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misdescribed Noely @YaThinkN
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Too many journalists more interested in the 'game of politics' & 'sensational statements' of candidates' is why the US currently has Trump destroying their nation and shitting on all their respected "conventions" of Govt.

#Auspol should beware of same here.
This is a serious issue. As the US found, many of the 'conventions of Government' that Trump trashes are not rules, not part of the Constitution, just 'conventions' which all flavour of President had respected.

Riding roughshod over 'conventions' is a slippery slope.
It has taken reporters in the US quite a bit of time to call out the trashing of these 'conventions' by their President, but sadly, damage is now done.

In Australia, we have seen various Governments over the years try to skirt convention.
Though in Australia it has usually only been the odd break in 'convention', not honouring a pair, putting a partisan mate on a so-called Indy Board.

Normally being shamed or worried about incoming opposition Govt is a natural halter on wholesale trashing of conventions.
What is important, imo is that Australian media don't sleepwalk into the same place US media now find themselves.

Because they just blandly report actions, not really informing the public as to the 'enormity' or 'context' of those actions, the public are uninformed.
This is a real problem. How can the public make informed voting decisions when they are not given good information to base those decisions on?
Look at recent Treasury appointments in Australia.

Reported blandly as the action alone or like that Crowe piece which basically just says "ALP are not happy about it", is strictly speaking correct, but, NOT informing the public as to what has actually occurred at all.
We really need more Oz media to report in a manner that is #ContextForPunters

These Treasury appointments for example. The reporting should state our longstanding 'conventions' to not politicise these appointments.
The public should be made aware that these are 'conventions' that are being broken.

They should be made aware that the reason for the 'convention' is so that Treasury give 'frank, fearless, independent' advice.
This matters.

This convention matters, as these Public Servants work on behalf of the Australian people, they are supposed to represent our interests, not a particular Government of the day.
As said earlier, Governments tend to just skirt around the edges when it comes to breaking 'conventions', but I have to wonder if so many 'game of mates' appointments have been made in recent times, without true scrutiny, the Govt is now emboldened, hence these 2 political apts?
Maybe, if earlier appointments which were treated in such a blase manner by the majority of Australian Press Gallery were actually pointed out, to the public, as blatant partisan behaviour and trashing conventions, these 2 appointments would not have been made?
As anyone with a kid knows, if you give an inch they will take a mile. It is what happened in the US that resulted in Trump.

I now worry it will happen here too Australia, if not is already happening.
We don't really have that many 'independent' bodies advising Government as such now. Fair Work is not even close to 'fair' now. The other various tribunals or commissions seem to be stacked with mates doing Govt bidding, NOT working on true purpose on behalf of citizens.
This didn't happen over-night. Has been happening since Tony Abbott got elected.

Like all PMs he cemented his authority with a few dodgy appointments. ALL PMs do that.
Though, they usually only do a 'few' of these appointments, they don't normally try to re-mould all Government bodies and entities in their own likeness?
These breaking of conventions need to not just be reported. They need to be called out.

Citizens need to be aware that bodies they think work for them are not.

Journalists can nitpick terminology, but, look at the US. This is where we are heading.
#ContextForPunters is important. They are not educated in the main as to how Government works. They can't put two & two together and realise that appointment is partisan. They need to be told.

They need to be told conventions are being broken.
What has been happening in recent years with politicisation of the public service and independent advisory bodies will be hard to step back if NOT called out very soon.

In the meantime, most punters at home are not even aware of what they have lost?
Once these broken conventions become the 'norm' - which, judging by majority reporting, politicising important govt bodies like Treasury seems to be - we lose an important part of our democracy.

Worse, the punter at home doesn't even know they have lost it?
What happens when an ALP Govt comes in? It may not happen this election but it will happen. It is how we roll in this nation.
So the ALP gets into Government. No longer is it just the odd political dept head they are used to working around?

Convention has been trashed.

They just sack ALL the political appointments in public service to replace with their own political appointments?
Do Journalists then scream blue murder about all the Public Service heads being punted?

Coz ALP did it, not LNP obviously?

Yet, these same journo's barely muttered when the 'independence' of these bodies were trashed in the first place?
This about the reality of this situation. We are not talking about being petty or anything like that (though could be an element of revenge there) BUT in 'reality' an ALP Govt could not work effectively with Government departments headed by people actively working against them?
That scenario would just not be 'workable'.

