Australians may be sick of hearing about Labor’s loss of the “unloseable” election, but that doesn’t mean that Crikey readers don’t have a few pieces of insight to add to the discussion. The consensus: there were many factors other than Bill Shorten’s popularity that must be addressed. Elsewhere, readers took their time contemplating the state of the media in Western Australia (and Australia at large) following last week’s INQ deep dive into Kerry Stokes and Seven West Media.

On the Labor loss

Ben Marshall writes: Shorten’s ratings always sucked, and the Stokes and Murdoch media, the Liberal and National parties, along with the minor far right parties, maintained an unremitting campaign to tackle the man rather than the ball. So? The last election was crucial not because Labor lost but because they could not possibly have won with all media unrelentingly against them, and with the electoral system now fully gamed to sew dissatisfaction, then harvest the results via preference-whispering to supply the Coalition. Palmer’s $60 million was an excellent investment never intended to put members, or himself, into Parliament. How are people not seeing this? Under this now finalised system, I predict Scott Morrison will be Australia’s longest serving prime minister. Discussing Bill Shorten’s role in any of it is like discussing deck chair colours on the Titanic.

Matthew Hrkac writes: It was pretty clear on the ground that people didn’t like Bill Shorten and his tendency to play both sides on a whole host of issues merely cemented people’s impressions of him: that he is untrustworthy, two faced, etc. He was never particularly liked because of his role in bringing down a popular prime minister when Labor was last in government.

Rob Gerrand writes: Across Australia outside Queensland, Labor won 62 seats to the Coalition’s 54. Therefore it seems the real issue to understand is what was different in Queensland. Was it Adani, fake death tax fears, or Clive Palmer? Or something else?

On media monopoly

Tony Dean writes: As a long-time resident of a one newspaper town, I still read The West Australian daily in the forlorn hope of finding some quality in-depth coverage of local issues, but what was once an anticipated pleasure has now become a dismal chore. Emily Watkins’ excellent INQ series accurately chronicled the sad demise of a once-respected and balanced newspaper into the worst excesses of tabloidism. As a member of the Seven West Media group, the paper also blatantly promotes Seven Network TV shows, with little or no attempt to provide similar sympathetic coverage of other networks’ programs. During the recent season of My Kitchen Rules, for example, we were bombarded daily with front page and page three picture stories of MKR celebrities, masquerading as news coverage. Needless to say there was no subsequent reporting of the fact that MKR was soundly thrashed in the ratings by Nine’s Married at First Sight. Similar puff pieces promoting Seven West Media’s stable of magazines including Who and New Idea are used to disguise the lack of real news since the gutting of the local newsroom. The paper stands as a monument to what has happened to mainstream journalism as a result of previous Coalition governments’ dismantling of cross-media ownership rules, and a portent of what The SMH and The Age readers can expect under the ownership of Nine.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.

Peter Fray

Support journalism that makes things better, not worse.

Rupert Murdoch had never had a US president in his pocket before Donald Trump landed there in 2016.

This week, we explored the relationship between the two men and why Murdoch should be held to account for the making of Trump.

Where do you start with dismantling the media empire that delivered us a phenomenon like Trump?

Here’s one thing you can do: Support the journalism that makes things better, not worse.

Subscribe to Crikey today with the promo code MADEMEN and get 50% off an annual membership.

Hurry, 48 hours only.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey