Monday, 31 August 2009

The press gallery herd has stampeded


Julia Gillard is no longer an untouchable. On Saturday the lads and lasses of the press gallery declared an end to her protected status. It was if there had been a meeting of the columnist’s collective to reach an agreed position.
Julia Gillard  — from Teflon coating to feet of clay? wrote Laurie Oakes in the Brisbane Courier Mail and the other News Limited tabloids. This long time herd leader found that suddenly the Deputy Prime Minister’s competence is being questioned. Two other veterans in Saturday columns were on the same track if not as pointed in their criticism.
Stimulus an item of faith Paul Kelly called it in The Australian,writing that the Rudd government’s $42 billion fiscal stimulus has now been exposed for its inefficiencies, cost overruns and lack of “value-for-money” — largely failings of the Gillard education package.
The headline Come election day, Rudd and co may get a lesson in the folly of self-aggrandisement above Tony Wright’s commentary in the Melbourne Age also spared the Education Minister but the questions about how clever it is to insist that schools receiving federal funds from the stimulus package put up signs saying so finally rest with her.
On Sunday in the Sydney Sun Herald, Michelle Grattan’s headline similarly gave the Prime Minister the spotlight — Rudd’s largesse a sign of the times for all to see — but the person in the Government who “has turned its stimulus building program into a long and shameless taxpayer-funded electoral advertisement” is clearly Ms Gillard. The story School signs break election law, says Chris Pyne — Education Minister Julia Gillard faces fresh problems with claims the signage requirements attached to her schools stimulus scheme could breach state electoral laws in this morning’s The Australian left absolutely no doubt about who is to blame.
Don’t provoke a cranky poodle was Malcolm Farr’s advice in theSydney Daily Telegraph on a number of policy incidents which have left Gillard, who also is Minister for Education, Employment, Workplace Relations, a touch embarrassed. To round out the weekend’s commentary for the Minister there was Glenn Milne’sPoodle’s bite may yet wound the government.
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