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Callow or shallow?

When Nelson Mandela died last year, Tony Abbott joined many other world leaders in singing his praises.

“The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader. He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid.”

But Tony didn’t always feel that way.

When Abbott was President of the Students’ Representative Council at Sydney University, he wrote in Honi Soit that Voluntary Student Unionism “would finally stop all students being taxed so the SRC can fund groups such as International Socialists, South African Terrorists, the Spartacists, Lidcombe Health Workers Collective etc. which are quite irrelevant, not to say obnoxious, to student purposes.”

Abbott’s “South African Terrorists” were the members of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) political party, to whom the SRC had previously been giving money.

Malcolm Fraser’s Liberal Party, and its associated Liberal student groups at universities, supported the Commonwealth campaign to abolish Apartheid. Abbott did not join these efforts. He was President of the University of Sydney Democratic Club, an affiliate organization of B.A. Santamaria’s militantly anti-Communist National Civic Council and Democratic Labor Party.

These organisations actively supported South Africa’s Apartheid government, if not the Apartheid system itself. Abbott wrote and published the club’s bulletin, The Democrat, and was a close friend of Santamaria. The Apartheid government was seen in Western conservative circles as an important bulwark against Afro-Communist tendencies, which the ANC was thought to exhibit.

Anti-Apartheid activity was alive and well in Australia at this time. Many Australians supported fundraising efforts for the ANC, and participated in anti-Apartheid demonstrations throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The racially exclusive Springboks were banned from playing in Australia between 1974 and the end of Apartheid in 1994. In 1981, the Fraser government refused permission for the aircraft carrying the Springboks to a tour of New Zealand to refuel on Australian territory. Abbott, however, accepted a rugby scholarship to tour South Africa in what former Federal Labor Minister Barry Cohen described as a “universally acknowledged… promotional tour of Apartheid”.

Tony isn’t the only Liberal to change his tune since University days.

A few years earlier, a young Malcolm Turnbull, while describing then-PM Gough Whitlam as an arrogant egomaniac, lauded the Labor Party as a “wealth of opinion and class…diverse and less likely than the conservatives to blindly rally behind one great leader”.  Menzies’ Liberals, on the other hand, had “warmed the treasury benches” for 23 years with “the steak-fed bottoms of the sons of Toorak and the champions of Double Bay” – an interesting observation as Malcolm grew up in Vaucluse and Double Bay and he and his wife Lucy have lived in the Wentworth electorate all their lives.

In 1984, Christopher Pyne signed up for the Adelaide University Liberal Club and the Young Liberal Party before he even went to his first lecture. Soon enough, he was running both shows. Ruthlessly he purged right-wingers from the executive of the Liberal Club. When half of the 400-strong membership threatened to quit in protest, Pyne cheerfully collected the resignations.  He has freely admitted that he campaigned against the reintroduction of university fees purely to win an election, a view he reiterated when interviewed recently saying “Those people who see me as some kind of political warrior are right to think that I would do everything I can to win, so that the Coalition is in government … I’ll do what I need to do to position the Coalition to win elections.”

Sydney University was a very different place by 1987, when Joe Hockey took the reins of the SRC Presidency. The dominant political grouping was the Sydney University Liberal Club, a conglomerate of liberals, soft conservatives, and careerist moderates.

Liberals and Left Action were the two major factions on the SRC, but Hockey was from neither. Indeed, he disparaged the student newspaper, Honi Soit, for their obsession with the ‘return of Liberalism’ and its reluctance to report on student protests.

“One wonders whether Honi Soit is a NEWSpaper or a front for political masturbation,” he wrote in a 1987 Presidential report. “They do not seem to have any shortage of contributors espousing the virtues of Liberalism on campus but when there is student news there is no local coverage.”

Hockey’s policy statement in the 1986 election edition of Honi: “There is no question in my mind that students will never accept fees. I totally oppose any compromise the government may offer.”

His year as SRC President was chiefly spent fighting Labor’s re-introduction of university fees, which had been abolished under Gough Whitlam. But according to a 2012 profile by Bernard Keane, he was “accused of failing to aggressively lead student demonstrations for fear of endangering his Solicitors’ and Barristers’ Admission Board enrolment”.

