Peter Smith

Media picks Gillard

We had lots of revolutions or, more accurately, intended revolutions under Prime Minister Rudd. Let’s see we had the digital education revolution, the building education revolution, the health revolution and I think that climate change was brought into the revolutionary ambit. I have probably missed some. They came thick and fast and so many revolutions puts your head in a spin. 

We have now moved under Julia Gillard from failed revolutions to cobbled solutions. The Dili solution was the second. The first was the mining tax solution. Apparently, the climate change solution is on its way prior to her calling an election. I can’t wait for that one. 

What to make of the solutions so far; that is the question? 

A first thing to say is that we all have to form our own view. The mainstream media seems hopelessly compromised. 

Apparently the replacement of a damaging and ill-thought out tax on the mining industry, with something somewhat less damaging but equally ill-thought out, has resolved the issue; and we can all move on. The fact that the new tax was cobbled together over a few days with only three mining companies is apparently a good enough process for Australia. Banana republics would have better processes. Unbelievably, Ms Gillard and Wayne Swan also seem to have got away with the most unbelievable spin about the revenue implications of replacing the RSPT with the MRRT. I use the word ‘spin’ euphemistically. 

But if the MRRT was cobbled together, the Dili solution takes the cake. This is banana republic writ large. You have a Prime Minister making promises effectively on behalf of another country and government without any of the diplomatic niceties taking place beforehand; without the Prime Minister of that country knowing anything about it. You had the Prime Minister of East Timor Xanana Gusmao interviewed on TV expressing no knowledge of the solution (and to his credit, so politely). Mon Dieu

Bear in mind the tone of the media when Ms Gillard first made her announcement; unknowing of course that it was based simply on a quick word with the President of East Timor. The deal with the miners was ‘beginners luck’; this was ‘inspirational’. It was ‘masterful’ and ‘devilishly clever’. No, in fact, it was amazingly amateurish and high-handed and it would be seen in this light when the truth came out. Not quite, the kid gloves came out when the truth came out. 

Look at the editorial in The Australian last Friday. “The PM made a brave decision … when she radically shifted Labor’s policy on asylum-seekers”. There followed a gentle chiding on the process which the paper said “threatens to diminish a good policy”. You wouldn’t read about it – but you did. Apparently, according to The Australian, “the PM has to learn the lessons of Dili”. 

Why does she have to learn the lesson? That assumes she will be elected. Surely she will become Ms Gillard, Leader of the Opposition, or back bench Ms Gillard, or perhaps ex-MP Ms Gillard. She can then gain some real world experience before she attempts again to run a government. 

When you put together her inexperience with her record – Medicare Gold, the BER and now the Dili solution – and her complicity in all of Rudd’s disasters, it is nothing short of astounding that she may become an elected Prime Minister. What is going on? Are we to get the government that the media thinks we deserve?

Leave a Reply