21 Nov. 2007

Two More Sleeps, Two Final Sprays

Bob Hawke today launches a massive final spray at JHo, as does News Ltd's Tim Dunlop.

Hawke attempts to demolish three myths: the union bogeyman myth, the myth of Howard's economic capabilities, and (very briefly) the myth that the Iraq War and GWOT make us safer. He is at his best on the second point:
Who, as treasurer, had responsibility for economic management for more than five years before I was elected on March 5, 1983? John Winston Howard. I knew that he was handing me the worst legacy in terms of unemployment and inflation in Australia's history; both were at 11%. But I didn't know exactly how bad the projected budget deficit was, because he had refused to come clean on this during the campaign.

On Sunday, March 5, I called in the secretary of the Treasury, John Stone, who told me that the projected figure for 1983-4 was $9.6 billion, the largest in our history; equivalent today as a percentage of GDP to more than $40 billion. Stone pointed out that "the budget balance is projected to deteriorate from near zero to more than 6% of GDP in a two-year period. The speed and magnitude of that deterioration is almost without precedent among the major OECD countries in the postwar period". Stone was no Labor stooge — he went on to become a Nationals senator — and his written judgement was that Howard's performance was virtually the worst anywhere in the developed world since 1945.
Dunlop covers a whole host of issues, including WorkChoices, Iraq, interest rates, Aboriginal reconciliation, pork-barrelling, Health and the presumed handover to $mirky.

I have to say that Tim has put in a lot of good, hard work at Blogocracy and hopefully he has won over a few voters with his hard-hitting and well-supported analysis. It remains unfortunate that he has allowed his criticism of the Murdoch stable to be muzzled, and in that sense he reminds me a lot of Peter Garrett. Will it have been worth it, after all, when and if JHo get's his come-uppance? Let's just note that Rupert Murdoch has never lost an election, News Ltd continues raking in massive profits, and media reform is not on the Rudd agenda. I hope Tim will have something more to say about that after Saturday.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know? Labor says media reform is on the agenda, well... sorta:
Labor is expected to reveal details of its media policy today, including its stance on the definition of Channels A and B, the niche datacasting and mobile spectrum to be auctioned off next year, and the possible introduction of a children's ABC channel.

Senator Conroy flagged Labor will have a firm switch-off date in the move from analogue to digital television. Following the switch-off, he said the analogue spectrum could be used for the fourth licence to enhance competition - a move long coveted by Rupert Murdoch, who has indicated he'd like to expand into free-to-air television in Australia.

"This is not about keeping Murdoch happy," Senator Conroy said. "This is about diversity."
Don't hold your breath waiting for the magic laws of market attrition to smite down the GG staffers...