29 August 2013

A vote against the media

Tony Abbott's appeal has always been a mystery to me, having first met the guy twenty years ago. Now, finally, I get it: you've seen in the media how the Labor government is treated like a circus, so vote Coalition and that will stop. There will only ever be steady-as-she-goes reporting of modest incremental contributions to the common weal, delivered by prudent and sensible ministers who are quoted verbatim and given the benefit of the doubt.

Bollocks to that.

Tony Abbott is neither prudent nor sensible. It's a myth that the Howard government was. Abbott's sense of entitlement is ferocious, more so than a thousand welfare queens or a brace of miners, kept in check only by fear of letting so many powerful people down if Labor get back in through his indiscipline. Unlike Hawke with his alcoholism, Abbott can't face the fact that his default personality - all of it, pretty much - is the problem. The Abbott family (diddly dum, click-click) is foisting him on us because otherwise he'll mope around the house with them, asking hard and weird questions about their virginity. Should he attain the trappings of office he would be, as Hillary Clinton said of her husband, a hard dog to keep on the porch.

Then there'd be the usual pantomime about The Budget Is Worse Than We Thought, which will do for all but a few of the policies that Abbott has announced over the past month. The slow media is yet to discover Christopher Pyne's dalliance with James Ashby while Mal Brough gets screwed, not to mention Arthur Sinodinos' with the Obeid family; they think they'll cover this All In Good Time, underestimating the extent to which time is against them. The Coalition doesn't have the deep reserves that enables a third of the Cabinet to fall away and keep up with the competition. The press gallery are wrong to assume they do, or that it needn't come to that.

The slow media have no right to be bored with the pantomime, it is being put on for their benefit. The latest to fall into this trap is Mark Kenny. Just because Katharine Murphy has moved on from Fairfax, there is no need for someone to act all disdainful as though they are somehow above it: I hear you, they cry, and we're sick of it too; but like some ridiculous addict he just can't leave the junk alone. They can't go off and do something else, get some perspective because, dear reader, they're not above it all really. After all those years reporting politics they can't tell which bits are false any more.
One wonders what he would he make of the current dry argument over Australia's future?
Not to mention the decline in language (and keep in mind I am posting this almost a whole day after that was posted. You can bet Fairfax have had plenty of feedback on that and other howlers, and they've ignored the lot.
But then, this is not really about Australia's future, is it?
Yes Mark, every election is about Australia's future. You might not want to report it that way, but it is. That's why, when making decisions about who to vote for, it is necessary to ignore journalists or to wade through vast volumes of bilge in order to winnow out what was said, what was done, and what little from all that might work its way through to our lives.
Unable to see forward, voters are thus left ...
Unable to see? Does he really believe, in spite of all the evidence, that press gallery journalists are indispensible to finding out how we are and shall be governed? What illumination does anyone imagine Kenny and his ilk are offering?
Mention 2010 and pungent memories flood back such as the leaks that stopped Gillard's campaign dead in its tracks in week two and lumbered us with the hung Parliament. Abbott's wooden stake through the heart of WorkChoices, via his melodramatic, "dead, buried, cremated" mantra was another big talking point.

And who can forget the bizarre "Real Julia" declaration - a more abject piece of repositioning has rarely been attempted. Of course, voters never forgot Gillard's "no carbon tax under the government I lead" pledge.

