Up to now few days, the water buyback story (being known as “watergate”) has gained momentum, a lot in order that it’s main 9’s The Sydney Morning Herald immediately, dominated a breakfast TV interview with the Prime Minister, and has chat present panellist Joe Hildebrand opining on the way it will affect the election.
The naked bones of the story aren’t new, as Crikey has detailed elsewhere immediately. So why is it dominating the political information cycle now?
The story began to get traction on Twitter final week when a thread was posted that linked Power Minister Angus Taylor to the buyback and identified his earlier hyperlinks to the EAA (the corporate on the centre of the controversy), and its dad or mum firm primarily based within the Cayman Islands.
Taylor responded by sending authorized letters to customers who’d retweeted the thread, together with journalists Margo Kingston and Michael West. The story was picked up by Ten’s Hamish McDonald, who labored with West to report a protracted piece for The Undertaking on Thursday, and the stress hasn’t let up since.
However whereas there have been some new bits and items round, what actually made this a narrative this time round was the political context.
Firstly, then-agriculture minister now-backbencher Barnaby Joyce has had his political profession come undone prior to now yr after the scandal of his marriage breakdown and baby with a former staffer turned tabloid fodder.
That adopted his personal part 44 scandal, the place he was discovered to be ineligible to take a seat within the parliament and needed to recontest his seat. Joyce has already added once more to the lifetime of this story by first being unavailable for The Undertaking, then texting in to Insiders panellist Patricia Karvelas with an announcement about it on Sunday, after which giving a firey interview to Karvelas on Radio Nationwide yesterday.
Secondly, curiosity in local weather change has elevated as an election problem as Australian farmers take care of a devastating drought. Alongside that problem is the Menindie fish kill over summer time, which once more introduced focus onto the difficult Murray-Darling Basin Plan with putting photographs of the devastation. This story raises once more the query of the administration of water on this nation, together with underneath Joyce’s time as minister.
Thirdly, a political narrative about offers for mates has been operating by the political information pages. Journey company Helloworld is again on the entrance web page of The Sydney Morning Herald, a couple of donation it made to the Liberal occasion throughout an lodging tender course of. The corporate, co-owned by the occasion’s federal treasurer, was within the headlines earlier this yr when it was revealed that Finance Minister Mathias Cormann had not paid for a visit booked by the corporate (which he later paid for, saying he had not realised).
The cosy relationships between politicians and their enterprise mates have been cropping up repeatedly over the previous few months, and the connection between Taylor and the corporate that benefited reinforces some components of that narrative.
And, lastly, this can be a story that has come up throughout an election marketing campaign. Giant sections of the information are devoted to politics, occasion leaders are giving doorstop interviews most days, and the media is operating tallies of who “wins” every day on the marketing campaign path.
The buybacks story matches into one of many massive problems with the marketing campaign — local weather change — and has supplied marketing campaign bulletins by Labor and the Greens in help of a Royal Fee into water, which ends up in but extra protection.