Christian Kerr writes:

Remember The Age’s middle
class pomposities back in the Jeff days? The Spencer Street Soviet was
always willing to be the (slightly plummy) voice of the better
educated, better off, limp latte left who think they have a special
right to be heard because they’re, well, better educated, better off –
and more articulate as a result.

We got an “ALP back to bad old days of turmoil” headline in The Age today. And, yes, there are a few anti-Bracks stories about – like Saturday’s “RACV gags critic of Bracks policies” and reporting of push polling allegations the very same day. But the difference between the way these things get covered now and in the Kennett years is striking.

campaigned on “Restoring Democracy” back in 1999. They had valid points
about the Kennett government’s control freakery, excessive secrecy,
heavying of critics and abuse of public money for political advertising
– all of it taken up with gusto by The Age. But look at what’s
happening now. Control freakery, excessive secrecy… but this time it
doesn’t seem to be producing the same squeals from Spencer Street.

has a weak and ineffectual opposition and a Government with a whopping
majority. That was enough during the Kennett years for The Age
to appoint itself as a watchdog. Today, it’s different. The leaking of
the state budget earlier this month to Channel 9 and the subsequent
manoeuvrings showed the irrelevance of many of Victoria’s state
political reporters.

No doubt, however, Age journos are reassured by many of their ex-colleagues who are now working as government spinners.

Stephen Mayne writes:

Having sat through the first five hours of the ALP state conference on Saturday, I disagree with Christian’s theory. The Age
was strongly criticised by Labor Unity leader Stephen Conroy for
slavishly running the Left line about branch stacking day after day.
Bracks has not for a moment enjoyed the huge attacks being waged
against his own Right faction by The Age and the ABC, as evidenced by Jon Faine’s interview with Bryan Daley this morning.

The Age’s Paul Austin, who moved from opinion editor to state
politics earlier this year after missing out on the editor’s job, has
certainly given the branch stacking being pushed by the Left a huge a
run whilst the Herald Sun has barely written a word. Incredibly, The Hun’s
state political correspondent Peter Mickelburough failed to show up on
Saturday and the state’s dominant newspaper didn’t carry a word on the
biggest public display of factional blood-letting that has been seen by
any political party in Australia for years.

Austin is now locked in to the Left position and it was only The Australian’s Michael Batchelard who really did the conference justice with this news story on page one of today’s paper and and this detailed feature which is worth reading in full.