Allan Takes Aim Blog

ACT Opinions

Posted on: 19 October 2012


Everything changes but everything remains the same

A phrase often used by football supporters after reading and hearing reports in the media by sporting ‘experts’ before the season has started: “it’s all over bar the shouting” could be applied to describe the media’s view of the ACT Election. As with football the shouting also seems to have been done before the first vote has been cast physically at a polling booth. In the case of this ACT election the “experts’ write for the Canberra Times or host radio programmes on radio stations ABC 666 and 2CC.

Readers of this blog will know that I have written a lot about the small parties and their lack of recognition by the media at election time the result of which means that they, and their policies, have remained virtually unknown. In this the last week of the election they’ve been given a few minutes of radio time and/or a few column centimetres of newspaper space to in which to try and advert voters about their policies which they say, if implemented, would make Canberra a better place to live. Their chances of doing so are none and Buckley’s.

The editorial in today’s Canberra Times took me back to 26 March 1992 (some current candidates were still at school and many years would pass before other candidates, some in the media were still to arrive) when I adverted publicly to this latter issue at a luncheon where the guest speakers were Crispin Hull of the Canberra Times and Matt Abraham of 2CN (now ABC 666) who hosted the breakfast programme.

In his speech, Mr Hull said that, pre the election The Times promoted major party government in the interests of stability, a point of view that would sit well with the major parties and big business. To me this smacked of manipulation of the news because voters were denied the opportunity of making a choice from all the policy options available.

As for Mr Abraham, he justified not interviewing minor parties or Independents- excepting Michael Moore – because, he said, their policies lacked quality. And while he quoted statistics showing them getting the same time on air as the major parties, he omitted to mention that most of it was when audiences were at their lowest level.

Mr Abraham’s reason for saying the policies of the minor parties and independents lacked quality was because they came on no more than two sheets of A4 compared with the thicker policy documents of the major parties.

We should be thankful that Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, one of the most important political documents of modem times (its 272 words would fit on a sheet of A4 with room to spare), was not measured on the Abraham scale otherwise it would have been tossed out as valueless.

The evidence for saying everything changes but everything remains the same can be seen by reading today’s editorial and paying particular attention to the last sentences in its final paragraph.

‘Tarnished Labor still more reliable’ is the editorial caption. A few people have telephoned me to say they find the editorial caption strange. And though I don’t agree with them doesn’t mean to say I am in total agreement with the rest of the editorial.

The final paragraph, ‘Yes, tomorrow’s election is about roads, rates and rubbish, but so much more besides. It’s about who will shape our future. Ms Gallagher has shown she has a more inspired vision for Canberra than her opponent. We support the re-election of her government.’

I’m sure the Canberra Times will forgive me for pointing out that Ms Gallagher had more than one opponent. However, with The Times adopting the imperious royal ‘we’ suggests that every other non Labor candidate, Greens included, should forget getting elected. Let me ask also: who makes up the ‘we’? As for election coverage, it’s just a repeat of 1992 which just goes to show that: everything changes but everything remains the same.

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