After a dreadful day from an ordinary Newspoll that claimed a bizarrely high Greens party vote, John Brumbyâ€™s media unit was hanging out for a distraction from the Premierâ€™s claim that Kevin Rudd was dragging down his vote.
Brumby does a good job in our view but it is fantasy to suggest that Rudd was dragging down his numbers and reminded some of Sunday Age Melissa Fyfeâ€™s deceitful and damaging claim that heâ€™d described the Altona by-election monster swing against Labor as a â€œfantasticâ€ result for the government. He didnâ€™t say it but Fyfeâ€™s false reporting left a lasting impression that Brumby was in denial and wasnâ€™t listening.
We think heâ€™d be better off telling how it is, a long-term government always gets hammered on this and that and that if people vote Liberal theyâ€™ll get Ted Baillieu, promoter of kiddie nude artist Bill Henson, critic of Victoria as racist and an opponent of the jobs-creating Port Phillip channel-deepening. JB might not be perfect but Red Ted is a bad egg.
Instead heâ€™d repeated the comforting self-talk line about Rudd hurting them that has been doing the rounds of various â€œCategory Aâ€ Spring Street lambs to the slaughter, comforting Head Office types and those few left at 1 Treasury Place who donâ€™t occasionally check in at seek.com to see whatâ€™s available.
Not smart, at least in our view. We think the truth can set you free, if youâ€™re game to use it. And it seems Brumbyâ€™s small army of spinners were somewhat concerned about it too. Imagine if sulky KRudd responded and got into a war of words with the JB? It would give a bad poll story more legs than tall-girl spinner Fiona McCrae.
So in what the Americans call a â€œHail Maryâ€ pass it appears that the Media Unit decided to leak the story that the NBN had decided to base its operations centre in Melbourne and certainly scored a touchdown by getting a very positive front-page for Brumby in the Herald-Sun. So maybe they were right to chance their arm. The front-page didn’t actually mention the Commonwealth Government, Julia Gillard, the federal Minister Stephen Conroy and barely even referred to the NBN itself.
But VEXNEWS understands that thereâ€™ll be hell to pay for this one-day media hit.
NBN executives are believed to be stunned at the impertinence at the breaking of the embargo by people theyâ€™d only included as a courtesy. The announcement was to be made by the Broadband minister Stephen Conroy and the NBN boss Mike Quigley who caught the nationâ€™s attention for his generosity this week by donating his first yearâ€™s salary to medical research.
Some in the Premierâ€™s office were not thrilled by the leak strategy, saying it could be bad for Victoria to have a vengeful Conroy and an alienated NBN that the Victorian government had done so much to win over.
The NBN is yet to make key decisions about where theyâ€™ll roll-out first, which wonâ€™t necessarily be in Victoria. The test-bed construction is beginning in Victoria in the Peopleâ€™s Republic of Brunswick here. Residents are believed to be in such a state of ecstasy about the prospect of world-class broadband that some are considering naming their first-born children (of either gender) Conroy. The author will be moving into the area in time for its day of operation in 2011 and will keep an open mind on the issue of first-born names.