The Morrison enigma

By Ad astra It’s becoming alarming. Every day our Prime Minister becomes more…

If Gladys is a “great candidate”, our country…

By TBS Newsbot Gladys Berejiklian managing to resign in disgrace, face the ICAC…

Let’s be clear, Gladys Berejiklian is being investigated…

Over the last few days, there has been a full court press…

Omicron and the Travel Ban Itch

Stick to the script: owe that duty of care to your population,…

So, who's the boofhead, actually?

While it may be fair for us, the hoi polloi, to address…

Scott Morrison’s #themtoo moment

Scott Morrison’s reaction to the Kate Jenkins’ review was to make it…

Vacant claimants

By John Haly Predictably the crises of climate change and the pandemic highlighted…

Backing Horses: Australia’s Solomon Islands Intervention

The history of humanitarian or policing missions is a history of taking…

«
»
Facebook

Roswell (not his real name, of course), is American born though he was quite young when his family moved to Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Science and spent most of his working life in Canberra. His interests include anything that has an unsolved mystery about it, politics (Australian and American), science, history, and traveling. Roswell is our SEO guru so most of his work at The AIMN is in an admin role, though he does produce regular articles.

For once I agree with Tony Abbott

This is what Tony Abbott had to say in June 2009:

Let us be absolutely upfront about this. The greatest political crime that a member of this parliament can commit is to mislead this House. A member of parliament can maladminister a portfolio. A member of parliament can squander billions of dollars. A member of parliament can run naked down George Street and survive. But a member of parliament cannot mislead this place and survive. Any member of parliament who misleads this House must resign, if he or she has any integrity, or must be forced to resign, if the party leader has any integrity. That is the point here.

The issue isn’t important. But his message was. I agree with him, by the way.

Now let’s jump forward to July 2015:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office knew Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had misled Parliament about Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis three days before the government eventually owned up to the mistake.

The delay in correcting the parliamentary record until the end of a sitting fortnight meant the government faced no scrutiny in question time over its handling of the case.

The newly released, heavily redacted documents show Mr Abbott’s office knew Ms Bishop had relied on false evidence to defuse Labor’s line of attack about why the letter from Monis to Attorney-General George Brandis had not been taken seriously.

What more can I say, other than “Tony, where are you?”

 

“Tony Abbott has never apologised for the lies he told the Australian people”

I have always been among the first to be critical of Bill Shorten, but when he deserves more favourable recognition I want to be among the first to offer it. And he certainly deserves recognition for his speech on Matters of Public Importance in Parliament on June 25 when he unleashed probably the best attack on Tony Abbott since Julia Gillard’s famous ‘misogyny speech‘. But it was not just the grunt shown by Shorten; it was probably the best summary of Tony Abbott’s style of lying and deception ever captured.

You can watch the speech on The AIMN’s Facebook page but to my knowledge it is not yet available on YouTube (yes, I’ve searched). So far only 40,000 people have seen the video—which is clearly not enough. This needs to be ‘out there’.

If you’re not on Facebook and can’t share the video I’ve copied the transcript. Please, let’s help get this ‘out there’ too . . .

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (15:12):

Another question time and again no answers—another day like every day under the Abbott government. New Liberal lies—new Liberal lows. Every day we see the quality of the parliament and the debasement of the government of Australia continue downwards. There will be six weeks away from this place when we will all have the opportunity to be amongst the Australian people. But we know what the Liberals will be up to. We know that those opposite will continue their trademark politics of fear and smear. We know that the bar is never too low for those who sit opposite. Look at their form in Victoria. Never in my wildest imagination did I imagine that the Liberal Party of Australia or any of its divisions would stoop so low, crawl so low, as to be raising money on the back of national security fear. Frankly, the Prime Minister gave an unsatisfactory answer. He said that of course one would go down to ASIO for briefings—probably true; of course that may be true—but he could never explain why he needed a TV camera in tow. When the opposition legitimately questioned him on these matters, he said it was an attack on ASIO. This man is addicted to wrapping the flag of patriotism around him and then saying no-one has the right to ever question the judgements of this government on that basis.

