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Bernardi and Abbott: a shared pyschosis

And the week finished on a spectacularly self-mutilating note for the No side, with Cory Bernardi and Tony Abbott inadvertently exposing the dark spite at its crippled heart through a couple of straw-clutching stunts that only served to reveal the dire lack of substance in the anti-marriage equality tripe.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday provoked a media kerfuffle when he decided to report an alleged assault on him in Hobart not to police, as one might expect, but to Andrew Bolt and various other representatives of the gutter press. He had been head butted, he claimed, by a Yes supporter, in a totally unprovoked attack and this is all we can expect from Yes supporters who are disgracefully violent.

Eric Abetz, with whom Abbott later lunched, declared that if marriage equality becomes a thing we can expect that married same-sex couples will go round head butting whomever they want, because marriage equality gives legitimacy to head butting. Or something.

Eventually the Tasmanian police, alerted by media reports, contacted Abbott about the assault. They subsequently arrested Hobart DJ and anarchist Astro Labe, who stated quite bluntly that his attack had absolutely nothing at all to do with same-sex marriage. Astro just hates Abbott and half-tanked, took an apparently god-given golden opportunity to “nut the c#nt.”

That the media unquestioningly ran with Abbott’s fantasy that he had been attacked by a marriage equality supporter because of his stand against same-sex marriage, is disturbing. As the story unfolded, it became clear Abbott had quickly confected the motives for the assault, and the media went right along with his confection. I am tempted to speculate that Abbott’s opportunistic lies explain his failure to report the assault to police, and hopefully will cause him some difficulties when the matter comes to court.

Senator Cory Bernardi took umbrage at the South Australian Craigburn Primary School’s “Do it in a Dress” day, an event they’ve held for the last six years in which boys are encouraged to wear school frocks as part of a fund-raiser for African girls who are in urgent need of education.

“This gender morphing is really getting absurd” thundered the chiselled-faced senator who apparently believes if you allow a boy child to wear a dress for six hours he will morph into a yucky girl and a rampant homosexual and destroy the values of western civilisation and all this ruination begins with marriage equality you are being warned!

The school expected to raise about $900 for the African girls. At last count they’d received some $120,000, as citizens outraged by Bernardi’s perverted attack on the generosity of little kids expressed their feelings via their credit cards. Bernardi has been left with an inordinate amount of egg on his Ken-like features, and his mean-spirited efforts to shame primary school boys because they don a frock has exposed the despicable lengths he is prepared to go to in his anti LGBTQI and marriage equality campaign.

These two men are, quite frankly, hideous in their zealotry and their willingness to exploit every situation in support of their cause. Both men have been exposed as extremists, who see the world through the lens of their bigotry and homophobia, always on the look out for circumstances they can turn to their advantage. These tactics have backfired for both of them this week.

The media is also apparently biased against the Yes side, with No campaigner Lyle Shelton receiving three times, that is three times more mentions than prominent Yes advocates.

You’ll be relieved to hear that Abbott received only a “very, very small swelling” on his lip. You might care to consider this alongside the murderous violence perpetrated against gays, for example, and the astounding lack of interest and concern shown by media and authorities in these atrocities.

Post Script: I have just with my own eyes seen a photo of Bernardi and his wife in their own home with a large painting of Australia’s most famous gender morpher, Dame Edna Everage, on the wall. Nobody could make this shit up. Nobody.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


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  1. diannaart


    I tweeted yesterday, as gob-smacked as you, by the Barry Humphries portrait providing backdrop for a man who so dislikes women he believes wearing a dress is somehow corrupting. The “Do It in a Dress” fund-raiser at South Australia’s Craigburn Primary School to aid African girls education, was hoped to hit $1000, thanks to Bernardi, they raised $200,000. This was the largest amount in the six years the event has been running.

    …and why is there no investigative journalism on Abbott’s failure to immediately report his attack by outraged drunk to police, instead phoned Bolt. Andrew Bolt is not someone I would turn to for help in ANY situation… could it be another media opportunity for the ever so shy Tones?

