The Coalition’s Murdoch fixation is killing it

As I wrote last year, the Australian political economy has splintered into discrete “identity” groups that replicate the machinery of the old nation state:

In Australia the phenomenon of identity politics has gone much further. The fragmentation of national consciousness into vertical market identities has formed its own self-sustaining political economy structure. The Guardian is the media arm of the “champagne left” identity. It is fully integrated with sympathetic policy engines in think tanks like the Grattan Institute. It has its own political party in The Greens. This is a niche recreation of the nation state, a mini ‘identity state’ if you will, inside which circular logic and ideology swirl uninterrupted by criticism or dialectic.

The “champagne left” identity state is not about the truth of an independent centre. It is about the promulgation of a narrow set of values within a chosen worldview: global warming, favouring immigration, championing social justice and Trump-bashing as reality.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not picking on The Guardian. The point is much, much larger. The same ‘identity states’ have now spread across the entire political economy. There is a business ‘identity state’ now. It has its own sympathetic think tanks, its own political party in the Coalition and its own media echo chamber in the The Australian as well as, increasingly, the AFR. There is a real estate ‘identity state’ which has multiple think tanks, a political party in the Coalition, and a media echo chamber in Domainfax.

None of this has anything to do with traditional Left versus Right politics and, therefore, even the notion of the independent center is nonsensical. “Australia” itself does not exist in this emerging construct. Replaced by a cluster of ‘identity states’ which battle to impose their own perverse world view on everybody else. The ultimate irony is that it means the various vertical markets often end up in furious agreement while wasting 99% of their energy on pretending that they disagree.

We’ve seen this phenomenon on display for the Coalition in the past few days. Since the beginning of the year, L-plate Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, has been struggling to gain traction with a narrative of a “high taxing” Labor. We also had Labor launch what looks like reasonable welfare reforms yesterday when Tony Abbott pounced:

Both sets of motherhood statements are reflective of the old school John Howard “aspirational” Coalition. They ought to be attractive to classic liberals.

The problem is the other identity silos in the media and broader discussion barely even covered them. These exist outside such principle now with their own dedicated voices, as well as levers of power. They can ignore such culture war drivel, especially so when the substance of others fights like climate change are completely beyond the government. The Coalition and its alumni at The Australian are basically just talking to themselves.

Kevin Rudd kind of touched upon this in a Domain piece this week but not in the way he thinks:

In the US, Murdoch’s Fox News has been the great enabler of Donald Trump’s hostile takeover of the modern Republican Party. This has been a long project in the making. But because Fox has been the self-reinforcing echo-chamber of the American far right for 30 years, it has become the principal medium through which each generation of conservatives have outflanked each other by going further and further to the right.

…Then there’s Murdoch’s political handiwork in Britain. First he campaigned in support of Scottish separation from the rest of Britain, coming close to destroying the United Kingdom that had prevailed as a strong, unified state for over 300 years. But then he deployed his formidable media arsenal in full-throttled support of Britain leaving Europe during the 2016 referendum before finally hitting the Jackpot with Nigel Farage’s UKIP, the ever-opportunistic Boris Johnson and Brexit.

As for Australia, where Murdoch owns 70% of the country’s print media, unsurprisingly we read very little of the impact of Citizen Murdoch’s singular contribution to the political disembowelling of the American and British democracies. That’s because his Australian mastheads, by and large run by a sycophantic “broederbund” of editors always seeking to out-compete one another for their master’s affections, will rarely cover any news story, foreign or domestic, that might give offence to Rupert Central.

To my mind, this argument is much more dangerous for the Coalition than it is Labor because it is so dated. Murdoch led the fragmentation charge but he is now being eaten by it as identity states multiply. The assumption that the Murdoch values of yesteryear, daily repeated in facsimile media coverage, is the secret to gaining and managing power is now the problem not solution. The values expressed are too narrow, too tin-eared, too discredited and cynical. No doubt that is one reason why he sold the empire.

I’m not sure what the answer is for the Coalition. But it sure isn’t more of the same repetitious whining about yesteryear’s ideological battles. Messages and policy today must reach out to specific interest groups – their hopes, dreams and grievances – each positioned within a larger narrative of a looser notion of “Australia” than that which the Coalition has inherited.

Labor has nicely tackled this new zeitgeist with its “fairness” dictum. That is in step with all disparate identity states, equally aggrieved, as well as gesturing vaguely at a diminished Australiana. It will have its own problems in power, given fairness will be very hard to come by as wages fall, but its working very nicely in opposition.