We know that every dirty trick will be played by this government, by this Prime Minister, in the next 12 months. They will keep going on the low road of character assassination. They will stick with the same bullying, the same base politics of division and suspicion. The last day of this sitting fortnight has been typical of every day under this government. This government and Mr Abbott will say anything to get your vote. They will say anything; they will do anything; they will promise everything. But his words mean nothing. His promises mean nothing. Let me tell the government and Mr Abbott about this. If he wants to lecture us about lying, if he wants to keep on talking about keeping promises, if he wants to make the next election about trust, he should have a go—give it a try. Bring it on.

Today Mr Abbott postured in question time, in the style which only he thinks befits a Prime Minister of this country, with his faux indignation and finger wagging, about an interview I did with Neil Mitchell two years ago. As I have said more than a couple of times, I made a mistake and I regret it. I did, though, what Tony Abbott is incapable doing. I have apologised. Tony Abbott has never apologised for the lies he told the Australian people. He has never apologised for the fraud he perpetrated on millions of hardworking people who trusted him with their vote. He never apologised for saying, on the eve of the election, right down the barrel of a camera—probably capable of tricking even polygraph—’no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts or changes to the pension, no cuts to the ABC or SBS’. That is five broken promises in 10 seconds—one lie every two seconds.

The problem is that Mr Abbott’s lies have real consequences for all Australians. His lies are hurting people every day— $30 billion cut from schools and $50 billion cut from hospitals. Once and for all, will the government finally acknowledge the authorship of their own budget papers which demonstrate the change in their spending profiles and the cuts behind them? This Prime Minister thinks that Australians are as silly as some of the people who backed him in his parliamentary party. The truth is in black and white, green and blue. He has hurt 300,000 pensioners in this last sitting week—people on modest incomes. He talks about some people who get $30 a fortnight being better off. But he presses the ‘delete’ button at that point. He never mentions 330,000 pensioners who are having their pensions cut. He said before the election, ‘no cuts to pensions’. But 330,000 people are going to have their pensions cut. He says that because it does not happen until a certain date it is not really a broken promise. This man has too many excuses and not enough truth in his election promises. He has frozen the superannuation of 8.4 million Australians. He said that there are no adverse consequences that they would administer on superannuation, but he has frozen superannuation for 3.5 million low-paid Australians. He has taken away their tax support for the superannuation contributions they make. But it goes further than that. The Prime Minister for Indigenous matters has cut half a billion dollars from Aboriginal services. The Prime Minister for women has cut $270 million from community services, including counselling for the victims of family violence. And we know this is just the beginning. This is a most miraculous government. They get their public servants, paid by taxpayers, working for months to talk to other senior officers all around the country.

They prepare a federation green paper, and then they say, ‘It’s just a sensible discussion’. Prime Minister, there is nothing sensible about an option which says you will take every dollar out of public hospital funding. Prime Minister, there is nothing sensible about cutting the 15-hour minimum per week guarantee to four-year-olds. There is nothing sensible about means testing public schools and the parents who use public schools.

The Prime Minister has form on this. Before the last election he said there would be no cuts to health. In fact, he continued to say it all around the streets of Brisbane, before the Griffith by-election, when he said of his GP tax on the sick and the vulnerable: ‘nothing has been proposed and nothing has been considered.’ Nothing has been considered, nothing has been proposed and nothing is planned. Mr Abbott’s pattern is the same: all things to all people before an election; afterwards, ‘Please don’t bother me. I’m about to break my promises.’ I know what the next six weeks will be like with the government members. They will get out there and they will whip up fear. They will whip up smear. They will make it such that Australians feel more worried about their future than they even should be. Indeed, this is a government who is obsessed with the opposition. They do not want to stand up for Australia and fight for a vision of the future. The Prime Minister is never any happier than when he is attacking us. But he is never more unhappy than when he actually has to run the government in the interests of the Australian people. They are fixated on the past. They are spending $80 million of taxpayer money trying to denigrate the reputation of the union movement. They are trying to turn baseless allegations into a headline.

On this subject, let me say to the most appalling Acting Minister for Employment that this Commonwealth has ever had the misfortune to have serve in that position. He has said more than once in recent weeks of my time in the AWU representing working people, ‘He was there for the good times in Beaconsfield’. He has implied that somehow Beaconsfield was a good time. Well, Christopher Pyne, I was at Beaconsfield. A man died and two men were trapped for 14 days not knowing whether they would be rescued. For the first five days their families did not know if they were alive and, for the next nine days, ordinary men dug through hard rock to rescue them. It was a remarkable effort by hundreds of people. Their families went to hell and back. And Christopher Pyne is so out of touch that he says they were the ‘good times’? How dare you, Christopher Pyne. You are not fit to tie the shoelaces of those people in that rescue.

