You can tell there is an election coming up, probably in September, as the Murdoch yellow press and other outlets have dramatically lifted their ‘Kill Bill’ stories to try to discredit Bill Shorten as much as possible. This is an attempt to reverse the continuously bad Newspolls which the Liberal Party has caused itself. I wrote about one of these some weeks ago regarding Shorten ‘snubbing’ Australian troops in the UAE. That story appeared in a Murdoch rag and was a lie1.
Some days ago, Bill Shorten visited the Northern Territory community of Barunga and gave a speech at which he said that the nation needed to move towards being a republic, and that this should happen alongside the signing of a treaty with the nation’s indigenous people2. This was a red rag to a bullshitter (a Murdoch ruperter), and one of these, a Rita Panahi, lambasted Shorten in the Herald-Sun. She spun this as Shorten ignoring “the plight of the most vulnerable children in the country”. By this, she means “shameful rates of child abuse and neglect of indigenous children”, as well as “extraordinarily high rates of domestic violence”3. This is rich coming from a Murdoch hack, whose favoured political party has been in power for 5 years and doesn’t seem to be doing much about these problems either. Indeed, the Northern Territory National Emergency Response (the Howard government’s ‘intervention’ of 2007) was designed to tackle child abuse and neglect4. Assuming that Panahi’s piece was about indigenous children would be a mistake. It has nothing to do with the welfare of indigenous children, although she uses this as a pretext. It is designed solely to smear Bill Shorten.
While Panahi’s piece is the usual style of ‘kill Bill’ story, sometimes these are a little more subtle; as much as such a strategy can be considered subtle. In the Sunday Times from Perth (a former Murdoch rag, now owned by Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media5), a story by Shane Wright is headed ‘Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Turnbull, get pay rise from July 1’. The article begins by stating that Turnbull will get a pay rise of $203 per week at the start of the new financial year, which will take him to an annual salary of over $538,000, an increase of over $10,500 per annum6. The heading photograph of the story is of Bill Shorten, despite him being mentioned in a single sentence in the article. The story will no doubt foment resentment among those who haven’t had much in the way of pay rises for nearly a decade. However, this sort of juxtaposition of headline and photograph is targeted at those who simply read headlines and look at the pictures.
This sort of disgraceful behaviour by hacks such as Panahi, laughably called journalism by some, stems directly from Murdoch’s lust for the exercise of power, as well as the numerous handouts from this conservative Coalition government7 and the promise of a big corporate tax cut for media businesses like NewsCorp and Seven West Media if this government is returned at the election. In modern Australia, people do not matter, it is all about corporate profits, in the hope that those corporations will donate some of the largesse bestowed on them by Australia’s taxpayers, to the Liberal and National parties.