    More egg on the faces of a couple of the nastiest men you would never hope to meet.

  2. diannaart

    Miriam, Lyle borrowed some of Barnaby Joyce’s “You Won’t Believe It’s Not Face-Cream”, works a treat for that manly men’s man look.

    @ Kronomex

    In my case it was the refried beans…

  3. C.Mitchell

    Abbott is such a “media tart” that my first reaction to the news was that it might have been fabricated; AND his 1st port of call was to the media not the police !!!

  4. john ocallaghan

    I reckon Shelton slips on his wifes little black number then hits the bottle every night,than heads out to the shed to check out the gay porn on his secret computer!~!`
    And that is probably closer to the truth then we think!

  5. Miriam English

    Kronomex, thanks for the link to the Guardian article about Trump in Alabama. At one point I burst out in loud laughter. Trump is certainly certifiably crazy, but sometimes it unintentionally reaches cartoon comedy:

    He talked at length about the wall he hopes to build on the Mexican border, insisting it needed to be see-through. Trump said this was because drug dealers are currently using catapults to send 100 pound bags of drugs over the existing concrete wall and they are landing on people’s heads in the United States.

    Classic! Brightened my day. Have politicians always been this insane? Or do we live at a singular time in history when they’ve all been snorting the crazy dust?

  6. Peter

    Rarely have I read such blatant bigotry and hatred as evidenced within this article and many of the comments above!
    Ah the intolerance of the fascist left! Rarely disappoints, always predictable in its vitriol and distorted facts!

  7. pierre wilkinson

    meanwhile, Shelton and the mad abbott insist that it is only the yes side that indulges in violence, completely ignoring the bashing inflicted on K. Rudd’s godson by a no voter, and the complicit, compliant media acquiesce to the lies and distortions

  8. Roswell

    Peter, go back to Andrew Bolt’s blog.

  9. Mick Yemm

    Ok Peter, which of the “Facts” have been distorted? The mad abbott and corgi that you’re making out to be the victims here are the epitome of “blatant bigotry and hatred”. And “Fascist left” is a bit of an oxymoron.

  10. Kaye Lee


    It is our duty to speak about injustice and the “distorted facts” being spun by those who seek to impose their beliefs on others.

    You suggest that gay people want to impose their homosexuality upon you when in actual fact it is the other way around. You think that your heterosexuality makes you somehow superior and in a position to make laws about other people’s lives.

  11. Kronomex

    Peter, the rabid right fascists (of which you appear to be part of) make us “fascist left” look like learners. Now back up your comments or push off. I’ll be surprised if you post again because you’ve had your little right wing rant and will now go and find another, in your little mind, fascist left site and inflict them with your troll like behaviour. Oh yes, say hello to Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Tones, and Cory for us will you.

  12. Miriam English

    Peter, please let us know which facts we have wrong. How have we distorted?

    Unfortunately you misunderstand the term “fascist”. It doesn’t refer to left-leaning people. It refers to right-wing authoritarians. The term comes from Mussolini’s Fascista party. The original definition is:

    n. 1. A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.
    2. Capital F. The governmental system of Italy under Benito Mussolini from 1922 to 1943. [Italian fascismo, from fascio, bundle, group, assemblage, from Latin fascis, bundle.]

    The authorities have been rewriting history a bit recently because the original definition is a bit too uncomfortably close to current right-wing governments, so the bit about government and business colluding has been quietly removed from recent re-definitions. A bit worrying.

  13. the Lion

    So funny, wonder what Bernardi thinks of the traditional Footy night where players don dresses and prance about.

  14. LOVO

    Their will be more schools doing this now……thanks Craigburn PS for the lesson and thanks to One Girl for an great idea for an fundraiser. 😎
    P.S. Oh and thanks to Cory for the lesson on how not to be ? :headbuttsmiley:

  15. Michael Taylor

    That’s unlike you, LOVO. ?

  16. diannaart

    Thanks LOVO for link – very important.

