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Day to Day Politics: Where did it all go wrong? Part one.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Where the Rod Laver Tennis Centre now stands, in Melbourne, the area was once occupied by massive Elm trees under which fierce political debates once took place. Rather like Hyde Park in London. It was there that as a teenage boy I spent many a Sunday afternoon. Politics has been for most of my life something that sort of ties things together. Other than what one might do in bed I can think of little that politics doesn’t invade in one way or another.

I like to think that I am wise enough to know that in a democracy the party I don’t support has as much right to power as the one I do. I am of the left because social injustice, inequality, unfairness and prejudice are anathema to me. They abducted my early life.

There was a time when I had a guarded tolerance for things Liberal and got on with life. But somewhere along the way things went wrong. Like rust finding its way, hate and untruth insinuated its way into the Australian body politic. It has become a cesspool of lying ideological corruption where politicians have forgotten what public service means. The turn to the right with its focus on capitalistic individualism at a time when the world is screaming for collective answers to complex problems might just prove disastrous.

I have developed a particular loathing for this self-righteous attempt to corrupt the business of government.

What follows is an attempt to explain where it all went wrong. My thoughts are random and I hope they come together to form some sort of explanation at the end.

Where to start. Undoubtedly the rise of the right, imported from the United States, has been the major and most worrisome aspect in the decline of the Liberal and National Parties. Where once small ‘L’ Liberals had residence, little exists today. Neo Liberalism/Conservatism aided by an inheritance of lying as a political weapon from the US, infiltrated the Coalition and gave birth to extremism.

Once there was a time when the seats of the houses of Parliament were occupied by people of countless and varied backgrounds. From farmers to lawyers. Now there is a tendency for both sides of politics to select from within their ranks. The party ‘hangers on’, union officials, academics and researchers etc. The consequence being that it is unrepresentative of a real Australian Community.

The Senate was once truly a house of review where a few independents, or minor parties resided with a controlling number. With a degree of compromise they got what they wanted. Usually around a state self-interest issue. Now we have minor parties and individuals, some of who have interest’s way outside the mainstream of conventional thinking. As Paul Keating once said, “They are an unelected swill who put their rather anomalous beliefs before the good of the country”.

Women have not advanced as a cohort in the political sphere. The Coalition remains an old man’s male club uninterested in the advancement of women. While most of the world has moved on in many areas of equality, right-wing conservatives seemingly want to remain in or regress into the past as if it were the de facto future. Know your place has been shouted on the floor of the House of Reps. The Left of politics to its credit seeks to advance women with virtuous zeal.

Lying has and will probably always exist but it reached its zenith during the 2012 Presidential Debates. In the first Obama was said to be unprepared. Having watched it and read the reviews I concluded that he was taken aback by the outright lies that Mitt Romney was telling.

Lying in American politics is now part of the cut and thrust of it. In that campaign, Romney was reported to have told over 2000 individual provable lies.

We have inherited it. Lying in Australian politics has reached an unprecedented level. The current Prime minister and his cabinet is taking lying to such depths that it is not disingenuous to suggest that they no longer have a moral compass  or understanding of truth. Some time ago I wrote the following in a piece titled, ‘Abbott Tells Another One’:

“If this means I am saying he is a pathological liar then so be it. It’s not a nice thing to say about anyone but we are dealing with truth here. It’s not so much that he is a serial offender, he is. I think the electorate knows that and factors it in. The fact that he lies can and is easily supported by volumes of readily available, irrefutable evidence. (I can provide it if need be) However what is of equal concern is that the main stream media (the so called forth estate) who are supposed to be the people’s custodian of truth, condones it”. More on that later.

Some time back Tony Abbott told us that the best way to understand the truth of what he was saying was to have it in writing. Otherwise what he was saying was just idle chatter for an audience. My take on that was this..

You see, now he is saying that what I thought he said is only a figment of my imagination. That what I think I thought he meant is not what he meant at all. That when he says something and I take it to mean one thing, he has the option of saying that what I thought I heard was not what I heard at all. It was only my interpretation of what he meant. I mean, did he say what he meant or did he mean to say what he meant or was what he meant really what he meant. I know that I am 76 and I have the odd senior moment but usually I know what I mean and what is meant by what I say. I also know that people understand what I’m meaning.

