EDITORIAL: Murdoch and Morrison — what happens after Wentworth?

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @mdavidcartoons)

After the ATM Government's crushing defeat in Wentworth, where to now for the Liberal Party and its propaganda arm, the Murdoch media?


… Rupert Murdoch had helped bring on the coup when he told Seven West proprietor Kerry Stokes a change was needed at The Lodge.

"Malcolm has got to go," Mr Murdoch told [Mr Stokes]…

… Mr Stokes said a leadership challenge would guarantee a Labor government within a year.

Mr Murdoch replied: "They'll only be in for three years — it won't be so bad. I did all right under Labor and the Painters and Dockers; I can make money under Shorten and the CFMEU."

~ Australian Financial Review, 21 September 2018


WE ARE finally entering the last days of the Liberal Government.

After last weekend’s Wentworth by-election rout, there can hardly be a whisper of doubt the Coalition is heading for a humiliating defeat at the next Federal election, due sometime before 18 May next year. The impossibly shambolic and erratic Morrison tenure has simply made this defeat a surety. So dire are conservative fortunes, even State Liberal MPs are calling for an early Federal election — to try to cauterise the gushing wound fast draining the Party of any life and hope.

So the Liberals are completely stuffed. The question now is: what happens next?



Some people think that Scott Morrison has been so hopeless already – in his first 60 or so days − he could soon be rolled in yet another Liberal coup — perhaps to Julie Bishop.

As hilarious as this might be, it seems unlikely. So far, the Liberals have only equalled the levels of instability they crowed incessantly about during the “Rudd-Gillard-Rudd” years. Yet another prime minister would totally destroy any of their remaining shreds of credibility and almost certainly cause total electoral annihilation.

Then again, the Libs are not great strategists… so who knows? Still, it seems unlikely.

No, more likely, shouty Scott Morrison will continue trying to crab walk away from all the poisonous policies he previously espoused. He will keep disgorging stupidity – such as moving the Israeli embassy and on expelling gay kids from schools – before running away from these statements the very next day. The Coalition infighting will become more outfighting. The polls will slip even further – and they are already behind in every state in Newspoll – and voters will hammer nails into their baseball bats while they wait expectantly.

So much for the Tories, but what about Labor? What will they do before the next election?

The answer to this is not much. They will release a few policies. Chase after the endless incompetence and controversies of the Coalition – and just the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Stuart Robert and Melissa Price would enough to keep them busy for years – but mostly will keep a low profile and watch on contentedly as the Coalition burns itself down to ashes.

As Napoleon famously said:

“Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

At this stage, Bill Shorten could be filmed kicking cute little puppies and Labor would still win the next election.

But there is a more interesting question. Namely, what will the Murdoch media do now it realises a Labor victory in inevitable?



Rupert Murdoch has been instrumental in delivering Australia at least its last five governments. His media interests undermined Kevin Rudd relentlessly and helped install Julia Gillard as PM. Then they brought down Gillard through a similar grubby tabloid vendetta, helping reincarnate the reviled Rudd (briefly). After this, Murdoch jumped on the campaign team of a particularly bizarre raw unpeeled onion-eating lunatic, before he, Abbott, was brought low by Murdoch’s Newspolls and Turnbull was passed the raw truffle. Murdoch then flew back to Australia in August to stomp all over Turnbull and pass the poisoned chalice to happy cap-loving Pentecostal Scott Morrison. For a few weeks, Murdoch’s committed staff of furious, frothing monkeys applauded the performance of the new PM, but even that has now run out of steam due to popular contempt.

The question is: what will Murdoch do now his Manchurian Candidate has turned out to be a total Muppet, whose comical Show is rapidly spiralling towards certain defeat?

Well, one thing we know is Murdoch loves to pick a winner. Thus, we have the benefit of history to help us understand what comes next from Australia’s American Sith Lord and his fiendish entourage.

Looking back to the ascension of Kevin07, it is clear that Murdoch will not stop the attacks on Labor. News Corp continued them on Rudd in 2007 and they will continue them right up until the next election. It would not do for Labor to end up with too big a majority. But News Corp will also step up the attacks on the Liberal Government so that, for a brief period, it will almost appear as if the Murdoch media is somewhat balanced. (Apart from the Sky News after dark collection of freaks, rejects, weirdos, dills and sociopaths, who will continue on in their customary way — but since no-one ever listens to them anyway, this will make absolutely no difference in any way.)

The day before the next election, most of Murdoch’s newspapers will post editorials tepidly endorsing changing the Government. Then, after Labor is elected, the Murdoch press will be able to claim, as it has done before, that it is not the propaganda arm of the Liberal Party, which obviously it really is.

After the election, the malignant Murdoch media will continue, for a time, in a similar fashion, carrying on this uneasy façade of fake balance. There will then be a private meeting, in which Murdoch will summon Shorten and deliver him a list demands — much like a kidnapper to a hostage negotiator. And if Shorten is amenable to this blatant blackmail, which will be exclusively about furthering Murdoch’s commercial interests, then the ceasefire will continue. For a while.

But if Shorten doesn’t agree, or until he breaks the agreement, or Murdoch changes his mind, as he will, then the ceasefire will cease and Murdoch will release his furious flying monkeys, who will not stop smearing the government until the Liberal Party is safely back on the Treasury benches.

Welcome to Australia. This is how it works.

You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers. It takes less a minute to subscribe to IA and costs as little as $5 a month, or $50 a year — a very small sum for quality journalism and many great extras.

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