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Abbott’s denial of reality

It’s the goal of every political party to impose its particular concept of reality onto the nation over which it desires governance. Treasurer Joe Hockey, for example, wants to convince us that if we have a “good” job that pays sufficiently well we will be able to buy a house, even in what governor of the Reserve Bank Glenn Stevens describes as Sydney’s “crazy” market.

In other words, Hockey wants to impose his party’s ideological belief that all that is required is hard work to get you where you want to be. In the matter of affordable housing this fallacy is easily challenged: nurses, emergency workers, teachers, police, all essential to the safety of any community, are paid so comparatively poorly they have reduced opportunities to purchase a home in the city in which they serve, yet their jobs are “good” in every other sense of the word, and they work hard in traumatic and difficult circumstances.

In Hockey’s ideology the individual is entirely responsible for his or her fate, and the wider social and cultural context in which we exist is of no relevance whatsoever.

Even cabinet ministers occasionally have difficulty meeting their mortgage payments, Prime Minister Tony Abbott folksily tells us, and his own daughters are wondering how they’ll ever get into the market. These comments only serve to confirm the “craziness” referred to by Glenn Stevens, however this is not Abbott’s intention. In yet another cosy homily, the Prime Minister is attempting to brainwash the nation into the belief that it is normal to struggle mightily to own a home, and that housing is a privilege, not a human right.

The LNP ideology in general, not just as it is revealed through the prism of the housing market, is based entirely on the denial of the reality of everyone other than themselves and the like-minded. So as another example, in what must be the most twisted effort thus far to keep the country free of asylum seekers arriving by boat, we now hear that the Abbott government is allegedly using tax payer dollars to persuade people smugglers to turn their over-loaded boats towards Indonesia where they presumably will either offload their cargo of human misery, or conceivably turn right back around in the hope of being intercepted by another representative of the Australian navy and border patrol who will, if they are lucky, pay them more thousands of dollars to turn back to Indonesia.

This interesting variation on Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence will, the government assures us, ensure ongoing success in its campaign to turn back the boats and keep Australia safe. The fact that we pay those vile people smugglers to turn around will not, of course, encourage the people smuggler trade, because the Abbott government wants to stamp that trade out and paying them to turn back will stamp that trade out, dummy, what is wrong with you that you can’t get that? It won’t even risk more drownings at sea because paying people smugglers to turn back their boats will stop drownings at sea, or at least in the bit of the sea that belongs to us, because the people smugglers have been paid and paying them means nobody will drown.

Are you gas-lighted yet?

The government has zero interest in the reality of waterborne asylum seekers, their struggles and their fate. The only reality that matters is that of a group of largely white males who currently comprise the orthodoxy, and whose sole goal is to remain in power. Their task is, by hook or by crook, to quote their leader, to persuade enough of the citizens of this country to share that reality and vote them back in. Denial of every other reality is essential to achieve this outcome, onshore and off.

Image from

Image from

Denial is an insidious psychological mechanism, on a personal, community, national and political level. One of the most destructive of its effects is the barrier it inevitable constructs against change. Nowhere do we see this played out more dramatically than in the Abbott government’s fanatical loyalty to the continued use of fossil fuels, brought yet again into stark focus this week by the Prime Minister’s brain fart on the aesthetic offensiveness of wind farms and his intention to find, by hook or by crook, expert evidence to prove their danger to human life.

A few weeks ago Jeff Sparrow tweeted about the demented wind farm phobia displayed by both Hockey and now the PM. Its roots, he claimed, lie in the fear that at their every turn the turbines are whispering: “Hang the bourgeoisie. Hang the bourgeoisie.”

Denial, in the psychological sense, causes a refusal to accept evidence-based reality, refusal to acknowledge the repercussions of one’s own actions and the effects those actions have on others. The denier uses minimisation, rationalisation and justification to cling to a status quo under challenge, and the more frightening the challenge, the more desperately the tools of denial are brought into play.

The Abbott government suffers a group psychosis, so deeply ingrained is its pathological denial of any reality other than its own; its callous disregard for the effects of its actions on any other group, and its narcissistic belief in its own entitlement and superiority. This can only go one way: downhill. Currently, we have no significant organised challenge to the Abbott government’s dominance, but when we do and we must, even it means widespread civil disobedience, the orthodoxy will decompensate, and hopefully implode. This will not be a pretty process: overthrowing tyrants never is.

