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May 29, 2024

How Murdoch and the miners screwed us yet again

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Phillip Frazer 

Let’s get a few numbers straight first: this was not a landslide or a blowout and the people of Australia did not fall in line behind the grinning salesman Scott Morrison. 

The Labor Party got more primary votes than any other party, followed by the Liberals, the Greens, the Liberal Nationals (Queensland), and the Nationals. Labor’s vote was down by one per cent, Libs down by 0.6 per cent and the only significant gains were for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (up 1.7 per cent) and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (3.3 per cent) – and if you add Hanson’s and Palmer’s votes together they’re still half a million votes less than the Greens got.

An advertisement from the smear campaign against Bill Shorten. Image supplied.

So the shift was slight but just enough to block the Labor-Greens combo from taking back the government. A few percentage points worth of disaffected and/or easily conned voters were drawn to two blow-hard and vacuous parties – which took the pollsters, the media, and the bookies by surprise.

Labor lost it in Queensland and Tasmania, the Greens didn’t lose it anywhere much, and Morrison’s mob won by getting the second preferences of those Palmer and Hanson voters. 

Are Queenslanders themselves the problem – are they hillbillies or deplorables like some of Trump’s hard core? If so, how come they elected state Labor governments for 25 of the past 30 years including two female Labor premiers?

For 180 years Queensland’s economic role has been to grow crops, raise cattle and sheep, dig up valuable dirt, and deliver all of them to ports for export, with most of the profits going to a few megarich Australians and to global corporations. The state’s inland and coastal towns reflect that history, but nowadays new production technology offers few jobs on the land so a high percentage of Queenslanders are doing poorly. 

The coalition promises them more of that low-security, low-income economy, pretending that fossil fuels have a promising future and that China needs our ores when, really, we desperately need the $125 billion they pay us each year. That’s more than what Australia earns from sales to Japan, South Korea, the United States, the UK, and India, combined.

Meanwhile, Labor promised to help the bottom 80 per cent of Queenslanders by supporting some more mining, and to stop global meltdown by supporting less CO2 somehow, somewhere, sometime. 

So both Labor and the coalition failed to present a plan for Queensland’s future, but Clive Palmer had one – himself. He promised to single-handedly save our country from the politics-as-usual big parties. In fact, he made a deal to give one of those parties, Morrison’s mob, his second preferences, which he absurdly over-predicted. 

Simultaneously Rupert Murdoch went apeshit in all his media (80 per cent of newspapers sold in Australia) because the Labor leader refused to listen to him and Labor might be bad for his business.

In the end, Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) got 3.4 per cent of the nationwide vote, but failed to win a seat in parliament even though Palmer spent more than $60 million on advertising. Those votes cost him $107 each! 

Why did he do that? What did he buy for $60 million? He has now explained that it was all about stopping Labor leader Bill Shorten from becoming prime minister.

‘We thought that would be a disaster for Australia,’ Mr Palmer told ABC radio Brisbane, using the royal ‘we’. In the last two weeks ‘we decided to polarise the electorate… [by] explaining to Australian people what Shorten’s economic plans were’.

‘I’m very, very elated that we’ve saved the country from shifty [Shorten].’

He also reckons that Australians should thank him for saving them for his charitable act which was ‘more effective than giving some money to Meals on Wheels.’

His charitable act was to inspire foolish and/or disgruntled voters, many of whom would not have gone to the trouble of voting LNP, to cast a protest vote for the Palmerites – which had the effect of adding half a million to the gross total of Morrison’s mob. 

In fact, Palmer’s real goal was to re-elect a government that would allow him to keep control of the many thousands of square kilometres of Australian soil he controls, some of which he rents to Chinese government corporates for huge profits. Just one of his properties in Western Australia gives him $100 million every 12 weeks from the Chinese iron ore extractor Citic Ltd, and he expects that will soon rise to $100 million every fortnight.

