Australia’s old media is fighting an internal civil war trying to justify their cheerleader style of reporting federal politics. In this case, it’s regarding Australia’s highly questionable $368 billion expenditure on submarines. The Canberra Press Gallery reporters have been exposed for failing dismally in doing their job to keep politicians accountable and they have spent the last few days attacking former Prime Minister Paul Keating to somehow justify their failings.
Peter Hartcher, on of the “Red Alert” journalists said regarding Keating “He made the absurd claim that the government had “no mandate” for the policy. In fact, Albanese took the AUKUS plan in principle to the 2022 election as Labor policy”.
The stupidity is that statement is both the coalition and Labor have AUKUS as part of their policy so voters had no choice and we never knew it was going to cost $368 billion. So, to say “Labor had a mandate” because they took it to the 2022 election is deceptive at best and dishonest at worst.
Not only have senior Nine journalists Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott had their reputations trashed writing the Red Alert series but at least 2 other journalists, David Crowe, Malcolm Knox and SMH editor Bevan Shields have written pieces defending them and Nine’s papers which has achieved nothing except throwing their own reputations under a bus.
Peter Costello should resign as chairman of Nine Entertainment before more damage is done on his watch.
That’s it exactly, isn’t it? Keating’s big crime was to be “far removed from the political mainstream”, and in so complaining, the editor of the SMH shows he is more interested in supporting that mainstream than in challenging it.
During his recent National Press Club appearance, former PM Paul Keating scolded mainstream media journalists — who deserved every stinging syllable of his pinpoint-accurate words, writes Belinda Jones.
There are few who think as clearly, who are as articulate, and who are prepared to speak out in the face of incredible stupidity in Australian politics as Paul Keating. And, as he made clear in his address to the press club this week, AUKUS is nothing if not an exercise in security policy stupidity.
Greg Sheridan, in his opinion piece of Tuesday 21 February, provides yet another display of his spiteful, vacuous journalism – his erroneous claims that I am not the progenitor of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting, and that my views on Australian strategic policy are eccentric and at odds with the US alliance. PJ Keating reply to Greg Sheridan – The Australian, 21 February
Peter Hartcher has a lot to answer for, writes Paul Keating in a response to the Nine columnist that did not make it to print.
I said, first, and most obviously, “China should continually reaffirm by word and by deed its commitment to repudiate the use or threat of force to settle disputes”. I went on to say, “the work of reassurance is never done, that the stronger China becomes the more it will need to reassure its neighbours and this will depend on deeds more than words”.
Second, “China will do a great deal to help build a continuing stable order in Asia if it quite unambiguously welcomes and supports a continued strong role for the United States in Asia”.
These were tough things to say to an audience of Chinese officials, but I said them in Beijing in 2013. And I repeated those words in my National Press Club address. But Hartcher made certain Sydney Morning Herald and Age readers would hear none of those critical references to the Chinese, because my utterances then, pull the rug from under Hartcher’s principal claim that I believe “Beijing is correct and everyone else should fall back in awe”.
Keating is streets ahead of Morrison. Keating correctly points out that Australia cannot go to war with China over Taiwan. It certainly cannot go into battle with the Chinese navy using American attack class nuclear submarines designed in Virginia in the 1990s. Keating should know: as PM, he had his own disaster with the Collins class submarines. The Collins submarines hardly ever left the docks and did not have sufficient trained personnel to put the entire fleet to sea at the same time.
Paul Keating was on Fran Kelly’s ABC radio show on Friday. He’d picked up a peculiar thing from the GDP release. The headline number was horrific. Australia’s economic growth had shrunk by 7%, the largest drop on record, wiping out four years of growth and sinking the nation, officially, into its first recession in 29 years. Keating seized on the bright spot though, or at least what he thought was a bright spot. Buried in the National Accounts data and apparently picked up by nobody, yet, were the figures for GDP per hour worked. It was an increase. Yes, an increase, and not a trifling increase either. Growth in GDP per hour worked was up from 0.6% – the average over four previous quarters – to 4.1%. It represents a fantastical rise in productivity – a seven-fold surge in productivity. Businesses have shed millions of workers so wage costs plummeted by 9.3% and wages are usually the highest cost in a business.
The kind of merger announced today between Channel Nine and Fairfax was bound to happen the moment the cross-media legislation introduced by the Hawke government 30 years ago was suspended.
The so-called cross-media rule gave Australia 30 years of media diversity, especially between Australia’s major television networks and its capital city print.
Those barriers in the wholesaling of news underwrote diversity of opinion, guaranteeing an altogether better informed and livelier public debate.
The absence of those legislative barriers, in the media free-for-all the Turnbull government is permitting, will, because of the broadly maintained power of those outlets, result in an effective and dramatic close down in diversity and, with it, opinion.
Today Tony Abbott addressed the National Press Club with what his colleagues were describing as a make or break speech. It was his chance to outline his plan for the future and to make his pitch as to why he is the best man to lead us into that future.
He then proceeded to spend the majority of the speech talking about the “Rudd/Gillard/Rudd catastrophe”. He obviously has a different idea of what future means than I do, or is it that that is all Tony can do?
His speech was just a collection of all the trite phrases we have heard him repeat ad nauseum. He persisted with counting on his fingers that same old stuff about axing taxes, stopping boats and building the roads of the 21st century.
He promised, for the umpteenth time, to be a more “consultative collegial government”. He also backed off from his captain’s picks of Paid Parental Leave and deciding who gets knighthoods. On PPL he said he had listened to the Productivity Commission and his colleagues – pity it took him five years to do so.
But perhaps the most interesting line for me was when he said
“I hope that in 2015 we will see a much more honest national conversation.”
And so say all of us.
Unfortunately that hope lasted about two seconds as he told us that Labor had left him with a $667 billion debt. As we have pointed out countless times on these pages, the only place that number appears is in Hockey’s MYEFO from December 2013 and it was a projection for ten years’ time based on Coalition spending and revenue cutting decisions.
When asked about his broken pre-election promises Tony said that it was necessary because Labor had lied about the real state of the books.
“We went into the campaign believing the deficit was $18 billion. When we saw the books it was actually $48 billion so Labor left a $30 billion deficit black hole”.
Except Chris Bowen and Penny Wong produced an economic update in early August showing the deficit to be $30 billion, a figure backed up a couple of weeks later by Treasury and Finance in PEFO. Apparently Tony didn’t read those documents, or chooses to ignore them.
Tony boasted that his government had created hundreds of thousands of jobs. When it was pointed out to him that there are about 70,000 more people unemployed than we he came to office he completely ignored the question. I don’t think Tony realises that with population growth of 364,900 in 2013-14, we need over 30,000 new jobs per month just to keep up. From December 2013 to December 2014 employed persons rose by 1.4% while unemployed persons rose by 7.7%
Tony didn’t mention Medicare’s future or higher education reforms or Indigenous recognition. He ignored domestic violence despite Australian of the Year Rosie Batty’s impassioned plea for action. And his much anticipated family package degenerated into the government would have a “better childcare policy” and “consult widely”.