Sunday, 23 December 2007
Best political moment – Rudd’s censure speech 12 February
Good political moments are those when the fog suddenly clears and a shift in the balance of forces is revealed. Such a moment came on 12 February with Rudd’s censure motion over Howard’s Obama comments. In a devastating speech (once he found his notes), Rudd made clear that Howard could no longer rely on the War on Terror to hide a government with an empty agenda. At the same time he flagged to his own side that the long nightmare of being on the wrong side of international events was over and it was finally on its way back to power.
Best politician – Kevin Rudd
No surprise here. He had his off moments but when he was good in 2007, he was very good, especially when he was tapping into anti-politics sentiment that confounded Howard and caused the press gallery to under-estimate him. Gillard is runner-up for maintaining her left-wing credentials and attack on Workchoices while campaigning for the most anti-union agenda in Labor’s history.
Best political paper – The Australian
This may be a surprise given the troubles of its political correspondents but its close government ties meant it was fully involved in the confusion that descended on the right and it remained an essential read in 2007. Columnists like Overington, Albrechtsen, Milne and Shanahan all became news themselves in 2007, even if not for the best of reasons. Given their inability to keep up with the new Labor party that has taken power, keeping relevant may be a bit harder for the paper in 2008.
Best political journalist – Matt Price
This has nothing to do with his sad and untimely death but the fact that he was one of the best at keeping up with the change in political landscape in 2007 while being one of the most readable as he did so. His high point came in May when he was one of the few journalists not to believe Costello’s last budget was the circuit breaker that the rest of the press gallery did. It probably helped that he injured his leg at the time and so was temporarily out of the circus that so disorientated the rest of the press gallery in 2007.
Best political interview – Keating on Lateline 7 June
The reappearance of Keating was one sign that the days of confusion were coming to an end and in this masterly performance he at last starts laying to rest the myths of the Howard era. In exposing not only the fallacy of Howard’s economic ‘reforms’ but also the sham debate over IR and Workchoices he didn’t win friends on either side of the political class, but entertained the rest of us. Tony Jones didn’t have to do much in this one but probably a runner-up where the interviewer did the best carve-up was Kerry O’Brien’s last interview with Howard. It is fun watching Howard trying to stop it from being a valediction and defend himself as O’Brien exposes the little fraud. The winner of the worst interview category is a toss up between any interview with Rudd over the Scores episode and the Howard/Costello love-in on Today Tonight.
Best political article – ‘Mortal Fears Exposed’ Peter Hartcher SMH
This excellent piece of investigative journalism in September exposed the implosion of the leadership at a time when others were still mistaking it for a Costello challenge. By the time Downer did his big ‘revelation’ after the election, we already knew everything we needed to know.
Best political ad – Confused?
It was not a great year for political ads. A good ad should spell out what we already secretly knew, something we didn’t get much of in the campaign with both parties conducting a sham IR debate. We have to go back to before the campaign for this neat ad which Labor brought out in September immediately after Howard’s retirement announcement. It was a good break from the usual boring Howard-hating ads and showed his faltering grip on power and the implication that Costello was being duped. What a shame it took two months for Labor to find a focus group to tell them to use Howard’s retirement plans again.
Best political cartoon – Howard’s farewell, Mark Cornwall Crikey
Unsurprisingly, given the Australian political class’s periodic lapses into farce, Australia’s political cartoonists are some of the best in the world. However, they were generally ham-strung by the same myths of the Howard era that hampered the journalists in 2007. This one by Cornwall hit the mark just after the election when suddenly everything became clear and Howard’s Don Bradman moment was spoiled by the rest of his party running amok on defeat.
Best political photo – Rudd and Wong, December
This is a great power photo that sums up the regime change in Canberra. The rise of Penny Wong signals that this will be a very different Labor government from what has gone before. Someone who had already made a mark as the leader of Rudd’s anti-politics attack while in opposition, she is now responsible for setting up an anti-politics agenda on a national scale using the issue of climate change.
Farewell 2007 – Comment thread open
This is the last post of 2007. Many thanks to all the e-mails, hopefully most were replied to. Back in 2008. Until then the comments thread is left open if there are any alternative thoughts on the above.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Sunday, 23 December 2007.Filed under State of the parties