The people of New South Wales have a lot to be angry about — a toxic Labor government, a string of knifed premiers, a culture of ministerial incompetence. But why would The Daily Telegraph try now to plunge an additional stake into the heart of an already terminal government over electricity prices?

Fair enough to have a crack at the government for not doing something about the price of power — hip pocket politics can be very beguiling — but surely a government with this kind of record deserves to be called out on so much more? Recent Newspoll figures paint a dire picture for the 15 year-old government and it look likely that they will be banished to electoral purgatory when they face the ballot box on March 26 next year.

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As part of its extensive ‘Power Struggle’ campaign, the paper tell its readers that the state government is “officially on notice” and that if the power crisis is not solved Labor will “face the wrath of voters”:

“On behalf of one million readers, The Daily Telegraph today publishes an open letter to Kristina Keneally, informing her that the Government is on the clock.”

To make the outrage easier, the Tele has gone to the trouble of knocking up a bizzare ‘your time starts now’ PDF for readers to email in to the premier and ‘countdown clock’ so everyone is acutely aware of how long this government has left (just 169 shopping days to go).

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But the prize must go to Melbourne’s footy-mad media getting its knickers in an uncomfortable knot over the naming of two Collingwood players involved in an alleged s-xual harassment investigation, first by 3AW shock jock Neil Mitchell (angering probably ex-buddy and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire).

Melbourne’s number one footy rag the Herald Sun, which for days “chose not to name the players”, quickly abandoned its admirable stance once Mitchell squawked. It had the news on its website yesterday morning, and then on today’s front page. Both times under the facade that Mitchell was at the centre of a media “showdown” or “stoush”.

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If there are no legal issues with naming the players — and we assume that both Mitchell and the Hun have some pretty good lawyers — why did the country’s biggest reporter of AFL news stay tight-lipped for four days and then go ahead and name them anyway?

Was the paper making a stand, or just waiting for someone else to cop the heat and then feed off the story? Either way, it’s a Wankley-worthy achievement.

Peter Fray

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