Hockey’s backers, a ticket called “Varsity”, were decidedly centrist and unaffiliated, declaring they would “fight the burden of factionalism presently hindering the SRC’s effective operation”. In stark contrast to Abbott, Varsity was emphatic: “There should be no further government cuts to university funding.”

Whilst I acknowledge that these were words spoken a long time ago, it appears that, as university students, our current ministers were more endowed with confidence than conviction.  As their careers have unfolded we have seen political expediency trump passion with backflips on not only university fees but climate change, paid parental leave, compulsory superannuation, banking regulation, unaccompanied minors being sent offshore, environmental protection – the list of discarded beliefs is long and growing.

Yes, they were young, but one wonders whether their views were those of callow youth or shallow men.

61 comments

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  1. kerrilmail

    I can’t help notice how manipulative and Sydney centric the present power mongers are?

  2. townsvilleblog

    I understand that Abbott has changed over the years, however what most concerns me is the havoc he reaps upon the working poor and the poor at this present time. His grossly unfair budget and the threat to increase taxes on we who are least able to pay, while subsidizing rich miners with the diesel fuel rebate to the tune of billions of dollars of funding which should be going into our health and education budgets.

  3. Kaye Lee

    John,

    I saw the exchange live and I would have had a LOT more to say had I been Gillian Triggs. How DARE those two upstarts treat the enquiry and Ms Triggs with such contempt. One wonders whether a male President would have received the same treatment.

    As a reminder, here are two incidents of how Tony treats women he can’t shut up. Watch the videos. These guys truly cannot handle a woman who dares to question them.

    “Opposition leader Tony Abbott sparks storm on Twitter after telling Bridie Jabour to ‘calm down’.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/opposition-leader-tony-abbott-sparks-storm-on-twitter-after-telling-bridie-jabour-to-calm-down/story-fni0cx12-1226676460305

    “Incensed by ‘corruption’ question, Tony Abbott tells media to lift standards”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/incensed-by-corruption-question-tony-abbott-tells-media-to-lift-standards-20140416-zqvkp.html#ixzz3BMiCHkij

  4. Pam Walker (@Palma5)

    Excellent piece. Told me a lot of stuff I did not know. At the very least I hope Pyne realises that his education reforms and the budget measures will lose the LNP the next election. He needs to be pragmatic now and go back to the drawing board

  5. John Fraser

    <

    Gillian Trigg is an Australian.

    And one who embodies all that is good about being an Australian.

    Gillian Trigg was the one doing the questioning and she should have slapped down Morrison when he started asking questions.

  6. Dan Rowden

    Pam,

    Excellent piece. Told me a lot of stuff I did not know.

    Lots of similarly interesting articles here: http://honisoit.com/?s=tony+abbott

  7. Lee

    Good work Kaye. It’s a shame our paid journalists are not questioning our politicians on this stuff. It really does show that they are unsuitable to run the country.

  8. Dan Rowden

    Maybe those of us with Twitter accounts ought make ourselves useful and tweet this article and others from Honi Soit to a bunch of journos, then ask them why they’re not writing about it … if you enjoy the sounds of deafening silence, that is.

  9. Phi

    Very interesting expose. What it shows is that these visionless ultra-conservative politicians have no morality, no value system – they are in the game solely to wield power and for financial gain. The future of the nation and its people is irrelevant to them.

  10. Anne Byam

    Well done Kaye. Thank you for info.

    Seems these idiots will follow whichever way their Pinocchio noses point. They think themselves above the law, and they behave below corruption. Will say and do anything – to get their own way. Power … all for power.

    Scratch the surface of Pyne, and one would find ( I believe ) a very scabby little creature, with a great number of personal problems.

    Would prefer not to offer here, what I think those problems might be. !! ??

  11. Dan Rowden

    Pyne’s problems are the same as most of the front bench – classic conservative arrogance, sense of eminence and political primogeniture.

  12. Lee

    I think he is just an arsehole. lol

  13. Kaye Lee

    According to Christopher, it’s because of his accent.

    “I assume that people in politics are going to say nasty things and … I’ve got a South Australian accent if you like, and I think people have often confused that with, umm, other things.”