For some perspective, here’s what the real political parties spent on advertising this election: Labor $14,450,000, LNP $13,300,000, and the Greens $320,000 – in other words Palmer’s fake Party spent more than twice the total spent by all the major parties combined.

Mind you – Morrison & Co spent an extra $200m of our tax money in the election build-up on government advertising to hype their own policies.

The lesson of this election is not that we-the-voters are fools – we’re disillusioned, bombarded with disinformation, over-powered and under-represented – but we must demand 1) public funding of elections and 2) public ownership of our natural resources like minerals and fuels, sunshine and airwaves.

Those are the two things that the Murdoch family, Clive Palmer, and their compradores in Canberra will fight to the death to prevent us, or parties with a social conscience, from getting our grubby little public mitts on. 

Phillip Frazer writes from atop the little round hill in Mullum and posts on coorabellridge.com.

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  1. First apologies as I don’t want to offend, Tito here…. I am over it and accept it… I built a concrete pill and jumped off..
    QUESTIONs: How many votes would labour have got if the greens vote was not counted in their preferences ?
    How much did labour spend? Mally put in a Mill of his own dough last time..
    Was it against the law for fat clive to spend up big on advertising?. There should be a limit that’s for sure.
    If Gina has a go we are all fu*#@% China made a killing on his T shirts and corflutes.
    Maintain the rage comrade 🙂
    Maybe If labour keep Albo there he will guarantee labor loses next election too. With Bill the Knife on the front bench he may not last that long… I love the beer and the footy clips though ..
    First time I haven’t voted labor in yonks. I was frightened of all their policies. A lot of noise but no real action.
    Beware the silent majority especially when you live in a bubble.. A little advice …Keep your friends close, your enemies closer..read Australian and watch Sky ( Richo is great) to be aware of the enemy . Not just the Echo, Ch’s 10/9/7 and ABC ( Ita has poached Speers for the insiders. My bet is he could host Q& A to help with their harsh pandering bias
    Preaching angrily to the converted perpetuates anger and haters.
    Peace be with you my brother
    Please dont read this if you want to be happy 🙁

    • Good point.
      I’m actually happy that funding is being discussed again although the other parties including greens also accept corporate donations (except nsw branch of greens much to the upset of unionists). What this article doesn’t show is all the other branches of lib and alp and grn spend nor does it approach the question of continuous relationships from big pharma and mining and China investment and and and. The alp and libs receive millions across many arms every year.. not just election years. So to complain about Clive is a little rich.

  2. Phillip. Your side lost. Get over it. It is called democracy. Have another crack in 3 years time.
    You sound like the angry Clinton voters.

    • Brooke, ‘your side lost’? This is not democracy which is the point being made here if you actually read the article? How is this a democracy when a millionaire can basically buy an election to further his mining aspirations I ask you? Check in with yourself. Australia has a huge role to play in the climate change battle as the second biggest exporter of coal in the world. Do you have children, grandchildren? A whole body of world scientists have issued an emergency warning to world leaders we have 10-12 years to take drastic action or it will be too late. Is that something you are willing to risk on your conscience? Food for thought.

  3. Phillip, you state that: “The Labor Party got more primary votes than any other party” but not more than the coalition and that “Morrison’s mob won by getting the second preferences of those Palmer and Hanson voters”. How does Labor usually (always) win?

    Referring to “Morrison’s mob” includes the majority of Australians excluding, of course, the Greens. Thank you for finding an excuse for losing the unlosable election.

    “Foolish voters” have triumphed it seems!

  4. I’m not ‘over it’. The Giddy Aunt’s far from over it – big-time.
    So many con-jobs by Lib/Nat/Labor & the public’s seen as
    ‘mugs’ & talked down to. Clive, Gina & Murdoch chant ‘Get
    It While You Can’ or – as the Aunt sings – “I’m working over
    a four leaf clover” I can’t for the life of me understand why
    we allowed ourselves to be fooled & manipulated by such
    a tardy bunch. The only way out of it [for me] is to play my
    Green Tambourine & believe ‘we shall overcome’.

