Posts

Showing posts from February, 2015

Who is Gillian Triggs anyway?

That is the question that might well have been on people's lips for the last couple of weeks, in a not-that-wacky alternative universe. There was no need for the release of the Human Rights Commission's report on children in detention to be even vaguely difficult for the government to handle. But the Coalition has somehow contrived to turn the release of a critical but eminently manageable report into a full-blown political disaster and an investigation by the Australian Federal Police.

Put aside, for the moment, the morality and culpability of various people embroiled in this dispute. For the record, my own view is this: Gillian Triggs did handle this report in a slightly strange way, and that's probably not unrelated to the fact that her political sympathies are closer to the ALP than the Liberal Party. That doesn't make any difference to the merits of the report or the importance of responding to it rather than slandering its author, and trying to convince an indepe…

How the Australian press drags down Prime Ministers

I'm enjoying watching the Liberal Party squirm and tear itself up as much as anyone. I think Tony Abbott is a pretty laughable Prime Minister and that his government is a terrible and regressive one. And Coalition politicians really did say a lot of stuff about Labor navel-gazing which is now pretty hilarious. So the schadenfreude is fun.

But this was a problem when it happened to Julia Gillard, and it's a problem now. The Australia media has become very good at destroying Prime Ministers, and very eager to do just that. This is a PM I, and many of the people who'll read this, detest. But that doesn't change the fact that we now seem to have a basically rabid press gallery who are more than happy to gin up a leadership crisis from the barest of source material.

Obviously the situation is not that the media have invented this out of nothing. The government is very unpopular, and Abbott has made a series of increasingly comical missteps that seem to have sown genuine doubt…