    Thanks also to Miriam for providing the visual to Bernardi’s breathtaking ignorance as he posed with little wifey in front of a (no doubt valuable) portrait of Barry Humphries as his inimitable alter ego, Edna Everage.

    Other male comedians who don a dress for a (very clever) laugh are David Walliams, Matt Lucas and our own Chris Lilley as the precocious Ja’imie, private school girl. These are very talented people who bring a range of characters to prod us out of complacency.

    In the past, actors such as Monty Python performed more a parody of women – speak in ridiculously high voice and get a ‘larf’… the aforementioned actors play female characters with a great deal of empathy. Not that I am dissin’ the Monty Python crew, much of their comedy was and remains hilarious – they just didn’t get women.

    I know I am trying to reach a point here, please bear with me. Now we see more and more female comedians performing terrific and acutely funny impressions of men; Melissa McCarthy skewering of Sean Spicer a prime example.

    I’ll quickly finish with reminder that Shakespeare’s entourage of male actors who played all characters (because women weren’t permitted) very successfully, if history is to be believed.

    OK, my point which, sadly will never occur to the very twisted and bigoted Cory Bernardi’s of this world, is that cross-dressing has been going on for aeons, has never resulted in people marrying Harbour Bridges or even cats marrying dogs, but has kept us entertained as well as casting a mirror upon us.

    How sad a life to be a far-right bigot.

  17. Kaye Lee

    From 2011…..

    Bernardi has certainly wasted no time in the five years since he was elected a senator for South Australia. He’s played a key role in killing off the former Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme, toppling Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader and replacing him with Tony Abbott. He’s “carved a niche as one of Australia’s leading conservative voices”, according to his website. He’s riled Greens, gays, feminists, Muslims and small ‘l’ liberals with his campaigns against action on climate change, gay equality and the burqa.

    “Cory is deluded,” says a Liberal Party colleague. “He is one of the least effective or important members of the parliamentary team. Cory is a person without any intellect, without any base, and he should really never have risen above the position of branch president. His right-wing macho-man act is just his way of looking as though he stands for something.”

  18. Miriam English

    diannaart, well said!

    The long history of cross-dressing hadn’t occurred to me.

    There’s also a history of women impersonating men, generally for quite different reasons. Often it was to gain equal treatment in a very unfairly weighted world.

    One of my favorite writers, Alice Sheldon gained fame for her stories written under the name James Tiptree Jr. It took many years for her to be found out. It seems every year nobody showed up to collect the many awards given to James Tiptree Jr. Her real identity was discovered a few years before she and her husband suicided — he was sick and dying and she didn’t want to continue without him.

    Mary Ann Evans wrote, as George Eliot, novels (including Middlemarch) that would go down in history.

    Joan of Arc is pictured today as a gorgeous woman fighting in feminine shaped armour, but in reality she disguised herself as a man in order to fight for France.

    The three Bronte sisters all published their early works under male names.

    Swedish wife Elisa Bernerström disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia in 1808 and 1809 and to be with her husband. She received commendations for bravery.

    JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books originally chose to represent herself by initials to avoid the prejudice that often attaches to female writers. Recently she’s been writing mystery novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, it must have stopped working when WordPress upgraded the other day. The creators of the plugin have to now make their plugins compatible with the new version of WordPress. I’ll keep an eye open for the upgrade and install it as soon as it becomes available.

  20. Zathras


    It was Andrew Bolt who recently remarked about “left-wing fascists”, also demonstrating his ignorance.

    Interestingly it was also the true fascist Mussolini who allegedly relabelled fascism as “Corporatism” (“..merger of state and corporate power”) – an idea much-loved by the Right and at the heart of their philosophy.

  21. Peter F

    @Peter……………….. Projection, plain and simple.

  22. totaram

    Zathras: I doubt if Andrew Bolt is ignorant. These people constantly try to relabel and reframe words and ideas to suit their agenda. Soon it will be OK to use “left-wing fascism” as some sort of description of left-wing violence.

  23. silkworm

    The school shool should be renamed Corgiburn.

