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When politicians become pundits

Brian McNair writes in The Conversation (17.1.17) about the increasing incidence of current and former politicians acting as pundits and commentators on political issues, raising questions about non-members of the executive – at least in part or temporarily – setting the policy agenda.

‘Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s weekend column in The Australian was a good example of professional politicians intervening in the public debate through guest punditry.

‘Abbott has a journalistic background, and is good at it. But the phenomenon of the pollie-pundit seems to be on the increase across the political spectrum, raising concerns in some quarters.

‘Should newspapers be running such articles if all they do is toe the party line, and politicians have a large public platform already? Can they change the national conversation?

‘… The coming Queensland election will be the first test of the new style of political communication, as One Nation in particular seek to do a Trump and “tell it like it is” while bypassing established media channels. Time will tell if it can break through in the polls.’

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