Time for a change — a major change

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

When Labor wins government in the early hours of Saturday night, and the usual political pundits glare at each other in bemused befuddlement at the “unexpected” swing against the Coalition Government, it will signal the start of a new era in Australian politics — and its worn-out political coverage.

Our politics is broken. Broken deep down in the back of the greasy, ooze-ridden cesspit that forms the juncture between the conservative political establishment and the corrupt Murdoch media apparatus. Only the routing and uprooting of conservatives, and the humiliation of Murdoch and his drab collection of creepy minions, can begin to right the imbalance.

Despite what you may read in the newspapers ‒ if you read newspapers, most of them owned by News Corp, as they are ‒ there is a swing on across the nation. This election feels like the 2015 Queensland “baseball bat” election, or the decisive Daniel Andrews’ triumph in Victoria last year. Federally, the polls have heralded a Labor victory for several years.

Come the election, these polls seem chiselled in stone. Any pundit who suggests the polls are narrowing and the election will go down to the wire is either fanciful, disingenuous, incompetent, owned or biased.

This election is so over, you can almost hear Gina Rinehart singing.


Over the past couple of weeks, News Corp has released two of its influential Newspolls. Both have shown the two-party preferred vote at 51-49 in Labor’s favour. This is a tightening from previous polls, which had blown out to as much 54-46 in early March — Labor’s 50th Newspoll victory in a row. The sequence is now something like 54 to Labor without intermission.

In fact, every Australian polling company has Labor winning this weekend’s election by a comfortable distance. Australians made up their mind about this chaotic, backstabbing and underachieving Tory Government several years ago. No amount of last-minute campaigning can turn the tide. Public opinion is too engrained. It’s over.

Many pundits also suggest that the rise of right-wing minor parties, such as Clive Palmer’s latest vanity project and Fraser Anning’s neo-Nazis, will somehow assist the Coalition. Indeed, there have been numerous photos of Coalition MPs and booth workers assisting minor party candidates at pre-polling booths, including Federal Minister Ken Wyatt. The rise of these minor parties, however, will merely serve to splinter the Right’s primary vote and leak preferences back to the ALP. It is a positive boon for Labor. So much for John Howard’s dotty claim that Labor’s primary vote is too low.

The 2017 Queensland State Election experience shows One Nation preferences, in particular, do not at all flow reliably to the Right. This preference leakage does not seem to have been factored in by polling companies ‒ particularly Newspoll ‒ suggesting the actual 2PP margin is significantly wider than the polls are suggesting.

And when it comes to following the money, all the bookmakers have Labor at unbackable short-priced favourites (1.1 to 1.3 to 1) and the Coalition as rank outsiders (5 to 6.2 to 1). These are Winx-like odds. In a two-horse race, this suggests it's is all over bar the shouting.

The voters – and the bookies – have made up their minds. The ATM (Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison) years of executive pork-barrelling, combined with selective austerity, are over. If Scott Morrison somehow manages to keep the Coalition on the Treasury benches after this weekend, it will be a miracle of Lazarus-like proportions.


There is a theory that Rupert Murdoch always backs winners. That he prides himself on it. In election after election, when his preferred conservatives are heading for defeat, News Corp has always dialled down the decibels of its pushy right-wing propaganda in the final few weeks, or months, before the vote. But this time, even though Bill Shorten is almost certain to lead Labor to victory on Saturday night, the Murdoch media have, for some reason, decided to double down — attacking the Labor Party and Bill Shorten with even more unconstrained hyperbole — and hyperbole is News Corp's signature dish.

It's almost as if they think their Liberals will win.

However, for perhaps the first time since reporters from The Australian went on strike over Rupert Murdoch’s brazen intervention into the 1975 Federal Election campaign, News Corp employees ‒ and former employees ‒ are finally beginning to speak out.

First came the former employee, multi-award-winning political journalist for The Australian, Tony Koch. Koch retired from News Corp employ in 2012.

In rather a rant for The Guardian, Koch came out swinging against News Corp’s “biased anti-Labor rubbish”:

The Australian in particular was a big-impact paper which regularly set the news agenda for media throughout the country.


But no longer. No editor I worked for would have put up with the biased anti-Labor rubbish that, shamefully, the papers now produce on a daily basis.


If it is not anti-Labor it is anti-Green or, quite ridiculously, anti-ABC. Anything except a story negative to the Liberal or National parties.


Gone is the requirement for balance. One has only to look at the story selection and headlines on the front pages of the papers each day to see that an anti-Labor angle has been taken, however, contorted had been the literary gymnastics required to finally arrive at that particular bit of stupidity.

The problem with Koch’s tirade is that, as has been fully reported in Independent Australia since 2010, News Corp was publishing even worse “anti-Labor rubbish” from 2007 up until 2012, when he was still a Murdoch employee. Even worse, really, because in those days, they would happily photoshop their enemies on the front page in all sorts of childish, derogatory and demeaning ways. That, at least, seems to have ceased under the current management.

Then we had token News Corp leftie and Twitter favourite @SquigglyRick Morton, who covers social affairs at The Australian, telling a Victorian university audience that journalists on the paper were increasingly "uncomfortable" about its editorial direction and that "the craziness has been dialled up" in recent months.

In recent months? Was Rick asleep during the unhinged News Corp campaigns against Rudd and Gillard?

Of course he wasn’t. Koch and Morton are merely signs the tide is turning. That the days of the Murdoch Empire casting a dark shadow over Australian politics are almost over. That the rats are abandoning the listing SS Rupert.

By denying any personal responsibility for their part in perpetuating the darkest years of Australia politics, Koch and Morton deserve ridicule rather than censure. At least, at last, they saw the light.

You can almost hear them pleadingly tell the judges at Nuremberg, “we was just followin’ orders, y'honour!”


Saturday will signal a tectonic shift in Australian politics. The Coalition is heading for a drubbing — one that will keep their Party out of power for at least two terms. More importantly, the Murdoch media's gamble ‒ of doubling down on their anti-Labor attacks, and then losing the election ‒ will tell all that, perhaps,  the Gang’s power to sway elections for their own pecuniary benefit is over. Rupert Murdoch power’s in Australia is as rapidly diminishing as his shrivelled physique under the tender care of his current wife and succubus, Jerry Hall.

The wicked witch is dead. Ring the bells. Roll on Saturday night.

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.

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

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