Scummo tried something similar with his ludicrous “good bloke” roadshow. But that had no ballast. “Aspirational” might well be one way reconnect with a disaffected polity in the long run but not if it means serving the interests of a coterie of wealthy folks and corporations. Labor has a whole raft of reforms that target different and much broader identity states, and each delivers real change that can be argued as nation building as well.

When it loses later this year, the Coalition is going to have to look well beyond its current animus to find a way back into a political economy environment that has escaped the Murdoch echo chamber and today sees it as little more than troglodyte curiosity.


  1. Negative gearing reform is a good start. But unless labor targets immigration and student visa rorts, they are going just above libs on my ballot who will be bottom after greens. They refuse to comment on it, and that is a sign they want the scheme to continue, whatever their motivations.

    • So by voting Greens I guess you feel that the VISA rort will be solved because they’ll just get rid of borders?

    • davidjwalshMEMBER

      that’s it Timmeh …… they’re not called LibLabs for nothing …..

      the managerialist co-conspirators in the destruction of the working and middle classes are not going to change. Far, far too vested.

      and then of course the sheeple element will continue to allow greed and avarice to influence voting and public responses, so they are effectively complicit in their own destruction ….. vote for minor parties only and be prepared for a great deal more social disruption ……

  2. GunnamattaMEMBER

    The real dynamic from here is the ALP. They were where the Libs are now back in 2013, completely reviled and discredited. And Australia’s media landscape has become a giant skidmark of public contempt since then as well.

    The major difference is that back then there was something purporting to be a united and coherent side of politics which was disciplined enough while waiting in the wings – though anyone looking at it knew they were utter loons. Their discrediting has become the annihilation of the last vestiges of credibility of the Murdoch press – every captains pick, every faux pas, every skerrick of missing women (both in parliament but also in their comprehension of the world – it all too often seemed as though women just dont exist or simply dont count), every parallel universe statement about leaners and lifters, the outright denial of global warming, the coal, the thalidimisation of the Lib ‘moderates’, the faint echo of policy rationale which got Malcolm to the PMship, but turned him into ‘the mummy’ once in the job, the obsession with the rights of bigots in the same sex marriage debate, the roboletters, the caught in the spotlight Abetzian abstruseness of the S144 disclosures – all ultimately leading to ScoMo’s grimy backslapping shirt button popping baseball capped electoral vaudeville as a parting gift for those of us remaining to remember the Liberals by. Uncle Rupert was there for the lot – remember TestosterTones legspread around the reversed chair in homage to Uncle and the IPA? (I’d like someone to carve that into a 40 metre statue and put it on one of the headlands at the entrance to Sydney harbour).

    It is a good thing it has been as grotesque as it has been if we recall this has been ultimately orchestrated by an octogenarian gargoyle. It has been so grotesque Australia may not need a Trump or a Brexit because the Liberals (with Uncle Rupert bound and gagged to them – death is the only way out for Uncle from this, and both he and the Liberals could well ask themselves ‘am I bound to a corpse?’) have made such an epic performance of their own stinking, festering, pustulous ineptitude and indifference that the Australian electorate can actually feel a sense of relief at their impending departure and enjoy the ultimate implosion as it unfolds. The ALP is ultimately irrelevant to this. If anything, the Liberal Government of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison – without a doubt the worst government Australian politics has ever defecated into power – has lowered the bar of electoral expectation so far they would haemorrhage seats to Islamic State if they were the only party standing.

    The ALP needs to bring about change. Not faux change, not a little bit of change which adjusts the life margins but doesnt take the Australian public away from being pawned for corporate interests, with a backing vocal of ‘this is pretty good’, or ‘the alternative is worse’ or reform which doesnt change the big picture, not more politicians with an eye on a post politics payout, or who have taken their twenty pieces of silver from offshore to espouse a policy position, nor even an industrious hallelujah choir over issues which may not effect the bulk of the electorate. What they need to set about crafting is bringing about meaningful real tangible economic change which benefits Australian society. Not which will benefit it at some point off in the indeterminate future, but quite soon.

    If they cannot do that then they may not be playing for themselves, but ultimately playing for Australian politics as we have known it. Because if they cant get traction fairly soon after coming to power and they cant level with the electorate about where we as a nation stand economically, and level about the dynamics, and winners and losers, making up that, and of acknowledging their role in creating the dynamics weighing down the nation, then the electorate wont just switch to the other side next time around, they will go for something new. They may not have all that much goodwill right from the get go. They will need to play their shots from the opening over, and if they dont then the slow hand claps could get seriously ugly fairly quick..

    To give them some credit the ALP has at least some good policy, but the suspicion remains that there isnt enough. They have no real answers to the macroeconomy – or at least they havent espoused either a toning down of immigration (nailing wages, adding to the current account, aggravating house prices, trashing of the education sector, and clogging of services) or of a look at Australian Free trade commitments and outcomes (which dont appear to involve the creation of meaningful jobs for Australians) and there hasnt been much out of them on gas reservation and the need to address energy costs – for houses or industry. There have been noises about reconstructing the public sector and reviewing Australia’s tertiary education outcomes, but nothing concrete, and the enthusiasm at State ALP level for infrastructure spending will no doubt go down well, but the doubt nags that they may sell that out as a gouging right for select private interests.

    Their media backdrop for all this is becoming more interesting by the minute. Currently the only mainstream media in Australia with any respect whatsoever is the ABC – despite its chaos – and it would probably have more public respect than either mainstream side of politics. The Murdoch 2 ply has come to the end of the roll (if you want a really good laugh then read through the Australian {just once]), once was Fairfax has morphed into Entertainment This Week [and are there any buyers for the AFR in the waiting?], and the Guardian has set up its Camelot around a few very select inner Sydney and Melbourne enclaves which try and avoid the rest of the country – there is not a print media organisation in the country running as anything more than a loss leader. The mainstream commercial TV outfits went ex – news for real estate reporting 10 years ago, and its gargoyle decked radio counterpart is entering the golden years along with its listeners. Someone should thank Rupert for being flushed down the bowl with the Liberals, for it’s kind of symbolic. The new ALP government will be the first where the media political nexus which has been the mainstay of Australian life for generations is gone, and the new government is going to have to pay particular care to make sure that it is both listening to people from well outside the old media core and getting its message through beyond the blockage in the old media pipes.

    We may not see the Libs (at least as they were) again – and not many would regret their passing (anyone having pangs should probably watch some footage of ScoMos days in office). But if the ALP is to preserve any sense of electoral continuity and defend a political system which has a foetid over ripe stench about it, then they will have to play to win and not for survival. And even though I personally will welcome them to power, I am just not convinced they are up to the job of putting ordinary Australians first, crafting policy and legislative outcomes that give ordinary Australians scope to better their lot, and getting Australia economically beyond the vested interest group ransom demand it has been party to for far too long.

    Australia’s mainstream media and the Liberal National government have got – if we may deploy some Derek & Clive for a moment – ‘Cancer of the f*cking universe’ – the story from here is about whether the ALP has it too.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      – without a doubt the worst government Australian politics has ever defecated into power –

      Lol,…Agree,….the way they so happily let go over 80 years of Car manufacturing know how in this Country showed how treasonous they could be in their pursuit of Unionized/idelogical opponents.

    • This has the same feel as what was being said about labor post rudd Gillard rudd.
      Give the alp a few years to make a complete [email protected]#k of it and then the libs will be the golden party yet again to replace the idiots in power. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum. Welcome to Westminster democracy.

      • +1

        How short people’s memories of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Charlie foxtrot. It’s just the LNP’s turn to implode. A few tribalists on here think it’s going to be any different with Chris Bowen as Treasurer. Vote neither.

    • ChristopherJMEMBER

      thank you Gunna. It’s been so long for workers to cheer about anything. The spectre of a Labor government isn’t going to do it, mate. There is some very hard-baked fuckery going on that they will be unable to stop. The money is just too big now and they’ve already had their hand in the till.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Geez gunna that’s pretty good off the cuff …
      ….and yes ALP will do a drovers dog in ….but you are right they need to do some boom crash opera ….but they may now only like Chinese opera …
      I expect them to fiddle on the edges while pandering to their own interest groups …..little to no change
      ….but Bill might surprise us all

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        To my mind from here Bill needs to come out and state what we all know. We have something very close to an economic emergency in play (by the time Bill gets there it may well be an openly declared economic emergency). It has a range of causes which include.

        Banks over lending for non productive lending
        Over inflated asset prices
        Companies and corporate interests (look at AiG) gaming politics
        Large sections of the corporate world looking to get away with no tax
        privatisation as an ideology simply putting social outcomes (which couldnt be set up originally as private sector entities) into private hands as monopolies
        Large sections of Australian society expecting to pay no tax and yet still have access to welfare
        The demonisation of welfare recipients (or at least those who represent the smallest section of outlays and not those representing the ‘concessions’)
        The gouging of Australian consumers by over consolidated oligopolies in retail, banking, telecoms, insurance, logistics
        and the gumming of the entire economy with far more immigration than is actually warranted – including far to generous provision for those coming to Australia to have access to welfare and healthcare without ever contributing (in past or in future).

        I will believe Bill is serious when he strolls into Parliament and announces we have an economic emergency, declares gas reservation as policy (and sacrifices Santos), sets in train the renationalisation of the national electricity grid (and sacrifices electricity retailers) and tells banks one of them will be the ‘bad bank’ and if they dont want to be that bad bank they are in a competition about how much genuinely economically productive lending they are doing (a sacrifice of one bank). I will join him on the barricades the day he announces that Australian tertiary education has been deformed by fee paying visa chasing foreign students for meaningless courses who are only coming to Australia because they want residence here or because Australian courses are seen as ‘easy’ (as I am regularly told is a key demand driver for Australian courses) and that in future the only courses which will gain residence visas after completion will be those involving hard sciences, mathematics, or applied IT, and that a national audit of all tertiary courses for their intellectual merit, and access by ordinary Australians to them will commence.

        From there I would have real enthusiasm if Bill were to come out and announce that he is anticipating house price falls of maybe 30% and that consequently those Australians on incomes under 80k will be able to write of PAYE tax on their mortgages for the first family home to the value of 600k, and that individuals under the age of 21 will not be able to access this without examination and approval pending an audit to ensure they are a front for someone else to access the process.

        I will be out there and clapping if he were to announce there will be an audit of all Australian Free trade Agreements for their impact on and value to Australian society, accompanied by a guarantee that all future FTAs will be subject to an open, publicly disclosed, study by the ACCC or productivity commission.

        I would wear Bills lapel on my suit if Bill were to announce a 1% land tax each year and eliminate PAYE for all people under 80k.

        I would don a Bill beanie of Bill were to announce that Australia has been taken to the cleaners by LNG plant builders and monopoly gas pipeline owners and announce a government tariff on all gas traveling North to QLD from SA or NSW, and a limit to amortization of the Gladstone facilities, and offer to buy these for $1 if the owners decided at that point they were interested in a sale.

        etc etc etc

    • The Beetrooter Advocate

      We may not see the Libs (at least as they were) again – and not many would regret their passing (anyone having pangs should probably watch some footage of ScoMos days in office).

      The successors are not likely to be materially different from the incumbents, the incumbents and those they succeeded are not.

    • Epic rant @Gunnamatta, thanks once again for the effort (and I see it was loaded at 2AM – How the hell did you do that?)

      Thanks for the Derek and Clive reference. It may have gone right over the heads of a few people here, but in honour of the mention I downloaded it and played it for the boys in the workshop and every one of them just loved it.- none of ’em had ever heard of them either, none knew of Dudley Moore or Peter Cook too.

  3. You had me at Paragraph 2 but this Magic! …. “all ultimately leading to ScoMo’s grimy backslapping shirt button popping baseball capped electoral vaudeville as a parting gift for those of us remaining to remember the Liberals by”

    Thank you – great summary.

    ..and of course i have no expectation whatsoever.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      That does speak volumes. But I fear they’ll be back. There was Menzies selling out Australia time and time again. Howard murdering brown people. Abbott defending pedos. Turnbull…Turnbull…what did Turnbull actually do? Anyhow, there’s always folk who believe in them. They always come back.

      Even Caretaker PM Scummo has his believers. That’s the scary bit.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      And don’t forget the happy-clappyness which tops off the scary package that is ScoMo.

  4. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    ” even though I personally will welcome them to power, I am just not convinced they are up to the job of putting ordinary Australians first, crafting policy and legislative outcomes that give ordinary Australians scope to better their lot,”

    If “ordinary Australians”, the vast bulk of our population, want to be “put first”, then they bloody well need to Join the Australian Labor Party turn up and fking demand it.

    • So demanding it as a voter in the election simply can’t achieve it?
      What makes you think voting within the party will achieve any more than voting in an election?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Simple path of least resistance stuff really.

