Theme 1: Media and Politicians

Hello to all students and teachers! Students, the purpose of this section is to make you think hard in an enjoyable sort of way! We hope it will give you different ways of looking at issues in the news, through text analysis, persuasive texts or texts that influence. Our samples may or may not suit your course so always ask your teacher for advice. Teachers, we hope we have provided you with a resource that will help you with important work for students and the general community. To international visitors, welcome. The examples we have used are Australian but we think you will find that messages and style will be of common interest. Good luck to all from SBD.

See Introduction for more detailed background to this theme.

Our first major text by Gittins, (Fairfax) on Prime Minister Turnbull uses the first part of an opinion piece. It is analysed in a conventional, structured manner which identifies, analyses and assesses persuasive elements. The introduction includes a reference to the title, the audience, contentions, arguments and some key persuasive techniques such as tone, style, language and reasoning. Detailed identification and analysis follow the order of the article, using quotes to support claims. It summarises and assesses the article's effectiveness on different readers. Our analysis does not use the whole text which is long but the remainder may be of interest for further analysis.

Other texts are analysed in different ways but none in the comprehensive manner of the first. Some specialise in an analysis of reasoning, some analyse language, some critically analyse arguments based on interpretations of recent history.

Our responses come in different forms-one response for example, is like a Letter to the Editor. Some articles are included to give background information on energy and education.

A number of texts but not all, sought to persuade the public to take a negative view of politicians; we consider the persuasive style, the language and its effect on substantive discussion. We wondered if more was involved than met the eye.

No-one can doubt the irritating habits, ill manners, deceits or even corruption of some politicians (some teachers, some students, some green grocers!) but if, as some texts suggest, media messages were promoting public discontent, the Australian public's views about politicians and politics may not be as simple as they seem. We are of the opinion that where powerful, wealthy forces are at work- as in media ownership business interests or large political organisations- nothing is simple!

If discontent is being fanned, is there a purpose, a cause, an impact? Whatever the facts, a stimulating rather than a discouraging political culture is every nation's birthright.

NB.

  • The Gillard era is still being mentioned in many texts. Some of the current issues, carbon pricing, education policy (Gonski) NBN, NDIS were introduced under Gillard so knowledge of this period is helpful for a deeper understanding of many current texts. Her legislative program brought much opposition, particularly opposition from coal mining companies who were opposed to carbon pricing. The period is also known for the unprecedented nature of the strategies and media/political messages used to oust Gillard. It is an example of extreme yet effective persuasion and we have included a brief outline. (See Gillard)
  • (While we are not looking closely at politicians in this theme, some parliamentary behaviour is exceptionally poor if not peculiar and raises significant issues. If you watch Question Time, consider whether some behaviour is intended for the public or whether it serves some other purpose.)

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Texts

1. A great return, a great resource! Thank you! "Fact Check: RMIT and ABC News partner to relaunch award-winning service"

2.'Turnbull and Snowy River 2.0 Gittins The Age

3. 'Peter Martin- The Burqa' The Drum ABC

4. 'Politicians Not Prepared to Give Good Government Priority. (None? Ever?)' Gittins

5. 'The Real Agenda' The Conversation (Please note; this is an historical piece to make a point. It is not current for 2017 students.)