I say to the Prime Minister and to the government: we will never apologise for standing up and giving service to working people. Every day you talk about Labor, every day you talk about me, every day you look back to yesterday, is another day that confirms you have nothing to say about the future. You have nothing to say about Australians, their concerns, their priorities and, indeed, the future of this country. Labor is better than that. It lasted a day. We saw the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection getting back into the gutter with his interjections and mindless contributions. Yesterday we were his best friends because they needed Labor to do the right thing for the nation. But these people have short memories, as I predicted yesterday. But we are different. We will support budget measures that we think are in the best interests of the nation. We will not be mindlessly negative, as this Prime Minister made his trademark of opposition. We are interested in the Australia of the future and setting up Australia for the future. That means making sure that there are jobs and skills for the workforce of the future and our young people of today. We want great schools and yes, we want great coding in our schools. We want proper funding for our hospitals—not these rubbishy federation green papers which you propose, with your madcap options. And we want universal Medicare. Australians are sick of you trying to wreck the Medicare system. We want accessible and affordable universities, not $100,000 degrees. We will fight youth unemployment and we will back TAFE all the way—training and apprenticeships. We believe in a fair pension and we believe in strong superannuation.

In the next six weeks we will outline our positive agenda. You can play your cheap political games all you like. You can take the low road, you can do your very worst. But we will see you off. We will not only endure; we will most certainly prevail.

Update:

Thanks to one of our readers, the video is available in the comments below.

 

Bill, surely you don’t think Tony’s going to read your petition

‘Support our TAFEs’ said the email from Bill Shorten. Bill went on to say:

Information Technologies, Engineering Technologies, Graphic Design & Cloud Technologies…

We know that Australians studying at TAFEs now are getting the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

At a time when our economy is undergoing rapid change, the need for skilled people has never been greater.

Unfortunately, Tony Abbott & the Liberal Party missed the memo.

Today, on National TAFE Day, a paper by the Prime Minister’s Department has revealed a plan to cut every single dollar of funding to Vocational Education and Training.

This is awful news for skills in our country. The Abbott Government has already cut over $2 billion from skills and training, including $1 billion from apprentices.

We need to make sure people know about Tony Abbott’s plans for the hard working students and teachers in our TAFE community.

Let’s bring this PM back to reality on this. Will you add your name to say you’re backing our TAFEs so we can show Tony Abbott how unpopular his plan is?

It’s tough out there if you’re looking for a job. The last thing young jobseekers need is Tony Abbott undermining the training that helps them into work. On top of that, mature age Australians are crying out for the opportunity to gain the kind of qualifications TAFE can offer.

Let’s tell Tony Abbott to encourage more people, not less, to get the opportunities and the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

Please add your name so Tony Abbott knows we won’t cop his plans to hit hard working students and teachers with cuts to our TAFEs.

Thanks for standing with me on this,

Bill

When can I scream?

Let’s bring this PM back to reality on this . . .

Let’s tell Tony Abbott . . .

Please add your name so Tony Abbott knows . . .

Thanks for standing with me . . .

I have a better idea – and I’ve written about this here before – YOU bring the PM back to reality on this; YOU tell Tony Abbott; YOU let Tony Abbott know; YOU stand up yourself.

Instead of being a Minnie-me to Tony Abbott how about you grow some balls and take Tony Abbott on. This ‘please sign this petition’ is absolute bullshit. You are the Leader of the Opposition and you are entrusted with the task of holding the government to account.

Instead, all you do is hold hands with them.

Urging people to sign petitions, no matter how worthy the cause, will not win you an election. And did you hear? There could be one around the corner.

And why could there be one around the corner? Well I’ll let you work that one out for yourself. But here’s a hint: it could have something to do with you.

In the meantime, you want us to sign petitions.

You are always sending out emails asking us to sign a petition.

Now tell me, how many of these petitions have actually worked?

By the way, I’ve unsubscribed from your email list. I get nothing but petitions. Not policies. Petitions.

 

If only we could

It’s been a fairly heated week and perhaps it’s time for a bit of fun.

So . . .