The current election campaign, however, has failed to live up to even these tawdry standards.
Note the examples Kenny gives, of campaign talking points crafted for clowns like him rather than for digestion by actual humans. As a senior journalist he had a responsibility to insist that he would never sink to such depths, but he's shirked that and blames others for his weakness.
Rubbishy unsourced yarns have blown up like summer storms.
When you've covered politics for as long as I have, you'll realise that press gallery journalists like Mark Kenny have lived on 'rubbishy unsourced yarns' for three years. He was the one who flogged Gillard-AWU long after even Abbott started looking sheepish about it. It's got to the point where you automatically assume that any report from Mark Kenny is a rubbishy unsourced yarn. This is why you smack him down when he comes over all lofty.
There was the claim that Rudd had berated a make-up artist, until it emerged that he'd done nothing of the sort. Another alleged that he'd postponed a national security committee meeting on the Syria crisis to film a celebrity TV cooking slot, until it turned out he hadn't.
If I was a journalist I'd investigate whether the Liberal Party was putting those claims about, rather than passively noting them as though they came out of thin air.
The parties themselves can hardly complain. Constrained by Labor's blood-strewn path to the poll, its recycled leader has struggled to reconcile his role as the last PM's assassin against an ill-defined promise of "a new way". Labor still has not explained what this "new way" actually entails.
Fair point, but if he did how would you know? Can you explain how the current education funding model works, and how the proposals from each of Labor and the Coalition will change the status quo? What do you mean, no? What do you even do on the bus all day Mark, play Uno with Kieran Gilbert or swap rubbishy unsourced yarns (RUYs) with cousin Chris?
On Tuesday, Rudd held a Sydney harbourside press conference to explain the plan to relocate the Garden Island naval base to Brisbane. It was already going off the rails, but running into a fuming NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, made it a train wreck.
Quite the mixed metaphor for a shipyard. And "running into" O'Farrell? Oh, please. Do you even know how these things work? O'Farrell does, ask him.
Labor's troubled campaign has allowed Abbott to sail through with minimal pressure.
No, a dumb and lazy press gallery has done that. Fearful editors afraid that Labor will not intervene to stop new technologies that undermine their business model have given Abbott a rails run for three long years.
His gold-plated paid parental leave scheme not only makes a mockery of the claim of fiscal prudence, it reverses the precept of the modern liberal democratic state where tax rates reflect people's capacity to pay, and where the least well-off are given assistance on the basis of need.
That's all true of course. It was true three years ago too, when he first proposed it without consulting his front bench. And now he's done it again, to them and to the press gallery. Ask Mark Kenny if he can explain the PPL and why it's different to the Gillard government's scheme. Ask him why the model presumes a model of fulltime employment that is vanishing before our eyes, particularly for women - hell, ask Tony Abbott that, because Mark Kenny won't and neither will the morons who follow Abbott around and confuse themselves with journalists.

Kenny can't imagine why election campaigns can or should be different to this, but he remains convinced this kind of RUY reporting is all that you deserve. Fairfax's traditions of great journalism should be enough to force him out, but the contrast is not obvious because the organisation clearly has no pride in those traditions. People tell broadcast media vox-pops that they are tuning out from the media and making their own minds up. They tell pollsters it's pretty much 50-50 and they're disengaged, but with 3% margin of error you can textor that to a firm 52-48 without necessarily lying. There is no reason why the polls should be better than the journalism, but there is every reason why the journalism should be better than it is. All we need are different journalists.

People are voting against the media because they are not providing the information that people need to make a decision. In a democracy it is people who make the decision, not pollsters or journalists or other dingbats like them. The metrics that slow media uses to measure consumption - clickthroughs and guesstimate multiples of how many see a bought newspaper or see/hear messages pumped through the air - are deliberately shallow, treating all content as equally worthy. Politicians selling different messages have no hope with a media that takes them all at face value, striving for a mean centre which doesn't exist and hasn't for years.

If you think Stephen Conroy was mean to the media, what with Convergence and Finkelstein and his slapdash attempts to beef up the Press Council, imagine what will happen once politicians realise the media have stopped being a conduit for information and have become a bottleneck. Neil Chenoweth might be ready for Col Allan to turn, but he doesn't realise that Allan has nowhere to turn - not even to Murdoch, who will be inevitably disappointed by Allan's bullshit. Neither does Mark Kenny, nor Katharine Murphy, nor any of them really. The late Slim Dusty was wrong: there's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, than a pack of obtuse and banal journalists to whom even avid consumers of political content have stopped listening.


  1. Andrew

    Another top must read post! May I please ask your latest thoughts on the election outcome? Not only is Abbott the most unsuited politician for PM in Australian political history, his entire shadow cabinet (Mal T excepted)are a nightmare to to their respective portfolios.

