing in all Media makes it somewhat understandable. Understandable, NOT welcome.
The whole year was one taken up with the egos of people like Gillard and Abbott, on display to the General Unwashed every sitting day in Parliament. VERY unedifying.
Huey save us all from Tony 'The Trog' Abbott as PM. Huey save us from much longer having to put up with one of the most nakedly ambitious PMs this country has ever seen, one without a shred of ethics or personal moral code. One who finds the most incredibly horrible aides that our money can buy to keep her in POWER. I hate one KRudd, always have done in Queensland, but The Gillardine really does take the cake. An utterly obnoxious woman. Abbott, an utterly obnoxious man. Is this really the best that Politics in Australia can spew up to rule us on behalf of the very much Un-united States of America.
America has a president who murders people in their beds, at their weddings, at their funerals, all in the name of anti-terrorism. He does it at remote remove, via the CIA, so that the grunts on the ground are not in the firing line, and can not bring more public opinion to bear on the un-winnable wars that the USA takes us so happily into. With Killer Drones!
We in the West fight the wars at the behest of an apartheid Jewish state called israel, which relies on more and more racism being directed at the practitioners of Islam every day. Not that Islam can say that it is innocent of hatred, racism, intolerance and bloody hands. A pox on all religions.
Britain is in the hands of a mob of close associates of Tony Abbott, all who cling tenaciously to economic fundamentalism to keep the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer and more badly treated every day. Australia is getting very close to following in British footsteps even under The Gillardine, who seems to be herself a follower of many economic fundamentalists.
Europe is broke and broken. For many years the Economic irRationalists in control of American finances pushed and harried the banks of Europe to do as they did, and indeed, the European banks followed suit quite happily. Then the dam broke, and money seemed to disappear into thin air (except of course, it went to the filthy rich, as it always does) and the poor and the workers had to pay for the disgraceful mess that the rich bankers had made of all those countries. Is that not always the way?
We the World are still waiting for some restrictions on the activities of those same banks and bankers that screwed us all so wondrously. We will wait in vain, they are still all-powerful. Just look at who Pres. Obama surrounds himself with. Bankers!
Yeah, can not say that I know of one good thing that happened in 2012.
Can not say that I hold much hope of anything good happening in 2013.
Remember the Global Warming Catastrophe that has been advancing on us now for a hundred years or so. Well, one would be had put to see where any Government on Earth was being serious about any efforts to save poor old Gaia. Petty self interests and personal greed, as usual, hold sway. In Australia, we can be assured that our Government is not the slightest interested in actually doing anything to slow down the Avalanche. Gillard and Co. are very much In Bed With Big Business. And Big Business, particularly the Miners, are only interested in amassing more shareholder dollars.
Poor Fellow, My Country. My World. Whatever did it do to deserve being flooded with billions of rapacious, mindless humans.


Posted Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 16:11

Ben thank you for your article. There are many who have been having this alternative narrative. A positive narrative by Australians who hold our impressive Prime Minister Julia Gillard in high regard and want her to succeed, continue to lead the Labor Party as they lay the foundations of good policies which will benefit most Australians in the future. I recall Julia Gillard standing her ground, stiffening her resolve and dismissing much of the vehement aggression towards her as 'mere noise.' Our Prime Ministers strength of character has shone through as she has lead an effective democratically elected government and gained admiration and respect from world leaders. No amount of sneering by the msm and utter the mediocrity coming from the nasty mouths of Abbott and his cronies will change this opinion. The 2013 election is so important because the voters have a clear choice. A Labor party with vision, talent and purpose which intends to establish a modern, forward-thinking Australia which will benefit as many Australians as possible or the reactionary, backwardness of the LNP propped up by obsolete beliefs no longer relevant to this contemporary world. Many are voicing similar opinions on social media. The msm journalism is no longer believed and none are of are prepared to accept their manipulated polls.