Saturday, 21 December 2019

Criticising the Prime Minister

is a game isn't it? It's fun!
Or is it? 
I know we all like to criticise the Prime Minister of the day - and that some Prime Ministers get criticised more than others. I know it can also depend on which side of the political fence you sit how you will feel about any one Prime Minister or another.
But...yes, you knew that was coming didn't you, there is also such a thing as being fair and reasonable.
The present Prime Minister of Downunder has been severely criticised for taking his family on holiday in the middle of the catastrophic bushfires in another state. (Ours here didn't seem to warrant a mention in this instance.) The media kept telling us it "shows a lack of leadership".
Some years back a previous Prime Minister of Downunder, a certified firefighter, went out with his crew mates and actually fought a fire. The media said it was "just a photo opportunity", indeed tried to suggest he had only been out there for as long as it had taken for the media to take photographs.
So, what's going on?
Fire fighting is a state responsibility, not a federal one. The present Prime Minister knows nothing about fighting fires. He has admitted, "I don't hold a hose." He took his wife and two girls off for a short break and left the Deputy Prime Minister, a rural man who knows much more about fighting fires, in charge.  He was also at the other end of a phone, able to be contacted at any minute. 
I am not sure what people expected him to do if he was here. My own work has taught me that, in a crisis situation, the last thing people want is politicians putting in an appearance. Those involved simply want to get on with the job. 
He has come back under pressure and will go straight to a state's headquarters. Why? 
People are saying it is "too little, too late" and that he is in "damage control mode". Perhaps he is. I don't know. I do know that right now people are too  busy to want meetings with him.
Oh and he has also been blamed for the fires occurring in the first place. That they might have been caused by lightning strikes, fallen power lines, arsonists, people who throw live cigarette butts or use angle grinders and solid fuel barbecues on a day of high fire danger is  apparently something he is solely responsible for. He is also responsible for the climate change which causes the fires because his government is doing "nothing". 
All this is nonsense of course but the media loves it - just as  they had a field day criticising and poking fun at the Prime Minister who had been a volunteer fire fighter for years and was out there doing something. In past history the media criticised another Prime Minister for actually picking up a spade during another crisis too.
It seems the media simply find something to criticise if they can - particularly if they don't care for the political leaning of the Prime Minister in question.
All this interests me greatly because there is a former  Prime Minister and a former Leader of the Opposition who should both be facing a very serious criminal charges in the courts - separate charges and very different crimes. The media has barely mentioned these things. The police are withholding evidence and the public prosecutors who should be dealing with it have simply declined to take action. If the matters did go to trial the charges may or may not be proven but they are issues which should be tried in the courts. The media is remaining strangely silent about these things. It is not for fear of libel cases being  brought against them because there are ways to report such things without any likelihood of such action being taken.
I have no doubt that those putting pressure on the present Prime Minister feel pleased that they have been able to cause him to abandon his short break. They will claim it is action "in support of those who are out there fighting the fires".
Perhaps it is but the media needs to report other things that are also in the public interest...and those "protesting" outside the Prime Minister's residence should be out there  helping to fight the fires.

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