    When I suggest that the rumours are damaging politically, because of the connotation that he’s not who he presents as, he closes down the discussion. “I wouldn’t address it … I just don’t think it’s necessary,” he says. “I mean, it doesn’t go to the capacity to do his job. It’s just playing to the people who want to smear me to address it … because there’s nothing more they would like than to see it in print. It would be a win for them.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/why-christopher-pyne-is-a-man-in-a-hurry/story-e6frg8h6-1227017135427

  14. Lee

    Oh bullshit. The only South Australians who sound like him are gay.

    I don’t have a problem with him being gay, merely about his inability to be honest about who he really is.

  15. Dan Rowden

    Ok, so I’m supposed to eat dinner after reading that piece of sycophantic, grovelling, fawning swill? Jesus, Kaye Lee. 😉

  16. Dan Rowden

    Lee,

    I don’t have a problem with him being gay, merely about his inability to be honest about who he really is.

    Really? On what do you base the idea that he has some sort of problem with who he is (or for that matter the notion that he might be closeted?)? Do you think his wife and children believe he has a problem with it?

    I have to say I think this sort of talk is beneath us, or ought to be. Then again, maybe Penny likes a bit of cock on the side. Should we discuss and speculate? Might be fun.

  17. Kaye Makovec

    Shared 🙂

  18. Kaye Lee

    Christopher did a good thing by starting the youth mental health initiative ‘headspace’ in 2006.

    It would be cynical of me to suggest that is why headspace got increased funding in the budget.

    “The announcement by the Commonwealth Government in tonight’s Federal Budget to fund a further 10 headspace centres will make a significant impact on the lives of many Australians, particularly young people and those at risk of taking their own lives.

    The additional $14.9 million for the new 10 centres will bring the total number of headspace sites across Australia to 100, to be delivered by 2017-18, and honours an election commitment made by the Coalition before the 2013 Federal election.”

  19. Richard Lee

    Callow or Shallow? Actually Vogon.

  20. Lee

    “Really? On what do you base the idea that he has some sort of problem with who he is or for that matter the notion that he might be closeted?)? Do you think his wife and children believe he has a problem with it?”

    People don’t have a go at the way he speaks because he has a South Australian accent. They do so because he sounds gay and has the mannerisms of a gay man. He just isn’t willing to admit that at the very least, he talks and behaves in a very effeminate manner. For someone who is proud to belong to an organisation that vilifies gay people and who has himself spoken out against gay people, he’s a joke. That is why people make fun of him. It is also known that men who find gay men abhorrent actually do identify with what they are rejecting. It’s too close to home and they are uncomfortable with who they really are. Whether he is gay or not, he should not be promoting the “gay is a sin” line from his church and he should not be making up some garbage about people having a problem with his South Australian accent. The only men in SA I’ve encountered who talk like he does are gay.

    There are plenty of women who do not realise for years that they are married to a gay man, especially women who have been raised in a strict religious environment where sex before marriage is forbidden. They have little to no experience to compare with. I once knew a woman who initially considered that her closet gay husband simply wasn’t very sexual. The penny didn’t even drop when she caught him masturbating to gay porn! She never suspected he was gay right up until the day he came out.

  21. Dan Rowden

    Lee,

    “Mannerisms of a gay man”? Ok. Convo done.

  22. Lee

    Well ask his opponents why they laugh at his voice. I live in his electorate, the second time I’ve done so. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who makes fun of him because of his “South Australian accent”. However, over the years I’ve heard many people laugh at him for the conflict between his voice and behaviour vs his religious beliefs. Even Julia Gillard called him a mincing poodle.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Tony and I were at Sydney University together. I remember having a wonderful conversation with a philosophy lecturer at Forest Lodge Hotel one day about the reasons for the immaculate conception myth. Tony thought we were all communist pot-smoking lesbians. I put it down to my accent.

    “Within days of his arrival he was putting out the club’s newsletter, Democrat. The targets he chose for his March 1976 debut as a fighting journalist were lesbians, homosexuals and the Students’ Representative Council (SRC):
    Most students will be interested to know that Orientation Week’s Gay dance was a financial failure. Not only did the SRC make good this loss but it collectively howled down a speaker against the motion … it is a foregone conclusion that only motions supporting subversion, perversion and revolution will be passed.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/early-elections-20120903-2593o.html#ixzz3BOxfIQgs

  24. Anne Byam

    @ Kaye … ref . ” According to Christopher, it’s because of his accent.”

    I read that link, penned by journo. Jamie Walker of the “Weekend Australian “:

    Not sure where Walker got some of his ideas or statements from, but an interesting article none-the-less.

    Pynes’ accent ? I don’t know where exactly he thinks he is living – maybe in the U.S. or the U.K. where dialects are very distinctive. Visiting Adelaide does throw up a tiny percentage of pronunciation differences here and there, but ……… we are all Australians, not excluding the bods from South Australia. So that’s a furphy. Just another excuse.

    From that article : ” Tears are welling in his ( Pynes ) eyes, the sense of loss as raw as ever. “It had the biggest impact on my life of anything, of any event, because I realised I was in a hurry to make a difference, quickly,” he says quietly of his father’s death in 1988. “I realised I couldn’t wait around. I had to make things happen, and so I have.”

    What a pompous, unfeeling and arrogant statement. And on the back of his own father’s death. I simply cannot bellieve the crocodile tears…….. ” I had to make things happen – and I did” …. a mongrel statement if ever I heard one.

    All me, me, me – and anything left over, me again. Just goes to show what kind of creature Pyne is …

    ____

    “Those people who see me as some kind of political warrior are right to think that I would do everything I can to win, so that the Coalition is in government … I’ll do what I need to do to position the ­Coalition to win elections.” a further statement from this article, allegedly attributed to Pyne.

    _____

    If this statement is true – then it shows the ruthless, audacious nature of this Government ‘minister’. He WILL do anything – whether it is is – or is not – in the best interests of education specifically, or anything else in our country – that he can get his hands on. I would not put it past him to try things illegal – as long as it fits in somewhere with something someone has said / written in the past – legally, or even in our own Constitution. He will do ANYTHING – and therefore must be treated with extreme caution. Like a crim. who is armed … “Do not approach this man” … “approach with extreme caution and back up” ( to police ).

    You might think I have been watching too many cop shows on TV…. but I haven’t taken them as anything but what they are … yarns to be enjoyed and to try and follow and figure out …. FICTION.

    Pyne is not fiction, folks ….. he’s a ruthless, domineering piece of work … to be very very wary of.

  25. Dan Rowden

    Making the point without dialectic neblosity and without any semblance of sexual ambiguity in tone, resonance, cadence or poofery – RIP Don Dunstan – I have to say this whole subject of Pyne’s mannerisms and what they may or may not mean, sexually, is utterly stupid.

    QED.

  26. Lee

    Totally agree Anne. One does not need to be a complete prick to be a successful politician. Note the recent link Kaye posted about the Abbott article and his views towards his unborn child and his responsibilities to his girlfriend and child. It turned out many years later that the child wasn’t his, but he believed the boy was at the time and his attitude says it all. The Rhodes Scholarship and his career was far more important than his girlfriend and son. These people would eat their young if it advanced their career and their attitude towards the environment and job security also shows how little they care about their offspring. It’s all about me!

  27. Dan Rowden

    Which story about his “son” do you think we should believe? There are several. But I suppose we’re obliged to believe the worst one possible, since he’s the devil incarnate and has apparently always been.

  28. Lee

    Dan, maybe so, but Pyne has been dogged for many years with rumours about his sexuality. It frequently comes up in conversations around here about him. Pyne’s sexuality seems to be more of an issue than Don Dunstan’s or Paul Keating’s or Bob Brown’s. Perhaps it is due to the conflict with his religious beliefs. IMO the concept of a South Australian accent is utterly stupid too.

  29. Anne Byam

    While, as you can all see ( IF you read it ) my previous post about Pyne, you would know that I do not support him in ANY WAY whatsoever. He’s a brute – to be dealt with.

    But I do urge CAUTION to those who have labelled him ‘gay’. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Doesn’t make much difference to his arrogant and dangerous stands on policy, and his pumped up, self opinionated ego.

    Have a gay friend ( one of several ) who speaks with the deepest and most positively masculine voice imaginable. Accent and voice does NOT make ‘gay’. However, he has often asked me ” do you think I mince when I walk ” … to which I have replied ( for the most part ) “No”. But there are little give aways. There always are. Ergo, my friend is not yet 100% comfortable with his sexual preferences. He admits it actually …. but he will be comfortable and accepting, one day.

