The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

News censors Blogocracy?

While browsing through Bryan’s OzPolitics feeds I was intrigued to find that the link to Tim Dunlop’s article The Australian versus the blogosphere at comes up empty. The cached link at OzPolitics comes up with Error 404 – Not Found. Have the News editorial staff pulled the article as part of its unprecedented attack on the Australian blogosphere for daring to point out that Dennis Shanahan is a partisan hack?

Shanahan’s current blog post continues to demonstrate the nature of the parallel universe he inhabits. Presumably, the foundation for his comments rests on the fact that the latest Newspoll shows Howard clawing back ground on the preferred Prime Minster poll – never mind that the 2PP poll has Howard on an annihilation to nothing if polled voting intentions are played out in the actual election. Emphasis added.

KEVIN Rudd has dived once more for the public’s hip pocket to regain political momentum. The Labor leader has a professional knack for grabbing headlines and evening television news bulletins on consumer issues built on discontent over prices and populist campaigns against big business.

At least Shanahan recognises that Rudd has once again hit a raw nerve with Howard’s battlers.

Inquiries and summits on petrol prices, mortgage rates, buying a house and now a trolley check on grocery prices have provided fertile ground for Rudd as he tries to woo the Howard battlers back to Labor. Building on consumer discontent over house, petrol and grocery prices, Rudd has adopted a popular stance against banks, oil companies and now the supermarket giants, Coles and Woolworths.

Sounds like a vote winner to me.

Trumped by John Howard in the traditional Labor area of Aboriginal affairs by the Coalition’s direct intervention in the Northern Territory to stop child abuse and domestic violence, Rudd has tacked back to consumers.

And as we all know, consumers are just an ill-informed, ungrateful sub-class of the electorate subjected to the vagaries of free enterprise, not actual voters.

With no choice but to offer support for the principles involved in helping isolated Aboriginal communities, Rudd was forced to cede ground to Howard on a popular measure.

An imaginative spin on what seems to another example of Rudd pre-emptively grabbing the policy high ground.

Yesterday, he sounded like a “practical” Howard and linked the micro-economy of the shopping basket with the management of the economy.

Maybe that’s a compliment?

“I want to talk to you about the increasing financial pressures on Australian families in grocery bills, childcare, petrol prices and housing, and about some practical proposals that may relieve some of the pressure working families are under,” he said.

He said a “defining test of good economic management is how individual family households benefit”.

“Good economic policy is also measured by its impact on the lives of individual families. You will not find these measures in Mr Howard’s rendition of the economic debate – but they do count among the household measures of our economy,” he said.

So having identified an area of concern to voters that’s worth having a look at, Shanahan echoes the government’s response – we already do that. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.

But what you will find is that the regular posting of grocery basket costs and consumer watchdogs overseeing retail prices are already in place.

As Peter Costello said yesterday: “The Australian Bureau of Statistics already publishes prices of biscuits, bread and … many other household groceries in every state, every quarter.”

Rudd’s proposal for a grocery price inquiry and trolley police is a quick grab for publicity but unlikely to have any impact if implemented.

Surely Shanahan of all people would know that’s the name of the game.

It’s a grab for headlines that’s worked and shown how adept Rudd is politically, but it’s not a tax policy or an anti-inflation blueprint that could really have an impact.

Nevermind that the concern of consumers is exactly that – the rate of cost increase of food beyond the carefully groomed CPI is inflationary. The current ABS statistics simply confirm what ‘consumers’ already know – they are being ripped off.

Rudd is proposing a mechanism for punitive action against a supermarket duopoly suspected of taking unfair advantage of both primary producers and consumers, not just listing quarterly tables of food prices. Anyone remember deregulation of the dairy industry? Who were the big winners? With private equity raiders poised to take control of Australia’s supermarket economy, Rudd has come up with a vote winner, populist or not. Shanahan clearly is not happy.

So Tim, are you going to tell us what’s gone down? Or would that be a breach of contract?

Filed under: Blogging, Economics, Media, Politics

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The Dog’s Bollocks

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The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

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