6. 'Enough! (Peter Slipper) ' The Saturday Paper

7. 'A Disguise, Concealed Facts’. But where? Gittins The Age

8. 'A Sensible Centre?' Doogue ABC

9. 'Why can't Politicians Cooperate, asks Sales' Sales ABC 13/02/2017

10. 'You Be the Judge!' Fran Kelly talks to Mark Butler

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Talking points

  • Where do you think we get most of our political ideas? In your experience, is it family, friends, social chat sites, media articles or media headlines?
  • Do Australians ever enjoy discussing politics or is it all negative? Have you any experience of political discussion in other countries? Is it the same or different?
  • We are said to distrust politicians but do we actually like some? Whom do you like? Why?
  • There is no doubt that deceit and corruption exist among any group of politicians but is insulting politicians as a group reasonable? When might insulting a group, as a group be reasonable in your view? E.g is it reasonable to insult a criminal group? Is it reasonable to insult Generation Z, Millenniums or Baby Boomers?
  • In your personal experience, are negative views more catching than positive views? In your view, is it easier to spread a negative story or a positive one about someone? Top of Page
  • If the problem is said to be politicians rather than say the economy or some other issue, could blaming politicians distract from a broader view of the problem? What sort of issues may need a community approach?
  • Some have argued that the recent rise of anti-politician candidates would not have been possible without outside support from large wealthy media outlets. If all media outlets regularly promote the message that ordinary politicians are corrupt, useless, self seeking etc. etc. does this indirectly help the rise of extreme candidates?
  • If all politicians are equally insulted, does it artificially reduce any gap between major parties in opinion polls? (e.g. By promoting the view that there is no difference between major parties so it doesn't matter whom you vote for) What consequences might arise from this?
  • Are dismissive comments about a political leader at election time more easily believed if there has been a negative approach to all politicians beforehand?
  • Or in other words, does the denigration of all politicians build a platform from which individual politicians can be targeted because the work in undermining trust has already begun. Top of Page

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This item uses part of a Gittins text. It is treated in a traditional style for students although you must check with your teachers to see if it is appropriate for your state or country.

It covers contentions, arguments, tones, language and style and assesses its effectiveness on the suggested readership groups. It uses an orderly structure and analyses one paragraph at a time.

Please note; orderly structures using conventional terms like 'tone', 'appeal to readers' make it easier for examiners to tick off the points you have made.

You or your class and teacher may like to modify, improve or criticize but it is a comprehensive analysis. It (or your improved versions!) may serve as a template for modifying the following text analyses.

The rest of the texts are written in a different more natural style. These could sometimes be examples of persuasive writing, sometimes in the form of letters to the editor or sometimes just raw material for your own text analysis. Some pieces are simply designed for background views. All will hopefully stimulate ideas.

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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

2. 'Turnbull.’ Gittins, The Age

http://www.smh.com.au/business/politicians-addicted-to-the-appearance-of-economic-success-20170401-gvbje8.htmlRoss Gittins

Sydney Morning Herald

“Politicians addicted to the appearance of economic success”

April 2 2017, Retrieved 4/2/2017

Our first major text by Gittins, (Fairfax) on Prime Minister Turnbull uses the first part of an opinion piece. In this opinion piece by Fairfax economics editor, entitled “Politicians addicted to the appearance of economic success” Ross Gittins contends that the Prime Minister (the chief explicit target), the whole government and the Australian Labor Opposition are conveying deceitful messages of success while achieving little in government. The title would attract the attention of political readers and those interested in economics while the slur element would interest those who wanted to hear negative opinions of politicians.

Emotive techniques

The article relies heavily on emotive techniques, assertions, assumptions and generalisations with little emphasis on substantive argument but the critical readers with open minded interests in politics and economics, may include many who have been exposed to similar negative themes about the major Australia political parties and this context may encourage an uncritical acceptance.

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Readers

  • The political readers who are open minded but highly susceptible to prevailing views might be persuaded by the emotive tones and styles, the dramatic assertions, the emotive tone, the repetition or the slide in arguments and the unsubstantiated assertions presented in this article. They may be less aware or concerned about a lack of substantiation.
  • The political readers with prejudices or resentments about politicians would be the most vulnerable to the above techniques.
  • Readers who are experiencing social or economic difficulties may be drawn to arguments that focus blame on someone. The article may justify a growing sense of resentment; it might persuade them away from a critical look at reform of economic or social institutions and encourage a sense of hopelessness about change.
  • Minority political party supporters such as Greens’ supporters may enjoy the indirect political support it gives their party. Whether persuaded or not, they might still appreciate the theme.
  • For dedicated Coalition supporters, the article may have little persuasive power to change their views. Polls suggest a stabilisation of Coalition support. For Labor Party supporters, which must now include many swinging voters, the message that there is no difference between the parties may persuade them to look at minor parties, to stop being hopeful of Labor's alternative policies, to vote informal in an election or to just feel resentment.