    On the other hand, a family member ‘minces’ when he walks. Does he ever. But he is not gay in any way. Is quite comfortable around gay men without conceding to them in any way. It’s the man who is uncomfortable with ‘gayness’ that might indeed have an issue within themselves. Underscoring that observation …. Kaye said : “It is also known that men who find gay men abhorrent actually do identify with what they are rejecting.” This is a psychological premise, underscored by many psychiatrists.

    Whether Pyne REALLY accepts or rejects homosexuality, is not for us to know.

    We must see him only as he presents himself – ( sexual preferences not included ) …. and that is as a dangerous bully, who will stop at nothing to achieve his PERSONAL goals in politics.

    I have to add ” be afraid Tony A, be very afraid”.

  30. Lee

    “Which story about his “son” do you think we should believe?”

    How about the ones that quote Abbott?

  31. Dan Rowden

    Lee,

    Pyne’s sexuality and issues surrounding it are a problem for the “Left”, not for him. The fact that it’s even an issue is utterly hypocritical, ironic and bizarre. A person’s sexuality matters? How do we justify getting into a dialogue of that kind?

  32. Dan Rowden

    Lee,

    Sorry, please link me re: Abbott son. Yeah, I know Google exists but you’re obviously referring to something specific … and I don’t see it in previous posts ..

  33. Lee

    We don’t. It makes no more sense than the right wing belief that poor people deserve to be poor.

  34. Lee

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/early-elections-20120903-2593o.html#ixzz3BOxfIQgs

    Abbott called the shots. “I decided that Kathy and I were not going to get married and that adoption was the right thing to happen.” They split up in the seventh month of her pregnancy. She said, “I wanted him … to be a white knight on a charger and fix it up for me, but he couldn’t, so I ended the relationship.” Abbott came to the hospital in July 1977 and held the child for a few minutes before the boy was given away. “I just wasn’t ready for it.”

    I’ve read other quotes from him previously where he talked about his parents persuading him to split with the girlfriend and give the baby up for adoption. Once again he was quoted as saying he wasn’t ready for parenthood.

  35. Dan Rowden

    You know what, this petty bullshit about Abbott as a person sickens me. It’s so stupid. Bob Hawke remains a leftie hero. His youthful claim to fame as a Rhodes Scholar was to swill beer. His family life was a shamozal. He was a philanderer. How about we stick to politics or do we want to be the political equivalent of the New Idea?

    Grrrrrrrr…..

  36. Kaye Lee

    I agree we have gone somewhat off track. I found the quotes from young politicians in Honi Soit when researching for another article and I found them interesting. As for Christopher Pyne, I find him a supercilious unprincipled annoying twat but that does not necessarily make him a bad politician by today’s standards.

  37. corvus boreus

    Pyne’s conduct in parliament, with flagrant disrespect for the position of speaker(unless a ridiculously partisan speaker like the current joke), and inability to modify his behavior to acceptable standards, with attendant regular expulsions, makes him a bad politician by my standards.
    He is not alone in behaving like a juvenile prat during question time, but he is by far the worst offender.
    Politicians should behave like responsible adults when on our payroll in the halls of parliament.

  38. corvus boreus

    Richard Lee,
    “Not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous.”
    I do miss Douglas’ beautiful brain.

  39. Terry2

    Of course the offshore detention facilities are analogous to mainland prisons but without the quality of the infrastructure offered by the prisons. I am amazed that the Minister and his fully indoctrinated departmental head – is this guy on a performance bonus based on degrees of nastiness – should even seek to deny this.

    The significant difference of course is that a prisoner in jail knows the length of his sentence and when he will be released. The men women and children in these detention facilities do not have any idea how long they will remain in jail and cannot argue their case in a court of law. We even deny that we are responsible for them. What an appallingly hopeless situation to be in.

    The tragedy of these people is that they have been lied to by everybody, from the smugglers who took their money to the Australian Officials who told them they would be processed as refugees an then dumped them on remote islands with the prospect of being further offloaded to Cambodia.

    Australia, be ashamed, very ashamed.

  40. Kaye Lee

    Terry,

    There is also the fact that people in prisons have committed a crime. We are incarcerating these people indefinitely when their only crime was to plead with us for help.

