Today's press (11-Feb-07) carries an "exclusive" interview with Prime Minister John Howard.
In it he tries to tell us, the readers / voters, what he wants us to see as the issues in the Federal election due this year. He won't be alone: the Labor Party will do the same when it is ready.
He wants us to think that Water is a big issue. It is. It is currently (still) a State issue for State management. But John Howard wants to take it over, and for us to believe that his big-dollar promises will "fix it". The States have baulked because of a lack of detail. But that's how John Howard works the media and public opinion: Big HEADLINES, big DOLLARS, but FEW DETAILS. Only after he has the political power does the real agenda surface.
He wants us to forget about global warming, or at least think less about it. It is embarrassing enough for him to have had to begrudgingly acknowledge that, well, maybe it is happening after all. But he doesn't want to have to do a complete reversal - that would show him as being two-faced.
He wants us to think that his version of "national security" is an issue. Or at least that the opposition couldn't possibly handle that: the sub-text he wants is that "they're the Labor Party - they can't do National Security". We voters must ask him "Why not?"
He tries to dismiss the (newish) Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, as having the support seen in a "honeymoon period" of a new leader. Mr Rudd does enjoy some popularity because of that: the test will be in poll results in two or three months time.
His "interview" did not touch on other matters that are of interest to voters: would the Federal Government take control of all Health matters? It certainly doesn't want to, because it would be forced to allocate much more money, to those areas of current State responsibility, than it gives the States now. It doesn't want responsibilities that are politically sensitive - even if they are in the national interest. There IS more money for aged care (a good thing), but forget about the hospitals.
This staged interview was purely so Mr Howard could tell us voters what we think. At least what he wants us to think. The Labor Party will do the same when it is ready.