Our journalism usually sits behind a paywall, but we believe this is the time to make more of our content freely available to as many readers as possible. For more free coverage, sign up to COVID-19 Watch.

While the Australian Idol contestants will battle it out to see who makes the final 12 this week, spare a thought for our would-be political superstars. We have three PM wannabes – and a black sheep.

How do they measure up? At the moment the black sheep, Malcolm Turnbull, seems the most measured. That says plenty alone.

The Treasurer has not helped the Government with his “100 employees” contributions on industrial relations. When he’s silent, that hasn’t helped matters, either. We could be charitable and say it’s just jet lag – but yesterday’s Australian and his “Um, I won’t be doing any TV interviews in the airport, thank you very much” on The World Today seemed to offer fairly conclusive proof that the Treasurer’s dead set on avoiding tax talk – no matter how that might look – until his 7:30 Report appearance last night..

We discovered earlier in the year that one of the defining moments in the life of another contender, Tony Abbott, didn’t actually happen. And Doctor Brendan’s tough talk to towelheads last week has got the one time soft left Labor Party member looking like even more the political harlot than usual. Even theDaily Telegraph has questioned its usefulness.

Have a look through Australian political history. Successful leaders – long term leaders – need to present a calm, controlled image, even when that requires much self discipline. Hawke did it. Are our three wannabes up to it? Going by their behaviour as they audition for the top job, it doesn’t look likely.

Indeed, we may have the wrong TV program simile. Costello, Abbott and Nelson aren’t like the would-be stars of Australian Idol. They’re more like the self indulgent prats of Big Brother. And on Big Brother, of course, you get voted out.

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

What will be left? What do you want to be left?

I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.

Demand for what we do is running high. Thank you. You can help us even more by encouraging others to subscribe — or by subscribing yourself if you haven’t already done so.

If you like what we do, please subscribe.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

Support us today