    And if I ever come across that Martin Bowles character I will give him a piece of my mind. I think Ms Triggs was in shock. She should have slapped him down right then and there by saying “Excuse me Mr Bowles you are here to answer our questions, not to make demands of the bench and if you cannot behave appropriately you will be charged with contempt. And YOU, Mr Morrison need to realise that regardless of what your “policy” may be, the last time I looked we did not live in a dictatorship and it is entirely appropriate that the actions of the government be subject to oversight. You will therefore answer the questions put to you and if we need to stay here for a week to get those answers we will do so. In the absence of satisfactory answers you will find yourself summonsed to a higher authority to answer questions about human rights abuses. So shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

    I am ashamed.

  41. Terry2

    Beautifully put, Kaye.

  42. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    As for Christopher Pyne, I find him a supercilious unprincipled annoying twat but that does not necessarily make him a bad politician by today’s standards.

    I agree that’s exactly what Pyne is, but I would say, if you look at the reasons that’s the case, it does make him a bad politician. But more broadly, has there ever been a conservative front bench like this one? Not in my experience. “Well-bred” conservatives tend to have an air of smugness about them but this mob is so, um – I don’t even have the words for them. It’s a kind of conceit and insolence wrapped up in a degree of braggadocio that we’ve never seen before. They absolutely stink of it like a spotty faced teen who’s put on too much Brut 33.

    The whole sexual identity thing does kind of annoy me. I remember the Dunstan days. He was a fine man and a pretty fine politician and none of the crap that was thrown at him should ever have been. I think, however, it’s a very worthwhile thing to attempt to understand what turns people into who this front bench are, because we need to have that knowledge so as to avoid it into the future. It’s almost as though the Liberal Party is breeding them out in some back room somewhere.

  43. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    I agree about the sexuality thing. People will always speculate, just ask Ian Thorpe, and as you point out, an entire magazine industry has been built around the sex lives of celebrities. Personally, the less I hear about their dalliances the better. Jacqui Lambie seems to think she has signed up for a dating game.

    As regards this current crop of conservatives, looking at their past is revealing. Not only have they come from privileged backgrounds, they have an overwhelming sense of entitlement the like of which I have never encountered before. They are more than happy to change their mind about anything if it will gain them power. They don’t seem to have a plan beyond winning elections as shown by their university days. The behaviour of Morrison shows they do not like to be questioned (especially by women). Where do we draw the line on deterrence? Shooting them would probably save us a lot of time and money – would that be acceptable to stop the boats?

    I blame Abbott for the tone but perhaps I am giving him too much credit.

  44. Lee

    ” I think, however, it’s a very worthwhile thing to attempt to understand what turns people into who this front bench are, because we need to have that knowledge so as to avoid it into the future.”

    Isn’t that a contradiction? You were opposed to a discussion highlighting how shallow and selfish some of these people are, comparing it to New Idea. IMO if they are shallow, selfish and shirk their responsibilities because it interferes with their career plans, they are the kind of people who are unfit to run the country.

  45. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    I think Abbott is largely responsible but I’m not sure if he’s wholly responsible. This group have gotten much worse than they ever were before. It’s as though they’ve been given permission to be arseholes and they’ve grasped that freedom with glee. But then, it has to be noted that the Australian public also granted them that permission. Abbott was the worst behaved Opposition leader this country has ever seen and what did we do? Punish him for it? No, we rewarded him with Government.

    This is a crude analogy/metaphor I know, but it’s almost like there’s a sort of weird personality cult operating that’s taken over the minds of these people. Not even Malcolm Turnbull has been able to resist its powers. They’re not just classically smug tories, they’re creepy, really creepy.

    I do honestly believe that it’s not just up to the Left to resist it with force, but more importantly it’s up to small “l” Liberals. If they lose sight of who they are, we’re in big trouble. They need to show some gumption and speak out against the force that’s invaded their territory. Their relative silence is pretty disturbing.

  46. Kaye Lee

    I agree Dan

    They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
    Mysterious and spooky,
    They’re all together ooky,
    The Abbott Family.

