As the dust settles from Tuesday night’s wrecking ball budget, I have been thinking about how this happened. How is it possible that Australia was conned into voting for Abbott and his fellow Liberal and National psychopaths? There’s a fairly obvious answer to this, and two clear culprits. First of all, Abbott and his LNP colleagues lied to the electorate about what their real plans for Australia were. And second, the mainstream media let the people of Australia down by refusing to pre-warn them about Abbott’s real plans.
Abbott knows as well as I do that the Liberals would never win an election if they were truthful with voters. So they lied. Lying has become natural to them, because without lies they have no chance of power. But let’s make something very clear right now. Anyone who didn’t see this budget coming, wasn’t looking. When I say they weren’t looking, I mean they were either too uninformed to understand who Abbott really was, they were looking right at Abbott and wouldn’t admit to what they were really seeing, or they were looking elsewhere and ignoring what was right in front of them. And when I say anyone, I mean all Australian voters. But much of the responsibility for keeping these voters informed falls on the journalists who were responsible for this important democratic function. And there’s absolutely no doubt that Australian journalists did this important job atrociously.
When you take into account that the mainstream political press in this country have been obsessing for the last six years over the Labor Party, it’s quite easy to see why journalists either wilfully refused to scrutinise Abbott, or why they were wearing their Labor-bashing blinkers and whacking so hard with their Labor-bashing sticks, they had little energy for any Abbott coverage. And by coverage, I don’t mean following Abbott’s safety-vest-banana-stacking-three-word-slogan circus blindly around the country. I mean truthful, objective analysis. Not a big ask, but apparently too big an ask for Australian journalists. If even half the time that journalists spent covering Labor leadership tensions over the last six years were instead devoted to even a cursory analysis of Abbott’s values and ideology, the lies from the Abbott government would have been obvious well before it was too late for the voting public to defend themselves from the sucker-punch budget we’ve just had rammed down our throats by Foghorn Leghorn Hockey.
Another favourite topic that mainstream journalists obsessed over was Labor’s narrative. Did Labor have one or not? If they did have one, was it the right one? If it was the right one, why were Rudd and Gillard having such trouble communicating their narrative? And on, and on, and on, and on this analysis went. But, I have the same question as some of the commenters on Andrew Elder’s post about the Guardian’s Katharine Murphy’s failure to properly inform her readers about Abbott. Why do journalists never write about Liberal narrative?
I’ve got a really simple explanation for this; it’s because the Liberal narrative is a wolf dressed up as a lamb, in an entirely unconvincing costume that leaves the wolf looking exactly like a wolf to anyone who has their eyes open and is looking straight at the wolf. Yet, when this wolf tells people it’s a lamb, journalists tell everyone the wolf is a lamb. And voters vote for this lamb, and even think this lamb is a better than the Labor alternative. But as we all found for ourselves on Tuesday night, the wolf is a wolf! And all the journalists are now acting surprised, as if they had never seen this wolf before. But I would suggest that either these journalists are lying or stupid. And either way their inability to expose the wolf makes them unqualified to be journalists.
The new trick for many of these journalists, having discovered that Australians have seen the wolf for themselves, and are now rightly quite afraid that this wolf is running the country, is to say ‘Labor is a wolf too. You can’t trust any of them. They’re all as bad as each other’. You get this same attitude from many politically engaged lefties (usually Greens voters) who, for reasons only apparent to themselves, have decided to perpetuate this myth of Labor and Liberal being just as bad as each other. This myth works like a charm for the Liberals because it allows them to get away with being a wolf when they need to be. I often wonder if these lefties are aware of the damage they’re doing to their own cause. And I ask them to think about why, if Labor and Liberal are apparently just the same as each other, the Abbott budget has ripped the heart out of Labor’s Australia, and left it bleeding and barely able to breathe in the gutter on the side of the road? It doesn’t look like they’re just the same at all now does it?
So back to this wolf. Since Australian journalists are unwilling to discuss the Liberal narrative, and are obviously incapable of understanding Labor’s narrative, which is right in front of their eyes in the same way as the wolf in sheep’s clothing is, I thought it might be helpful to explain the values of both parties really clearly, here in digital ink for them to find whenever they need them to accompany a discussion of complex policy debates and budget analysis (so in other words, never).
We are all in this together. Where this means a community where everyone works towards the health and security of the whole community. The collective wealth of the economy serves this community. Not the other way around.
We are all in this together. Where this means a free-market economy where a person’s wealth determines their status, and in turn their status determines their privilege and their privilege determines their access to health and security. If someone can’t access health and security, this is their own fault and it’s not the community’s role to help them. So in fact, we’re not all in anything together. We’re all on our own.
These values can be found in the true narratives of both parties, intertwined in every policy they produce, and every statement they make. To find them, you don’t have to look very hard. In fact, you don’t have to look for them at all. All you have to do is open your eyes. Australian voters have had our eyes opened for us. But I just hope that those who feel most let down, the ones who are suffering in silence now because they were the dopes who voted for Abbott, I hope they save some of their resentment for the mainstream media for so blatantly letting them down by feeding them to the wolves.Follow @Vic_Rollison