Rupert Murdoch upset a few people by using the media outlets he owns to campaign for the Coalition in the federal elections, with his Daily Telegraph going so far as to greet Labor PM Kevin Rudd's announcement of an election date with a front page urging readers to “KICK THIS MOB OUT!”
It is understandable that some people get a little irritated by a billionaire media mogul seeking to use their wealth and power to determine who forms government, but you have to keep in mind he only has our best interests at heart. Having most likely hacked the phones of senior Labor figures, Murdoch is really in the best position to judge these things.
We don't know what secret plans Labor has cooked up, because after the whole phone hacking fiasco in Britain, Rupert just doesn't need any more legal shit, so it is best we just trust Rupert on this one.
Some people seem to think it is merely bias in favour of the most right-wing pro-corporate contender for government, but no doubt Rupert has hacked the Liberals phones too and, being privy to their secret plans, made an informed choice.
Of course, the corporate rich like Murdoch don't need to hack Liberal phones to find out their real plans. They get to determine the Liberals real plans.
And, as Labor's entire electoral strategy seems to be trying to out-Abbott Liberal leader Tony Abbott — from cruelty to asylum seekers to low-tax havens for mining oligarchs — they get to determine Labor's real plans too.
Not that, if latest polls are to believed, this strategy is working for Labor. It is evidence that, no matter how hard it tries — and it gets full marks for effort — Labor simply cannot be more racist or corporate interest-driven than Abbott. The man is an expert.
Asides from Abbott's constant insistence he will “stop the boats” and frequent announcements of new policies of even greater barbarism towards desperate people seeking asylum (next week, he'll announce all refugee children will be sold as slaves to Gina Rinehart), his party's actual publicly announced policy detail is thin on the ground.
But that is not due to a lack of actual policy development — it is just that much of the Liberals actual plans, placing the interests of large corporations over the rest of us, are unlikely to be great vote winners.
And so, the Sunday Telegraph reported in June on behind-closed-doors meetings of the rich and powerful to hammer out some policy plans away from the prying eyes of us plebs: “Major Australian personalities including James Packer, John Howard and Cardinal George Pell — plus a minor British royal — have been giving political pep-talks to Liberal MPs during secret luncheon meetings held across Sydney.
The exclusive, invite-only gatherings, known as the Chartwell Society, aim to “critically evaluate policy”, the group's organiser, Liberal MP David Elliott, told the Sunday Telegraph.
The “precise nature of the discussions are kept strictly confidential”. Elliot said this was “Chatham House rules because it's important that MPs can have a full and frank discussion with prominent Australians ... so we don't go into the lawmaking business with our heads in the sand”.
Or go into the law-making business with plans openly discussed for assessment and contributions from minor players like the entire rest of the population.
When you read of such meetings, I am sure, like me, the first question that springs to mind is: do they wear pants at their secret gatherings?
I mean, we are talking the top echelons of the corporate and political establishment here — they all went to private schools. When they get together behind-closed doors to plot the future of our nation, it is hard to imagine it doesn't involve special ceremonies featuring at least a little spanking.
We may never know the full sordid details, but come September 8, we are likely to start finding out what fresh ways to screw the rest of us they have nutted out.
[Carlo Sands is performing a Green Left Weekly fundraising show called “The Yucky Country: Just make Clive Palmer PM” at the Brisbane Fringe Comedy Festival. The show will be performed on September 3 and 5, at 9.30pm, at the Loft Bar, West End. Buy tickets here.]