Ministers also seem to have carte blanche to follow his example and tell as many as they like. George Brandis, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton and Christopher Pyne lie with monotonous regularity.

Truth is the victim.

In the first instance the best way to turn the profession of politics on its head in this country and create a new democracy would be to demand they tell the truth.

You can shape truth by telling lies for your own benefit and you can use the contrivance of omission to create another lie. However, the ability to admit you are wrong is an absolute pre requisite to discernment and knowledge. It requires truthfulness. If we are to progress as a country we must accept that there can be much pain in admitting we were wrong but there is no harm in it.

If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information the public has a democratic right to be aware of, it destroys the very democracy that enables it to exist.

And if humility is the basis by which intellectual advancement is made then it is only on the basis of truth that we obtain human progress. Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it. It is far better to be comforted by truth than to be controlled by lies.

It is often difficult in politics to distinguish a broken promise from the convenience of a change of mind, but with Abbott there were no shades of hue. It takes courage to change one’s mind for the greater good. It requires the telling of truth. I saw no capacity for it in Abbott nor do I in our current Prime Minister.

It was so ingrained in Abbott’s persona that distinguishing between truth and lies was beyond his private and public morality. He had little trouble merging his faith into his political philosophy but eliminated a cornerstone of his faith, ‘’truth’’, when applied to his politics.

Of all the things that have caused the disintegration in the public’s trust in the body politic. it is the lack of truth that defines it.

My thought for the day.

“Honesty isn’t popular anymore. It doesn’t carry the weight of society’s approval it once did”.

Part two tomorrow.

 


44 comments

  1. Terry2

    Hi John

    I am astonished that we have taken our standards of truth manipulation to new heights at the UN by trying to defend, justify and embellish the failed policy of boat turn backs and offshore processing and indefinite detention.

    Turnbull now tells the UN that he will increase our refugee intake by a generous 5000 to 18,750 : what he failed to tell the UN was that the previous intake was 20,000 and was reduced by his predecessor to 13,750.

    By the way, I think it was ‘unrepresentative swill’ rather than ‘unelected swill’ that Keating was referring to in the Senate.

  2. Glenn K

    Turnbull has finally come out from under his cover and bared his true soul. The conviction which which he promoted the LNP’s refugee strategy in NY should end the speculation of when the “true” Malcolm will come out. He’s out and he’s a definite Abbott v.2
    A slicker more skilled liar

  3. stephengb2014

    Don’t forget the most stupidest of lies, first told; a lie that gave license to politicians the world over, to be absolutely bare faced when telling lies

    “I did not have sex with that woman”

  4. nurses1968

    It all went wrong when the Media became the driving force in politics and the opposition forces to the Liberal machine going into denial when decisions didn’t meet their criteria.Treating Pauline Hanson as a joke rather than a dangerous politician and thinking Abbott and Turnbulls refugee strategy was only supported by those on the far right instead of looking at the underlying issues has allowed those policies to gain support in the broader community as Essential Polling illustrates.

    The race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, says Pauline Hanson is stoking division and appealing to xenophobia as new polling suggests 49% of Australians support One Nation’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration.
    Asked whether they would support or oppose one of Pauline Hanson’s most provocative propositions – a ban on Muslim immigration – 49% of those polled in the Essential survey agreed with the ban, while 40% opposed the idea.

    Support for banning Muslim immigration is highest among Coalition voters at 60% and non-major party voters at 58% – but the ban also has substantial support from progressive voters.

    According to the survey 40% of people identifying themselves as Labor voters support a ban on Muslim immigration, and there is 34% support among Green voters.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/21/progressives-can-attract-hanson-supporters-but-not-by-insulting-them

  5. Möbius Ecko

    Glenn K the only difference between Abbott and Turnbull is that Abbott openly admitted he lies. Turnbull would have you believe he’s honest whilst telling the same lies Abbott admitted were lies. Turnbull never admits to lying whilst blatantly doing so.

    In both cases they do it because outside of ignored social media, they are rarely if ever held to account for the lies they so openly tell. They would slow or stop if every time they told one someone in the MSM would pull them up on it and keep pulling them up every time the lie is told.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    George Brandis, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton and Christopher Pyne

    Why stop at just them?

    Barnaby Joyce. Red faced liar. Now there’s on open barefaced liar for whom facts are either meaningless or to be distorted to suit any given agenda on the day. He lies with impunity on just about everything whilst saying it’s the absolute truth or an undeniable fact that can be easily contradicted by anyone with the gall to say so to his face.

