Despite being underestimated by the previous regime and the Fourth Estate, Australians have swept away the side of politics devoid of empathy, “unfunded” or otherwise, writes managing editor Michelle Pini.
THERE IS NO DOUBT that Labor’s election win will change a great many things. Australians are banking on it. We are hoping for change on climate policy, gender equality, cost of living pressures, on Indigenous affairs.
It seems Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is aware of the burden of responsibility heaped on his shoulders and was speaking to a great many Australians who have felt marginalised for the past nine years – and most especially the last three – when he said in an emotional speech on election night:
“People have underestimated me all my life.”
This simple statement, acknowledging that his path was a difficult one, that he was not part of the born to rule and thus not expected to succeed, basically speaks to the great majority of Australians but certainly, he was speaking to all Australians whose path has not been laid with the trappings of entitlement.
His heartfelt words resonated with Australians who have lost family members, friends, businesses and homes to bushfires and floods and the pandemic. His words spoke to Indigenous Australians, New Australians, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly and those who sought asylum.
Albanese’s words resonated with women — underestimated, always.
They spoke to the more subtle prejudices bubbling under the surface that those with foreign surnames, less desirable postcodes or underfunded public school backgrounds endure.
The PM articulated the thoughts of the majority of Australians struggling with mounting debt and soaring cost of living in insecure employment, young people struggling to buy a home and the elderly living in sub-standard aged care facilities.
Albo’s words echoed in the streets of our cities.
While his words may not have impressed the conservative side of the political class or their mates in the media chorus, they likely resounded with street cleaners.
In this election, Australians far and wide were underestimated both by the party of the status quo and by its public relations department masquerading as the mainstream media.
Which is why this remark from the public broadcaster’s political editor Andrew Probyn – one of many veiled putdowns aimed at the new PM – epitomises all that is wrong with the Fourth Estate:
"Rather than the smart end of the street, [Albanese] is looking at the people who might be cleaning the street."
Who says the class divide is dead?
Apparently, in the world Probyn occupies, the one in which he believes the former PM “will be remembered fondly”, people who do menial work have no value and are necessarily idiots. In this same world, the “smart” end of the street can only be the exclusive domain inhabited by the elites.
As David Donovan explained:
Murdoch's gargantuan newspaper network and Fox News-type cable network set the agenda that all the other mainstream media follow, including the public broadcaster. These days, especially the public broadcaster.
...The ABC has become an odd offshoot of the Murdoch media.
And with this subtle but effective corporate appropriation of the national broadcaster on top of Australia’s already concentrated media ownership, the disconnect between the Fourth Estate and the real world is now complete.
It appears this lack of respect and bias bordering on outright hostility, which characterises Australia's media approach towards progressive politicians, is not lost on the rest of the world, either. Today, as the newly sworn-in Prime Minister attended the Quad Summit in Japan, Australian journalists yelled out questions in their usual disrespectful manner, but unlike in home territory, where such outbursts are tolerated, this lack of basic courtesy only earned them eviction from the proceedings.
And, unfortunately for Probyn and his ilk, Australia – the place where only a minuscule minority identify with this privileged worldview and the majority find it abhorrent – has spoken. Despite being underestimated by the previous regime and the Fourth Estate, Australians have swept away the side of politics devoid of empathy, “unfunded” or otherwise.
Hopefully, the street cleaners and their fellow Australians will now rid the streets of the mastheads and other media platforms that have continued only to prop up their few mates on the backs of the many.
This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members-only area.
- Anthony Albanese defeats Rupert Murdoch to become 31st PM of Australia
- The ongoing media fixation on Albo’s ‘gaffe’
- The Albanese approach: How an unpopular plan has Labor on the verge of victory
- EDITORIAL:The Albanese approach: How an unpopular plan has Labor on the verge of victory
- Calls for Albanese to stand aside are unhelpful and futile
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