  24. guest

    This weekend Chris Kenny has written under the banner “How Bill would have laughed”, referring to Bill Leak and his “prescient Waffen SSM cartoon”. Leak, according to Kenny, fore-saw what the Murdoch press now calls “loudmouth rainbow fascism” in the SSM debate.

    Kenny goes on to list examples of people who have expressed their position on the Yes side against the No side.There are even photographs illustrating one incident. Is he surprised that all this vitriol has happened? Bill Shorten opposed the plebiscite because he fore-saw the bitterness which would enter the “debate”. Kenny says Shorten’s position was only to cause dissent among the Coalition.

    In Kenny’s writing the bullying and “frogmarching” is all on the side of the Yes voters. Only at the end does he give a backhander which looks like he supports the LGBTIQ people: “…we should think about the nasty and vile abuse directed at gay people in the debate – often through direct or private messages. Just because the bullies want you to vote Yes doesn’t make it wrong.”

    While Kenny appears to be wanting a “fair and balanced” debate, his use of examples, illustrations and weasel words – the whole tone of it – is against the “loudmouth rainbow fascists’, forgetting entirely the centuries of gay-bashing and social isolation of LGBTIQ people around the world.

  25. diannaart

    I, who have been targeted as a “feminazI”, can completely empathise with those described as “loud-mouth rainbow fascists”.

  26. guest

    Ah yes, diannaart. It is a popular Murdoch scribbler game – seeking out identity politics and those playing the “victim card” They love name-calling. It becomes short-hand code for what they do not have to explain in any detail because explanation would betray their myopic vitriol as they preach to the choir.

  27. diannaart


    “Nazi” and “fascist” are now trigger words used by bullies to incite knee-jerk reactions in the unthinking.

  28. Jennifer Wilson

    Left wing fascists? Interesting idea.

    Shelton, Bernardi et al seem to live rather narrow, rigid lives that they are determined to impose on the rest of us. Bernardi is now going after drag queens, which seems desperate.
    They really are the fun police

  29. Roswell

    Weird, isn’t it, Jennifer? You write an article about what the right-wingers have done – with verifiable evidence, I might add – and all of a sudden you’re a left-wing facsist.

    I’m trying to get my head around what it is that right-wingers hate so much.

    But without bothering myself with the mental task much longer … I reckon I know what they hate: the truth. It makes them squirm.

  30. Kaye Lee

    They hate any attack on their privileged position whether it’s from women, gays, Aboriginals, asylum seekers, atheists, environmentalists, republicans….whoever questions/threatens the status quo that has delivered them power and privilege and made them top of the heap.

    I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascals.

  31. diannaart

    These “kings of castles” will (eventually) turn on their own if one of their kind deigns to utter the awful truth:

    (Warren) Buffett has outraged conservatives by saying that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. He’s said this for years, but he’s a target now because President Obama is using his comment to make the case for higher taxes on millionaires. …Wealthy people, by definition, have done better within this system than other people have. They ought to be willing to join Buffett and Edwards in arguing that for this reason alone, it is common sense, not class jealousy, to ask the most fortunate to pay taxes at higher tax rates than other people do. It is for this heresy that Buffett is being harassed.

    They cannot handle the truth.

  32. Miriam English

    It’s not just that they fear their loss of privilege, nor just their puritanism. (Humorous definition of Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.) It’s mostly that they fear change. They “remember” a world that never really was and want to keep it, or keep the illusion. We all have some of those illusions, and most of us dislike change of some kind (I love to change up my ideas of the world and even the fundamental structure of my knowledge, but I don’t like to go outside, do shopping, and physically meet people). We all hate change in some way. Conservatives just seem to hate it more than others.

    We never used to worry about wasting energy, or changing the climate, or having gay people marry. Conservatives don’t want to now, so they’ll don blinders to avoid even acknowledging those changes. If they have to hurt people in order to maintain their comfortable sameness, then to them that’s a reasonable thing to do… after all, they feel those people are threatening them. And in a way they are, even if only because the conservatives have so strongly identified themselves with that stasis.