While economists may be drawn to the title, it is not about economics and unlikely to hold much interest for them. This article is speaking to those who are already on side.

Contentions and arguments; dominant tones, dominant styles

The contentions that there is political deceit about successes while achieving little, are supported by three arguments- the timing of the Prime Minister’s announcement of the Snowy River 2 scheme to coincide with Newspoll; a claim that the scheme itself is an empty proposal and thirdly, politicians’ attacks on political opponents. (The author references a jibe from the Prime Minister about a trade union leader). These, the author claims, are used to camouflage a lack of progress.

A major element in the persuasion used to support these contentions is a tone of personal disillusionment or cynicism which may inspire trust in readers; perhaps it would appeal to other disillusioned people. Perhaps there is an implication that you need to be regularly and emotionally affected by the world around you to turn you into a cynic- that cynics are concerned people.

The persuasion is also helped by confident, sometimes dramatic and at times authoritative inclusions which would encourage readers to uncritically receive the extreme exaggeration and repetition of unsubstantiated assertions as fact. The language reinforces the (unsubstantiated) contention of deceit from the first to the last paragraph.

The Detail: Assertions, exaggeration, emphasis, appeals to authority

The key element of exaggeration is taken to an extreme degree in the first paragraph.

Gittins begins ‘I realised the Australian government was fast approaching peak fake....’

[There may be some known instance of ‘peak fake’ in relation to political timing but in this case there was no ‘fake’ of any kind. There was simply an announcement of a new policy but this is to anticipate.]

The ‘peak fake’ term begins a dramatic build up with language which includes the deceit theme. Another journalist supplies the ‘revelation’ that the timing of a new political announcement was designed to ‘favourably influence’ a national opinion poll. This indirect approach builds expectation so that the reader is looking for the conclusion rather than scrutinizing the arguments.

The inclusion of an apparently authoritative journalist engenders a sense of confidence that the views and information from this author are not isolated ones. The author’s status as economist is a silent addition to the appeals of trust and authority. The addition of these ‘expert’ opinions may allow extreme claims to be glossed over.

Assertions, language of deceit, repetition, critical evaluation

‘when I read Laura Tingle of the Financial Review's revelation that Malcolm Turnbull's Snowy 2.0 announcement was timed to favourably influence the imminent fortnightly Newspoll result.’

The word ‘revelation’ is commonly used to describe leaks, admissions, confessions or other startling and formerly undisclosed material while the words ‘favourably influence’ have all the connotations of undue influence, of political bribery and dishonesty. These repeat the deceit language of ‘peak fake’ yet the substantive issue on which these claims are based, is no more deceitful, startling or untoward than any example of political timing or indeed, any timing of any sort whether social, economic or personal.

There seems to be nothing inherently dishonest in wanting to influence an opinion poll; it is an obvious and reasonable political goal. If Mr Turnbull had deviously announced false personal details about an opponent shortly before an election, there would be a case to answer but a new interesting policy announcement midway through an election cycle is a commonplace if not a wise political strategy.

Assertions, exaggeration in language, critical evaluation

‘When our leaders progress from being mesmerised by opinion polls to trying to game them, that's when we know the country's in deep, deep trouble.’

The exaggeration and claims of dishonesty continue but are now based on the author’s previous assertions rather than fact. The (unsubstantiated) view that opinion polls were being taken into consideration by the Prime Minister is used to claim the politicians are ‘mesmerised’ by them. A considerable leap has been taken from a shaky platform.

The use of the term ‘game’ adds a sinister twist to this exaggeration.