  5. Congratulations, Phillip. An excellent, most astute explanation of how, where and why Labor lost the Election –
    and even more reason why our Voting System needs a proper overhaul. Be it first past the post, or similar. Preferential counting gets more and more stupid every Election.

    At least we don’t seem to have to put up with those with a handful or less votes sitting in Parliament this time,
    but Bill was right … IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE … and not only of Government, (or GUMMIT, as ScoMo mis-pronounces it) but very definitely more-than-time to bury the insanity of our ridiculous distribution system !

    Look forward to another Article from you furthering how we improve and get on top of this problem.

  6. Batter up … on this selection.
    Well, we poor fish got elbowed in the eye, got battered didn’t we
    when the wind in the polls was blowing the other way.
    We were the fat boy at the plate feeling fat
    and feeling the shortened bat while Morrison threw a curve ball
    Wham, admit it, the ball went threw to the catchers mit.
    Morrison won the election, and here we are all beaten and battered
    like dead fish, darling.
    Are we to kiss our pride goodbye, my my. you sigh.
    Or are we to pick up the bat and try for a win next time.
    Let’s fly and try.
    There is going to be a lot of labour and bending the fingers
    the wrists and the elbow, for now we have Albo.

  7. Reckon we need a bit more than public funding of elections and public ownership of what we actually already own!
    First up, we need a Federal ICAC with strong, retrospective powers and abundant resources to visit necessary justice upon all the corrupt actors in the Liberal, National and Labor organisations.
    We also need to immediately ban foreign citizen Rupert Goebbels from media ownership in this country and to eradicate his empire of lies.
    We must immediately stop all new or expanded coal, gas and oil extraction.
    Then there are possibly a dozen other things we urgently need to do if we want to survive as a species on a planet that can still support life, but the previous suggestions are a good start.

  8. At least Phillip Fraser has admitted one thing. Labor and the Greens are a coalition, they can’t agree on everything but they depend on each other. And voters are not always so stupid as to preferences and advertising. Here in Richmond, Elliot has been campaigning against the Nationals for six years nonstop, at least two pages in each weekly, mostly dirt. I would still stick to Labor if they could stick to their core constituency and not rely so much on surveys. Morrison might have a background in advertising, so what?

  9. Les Murray once said to me to add is to make a fool of yourself, but I don’t care, the Echo is fighting the next election already. Two factors in this latest election. Governments (and Oppositions) have access to a lot more information than the average punter has (as do trainers and owners), this is only natural, I don’t want reams of paper in the mail every week. So there has to be some element of trust in this contract, or democracy simply would be overwhelmed by paper. For this reason, we vote according to trust mainly. On the issue of Adani, Shorten seemed to want it both ways, not wanting to lose Green preferences nor his core constituency, but there was no place for compromise, it goes ahead or doesn’t, so he lost his party votes on both counts.
    And when it comes to the influence of Murdoch, it’s nothing compared to the overall shift of the Internet towards the Left. You can hardly find a climate change sceptic anymore, they’ve all been swallowed up. So there’s the second factor, a reaction against the extreme Left that is slowly swallowing Labor.
    This extends gradually to all our freedoms. It’s the right that is making more sense at the moment. Your paper feels that you only have to mention Hanson and there will be a natural disgust. There’s no more maligned politician in the country than her and she’s never played the victim card, she’s a fighter to the end. If our country were to be involved in a fight for its survival, again, then that’s the sort of fighter I would want in there. Not everyone else who rolls over at some political incorrectness, as defined by a rag like yours or Aunty.

  10. Handing out how to vote cards the most common statement was about the honesty of politicians. A party tries to be upfront and the swinging voters fall for a party( get over it nats voters you are still part of one party in government despite your pleadings of independence) of no policies and lie tellers( death tax etc, better managers despite doubling our debt and a surpius of dubious origins). What hope is there for honesty in government, and we won’t even mention an integrity commission?


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