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Day to Day Politics: Australian values, fair dinkum.

Friday 21 April 2017

1 As a true blue Australian citizen I was perplexed with yesterday’s joint press conference between the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to announce changes to citizenship laws. In fact, I became angry that they could play the race card in such an obvious way. The changes were designed to strengthen Australian citizenship. What nonsense.

It was all smoke and mirrors designed to win back One Nation voters who have deserted them. They couldn’t even provide details of their proposed changes.

Asked at least five times to define ‘Australian values’ neither of them could. But it didn’t stop them from continuously repeating the term which seemed to get the journalists a trifle upset.

They seemed to be implying that these mysterious Australian values are somehow unique or peculiar to the local citizenry.

Are these the values that dared not pass their lips?

Respect for the equal worth, dignity and freedom of the individual

Freedom of speech

Freedom of association

Freedom of religion and secular government

Support for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law

Equality under the law

Equality of men and women

Equality of opportunity, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background

A spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good

But surely these are universal values common to most educated democracies.

So what are these uniquely Australian values?

Are they that one of our national songs is about a thieving itinerant worker who steals a sheep and commits suicide to avoid being caught?

Our national hero is a bushranger who ran around with a saucepan on his head.

Are our values built on our ability to overcome defeat on the sporting field?

Ricky Ponting is one of Australia’s greatest sporting heroes, for being the only Australian Cricket Captain famous for having lost the Ashes twice.

Do we look up to the values of Don Bradman who famously scored a duck in his last Test innings, thus ensuring he spectacularly failed to achieve a test average of 100 by the slimmest of margins?

What about the ABC who identifies so closely with his example of almost succeeding, while actually failing, that its GPO Box number is 9994 (Bradman’s ultimate average of 99.94)?

What about our armed forces who we celebrate with a biscuit?

We celebrate a massive and humiliating defeat in WW1 caused by British arrogance, idiocy and bad management. That’s why we prefer English migrants above all others. They make us look less stupid.

Most of our national icons are owned by foreign companies.

Our most famous piece of architecture was designed by a Dane.

Our most coveted sporting trophy is a bunch of ashes. The last day of an Ashes Test is called a “sickie”.

The country prides itself on its healthy disrespect for authority. It proved it at the Eureka Stockade when the miners fought the tax collectors. Sadly, they lost!

Australian Values, Fair dinkum.

Are our values enshrined in the example set by government, locking up and throwing away the key for asylum seekers on Nauru? What values do we find in committing people to a life in prison for not having perpetuated a crime?

Can our values be seen through the prism of and function of our body politic? By the standards our leaders set. By their corruption and incompetence.

We have built an entire culture on dubious values.

What about a “fair go”? Now that’s a tradition engrained in us. We give everyone a fair go unless it is politically useful not to do so or there is some advantage for our media to attack them.

What about the values we used to justify unilaterally attacking Iraq on the basis of a lie. That doesn’t mean we don’t respect democracy. We do. Specifically, we respect the democracies of Burma, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China and Khazakstan.

As Australians we value and have a deep respect for a wide diversity of European cultures such as English and American.

You might recall that we demonstrated these values with the Cultural Respect classes we hold yearly in January at Cronulla Beach, a famous sewer near Sydney.

Again we demonstrate our values by showing tolerance. After all we tolerate homosexuals. We just don’t like them in our churches. We tolerate their awful deviant practices as long as we can avoid the mental pictures. Our values are such that at some time in the future we may even consider marriage equality.

Disregarding the fact that Australia has arguably the worst record of domestic violence in the world. Australia values and respects its women.

All Australians (except politicians) respect and value democracy. The government values the wishes of the people. It takes care to listen to the people and to their wishes, and then it does what it wants.

We value our own but prefer the head of another nation as our head of state. Australian values indeed.

And we value the existence of our indigenous folk so much that we might one day acknowledge their presence in our constitution. No hurry though.

My Australian values might be different to yours but we are a multicultural country.

2 I said but a few days ago that one only had to look at the property ownership of our politicians to find a reason for the Governments blanket ban on any changes to Capital gains and Negative gearing. Showing true self-interest and, might I say, Australian values. Yes the system has been set up to advantage the rich and privileged and of course our politicians. We should value them and we do.

The ABC says There’s no housing affordability crisis in the ranks of Federal Parliament’s members and senators.”

Even the razor gang, the group that slice and dice the budget and will ultimately decide on the housing affordability policies own many properties.

It’s composed of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who owns two residential and three investment properties; Treasurer Scott Morrison, who owns a home at Dolans Bay; and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who with his wife Lucy owns several properties, including a home at Point Piper and an apartment in Canberra.

Together with their perks on allowances it truly is a scandal what they are getting away with.

But they are the defenders of Australian values.

My thought for the day.

”Often our opinions are based on our values rather than our understanding and the difficulty is separating the two”.

PS: I acknowledge the contribution of Australian Values in the writing of this piece.

 

 

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32 comments

  1. Terry2

    We could end up with a situation where a migrant family will be discriminated against with the younger generation learning English quickly and passing the citizenship test and the older generation, without access to English language instruction, and with the pressures of work failing to learn the intricacies of the English language.

    In the post WWII years of major immigration, the government provided English language instruction classes free of charge to all migrants : so far the government has been very vocal on changing regulations but very quiet on spending any money to facilitate the changes.

    How about putting money back into TAFE, so shamefully gutted in recent years in favour of crooked private colleges.

  2. Kaye Lee

    “Can our values be seen through the prism of and function of our body politic? By the standards our leaders set. ”

    THERE are about 800 politicians in Australia’s parliaments. According to their assessments of each other, that quite small group includes role models for lying, cheating, deceiving, “rorting”, bullying, rumour-mongering, back-stabbing, slander, “leaking”, “dog-whistling”, nepotism and corruption.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/the-body-politic-is-rotten/news-story/eefcfc1e80963babbaa38012c3534781

  3. Kaye Lee

    “In the post WWII years of major immigration, the government provided English language instruction classes free of charge to all migrants.”

    Both of my parents taught at Villawood primary school which serviced Villawood Migrant Hostel. The Easybeats was formed by five new migrants from three different countries who called Villawood home. My father also taught English to their parents at night.

    There was a time when those fleeing war were welcomed rather than treated as criminals.

    http://rightnow.org.au/opinion-3/a-brief-history-of-villawood-and-a-vision-for-the-future/

  4. Ricardo29

    Watched and listened to Turnbull and Dutton and I was both distressed and disgusted at the hypocrisy in their statements about Australian values. So much/many were just total BS, maybe aspirational but certainly not actual. Take the equality one, what a joke when we have millions living below the poverty line at the same time as we have millionaires and billionaires who don’t pay taxes. We have CEO’s paid multiples of their employees wages, yet wanting to reduce those workers conditions of employment, penalty rates? I despair the fact that we are led by a plethora of lollies so completely out of touch with reality that they can come up with this crap and appear to believe it. I also despair that for many of my fellow Australians it will probably be nough to win support for the grubs in power.

  5. Zathras

    What? No mention of “mateship” or “the fair go” or those other values our young men valiantly and bravely fought for on the sands of Cronulla Beach way back in 2005?
    Sad.

  6. Freethinker

    Why are targeting new Australians when reports are saying that 20 per cent of Australian students are deficient in vocabulary on entering school, rising to 30 per cent for those in disadvantaged areas?
    When Peter Garrett was the Minister for School Education a plan called Australian Tertiary Admission Rank was proposed on which trainee teachers would be tested for literacy, numeracy and emotional intelligence.
    Was that plan put in place?

  7. Kronomex

    Looking at the photo, we can see Mal Contents weasel genes are starting to manifest. Regarding the citizenship debacle all I say is, “Welcome to the 1950’s new “citizen”, make the make most of it. Fit in or eff off.”

  8. Johno

    I am in agreeance with you Mr Lord. I can’t stand this aussie values rhetoric. It just keeps getting dragged up. Real values have no national boundaries. Mal is def. losing the plot.

  9. helvityni

    After the election he spoke of our rampant DV, what happened…?
    He has not said much ,if nothing, about how our men of Church have treated innocent children, has he…?
    The plight of asylum seekers, rotting on Nauru and Manus does not seem to worry him.
    Where are his plans to improve the quality of our public schools?
    Is he making housing more affordable for young families?
    What about the homeless, our struggling pensioners?
    What does think of the CC, do we really need more coal mines?
    What about the SS marriage?
    Is he still interested in Oz becoming a Republic….?

    What are HIS values? Do all Australians matter, or does he really believe that only the big end of town need a boost…

  10. helvityni

    Is he worried about our obesity problem, the related health issues ? What about war on sugar ,not on Syria?
    Is he willing to go all the way with Trump?

  11. christine finlay

    More desperate dog-whistling by a morally corrupt and mean spirited government,the worst federal government of all time.
    No vision,No coherent policy agenda just lies,deception and contradictions.
    Sadly,these appalling changes are part of an plan to draw attention away from their total failure to address the pressing problems facing our nation for example stagnant employment and wages,poor private investment,ever increasing disparity in wealth,indigenous disadvantage,public funding of health and education and of course effective climate change policy that includes renewable energy.
    What ever yardstick that is used this inept and deceitful government is a total failure,the sooner we see the back of it the better!!!!

  12. jimhaz

    I’ve no issue with the changes – other than it is mostly about politics to appeal to the Hanson crowd as mentioned in the article.

  13. Kaye Lee

    “When Peter Garrett was the Minister for School Education a plan called Australian Tertiary Admission Rank was proposed on which trainee teachers would be tested for literacy, numeracy and emotional intelligence.
    Was that plan put in place?”

    Trainee teachers must sit a literacy and numeracy exam (at their own expense of $185) before they can graduate

    https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/

    Testing emotional intelligence is done during practicum and the interviews they must attend.

    Would that our politicians required similar qualifications or even any qualifications or aptitude or skills assessment.

  14. Matters Not

    If you want to unite a society, history demonstrates that a common ‘dislike’ provides an excellent starting point.

    Hands up all those who have an intense ‘dislike’ for Peter Dutton and his lived values as expressed by the way he treats refugees.

    (PostScript. There’s bonus points for those who go beyond intense dislike and choose other words such as aversion, distaste, disfavour, disapproval, disapprobation, disesteem, enmity, animosity, hostility, animus, antipathy, antagonism; hate, hatred, detestation, loathing, disgust, repugnance, revulsion, abhorrence, abomination, odium, disdain or contempt.

    For those who choose to use obscenities, then join the very long queue just around the next corner.)

  15. Bill Shaw

    The only values Turnbull and Dutton refer to are based on poll figures and trends. Surprised there wasn’t more flags at the presser.

  16. Jaquix

    I dont generally have much time for Leigh Sales since the early days of Turnbulls PM-ship, when she was all ga ga over him. But last night I was pleased to see she has toughened up, and when he proclaimed about Australia being the most successful multicultural country in the world, she asked Well why do you need these changes. And pulled him up when he claimed “this isnt political”. He seems very pleased with himself, very cocky. I suppose within his circle of sycophants and Liberal Party fogeys, and with pleasing Pauline apparently, he is being patted on the back. But out in the real world there is a very different vibe. He proclaims “The vast majority of Australians are pleased with these changes”. How on earth would he know? If he was game enough to check the unvarnished comments on online newspapers, he would be gobsmacked. I wish he would call a snap election.

  17. Vikingduk

    “The land of the fair go”, only for our upper class —
    48 millionaires in 2014-5
    Earned $118m
    Paid accountants and lawyers
    $20.2m
    To reduce taxable income to
    $0
    And paid tax of
    $0

    A land of compassion —
    56 domestic violence incidents in just 3 days. And that’s just on the Sunshine Coast. Over Easter.

    So we are all onboard with funding cuts for crisis accommodation.
    Lockup refugees in offshore concentration camps, restrict or deny medical attention, out of sight out of mind.

    Yes, adopt our hypocrisy, you too can become a true blue Aussie in a true blue land complete with the most incompetent bunch of ego driven, hate filled ideology, morally bankrupt, z grade shitbag politicians masquerading as a government, read repulsive rupert’s rotten rags whilst listening to the parrot.

    That pic. of the sock puppet, did he just get a whiff of peasant?

  18. Terry2

    Peter Dutton said that the recent disturbances at the Manus Island Detention Centre were due to some refugee inmates being seen escorting a five year old local boy into the centre : Dutton was clearly blowing a dog-whistle implying that there were issues of pedophilia, after all they are foreigners and they tried to come here by boat.

    The officials on Manus have now said that there is no truth in this and that an instance where a ten year old boy went into the detention centre – the centre is unlocked between dawn and dusk to convey the cynical Dutton deception that these people are not actually detained – looking for food was given some fruit by the detainees and then escorted back to his parents.

    Dutton is a despicable individual and to think that some say he is being groomed to take over from Turnbull and lead this country is just too sickening to contemplate.

  19. king1394

    No need to mention the concept of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay

  20. diannaart

    Between the search for “Australian values” and the de-centralising the public service, the former being subject to change according to who is in power and the latter brainfart which will cost mega $’s.

    Welfare recipients are running last – no money for the vulnerable – that’s an Aussie value right there.

    Or maybe just focus on one thing that will help all of Australia the most; Australia’s future energy requirements?

  21. Marion

    I wish I could individually put a like on these comments..
    But a great article Mr John Lord.

  22. my say

    It beggers belief that Turnbull and Dutton can stand there preaching about Australian values,neither of them hold an Australian value in any bone in their body .
    Australians don’t believe in hate,fear,lies deception ,one rule for the rich ,one for the poor ,
    the treatment of pensioners and the less well off ,to give money to his business mates,one could go on and on about what Australia hold dear,but that matters naught to them ,
    All they are worried about is holding on to power ,this reeks of desperation,
    What about a fair go for all ,love not hate,then Australia would be a better place,
    This government is like a cancer which is slowly killing Australia

  23. Max Gross

    “The last day of an Ashes Test is called a “sickie”.” Pure gold!

  24. wam

    I asked a friend, one of a SA footie family, why he shared posts with no relevance to Australia, from American and English racist sexist websites? He said, ‘I don’t care about politics, I just like the words’.This attitude is echoed in the posts from a majority of.the ‘shares’.
    Any attempt to discuss the motives is met with not that labour(sic) political shit again’?
    I just keep plugging hoping bill will say some words the boys can like.
    how ridiculous, Kaye, the teachers should sit a literacy numeracy exam BEFORE the greedy vice chancellors take the commonwealth money.

  25. Matters Not

    Given that this thread is concerned with the ‘day-to-day’ politics, can I ask what happened to what I refer to as the ‘Monsanto Conference’ thread?

    It seems to have disappeared when I went to watch the Broncos? Or is my inability to search this site at the root of my problem?

    Please explain.

  26. Matters Not

    I guess the ‘page not found’ response on my computer should be taken to indicate ‘legal’ problems with a post (or two) on that thread. A pity!

    Guess that’s what happens when people aren’t focussed on ‘ideas’ but their ‘image’, ‘reputation’ or whatever – real or imagined.

    I really wish contributors would post using pseudonyms so that ‘ideas’ rather than ‘reputations’ were on the line. Just sayin …

  27. Roswell

    Without knowing I’d guess it was due to legal reasons too, Matters Not. That being the likely case, I will say no more of it. We should forget about it.

  28. Michael Taylor

    Matters Not and Roswell are very intuitive.

  29. Noel Bourke

    You generally write rather sensibly, and I realise you are labouring to make a point, but to say that Bradman was a failure because he ONLY averaged 99.94 for his test career is not saying much for all of the other great test batsmen whose test averages are in the fifties and very low sixties.

  30. diannaart

    @Noel

    Why I, 5th or 6th gen Australian (depending upon which side of the family is counted) would fail the “Aussie values” test, I don’t know what Bradman’s batting average was, nor do I give a rat’s; have never watched cricket and never will.

    No doubt there are other questions I would fail. So too, would First Nation people fail, English not being first language and different cultural interests, for many.

    @Roswell & MN – the big M – indicates truth in many of the comments.

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