    Scot Morrison. Talk faster and louder liar. There’s no end to the untruths this man tells with impunity. The stuff he comes out with is so glaringly false that some reporters and interviewers just have to pull him up. His response is to talk faster through the lie, the bigger the lie the faster he talks and if still challenged to get louder as well as faster.

    Michaelia Cash. Neck and facial muscle strainer. For me she is the biggest lie of them, outside of Abbott. She’s not the prolific but tells the largest most glaringly obvious untruths that even leave the interview or press gasping. Her neck and face visibly strain with telling the lie, it takes that much effort, and when pulled up she goes on telling it as though an insignificant insect buzzed past her ear. She then goes on to tell the same enormous lies no matter how many times the untruth of them are revealed to her.

    That’s the other characteristic of all the L-NP liars, and it’s extremely hard to find an honest one amongst them, they keep telling the lie and may embellish it further even when the fact it’s a lie is revealed to them. Honesty is that inconsequential to them to the point it’s become a bête noire to be excoriated and repressed at every turn by any corrupt method available.

  7. Leanne

    The liars in the LNP are hiding behind their religion and that’s what I find so appalling. Thou shall not lie and yet they do. It’s almost like they are so deluded they don’t know what the truth is. I read once that this country is about 5 years behind America, where lying in politics in the Neo cons is part of their dna. If this is true then we are going to be in deep trouble if Trump becomes President! He lies so much he is obviously deluded and quite likely a mentally ill psychopath, to behave like the orange skittle he is. Lying became deriguer with Howard. Then we got the mad monk who took it so far he wouldn’t be able to lie straight in bed. Turnbull is just a suaver version of the monk. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. The lnp are white collar criminals and we are stuck with them for as long as the media and the idiot’s who vote for them continue to be lied to and they believe every word that dribblems from their politicians gobs.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Malcolm’s generous concession to increase the humanitarian intake was announced in 2014.

    Recent changes to the Migration Act 1958
    On 4 December 2014, Parliament passed the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 (RALC Bill). Part of this Bill specified the size of the Programme:
    • 2015-16: minimum of 13,750 places
    • 2016-17: minimum of 13,750 places
    • 2017-18: minimum of 16,250 places
    • 2018-19: minimum of 18,750 places.
    The 2018-19 offshore component of the Programme will see Australia’s largest intake from overseas in 30 years. This recent increase to the offshore component of the Programme demonstrates the Government’s commitment to a strong humanitarian intake focused on those most in need of resettlement.

    https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/discussion-papers/discussion-paper-humanitarian-programme_2016-17.pdf

    Let’s not forget……Under Labor…. Total Humanitarian Programme grants 2012–13: 20 019

    Malcolm is trying to take credit for restoring a fraction of what was cut. Talking about giving more money when the Coalition slashed billions from foreign aid etc. Talking about addressing the causes of displacement as we bomb the crap out of Syria and Iraq and refuse to reduce emissions.

    And this idea that we take refugees from South America while we leave 2,000 languishing in our own hellholes.

    The hypocrisy is staggering.

  9. Klaus

    Turnbull is standing in front of the UN, telling lies as we speak. This morning I heard him blaming Labor for Nauru/Manus. The intervening 3 years of enhanced torture didn’t happen. All Labor, always Labor. His additional intake of refugees, the 3rd most generous program in the World. And on and on it goes.

    Not one MSM reporter (they are not journalists, they are government propaganda mouthpieces) is questioning any statement.

    Crap!

  10. Max Gross

    Well said, John. But I think the reason the LNP lies is not so much pathological as strategic. They know the lackadaisical MSM will let them get away with it. And so the lie acquires precedent, remains untested and is built upon by further lies. And it is for that reason i believe the ALP should refuse to negotiate or cooperate with the Turnbull government. Whatever is agreed will simple be turned on its head by the LNP whenever it suits them anyway. Labor has every right to “disrupt, degrade and ultimately destroy” the LNP government in the best interest of Australians generally. After all, an Opposition’s job is to oppose, right?!