Let’s imagine . . .

One member of Parliament was to stand down at your pleasure, never to run for Parliament again. Sacked on the spot.

Who would you nominate? And why?

I can foresee that Tony Abbott would rank high in the discussion and deservedly so. As would Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton . . . crikey, I could run through the whole front bench.

It might even be Bill Shorten.

Personally, I’d select Bronwyn Bishop. She’s not the worse person in the House – far from it – but in my opinion her performance as Speaker has turned Parliament into a house of disrepute. Sure, she may not be Speaker forever but I don’t want to take the chance. I would like to see her gone. Now.

Also, as I watched in horror as she chilled the audience on QandA with her ideology I wandered just how much damage she could do as an ‘ordinary’ politician to what we ‘ordinary’ Australians call fairness.

So for me, goodbye Bronwyn Bishop.

Now it’s your turn.

 

Are wind farms noisy?

Are wind farms noisy? Tony Abbott thinks they are. And if Tony Abbott thinks they’re noisy then I imagine that every right-winger in the country will be using Abbott’s opinion as scientific evidence that your eardrums will be blown out if you dare to venture within two postcodes of the ‘awful’ things.

Mr Abbott forgets that timber mills are noisy, as are roads, which he came to office vowing to build more of.

But back to wind farms . . . was Mr Abbott telling the truth? Are they really noisy?

Instead of sitting here and spending all day summarising studies into the issue, I could best be more effective if I implore you watch this very short video which gives us the answer.

And for those who don’t wish to watch the video I will give you the findings: they are not noisy. Tony Abbott is. He’s making a noise about nothing.

Would it be too much to ask him to remain silent on any issue he knows nothing about? Can we hope that in future he refrains from telling untruths in order to promote government policy and his own personal prejudices?

I think he’s just too noisy.

 

 

Is this the best Labor can do?

Brendan O’Connor is the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations. His job is to send emails. This email titled ‘No more minimum wage?’ came from him today:

The minimum wage is under attack from Tony Abbott’s mates at the Institute for Public Affairs.

The right-wing think-tank, the IPA has told the Productivity Commission’s review into workplace laws that their preferred policy position “is for the statutory minimum wage regime to be abolished.”

The Liberals are using this review as a blueprint for the revival of WorkChoices and an attack on penalty rates, allowances, and the minimum wage.

While the IPA and many Liberals are “philosophically opposed to the government mandating wage levels”, you and I both know how important the minimum wage is. Abolishing the minimum wage would have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable in our community.

Can you sign our petition to tell Tony Abbot to rule out agreeing with the IPA’s submission and stop attacking the minimum wage?

The IPA has a huge influence on Liberal policy. We’ve seen it before. The IPA asked the Liberals to repeal 18C, abolish the Department of Climate Change and repeal the Renewable Energy Target. [1]

We need to show Tony Abbott and the Liberals that Australians want a fair and reasonable minimum wage. Add your name to tell Tony Abbot to reject the IPA’s submission and support a fair minimum wage.

Thanks for your support,

Brendan O’Connor

I’m sorry, but that’s simply pathetic. He wants us to sign a petition to show Tony Abbott a thing or two. Really, is that the best Labor can do?

My message to Brendan O’Connor is to stand up in Parliament and bust Tony Abbott’s arse over it. Take him to task. Chew his bloody ear out. Verbally bash him from pillar to post. Scream it from the rooftops if you must, but don’t send me an email asking me to sign a useless petition that will do sweet bugger all. You may as well blow Tony Abbott some kisses for all the good a damn petition will do.

I’ve searched Google: the last time Brendan O’Connor mentioned the minimum wage to the press was in late January. I had a look at the ALP web site – maybe he’s made an appearance there. No.

I guess it’s easier to send an email asking for signatures on a petition that Tony Abbott will only piss on . . . if he ever gets to see it.

We the People

Hardly a week has gone by over the last year or so where there hasn’t been a petition put to me imploring my signature.

Most of these have been quite ridiculous, for example, petitioning the Governor General to sack the Abbott Government over one of many listed reasons. I don’t think that sacking the Abbott Government is ridiculous, so to speak, I just think it’s ridiculous petitioning the Governor General to do it on behalf of a group of unhappy constituents. The GG just isn’t going to do it, and certainly cannot do it for the reasons outlined in the petitions being generated by the score.