    1. I'd include Turnbull in your nightmare scenario.

    2. andre I posted u every where then read a poster who said u had changed your mind about us winning is that so so all these months u said abbott will never been pm was as hoax on us please tell me that's not so ive been around my labor friends and now delted as I don't want them losing hope we have 2pollmorgand ess one has in front the level will come back later to see what u say

    3. I have not changed my mind, where is that slander?

  2. Well you have got me off to a good start today Andrew. You have come to the conclusion that the Libs will win. Now I have no hope left. I had wanted an ALP victory in large part because it would have defied media propaganda and willful neglect. I have absolutely no faith, trust or respect for Kevin Rudd. I am disgusted by the MPs who were so self-interested that they brought him back to lead a government he had destabilized and a party he had repeatedly knifed from the shadows. Julia Gillard was his superior on every count. That said I have become very concerned about media bias and since the return of Col Allan I am positively alarmed. We are going to live in a country which will have a government shepherded into office by a pack of snarling, feral dogs. They will keep Abbott in power, for he will be their man, for as long as he is useful. Welcome all to the world's first Murdocracy. How will Fairfax and the ABC cover our new situation. Probably by pretending it isn't happening. Kevin Rudd is a dud (which he is Peter Hartcher), the ALP was hopeless (only because the media said so), Tony Abbott deserved to win (he was given an easy ride by a supportive/compliant media). Who in the mainstream media will examine what has happened here? The ABC will not because it will be curled it into a little ball protecting itself from all the cuts and blows inflicted by an Abbott government. I hope you keep writing Andrew. I am going to need you in months, years, decades (oh no, surely not!) to come. Are you up for it Andrew?

    1. I have not conceded anything to Abbott, and am increasingly convinced that I will keep going if the sub-head on this blog proves false (which I doubt). Bugger it, everyone else is breaking their promises.

    2. I always wondered what you would do if that sub-head came to nought. I've always felt that Rudd v2.0 could not get Abbott at this election; that voters would [have] begrudgingly voted Gillard despite their dislike, due to the frantic three years of coherent progressive policy she rammed through.

      Rudd for some reason wont stand on that history and it is to his detriment. I hope that I am wrong however on Rudd.

    3. It's an 'aspirational promise', like Hockey's.

    4. You can always change 'will' to 'should', Andrew. Personally, I'm still hoping it will be correct as is.

    5. first annom wish I had read Andrew before u as I don't see he has changed his mind the piece just ended in a different manner, sigh you flattened my day so glad I then took the time to read all Andrew, wtte have to go back and read the economist who are backing kev they words they described abbott with surely should resonate with the economical industries such as banks,, hoping more like the economist who must represent many come out say the same, you wonder if the advertises in the mag have had word to them never read it myself , is it influential by the way.. will come back for another fix of your wonderful words

  3. Good on you Andrew. You will be needed out here. Best wishes. I hope you are correct and we are spared Abbott. Btw I now share your view of Turnbull. He says things more cleverly and appears to know how to use a knife and fork. He conned me until recently.

  4. Ferocious sense of entitlement....

    Yep, born to rule Liberal mantra has always been that way Andrew

    The you tube videos of young Liberals is disgusting...

    Feral idiocy thanks to a selfish middle class that raises the little darlings to believe they are GOD!!

    Just heard Mr Abbott with Faine on the A.B.C and that silly idea of buying the boats!!

    He says he won't change that policy.


  5. Lachlan Ridge30/8/13 11:44 am

    Spot on, Mr Elder. What a cracking post!

    I am meeting an increasing number of people who are voting ALP to spite the Daily Telegraph (and I move in Lindsay, Macquarie and the northern part of Eden Monaro). The print media has become a laughing stock, with a nominally Liberal voting but largely disengaged mate opining "Geez, when is it going to come out that Kevin Rudd killed Azaria Chamberlain?" The coverage has moved beyond self parody to bewilder the DT audience, and I would be unsurprised that it is hitting their circulation figures (although we are heading into footy finals time, which is their real raison d'etre).

