Noticeable on this morning’s Insiders was a clearly expressed opinion from Malcolm Farr and Glenn Milne that Howard’s Northern Territory intervention into aboriginal communities is not in any way influenced by the 2007 electoral cycle. Indeed, both commentators rubbished the claim from Karen Middleton that the election cycle had anything at all to do with the Howardian actions.
Granted, both Farr and Milne come from a conservative perspective, but I couldn’t help but feel that both being media representatives, hold a certain responsibility to present a more considered approach to the issue, rather than simply dismissing one probable aspect of it. Both men would openly admit, and I believe both have done so in the past, that John Howard is by far the craftiest political mind this country has ever seen. Why then, at the sharp end of an electoral cycle, would both suddenly claim that the man hasn’t an opportunistic streak in him?
It’s blatantly clear to me, that while the wedge might not be particularly visible, primarily because it was well telegraphed by Howard and equally adroitly picked up by Rudd, it exists none the less. The effect of last weeks dramatic announcement of a ’national emergency’, has been to effectively silence Labor on the issue and focussed the media’s attention squarely and almost entirely onto the Howardian political machine. Even to the attention paid later in the week to the sequences of largesse from that machine, alluded to here. Add to those items yesterday’s grandiose and somewhat superfluous announcement of $25m to be spent on making rah-rah an issue of national importance, as opposed to the premise of private schools and old boys clubs, and you have a well rounded week of give-aways and high exposure in the lead-up to the polls.
It’s disturbing to me that media commentators should be afraid to be seen to be identifying political tactics for what they really are. Despite whether the issue is too sharp for some tender sensibilities or not. Let’s be quite plain, and I’ll reiterate something I heard during the week. Everything a politician does has a political agenda behind it. Absolutely EVERYTHING. Those who choose not to see the political opportunities which exist in this ’national emergency’ conjured by Howard, after some 14 different reports into aboriginal social welfare, health, education, petrol sniffing, drug and now child abuse, over the past eleven years, all of which were effectively shelved on one excuse or another, are clearly deluding themselves.