    Is there a way around this? I don’t know. In the long term, a generation of conservatives dies off and the problem resolves itself… or at least that’s how it worked in the past, but now we live longer and change is occurring faster. That makes the problem much worse and more dangerous. We really need to find a way to drag some of these people into the present day. You’d think it shouldn’t be too hard, considering that the past that they’re so desperately clinging to mostly didn’t even exist… but it is hard. The illusions are powerful. And they will fight to avoid giving them up. And they are often some of the most powerful people in society.

  33. Chris2017

    Are you qualified to diagnose psychosis? I don’t practice any longer but you should be aware of yourself when writing. Try a mirror.

  34. Kaye Lee

    I’m not qualified so I am not in a position to argue but…..

    “Psychosis may involve delusional beliefs, some of which are paranoid in nature. Put simply, delusions are false beliefs that a person holds on to, without adequate evidence. It can be difficult to change the belief, even with evidence to the contrary. Common themes of delusions are persecutory (person believes that others are out to harm them), grandiose (person believing that they have special powers or skills)

    …secondary delusions are typically understood as being influenced by the person’s background or current situation (e.g., ethnicity; also religious, superstitious, or political beliefs).”

    Sounds very applicable to Abbott and Bernardi to me.

  35. Miriam English

    Chris2017, I’m not sure how the psychological professions became so reluctant to name problems that politicians have. If they were not so timid we might have avoided some of the terrible problems that have afflicted society as a result of unbalanced politicians’ actions. Trump is the most spectacular recent example. Thankfully some psychologists in USA have seen their way to push aside their customary prohibition against speaking out about powerful people’s craziness and are actually calling a spade a spade where Trump is concerned. We could all be saved a lot of pain if obviously unbalanced characters like Bernardi and Abbott and Dutton could be kept from hurting our society.

    Suggesting that the writer “try a mirror” is a strange thing to do. Surely you’re not implying that questioning the fitness of those politicians constitutes illness itself.

    Incidentally I have to compliment you on the absolute cutest avatar image I think I’ve ever seen. Very cool.

  36. kristapet

    Abbott likes to make “shit” up and Bernardi likes to rush in without, Facts Checking, first, and then, attacks fund raising by children
    It makes you wonder who would vote for them with behaviour displays like this???
    These two, certainly, do not look in the “mirror”!


    bernadi is an embodiment of contradiction. if the extreme conservatism he espouses was prominent in Aust at the time his family left Italy he and they would never have been allowed into the country he wishes to reproduce as the failed one his family left. Put more simply, he’s an opportunistic simpleton with no self awareness and an ego inflated by the blinkered sense of self importance engendered by privilege.

  38. Chris2017

    Kaye Lee/Miriam English The practice of labelling people, using psychology has a long history but the professionals are worried about legality and rightly so. I could write myself out of existence looking at allegations of psychological illness in public life. However, being older and not suicidal as yet let me offer a couple of thoughts. W.B. Thomas (dec’d 1947 he didn’t live to see new social theories) said that: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” I’ve seen this in rewriting history with contrary facts, sufficient to say that spin and twist with political and media persons beats any cricketer I’ve seen. I also suggest you take a peek at the work of Leon Festinger on cognitive dissonance. I realise many today disparage any 20th Century writings, while clinging like limpets to Karl Marx and other revolutionary ‘theorists’ but Festinger’s work is particularly appropriate today and few in public life avoid the plague. It’s quite possible that they could not function without as for example neither party went to the last general election with SSM on their platforms. There is a chance I would have voted differently had they the courage to put up the policy. Now both leaders and many members have declared for a Yes vote. That is not representative democracy. I might opine that the plebiscite won’t be the end of the troubled political waters but solar, I don’t think I’ve called anyone mad or deranged on the issue. However, I am annoyed at the slight of hand by the major parties and if anyone wants to know why politicians are on the nose, they don’t have to look any further than a mirror – hence my earlier comment – which applies to us all. Our political culture, such as it is, tends towards emotion-driven anger and neither my trusted feline or I want any more enemies.

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