C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Expensive Propagandist Bullshit

The Liberal Party's Murdoch helper monkeys have come out in force recently, spinning to a degree that could be measured in g-force. The Australian's latest propaganda piece, is, appropriately enough, about the Liberals' latest propaganda piece. Entitled 'Getting the right message across on IR', it begins with a reasonable-enough question, then moves into 'hard sell' mode:

At what point does public information become government propaganda? This is
the delicate road along which the Howard Government has embarked in a bid to
claw back the support of voters spooked by a spirited ACTU campaign against the
new industrial relations laws.

At what point indeed? Of course, a 'public information' campaign by an incumbent government is to be distinguished by a union scare campaign, that will leave voters 'spooked'. A multi-million dollar advertising blitz, to supplement the previous (failed) multi-million dollar advertising blitz, is not, according to our good editor, a waste of public funds. Even if it were a gross and propagandist waste of taxpayers' hard-earned, this is immaterial, as it's 'not that the Opposition would be doing anything different were it in the Government's position'.

But it goes on:

The reality is the Government remains under pressure on industrial
relations in the face of a fierce and misleading campaign by the ACTU and Labor.
But as today's Newspoll shows, exactly how the industrial relations issue will
play out come the election remains unclear. What is certain is that public
confusion over Work Choices remains, including a widespread misunderstanding
about whether it has yet been introduced.

A 'misleading campaign'? What, like the Government one, depicting happy workers standing around, basking in the glory and happiness of having lost their award conditions? And public 'misunderstanding'? Are we to attribute voters' resentment at being shafted as an error of reason?

Throughout the piece, it is noteworthy that the editorial neglects to mention that the proposed changes to Workchoices have not even been shown to Parliament yet, and could, in theory, at least, be rejected. Given that Workchoices is the fundamental difference between this election and the 2004 election, it is a little disingenuous to suggest that the impact of IR is 'unclear'.

The Government argues that the campaign is needed to counter the high-spending
negative campaign being waged against Work Choices.

The ads that have run against Workchoices have been relatively low-budget, late-night affairs, funded with private money (i.e. paid for by union members). Note the contrast between these and the extravagantly glossy drivel dished up by the Government in its advertising campaign, paid for with public funds.

The sort of workplace flexibility that is supported by both employees and
employers has never required people to be unfairly stripped of pay and
conditions. And if it was not the Government's intention to drive down working
conditions there is no reason why a no-disadvantage test should not have been
included in the original legislation.

If there was 'no reason' not to include a no-disadvantage test, then why did the Government scrap the test in the first place? Are we to believe that it was a mere oversight during the legislative orgy that spewed forth a 1000-page industrial relations bonanza (for employers only)? Of course, according to our Murdoch-employed friends, it is perfectly reasonable for our wise and benevolent Government to not only bend workers over a barrel with Workchoices, but to ensure that workers are lubricated with expensive false advertising until they like it.

Attempting to place limits on the ability of any government to
communicate with its people should be discouraged. The risk that such
advertisements may prove counterproductive if voters concentrate on the money
being wasted, rather than the message, should be deterrent enough to

Hear, hear. The Howard Government has listened to public opinion on a range of other issues (Iraq, Hicks, environment), there can be no question that they will avoid 'excess' whilst left unchecked, and in complete control of the Senate.

Excellent analysis of Workchoices-related issues can be found here. Still, the mind boggles. Just how does The Australian come up with this stuff?