In the lead-up to an October state election in Queensland the good citizens of the state can be grateful that News Corp Australia publications report on key political issues in a non-partisan and completely factual, uncoloured, and unemotional manner.
Sorry, we’ll allow you a few moments to stop laughing.
Ready now? Not quite? OK, we’ll give you a moment more.
Now? OK, let’s go.
At the time of the millenium drought Labor Party governments in Queensland under Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh established a huge water grid in the south-east corner of the state to move the precious commodity from dams that could afford to surrender some of their holdings to ones that were running dry.
An important aspect of the grid was its ability to also feed in recycled water — drawn from wastewater systems and heavily treated to a standard deemed totally safe for human consumption.
These expensive initiatives — still being paid off by SEQ households through their very high water bills — were seen as sensible steps to prevent the then very real prospect of a first-world nation’s third-largest metropolis and its surrounding region running out of drinking water.
Of course the LNP opposed the grid as a costly folly and stoked public fears about recycled water. Its efforts had their effect when Premier Bligh canned its use for human consumption.
But now, according to yesterday’s Sunday Mail the current Labor Government is making plans to trigger the option of using recycled water if dams look like running dry.
When a key argument about recycled water involves its safety and public acceptance you would think any responsible media outlet would take an objective approach to its presentation of the story. But of course that’s not what the Sunday Mail did.
The headline it applied (main picture) set the tone and the use of the expression “toilet-to-tap” reinforced the argument mounted by LNP leader Deb Frecklington that the recycled product was “dirty water” that people shouldn’t be drinking.
The Sunday Mail even gave Ms Frecklington a free kick by allowing her to spruik her alternative approach of a “new Bradfield scheme” — a longstanding pipe dream (literally) of turning river flows in the far north of the state westward to irrigate agricultural lands west of the Great Dividing Range.
What this financially, economically, and environmentally questionable proposal has to do with drinking water in the south-east corner was not explained.
Toe, toe, toe that boat…
Here’s one for all you wanna-be sub-editors out there – if there were any sub-editing jobs left in Australian journalism, that is.
From the weekend’s Sun-Herald Sunday Life magazine, we have someone called Helen who “towed the line”.
Now, any sub worth their salt – one who knows instinctively that “just desserts” and “hair-brained schemes” and “shoe-in” are nowhere near as good as “just deserts” and “hare-brained schemes” and “shoo-in” can tell us that people “toe the line” – as in getting ready to race or going along with what others want them to do.
And in the good old days, getting these four (and a few others) right along with being able to spell “commitment” and “remuneration” got you a sub’s job, back when there were sub-editing jobs left in Australian journalism, that is.
Advertorial or advertisement?
In the same Sunday Life magazine were three pages marked at the top as “ADVERTORIAL” – two facing pages “presented” by the Commonwealth Bank and the page shown above from AIA Vitality about how to reclaim your vitality with “mindful yoga and breath practice”.
Assuming those institutions paid for all those column centimetres over those three full pages and seeing they are designed to look like editorial content, the Glasshouse thinks a better label – one that readers would understand more easily – is ADVERTISEMENT.