        They have Millions of tribal voters who will always vote for them, so youd need a party to vote for that can attract millions of new voters.
        ALP membership is kess than 55k. The party could be radicaly reformed by a few 10s of thousands.

        So the leadership of the party fear you more as an ALP member than they do as a citizen voter.
        This is why the 2 main parties do next to no active recruiting.
        All the more reason to do so,…dont you think.

      • So why don’t the 50,000 current members of the alp achieve anything?
        Or alternately
        Merely turning up and fking demanding it by voting within a political party achieves nothing. You must become a power broker within or leader of the party. So what are you waiting for?

      • What makes you think voting within the party will achieve any more than voting in an election?

        You could dramatically influence Labor policy – and hence national direction – with the number of people attending a state of origin game. Heck, you’d give the status quo a fright with the turnout from an average A-league match.

      • “You could dramatically influence Labor policy – and hence national direction – with the number of people attending a state of origin game.”
        This is based on a floored assumption.
        Either the membership of the labor party has influence over the policy direction, in which case the current party will simply splinter and form a new party if you come in and usurp the group goals of the existing membership base that clearly supports it
        the current membership doesn’t support the current policy positions but by some sort of magic fairy unicorn dust, adding more members that don’t support the policy will somehow make the situation change.
        The existing members simply give up on all their beliefs and let the newcomers completely take over their party without caring at all.
        So which of these do you think is what would actually happen?

      • Why would the party risk a split and spiral into irrelevance rather than compromise ?

        I find it ironic someone constantly banging on about democracy is arguing it won’t work.

      • Compromise with who?
        Based on your response I assume you believe the current membership supports current policy of the leadership.
        The current ALP could simply take all current members of parliament, all current members of the party and all current donors and become ALP2 while leaving all the newcomers as ALP but effectively just a group of people starting a new political party.
        Personally I think democracy as conducted on the political party scale to elect candidates for election works exactly the same as it does on the country scale to select members of parliament, as how could it work any differently given it is exactly the same process. What I find hard to believe is the people who claim that joining a party and voting will somehow do something that voting in an election can’t. The construct of representative democracy either works or it doesn’t, not works within a political party, but not at country level.
        But this all stems from the greatest success those creating the Westminster system had, and the propaganda following explaining that the system is really awesome, honest. It directs the energies of people from trying to actually change the system, towards if only we changed this bit, or twiddled that bit, it would work like it’s supposed to, while it has never worked “like it’s supposed to” as people continue to twiddle, but merely retains the power of the elite as was intended from the start.

    • LOL. Yeah, I’ll join the mob who are serving me mustard and not ketchup on my turd sandwich. That will surely do it.

      Labour are part of the problem at this point, not part of the solution.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        They WILL rule post next election.
        Why don’t you do something a bit more productive than a once every 4 years donkey vote

    • I’m hoping that with the polls showing a confident ALP victory that a very large number of voters choose independents.

  5. The negative echo chamber of Murdoch’s commentators on progressive social issues such as equal marriage rights, royal commission into wrong doings of institutions such as churches, banks and others has failed. Now with the sky news trying to echo Fox News type line up, with discredited commentators such as Bolt, Kenny, Paul Murray, Alan Jones, Peta Credlin and Rowan Dean (departed Ross Cameron). Murdoch for decades now, has attacked thru political proxy both ABC and SBS, chipping away with funding cuts (aka Tony Abbott’s infamous statement there will be no cuts) and ABC bias (triple j hottest hundred). The issue is that both Murdoch’s sons are even more right wing then their father.

    • Your last line is the scary part. Add on to them – the nepotism in News Ltd journos (who preach the right line). What creates far-right young believers – Downer and Flint daughters, etc.?

      What would News Ltd be like if the most able sibling (Elizabeth) was given the reins?

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      it’s normal that when a society stops responding to the idiotic button pushing and lever pulling of its out of touch, self-serving, elite, that the elite starts fighting doubling down on their self-serving belief system, ie, it’s not working coz we’re not pure enough.The mediocre, which is the vast majority of fthe elite (like everybody else), fall into this pattern. Eventually the whole society breaks down and the only thing that can change things is to take the elite out back and put it out of its misery. Aways a messy business. After that it usually takes many decades to sort things out and settle down..In the meantime the whole, rotten superstructure of a civilization can collapse. At it’s worst it leads to a new dark age. In our case, I see a regionalised world emerging, Europe in chaos as the EU collapses and nationalisms flare up over the newly uncertain borders and financially induced chaos, China asserting its control over the far east and likely over Australia and NZ and the US pulling up t;he drawbridge in the vastness of a self contained North American continent with a new deal with Mexico and Canada.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        What of South America and Africa in your dystopian Post Western dominated future?