  11. Jaquix

    Thanks John for drawing attention to the amount of lying going on these days. Like Klaus, I just watched a bucolic Turnbull passionately blaming Labor for putting the poor souls on Manus and Nauru. Unbelievable. No wonder he looks terrible these days, gone is the good looking relaxed and confident personage of old. He ranted and raved, furiously blaming Labor, as if he had no control over the fact that they were there – despite being part of a government in its 4th year of using them as pawns in their “border protection” game. Just say the word, Malcolm, just say the word, and let them free. AMNESTY is the word.

  12. helvityni

    …and the Coalition can never-ever right Labor’s wrongs, mistakes, whatever you want to call them..? They don’t even keep their own election promises.

    Why is this so?

    I am trying to erase Turnbull’s ‘prime-ministerial’ appearance in NY out my mind; how low can the Libs sink.

    Max Gross, after all that’s all Abbott did in Opposition, he OPPOSED.

  13. Kaye Lee

    “I’m not afraid to accept responsibility and I’m not afraid to be accountable. We will own it from day one. We will be responsible for the Australian economy.”
    Joe Hockey – 6 August 2013

    The following are Abbott quotes…

    “I think that what we want are governments and prime ministers who tell the truth and this prime minister just has not told the truth.”

    -Doorstop interview, Parliament House, Canberra, 31 May 2010

    “It’s high time we took the prime ministership out of the back room and put it into the full light of day.”

    -21 March 2013

    “In the end I want the government to be upfront with people.”

    -2 May 2013

    “One way or another, we will get full disclosure to the Australian people.”

    -9 August 2013

    “The last thing we want to do is to hide anything from the Australian people.”

    -9 August 2013

    “There will always be some issues that are contentious, but the best way to deal with them is openly, candidly and that is what I propose to do.”

    -14 November 2013

    “We will not impugn the motives of our political opponents. We will not trash the reputations of Members of Parliament.”

    -9 November 2013, soon after winning the election and becoming prime minister.

  14. townsvilleblog

    As I have stated in this forum many times whether or not many of us like it or not 49% of Australians support One Nation’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration. I have suggested this in the past and the messenger has been well and truly shot, called a racist, a bigot and some unmentionables. All of which I am NOT I was merely trying to deliver the message of overheard supermarket conversations being had by others.

    I overhear one last week, suggesting that under the Labor years we had taken 50,000 Muslim’s and today the Muslim population was 500,000 now I do not know the authenticity or otherwise of the statement, but what is being implied is that each family is having 10 children which Australian infrastructure could not cope with if the supposed rate were to continue.

    Again as I have previously stated Australia being the driest continent on Earth has a sustainable population of 22 million, meaning that we are already over populated by 2 million people. We need a population enforceable policy of no more than 3 children per family. Any more than 3 and the family would lose ‘all’ government benefits. These days with modern contraception there is no excuse, it simply must be done for the continuation of life human/animal on this continent. I can feel the howls of protest arriving already, however many modern responsible families are self-limiting the number of children they have because of the expense. My family included.

  15. helvityni

    Kaye Lee, maybe the South Americans are Christian, or pagans, anything but Muslims, and after all the polls (2) tell us that only half of the Aussies want them here…

    I wonder where the poll was taken.

    Why are they not taking the numerous polls favouring SSM seriously….?

  16. Archaic

    While I have my reservations about the Internet, some developments are very positive. I found myself yesterday exploring the Wikipedia page for “Post-truth politics” which seems relevant to this discussion. The definition of this phenomenon includes making the truth of secondary importance, with political debate instead “framed by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy”. Abbott’s campaign against the carbon pricing is listed as an example.
    The page for “Bullshit” was likewise very relevant and illuminating, as it references the work of philosopher Harry Frankfurt on bullshit in the domain of the philosophy of truth and rhetoric. He is worth quoting:

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.”

    I think that the issue is less a matter of politicians lying, but rather that our politics and media have devolved to a state of “post-truth”. I submit that the term “bullshit” is a pithier alternative that describes the same phenomenon. Our politicians are not lying, so much as making up what they say as they go along in terms of what will produce the effects they are after. The truth is of secondary importance, if not irrelevant, to the effect of getting into power and reaping the rewards that go along with it.