    Many people, like old mate I mentioned above, cannot stomach the idea of Tony Abbott as PM. Me? I've become pretty ecumenical about it. The Katter Party ALP preferences in Queensland may decide it, but I see the ALP ending up with between 67 and 74 seats - an uncomfortably good result for the Murdoch media after everything they've thrown at the ALP.

    If the ALP loses surely that means we'll finally rid public life of Rudd, the classic example of someone who has had their ambition and their ability confused. God, the Latham Diaries alone should have ended his career! And Abbott? Yes, it will be a supremely dysfunctional period, especially as it appears we are heading recessionward, which will be exacerbated by a Calvinist economic policy. But if we keep our sense of humour then this may be entertaining.

    Strap yourselves in kids, the next five years of Australian politics will be interesting, as in the Chinese curse. But gthe real fracture will not be left v right, or even ALP v Liberal (two franchisees of the global monetarist product); no, the real fracture will be media versus the public. And I hold great hopes the people will win that one, and the people shall hold accountable those that the slow media have failed to do. And none of this tosh about 'only mainstream media has the resources to...' Piffle! a) cost cutting means they no longer have the resources (and in News Corp's case, the desire), and b) all of the great political scandals of the last three years have been broken by small independent media and bloggers. None from the press gallery.

    If all this depresses you, just remember that News Corp is in the entertainment business, not the information business.

    1. Lachlan Ridge,

      You have succeeded in cheering me up - best thing I've read all day.

      Mr Elder,

      I concur with Mr Ridge. Stellar.

  6. Papers,,, Goorne goorne goorne.
    I had lunch yesterday with five friends who have known each other for nearly 45 years. Back in the day when we shared accommodations we bought all available newspapers and shared and read all of them every day. Politics and sport were and are our great interests.
    Now we are all current or ex relatively senior Public Servants. Total daily purchase of newspapers between the six of us?? Two! Just two and one of them under sufferance!
    Universal reason is SHIT Journalism.

  7. Don't mind if you put this into the bin, Andrew, but it seems that you know, as I do, that the Liberal Blue Heeler has already slipped the leash and fathered some mongrel pups, who we don't see following him around the traps like the pure breed offspring do.

    Yes, he's already being caught out loosening, and licking, his lips at fresh meat in the campaign. Just wait until he goes off the reservation one day in the future and Murdoch's Yellow rags aren't quick enough off the mark to clean up the mess. Or he encounters a Gold Digger even more feral than Peta is. I wait with breathless antici-pation. 'Middle Class Bogan' could have been written with this guy and the Latter Day Liberals in mind.

    1. Absolutely hilarious Anon!!

      Superb analogies.

      Lets add the lovely Miss Janet Albrechtsen to that gold digging list to Mr Michael Kroger....


      Insidious and shallow creepiness with bigoted bogans to that bourgeious tagline.

      Quite sad when students from Abbotts old school alumni think they are crap.

      Sad really.

  8. The business plan for Murdoch's newspapers no longer includes the survival of those newspaper or any cash return. Any non cash value (trust, reputation, goodwill) is being cashed in.

  9. Stopped listening, stopped reading, stopped watching & with today's wonderful technology never bothered following. All in 3 years, what a win for the likes of Kenny, Murphy and the gang

    Thanks Andrew

  10. I am impressed by your analysis of a 'political' writer by sentence and paragraph. Too often commentary is based on some surface matters to do with personality or upon what someone said someone said. A close analysis of language used by the media is very revealing about where these writers are coming from, the nature of their bias and what it is they are not telling us. There needs to be a much more vigorous analysis of policies out in the public. It is unbelievable that people have been conned into thinking that Abbott's PPL policy is fair when those who do not benefit have not been clearly revealed. The feeling seems to have been generated that all women will benefit and that the country will gain in productivity. All this needs to be soundly debunked. Then we have the idea that when the carbon tax has been repealed, all will be well. No more tax. But in fact Abbott has his own price on carbon, called Direct Action - and taxpayers will pay heavily for a policy which will not work. To protect Abbott's fraud, the Climate Commission will be abolished. No more criticism(?). But what will happen after 2020? Then we have the LNP's NBN, which will be cheaper initially, but more expensive over time with maintenance and updating. We read people making these points on independent sites, but the MSM treats policies as if they some only of entertainment value, a mere side issue to the real circus: the media interviewing itself.