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        I think Orwell had it pretty much right about Africa, a place where the fractured west fight with China for resources – in fact there’s already a shadow game in large parts of Africa between the French and China. South Amerca, don’t know enough, it’s main countries are middle income countries, so they’re on a different level to Africa, have the potential to develop technologically, you know Brazil, with its favelas and extremes of wealth but also builds and exports smaller jet airliners; perhaps they could pull together and pool their abilities and finally realise their true potential. Much more likely their corrupt, nepotisitc elites will stuff up imo.

    • Peta Credlin is just stupid. Does she not know that “unis” are a massive rort now?

      Paul Murray thinks that building a new coal power station will bring down power prices. He is probably wrong.

      Rowan Dean is probably correct about violent crime and the need to allow teachers to discipline boys at school before the boys turn 18 and become serial criminals.

      Get this, Margaret Thatcher wanted the channel tunnel to be a road tunnel!

      ‘All right, I’ll go along with the safety argument, I’ll accept that, but as technology improves I want a commitment to plan a second tunnel – a road tunnel’

      Absolutely bonkers!

  6. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “The “champagne left” identity state is not about the truth of an independent centre. It is about the promulgation of a narrow set of values within a chosen worldview”

    The “Champagne left” is not a “Real left”, They are socially progressive, but they are not “left”.
    Being Left means advocating for the Working class and the poor, the Vast and Overwhelming majority of the population.
    The fact that their interests (the working class), especially their economic interests, are largely under represented or just outright ignored by both the Right and the “Establishment left” (ie ALP, Greens, the Gardian/the Drum ABC etc) means there is no real “Centre”.
    If their is no real democratic Left/Right dichotomy , pitting the Majority working class against the coporates and the 1% in a struggle for Power over decision making,…then there is no “Centre”
    And yet everyone wants to claim this mythical “Centre” for themselves,…why?
    It just doesn’t exist anymore.

    • Because people who have advocated Keating disasterism for 35 years want to believe they have advocated a technocratic optimum policy mix free of ideology to maximise GDP or some such nonsense justification. They don’t want to accept the truth that they are extreme right wingers who have advocated an extreme right wing ideological agenda committed to the destruction of society.
      I won’t take seriously anyone who has supported Keating because they are right wingers who have and can be bought.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      “The ultimate irony is that it means the various vertical markets often end up in furious agreement while wasting 99% of their energy on pretending that they disagree.”

      Sounds very much like Chomsky’s
      “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate

      Labor 2.0 is going to go the same way as Labor 1.1 , 1.2 and 1.3. Anyone who thinks Australian politics is going to change short of some burning cars, stockades or bombings has rocks in their head.

  7. “And yet everyone wants to claim this mythical “Centre” for themselves,…why?
    It just doesn’t exist anymore.”
    Everyone wants to claim the centre to attract as many votes as possible, duh.
    I don’t think it ever really existed though, it just seems that way looking back on history because people have always been claiming it for the same reason. All the way back to before my time, the left and right have been fairly close to each other, with no real dichotomy. They have just both moved from left to right together over time.
    Feel free to prove me wrong, but when did a change of power result in any sort of massive changes?
    The path to where we are now started with the ALP in the 80’s, continued under the libs in the 90’s, then labor again for a while in the 00’s and back to the libs now. Neither side diverged significantly from the program.
    No doubt this is also true pre 80’s, but that is simply before my time.

  8. Part of the problem is the internet. No longer are we “forced” to receive information from varying sources, but are free instead to seek out that which reinforces our own beliefs… we chase the confirmation bias. In the process, our pre-exisitng beliefs/confirmations become further inculcated into us.

  9. Right wing pricks have a six word explanation (the homeless choose to be homeless). The fake Greens refuse to explain and refuse to end homelessness.

    I am wondering what Abbott’s tweet is about, so I Googled it:

    16 hours ago

    freed from having to tick boxes for overly prescriptive jobseeker obligations, such as applying for 20 jobs per month

    Council of Small Business of Australia chief executive Peter Strong said the process was an ‘absolute waste of time’.