To ‘game’ is to unscrupulously exploit a system yet unscrupulously exploiting an opinion poll would seem difficult. Certainly results may enhance or diminish a politician’s political standing but that is an integral part of political contests. The public expects politicians to try and enhance their standing but who or what is damaged if the public takes note of a new proposal and reacts favourably? A political opponent? An opinion poll barely rates as a system; it cannot be compared to say, an instrument of justice which could in some fashion be exploited by devious means. Political polls are important and even more important for a Prime Minister under attack but trying to do well is hardly a deceitful or unreasonable goal.

Assertions, exaggeration, language, critical evaluation

The sinister theme is extended in the repetitive phrase, ‘deep, deep trouble’. There is much deep trouble in the modern world. There are wars, there are recessions. One might feel in deep trouble if attacked by a knife wielding burglar. At a political level, a community might be in deep trouble if there was a flood or an explosion but a Prime Minister hoping to influence an opinion poll is hardly a symptom of trouble or its depth.

Personalised language, appeals to authority, critical evaluation and use of discovery theme to engender trust.

Gittins' style helps to make readers feel they can trust and support his messages. He begins with an anecdotal, personalised approach-‘when I read Laura Tingle..’

The author is here referencing a respected journalist from a respectable media outlet but her use as an expert and a corroborating opinion in this instance is limited. Corroboration is difficult to claim. Journalists are not usually confidantes and expert authorities on a serving Prime Minister’s current political strategies.

The author uses a ‘journey of discovery’ device where ‘discovery’ of course is unexpected thus promoting an impression of his trustworthiness. It gives the impression that he came to the issue with an open mind rather than prearranged ideas. His tale of uncovering Prime Ministerial ‘deceit’, the sense of his outrage at the ‘discovery’ and his expressions of concern for the country all work to persuade readers of his sincerity and credibility.

Assertions, generalizations, slides in the argument, message of impartiality in appeals to a sense of fairness, false claims, critical evaluation

It has long been clear that, acting on their belief that the 'perception is the reality', the political class – Labor and Coalition – has focused less on attempting to fix problems and more on being seen to be fixing them.

But trying to game the political polls takes faking it to a new level: being seen to be seen to be trying to fix things.

This paragraph begins with more unsubstantiated assertions and a slide in the argument from one alleged example of ‘deceit’ by one Prime Minister, to the spread of the deceit claim to encompass all the politicians from his target, the two major Australian parties, the Labor and Coalition. (Gittins calls this group the political class) but there is a more important and less obvious slide.

In Australia, it is traditional for governments to be held responsible for political action or inaction, not any opposition party. We do not have government by consensus. This slide, which conveys the false message that the major Opposition is equally responsible for governing the country, is recent in origin but has become commonplace and may be a study in its own right.

This style of reporting seems designed to appeal to a sense of fairness, to the impartiality of the journalist. It gives an impression of openness with no hidden agenda. Neither Liberal nor Labor readers could easily claim it was partisan.

Unsubstantiated assertions, generalisations

The author’s beginning argument ‘It’s long been clear that’ presents another set of unsubstantiated opinions as though they are facts.

It may well be the case but there is no evidence that anyone other than Gittins holds the view that the Government and the Opposition have done little to solve problems or that they are more interested in appearances than in fixing things but it appeals to the ‘everyone is doing it’ technique in argument; if everyone believes this, so should the reader. In reality, such a ‘fact’ would be un-testable. The "the perception is the reality", adds an academic tone to the view that all politicians are not just inactive for specific reasons but because they are committed to doing nothing and to putting on a show. This again is a sweeping and unsubstantiated generalisation.

Main Claim

‘It hardly needs saying that Snowy 2.0 was just a stunt, designed to excite the media and portray Turnbull as the great Nation Builder, ...’

The Snowy River Scheme Part 2, Snowy 2.0 was a plan to investigate the feasibility of using the Snowy as a hydro electric scheme. It is the author’s prime basis for his assertion that politicians do little and is the specific issue used to exemplify alleged deceit in ‘gaming’ an opinion poll.

