Tag Archives: politics

The aftermath of the Libspill by Cameron Gosley

Cameron has shared his post and this link with us. Thank you, Cameron, for adding a political perspective to our blog.

The aftermath of the Libspill – Cameron Gosley (guest blogger)

Now that most of the fuss has died down over the loss of our 28th Prime Minister, it might be worth seeing what changes Turnbull can implement, or whether it is a case of “Same shit different smell”, if you’ll mind the turn of phrase. Two of the main constraints after the change of leadership will be how much Turnbull will be able to shift the policies of the Government, as well as how far the coalition parties will bend to accommodate him.

Turnbull would be wise to pick his battles, as although he’s seen more favourably in the eyes of the Australian people, he still has to rely on the support of the party. We’re already seen him bite the bullet on issues such as climate change, sticking to the Direct Action policy (despite previously saying that he “wouldn’t lead a government that’s not as committed to effective action on climate change as [he] is”), gay marriage, as well as the newly dredged-up republic issue. The Labor party was quick to show this supposed selling out from the get go at the first question time of the new Prime Minister, however Turnbull is probably well aware that he has very limited political capital, especially among the right faction with players mainly in the Senate, such as Cory Bernardi and Eric Abetz, as well as the Nationals, who despite being initially reluctant to jump back into a coalition agreement, were seemingly placated by a new ministry. The effect of this limitation of capital means that it is more difficult for Turnbull, to make moves on issues on which he is more progressive.

With the new agreement, the Nationals may be able to be the tail wagging the dog for the first time in a long time. The air of illegitimacy that surrounded the Gillard and Rudd II Prime Ministerships has given the Nationals a bit of bargaining power, especially since their favoured candidate lost out. The Nationals are looking to remain relevant in an increasingly more cosmopolitan Australia. While heartlands still remain, they’re increasingly at risk of being knocked out by Liberals and Greens. Barnaby Joyce, one of the most charismatic Nationals, is one of the driving factors of the party in the current political environment, however, with his inevitable takeover of the party once again stopped by Warren Truss’ decision to contest the next election, The Nats are going to be trying to co-operate while providing a point of difference from the Liberals once again.

Leadership challenging is a fairly new trend in Australian politics. Billy Hughes kicked it off, when he challenged the larrikin Gorton in ’71, and even though Gorton was an average prime minister, Hughes was a shocker. Challengers have never succeeded their predecessors’ popularity, with none in history yet being able to win a second election. However, Turnbull may be able to turn this around yet. With a stunning opinion poll, Turnbull has appeared to have turned the party around in a way that history would not have thought possible. With Labor’s tactic of cheap shots, as well as Bill Shorten seemingly not being able to adjust to Turnbull’s snappier pace, the public opinion of Labor may now be irreparable before the election next year. Labor also has the issue of the Greens to deal with: providing a point of difference as well as trying to capture the centre as well as avoid leakage to the left.

This is the most unstable time in Australian Political History. Even the short-lived Prime-Ministers of the post-federation era had longer political lifespans than Prime Ministers in the last five years. John Howard was the last Prime Minster to serve a full term. Hopefully Turnbull will be able to retake control of the country and deliver a stable leadership, as well as trying to put an end to the current knifing culture in Australian politics for the long-term sake of the country.

Author’s Note:

This was previously on my tumblr and is being re-posted here because I am abandoning my tumblr account. Enjoy.

A friend of mine recently remarked to me that he didn’t want to be a journalist any longer because he believed journalism was dying. I think he meant that real investigative journalism was being butchered by the twenty-four hour news cycle.

I happen to completely agree. In my opinion, and granted, I haven’t been following politics or journalism for a very long time, Kerry O’Brien, former host of 7:30 on ABC, was the best interviewer in Australia. He actually asked interesting questions and the reactions of the people he interviewed told you things even if they didn’t answer themselves.

I can no longer find that. All I hear about these days is how Tony Abbot said that x policy was bad and reckless and would destroy Australian’s financial lives, or how Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax, or how Craig Thompson is facing charges. Basically, all we hear these days are constantly reported, completely annoying sound bites that every news channel hooks on to and we can no longer see investigative journalism.

An example. Let’s use Tony Abbot, because, deep down, we all have a desire to make an example of him in some stupid way. Tony Abbot is shown on various news programs criticizing the government’s policies, mostly because he believes they will destroy the economy. Now, see, I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t actually care about that sound bite. What I want is for a reporter to interview Tony Abbot, and ask him to explain, in reasonable detail, how exactly the carbon tax will destroy the economy.

Another example. Journalists have long been the people who “fact check” what the politicians say. Tony Abbot and the Coalition say that most other countries in the world don’t have a carbon tax. Right. Anybody want to know the facts? That’s bullshit. Sure, the undeveloped countries in Africa don’t have a carbon tax, but they’re poor. Almost all of Europe does. In fact, when I was in Germany not three months ago, I was sitting at a dinner table and mentioned that fact that Australia doesn’t have a green energy policy. That made them all laugh. They actually thought it was a joke, at first. Funny, isn’t it?

My point with all of this is simple. The twenty-four news cycle has bread the necessity for the news agencies to say something all the time, and because they can’t constantly be interviewing politicians, they’ve decided they should interview other journalists instead of actually analyzing, in an intelligent manner, what politicians are saying.

I don’t care if Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax. What I want the media to tell people, is what exactly is the carbon tax? What will it mean for the everyday person? What will it increase the cost of? Why is it necessary? What will it do?

I am a high school student, doing debating. The first thing they teach you at any level of debating is that policy/argument needs three levels: the idea, the analysis, and the evidence that it will/won’t work. Politicians and the news have the idea sort of there, the evidence sort of there, and absolutely no analysis.

Anybody else want to know exactly what a policy will do?

A final note about the politics of Australia. I have a friend, 30 odd years old. Here’s a conversation between me and him, that perfectly exemplifies what the Australian people seem to be widely doing. He is an Abbot supporter. I am not.

Me: “Why do you hate Julia Gillard?”

Him: “Because she’s ruining the country.”

Me: “How? How is she ruining the country?”

Him: “Ummm….”

And that right there, is the problem.