Monday, 9 February 2015

As I write this the Federal MPs on the

government benches in Canberra are arriving to vote on a "spill motion". If it succeeds positions will be declared vacant, elections will be held and we will almost certainly have a new Prime Minister by the end of the morning. 
I blame the media for that. People know their politicians through the media. It is the media which decides what the public is told and how they are told it. The government can put out as many press releases as it likes but the media will put its own spin on those releases.
And the media is also increasingly responsible for something else - encouraging a culture of expectation. About half of Downunder's population depends on some form of government handout. There is an increasing expectation that "the government will pay" or that "we pay our taxes so we should get..." It is an attitude which is encouraged by the media. They make headlines out of the "increased cost of child care" and the "proposed GP co-payment". It is usually accompanied by a "rich should pay for the poor" mantra and how "big business doesn't pay enough tax". There is rarely any discussion of why so many children are now in child care, whether this is a good thing or even really necessary. We all used to pay to go to the doctor once - and many still do - but it is now assumed that some people who could pay should not have to pay "because we have the Medicare levy". People also complain about the cost of education. They somehow believe that, if their child goes to a state school, then education should be completely "free" because their taxes pay for it. They argue private schools should not receive any government assistance. In arguing this they forget that if everyone used child care or went to visit the doctor without paying or sent their children to a state school then taxes would have to rise dramatically to pay for such things. Those who care for their children at home (or get grandparents to do it gratis), pay for a visit to the doctor and pay school fees are subsidising others. Argue that of course and there is the response "but they can afford it". Can they? And, simply because they can, is it right to expect them to go on doing so when others on the same income don't?
I once worked in a school in a "poor" area. Many of the fathers worked along the docks or in manual labour. Even without overtime they many were actually paid more than the teachers. They had better cars. They had boats (it was a heavily maritime area) and some had caravans. They went away on holidays. The children would talk about their fathers taking them to the football and going to the pub. I suspect most of them had almost no money in the bank. Teachers had a compulsory superannuation scheme -  and these workers had none. These parents are now grandparents. They are on the pension and have all the benefits that go with it. Retired teachers are on superannuation with none of those benefits. The pensioners are actually financially better off but they still see those with superannuation as privileged.
Something went wrong somewhere and any government which tries to fix it is almost doomed to failure. If, as people expect, "Banker" Malcolm takes over from "Brother" Tony then I suspect he is doomed to failure as well. The media simply won't let him succeed.


catdownunder said...

Update - the PM survived - 61-39 and the media promptly said it was a vote of "no-confidence" in the PM. Some of those 39 actually support the PM but wanted the air to be cleared but apparently this still amounts to a vote of no-confidence.

Anonymous said...

Should perhaps point out to other readers of this blog that Cat is correct. Some, indeed most, of the 39 do support the PM. He is generally well liked by his colleagues. Although the Press Gallery vehemently deny it the issue is media driven - a case of "methinks they doth protest too much". Chris