Radio talk show hosts like Alan Jones have an influence on our political life because politicians think they have an influence on public opinion. I have never seen objective evidence of such impact but politicians are not mugs when it comes to deciding what influences their voters so I don’t completely dismiss the idea. Which is why I am intrigued by the entry of the Sydney based Alan Jones in to the Queensland election campaign.
Now this intervention is no ordinary pre-election rant by a conservative commentator. Alan Jones has moved to Brisbane to broadcast for the duration of the campaign to turn his form of vitriol on to Liberal National Party Premier Campbell Newman. Consider this morning’s offering as summarised by the ABC:
Jones told radio 4BC the Newman government had an appalling track record.
“Make no bones about it – this is as bad as anything we’ve ever seen in government in Australia anywhere,” he said.
He described Mr Newman as a bully and that he “couldn’t back the Premier to win a chook raffle”.
Jones said Mr Newman lied to him in 2012 when he promised there would be no stage three of the Acland coal mine near Toowoomba, where Jones grew up.
“What’s happened on the Darling Downs under this government is a disgrace,” Jones said.
He’s first best friends with the mining giants who are plundering this state and not improving our bottom line.
“Our debt is worse than it was when Newman came into government – and our agricultural land is being squandered and he’s done nothing about the debt he said he would address.
“This is the bloke who won’t investigate why a dozen people died in the Grantham floods.
“You can’t believe a word this bloke says.”
Jones said no-one in the LNP Government was prepared to listen.
“[Health Minister Lawrence] Springborg has had a million letters about the health concerns by the people at Tara living in a coal seam gas field and those letters are unanswered.”
Not that Alan Jones is going as far as urging a vote for Labor. He points out to his audience that there are plenty of good independents worthy of support and has gone as far as endorsing some of them with campaign material.
It is an intriguing intervention although the latest opinion polls still have the LNP government ahead as does the Owl’s political indicator.