This week’s political media contained two debates that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. At one end was the debate over what the Government should do about Slipper. At the other, disagreement raged over the Reserve Bank’s judgement (and still continued over the need for a surplus).
The most sensible of the Slipper pieces are here (plus one that spells out the risks for Abbott). Also listed are those that most clearly explain the economic issues. LaTingle talks about the upcoming Budget. And there’s a good piece from former WA Premier Geoff Gallop on the future of the ALP.
Three weeks into the five week break before Parliament resumes, the media swarmed yet again to the story that required the least effort. Some called Hockey’s ‘entitlement’ speech refreshing and encouraging, others called it ‘courageous’ and an unnecessary distraction. Meanwhile, blogger Matt Cowgill’s post showed that big cuts can only be made from safety net welfare payments.
Amongst the quality pieces on the Greens, there are some insightful posts from bloggers with connections to the party.
By the weekend, many writers had turned their eye to the economy and the Government. GrogsGamut’s regular Wednesday post explained how government debt and interest rates have no connection.
There was also an excellent longer read from Mark Latham explaining why suburbanites are climate change deniers.
There was some colour and movement in the political media this week, but little of substance. The non-debate about a surplus continued. Our national leaders met with business and state/territory leaders to talk about the usual issues that plague a federalist entity (duplication and effectiveness of tiered regulation, allocation of finances, parochialism versus nationalism etc). Some writers broadened their commentary on the HSU saga to encompass the merits of past and present industrial relations systems. Oh, and there was the departure of Green stalwart Bob Brown.
Just a few gems glittered amongst the pebbles for me, and you will find them in the links below. There are two good pieces on the role that values play in the electorate’s choice of politician or party. George Megalogenis invites discussion on his blog about the culture wars being anathema to the Australian reforming tradition. John Black provides a fascinating perspective on the broader implications of the Katter party for the federal election outcome, while Peter Brent says Black is comparing apples with oranges. George Megalogenis deals smartly with criticisms of him by Henry Ergas. I’ve included “analysis” of Bob Brown’s departure, but in reality it is just to early to tell what it will mean for the Greens.
Note: One of the commenters on last week’s #NoCrapApp survey suggested that I could value-add by prefacing the links I’ve gathered for the week with some commentary. So I thought I’d give it a go. The usual caveats apply: they’re my observations, I’m trying to be objective nevertheless, etc, etc. If you find it an unnecessary distraction, just let me know and I’ll desist.
Moir, SMH 4 Apr 2012
The week that was…
This week was the first in a five week hiatus between parliamentary sessions. This meant journalists had to find stories rather than simply catch those lobbed at them from the parliamentary benches. While journalistic effort to place a current political event into historical context is almost nonexistent in a sitting week, this week we saw quite a number of pieces pondering whether events of the past could help us predict what will happen at the next federal election (in 18 months’ time).
With the election battlefield currently firming on the question of trust, a number of journalists drew parallels with John Howard’s electoral reprieves and his audacious decision to run against Latham on the question of trust. For mine, I can’t see too many parallels between the Little Johnny that most people disliked but trusted to look after the country, and the current predicament that the Prime Minister finds herself in. Meanwhile, the ABC’s psephologist Antony Green gives us a fascinating tour of the cycles in electoral fortunes. The economics writers ponder the Government’s determination to deliver a surplus. Above all, it’s about politics; the Government simply cannot afford to go back on another commitment.
I’ve also included an interesting piece on politicians using Twitter. There is nothing here on Craig Thomson.