Monday, 9 May 2005

Not Listening to His Master's Voice

Monday, 9th May, 2005  - Richard Farmer 
Less than a month ago Rupert Murdoch gave a speech in which he declared that "too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers." It was no wonder, the News Corporation boss told the American Society of Newspaper Editors, that people, in particular the young, were ditching their newspapers. Today's teens, twenty- and thirty-somethings "don't want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what's important."
So what did I find in this morning's Australian previewing its 2005 Budget Special Edition? The promise that 10 of "the nation's most experienced political, economic and business writers" would be featured. All but one of them covered their first budget at least 22 years ago. I could not tell you what the 20-somethings of my acquaintance think of the likes of Paul Kelly (first budget 1973), Alan Wood (first budget 1967) and Mike Steketee (1970) because no youngster of my acquaintance reads them. Only Matt Price (first budget 2001) is on the wave length of my 25 year old son. And that's because he covers the footy every week up the back end of the paper.

Sunday, 8 May 2005

A Poisonous Relationship - Howard and Costello

Sunday, 8th May, 2005  - Richard Farmer 
When politicians talk, what they do not say is every bit as important as what they do say. Consider this exchange on yesterday's Channel Nine Sunday program:
LAURIE OAKES: ... I mean, people must wonder how two people with a relationship as apparently poisonous as yours and John Howard's can get together and produce the right budget for this country.
PETER COSTELLO: Well, I can because I've been fully focused on the budget.
LAURIE OAKES: He hasn't?
PETER COSTELLO: Since — well, since February. And I take responsibility for the budget. Of course I do. I'm the Treasurer.
Treasurer Peter Costello did not even try to deny that his relationship with Prime Minister John Howard is 'poisonous'. Nor did he pretend that the leader and deputy leader of the country are working together on the budget. According to Mr Costello he has been fully focused on the budget but since February Mr Howard has not been.
The bitterness Mr Costello has about Mr Howard could not be plainer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

Relaxed No More - Peter Costello waiting for the leaderhip

Tuesday, 3rd May 2005  - Richard Farmer 
John Howard gave a perfectly understandable answer to those journalists who asked him questions about his plans for the future. Of course he gave no hint of an impending retirement. To have done so would have made him a lame duck for the 12 months or so more in which he will be Prime Minister.
The only surprise about this whole affair was the response of Treasurer Peter Costello. He reacted as if he had somehow been dudded. And to think just two weeks ago I made the mistake of writing how relaxed he was about the future. (Changing the Guard - 20th April 2005).
Peter Costello should return to being relaxed. The only way he will not be the leader of the Liberal Party at the next election is if he upsets his colleagues to such an extent that they either implore John Howard to stay on or choose someone else as their leader.