Change is an anathema to conservatives, and we are in a time of enormous global changes that must be maturely addressed. They will not cope. They are already not coping, and if we had an opposition with any kind of a spine, the government’s sick reality would be under real and consistent challenge.

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.


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  1. Graeme Henchel

    Welcome to AustraLIAR
    a land where lies abound
    and truth is such a rarity
    it’s seldom to be found

    You wonder how it’s come to this
    a land once young and free
    is now a place of fraud and fear
    and stark dishonesty

    Our mendacious “leaders”
    are the best that can be bought
    by multinational billionaires
    whose ethics count for nought

    Welcome to AustraLIAR
    unless you are the needy
    our common wealth is not to share
    except amongst the greedy

    We’re now the land of double speak
    of broken trust and failure
    While honest folk just shake their heads
    lamenting lost Australia

    Yet still the polls belie the fact
    the country’s in a mess
    The proles it seems believe the lies
    they read in Murdoch press

    Welcome to AustraLIAR
    a land that once was proud
    We’ve now become a global joke
    our innocence deflowered

    There’s those who say they’re all the same
    all parties show bad form
    but never in our history
    has lying been the norm

    So what to do to stop the rot
    and turn the ship about
    For fairness and integrity
    we must kick these liars out.

  2. hood

    LNP. What a good place to start; this ‘coalition’ is fraudulently elected in a least some States as its’ members are not in coalition but

    belong to either the Liberal or National parties. The fraud, is that each goes to its constituents with its’ own policies regardless of policies

    of the other. Once elected only the depth of trough for their collective snouts determines which policies are implemented.

    National voters in particular are brazenly hoodwinked by this practice.

  3. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Most people’s knowledge of history is not good enough for them to recognise fascism jn embryo.
    Pus the ALP – and The Killing Season – are doing nothing to provide a real alternative.
    We need a plethora of independents with integrity to stand and give us the hope of a hung Parliament.

  4. Deidre Zanker

    Fascism tends to creep in before the majority notice what is happening. Surely all the signs are obvious, but only for those who understand what is being done to our democracy.

  5. mars08

    Why shouldn’t Abbott and his sleazy mob deny reality? Who will stop them? And who’s “reality” is it?

    Pulitzer Prize winner journalist and author Ron Suskind wrote this in the NYT back in 2004:

    I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

    The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    THAT is the sort of reality this government feeds to it’s citizens…

  6. darrel nay

    reply for mars08,

    I believe the Bush adviser who is quoted is Carl Rove.


  7. corvus boreus

    This week I will acknowledge 1 piece of legislative amendment proposed by Abbott’s crew that I actually agree with.

    The proposal was put forward by the coalition that there be a limited preferential option allowed for upper house ballot papers.
    It was opposed by some Labor senator, and most cross-benchers.
    I agree with this proposal on basic principle.
    For the best clarity of my electoral voice, I would like a mediational option (10 – all?) somewhere in between;
    a) Sequentially numbering 1 through to 947 beyond any certainty/clarity of knowledge (potentially feeding shell scams), or
    b) Ticking 1 for my preferred/least loathed party/block and leaving my preferential allocations entirely in their trust.

    Even if this may potentially temporarily set back the cause of my own preferential leanings, it would give me opportunity for a much more accurate and definite statement on who and what I want stating a rough approximation of my opinion in the federal senate.

  8. Phi

    Damned good article – that paragraph second from the end is a great prognosis. And it will happen like that because Abbott has all the personal characteristics to ensure that it happens that way. And Jeff Sparrow’s “Hang the bourgeoisie. Hang the bourgeoisie.” is so heavily loaded that even Abbott and his front bench toadies will not miss the point so well made.

    Abbott has terminally damaged the Liberal Party brand whether the results show at the next election or the one after, and Abbott knows that what awaits him will be very serious national and international legal consequences arising from his policies in office. Morrison and Dutton will join him in the dock(s)

    Abbott’s seemingly irrational and arbitrary behaviour should be seen for what it is – i.e. the behaviour of someone who has crossed the line and now must retain power at ANY PRICE – this is very dangerous and is going to end badly, but it will end and we will pick up the pieces and resume the decency and leadership we were once proud of.

