Despite being underappreciated by the previous regime and the Fourth Estate, Australians have swept the side of politics devoid of empathy, “unfunded” or not, writes editor Michelle Pini.
THERE IS NO DOUBT that Labor’s election victory will change a lot of things. Australians are betting on it. We hope for changes on climate policy, gender equality, cost of living pressures, Indigenous affairs.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appears to be aware of the burden of responsibility on his shoulders and was addressing many Australians who have felt marginalized over the past nine years – and more specifically the past three – when he said in a moving speech on election night:
“People have underestimated me all my life.”
This simple statement, acknowledging that his path was difficult, that he was not one of those born to rule and therefore did not expect to succeed, fundamentally speaks to the vast majority of Australians, but certainly he spoke to all Australians whose path has not been laid with the snares of law.
His heartfelt words resonated with Australians who have lost family, friends, businesses and homes to bushfires, floods and the pandemic. His words spoke to Indigenous Australians, New Australians, the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly and those who have sought asylum.
Albanese’s words resonated with women – underrated, always.
They spoke of the more subtle biases bubbling beneath the surface that those with foreign surnames, less desirable zip codes or underfunded public schools endure.
The Prime Minister expressed the thoughts of the majority of Australians struggling with mounting debt and soaring costs of living in precarious employment, young people struggling to buy homes and elderly people living in residential care. Substandard elder care.
Albo’s words echoed in the streets of our cities.
While his remarks may not have impressed the conservative side of the political class or their comrades in the media chorus, they likely resonated with street cleaners.
In this election, Australians by far have been underestimated by both the status quo party and its public relations department masquerading as the mainstream media.
That’s why this remark from public broadcaster political editor Andrew Probyn – one of many veiled bashings aimed at the new prime minister – sums up all that is wrong with the Fourth Estate:
“Rather than the posh end of the street, [Albanese] look at the people who might be cleaning up the street.”
Who said class division was dead?
Apparently, in the world occupied by Probyn, the one in which he believes the former Prime Minister “we will fondly remember”, people who do menial jobs have no value and are necessarily idiots. In this same world, the end of the “smart” street can only be the exclusive domain inhabited by the elites.
As David Donovan explained:
Murdoch’s gargantuan newspaper network and Fox News-like cable network set the agenda that all other mainstream media follow, including the public broadcaster. These days, especially the public broadcaster.
… The ABC has become a strange media offshoot of Murdoch.
And with this subtle but effective corporate appropriation of the national broadcaster on top of Australia’s already concentrated media ownership, the disconnect between the Fourth Estate and the real world is now complete.
It seems that this lack of respect and bias bordering on outright hostility, which characterizes the Australian media’s approach to progressive politicians, is not lost on the rest of the world either. Today, as the newly sworn in prime minister attended the Quad Summit in Japan, Australian journalists shouted questions with their usual disrespect, but unlike in their home territory, where such outbursts are tolerated, this disrespect of elementary courtesy only earned them expulsion of the procedure.
And, unfortunately for Probyn and his ilk, Australia – the place where only a tiny minority identify with this privileged worldview and the majority find it abhorrent – has spoken. Despite being underappreciated by the previous regime and the Fourth Estate, Australians have swept the side of politics devoid of empathy, ‘unfunded’ or not.
Hopefully the street cleaners and their fellow Australians will now rid the streets of mastheads and other media platforms that have only continued to support their few companions on the backs of the many.
This editorial was originally published as part of the weekly Independent Australia newsletter. These editorials are generally only available to subscribers and can be read online in the IA members area.
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