Tamed Estate: Facebook 1, Australian government 0 but no mainstream media mastheads ran that line

Feb 26, 2021

 And the miserly $3.57 a day rise in JobSeeker was ‘fair and affordable’, ‘pragmatic’, and ‘fiscally responsible’. The mainstream media tripped over themselves to support the government’s line in the face of widespread condemnation from eminent economists that the huge cut to the unemployment payment rate would cost jobs and hit the recovery.  

Tamed Estate


The mainstream media and the government were incensed when Facebook did exactly what it had explicitly said it would do: block the sharing of news content.

The Australian

The Australian

The Australian

The Australian

The Australian

Still, when Facebook restored news – after the government gave Facebook most of what it wanted – only Michael Pascoe at The New Daily and Bernard Keane at Crikey called it what it was: a win for Facebook.

The New Daily


Beyond the tech giant escaping the “final-offer arbitration” it desperately wanted to avoid, Facebook retained the power to decide whether or not news appears on Facebook in future; and the code will only apply to content it chooses to host.

Facebook 1, Australian government 0.

Though you’d be hard-pressed to see the major mastheads run that line.

The Australian

The Australian

The Australian

The Sydney Morning Herald


Despite widespread outrage among welfare groups and economists, the media nearly tripped over themselves in the attempt to sell the nation on the idea that a rise in JobSeeker from 30% below the poverty line to merely 25% below the poverty line was “balanced”.

Philip Coorey at the Australian Financial Review called it balanced, but didn’t deign to mention the actual number it represented: $3.57 extra a day.

News.com.au was also hesitant to state the actual number, only going so far as to say “less than $50 a week”. Not $3.57 per day, not just $25 a week, “less than $50 a week”. Might as well have said “less than $200 a week”.

Nonetheless, it was “fair and affordable”, it was the “middle ground”, “pragmatic”. It was “fair, affordable and fiscally responsible”.

Financial Review

The Australian

The Australian Financial Review

The Australian sold it as a “boost” that marks the “largest year-on-year increase to the dole since 1986”, which definitely shouldn’t be seen as a good thing.

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald at least gave it the semblance of accurate coverage.

It is peculiar that so many in the media and government are more concerned about an extra $3 billion a year to be going to Australia’s neediest than they are to a $90 billion deal for old submarines that seems to be going down the toilet.

Australian Financial Review

IR reform (again….)

There must be concerns about getting the proposed Industrial Relations Omnibus bill through parliament because it continues to receive copious coverage.

However, the tack has apparently changed from trying to persuade readers that the industrial relations reform involved “mild” changes to gaslighting workers into thinking they would be better off with them.

Innes Willox at the Australian Financial Review and Nick Bonyhady at The Age/SMH peddled the myth that 2.5 million casuals get a “25% loading” – in reality, half of casuals get no loading, and the average difference in pay ranges from 4% less to 5% more, compared to a permanent worker (and that’s without leave entitlements) – and instilling fears of pay cuts and higher prices.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Jennifer Westacott, head of the Business Council of Australia, accurately described the decline in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements as a “disaster”, but given the destruction that would be wrought on EBAs should the omnibus bill pass – as described by economists –  using the disastrous decline as a reason to vote for the reform is, well, a little far-fetched.

The Australian

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