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Victoria and the danger of false progressivism

Crikey readers on Victorian Labor, the government's spin machine and the country's plastic problem.

pill testing
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Yesterday Guy Rundle wrote on the Victorian Labor government’s continued use of socially liberal initiatives to hide its neoliberal agenda — an act that activists are starting to get wise to. As Crikey readers pointed out, this is nothing new, and it won’t change until a real contender emerges from the left. Elsewhere, Crikey readers tucked into INQ’s look at the government spin machine, and discussed the supposed danger of the Chinese Communist Party and the trials of recycling in Australia.

On the Andrews government

Matt Hrkac writes: The Andrews government is appealing to two bases: the urban identity-politics loving middle-class liberal Greens on one side and the suburban aspirational working-class on the other. By and large the politics of neither of these broad groups clash, hence Labor have cottoned-on to the idea that it can do token things to win back the former group without pissing off the latter group — because it is also doing roads and transport in the suburbs. Ideology, collectivism and class-politics drives neither of these two groups, but rather individualism and self-interest, hence they’re willing to look the other way so long as they are getting what they’re after. When (or rather if) the Victorian Socialists start getting a large chunk of the vote across the state to the point of threatening Labor’s hold on traditionally safe seats as the Greens have done (hence Labor’s appeal to this demographic) — and winning seats — then we’ll see Labor actually do things of actual substance.

On government spin

John Gleeson writes: Surely, when you focus on the government spinning and selectively feeding the media, whilst propagandising information, you should also identify and show how interviewers are falling down on the job, and allowing politicians to get away with talking nonsense — Scott Morrison being a case in point. An interviewer should hold politician to account, and make them explain their actions; having someone like Morrison talk utter drivel and get away with it is just as misleading as spin and propaganda.

Richard Shortt writes: Australia is a country subject to military censorship (on-water operations) in a civilian area of responsibility and no outcry, no protests. Just meek acceptance. The country has been cowered in a despicable fashion.

On the lessons of Hong Kong

Draco Houston writes: Sounds awful, imagine if the CCP were to gain influence here: certain protests might be banned, workers rights might be subject to the whims of the state — we might even put minorities in camps. Our foreign policy might be decided by a foreign superpower. What a topsy-turvy world that would be!

On the plastic problem

Roger Clifton writes: We don’t really need to recycle plastic, but we do need to remove it from the environment. After all, plastic objects are mainly made up of carbon and hydrogen and a hefty dose of energy. We can and do remake the same plastic objects again from the elements easier than by the ritual recycling of our municipal waste. That recycling is hopelessly inefficient, with the contractors routinely dodging the contractual requirement to recycle.

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

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