  9. stephentardrew


    The problem is this is a different type of economic and oligarchic fascism not seen before. No uniforms or boots straps just an invisible coterie of surveillance and secrecy supported by an all too compliant media while the citizens are kept in stupefied ignorance.

    Who needs a prison when you can imprison people in their minds.

    Technology can change things for the better or worse however these dogmatist are intent upon making your life worse and theirs better.

  10. mars08

    @stephentardrew: “Who needs a prison when you can imprison people in their minds..”

    Who needs a prison when people are so willing to be their own jailers?

  11. darrel nay

    reply for stephentardrew,,

    I agree mate but I’ll bet the protesters at the Brisbane G7 might beg to differ regarding the existence of uniforms and black boot straps. The militarisation/federalisation of the police force in America is off the charts and the people are filthy because the feds are continually claiming that constitutionalists are the number one terrorist threat:


  12. Rezblah

    Call me a philistine if you like but I’m afraid the only thing this brazenly criminal (not to mention blatantly treasonous) government would understand is a bigger stick.

    Personally I’d be happy to see the lot of them stripped of their citizenship (and their clothes for good measure), dumped in a boat and left at sea to fend for themselves. Shorten can join them for all the use he is too.

    Civil disobedience may well be called for to end this evil assault on our people, our society, our nation, and to ensure it doesn’t happen again (via a new constitution not written by politicians), but it will need a bloody big stick or it will be (a) ignored and (b) squashed by the authorities with the remainder arrested and incarcerated.

    Sounds crazy? Yes, but is it any crazier than the behavior of this government, or how we ended up with such a disgraceful and disgusting mob of charlatans?

    Sorry but I’m over the lot of them. It’s the 21st century, we’ve learnt and know what we need to do to build an egalitarian society but we’re all held to ransom by a powerful and corrupt minority.

    Like I said, we need a bigger stick – charges of treason and the full weight of the law would be a good starting place, followed by The Hague for good measure

  13. Annie B

    Excellent article Jennifer Wilson. … thank you.

    Great posts here too, from all. …

    There are 3 stages of ‘feeling’ ( for want of a better word ) …. Love, Hate, Indifference.

    “Hate this situation; Love this situation; Am indifferent to this situation. ”

    Indifference is lack of empathy or feeling, lack of concern or interest – towards ( whatever ). … There is no emotional ‘love’ or ‘hate’ involved. There is no antipathetic, antagonistic reaction. … Indeed, no reaction at all. … ( not something the government would want !!! – they thrive on reaction ).

    I personally have reached this stage in my reactions to the Abbott Government and it’s ministry. … They are not worthy of my time ( or anybody elses’ time ). … They are not worth giving 1/100th of an ear to. … they lie – we all know it, so be it. … It is the status quo – for the moment. … My stomach no longer churns when I hear LNP crap on my tv screen. …

    The visage of the abbot, where it once had my guts in a knot – no longer can do that…. I think it it has been a sort of epiphany … Went through the ” geez, we should pity this bloke ” to a ‘nothing’ … a non-reaction. … It was gradual, but it has now happened, I am delighted to say. …. I do not need some bully boy dictating to me. …. It’s over.


    This mob must be ignored quite completely, while we gather ourselves together – ( and we will ), to become Australia again, with better objectives, renewed compassion, unity, and way of life – no matter how difficult it gets for a short while. … And it could become difficult, while this lot throw their self-perceived weight around.

    It is the outward and forward look that Australians must embrace now – to leave this government well behind and floundering. ….

    Believe me, they would NOT like the idea of people being indifferent towards them. … They rely on reaction, and reactionary results. …. not looking too good at the moment for them. Hang on to that.

    Let’s continue to think positively toward our future, with good, new and refreshing ideas, and flush down the toilet, the garbage that spews forth from the incumbents. … Cos that’s the only place it belongs.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Annie. Yes, there are great posts here.

  15. Annie B

    @ Graeme Henchel …

    Just a hearty congrats on your writing of such great verse – which sums up so well, the mess we Aussies are in at this time. Only just got notification of it in my Gmail inbox.

    Well written – very well said.

    🙂 🙂

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