29 October 2007

Prefer ability

I've already posted on minor parties in the Senate, but articles like this emphasise how wilfully the mainstream media are at missing the point.

In the next term of Parliament, there will come a point where vital legislation is held up by inter-party squabbling. If you've been around as long as Michelle Grattan has, you (should) know this. It ought be no surprise that minor parties are positioning themselves to best effect: indeed, as I said in August, now is the perfect time to put them under the microscope and find out how they plan to vote on particular issues. That's what's at stake here: elections are about the future, not nostalgia for Democrats of Olde or whatever.
THE big boys' contest is so riveting that inevitably the small fry, whose stamping ground is the Senate, don't get much of a look in. But this is a seminal election for them too.

Girlish glee, followed by condescention: you'd expect that from Annabel Crabb rather than Michelle Grattan.
"This is the first time in Australian history that a radical left-wing party like the Greens have been poised to gain such an unprecedented level of power in the Senate," Minchin said.

So much for all those red-scare ad campaigns in the 1950s and '60s, which you're old enough to remember Michelle. Minchin is not entitled to be taken at face value, and it's your job to provide a bit of context.
Steve Fielding looked uncomfortable yesterday when asked, "Have you spoken to Pauline Hanson (running for the Senate in Queensland) about preferences?" "We're talking to all the parties," he replied, in a comment that can be interpreted as frankness or evasiveness.

Fielding is easive because journalists like Michelle Grattan let him get away with it. Doyen(ne)s have no excuse for letting something like this go through to the reader unchallenged.

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