  11. VoterBentleigh30/8/13 4:29 pm

    Well, I'll be voting against the media and it won't stop at the election either. Agree with you whole-heartedly, Andrew.

    Laughed at the Addam's Family; the characters and the lyrics are apt for the Opposition front bench, with their weird views, particularly “their house is a museum” which reflects their absorption in the last century. My vote for the role of Lurch is the dour member for Goldstein, Andrew Robb, although Christopher Pyne almost made it with his expressionless face while standing beside Abbott as they did the pretend reversal on education reform.

    The media are still failing to solve the mystery of the Coalition's costings. Labor thought Rudd would get more favourable press than Gillard, but it was clear to me that he would get the same treatment. Today, in “”The Guardian”, we had a close-up picture of sweat coming off Mr Rudd's forehead with a comment (from another journalist, of course) about Labor's imminent defeat. It addles the brain just looking at such junk.

    Back in Melbourne, the “Herald Sun” was yesterday spruiking its online service with a full page advertisement with the header “This is news.” Above it there was a photo of a computer displaying their online main page. There, on the computer screen, was not news about the Syrian crisis, but a lovely snap of Abbott surrounded by the females in his life. Don't you love it? It's not NLP - neuro-linguistic programming, but it is LNP - Liberal Neuro Programming.

    When confronted with good economic news, Hockey says: “but just think how much better it could have been if we had been in government”. Here's Hockey, a mediocre sportsman who was ousted from the Australian team last season, watching the new team play. When all the teams are performing badly, the players on the Australian team score well. One of the spectators lauds their performance to which Hockey replies: “Yeah, but just think how much better it would have been if I had been playing!” Yet not one journalist laughs at Hockey's absurdities!

    I'm not always right, but I still believe that on September 7th the majority of the electorate are smarter than the average journalist and will stop to think “how much better the last three years would have been” if we hadn't had Abbott's vilifying disruption to orderly governance, if we hadn't had Rudd and his supporters undermine the Labor agenda and their leader and if the media had not supported and colluded with such behaviour for their own ends. It is these three factors which have given the appearance of instability and dysfunction in a Labor government which, while it made errors, performed well.

  12. Love your writing Andrew.
    Its been the most lacklustre election campaign I can remember.The ALP made a big mistake,replacing JG with Rudd and thinking that they would get better media.Nothings changed,the Press Gallery still barracks for an Abbott/LNP victory.
    I think under these circumstances the ALP would have won with JG at the helm.At the very least it would not have been this boring.

  13. Kenny et all just want more lights, more sound, more action. They don't really care what it's about, as long as they can put their binoculars on and shout who is winning the race.

  14. Andrew,

    Your link to the Abbot Family does not take us to the 2010 advertisement authorised by Paul Howes. Here is the link:

    Owing to the inertia on the Coalition front bench, the add holds up pretty well.

    - Syd

    1. dear Andrew
      does your heading still stand,

      I feel optimistic when I read some idiot candidate of abbotts wants certain people
      microchip that nor even the most rusted on would approve I do fear word like microchips sound like 1933 and tattoos . then we had one that declared workchoices is coming back sometimes think these revelations are not getting out then I think the whole thing is such a circus of vested int, what about the cadburys policy of abbott s for renovations millions google see the connection they don't nee out taxes they can use their profits

      then truss says he will guarantee nothing re infrastructure so in the case of tas, that means zero policies for them, have we all gone mad I just want this man out of my life so I can quilt again and enjoy our grandchildren never despised some oneso much equally the media,who are also puppets
      please let your heading be true its kept going for years will check but I did notice u said you don't secede[ think that's the wrong spelling] any way u know what I mean bless u Andrew

  15. Its all the media's fault. Nothing to do with an incompetent Labor Party. Anyone can write a blog (as you have shown) there are so many alternatives to the MSM, but the problems with the Labor party are still the fault of the MSM. The Australian has a minuscule circulation but the left spends so much time worrying about what it thinks.

    I look forward to reading your blog in 7 and a half days time.

