Tamed Estate: cosy media club getting Coalition’s ‘drops’ expands to include Rupert’s tabloids

by Michael Tanner | Apr 30, 2021 | Tamed Estate

And in true Orwellian Doublespeak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the war footing to paint himself as the champion of peace. Michael Tanner reports.

It’s been a while since the government actually announced a policy and that drought looks set to continue. Because even though there was blanket media coverage of the fact that the federal government is planning a big budget spend, the government once again delivered that announcement via “a cosy briefing to a tight crew of chosen Canberra-based journalists“.

And the cosy crew dutifully did their bit, with near-identical articles posted almost simultaneously late on Wednesday night, each regurgitating Josh Frydenberg’s draft speech, with reports of what the Treasurer “will say” littered throughout their publications.

The only difference this time from previous drops was that the circle has expanded beyond The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Age/SMH, The Conversation, ABC and The Guardian.

Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids are now also getting looped in, with The Adelaide Advertiser, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Courier Mail all getting the drops, all running segments of the Treasurer’s upcoming speech, and all publishing at 10.30pm on Wednesday night.

The Australian

The Australian Budget to drive

Patrick Commins We need to continue

The Australian Financial Review

Phil Coorey Frydenberg aims

Coorey Citing new Treasury

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald

SMH No austerity

We need to continue Shane Wright

The Guardian

Guardian No pivots towards austerity

Guardian Private sector growth

The Conversation

The Conversation Budget aims at unemployment


The Conversation In a pre-Budget speech

The ABC We will not move

The Advertiser

The Advertiser Frydenberg's budget

The Advertiser We won't be undertaking

The Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

We want more people

The Courier Mail

Courier Mail Budget 2021

We need to continue Matthew Killoran

The Herald Sun

Josh Frydenberg's plan

Herald Sun As a result

Nonetheless, it was a welcome change from the blaring “drums of war” reports that had filled newspapers in the preceding days. That coverage came after Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo claimed that we need to “get ready to fight for our liberty” and that the “drums of war” were beating.

This unleashed a barrage of alarmist coverage.

As to whether it was appropriate for an unelected public servant to make incendiary comments about going to war with a global superpower, Scott Morrison said “it was not for him to commentate on the Home Affairs secretary’s comments”.

The Australian

Defence Minister Peter Dutton

The Australian Hearing the drums of war

Michael Pezzullo

Time for hard questions

We will never surrender

Get ready to fight


National security boss

Home Affairs boss


Top security official

The Age

Warning of drums of war

The Canberra Times

Canberra Times Are the drums of war

The Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph Peter Dutton raises

Voice of reason; champion of peace

But the alarmist coverage gave the PM some great fodder to paint himself as the voice of calm and stability, the champion of peace.

The Australian:

The Australian Military upgrades


9News Morrison pursuing peace

The Australian Financial Review

Australian Financial Review Morrison backs peace

Michael Tanner is completing a Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy. His writing explores the intersection of economics, the media and public health. His writing has also been published in The Age.

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