Monday, December 24, 2007

Tears Of A Clown

Akerman's Latest Conspiracy Theory : Beware The "Third Force" In Australian Politics

By Darryl Mason

Liberal Party propagandist and, surely by sheer coincidence, Murdoch media columnist Piers Akerman is shocked, shocked and outraged, by the revelation that the union movement spent some $14 million dollars in 2006 and 2007 telling Australians workers how the now former Howard government's now former WorkChoices regime would eat into their paypackets and family time.

Incredibly, as he half-heartedly tries and fails to fire up some more union-related fear-mongery, Akerman doesn't even mention that the Liberal Party has now utterly dumped its WorkChoices regime and will not stand in the way of the Rudd government freeing Australian workers of it completely in the next few years. WorkChoices is dead and buried, and Brendan Nelson hand-carved its tombstone, but Piers hasn't noticed yet.

Akerman also clamps on his tin foil hat and becomes all conspiratorial as he warns of a "third force" in Australian politics. Outside of the "third force" that is the mainstream media, and the "third force" that is the public relations budgets of our largest corporations, and the "third force" that is the accumulated ad spending power of the business community and the "third force" that is the multi-million dollar budgets of energy and oil industry lobbyists.

He means that other "third force", the one he doesn't like much. The Unions, and GetUp. Boogah!

Akerman thinks it's disgusting that a bunch of unionists can raise millions of dollars at public rallies and spend that money on advertising their point of view. The hide of them participating in public debate and democracy like that. Shocking.

The ACTU funded the anti-WorkChoices advertising campaigns, to little opposition from its members. Whereas you, the taxpayers, funded the former Howard government's pro-WorkChoices advertising campaigns.

The former Howard government spent more than $17 million on advertising its WorkChoices boondoggle in less than 10 months, and that's only until mid-way through 2007. We still don't know how much of taxpayers money Howard And Friends blew flogging WorkChoices from July 2007 through to the eve of the election, but it's easily another $15-$20 million.

Of course, Piers Akerman mentions all this absolutely nowhere at all in his one-eyed screed.

Akerman also refuses to tell readers that former Workplace Relations minister Joe Hockey had a report on his desk at the start of October, detailing how many taxpayers dollars his government was shoveling into its pro-WorkChoices campaign for the 2006-2007 financial year. Nor did Akerman report that Hockey refused to release that report before the election.

And here's some more details of the millions Howard And Friends blew marketing, hyping and generally flogging WorkChoices, which achieved little except annoying the hell out of television viewers every night for months on end :
More than $1 million was spent researching the effectiveness of the ads with the Open Mind Research Group.

And $12.6 million was spent buying advertising space for “welfare to work, support the system and workplace relations system campaigns”.

Dewey and Horton was paid $44,404.25 to take photos for Work Choices advertising while advertising agency Whybin/TBWA received $1.4 million for “creative services” that were part of the Work Choices campaign.
The final tally for the advertising and marketing alone on WorkChoices could hit more than $50-$60 million.

So out of control was Howard's ad blitzing on WorkChoices that in May, 2007, he had spent more on WorkChoices ads than he spent on national security awareness. Terrorists? What terrorists?

Akerman, like the Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt, and like half the op-ed writers at The Australian, still can't believe that the Howard government lost the election, and the Labor Party is now in charge of country.

It's like some kind of waking nightmare for them all, and they've still got their fingers in their ears and their eyes squeezed tightly shut as they chant "This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening."

It'd be funny, if it wasn't so sad, bizarre and downright disturbing.

Bolt and Akerman are promoted by their respective newspapers as "leading journalists".

But leading journalists where exactly?

Andrew Bolt is having such a hard time adjusting to the new political reality of Australia that he has now abandoned his Herald Sun blog for more than a month, if not forever :
I hope and expect at this stage to be back in a few weeks - perhaps around Australia Day. I toyed with the idea of keeping the blog going during my holidays, but my wife got angry cross (wife’s edit) and I think I probably need the break, to be honest. I need to look around me for a while, read a bit more, draw breath and recalculate perspective.

Terrorists? What Terrorists? Howard Spends More Flogging WorkChoices Than He Does On National Security Awareness

May 2007 : WorkChoices Forces Grim Future On Workers - Millions Already Work Overtime For No Extra Pay

May 2007 : Taxpayers To Foot Astounding $110 Million And Counting Howard Advertising Bill

June 2007 : WorkChoices Killing Liberals' Election Chances - Millions Of Australians Demand Return of 40 Hour Working Week

June 2007 : Howard's Claim That Australian Families "Have Never Had It So Good" Will Haunt Him All The Way Into The Election