I think it is fair to say The Australian has not coped well with Julia Gillard becoming leader, and less so with her winning the election. If you were to run a contest to decide the absolute dumbest, knuckle-dragging, spite-ridden, misogynistic, couldn’t find logic with a flashlight and a road map article written about Gillard in The Oz, you would struggle due to the plethora of choice.
My nominations for the award are the execrable front page treatment by Kate Legge writing about Julia’s earlobes:
The ears have it, in a deluge of distraction from campaign themes
- Kate Legge
- From: The Australian
- July 26, 2010 10:12PM
"HECK, there must be a surgeon who can help," worried one voter yesterday in a web debate over Julia Gillard's pendulous earlobes.
Yep, hold the front page.
Then there was The Australian's editorial:
Needed: A policy for Julia, direction for Labor
Seemingly sensible and and yet deciding within the piece to come up with this stunner:
We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box.
(And yes I realise that is not a criticism of Gillard, but geez, it is so brain dead level stupid it deserves entry within this list)
In September we had the genius of Glenda Korporaal:
Julia enjoys the high life free of old bags
- Glenda Korporaal
- From: The Australian
- September 09, 2010 12:00AM
JULIA Gillard may have chosen a dress for her first visit to the Governor-General as the newly elected Prime Minister of Australia, instead of her traditionally efficient power pants suit.
But she continues to show her superwoman characteristics by walking into events sans handbag.
Seriously, someone got paid to write that. And even more seriously someone decided it was good enough to publish (oh how full of chagrin am I that I will never be good enough to be a real journalist).
Early this month even the usually intelligent and sensible Peter Brent got involved:
Where’s the Gillard gravitas?
Are Gillard’s hand movements contributing? She insists on inserting the things into every head and shoulder shot and waving them around. It was learnt in politician school - something about trust and open palms, nothing up sleeves. But her words, however convincing, are negated by those flapping hands.
But no, none of these even comes close in the race for the prize of most arse-hat level stupidity as that achieved today by Niki Savva.
Savva is now generally described only as “the author of So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie” and left unsaid is the fact she worked for nine years as advisor to Costello and Howard (yeah, an irrelevant aspect really when you’re considering someone's views of an ALP Prime Minister). I can’t wait for Lindsay Tanner to write a book so that whenever he does an op-ed piece he can just be described as “the author of…”
Savva in her wisdom based on many years spent being a journalist and then working for Costello and Howard decided it was time to hand out some advice to Julia:
Smarten up, PM, and do not wear green
The headline of course is not hers, but sadly in this case it does not distort the ever so stupid analysis by Savva:
She devotes a whole 2 sentences to some policy ideas (well not really):
First, though, she needs an agenda: something politicians usually acquire in order to attain leadership. She had no time to do that and ever since she became Prime Minister, she's done little else but pick over Kevin Rudd's leftovers and whatever the Greens toss her way.
But this is just a sideshow for the main line of attack that Savva has planned for the day:
She has to sharpen up in every way, every day. Some people welcomed her recent performances in parliament as feisty. To others they were scratchy and screechy.
Her humour often lapses into bitchiness or condescension. As Prime Minister, she has to be measured and respectful. She needs to delegate the attack dog role.
“To others” eh Savva? C’mon show some guts and say whether you think that or not – don’t hide behind bullshit “others”. And of course Savva wouldn't know anything about bitchiness or condescension…
She should sack her hairdresser (sorry, Tim) get a decent cut and colour, pack up all her clothes and send them to the Smith Family. There are plenty of stylists who can buy her smart clothes that fit her properly. She needs to hire a good one or get the name of the Governor-General's dressmaker.
Yes, my friends this is the type of hot-shot analysis for which The Australian pays. (Yeah I know, I’ll never attain that level of brilliance – I’ll never get to that level of “can I pull something out of my backside and see if anyone is dumb enough to print it” writing ).
Savva, full well knowing she is being a complete idiot, tries to justify herself:
If all this sounds gratuitous, it isn't. The photograph of Julia Gillard in Sydney's The Daily Telegraph yesterday, wearing a coat that looked as if it was made out of an army blanket by one of the infantry, said it all.
How you look is as important as what you say and how you say it. And the rules apply equally to male and female politicians.
What utter bullshit. It sounds gratuitous because it is. It’s not every day you see a brain-fart getting put on the pages of the national paper, but here we see it.
The rules apply equally to men and women do they? Has Savva been comatose for her entire life? Has she ever worked in the media? Has she ever even read a newspaper like… oh geez I don’t know The Australian which publishes shite about Gillard’s earlobes, lack of handbag, haircut, hand waving etc etc?
Tony Abbott has spent good portions of the past year running around in a pair of speedos, now ask yourself what sort of treatment Julia would get if she were seen regularly in a bikini, or even a one-piece swimsuit?
Think real hard (ie do something Niki Savva found herself incapable of doing when she wrote this piece). Actually don’t think hard, it’s not required, anyone who has seen any type of media coverage in the last say 1000 years knows women are judged much, much more harshly than men when it comes to their appearance – especially when it comes to women in positions of power. And Savva seems to think that should continue.
Just in case you didn’t think Savva could get any less intelligent, or you didn’t quite get the message she was selling, she gives us this:
A bit of exercise wouldn't go astray either, a healthy body and a healthy mind and all that.
She is in diabolical trouble, and she has to be in the best possible shape for the fight ahead.
I’ll give Savva credit for not writing, “And by the way Julia, your arse is fat”. Guess that was in the first draft.
The problem with news.ltd papers going behind a paywall is not that you’ll have to pay for things which you now get for free, it’s that you know they will bundle it all up so you’ll be able to get George Megalogenis and decent breaking news but only if you also pay for the bottom of the bird cage musings of Savva and her ilk. That deal might fly in print, but in the on-line world people only want to pay for what they want – it’s why people kick up a stink when artists say they only want iTunes to sell their albums entire and not their songs separately.
