Monday, October 04, 2004

Time for naked partisanship

Everyone knows that Australian newspapers are far from unbiased in their political coverage. But today's newspaper gabfest on Labor's forest policy has to set some kind of record for naked, unvarnished partisanship on free display....

Sydney Morning Herald

Labor will save the forests

Mark Latham will protect "the overwhelming majority" of Tasmania's old growth forests from logging if elected - and promises no one in the timber industry need lose their job.
Launching Labor's long-awaited forestry policy yesterday, the Opposition Leader said he would appoint a team of conservation experts to decide which forests should be safeguarded.
And as compensation to the forestry industry and the island, he promised $800million for jobs creation and improving skills - a sum that represents more than $100,000 for every Tasmanian timber job.

The Australian

Labor splits over saving trees

MARK Latham has made an election pledge to save Tasmania's iconic old-growth forests, but at the big cost of provoking an angry backlash from unions, the timber industry and senior Labor MPs who accuse him of selling out to the Greens.
In a last-ditch effort to lock in key support from the Greens, the Labor leader unveiled yesterday an $800million plan to protect most of the state's high conservation value old-growth forests, claiming he owed it "to future generations".

Daily Telegraph

Money grows on trees

MARK Latham yesterday added to Tasmania's remarkable record of political payoffs by offering an $800 million bribe to the island's timber workers.

The Australian's piece is amplified by a side article: Dennis Shanahan explains that the "ALP has fallen into the fatal zone." Why? Well, because the latest Newspoll has Labor down one point on its primary vote and the Coalition up 3. But "fatal zone" talk seems rather hard to credit when the two party preferred margin is still 48.5 to 51.5!

Unsurprisingly, it's the Murdoch papers beating up Labor and the SMH boosting it. You might say, thank God for the Herald. Or you might say, I'd give up all of the Herald's partisan Labor party boosterism if it could be exchanged for some actual balance from the Murdoch press.