The Federal Election campaign is off and running and mainline meejah jockeys are doing their best to whip their horses across the finish line first — even forsaking good grammar on the way! Catch David G. Donovan trackside for the latest weights and scratchings.
THE RACE IS ON!
The election race, that is.
The Prime Minister visited Kirribili on Sunday morning — a leisurely drive pointlessly watched by David Speers’ little coterie of Insiders, live on ABC. A double travesty, because it meant IA fans were denied watching our own Mark David’s cartoon appear on the only segment of that show worth getting out of bed for at that time — Talking Pictures.
But, I digress...
The Election has been called. Campaigning has begun. The phony war is over. The race is on. (It is also the age of annoyingly redundant analogies.)
Australia’s mainline media journos love the horse race. They just love it.
Because a horse race is simple. So easy to report. Who is winning? Who is losing? Who has fallen down? Or off? Forget the boring stuff – you know, policy and all that other yawny, wonkish stuff – just breathlessly relate who you see is in front and why the other horse will probably lose... should lose... will lose... must lose. Really must. For all our sakes. Trust us!
Because to add to the spectacle, the journalists don’t just commentate on the horse race, they get to take the whips to the horses themselves. To the ones they haven’t backed. Those from other stables.
Some reporters even seem to ride their favourite nellies all the way. More jockeys than journos, really.
So what is the form like?
Well, yesterday, on Day One of the Election Carnival, most of the expert tipsters in the media box enthusiastically agreed with each other that the horse called “Albanese” was very much an outside bet. Not something Aussie punters should back in for 21 May.
It all started in the morning, when The Australian, which is owned by an important American racing interest, published a story in its daily newsletter saying Albanese, or “Albo” as regular track-goers often call him, was untried at this distance. ‘Inexperienced’ was the word they used.
And despite virtually no one in Australia ever reading or paying any attention to this queer little gossipy rag whatsoever, it was enough to capture the attention of the “meejah” — and they were off.
Fran Kelly, for instance – someone long-suffering listeners of ABC Radio Breakfast may have thought they had heard the last of recently – was adamant on the ABC that Albo was untested. He had never held a finance portfolio, Fran warned. Nobody “knows” Albo, Fran insisted.
The race was presumably too frenzied for Fran to mention that Albo had been in Parliament for 26 years. Had been infrastructure minister, leader of the house and deputy prime minister. Indeed, had been acting Prime Minister not long after the then unelected Scott Morrison succeeded in beating down and stealing from Michael Towke his valid preselection in the seat of Cook in 2007.
But who has time for details when the dust is swirling, the finish line beckons and the gleaming prize glints brightly in the background?
Then Albo stumbled. He was unable to immediately recite the unemployment rate and the Reserve Bank cash rate. True, the other day, Scott Morrison was similarly vacant about the cost of milk and a loaf of bread, something arguably of more concern to most Australians, but this was seen as much, much worse according to those in the know.
According to new ABC Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas (formerly from Murdoch’s The Australian), this signified a ‘baptism of fore [sic]’ for Albanese.
‘If Morrison pulls of [sic] a second “miracle” and wins — this will be seen as the moment it turned.’
The campaign race is not a sprint, it is six weeks long. The meejah jockeys will be hoping their horse is a stayer. Or they can make the other one fall.
And they’re “of” and racing!
This is the first in a new series of regular Tuesday morning columns by IA outsider and flaneur David G Donovan, who you can follow on Twitter @davrosz. Also, follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.
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