They would be faced with 2 choices.
1. Sack all the political appointments - causing chaos while time is taken to replace.
2. Try to work around, never trusting advice given is actually Independent, stalling decisions etc?
Not to mention. Political appointments are a shocking idea in the first place. It undermines a department as obviously any staff under those heads worry about giving 'frank' advice. Those who get on the political bandwagon, please the boss, rise in the dept?

Independence? gone!
You can't rely on natural attrition either? ie Those Dept heads seeing the writing on the wall with a new Government and nicking off to the next cushy political appointment or seat on a donors board?

Normally you could, as only a few of them done in a Government.
Unfortunately since Abbott got in, it is not only a 'few' conventions that have been broken, it is many political appointments that have been made.

These 2 Treasury appointments are only the tip of the iceberg.
An incoming Government is not faced with just a few political dudes they need to push out. There are many.

This has never happened to this degree in the past before?

Some so-called Independent bodies are so partisan now, they really should probably just be shut down & replaced.
So taking that into account.

To effectively run Government, trust in advice given by Government Department bodies and Advisory bodies, what will the ALP do?
The Convention of employing Independence is now been well and truly trashed.

Though as I have noticed, the general public are unaware of this.

Do ALP just follow the LNP precedence and replace with their own partisan appointments?
Do we end up with a totally unstable Government Public Service because heads of department are rolled every few years, depending on incoming Government?

Do we lose years of experience due to staff under these heads not wanting to play that game each election?
This is why 'Conventions' matter?

The breaking of conventions should never ever be over-looked, it really is a slippery slope.

They should never looked at as just one-off type things. Before you realise it, those 'one-offs' become the 'norm'.
We are already in enough trouble in this nation with Politicians doing dodgy stuff, abusing their entitlements, not being transparent with us, giving contracts to donors but keeping details from us etc etc.

These things happen because our media sees it as 'business as usual'.
When queried. The inevitable response is "Well they all do it, both parties".

That doesn't make it right!
That doesn't mean it should be ignored?
How can a punter at home, know, they are being taken for a ride if the people who are supposed to inform them are not telling them that?

As I said, reporting he said, she said is not good enough. It may be technically correct, but it is NOT informing the public.
I'm very worried about this.

I have what I call the "Joh Test". I apply this to all legislation or government decisions.
My Joh Test is basically:

"Would a future Joh Bjelke-Petersen type being able to use/abuse, benefit from personally, or harm enemies with this piece of legislation"
If a future Joh could. Then it is a bad decision in my opinion.

So many decisions made by this Government, with support from the ALP mind you, don't even come close to passing the Joh test.
Call me paranoid if you will, but we don't know what future governments will do?

No-one could have predicted Abbott knighting bloody Phil?

Who saw Trump coming?
This is why strictly adhering to conventions is so important.

It stops the likes of an Abbott or Trump just trashing them at will. Harming both our Government and Democracy.
So, I beg the press gallery. Please report politics in #ContextForPunters

Please report when conventions are broken, every, single, time.

Government will only act in our - as in citizens - best interests when they are held to account, or know they are being watched.
That one extra sentence to give true context, as in the reality, not the game of politics, really matters when it comes to informing the public.

Don't just say "so & so has appointed..."

add, "his past political adviser, going against longstanding convention"
Same when money is doled out.

Dont' just say, "so & so gifted".

Give #ContextForPunters more like: "The Government has given $$ TAXPAYER funds to ... without contract going to tender"

Citizens understand that language, they are not removed from it.
Anyhow, I doubt anyone who can make a difference is listening :(

But, anyone on twitter who is. Please, regardless of which party you support, always speak in plain english to punters, give them context.
Most important of all, scream blue murder at every single convention you see broken.

As Americans are seeing, so many procedures in Government they thought were 'law', were actually just 'conventions'.
We are exactly the same in Australia.

So many things punters think are law when it comes to politics are just 'conventions'.

When they are trashed, or slowly killed off one by one. It sets precedents.

Precedents a future Joh or Trump can use & abuse.
So, my words for today are:


Let's focus on them please.

*Takes off paranoid goggles & ends rant*
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