    I suspect that we are vulnerable to such states in this era because we no longer have a single grove of Elm tress, but are rather swamped by a multitude of information sources. Moreover the pace of information flow inhibits critical analysis. Within the media the problem also arises of “false balance” where rather than differing opinions being treated fairly – that is, commensurate with their legitimacy and degree of supporting evidence – they are simply treated equally; in giving equal air time the impression is given of a matter being more contentious than it actually is, and one argument is given more credence than it deserves based on the facts. The best example I can think of illustrating this point was when John Oliver addressed the climate change debate in a “mathematically representative” way. He started with one guest on each “side” of the debate (including Bill Nye) before deciding that in order to have a properly balanced debate he would bring in 2 more climate sceptics/deniers, and 96 more scientists arguing for the existence of anthropogenic global warming, to represent the 96% consensus. Even knowing this statistic, the visual spectacle was still compelling, and made the sceptics/deniers seem or he more ridiculous than if they had received the same 5 minute in the name of “balance”. As John Oliver himself put it “This whole debate should not have happened”.
    I really like John Oliver’s work, can only think that this represents the only way forward for us; to have media that use clever and engaging ways to educate us about difficult issues.

  17. Adrianne Haddow

    The biggest lie of all in the LNP catalogue is that they are actually governing. The only achievements they have made are the destruction of institutions and services that have served the public well, that is, the achievements of previous governments.

    Underpinning this lie is the fact that they are the machine that drives the agenda of that inglorious charity, the IPA. Our hidden government led by the likes of Gina Rhino, Rupert Mudrake and the other 1%, sitting like fat spiders in their webs of deceit and raking in the profits, that the LNP hand them.

    It’s time for a review of parliamentary salaries and entitlements in light of the fact that they don’t govern for us, the public, yet we pay them handsomely to screw us over.

  18. nurses1968

    helvityni
    The polling by Essential polls which happens to be the one most readers on here seem to trust raised questions with the pollsters themselves. To ensure the validity of the poll they redid it and got the same results.See story in link provided above

  19. Kaye Lee

    townsvilleblog,

    Firstly on sustainable population – it is a meaningless question because it is very dependent on lifestyle. Under our current profligate greedy waste, even the current population is unsustainable but if we did as we will sooner or later be forced to do and rein in that waste then resources will last much longer. That is NOT the fault of Muslims – it is our greed where 16% of the world’s population use 80% of the resources.

    As for taking in too many Muslims, refugees come from places where there is war and oppression. While we keep deciding to invade and bomb foreign countries, there will be displaced people. Our refusal to take action on climate change will displace many more. Once again, that is NOT the fault of Muslims. Our humanitarian intake is not based on religion but on need and we are adding to the need by destroying Muslim countries.

    This crap about having 10 children really annoys me. My family is largely Catholic and most of them had kazillions of children – I have more cousins than you can poke a stick at. Educating and empowering women and lifting people out of poverty leads to less children. The Pope could help out here by agreeing it is ok to use contraception.

    The fertility rate in Australia is below replacement value (1.9 from memory) so immigration is important in increasing the working age population as our population ages.

    I know you are trying to be constructive.

  20. Möbius Ecko

    …we take refugees from South America…

    And what a crock that’s turned out to be. It seemed as though these were going to be additional refugees, but no, they will displace those from the existing numbers.

    So all Turnbull is doing is replacing some from one ethnicity with those of another. No net gain for the world’s refugees at all.

  21. keerti

    with the lieberals latest attack of people on benefits we seem to have a concerted effort beginning to be ramped up in the muckduck papers. This mornings australian and the northern star (Lismore) both carried cartoons putting forward that other great lie ,, so beloved of lieberals..that the reason that the unemployed don’t have jobs is because they are lazy and don’t want to work.

  22. Andreas Bimba

    John, thanks again for another worthy view of our decrepit political landscape. In part 2 could you please give LNP lite a bit of a serve as well, as they richly deserve it for chasing the swinging voter in the swinging seat, being economically neo-liberal such as supporting all the FTAs and the TPP, allowing all the corporate tax rorts and concessions for the rich, for also taking bucket loads of corporate money, for allowing the mining & energy sector to pay bugger all tax and royalties while receiving billions in subsidies, for privatisation of everything such as the recent sell off of the Port of Melbourne, presiding over the destruction of our once great manufacturing sector, for allowing high unemployment by abandoning Keynesian fiscal stimulus, for being half hearted with environmental protection and global warming for example still supporting coal mining, fracking and clear felling of virgin native forests, only ever part restoring any massive cuts to healthcare, social support and education inflicted by the truly appalling LNP ultra conservatives and I could go on and on.

    Where is the ALP’s Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders. This is what people now want, not more neo-liberalism and Monetarism.

    Bring on the green and orange revolution as the red flag is blue and has been for at least four decades.

  23. Möbius Ecko

    This government’s attack on Gonski has started in earnest. I bet their overhaul significantly reduces funding.

    And they way they are going about it is SOP for them. Pick out, distort or exaggerate the negative aspects, play down and ignore the positives, start a propaganda campaign (aided and abetted by the MSM) and then destroy the whole on the back of that.

  24. Keitha Granville

    Politicians lost their basic humanity at the same time as they lost any idea of being truthful. Theoretically, we the people are in charge as the electors, but for many it can be difficult to choose who to vote for when none of them gives you the truth about their values, their plans, their ideology.
    Does it matter how many Muslims live here ? Why aren’t we counting the numbers of all the other religions ? Do we know how many Jews, how many Buddhists, how many Catholics ? How many any other belief systems ? And for that matter, how many atheists. I am sick and tired of people going on and on about Australia being a Christian country. We may have been in the past, but the behaviour of politicians on all sides is chasms away from Christian values.

    How about we support and care for everyone in our country, no matter what faith, with love and compassion. And we bring in those fleeing persecution in war zones in which we have participated. Or anyone who needs help, what happened to that ?

    Love thy neighbour – one of the two great commandments. Fail.

  25. helvityni

    …is Hanson Mal’s latest adviser ? On the Menzies story he told us that he had learned from Johnny, who in his turn had learnt from young Pauline.

    My head is hurting…

  26. Aortic

    At 72, I have seen them all since Menzies. As I look around the so called developed world I don’t think I have ever seen a period of such appalling so called political vision. From the USA, UK to here, with the possible exception of Canada and NZ, the utter dearth of people with anything but tunnel vision is extraordinary. The USA in particular is expending billions of dollars with a huge loss of life defending and proposing a system that only exists in their imagination. Unless people start to reject ideology for rational thought, I cannot see a bright future for our kids and grandkids.

  27. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    I was thinking the same thing on Sunday watching Insiders. The journo from the West made a comment about the recently backbench forced changes to Super not being part of what was taken to the people at the election (you know, that promise/mandate thing), but this was essentially downplayed by Tingle and Taylor, two journos whose musing I usually find not too polluted. It seems we have come to the point that politicians lying is now simply accepted behaviour and no longer worth being called out by the journos of the Press Gallery. It is a club that has just got a little bit too cosy.

  28. amethyst3009

    Möbius Ecko,

    Oh, yes this has been the plan all along. (Gonski was a mere Labor abberation!), In 2000, at a high school in Queensland there was a conversation about the plan for Private schools and “Residual’ schools.

    I believe this is still the plan.

  29. Michael Faulkner

    It is time we began to refer to the three year or longer asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus, as Australia’s political prisoners, for that is exactly what they are.

    The Government uses their incarceration politically, professing to seek to deter ‘ people smugglers’ , while at the same time using detained refugees as political hostages for an indefinite time in abusive spirit-breaking conditions, with the view to seeking to deter other desperate asylum seekers from taking boats to this country.

    Domestically, the asylum seeker prisoners are used by the LNP Government to scare the Australian population about the fantasy of an Labor’s open doors policy and, to condition citizens towards a particular political view, using carefully crafted strategies of de-personalisation with respect to those incarcerated, prison-like conditions, high levels of secrecy, and narrow slogan-based military-style public discourse.

    Meanwhile, as a serial violator of UN Human Rights Conventions with respect to refugees, the LNP government eschews working with the UNHCR in any thorough-going way in our region.

    This is partly because of a fear that such an approach might prove to be successful and serve to undermine the rationale for the off-shore detention gulags that have helped Abbott/ Turnbull Inc. stay in power. Instead, billions are paid to security corporations to reassure the Australian people of ‘ our strength and generosity as a nation’ , a lazy but highly cynical platform of politically inspired policy-making.

    Turnbull’s comments in New York this week, as John suggests, are profoundly cynical lies.

    Australia maintains several thousand political prisoners under conditions of indefinite ongoing detention.

    Let’s call it for what it is.

  30. bobrafto

    tve blog

    Just shows how much hate and division that Howard, Abbott, Hanson et al have caused in 15 or so years, there was never any mention of Muslims prior to Howard.

    Now all of a sudden they’re a threat, our biggest fear when in reality there is nothing to fear and you have been sucked in successfully by these fear mongers for their advantage and profit not yours.

    Now you have a fear that they’re fcuking like rabbits and they will overpopulate the country, hark back to Costello when he said have one for mum and dad and one for the country. The other reality is that the population has to increase every year, it’s the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time.

    I could go on and on.

  31. Terry2

    Michael,

    there is an interesting class action going on in the Victorian Supreme Court on behalf of detainees held on Manus Island : http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/manus-detainees-claim-false-imprisonment-in-class-action-20160817-gquusw.html

    This could be quite instructive considering that the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to take these people beyond the jurisdiction of the Australian courts.

    The Commonwealth will fight tooth and nail to avoid this case being heard as the outcome, particularly the charge of unlawful imprisonment, could bring about substantial damages which, of course, we as taxpayers would have to pay : ironic !

  32. Matters Not

    Australia’s been threatened by so many including the Irish, the Chinese and the Jews.

    As late as 1937, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord Craigavon, asked his Australian counterpart Joe Lyons: ‘Tell me, Lyons, have you many Catholics in Orstralia?’ ‘Oh’ said Lyons ‘about 25 per cent.’ Craigavon: ‘Good God! Watch ‘em, Lyons, watch ‘em. They breed like rabbits’.

    Lyons forbore to mention that he was a Catholic himself, and with (Dame) Enid, had thirteen children romping around the lodge in Canberra.

    As for the Jews:

    as late as 1939 the Australian representative, Sir Thomas White, at the Evian (Switzerland) Conference, called by President Roosevelt to discuss the question of German Jewish refugees, refused to increase the Australian quota, saying proudly: ’Australia has no racial problem and does not intend to import one’. Hitler loved it, and used it to great effect in a speech to the Reichstag three months before his invasion of Poland and the killing of the European Jews began in earnest.

    For my part, I think the biggest problem we face in the future comes from those people with two copies of a recessive allele on chromosome 16 which produces an altered version of the MC1R protein. While they only constitute 1 – 2% of the population they should be isolated because of the dangerous ideas they spread among the populace.

    http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=7722

  33. Michael Faulkner

    Thanks Terry 2,
    I was aware of this Victorian Supreme Court development and will watch with interest.
    Yes if the Commonwealth loses, we the tax payer will pay, as we should, for the massive violation of human rights we have inflicted on these refugees.

    Remember the Howard era when Phillip Ruddock was Minister for immigration, and the Government was charging destitute asylum seeker boat arrivals, fees of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for their months of enforced detention stay.

    Ruddock these days is now, courtesy of the Turnbull Government, a free range special human rights envoy representing us internationally. That man has no sense of shame for the violations against refugees he engineered.

  34. helvityni

    Ruddock, another heartless Immigration Minister, so harsh that even his own daughter found it unacceptable, is now our international human rights envoy…

  35. diannaart

    Not too many years ago there was a popular idiocy called “The Secret” (http://www.thesecret.tv/) which basically meant that if one spoke in a positive manner, focussed only on what was desired, for example, a Maserati, promotion at work, that guy on the bus, to “manifest” into your life. In short, tell yourself any old rubbish and pretend you can think your way to prosperity. It also was very good at placing blame on those hapless enough to be raped or hit by a car or anything bad experience at all – because a person wasn’t thinking the ‘right’ way. Victim blaming.

    Now, positive thinking does help when facing difficult situations, however, “The Secret” and its ilk have contributed to a trend (whether conscious or unconscious) that lying is acceptable.

    If Trump is made US president – lying will become cemented into the zeitgeist, if it isn’t already. We no longer have a journalistic code of fact checking – in fact 🙂 fact checking is now highlighted as something a bit above and beyond that only happens for special occasions like election campaigns if at all.

    John Lord is correct to point out the deterioration of political responsibility and accountability – but who is listening?

  36. Kyran

    It seems there is a tale of two cities occurring right now.
    In Melbourne, the state government has leased the port and claimed a rebate under the Asset Recycling Agreement. This has led to a bunfight. That paragon of stupidity, O’Dwyer, is leading the charge.
    “There was no business case attached to it, there was no way to properly assess it against the criteria, and it was something that they had already committed the funds to do themselves.
    It’s simply a case of the Victorian Government trying to cost shift.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/commonwealth,-vic-fight-over-$1.5b-bonus/7866290

    Apparently, the state government is required to justify the dictate of the federal government.

    Meanwhile, in Brisbane, there is another bun fight. The paragon of idiocy, deputy PM, bananas, is saying the state government asked him for money, which he threw at them, without propriety, assessment or criteria. Luckily, it was only $3mil. Luckily, the recipients were parakeet’s (ie liberal recipients of taxpayers money).
    “The $3 million for the Urannah Dam study came from National Water Infrastructure Development Fund. The fund called for applications late last year, with a panel of technical experts assessing the bids.
    But the fund guidelines state “the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources [Barnaby Joyce] will be the final decision-maker”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-22/company-run-by-lnp-members-linked-to-group-awarded-federal-funds/7865950

    Apparently, the federal government is required to throw money at its mates.

    “Of course we’re reckless spenders. But we’re good liars, so we’ll blame labor.”
    Both cities are in labor control. It must be their fault. It couldn’t possibly be any other way. Just saw two pigs flying away.
    Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  37. Zathras

    Most people are unaware that the era of alcohol prohibition in the USA was largely started in response to the perceived social threat posed by increased alcohol consumption as promoted by the emerging German Beer Gardens and Irish Whisky clubs.

    So it was mainly driven by racist fears and the demonisation of their own recent immigrants.

    Likewise, our own national independence was driven by our dislike of the Chinese and there were protests on the wharves to stop them disembarking. Once anybody set foot on pre-independent Australia they came under the protection of the British Crown but Nationhood provided the power to exclude people.

    It’s always been the same old story, retold generation after generation and there have always been opportunistic politicians ready to scapegoat and cash in on fear and loathing.

    However it was Howard that broke convention and specifically played the “race card” and Labor’s “me too” strategy saw them trapped and today’s leaders prefer to continue hatreds rather than challenge them. This was even before the “drownings” excuse could be used and was intended to win back One Nation votes and nothing else.

    Now they have to maintain their original lies and even build on them and have left themselves no way back out of this mess they have created.

  38. Kyran

    Terry2 & Mr Faulkner, there is another case playing out in PNG.
    “The Papua New Guinea Government has applied to dismiss an application by asylum seekers on Manus Island for compensation and repatriation by Australia.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/png-government-applies-to-dismiss-manus-island-compensation-bid/7865766?section=world

    Not sure which case is precedent, or which one is antecedent, in terms of ‘the law’. In legal terms, my guess is that the lawyers want to quantify the damages. In moral terms, my guess is that their clients seek nothing more than asylum. In economic terms, ‘warehousing’ is costing a truckload, likely to be exacerbated by the lawyers quest for compensation.
    FFS! What is the problem? Bring them here. In legal terms, we may mitigate the damages. In moral terms, we may assuage our conscience. In economic terms, no brainer.
    If, in the afterwash, politicians get prosecuted for things like torture, child abuse, etcetera, I have no problem. There should be some islands we can let them enjoy their sentences on.
    Take care

  39. diannaart

    Kyran

    Politicians held accountable for their actions? – nothing wrong with that. And we have the infrastructure, as you say, offshore island residences with hot and cold running wardens I mean care-workers.

    🙂

  40. Stephen Brailey

    …and of course the new ABC Liberal stacked board closed down the ABC fact checker. Did anyone notice how pretty much all statements made by LNP politicians turned out to absolute crap. The death of journalism is this country is why these “guys” get away with lies, lies, lies.

  41. Terry2

    Mr Turnbull was very rattled in New York yesterday as he tried to talk up Australia’s sovereign borders strategy as being the best in the world and made a play for a seat on the UN Human Rights body, he was constantly asked by the media ‘what about Manus and Nauru, what have you done on your watch to resettle people held on these islands in the past three years ?’

    His response was to ………………blame Labor !

  42. helvityni

    Terry2, they have no problems getting rid of Gonski, but they could not change anything regarding asylum seekers. Did Mal tell the world how much we paid Cambodia to take four (4) asylum seekers….

  43. JeffJL

    Very good John. Keep up the work.

  44. Bobi Magee

    My Grandmother would caution that ‘the essence of a lie is the intent to deceive’ it is sad to see this become t he norm in politics especially with right wing neoliberalism

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