Rock Bottom Is Up From Here.

It appears we have actually reached the bottom of the barrel, finished scraping it, checked it over for anything left, kicked the barrel over and dug about fifteen feet down. Because today Australia’s political debate centred around whether or not Cate Blanchett’s opinion on climate change and our – her – government’s response, was valid. She has chosen to express her opinion and values by helping front a union-funded political campaign encouraging Australians to think past the media’s woeful representation of the carbon tax pricing scheme (I’m looking at almost all of them here) and engage, using her celebrity for something she deems useful. While I don’t take much notice of what celebrities think, good on her.

The question of its validity rose up because, well, she’s a woman and a rich one at that. But what’s this? There are other people in the ad. Our very own, beloved, Michael Caton (he who plays pretty much the same character in everything he’s ever been in ever) is in it too, but his opinion wasn’t questioned, presumably because the validity of people’s opinions are means-tested. I’m just waiting for some idiot to say maybe Blanchett would understand all this better if she had…sorry, wrong argument, she’s got kids. See? How else are we to denigrate a woman with power and an opinion if she has kids?

Just to make sure, Channel 9’s Sunday evening news crossed to the Wharf Theatre to talk about whether she was being treated harshly. Why even bother getting involved in that dog whistle argument? Barnaby Joyce’s rabble-rousing was tired and messy and incomprehensible. The government were nowhere to be seen, despite the campaign being to their benefit.

To be fair, part of this has blown up because this Labor Government are the biggest bunch of numpties when it comes to explaining any of their policies. They are trying to actually do something (as well as being forced to do other things by people like Andrew Wilkie) and the something is good not just for the country but the world.

To illustrate: The Labor Party would take a focus group to a pub and explain the benefits of providing a free beverage. The media would be there, it would all be carefully stage-managed. The PR people would arrive in their Audis, the carefully selected working family representative (slightly heavy 35 year-old with 2.5 kids) would be nicely turned out in chinos and a polo shirt. Then the Minister would start speaking:

‘The liquid in question we present here today is a carbonated beverage, made with hops and malt and when consumed, usually orally, it makes the conshoomer…’

At that point, Tony Abbott would burst through the door with a bunch of carousing National Party wallopers, tear off his shirt and shout, ‘Free Beer!’ and everyone would vote for him instead.

And time and time again the media, and the Labor Party, let this happen. Labor can’t explain the Mining Resources Tax without treading on themselves and sections of the media somehow make Gina Rinehart look like a battler. Climate change isn’t explained properly and carefully by anyone, including Tim Flannery, because they cannot master the art of cut-through. The Coalition and the media, including Fairfax, are producing so much static that Labor just can’t catch a break, and it’s their own fault. The only break they’ve caught is an email from the Coalition whip moaning about MPs missing divisions.

Good government includes telling the story of policy and this government fails to tell a story that people can understand and digest. I’m for the carbon tax pricing scheme (I had to delete tax even though that’s not what it is but it’s all we hear because Labor never rebuffs it) and I’ve had to dig long and hard to even understand what the government could be maybe possibly be doing. Not every one has the time or the mad Google skillz, or the political engagement that goes beyond a shirtless, screaming Tony Abbott. Or the willpower, to be honest.

That’s not meant to be patronising, by the way, except possibly to Labor’s media advisors. Given the state of political discourse, people have been happier listening to Abbott rather than some nasal Labor minister whining about how it’s good for working families moving forward.

We’ve got this because we’ve asked for it. We are not demanding enough of our politicians, we are not holding them to the high standards we expect and we are letting them waste our Sundays bitching about a perfectly legal ad supporting the policy of an elected government. Nobody has made anything of Angry Anderson (that’s not me, by the way) being the climate sceptics’ front man (I actually thought he was dead) and nobody has questioned Rinehart’s lunatic views based on the amount of money she has in the bank.

Why are we letting the media question Blanchett like this, why are we consuming it and why isn’t the Labor government coming out swinging like they did when the Liberals leaked an email?


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