[b:377d492ac5]Comment on the Howard Govt from an independent source - SMH[/b:377d492ac5]
What is certainly true of the media since the election is that they have provided little effective scrutiny of the Government. Victory, it seems, justifies almost anything.
The Government's plans to privatise Telstra with continuing monopoly powers, only ameliorated by inept management, and to legislate to assist in the further concentration of the media, are clothed in the rhetoric of economic reform that the media generally accept. (Nothing could be further from rational competition policy.)
The abuses of the election campaign - the pork-barrel spending of hundreds of millions of dollars and the disgraceful use of probably $30 million worth of government advertising - now that there is the time to document them and reveal their depth and corrupting influence, have been largely forgotten. The hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding by allowances and other perks of MPs - what was called by West Australian academic Peter van Onselen the "cartelisation" of politics - has not been effectively detailed or the implications canvassed.