I didn't see Q&A on Monday night, but have been following the story about Mr Storrar, who argued that a tax change at the high end of the scale gives no benefit to people (like him, allegedly) with income at the bottom of the scale. Fair enough argument, one would have thought, but he did paint it in a very personal light.
I take it that Kelly O'Dwyer (who, in my opinion, used to come across as very hard nosed and an economic dry, but has softened somewhat since having a baby) didn't counter convincingly. Whereupon The Australian decided to follow up on Storrar's personal life not once, but two days running. Meanwhile, a unionist set up a donation site which has led to much money being promised to Storrar, most of it perhaps by people who may not have realised he didn't live with his daughters and (from today's Australian) has an adult son who is estranged from him, claims he led him into drug problems, and is annoyed at the positive image his father got from his TV appearance.
Even before this morning's story in The Australian, Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy was angry at this guy's "sense of entitlement" and quoting passages from Atlas Shrugged(!) at him. In comments, he went as far as calling him a "parasite".
As far as I'm concerned, the whole incident demonstrates three things:
a. a certain gullibility on the Left to immediately accept appearances when it comes to "hard luck" stories;
b. the somewhat creepy way The Australian has sought to attack government critics personally, whether they be statutory appointments (Triggs) or mere audience members on an ABC show. Sure, they came up with the goods, so to speak, this time; and perhaps they would not have thought it worthwhile were it not for the donations being sought for him. But it still seems to me to have become an ugly, nasty paper, even with former editor Chris Mitchell leaving.
c. the nasty and poisonous taint of Randian name calling that is just under the surface of part of the Australian Right. That Sinclair Davidson, a man who seeks to be influential in Coalition policy, and is invited to talk at Liberal Party functions, should use "parasite" for someone who receives government benefits shows he has no idea how that language demeans himself in the eyes of the broader Australian public. The extreme and eccentric views of Ayn Rand have never caught on here like they have amongst a certain political corner of America, and in our more egalitarian society they are never likely to do so. As I have said before, the Liberals could only benefit by distancing themselves from the IPA, and him.*
So, I think both sides take some damage from this story, but only the Right ends up looking nasty.
* And why no ABC journalist ever questions him when he on TV or radio about statements he has made on his blog, but give him a clear run, is a bit of a puzzle. Perhaps they need me to supply links?