Topic: election Oz 2007
After 6 hours sorting the recyclables from the compostables at the Addison Community Centre Sunday market we got home just in time for the first prime time news story on 7 and 9: The election would be Nov 24. What a dilemma as the a-grade wonk fodder unfolded on my tv screen: After finding a new use for an empty orange juice container (hence the crude headline), and with tv remote control in the other hand swapping channels, we saw the very first howler of the election. Literally the first speech of the election.
"This country does not need new leadership. It does not need old leadership. It needs the right leadership"
John Howard intoned with that gutteral subliminal swagger of supreme self confidence well known to the trained wonk ear.
It was only next morning we realised the Freudian significance. On the surface level Howard meant 'right' in terms of the correct choice. But what he really meant was the Right leader. That is Ultra Right given both major parties are already quite right wing, pro developer, pro big business with all those donations. More a case of Keep Right, not Keep Left beloved of road sign graffiti.
On the other hand who is to say Howard wasn't trading on a double meaning because there is no doubt John is the Right leader of his time in Australia - propping up George W Bush, vandalising Kyoto, ripping into electoral donation laws for the elitist mates, chummy with religous nutcases and human rights abusers like the Exclusive Brethren, pro nuke reactors and Iraq war mongering.
Only keeping Right won't really satisfy after 11 years of the same ideological pap. It won't do on climate change, nor the Iraq war disaster, nor a great many other things.
Both stations 7 and 9 made live interview crosses to Howard and Rudd who each looked very professional and maybe relieved (geddit?) to have started on the formal contest. Similarly 60 Minutes where Howard looked very buff for an old bloke, was echoed the next day in the front page of the Sydney Daily Telegraph about "endurance". But not buff enough with young voters abandoning the old guy 73% against.
..............We were gratified too with next morning's press front pages echoing our disturbing file picture of the regular Sunday Talkies round up re mutant pollie convergence. Our Talkies report was unusually brief given we were just too busy watching and listening to write, caught in the moment. Here is our pic lifted from SDT July 07
The Rudd and Howard as political dopplegangers this election campaign right down to the blue tie is shown below. But notice too the high circulating press have Rudd to the right hand side of the page ie the 'way forward' side; the natural default of the wandering eye; the 'generational change' side; the editorial spin side of both the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and Sydney Morning Herald indicating the real consensus regardless of the other choreographed 'balance':
We re-gathered our wonky poise this Monday morning just in time with the threshing maelstrom of competing egos grabbing at 'the truth' of this moment, 1st day of the rest of our lives this 2007 election campaign. Fair enough too. It was a Moment and all the political community seemed to be tumbling like kids in a breaking wave including Big Johnny for all his theatrical control.
Then came the next beaut howler this morning after all the AM show jostling here and here and here and here and finally here which was actually a jostle over one versus three debates. And the howler from an unexpected source, Michael Kroger a "Liberal Party powerbroker" 'in the bunker' segment on abc 702 Trioli in Sydney, who spent alot of time waxing lyrical about Treasurer Costello being "respected".
Kroger's unforced error against a jaded ALP aligned Bruce Hawker (good line though about 'contorted' Costello succession sometime uncertainty), claimed the ALP's Wayne Swan was missing in action in the big media. In fact there was Swan front page of the The Oz last Thursday 11th October only 2 working days earlier in a big picture story with George Newhouse, Swan, Mal Turnbull and rabbi.
Kroger does not read the Oz aka 'Govt Gazette' apparently yet is the crack electoral expert?? Kroger revealing his limitations and his spin with a gratuitious sledge on Swan? Admittedly Swan as shadow treasurer has been low profile presumably swatting on his tax homework that Bill Leak likes to cartoon about. But still its the kind of mistake that Laurie Oakes was referring to on 9 Sunday as a govt under major pressure.
And this is the winning campaign start of the federal coalition? Not.
Earlier that morning Fran Kelly on abc radio national weighed up the pro case for each side along these lines in discussion with Lynton Crosby (Lib), Sol Lebovic (News Ltd aligned polling expert), and Rod Cameron (ALP aligned pollster):
Rudd, Climate Change, Work Choices/IR, Julia Gillard to which we add Costello and Rudd's relative youth and competence
Howard, Economy, anti union, Gillard, to which we add Howard's experience/competence, Costello.
Psephologists like Antony Green seems to be in furious agreement that here in NSW the seats at risk to fall to the ALP are Parramatta, Lindsay (eg Penrith), Bennelong (Northshore), Wentworth (Eastern Suburbs).
All this reference to "love" in the headlines reminded us of John Howard salivating on camera about marginal seats about 2 weeks ago that "I love youse all" reprising slugger Jeff Fenech about 15 years back, having just won a world title bout and pledging same to Australian fans, when he was alot more respectable but now ominously convicted of shop lifting $100 watches.
Perhaps reflecting the diminishing oxygen for the PM, the Libs have resorted to adopting the ALP tactic of calling Rudd "contrived" and insincere via their cipher Piers Akerman in the Sunday Telegraph echoing the ALP claim Howard is "clever" as in a sly smart arse. It felt somehow dirty reading Akerman inviting the reader to schmooze with him over "unfit to rule" Rudd in a faux heart to heart as if in the public interest. When has over stuffed Akerman ever been worried about high morality, as his smear laden Heiner Affair house of cards falls in a heap via the preceding day's coverage in The Australian?
Also curious was Akerman's claim same article above that with John Howard there is "no contrivance", a line repeated in the headline story in Fairfax above yet arguably we saw exactly that double talk in the timing of the PM's reconciliation speech last week: Because no matter how real Ray Martin might say Howard meant to be on the embarrassing issue of Aboriginal justice, with Ray sledging the "Howard Haters" on Sunday 9 yesterday as in effect unworthy cynics, the fact is the Howard speech timing was all real politik. For instance we reported elsewhere on SAM 6 converging factors quite beyond the moral case for changes to the preamble of the constitution to recognise the Indigenous, and that makes Big John opportunistic too and therefore susceptible to interpretations of ... contrivance.
Imagine that. A big tough winning politician manifesting such tricks. Derr.
And through all of this the drum beat of scary climate change throbs in the rib cage eg sea rise eating at Fort Denison, beach erosion on the north coast (Sun Tele p44 14/10/07), youth writers on Lismore hailstones as big as pumpkins (Hail caesars, do something p60 SunHerald 14/10/07) all swamping the Miranda Devine narks at Al Gore and his Nobel Prize.