The recent leak from the ACTU is another notch for Howard's belt in his relentless march to remain in power. There's part of me that wishes I was in Australia to fight this battle, and another that feels as though I have gone AWOL leaving my comrades to defeat the tyrant. Stories like this make me feel that Labor's grip on the election could slip for potentially the third election in a row because of stupid mistakes. It's so easy when you're on the other side of the planet. Keep up the fight fellow Aussies!
Interestingly, the bigger news story of the day is not the ratting of the "how to" manual, or the bargain basement bash at Kirribilli, but the disgraceful figures that have come out regarding who gets what government money. The poorest of the poor continue to miss out under Howard, while the top end reaps the benefits of welfare for the wealthy. What a disgrace.
But that's a much tougher argument to win. Much easier to have nasty, vitriolic, "celebtocracy" stories that make the front pages of tabloids so middle voters don't have to think long term and political activists don't have to explore with and move voters to actually think and believe differently. Remember - it was Howard that said Australian voters remember nothing other than the last two weeks of an election campaign.
See Tony Blair's recent speech on the role of the media or David Marr's piece in Quarterly Essay about how democracy and debate has been on the demise since Howard's rule. Both Blair's speech and Marr's article hit the spot when it comes to reporting of silly stories in the media and the lack of public debate.
"Ooohhh.....look Big Ted, it's a big phat tax cheque for middle and high income earners! Hello middle and high income earners!" .."Hello middle and high income earners! Little John, can Little Ted join in with the middle and high income earners?" ..... "Oooohhhh, I don't think so Big Ted. He's working a double shift on minimum wage cleaning the toy box tonight, and anyway, he couldn't afford to eat at this restaurant".