    1. You've read one post out of more than 700, and you dare to presume what this blog is about. Read the whole thing, you fucking clown. Read the whole thing - hell, read half of them - and realise that the media are absolutely part of the problem.

      What makes you think the Coalition has been more competent/less incompetent than Labor? See, that's where your little spray falls down. Anyone can be a press gallery journalist, and post anonymously to a blog ...

    2. Language Andrew....!!

      Troll here obviously.

      Let it go mate .

      Your points are valid .

    3. VoterBentleigh1/9/13 1:59 pm

      No-one suggests it is “all” the media's fault. The criticism is that the MSM have failed to report upon the political sphere fairly and to scrutinise all political candidates in the same fashion. Ever since Abbott became Opposition Leader he has prevaricated on every political issue, yet it has been principally the fifth estate which has highlighted the fact.

      On Friday, I was given a copy of the Melbourne Herald Sun (which does have a big readership) and here are some of the political issues upon which it concentrated:
      Victorian electricity bills have sky-rocketed due to the carbon tax (no validated data given and I thought we had established that the carbon tax has had little impact on these costs) and people had to get out blankets and put on socks instead of switching on a heater. How awful! People had to use blankets and wear socks in winter!
      A full page on how the Labor Government had failed
      The opposite page had a comment about the PM being “playful”, a charity alleging it is being “hit” by the Government's FBT (again no analysis of data), Abbott correcting the bookies' predictions of a landslide (anyone whose vote is determined by Sportsbet or the polls should be counted amongst the insane anyway, so there's no point to this nonsense “report”), an announcement that the “Coalition vows fund to aid communities”, and a large picture of Abbott and net-ballers all smiles and laughing and no mention in the blurb below tit of Abbott's suggestive remark about a little body contact not hurting anyone (which is why the girls were laughing, not with, but at him).
      The hot topic reader commentary section focussed on the Rudd / Gillard contest (guess they haven't heard it's over) and Phillip Hudson again referring to this with an article headlined: “Absent Julia leaves Kev to fly or flop.”
      Meanwhile, Beveridge wrote this: “It is unbelievable that anyone could now call Liberal leader Tony Abbott a misogynist when he is promising the absolute Rolls Royce with double foxtails version of parental leave as his signature policy.” Well, is what Beveridge “believes” believable? Guess women would call the Liberal leader a leering chauvinist for his comments to under-age girls (I mean, that was the first thought that came into his mind when they apologised for being sweaty?!), guess women might remember all the other things Abbott has said about women's place in the world and guess that women might think that having children is not the only reason that they exist.

      The focus was on Coalition policy announcements and was uncritical and highly positive coverage and commentary. There was no coverage of ALP announcements and all coverage and commentary upon their policy was negative. The Labor people/ left have a case. This is organised dissemination of information to persuade voters to a particular cause, aka propaganda. It's up to the MSM to prove otherwise.

    4. The Herald Sun is read by the masses and bogans...

      I know v.c.e teachers who would never use that paper for their students EVER.

      Why bother with crap like that...

      Become an elitist snob and discerning about brain food.

      Life is too short for writers like Rita Panahi et al.

      Life isnt black and white there's plenty of grey....

      Mr Bolt should have a long lunch with his loyal boganistas and thank them for financing his sons private school education.

      C'mon its the least they can do!!

  16. Thanks Andrew and yes, please keep going after the election. We'll need all the good voices to help us through the Abbott years if that is what we get on 7/9.

    " there's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, than a pack of obtuse and banal journalists to whom even avid consumers of political content have stopped listening.'

    Those words sum this house up perfectly. We've dropped 9 newspapers per week since 2007 = 2,808 newspapers. Never read NewsLtd online, given up Sky talking head programs and Fairfax can send all the pleas for subscription it likes but it's falling on deaf ear. They've ruined their own businesses in forgetting that roughly 50% of us,on average, are not LNP.

    Strangely we miss none of it after initial withdrawal symptoms from coffee with no the Sat/Sun papers.