Personally, I consider the causes behind these petitions extremely valid. I don’t like what the Abbott Government is doing (though I won’t list my reasons here). I want to see the government removed, of course, but I won’t waste my time by signing any petition trying to promote that outcome.

Historically, petitions to the government or GG have succeeded only in fizzling out, basically because there’s only a remote chance that anybody apart from the signatories actually ever saw them.

Let’s be real: The government isn’t going to close Manus Island because of a petition. The government isn’t going to increase funding to the homeless because of a petition. The government isn’t going to protect the Great Barrier Reef because of a petition. The government isn’t going to release captured aliens from Pine Gap because of a petition.

They won’t even see the petitions. They’re going nowhere.

But there is a better way. Forget petitions as we know them, and replace them with the American system known as ‘We the People‘.

‘We the People’ is a section of the whitehouse.gov website for petitioning the current administration.

Here are some quotes from the site which explain how it works:

“We the People is a new, easy way for Americans to make their voice heard in our government. It is a platform on the White House website where individuals can create and sign petitions that call for action by the federal government on a range of issues facing our nation. If a petition gathers enough signatures, it will be reviewed by White House staff and receive an official response. We the People helps the White House understand the views of the American people and have a focused and civil conversation with them”.

“Anyone 13 or older can create or sign an online petition seeking a federal government action on a range of issues. Then it’s up to the petition creator and signers to build support for the petition by gathering more signatures”.

“There are two critical thresholds for We the People. First, a minimum number of signatures is necessary for the petition to be publicly listed on We the People and searchable. Second, a minimum number of signatures is necessary in a given amount of time in order for the petition to be reviewed by the White House, distributed to the appropriate policy officials within the Administration and receive an official response. This response will be posted and linked to the petition on WhiteHouse.gov, as well as emailed to all of the petition signers. Petitions that do not cross this threshold in the given timeframe will be removed from the site”.

“To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days”.

“To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days”.

I think that’s a great system and would love to see it used in Australia.

More right-wing rubbish

Hardly a week goes by without receiving an email from a right-winger about how boat people, greenies, Muslims, Aborigines (or any non-White, non-Liberal extremist) is undermining the entire fabric of Australia and the God fearing Western world.

I usually press delete after reading two words of their crap.

This one I read:

In May 2010 Tohseef Shah spray-painted a British War Memorial with “Islam will dominate Osama”.

He was fined £50 and walked free from court.

In November 2010 Emdadur Choudhury burned a Poppy during the 2 minutes silence.

He too was fined £50 and walked free from court.

Last week in a Portsmouth Court two men were sentenced to 6 months in prison for painting a Poppy on a mosque [refer picture above].

Pass this on, if you think it’s a disgrace.

I know you will without question.

It certainly would be a disgrace – if it were true. It turns out to be just more right-wing bullshit. It has been circulating vigorously via social media websites for over three years despite being a hoax. Yes, a hoax.

Here’s what really happened:

The specific stories mentioned in the message are mostly true (but the fines have been mixed up). Tohseef Shah was fined £500 in compensation, £85 court costs and two year conditional discharge for spray painting a memorial statue and Emdadur Choudhury was fined £50 for setting alight a poppy, and finally it is also true that two men have been imprisoned for 12 months for spray painting a mosque. The two men, Steven James Vasey, 32, and 24-year-old Anthony Donald Smith were convicted in Durham this month.

At first glance, one may justifiably feel angry at this apparent injustice which makes the British justice system appear soft on racial crimes committed by minorities. But as with all brief and racially charged messages circulating the Internet, it does not really tell the whole story.

Firstly, the two men sentenced for 12 months not only defaced a mosque but additionally put a brick through a window of an Asian run business and spray painted two other properties ran by Asians, and by the defendents own admission their actions were racially motivated and planned in advance – this in contrast to Tohseef Shah who`s actions were deemed to be political. Racially motivated crimes often receive heftier sentences and despite, for example, Emdadur Choudhurys crime of poppy burning being more controversial, strictly in the eyes of the law, the two men from Durham committed a more heinous crime.

