The ‘Kill Bill’ stories keep coming in the Murdoch ‘newspapers’; there must be an election looming. The latest is about something the government said had stopped. Given the usual secrecy surrounding boat arrivals1, it is odd that Peter Dutton would give out details of one particular boat arrival, until you realise that he will be facing an election soon and that he is on a very slender majority given the fact that the Turnbull Government has had 36 straight adverse Newspolls and Fairfax-IPSOS polls2. He is also concerned with GetUp’s incipient campaign to prevent his re-election in the seat of Dickson, given their exceptional success in getting rid of the right-wing nasties in Tasmania in the 2016 election3, you can see why he is panicking. There is, of course, also the Longman by-election to be considered; that is perhaps the most proximal concern, as it occurs in less than a couple of weeks4.
So, what happened? Dutton released information to NewsCorp about a boat that was intercepted by the Royal Australian Navy in June this year. Ruperter, Renee Viellaris, wrote an ‘exclusive’ story in the Courier Mail, the Brisbane Newspaper which is the local rag for his Dickson electorate. You may ask: Wouldn’t that harm the government? Normally it would, but that is where Viellaris and her ‘ruperting’ comes in. She wrote that the boat was ‘swooped upon’ by the Navy and it contained three Indonesian crew and seven Chinese nationals. She also stated that the revelation “comes as intelligence agencies continue to warn the government that criminal syndicates hope to resurrect their misery trade, which is as lucrative as drug running”. To cap it off, she quoted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said, at the time of the Bennelong by-election in December 2017, that the people smugglers “will see and are seeing Bill Shorten’s choice of Kristina Keneally [to run in Bennelong] as Labor wanting to throw out the welcome mat for asylum seekers. Viellaris also states that “Bill Shorten and Labor are divided on how long asylum seekers should remain in detention in regional processing centres. Under the Turnbull government, asylum seekers who try to get to Australia by boat will be processed offshore and not come to Australia”5. Apart from the non-sequitur, the only statement by the Labor Party regarding the time spent by asylum seekers in processing centres, was that they should not remain there indefinitely. The Turnbull government seems quite happy to let them rot and die on Manus and Nauru indefinitely. It has got to a stage where there are children who have spent their entire lives in these offshore detention centres.
Nowhere does Viellaris quote anyone from the Opposition, as you would expect in a balanced piece. However, that is not the point of the article. In the short term, it is to try to damage the Labor Party among the gullible prior to the Longman by-election, and in the longer term to attempt to turn around the devastating run of opinion polls, so that a general election can be held without the Liberal and National parties suffering a wipeout. Ideally, Murdoch ‘ruperters’ want to damage Bill Shorten in the hope that they can at least cause some leadership talk, which currently has to be invented. This Viellaris article is just another sample of the collusion between the Liberal Party and their Murdoch supporters. This ‘Kill Bill’ style of article is part of a common theme in Murdoch’s Australian media6,7, and is now becoming more intense as the election approaches8. It is a corruption of our democracy and is tantamount to treason.