You’ll find no argument here with Andrew Bolt’s post suggesting that many in the Canberra Press Gallery are about as useful as an inflatable dartboard at the Armless Haemophiliacs Christmas Party.
But what are the consequences of having an old, flabby and partisan press gallery?
The ShadowLands presents a list of the top 10 stories that Australia’s political reporters have missed over the last year or so because many of them, with a few honourable exceptions - (how can we put this tactfully?) - really, really suck at what they do.
10. Kevin’s regular stuff ups go unreported , some of his speeches are absolute gibberish, and his code of conduct has been consistently ignored. One of the more interesting stories the press gallery missed - while visiting the United Nations in New York, it appears that a peckish Kevin Rudd may have paid a visit, once again, to the Earhole Cafe. (See at 1.55.)
9. During an episode of Q and A, an audience member asked Maxine McKew (who advises Kevin Rudd on media interviews) if it was a deliberate strategy for Kevin Rudd to use the word “shit-storm” on 60 Minutes. McKew avoided the question and no-one – least of all Tony Jones – was going to press her on it. But I’m willing to bet she knows all about it.
8. Kevin Rudd recently repeated (ad nauseum) in media interviews that Australia’s recession is caused by circumstances in China, when in fact, China’s economy continues to grow by about 6 per cent. No journalist has ever picked him up on it, and some, such as the ABC’s Tony Jones have been repeating it as fact.
7. Tony Jones’ murky world of carbon profiteering.
6. While at the Beijing Olympics, ex-diplomat Kevin Rudd passed on details to the press of a private conversation between Vladimir Putin and George W Bush. While this was reported widely in Australia, few commentators perceived it as the monumental stuff up that may still be affecting – in particular - trust between the US and Australia.
5. The Canberra Press Gallery don’t get the fact that continued regular drownings of illegal immigrants are related to Kevin Rudd’s policies. While there was considerable media concerning the explosion on a boat that led to three drownings, the press gallery failed to understand that the cause of this explosion did not matter. The fact is that Rudd’s policies played a part in bringing them to their fate.
The MSM have also swallowed whole Rudd’s excuse that there has been a surge in refugees and regurgitated irrelevant figures from the UN. On a number of occasions, these incidents have not even been reported or scarcely reported at all. By our count, drownings of people who may have been coming to Australia have reached 34 this year – possibly more following this incident.
4. After announcing that Australia would introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme, with the potential to wipe out thousands of jobs, Kevin Rudd repeated in many interviews that we had to act fast because Australia is the hottest and driest continent. It turns out, both statements are lies. No journalist has ever challenged him on this point, the fundamental rationale for his acting on a scheme that may yet trigger an early election.
3. Australia’s Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan once appears to have been involved in an incident where he delivered money to the Australian Democrats as part of some preference deal. Australia’s Treasurer might be a crook – I don’t know, no journalist seems to think it is worth investigating.
2. The refusal of the Victorian Government to take part in a national bushfire inquiry or take notice of any of its recommendations is an outright scandal that may have been central to the deaths of 173 Australians. Instead, the Victorian Premier has been lionised by some sections of the media. Why did they refuse to take part in the national inquiry? Who refused? Does this sound like a story at all?
1. Australia’s political journalists - apart from a few - don’t seem to see the fact that our Defence Minister has been putting himself in a position to provide sensitive information to the Chinese as a problem.
Most stories about this astonishing stupidity focus on whether or not the defence department has done the wrong thing by spying on Fitzgibbon – something they deny. The real scandal is that they have not been gathering information about this extraordinarily stupid state of affairs. How on earth is this naive dolt still our Defence Minister?
UPDATE: Art Vandelay emails with some additions on the subject of the ETS:
Firstly, Rudd claimed that the costs of inaction on climate change exceed the costs of taking action. Aside from a vague, general statement from Garnaut and a dubious graph, as far as I know there is very little proof of this in the Garnaut Report. There are no net present value (NPV) calculations presented to transparently demonstrate that benefits of an ETS exceed the costs. Indeed, the only way Garnaut could make his numbers look even halfway acceptable was to assume a very low discount rate (between 0-2 per cent) and also to assume that all the costs of the ETS magically stop at some point in the future (2050 from memory).
Wong also lied by stating the Treasury modelling showed that all sectors of the economy showed growth in employment after the ETS is introduced. However this is solely the result of an assumption used in the computer model Treasury used. The model actually assumes that full employment is maintained and that wages will adjust to eliminate any impact of the ETS on unemployment. That is, in the event of an external shock on the economy (like massive price rises for energy), wages will fall so far to equalise the demand and supply of labour so that no-one will lose their jobs (indeed the modelling does show falls in wages).
We all know that this doesn't happen in the real world, particularly in a highly regulated, inflexible labour market like Australia's where wages are often fixed (and this government's recent changes to IR laws make this even less likely). Wong is either being dishonest or she's very much misinformed about the modelling.