Election 2013 : the first week

Jesus was a Jew…got to stop the boats – somehow or other…News Corp’s wicked sense of humour….Coalition leads
The Daily Telegraph front page 8 August - subtle, eh?

The Daily Telegraph front page 8 August – subtle, eh?

10 August 2013    |     In many respects, the first week of the 2013 Federal election campaign was more comedic than substantial.

There’s the (now former)  One Nation candidate who thinks that Islam is a country and that Judaism is some denomination of Christianity.  She now resents being depicted as a “standup criminal”  – we think she meant “standup comedian” although she is facing charges for sticking anti-Islam stickers on food products in a supermarket.

Then there was the truly excruciating street interview with the Liberal candidate in the Western Sydney seat of Greenway who agreed that Liberal policy was to “stop the boats”  and offered that the Libs have a “six point plan”.  When pressed, he was unable to articulate the  plan and was utterly skewered by the TV reporter.  It was sort of cruel, really, but if you put yourself forward as a candidate for public office, you ought to be familiar with the platform on which you’re standing.

But you’ve  got to give the prize to News Corporation’s Daily Telegraph for its hysterical anti-Labor coverage (one hesitates to call it “reporting”),  which makes the Pyongyang Times look balanced.   Fairfax Media observed that maybe this has something to do with News Corporation’s commercial interests, with the NBN initiative representing a threat to News Corp’s pay TV outlet Skytel.   This was strenuously denied by News Corp and led to an all out assault on Fairfax media, including an editorial in The Australian,  the “serious” newspaper in the News Corp stable:

The Age wins hands down……

…when it comes to piety, puritanism and hypocrisy

We rarely have cause to compliment our friends at The Age, but they are certainly turning the Melbourne tabloid into the best in its class.

It is notably more zealous than Pravda, the Russian government mouthpiece with which it is often compared. It has surpassed the Workers’ Daily in economic illiteracy, at least since the early 1980s when Deng Xiaoping’s reforms turned the Chinese newspaper into an advocate for free markets. For po-faced, cheerless absence of mirth, The New Light of Myanmar can no longer compete. Now The Age has outdone The Watchtower with its censorious, vituperative style. When laid side by side with Fairfax’s Melbourne offering, The Watchtower and its sister publication Awake are fair-minded, liberal delights. They may have fixed views when it comes to honouring Jehovah God, the Ruler of the universe, but they mercifully lack The Age’s proselytising zeal.

The Age is often referred to as ”Pravda on the Yarra” but only by The Australian’s editor, Chris Mitchell (see Fairfax “hypocrites” in battle of papers - another gem).

Fairfax gives as good as it gets, but in somewhat more measured tones.   Here’s Bruce Guthrie, a former News Corp editor, who took on the Empire after being sacked (and won his unfair dismissal case):

News does not play fair. And it’s not always troubled by the truth. The PM will be misquoted and misrepresented, photographed – or Photoshopped - any notion of balance abandoned.   My case taught me there are two kinds of truth in this world: what happened and what News Ltd says happened. And in Murdoch’s world his version trumps everything – given his clout and reach in this country, that can be a scary realisation.

You got to love our free and independent press, if only for the amusement it provides.

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2013_election_logo (1)The first week of the campaign ends, in terms of the standings of the parties, with the Coalition inching ahead.  Fairfax Media’s Nielsen poll shows the Coalition leading 52% to 48% on the 2 party preferred vote :  the Coalition picked up 2 points on its primary vote to 46% , Labor lost 2 points to 37%, the Greens picked up 1% to 10%.

On the face of it, this is not bad for Labor, as governments almost always start election campaigns behind.   But the worrying signs for Labor (or the encouraging signs for the Coalition, depending on your perspective) are that in a quasi-presidential campaign, with a theme of “trust” and the state of the economy as the predominant issue,  Kevin Rudd’s personal standing is falling and Tony Abbott’s is climbing and the Coalition is way ahead on the economy.   Rudd still leads as preferred Prime Minister (50% to 42%) but on the issue of “trust” Abbott leads 47% to 40% (a complete turnaround since July when Rudd led 45% to 40%).  On the issue of managing the economy,  the Coalition has a whopping 18 point lead – 56% to 38% – which is perhaps not surprising, given the fairly grim outlook presented in the government’s pre-election statement (busted budget, unemployment likely to rise markedly etc).

Week 2 should see some re-calibration of Labor’s campaign, with Rudd being  less negative (forget the Murdoch press) and more the “let’s rock ‘n’ roll”, big picture happy face emoticon.   Anthony Albanese is a natural “attack dog” - a role he performs with wit and verve – and Penny Wong is serious and credible in taking on the Coalition on “‘where’s the money coming from?”.

As for the Coalition, Abbott’s  just got to keep on doing what he’s doing: for years Labor strategists expected the natural larrikin in him would result in some spectacular “blow up” but I expect they understand now that that just isn’t going to happen.  Abbott has abundant political experience, with nearly 20 years in Parliament, seven years as a minister, two years as a senior Opposition frontbencher and four years as Opposition Leader.  And he’s proved a formidable politician, having knocked over one Opposition Leader (Turnbull) and two Prime Ministers (Rudd Mk 1 and Gillard).  Sure, he’ll stuff up during the campaign but so will Rudd.  And as an Opposition Leader, Abbott is allowed to be a little strident in his criticism.

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