Sentencing is based on many different factors, especially including the severity of the crime and the judge handing the sentence and of course there will be what many percieve to be lighter sentences and heavier sentences given for what appear to be similar crimes of similar severity. However if you think that lighter sentences seem to be reserved for people who are of Asian descent you would be wrong, because a message like this will duly omit the numerous accounts of racial hatred aimed towards Muslims that have not been met with a custodial sentence, such as the case of Wayne Havercroft who was only fined for leaving a pigs head outside a proposed location for a mosque and a spray painted sign saying “No Mosque here. EDL” – or the Sunderland man who was only fined for spray painting a mosque.

This message has picked three – albeit true – stories because they fit the overall meaning the message attempts to convey – hatred towards what the message creator believes to be a racially corrupt/soft justice system. Whilst one could reasonally argue that the two men from Durham did receive a significantly harsher sentence than both the men in the other two stories, it should be noted that these are just three stories and does not necessarily accurately reflect the way the British justice system convicts people of differing faiths.

I have seen similar articles on this (and other sites) exposing and denouncing right-wing bullshit, and noticed that the authors of the particular articles have been condemned for publicising the right-wing propaganda. The authors have made the claim that they are merely attempting to set the record straight. If there is nobody willing to do so, then this rubbish will continue to fill our in-boxes and social media sites unchallenged.

So if this email finds its way to you – you can do what I did – reply with a nice little note saying it’s a load of crap.

The Right’s right to be wrong

We are told that Islamophobia doesn't exist in Australia. Really? (image from couriermail.com.au)

We are told that Islamophobia doesn’t exist in Australia. Really? (image from couriermail.com.au)

Has anyone else noticed the ever increasing drift from reality those famous bed-partners – the Coalition and the Murdoch media – have settled comfortably into?

Not only have they drifted into a land that resembles nothing like the one where we others dwell, they also have some absurd idea that this new, fabulous paradise is all that exists.

But alas, unbeknown to them it renders them ignorant, and oh so hypocritical.

Take Joe Hockey for example. He repeatedly bellowed that the age of entitlement was over, and followed up with a budget that showed us that the age of entitlement is of course over, except for those who are entitled to it.

It’s a strange world he lives in. It’s not in this universe.

Miranda Devine lives there too.

Her blog piece, ‘The Left’s race to call us all bigots’ was the inspiration for my satirical response in calling this piece ‘The Right’s right to be wrong’. I didn’t have to read all the article to see how wrong, hypocritical, and off the planet Ms Devine must be. I got as far as the first two sentences:

The self-appointed tolerance tsars of Australia are having such a hard time proving Australia is a land of bigots they are now jumping at shadows.

They see racism where most people see patriotism. They cry Islamophobia where there is none to be found. They hear dog whistles that never sounded. They are obviously losing their collective minds.

There is much in those claims to dispute, but I want to focus on Islamophobia where there is none to be found.

Maybe Ms Devine hasn’t been reading the very paper she writes for, which over the last month has been belting us with the news that does nothing more than highlight that we live in a country where Islamophobia has become a part of the national psyche.

Let’s take a random look at what her newspaper – and other media outlets – have been saying:

Young filmmaker Kamal Saleh is optimistic for the future of Australia after his social experiment on Islamophobia but says discrimination remains an issue in the community.

# Five threatening letters delivered to Muslim businesses and ­groups in Lakemba are being investigated by police, with more incidents believed to be going unreported. Campsie crime manager detective Inspector Paul ­Albury said the material was offensive and would be to anybody in the community. “It’s degrading, disgusting and derogatory to people and their religion,” he said.

# Last week, after Bernardi’s comments, I was interviewed by the ABC for an explanatory article on the burqa, the niqab, and my choice of garment, the hijab, which covers only a woman’s hair, neck and shoulders. Bizarrely, when posted by the ABC on Facebook, the article received more comments than the ABC’s reports on the anti-terror raids themselves. The comments section is sobering reading for anyone with any doubts about the perniciousness of Islamophobia in Australia.

# Australia has emerged as a fertile environment for Islamophobia. Stereotypical representations of Muslims in the early years of the “War on Terror” – which linked terrorism, violence and Islam – gained wide currency by the mid-2000s. Sections of the news media, politicians and social media have re-activated these stereotypes. Muslim Australians are made to feel they are targets – for everything from the everyday racism encountered in schools and on the streets, to draconian counter-terrorism legislation that restricts civil liberties, to war and the preparations for war.

# In the contemporary socio-political context of Australia, Islamophobia continues to be haunted by the cycle of moral panics around the Muslim “Other.”