    So the proposal is a means-tested UBI? Do the reform then. Make life easier for businesses and poor voters! The ALP is already being labelled the “welfare party” for the proposal. They may as well wear the label like a medal of honour and put in the reform. UBI is now seen as critical for the re-election of PM Modi. Probably the same in USA:

    Democrats eyeing 2020 presidential bids test simple pitch: Have some money.

    “I want to reward work, but I also want to bring people out of poverty who don’t make enough money.”

  10. sydboy007MEMBER

    Labor is only slightly more rational than the greens. Unless they can bring themselves to say cutting immigration isn’t racist they’re not really going to do that much to help the majority struggling from stagnant wages and rising costs of living. The equity dogma that comes from Labor will likely be their undoing.

  11. “Currently the only mainstream media in Australia with any respect whatsoever is the ABC”
    WTF?…seriously! The ABC is Labor’s answer to Murdock, it’s packed with ex labor staffers, the only unbiased show is Landline or Gardening Australia!. Be it Left or Right the middle class have had a gut full of being taxed to pay for every haired brained idea’s or social justice cause’s that these Muppets can come up with, my standard of living is declining because the cake has to be shared with more and more people eventually there’s not enough cake to go around and then comes social unrest, and yes I do own a yellow vest.

  12. Something to accompany the above post and comments. Mark Blyth and a few others bashing out some ideas about why civil institutions are failing, what’s wrong with the political class and why peeps want to bring down the establishment. It’s one and a half hours long. Blyth gets it off to a flyer if you only have 4 minutes up your sleeve.

    “Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a conversation on “The Death of Liberalism and its Rebirth: The Role of Civil Society and Political Engagement” among Boris Vormann, Professor of Politics and the head of the politics concentration at Bard College Berlin; Mark Blyth, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute of Brown University; Claudia Wiesner, Professor for Political science at Fulda University of Applied Sciences; and Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.
    November 9, 2018″

  13. Goodness our traditional media outlets are all teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and held back by only their own irrelevance.
    If our media had a future than someone would step in and reorganize the whole clusterF into something that even approximated a sustainable and profitable business. The absence of anything even close to a knight in shining armor tells you all you need to know about the future of the news business. it’s F’ed it’s fundamentally F’ed. What we have left are the unsinkable turds the kind that’ll circle the bowl forever, sure they’re “survivors” and I have enormous respect for people that can see what needs to be done and just do it. They earn a pay check and everyone survives for one more day but surviving for what? What are they building…truth is they’re just surviving, bit like the cleaner at my Mum’s nursing home that gets to clean up all the geriatric near-misses, occasionally they get one in the bowl and you know you scored an easy shift but most days you’ll discover it’s anywhere but in the bowl …that’s the job day in day out sos, the faces change regularly but the job remains the same. Now that I think about it, it is remarkably similar to a journalist job in our Australian post millennium news media.

    • Don’t like him much but gee I am sick of seeing that sickly looking bearded weed continue on year after year on those iiNet ads. He is up there on my list.

  14. Scummo tried something similar with his ludicrous “good bloke” roadshow. But that had no ballast. “Aspirational” might well be one way reconnect with a disaffected polity in the long run but not if it means serving the interests of a coterie of wealthy folks and corporations

    But serving monied interests is the Coalition’s raison d’être. It has no other brief. Not sure what this article is about. You are suggesting a zebra should become a horse?

    • The article is the author struggling with hard held internal beliefs based on the propaganda that representative democracy results in a government representing the will and desires of the people, and the absolute dissonance that observed reality has with this belief. There are many examples of this. IE turdbull will save us all etc.

    • The Beetrooter Advocate

      That is the point. Zebras cannot be horses, and a party with a little bill cannot be a unicorn.

  15. “In the US, Murdoch’s Fox News has been the great enabler of Donald Trump’s hostile takeover of the modern Republican Party.”

    Murdoch did not put Trump into power. I was following the U.S. news channels while on holiday and Fox was as anti-Trump as the others until sometime in the last two weeks when they realised that he had a good chance of winning and flipped. It was very sudden and the person I was on holiday with noticed it as well.

      • I suspect that the order to flip came from Murdoch. It’s just that Trump was already going to win and Murdoch (or one of his advisers) sensed that and that was why he flipped over to supporting Trump. Murdoch is taking advantage of the situation rather than being responsible for it.