Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

“Lateline” admits campaign is issueless?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-10-18

Did ABC’s Lateline (2007-10-17) expect election news (scare campaigns by the Libs, holier-than-thou claims by the ALP) would be so predictable, and that Julia Gillard would say nothing in response to Tony Jones’ good questions, so they planned for the time they gave to gossip about a footballer who hasn’t played a game for ages, something of little interest to viewers of late-night ABC current affairs?

Meanwhile, Lateline Business explored issues of greater political import, without a politician in sight, probably because no politician wants to talk about these important issues in any substantive way:

  • The 30% increase in the spot price of iron so far this year was attributed to the costs to deliver ore, which implies something about infrastructure in the country, not just the price of oil.
  • The credit for the profits of the managed investment funds were put down to the massive amounts money from Keating’s superannuation reforms (80% of which is invested in Australia), implying we should think about whether stock price rises are not due to intrinsic improvements in the way Australian businesses works to develop products and improve efficiency, or whether the rises are due to the massive demand for a relatively small supply of stocks to buy.  Will these increases in the book value of Australian stocks survive as baby-boomers withdraw the majority of these superannuation funds over the next few years?
  • The investment banks Babcock & Brown, along with Macquarie, believe that they’ll be able to extract massive profits from aged care, and, in self-interest, argue against government reform of aged services, implying that such services would not impose an unnecessary burden on government, and that with proper management, there is no national panic needed.
  • Farmers complained that levees supposedly for research into controlling the spread of a disease threatening our agriculture have been totally mismanaged, the disease is spreading, and they want their money back.  What is on offer from the politicians to manage the next disease that threatens our food supply?  Horse racing, apparently, is much more important.
  • Developers admitted to having large "land banks" that have not been used to develop housing, which suggests that with managed development at appropriate densities, massive releases of government land may not be needed urgently.
  • India took steps to stop predatory speculators by restricting the destructive derivatives market, a market that soaks up money and effort that could help productive capacity.  Are Australian politicians, with an economy more in need of investment in production, looking at this issue?

When businessmen, and lefties like me, are both highlighting inaction by government, particularly the federal government, over the past decade, implying that the talk from politicians of the major parties is not going to the heart of these matters but merely generating soundbites for the masses, then there is something severely wrong with the way our nation has been, and probably will be, managed.

It seems that politicians from the major parties are more interested in power than in telling the public how they might grapple with issues that affect our future.  They’d rather stick to trivia, evasiveness, and platitudes.

Part of the blame for this disgusting state of affairs must go to the mainstream media’s political reporters, who have failed to buttonhole the politicians and demand substantive answers, or at least highlight such inadequancy in our politicians to the public.

But perhaps the political reporters have given up on the whole idea of serious discussions of substantive issues from our politicians, or perhaps they’ve come to the conclusion that the Australian people are not interested in, or capable of understanding, such debate.


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