    Kevin Andrews has a lot more influence than people understand. He actually challenged Malcolm for the leadership a couple of weeks before Tony. He sits on Credlin’s “Star Chamber” who decide all appointments so they install the people they want. He and Bernardi are zealots who have unassailable certainty that theirs is the one true way. This mentality is permeating all the aging Young Liberals. Contemporary Young Liberals are a vacuous bunch at best, socially unaware, spouting a whole bunch of catch phrases which they do not understand. The current front bench display the same traits but with a frightening arrogance where they no longer feel answerable to anyone.

    And small l liberals have left the party or retired. There are no longer given a voice so why be there beating your head against the wall.

  47. Harry

    Look, everyone makes mistakes. I’m 70 years old and I remember once when I was young and foolish that I actually voted for the liberals.

  48. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    Whereas Howard’s approach to politics was typically cynical, this lots approach is not so much cynical as it is sinister. This movement to malevolence in conservative politics is something that everyone needs to perceive clearly – conservatives more so. You may be right about the absence, at the party level, of small “l” Liberals, but what of their support base? Is there any evidence of a disturbance in the conservative force? I think there has to be for this trend to stop or be slowed. We progressives will always be critical of a conservative government so our protestations don’t really mean that much. I really think we need more conservatives to see things for what they are and to speak and act against it. I suppose the next election will tell us if there’s any real dynamic of conservative angst regarding what’s happening. Aside from a few voices I’m not seeing much.

  49. Lee

    “Kevin Andrews has a lot more influence than people understand. He actually challenged Malcolm for the leadership a couple of weeks before Tony. He sits on Credlin’s “Star Chamber” who decide all appointments so they install the people they want. He and Bernardi are zealots who have unassailable certainty that theirs is the one true way. ”

    They behave as if they have been brainwashed, and not just on issues connected to religion. I have seen the same mentality within fundamentalist churches. They have a cult-like mentality. It is very disturbing.

  50. Dan Rowden

    Totally agree with the cult analogy. It may not be perfect but it’s certainly descriptive enough to be usable. It’s not just the shared socio-economic ideology, it’s the behaviour and attitude, the not-so-veiled threat of expulsion for any form of disloyalty or dissent, the employment of scripts, the secrecy and contempt for and resistance to any form of scrutiny, the elitism, the polemic style in the politics. This mob tick a lot of the boxes of cultism.

  51. jimhaz

    [I have seen the same mentality within fundamentalist churches]

    When you surround your mental world with God, it makes reality opague. One can’t see through the dirty windows of religious falsity. They don’t actually know how to think openly, the fundamental building blocks of thought are tainted by marrying everything back to god – they only have foundations that will allow a single story dwelling of thought, not a skyscraper.

    In all the times I’ve watched all Muslims and the more fundamental or old school Christians speak, say on QandA, I’ve yet to see one person make a truly coherent argument. They may have valid individual points, but never entire arguments that are logical.

  52. jimhaz

    [small “l” Liberals]

    Many have been silenced by the ALPs misdoings. They’re not going to come out and protest against their sick fellows, when the budget is a problem….and it is, as even small i’s won’t accept tax increases (other than maybe the regressive GST). Once Rudd and Gillard’s overspending is under control, maybe (with fingers crossed) the more moderate conservative voters will give the Abbott neo-cons a serve.

  53. Kaye Makovec

    “I do honestly believe that it’s not just up to the Left to resist it with force, but more importantly it’s up to small “l” Liberals. If they lose sight of who they are, we’re in big trouble. They need to show some gumption and speak out against the force that’s invaded their territory. Their relative silence is pretty disturbing. “
    They do Dan Rowden, as do the middle of the road lot, the Greens and the Independent voters too, but their voices are often drowned out by the name-callers and those saying they don’t know what they are talking about. And when one is of the ‘seen but not heard lower class with no formal education’ age group it is difficult to speak up only to be abused for it. Nobody wears sign stating their age so you never know who you are talking to 🙂
    Speaking up is new to many of us but we are learning and many grey heads were seen in the March in March protests, and will be again 🙂
    Also, many who voted for the LNP (apparently the 55 and over lot) did so because they have always voted Liberal or Nationals, and they believed the bull meted out by the newspaper they have followed since its inception.
    Gullible and trusting, yes, uncaring or stupid, no.