# Tony Abbott has been urged to speak out more strongly against Islamophobia in Australia following reports of mosques being defaced, women verbally abused on the street and death threats issued to Muslim figures. Community leaders have said they are deeply worried that Australia’s mission against Islamic State (Isis) and recent anti-terrorism raids are fuelling attacks against Muslims in Australia.

# The waves of abuse on social media has also highlighted how open bigotry has become, as if the disgust around the Islamic State has given a free pass to intolerance.

# Many Muslim women, say Ms Kay and other community members, are fearful of going out and many won’t venture far beyond their homes. Ahmed Kilani, editor of website muslimvillage.com, says some are now questioning whether Australia is still a safe and tolerant society. “My own mother rang me yesterday,” Mr Kilani told SBS, “with concern about what’s going, she said, ‘I don’t feel safe and secure.’ She made the comment to me that despite living here for 40 years which is a lot longer than she lived in Egypt. She said perhaps I need to consider moving back there and questioned whether I should go and get myself a dual citizenship in case things get really bad.” Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has called for calm, saying, “Muslim Australians are entitled to a fair go and to be treated with respect and there is simply no place for this kind of bigotry and this kind of criminal behaviour.”

I’m sure by now that you get my point. And to top it off The Daily Telegraph – the very paper Ms Devine works for – even published an article titled ‘Incidents of Islamophobia‘.

I’m baffled that Ms Devine finds it necessary not only to blame the Left for Islamophobia in this country – then announces that it doesn’t exist here anyway – yet works in an industry (and a newspaper) that keeps telling us how rampant it is.

If I may borrow an old adage: who makes this shit up?

The drift from reality is almost complete. She is quickly catching up to Joe Hockey.

Do these fools know what they’re doing?

Image by deknarf.wordpress.com

Image by deknarf.wordpress.com

 

The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.

I think the above quote comes from the Bible. I’ve never read the Bible (and never intend to) so I guess I’ll never know. But I have listened to Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, and forgive me for believing that it could easily refer to them. They are not yet ruined – politically (surprising enough) – but their own lips are surely setting the trap that may well one day lead to their long-awaited political ruination.

I’d be very perplexed if it didn’t. They recklessly behave like fools and they speak like fools.

I won’t dwell on their long history of foolishness as I could be bogged down writing a million words filled with example after example. There’s enough evidence elsewhere.

It’s the latest example I wish to focus on (which in itself should be enough).

We’ve all read about Joe Hockey’s budget woes (which have recently been pushed off the front page of the dailies – conveniently perhaps – by Tony’s pursuit of a ‘vote winning’ war). Tony Abbott tells us that our contribution of $500 million to war can carry on while the budget is in shambles:

He said it was important to keep the $500 million cost “in perspective”.

“That’s a significant amount of money but, in the budget of something like $400 billion a year, we can manage these things,” he said.

That was two days ago.

Only a week earlier Joe Hockey had:

. . . signalled more budget cuts are on the way, saying the Government has “no choice” but to look for new savings.

The move has been prompted by the failure to win Senate support for billions of dollars of budget measures and new spending on security and the defence mission in the Middle East.

So Joe Hockey is telling us that we can’t afford to go to war and Tony Abbott is telling us that we can. Joe Hockey is the more persistent of the two, today telling us that Labor needed to pass stalled budget measures to pay for Iraq war.

To Bill Shorten’s credit he asked Tony Abbott whether he backed Joe Hockey’s comments. There was, of course, no response. Tony Abbott would have looked a fool if he had answered the question, and still manages to look like a fool for remaining silent. Perhaps, in future, before he talks about our fiscal position he might want to confer with the Treasurer. Whilst I have no confidence in the Treasurer (or the PM) it would be a big plus if they trumpeted a consistent message. Seriously, do these fools know what they’re doing?

As you can see it’s easy to assume that the Bible might have been talking about these too men with the quote, which I will repeat:

The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.

I am also unable to comprehend why the media in this country hasn’t asked the same simple questions as Bill Shorten. One says we can afford to go to war, while the other says we can’t. And the media swallow each comment without even thinking of saying; “Hang on, the other day the Prime Minister/Treasurer said . . . “.

But can these fools ever be trapped with their lips while the media allows them to flap them about so thoughtlessly?