If the Snowy 2.0 could be shown as devious, a fake or a sham, i.e., purporting to be one thing and being another, the contentions in this opinion piece would have more substance but it is not proved or even argued and the paragraph continues with more assertions containing neither proof nor argument.

Appeals by flattery, cynical, sarcastic tone, repetition of deceit language, unsubstantiated assertions

The opening lines appeal to readers by using a form of flattery. (It is like saying 'Readers don’t need me to tell them of how this scheme is a scam; they can work this out themselves') The tone is sarcastic and cynical while the language such as ‘stunt’ and ‘portray’ continues the repetition of the ‘deceit’ theme. Readers may well be persuaded by this sarcasm and cynicism about the ‘political class’ and they may also serve to support the credibility of the author if cynicism is seen as a result of caring concern, of genuine frustration. Cynicism may be a true feeling but it is also a persuasive device. It is a form of exaggeration, an extreme form of pessimism and is often an element in attacks.

The argument itself is a series of assertions; Snowy 2.0 was a stunt, it was designed to...and to....

These lines contain no supporting evidence. The next part refers to the specifics of the scheme; it was ‘no more than a feasibility study’ but this reference opens up an opportunity to return to more assertions about the scheme’s content. It is ‘probably not feasible’, ’it would cost double’, and if it did eventuate it would be too late.

The author is an economist so his opinion on economics should be given respect but the article is not about economics or even the value of Snowy 2.0 but about deceit and claims of political motivations.

Critical evaluation of major arguments, assertions, assumptions, arousing sympathy in readers

Snowy 2.0 was a feasibility study. It was not portrayed as solving the nation’s energy problems and while it was not an immediate solution to a growing energy crisis and while it may well have been an interim idea used to provide a thought provoking alternative during a wait while energy committees deliberated, while it may have been used to assist the Prime Minister’s popularity, these do not alter its validity as a potential energy solution or its inherent value. There is no evidence that inaction on energy is government choice or a planned, deceitful ruse. We are all aware of political and commercial pressures on governments and in this case, the opposing claims of different wealthy interests.

‘Since faking progress – conning the media into conning their voting customers – is a lot less time-consuming than pondering real solutions...’

This paragraph is a repeat of similar techniques. The language uses the repetition of deceit, (faking, conning), there are more assertions and assumptions about government preferences to avoid real solutions however there is no evidence that the government has avoided work to find solutions. The government may not be a minority government but is close to one in many ways.

An appeal to the author’s sincerity is again evoked by his sympathy for the voters, particularly those young voters who he claims are turned off politics by the deceit and hypocrisy. The language of ‘slagging’ off at the finish may appeal to young readers and show he is on their wavelength.

This analysis uses only part of this article. You may like to analyse further but to this point, the article seems designed to consolidate readers’ poor opinions of major political parties, it would probably succeed when helped by many similar articles but on its own, it may not. Supporters of these views would not mind or scrutinise the validity but the more dispassionate would be critical of its lack of substantiation, its cynical tone and its use of persuasive devices. They may be puzzled about its intention.

It is quite possible that its major effect is not to target the Prime Minister, whose support may have stabilised but to indirectly target the Labor Opposition which has a lead in the opinion polls. In other words, Turnbull’s approval may not be affected by any negative article but the general smear of politicians could lower Labor’s support, lower the gap between the two parties and increase support for minority parties. Whoever the target audience, one effect would be a depressing and discouraging one on the readers concerned.

If its intention is to make the reader think poorly of the Prime Minister, think poorly of all politicians, get depressed, turn them away from Labor and Liberal so they vote with the Greens, (One Nation, the Nationals or other minority parties) or to make readers cynical about politics or something totally different the same arguments would apply. Those already having such views would be accepting- those with more critical views would not. The term populist is often misused by commentators but if an appeal to the uncritical is implied, this article is a populist one.


