Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rovian fancies downunder

Among his many achievements, John Howard is sometimes credited with the invention of "dog whistling" politics - whereby, without any objectionable or racist idea being directly stated, the dog hears exactly the message meant. The Guardian

It is easy to imagine the Howard government have their own version of a Karl Rove, but like Bush the messages are starting to backfire.

Howard has cited a "national emergency" to justify a radical takeover of indigenous affairs that will give the Federal Government control over almost every aspect of Aboriginal life in the Northern Territory.

The move is emotionally charged, containing issues such as pedophilia and child abuse, alcohol abuse, petrol sniffing and other abuses among the aboriginal community. Just the kind of hook the PM is used to dangling in front of the electorate.

Initial polling showed a strong knee jerk response form voters, but the doubts quickly set in. These reports have been around for nearly ten years and it is only when the government is in trouble they decide it is time for action.

A Galaxy poll on Monday found 58 per cent of voters believe the reforms are a vote-grabbing move while just 25 per cent think Prime Minister John Howard launched the scheme because he really cares about the problem.

Aside from that we arte now seeing headlines like: Indigenous land grab fears ludicrous, says Howard.
"The land grab from the Aborigines is actually about uranium and nuclear waste," according to anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. But her fears are also backed up by indigenous communities faced with the threat of the Federal government using the so called emergency to take back land previously granted to tribal groups.

Nose to nose

LABOR will put a rock star in charge of determining Australia's economic future. That was the simple political message from the Prime Minister's speech on climate change at yesterday's Liberal Party federal council.

Labor environment spokesman is former Midnight Oils front man, Peter Garrett. With an electorate that's increasingly worried about global warming the Howard’s front man is a former merchant banker, Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull’s answer is to privatise resources such as water, relieving the government of even more responsibilities.

At least for now the ‘Rovian’ manoeuvres aren’t making much headway in the polls. On the other hand the electorate is being polarised between two less than perfect solutions. Howard Vs Rudd – Garret Vs Turnbull… Like the Republican Vs Democrat focus, it doesn’t leave much room for real solutions.

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