The type of rubbish Savva vomited onto the page was out of date twenty years ago, and considered a disgrace at least ten years ago. Now I guess it’s opinion worth paying for.
But anyway, congratulations Savva, you win the award.
A Newspoll come out this morning that showed the ALP back in front 52-48. It is utterly meaningless as I’d wager a good third of the population seriously could not give a stuff about politics – and not in an “oh I don’t know, I guess Gillard is better” kind of way, I mean in an “I don’t give a stuff” and then hang up on the pollster kind of way. So sure they’re getting results, but seriously who cares?
Well of course the politicians care – they have to. After all caring about polls makes up for caring about policy. On that score the Libs care a very great deal about the polls. The Newspoll result pretty well knocked the stuffing out of their “The government has lost its way” schtick. And so taking a cue for the Government in yesterday’s QT, the Libs decided today to link everything to the NBN. It was laughingly done. Try Scott Morrison:
"Given that since February 2008 there have been more than 9000 illegal arrivals on 190 boats, how can the prime minister now be trusted to get other policies right, such as the $43 billion national broadband network, when she couldn't protect our waters?"
I don’t think there has been a statement made more lacking in want of logic since Michael Kroger on Lateline said “If you can’t stop the leaks, you can’t stop the boats”.
Gillard dispatched it away with ease – calling Nauru “Camp Detour” because 96 per cent of the asylum seekers that went there ended up in Australia or New Zealand.
We also had Chris Pyne saying the BER was a stuff up and so “how can the prime minister now be trusted to get other policies right, such as the $43 billion national broadband network”
Gillard again was all over that one coming out with the response:
Just because you come into question time and make things up doesn’t make them true….
You wouldn’t want to risk your life and limb by getting in between and opposition member and a BER opening especially when there are scissors and red ribbon involved.
She ripped into Andrew Robb (who must have been foolish enough to interject too loudly) about his turning up to a local BER project in fluro vest and hard hat.
The one issue that should have had the Opposition’s full attention rather than the scattergun, easy to dismiss approach they took, was to ask Gillard, and Swan etc about the NBN Business Plan.
Turnbull (in an a question that very lamely tried to tie together all the disparate questions that had proceeded his) asked Gillard about the “secret plan” to pay some consultants to review the NBN Business Plan. Julia pretty well skipped down the pitch and put it over the fence:
He has been carrying on in this Parliament day after day suggesting that the Government was not doing enough due diligence on the NBN and now he is in here today criticising me for doing too much due diligence on the NBN.
Poor Malcolm did really bowl a long hop there – he should forget about the consultants and focus on the business plan itself. It’s one of those things that is more important than it really is. It sounds important – “business plan” ooh that must be important it’s about business, and it’s a plan. No one knows what is in it, so the opposition can make it out to be whatever they want it to be. And being able to make stuff up is Abbott’s forte, so really that is the only thing the Libs should be caring about.
What they shouldn't do however is look to the Newspoll on the NBN for any guidance. The Australian was running with the headline:
Call for broadband costs undermine support: Newspoll
Here were the questions asked:
Look at that last one – imagine being asked on the phone if you agree with the statement, “Should the NBN not go ahead in its current form at all?” First off, asking someone to agree with a question? And secondly, if I answered yes to that I’m not 100 per cent sure if that means I am for the NBN or against it… Dumb, leading statements which give no real insight into what people think. Everyone is best to ignore this poll, and The Oz is best to come up with some better material the next time it wants to slant the facts to suit its agenda.
One interesting answer given by Albanese in QT today referred to a report to a Parliamentary Committee in 2002 chaired by none other than Christopher Pyne. The report was titled:
In the second paragraph, of the report’s Executive Summary it has this line:
No wireless broadband technology is able to handle the data rates of the best wire-line technologies…
As Albanese pointed out, that is pretty much game-set and match.
The ALP though needs to be a bit careful because both sides would be able to cite the report for its own purposes. The sentence that Albo read out in full is:
No wireless broadband technology is able to handle the data rates of the best wire-line technologies but there are many situations where the latter cannot yet be used or is simply unavailable (such as in remote and regional areas, and even in some suburban metropolitan areas).
The report also states:
Given the fundamental fact that different wireless technologies serve different purposes and that they are constantly evolving, the government should take a technology-neutral approach to both wireless and wire-line services.
The Committee concludes that the solution to the ‘last mile’ service involves a mixture of technologies, both wire-line and wireless.
It also had this conclusion:
Many submissions and other inputs to the inquiry emphasised the diversity of technologies and the pace of change. The future will see a mix of various technologies and the market should be permitted to determine which ones best suit particular applications. While it is entirely appropriate for governments to set standards and allocate spectrum for particular uses, governments should remain technologically neutral with respect to developments in telecommunications.
Now that would seem like game-set and match for Turnbull, but the problem for him is that the entire document is notable mostly for how archaic it all is. Take this sentence:
The definition of broadband is open to interpretation and therefore remains fluid. The minimum data speed that could be considered broadband is probably 64 kilobits per second (kbps) and the most common definition is 200 kbps.
Ooh 200kps, what a magical dream world that would be…
But do not worry – the future is near!
The Canadian document referred to above noted that, with new applications, the capacity of wireless broadband could increase to 4-6 Mbps
So were Turnbull to start launching into Conroy etc on the basis of this report he would be instantly (and rightly) ridiculed for using as his evidence a document that regarded a broadband speed of 64kbs as good enough.
Ah well, 64 kps would be more than fast enough to download a Niki Savva article… so perhaps the lesson of the 2002 report is that we need is less speed not more.