QUITE a few years have passed since anyone thought a poor Bunyip worth the effort of punching, but the memory of what it is like to be on the receiving end of stinging blows remains a vivid lesson in what not to say and who not to say it to. It seems Katharine Murphy has spent too little time drunk and abusive in the company of St Kilda supporters to appreciate the dynamics of your typical assault, and this can only be viewed as a sad deficiency in the training of a quality journalist, as her column today makes clear.
Now bear in mind that the latest poll is out and shows a further shrinkage of Prime Minister Yabby’s stocks. If she had the decency to call an election, the only reminder of a parliamentary Labor party would be a handful of surviving hacks and the dissipating stench of their booted companions (plus, quite possibly, a collection of hard-centre tisues beneath Craig Thomson’s former perch). So, with the Coalition on top in two-party terms by 58 points to 42, how does Murphy’s ignorance of fisticuffs manifest itself?
The poor girl thinks it possible that, while her idol is flat on her back and being pummelled relentlessly, it remains possible for Gillard “to play with Abott’s mind.” Playing with Bruce Wilson was one thing and Mrs Emerson’s husband another, but how Gillard might go about gaining a psychological advantage over Abbott taxes the imagination. What might Gillard do to put her foe off his game, apart from hand out talking points to dutiful parrots like Murphy, who never quite explains how this punch-me-harder strategy might produce dividends? The closest she comes is this:
Whyalla is still standing folks, and so am I, she is saying. Give us a chance to prove we aren't complete, dissembling dills. The government has managed to establish a prima facie credibility test for Abbott, who has rowed his boat out very hard, and left himself not a lot of room to re-position if the debate starts to turn.
So, Abbott has rowed out from shore, metaphorically speaking, but finds no room on the open seas.
Fairfax has people who occupy editors' offices. We know this because three of them were fired last week. But do the ones who remain actually read their columnists' copy? Perhaps, like so many former readers, they find the effort of wading though such tommy-rot more trouble than it is worth.