    BTW Decades of ABC AM/PM listening has also gone. If Abbott wins next week, won't it be interesting to hear every ABC radio/TV bulletin begin with 'the Federal Opposition says". What? You mean they won't? What about the balance, fairness stuff Mark Scott has trotted out for 6 years.

    1. And us also, no more Fewfacts for me after many years of devotion,the abc are a propaganda arm for the coalition.

      Thank you so much Andrew. For all the journalism that you have produced, for which we are extremely gratefull.A voice of sanity in a lunatic media landscape.

    2. Despite its financial deterioration, and attempts at influence by the biggest shareholder, Fairfax is still better than the ABC. It's the one mainstream outlet that actually takes the Coalition to task as well as Labor. Yes, there is some very ordinary stuff published and an increasing tilt to tabloidisation but that comes with its parlous financial state sadly.


      PS: I'd also like to add my thanks and gratitude to Andrew Elder for this most enjoyable and thought-provoking blog. Your writing is top-class, your insights lucidly set out. Please do not stop blogging, even if the unthinkable should happen this Saturday.

  17. Elder, you are the finest commentator on Ozpol, and I salute you.

  18. I second that Lefty E. I am always so delighted to see a new offering appear and marvel at the generosity of spirit which inhabits your work Andrew. Your writing is elegant, amusing and challenging. That all takes time. I appreciate that effort greatly.

  19. Furthermore: don't get rid of your little sub-heading. I will never accept Tony Abbott as PM even if it happens.

    1. Haha, he never accepted that he lost in 2010, so why not?!

  20. Speaking of media....

    Both leaders are going on kirchen cabinet this week with Annabel Crabbe

    Rage had Julie Bishop, Adam Bandt, Anthony Albanese, Sarah Hanson Young with their favourite music videos..Penny Wong made a brief appearance also

    The youth vote must be pretty importantor low for them to do this...interesting idea.

    Pathetic to hear Mr Abbott refer to the crisis in Syria as the baddies against the baddies


    This is ludicrous language during an election campaign.

    Spare me this simpleton slogan mantra !!

  21. I have found this blog a source of reassurance and sanity for some time now. I too have checked out the mainstream media for the reasons Andrew so eloquently articulates. I do not have the same sense of optimism in the ability of the country to see through this and I think Abbott will win next week.

    Sure enough he will struggle with the rigor of the job and its many demands, and when the sheen wears off with the media, this lot will really flounder.

    Sadly we have to sit by an watch this train wreck happen and the centre right or left notion of public good go to the dogs.

    In the immortal words of Hedley Verity, Andrew "keep going".

  22. Andrew Elder is one of the bloggers who should be compulsory reading for all those who do not believe the Murdoch/Abbott misinformation. I would also add The Political Sword which demolishes Coalition mythology. in its latest blogs. We need to have as much argument as we can, even after the election, and we need to spread the truth far and wide. The good work of Labor is recognised overseas, but here in Oz the Murdoch Muck prevails, apparently.

  23. On the plus side for me personally, my partner has finally, after years of being worked on, agreed to move overseas for a few years. It was the prospect of Abbott winning that was the final straw for him. I still hold out hope it won't happen, but it's a win win for me in a twisted way.

    I won't be back until the stench is gone, or the money runs out. Either way, it will take a while.

  24. Thanks Andrew. I agree with most of your post, except one part - 'Does [Kenny] really believe, in spite of all the evidence, that press gallery journalists are indispensible to finding out how we are and shall be governed?'

    While I do agree that gallery journalists are very much dispensable in the modern political environment, the sad reality is that the Fifth Estate is still largely read by a highly engaged professional minority. I see all the time much less engaged people making a rare foray into political discussion, and invariably what they say can be traced back to the 6pm news or the tabloids. All the rubbish 'accepted wisdom' is out there.

    I really enjoy your posts. I think where you and I differ is your belief in the ability of less engaged people to step back from the media & make independent assessments of how party policies affect them, based on 'lived experience' alone. I'm just more pessimistic in that front, but we will see.

    - Martin Spalding

    1. I cannot agree with your comment that the fifth estate is the sole prevail of the "highly engaged professional minority".

