Adam Bandt, having run uncontested, has taken over as leader of the Greens after Richard Di Natale’s shock resignation yesterday.
And The Australian has wasted no time in showing what kind of media treatment Bandt can expect. As soon as he emerged as front runner, the national broadsheet sprang into action.
The Australian — which is yet to identify a Green it would endorse as leader of the Greens — responded to the news by reminding its readers of what a “radical” Bandt is.
In its front-page story today — ahead of the vote — The Oz backs up the “radical” charge by citing Bandt’s “climate criminal” charge against Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and his statement that former PM Malcolm Turnbull would have the “blood of future generations” on his hands if he built a new coal-fired power station in Queensland.
Colourful language? Exaggeration? Personal shots? In politics? Heaven forefend!
In its news pages, News Corp’s Melbourne tabloid The Herald Sun published a fairly neutral account of party movements, and a dot point account of Bandt’s history. But columnist Terry McCrann gave Bandt a little drive-by — calling him “utterly ineffective” — in his column calling for the return of Barnaby Joyce (!!) as Nationals leader.
Bandt has been a repeat target of personal attacks by News Corp throughout his political career. Way back when he was first elected, the Oz ran a grubby piece about his partner Claudia Perkins — a former Labor staffer — tastefully headed “Bandt slept with the enemy in campaign“.
In 2018, when Bandt posted an admittedly boneheaded picture with obvious anti-Semitic overtones, the paper ran a piece in which Liberal senator James Paterson attacked him for 172 uninterupted words, followed by 124 words from Labor-affiliated think-tanker Nick Dyrenfurth saying almost precisely the same thing.
He is, naturally, a favourite of the Sky News After Dark crowd. Rowan Dean called him a “hard-left joke” when his run for leadership was announced, and Mike Jeffreys said a Bandt-ruled world would be awash with power outages.
And last year, amateur sleuth and unimpeachable-fact-possessor Andrew Bolt used the magic of film to attack Bandt’s credibility, called him a “fool” on climate science, and said the Greens were “sick for trying exploit the bush fires“.
Now Bandt has the job, we can look forward to a lot more of this.