The Australian and Mr Abbott

The Australian seems ever so gently to be edging towards an anti-Abbott position which may, or may not, reflect the views of its owner, but which definitely does not reflect the views of at least one of its readers. I almost always start the paper with Cut and Paste which, up until recently, had always been written up in a way that matched my own view of things. But of late, there have been a few that have left me completely perplexed, since to make sense of them as a form of irony, you would have to be pro-Labor. Today Cut and Paste was devoted to Andrew Bolt’s deconstruction of John Lyon’s nonsense story on Abbott’s supposed plan for a unilateral invasion of Iraq. Andrew is back on this theme today, and you will have to pardon his French: This campaign to intimidate me will not work: Lyons’ claim remains bullshit. Why The Australian persists with this story, since it was utterly implausible from the start, I do not know, but it does make me nervous. The editorial, also today, critical of Abbott’s statement about the cost of funding remote aboriginal communities, was more of the same.

And just to push the same message along, there is the feature opinion piece of the day, also a negative take on the cost of servicing remote aboriginal sites, and written by the presenter of Radio National’s Drive Program. Naturally, the need to contain costs is as remote from her consciousness as are these various sites.

And again today, also on the opinion page, there is an article near on incomprehensible to me by Nikki Savva, who I normally ignore, about something Credlin wrote to some Senator and the smouldering resentment it seems to have caused for reasons that remain unclear. Whatever it was, she has seen fit to do a bit of troublemaking, whose long-term good can only be for the Labor Party, but may provide some assistance along the way to Malcolm.

Then yesterday, on the front page but below the fold, there was a small but respectful article about Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the economy and about what a great job he believes he could do to sell the current need to bring fiscal responsibility back. Maybe so, but the evidence Turnbull can sell anything other than pre-approved Labor polices to Labor voters is still untested. So it is good to see another perspective: Hartigan attacks Turnbull on “woeful” record. It begins:

FORMER News Corp boss John Hartigan has launched a blistering attack against Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull for failing to reform media laws, accusing of him of having a “woeful” track record and ignoring regional communities.

The chairman of regional TV company Prime Media Group was responding to Turnbull’s “tough talking speech about the economy” to the Brisbane Club yesterday, which he said was “packed full of platitudes about embracing the future and the need for reform”.

Hartigan said: “Malcolm Turnbull reckons he can sell tough reform, but his track record in his own portfolio is woeful.”

“The Minister likes to talk the talk when discussing the economy, but when it comes to tackling much needed media reform in his own portfolio, I wonder if he will walk the walk?

For Malcolm to think he has been a political genius in finding a way to bring in Labor’s NBN with a mild reduction in the level of pure waste may seem wonderful to him but not to me. Where was he when the NBN was being debated in the first place? A white elephant that will sink our living standards, an outcome on which I have never heard Turnbull say a word. I wonder if he even knows.

But the story is also anti-Coalition since it the Government’s media policy, not just Turnbull’s. Not good. Very not good is all I can say.

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