Wedging, playing politics - wedging is a persuasive term used by some in the Australian media. It suggests a politician has designed a policy with the purpose of placing their opponents in an awkward position. It can be used to describe policies that are long standing, a new policy consistent with previous policy or a policy which seems to be at odds with previous policy. It places the focus on alleged motives rather than issues, policies or even on the political moves that may be at play. Is it designed to prejudice the discussion? It seems likely. It is a shorthand way of denigrating a person or party without evidence by suggesting their motives are untrustworthy.

'Playing politics' is similar. Both terms avoid the main discussion about the issues. Political moves can be strategic but 'playing politics' is usually used in a negative manner.


alleged=claimed, supposed

denigration= to denigrate is to put someone down

strategic= well thought out, deliberate

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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

3. 'Peter Martin- The Burqa ' The Drum ABC

The Drum is a high quality media news commentary program. A distinguishing feature is its format that ensures different views by a selection of diverse commentators. While some of the panel may get frustrated or keep interrupting from time to time, the presenters create a courteous atmosphere.

The Drum 7/12/2016

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-07/the-drum-wednesday-december-7/8101334

In this edition, Martin showed a journalist resisting current trends whether conservative or progressive to emerge with an independent view. It didn’t matter whether he was right or not, (that is, whether one agreed with him or not!); he was effective because he gave reasons that showed logical connections with the burqa topic and his views on other issues. That is, he started with a coherent ethical framework and applied it to different situations. This kind of argument is stimulating as it leads to deeper issues than 'I support the burqa' or 'I don't support the burqa' or arguments about free choice which can be hollow or circular. Martin focused on issues rather than Merkel's alleged agenda.

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The women on this Drum episode appeared to support the right of women to choose their own clothing and this included the burqa. Martin unexpectedly supported Angela Merkel’s ban. (NB. Burqas are not the head covering or scarves worn by many women with Moslem or national cultural traditions. They are different from the others in that they cover the whole body including the whole face.)

Martin argued that religious rights were not unlimited and the burqa stretched his limits. Humans in his view, had the right to be seen. He gave another example of a religious right- the right to ban music. This, he considered breached basic human rights as did the right to be seen.

It is probably true however, that Martin assumed that women wearing the burqa were being coerced and this adds a different dimension to the discussion. Individuals can be coercive but can culture also be coercive? And what about one's compatriots? What if they are being coerced even if their friends are adopting the burqa from choice? Does it alter the ethics of the situation?

distinguishing=standing out

coherent=hanging together, consistent, not contradictory

ethical=moral; not necessarily about religion

breached human rights=broke the law about human rights or broke community standards

compatriots=fellow citizens

coerced=forced


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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

4. 'Politicians Not Prepared to Give Good Government Top Priority. (None? Ever?) ' Gittins Fairfax

http://www.rossgittins.com/2017/02/how-shorten-is-wedging-turnbull-at-our.html

The Age, Monday Feb. 20 2017, P 19

‘Trust me’ some journalists seem to be saying, ‘don’t trust your political leaders.’ ‘Politicians’ they say, ‘might sound as though they are sincere but are not. You can’t trust them. We know their true feelings.

Fairfax economist Ross Gittins gives us detailed theories about the negative motives of all politicians. We don't know many politicians and Gittins may know more but even so, his views seem harsh. There are many politicians; can none of them want to achieve anything good? Do none of them care about their communities, about women, about poor people or even about rich people for that matter? Do their motives matter if they have policies we like and work hard to achieve them? What is the effect of views like this?

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Gittins contends that our politicians are deceitful but is this any different than saying all students will cheat to get good marks, all journalists will falsify news to keep their jobs, all teachers will alter results to look good? Are these views fair and reasonable? What might be the impact of these and similar claims?

Shorten 'wedging' PM- our expense (meaning?)

This article attacks politicians from both major Australian parties. Politicians, he says, are presenting policies as though they are matters of principle when principles are not their interest. Good government he says, is not the priority of politicians. He seems to be suggesting we should worry most about policies which support greater equality or better governance. (In other words, one could get the message that we should be more suspicious of policies or politicians that give hope.)