      I do not in any way fit that particular demographic, in fact I am so far removed from that description that you may well perceive me to be an alien.

      But I am an older Australian with a deep and abiding concern for the future of this country and the future of my grandkids and their kids.I was drawn to the fifth estate because of my disgust with the msm, be it the newspapers or electronic media, but mostly because I discovered to my dismay that the publically funded broadcaster was no longer impartial, but rather had aligned with a particular political party, so no longer could I rely on the abc for an impartial view and the reporting of facts rather than opinion.

      This blog has been a panacea for me, well written,serious analysis and a balance that is so lacking in the old media. It is not my only source of information, but it is the one that I probably respect the most because even when I disagree the argument is always compelling.

      I will continue to anticipate every new article on PH, because I am never disappointed and on Monday I know that there will be some sanity here where there is naught but fawning,grovelling sycophancy elsewhere.
      And for that I say, thank you very much Andrew Elder

  25. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/jason-yatsen-li-being-australian-is-not-about-the-colour-of-your-skin-20130830-2sv06.html

    Brilliant riposte by Jason Yat Sen Li against that dill journalist...

    cheers Andrew... this guy is future P.m material

    Go Jason!!

  26. Amanda Vandstone on The Observer effect said it all really....

    Mr Abbott is quirky and blokey...

    Decode message for the masses:

    He's a sexist creep...

    Lol!! Great spin there Amanda.

  27. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/27/how-the-liberal-party-left-malcolm-fraser-behind/

    An oldie but a great analysis of the liberal party decline...

    So sad!!

  28. I'm the one with the good looking daughters...

    Mr Abbott to an audience..


    Weirdo comment today!!

    How many times do you have to get knocked over the head to realise you are saying really bizarre things??

    Seriously we deserve much better than this man ??

    1. where was he when he expressed that about his daughters
      I am in hiding but still volunteering hoping is close, hear it is so get out vote , don't be fooled by polls I heard the polls had Obama behind the day before is it that they don't want you to vote, think, also think of this and worry Barnaby joyce acting pm
      yes thought that woud make u take notice vote

    2. As the mother of a daughter in her 20s, I find that comment by Mr Abbott deeply offensive.

  29. Fascinating to watch Mr Abbott on kitchen cabinet tonight.

    He had some interesting things to say about Malcolm Turnball and Julia Gillard.

    A warm exchange with a response to her in an airport lounge regarding the disgusting behaviour towards her in parliament

    Sorry you had a hard time...

    Unbelievable empathy from this man??

    His Catholicism has had a strange affect on his career and ideology with an old Uni friend being a corporate high flyer and boasting about his international contracts whilst he was studying to be a priest....

    That did it for Tony to enter politics...

    He has a very akward laugh and his boxing demeanor has added to his meathead image..

    My goodness what is this man going to say or do that will give comedians so much material to work with??

    Yes and that sleazy Big Brother comment was a pathetic attempt to win the youth eh??


    Creepy Tony is not leadership material but i respect his conservatism in some strange way.

    That's all he has going for him and his fitness regime.

    He has modelled himself on Howard so it will be John Howard part 2.

    Sigh sigh sigh sigh

  30. thank Andrew for keeping us sane, days when we think like you, but fear we are wrong we come and find clarity, they say its close, may be we are to scared to be optimistic, sometimes one is prepared for the worst the opposite happens, like medical test for example a worry over childrens exams examples,. I am staying strong with Andrew coming down with being positive.

  31. Lets take the attention away from Mr Abbott..

    I really hope Ms Mirabella loses her seat..

    To have a woman that is regarded as being so nasty and repugnant with a temperant to match is embarrassing to our political class..

    Prospective politicians should be vetted carefully to never allow people of her calibre in ministerial positions.

    Simon Sheik should be happy if she loses...

    I certainly will along with the independents who branded her as the nastiest person in parliament..

    Mr Abbott is nice compared to her..a bit of perspective please.

  32. Whatever happens tomorrow keep writing this blog please Andrew.

    We need intelligent voices discussing Australian politics and especially the failures of the media to accurately examine it. so whoever wins it'd be great if you could stick at it.