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Australian Media Round-up Monday 13.08.12

August 13, 2012

Round-up from SMH, sans News Review and weekend news, will get to that later. Will include Crikey stories and New Matilda later.

August 11, 2012, Hamish McDonald, SMH – Hugh White opines that the US can either power-share with China or it can openly contest its dominance. China has achieved ‘sea denial’, and the US cannot openly dictate policy in Asia anymore, despite Australian bases. These potential Australian bases are undermining Australia’s relations with China, as they position it against China rather than allowing for accommodation. Australia according to first ambassador to PRC, Fitzgerald, should remain independent, thus allowing us to criticise both the US and China, instead of being a lapdog to both.

August 13, 2012, Anna Patty, ‘Report Undermines Need For Power Sale’ SMH – A report by the Australian Market Energy Operator has stated that NSW does not need to increase its power supply until 2022. Labor in 2007 opted to privatise its generators on the basis that it would run out in 2014, yet now opposition energy spokesman Luke Foley has stated that based on the current report; there is no need for privatisation. The Government still wishes to continue on with privatisation, claiming it will save Treasury $6b in revenue. Yet surely if increased energy production was required, and it was funded by the private sector, would this not lead to increased prices, as has already been occurring in the last few years? The Coalition’s claims don’t particularly add up, unless somehow private monopolies magically lead to lower costs, and Labor appears more than disingenuous here, riding on the electricity privatisation for many years; indeed it was the issue that more than anything else destroyed NSW Labor. Trust neither party.

August 13, 2012, ‘Crime Commission Overhaul will not stop deals with criminals’ SMH – The State Government has issues a series of reforms pertaining to the scandal-ridden NSW Crime Commission. This includes creating a new role, independent integrity inspector, in conjunction with internal committees to monitor misconduct and employees’ relationships with informants. However the O’Farrell government did not take on board one of Supreme Court Justice Patten’s key proposal, which would require the approval of the NSW Supreme Court in compromise settlements between organised criminals and the Crime Commission, which has been an issue in the past. A potentially positive development, at least comforting to see the Liberal party not fall into the typical “tough on crime” non-sequitur that defined so much of Bob Carr’s premiership, and indeed politics nation-wide.

August 13, 2012 ‘Gillard comes out fighting and begins to see blue sky ahead’ Phillip Coorey, SMH’ – Second anniversary of the hung parliament; Julia Gillard has decided to fight throughout the rest of the year, both to put pressure on Tony Abbott rather than on the Labor government but also to fend off any leadership pressure. She has set up policy debates on disability, IR, power prices and education, off the back of recent PR victories on the NDIS and electricity prices; the former of which the Liberal premiers stumbled badly and the latter of which Tony Abbott himself appeared dumbfounded. Gillard wishes to portray Abbott as against facts and experts, yet perhaps Labor would benefit from less focus on the opposition – Tony Abbott is already deeply unpopular; the public has known this for a decade, long before his leadership, and the constant references to him are simply too transparently an attempt to shift the attention off themselves. Unfortunately, while Labor is not as terrible at communication as has been made out, their brand itself is confused – on the one hand they are attempting to be the Liberal-lite, sensible managers of the economy who adore the market, and on the other they still are attempting to maintain their working class roots. Perhaps they would be better if they ditched the former and stuck true to their principals. Yet Australia itself has moved on – the union movement, while still important, is sadly only moving downwards, and is more of a liability than a strength it appears. Until they reclaim the Social Democrat label, it appears that Labor, along with Labour and the Democrats, will continue to be politically confused and adrift. The up-coming battle over asylum seekers with the release of new report today will surely represent their typical own-goal after a number of tactical successes, as has occurred on so many occasions these last few years.

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