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Although Gittins may not have written the heading, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten is a target. Gittins attacks Shorten for not compromising with the Coalition to achieve a viable energy policy but

  • Has any energy policy been put up for compromise?
  • How much leeway do leaders of democratic parties have to change major party policy?
  • Would you want them to?
  • Energy is a huge issue and politicians are only one set of players. It is a very wealthy industry, perhaps the largest in the world. See Energy for more information.

Sweeping generalizations

“Each side’s goal is to manoeuvre the other side ...” ......“(This)...assumes our politicians are prepared to give the good government of the nation top priority. They’re not” says Gittins.

When Gittins uses facts, they elaborate his contention rather than argue or prove his claims. When he uses historical examples, he just makes the same claims about different politicians in different settings. When a message is repeated and is unsupported by fact or reasoning, it is propaganda. In this article, contention, conclusion and argument are all rolled into one. It is like giving a detailed account of how some criminals robbed a bank when there is no record that the bank was robbed.

Historical example Gillard

Gittins uses former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as an historical example. She, he claims, delayed the introduction of Gonski (needs based education funding) till the election year in 2013 in order to make Opposition Leader Tony Abbot look bad.

First, it is hard to find any delay.

Secondly the alleged motivation is simply odd.

More than 500 pieces of legislation were passed by the Gillard minority government over three years. Using the same argument, any one of these could be said to have made Tony Abbott look bad.

Thirdly the argument omits the very extreme political landscape of the time as though it had no bearing.

Alleged delay

The Gonski report was released at the end of 2011. The Gillard government response came by September 3rd 2012. State politicians were immediately called on to join up and did so, 4 out of 6 state premiers and the ACT. The 2013 election wasn’t till a year after this request by Gillard. What delay is Gittins talking about?

The most logical interpretation of events is that Gillard tried to implement the Labor Government’s response to Gonski before the election knowing its chances of later success were slim to non-existent. Top of Page


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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

5.‘The Real Agenda’ The Conversation

(Please note; this is an historical piece to make a point. It is not current for 2017 students.)

A contributor to another media outlet THE CONVERSATION https://theconversation.com/the-real-agenda-behind-gillards-gonski-response-9305 gives a totally different analysis of Gillard’s “real" agenda but the flavour of the headline, the suggestion of sinister motivation is similar.


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The gender card, the race card, class warfare are persuasive terms used to suggest that issues of gender, race, class are not real or if real, that politicians who address these issues are only pretending concern to gain some electoral advantage. It is an effective method of spreading mistrust about politics or particular politicians but as with similar kinds of comment, it makes it difficult to hear the policies or issues in an open-minded manner, or even maintain interest once personal motives become the dominant issue. When people talk in a dismissive way about any issue, it may reflect their own political views rather than anyone else's. (Could the terms ever be justified? What's your view?)


“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning

By BEN STEIN

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html?mcubz=2


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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

6. 'Enough! (re Peter Slipper)'

Saturday Paper - 1/4/2017

When the Saturday Paper refers to ‘a portrait of disgraced former speaker Peter Slipper’ (see extract below) one has cause to wonder if it is an error - whose disgrace exactly?

The former Gillard Government Speaker, Peter Slipper was the subject of daily attacks, calls to resign and charges of sexual harassment, financial dishonesty and the ‘betrayal’ of his Party when he left the LNP to become the Speaker for the Labor minority Government. By the end of the due processes, Slipper had been found guilty of no criminal or civil charge whatsoever. The attacks on Peter Slipper were some of the most extreme ever recorded in Australian political history- in an era which provided many examples. Peter Slipper may not have acted wisely or well but there was no evidence of calumny in his activities.

