Attorney-General Christian Porter

Crikey readers took the weekend to mull over the prospect of a Christian Porter-led Coalition after Dennis Atkins wrote that Porter had muscled his way past Josh Frydenberg as Morrison’s most likely successor. Some thought Porter’s debut has been overblown, others thought that he may have some trouble outrunning his political past. Meanwhile, readers responded in earnest to Bhakthi Puvanenthiran’s question of post-election news media burnout.

On Porter’s ‘ascendance’

Ian Farquhar writes: I watched Porter’s performance defending Liu streamed live from Parliament House, as it happened. I didn’t notice anything displaying “genuine humour”, nor anything which was agile or intellectual. What I saw was a disgraceful rant from someone angry that his side was being questioned, furiously throwing mud and allegations of racism.

Joe Boswell writes: Dennis Atkins’s enthusiastic encomium of Christian Porter — unmatched political colossus, intellect, wit and heart-throb — was an inspiring read, but perhaps one or two details were omitted for lack of space. Readers in Western Australia, in particular, will recall Porter’s stint as the state treasurer and his 2011-12 budget speech. He made a wild assumption that the GST formula would be revised imminently in WA’s favour. His budget bravely anticipated GST windfalls of several billion dollars for the state in the coming years when the wholly predictable reality was WA’s share kept falling fast. Consequently he wrecked the state’s finances, trashed the Liberal government’s reputation and arguably did more than anyone to put Labor back in power here. If, as Atkins predicts, Porter ascends to the party leadership, it will be fascinating to see if he can work the same devastating magic on the federal Liberals and the country.

On media despair

Penny Le Couteur writes: I try to keep reading news. I strongly believe that good journalism is an essential component of our democracy and so subscribe to multiple news sources both Australian and foreign-owned. But I can’t bring myself to actually read it all. It’s almost all bad news, about which I can do literally nothing but shake my head in horror. I find both major parties complicit in the race to the bottom, and as I live in a safe seat, there was not even a credible independent candidate for me to vote for at the last federal election. We need a real leader in politics, who can lead and with a positive vision for our future. I don’t see one yet.

Toni McLean writes: The last election crystallised my despair over the future of this country and the global population in general as I cannot see how we can have enough just and humane governments around the world to ensure we tackle the growing crises in so many facets of society in the face of so much political ambition, lust for power, financial greed, self-absorption to the point of narcissism, and the constant desire for more stuff and distractions that keep the “masses” compliant and deluded. What to do? I would like to see the big issues discussed in terms of how they specifically affect ordinary people. I think information needs to be concrete, specific and showing how ordinary people are affected, even by more esoteric issues such as a lack of integrity or genuine democracy. And this should be followed by a description of what it would look like if a better course of action were taken in equally concrete terms so people can know what to demand. Lest I sound too despairing I appreciate the saying which goes something like “there is no hope, we must take the next step”.

David Edmunds writes: I want to know what conservatives think, but the hubris is so overwhelming that there is little point in reading it as I know what is there. It appears that in the absence of a policy agenda the Coalition is going to embark on another set of culture wars, and I am not interested in the details.  I am interested in why it is at this point in time that people who are disaffected and truculent see their default option as right-wing populists who offer them nothing, and therefore can deliver nothing.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey