Contributed as a collective article
Melbourne’s Batman by-election saw Labor retain the federal seat from a strong challenge by the Greens. Labor lost in the South Australia election and there will be a new Coalition government.
Many factors explain these results. This attempt at some form of analysis does not go into all of them and concentrates on one very important matter. Australia is seeing the rise of misinformation being used by a media monopoly to achieve its own will.
The outgoing Labor government in South Australia was undermined by a concerted campaign over time, to discredit its policy towards renewables as the state’s energy source. Every evil was blamed on it. Accusations were built on distortions and outright lies. Leading the charge was Murdoch’s media stable, with its penchant for never letting the facts get in the way of the story and reliance on tabloid style reporting.
This is not surprising, Newscorp’s support for the mining industry and opposition to any restrictions on it is legendary, and played a big part in undermining the Rudd government over the Carbon emissions levy of carbon production. This was falsely presented as a tax, instead of a charge to help clean up pollution caused. One of company’s major shareholders is oil rich Saudi Royal family member Al-Weheed Talai. This should not be overlooked.
There is more to it as well. In recent times, NewsCorp has been spearheading a brand of politics characterised by bigoted view of the world, much more in common with the politics and economics of the Industrial revolution than anything else. It created the Pauline Hanson personality, lifted Tony Abbott and maintains the Turnbull government, at the price of not straying too far from what Murdoch wants.
What happened in South Australia is coloured by this. It may not be the only factor. But it is important. Labor got the treatment and so did Xenophon’s SA Best.
Turn to Melbourne. Labor chose a good candidate with a track record that appeals to working families. Ged Kearney, a former nurse and leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), has credibility. This was always going to be a challenge for the Greens.
But this does not deny the truth that NewsCorp was up to its neck meddling here too. The strategy was to undermine the Greens. The means, ongoing denigration and playing up internal differences out of all proportion. The candidate, Alex Bhathal, was continually smeared and never given a fair hearing.
The truth is that NewsCorp has declared all-out war against the Greens and made a strategic move to help a Labor victory. Thereasons for this are, opposition to the Green’s harder stance on global warming related issues, and even more importantly, the maintenance of a the two party system as the mainstay of the Australian political scene. This is not the fault of Ged Kearney and those who supported her. But it is important to consider. NewsCorp does not support Labor. It’s objective is to maintain the Coalition in place. Labor can only get backing if its leader’s dance to the Murdoch tune, and he can continue to be the kingmaker.
For the Greens, being in NewCorp’s gun sights is a major challenge.
There is opinion about, which suggests that that the enmity between the two parties is a distraction from what Australia needs. This is not to bury the reality that there are differences, but to suggest the importance of building a common front against the major threat of rising bigotry of a politics of hate, and the exploitation of people and resources without caring about the consequences.
The Coalition is the immediate barrier against turning all this around. A plan towards a basic agreement to work together for the greater good makes sense. It does not have to involve a compromise of principle. Doing this involves some give and take.
United action does not have to only involve the two parties. It should have the character of a broad community movement for change.
But if Labor and the Greens target each other in a game of bump me into parliament, they will under value the importance of building the broadest possible movement, to target the greatest threat Australia is facing. election