The Slipper allegations came from personnel in his former Party. One judge at least was scathing about the allegations. 'Justice Steve Rares found that the case was an "abuse of process" which had been carried out for the "purpose of causing significant public, reputational and political damage to Mr Slipper.' Top of Page

It is possible that no one believed any of the allegations but the justification for daily media hounding often centred on betrayal- Slipper was a ‘turncoat who ‘betrayed his Party’. Ordinary people would wonder why he stayed as long as did. Slipper should be remembered for an excellent job in restoring order to an childish abusive parliament.

When Slipper resigned, it was because of unseemly private emails that would normally remain private. No decent person could like his emails but then we were not meant to see them- unlike the many publicly obscene comments made about Gillard from many of the same quarters sounding very pious about Peter Slipper.

“When all of the people who denigrated you, Peter, are long gone, you’ll be here haunting this place.”

Michael Danby the Labor member unveils a portrait of disgraced former speaker Peter Slipper....”


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Theme 1: Media and the Politicians

Section: Media Texts

7.‘A Disguise, Concealed Facts’. (But where?) Gittins, The Age

‘Gillard’s Gonski was in fact a far cry from the real deal’

Ross Gittins: The Age

Saturday Feb 25th

Sp6 Businessday

In this article, Gittins is claiming there was a delay to disguise the true cost of Labor’s ‘politically gutless, bastardised version of Gonski’. (This is a different delay from his earlier article.) He says “To disguise the true cost of Labor’s politically gutless bastardised version of Gonski it was to be phased in over 6 years.”

The Gonski report is a more detailed issue but Gittins’ attacks on politicians are again suggesting concealed, ulterior motivation that was hidden from us in a deceitful manner.

Gittins claims that the Gillard government did not support some of The Gonski report’s most crucial recommendations. Top of Page

But wasn't this quite clear?

The Gillard government response was indeed a watered down version of the recommendations and once Gillard said that no school would be worse off under her government’s Gonski plan, it became a very expensive proposition but why the abusive language? Its expense was obvious as soon as she spoke. Why the suggestion of deceit?

The context was everything- but- it's missing

The Gillard Government was opposed by the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (from her own side) in conjunction with the Opposition Leader Mr Tony Abbott, the conservative Murdoch press and various other Australian media outlets. She was arguably subject to one of the strongest and most united media attacks in Australian history. Her minority government faced external and internal opposition for each of its 3 years.

For a Labor leadership under a minority government to endorse a policy which would result in less public funding to private schools would be as easy as planning a government buy-back of the Commonwealth Bank. The media accounts of the time show that the industrial, political and media response to the mining tax alone was extreme beyond description.

In addition, the Gillard minority government coincided with the global financial crisis considered by many to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. One might reasonably argue that if the Gillard government wanted disadvantaged students to get more funding, they would have to go very slowly. One would also have to admit that for the opponents of such funding, any speed at all was too fast. To say the government disguised the cost is puzzling. It was there for all to see. ‘Gutless’ etc. is strong language. Whether the Gillard government should have tried for a purer policy even if heading for certain defeat, is open to debate.


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8. 'A Sensible Centre?' Doogue ABC

9. 'Why can't Politicians Cooperate, asks Sales' Sales ABC 13/02/2017

10. 'You Be the Judge!' Fran Kelly talks to Mark Butler

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1. A great return, a great resource! Thank you! "Fact Check: RMIT and ABC News partner to relaunch award-winning service"

2.'Turnbull and Snowy River 2.0 Gittins The Age

3. 'Peter Martin- The Burqa' The Drum ABC

4. 'Politicians Not Prepared to Give Good Government Priority. (None? Ever?)' Gittins

5. 'The Real Agenda' The Conversation (Please note; this is an historical piece to make a point. It is not current for 2017 students.)

6. 'Enough! (Peter Slipper) ' The Saturday Paper

7. 'A Disguise, Concealed Facts’. But where? Gittins The Age

8. 'A Sensible Centre?' Doogue ABC

9. 'Why can't Politicians Cooperate, asks Sales'Sales ABC 13/02/2017

10. 'You Be the Judge!' Fran Kelly talks to Mark Butler

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