15 March 2009

If you're gonna do it

Turnbull has taken a leaf from John Howard's book by appearing with his wife and offspring at the Federal Liberal Party Conference (let me guess: applause lines every 90 seconds, with those members able to stand giving standing ovations before, during and after) with a defiant personal message: here I stand, come and get me Peter.

The headlines here and here are unfortunate and reveal only the poverty of political journalism. Stuff reportage, we can get that directly from Turnbull's site on what was said. What you need journalism for is to examine statements like this:
``Australia deserves leaders that are confident and optimistic,'' Mr Turnbull told the council.

``Strength and resilience are part of my character and I know are part of yours. They are part of the Liberal spirit.

In other words: I will lead the Liberal Party so long as they want me, and as it's in their best interests.
Liberal president Alan Stockdale told the gathering the party had learnt from its 2007 election loss.

“The Liberal Party gets the message of being in opposition,” he told delegates. “We know we have to lift our game and we are lifting our game.”

You think that means doing more of the same, don't you Alan; learning nothing and forgetting nothing, not questioning any assumptions and looking backward, stumbling over the present and not engaging with the possibilities of the future at all.
Mr Turnbull also took the opportunity to again say is party will not support the emissions trading scheme (ETS) in its current form or on its current timetable.

"A poorly designed ETS, like that currently proposed by Labor, which damages our export industries so that they move offshore to developing countries does nothing for the environment or the economy - we expect both the jobs and the emissions," he said.

"And we will not support a poorly designed ETS."

Leadership is not just knocking down what the incumbents put up. Leadership is articulating and defending what should go in its place. Questioning what that might be is the stuff of journalism, not mere transcription.

Let's write Annabel Crabb's next column for her in examining this phrase "I'm your man", which calls to mind both this:
If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I'll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver
Climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I'm your man

... and, of course, this:
I don't need you to care
I don't need you to understand
All I want is for you to be there
And when I'm turned on
If you want me -
I'm your man!

If you're gonna do it, do it right - right?
Do it with me

Now listen
If you're gonna do it - you know what I say?
If you're gonna do it don't throw it away
Don't throw it baby
I'll be your boy, I'll be your man
I'll be the one who understands
I'll be your first, I'll be your last
I'll be the only one you ask
I'll be your friend, I'll be your toy
I'll be the one who brings you joy
I'll be your hope, I'll be your pearl
I'll take you halfway round the world!
I'll make you rich - I'll make you poor
Just don't use the door

The lugubrious and the vapid, that's the Australian political-journalism complex for you.

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