    Whoever said Abbott was dangerous was spot on. Abbott and Co are so far up themselves they are willing to divide our entire nation. We have always had a bit of squattocracy and have and have nots, but people could aspire to better things. But now the feeling of not belonging for being the wrong class is emphasized on a daily basis. Old, not wanted; unemployed, not wanted; disabled, not wanted; single parent, not wanted; homeless, not wanted; Muslim, not wanted; black, not wanted; and so it goes.
    I really do fear for the future because the ‘unwanted’ numbers are growing.

    Pyne’s sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with his politics or anything else. And neither it should. It doesn’t matter.
    I don’t see any need for anybody to ‘come out’ as I don’t care, and anybody who does care should look at their own thoughts on the subject. Does a ‘straight’ person feel a need to declare? No.The path to freedom in everything is a two way street.

    What does matter and what I care about, is how he talks and behaves as a representative of my country and its citizens and THAT is atrocious with absolutely no thought to anybody other than himself and his ambitions to be a warrior in his own mind.

    It is because of his attitude he will never be anything other than a figure of ridicule. And that goes for all of them because if we don’t laugh we will cry.

  54. Ricky Pann

    What a fantastic article. It is important that people understand the underlying core values of these sycophants and their illusionary rhetorical lies that fuels their unmitigated neocon power lust. Tony Abbott is all things to all people, environmentalist economist, feminist bust can best be described as a juggler of truth, fulfilling Santamaria’s legacy as a ideological warrior of neocon religious radicalism… Educate people to his truth and they will be amazed at his hypocrisy.

    Yes, they were young, but one wonders whether their views were those of callow youth or shallow men.

    The poignancy of actions are a resounding answer to that question, especially the childish vindictive retribution leveled toward their political and ideological opponents in the pursuit of what can only be described as social engineering steeped in the social division of class warfare.

  55. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Re comment at 8:08 this morning, abso-bloody-lutely.
    If there is no ability to differentiate ethically between the expectations of the quality of treatment expected to be directed towards children cast adrift in traumatic circumstances beyond any hope of their own control,compared to the treatment of adult citizens who knowing(often repeatedly) transgress the laws of our land, sometimes for horrendous atrocities against their fellow citizens, something is fundamentally adrift within the overall guiding compass.

  56. Anne Byam

    @ Corvus and Kaye ….well said both of you.

    And there certainly IS something fundamentally adrift …. What has been cast adrift now has NO overall guiding compass, whatsoever. Not with this rabid governing mob at the helm. Their latest trick ( after the sweetener of “Terrorism Control ” … or whatever the hell they called it – even though I agree with containing terrorism to the best of our ability ) … is to slam the Builders Union and associates ( CFMEU ) with a ‘rebuilding’ of the structure of pay, RDO’s and assorted other lead issues ….working hours, job security, incomes and living standards, injuries and fatalities, opportunities for apprentices and older workers It’s called the ‘Building Code’. An ‘Abbott’ code.

    It “will devastate family life and our communities ” …. ( all statements here retrieved from a Facebook follow to “Tony Abbott and the Coalition – Exposed ” ). This FB page often uses AIM Network commentary to underscore it’s aims. As most of you would know.

    – – – – – – – – – ( I am going a bit off topic here, deliberately, altho it still comes under the article – “Callow or Shallow” )

    I don’t disagree with this ‘ TA & C – Exposed’ facebook pages’ aims. Many times they are correct – but occasionally they go off the rails. They are however, not off the rails in this instance…..

    Funny how some things can be almost prophetic ? . http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-23/maccallum-tony-abbotts-blame-game-cant-last-forever/5163908 This was written back in December 2013 – just 3 months after things changed – in a frightening way, as we now understand. Looking back on the past 11 months, along with reading the article in this link, gives me goosebumps …. and the horrors.

    Admittedly, it was written by / for “The Drum” …. which I think a few of you don’t particularly like ( from what I have gathered )
    But it holds an eerie sense of foreboding and insight. Even back then. ” The 3 envelopes ” is an oldie but a goodie … a story of the passing of Government from one Party to another … it begins the article in the link above.

    I rather think – after this latest “Buildng Choice” travesty, which is accounted for in glowing terms ( what else ) on the Liberal site, and labelled as ” Improving the Fair Work Laws “, Abbott just might be reaching for the ‘ third envelope ‘ – very soon.

    The sooner, the better.

  57. Pingback: Where There Is Smoke – – – | Ærchies Archive - Digital Detritus

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