Again in The Australian today, we see yet another journo tasked with the job of besmirching Mike Quigley, head of NBNco.
The Australian has been on a bender lately, desperately trying to create a link between Quigley’s tenure at Alcatel-Lucent in 2005-06 as head honcho, to alleged corruption claims by the US Securities & Exchange Commission. This bender has been going on now for well over 12 months and is clearly aimed as discrediting Quigley as the head of NBNco in order to further undermine the government’s National Broadband agenda. The succession of articles do not in any way, shape or form hold anything substantial, or even worthy of reporting, but in the style of this disreputable rag, make for a good ‘yarn’ just the same. The issue even attracts the special banner of The Alcatel Affair. The great unwashed reader would not bother to read past the garish headline pic or out-of-context quotes partnered together, so the job is done in the first paragraph. The rest of the page fill is precisely that. Fluff and disconnected allegation which in no way states that Quigley was or is culpable, has anything to answer for either in this country of the United States or provides even a glimmer of fact to back the fiction. Quigley was President of the company over that 2 year period. End of story. But isn’t it a good ‘yarn’??
That’s what this outlet is all about. Infotainment. A lot of the entertainment part and bugger all of the information. If there is information it’s hidden behind all the rhetoric and fantasy. Let’s look at the way this rag reports on the Leader of the Opposition’s Budget Reply speech last night. Anyone who took the trouble to watch & listen would have soon formed the same view that I did. That Abbott was off on yet another leg of the never-ending election campaign he’s been running ever since August 2010, when through his own ineptitude he was dismissed by the balance of power holders as a viable Prime Ministerial option. Last night’s effort was nothing more than a repeat of the daily censure motion attempt moved by the Opposition during Question Time. Filled to over-flowing with rhetorical devices, the ever-present fear-and-loathing allusions and plainly outright lies about border security and addressing a price on carbon pollution. Zero substance, maximum spin and innuendo, yet this is the man who has no hesitation in claiming that he doesn’t spin, the government does. As a budget reply, his speech made excellent campaign fodder. Trouble is, there is no election campaign running. As a Budget Reply it made a good Matter of Public Importance, except it contained nothing of any real importance, unless of course, you’re a lover of all things conservative and don’t care much who says it, as long as it’s being said by a fellow conservative. Try finding Swan’s Budget Speech in the Oz. It comes under the Business pages. Abbott’s reply is, naturally, front & centre in National Affairs. Yet The Australian, along with every other Murdoch publication, doesn’t report on what’s in the Budget, but spin off about what should have been in the Budget. Then there are the inevitable snark pieces with snarky intros – “Slippery Swan Can’t Hold His Drink” which is hardly edifying stuff, but isn’t it a good ‘yarn’? There was one point where Abbott comes close to reality, and that’s in describing Swan’s delivery of his fourth Budget. Granted, Wayne Swan simply isn’t the public speaker you’d invite to address your group on any subject. He is, however, the nation’s Treasurer and no rules exist which state that Treasurers must deliver Budget speeches with zing & razzmatazz. The message is in Appropriation Bill No.1 of 2011. What government should be doing is selling the thing, rather than bothering with any sort of critique of Abbott’s laughable performance. As with internet trolls, the more oxygen you feed them, the more arrogant they become.
While Murdoch news outlets ignore the real polity and opposition parties ignore the real policies, I am heartened by this statement by Bob Brown –
"We are not going to put Mr Abbott’s overweening personal interest in a power grab under any priority because it leads to instability, self-promotion at the expense of the nation."
This means without any doubt that barring a government member dying, and a by-election becoming a necessity, there will be no changes to this fantastic democratic exercise in minority government. Independents hold the balance of power and no force on this earth outside of death is going to sway them to the dark side where enmity toward all of them is a living, breathing beast. This minority government, decided by democracy despite itself, WILL go full term. What isn’t sure & certain is whether Abbott’s acolytes can tolerate his incessant negativity, doom and gloom aspersion-filled antics which do nothing but paint him, and by definition, his party in a very dark and one-dimensional manner.
Now, THAT’S a good yarn in my view.