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Day to Day Politics: The Politics of Hate

Sunday 19 November 2017

One of the most heartening observations from watching the various gathering of politicians was seeing political opposites openly embracing after the Yes side was announced the winner of the Marriage Equality survey.

People in other circumstances who would openly display an avowed hatred of their opponents were sharing the love. I looked on seriously wondering why it were not possible to show even a morsel of appreciation for one’s opponents.

I suppose what is even more alarming is the hatred Australians seem to have developed for our politicians.

We are more angry and dissatisfied with politicians than ever before. You might say it has always been thus and it’s just part of the Australian make-up to make them a source of ridicule.

But it is also true to say that Australians have not only lost confidence it its politicians, but also in the political system generally. A new level of cynicism can be readily observed in angry calls to talkback radio and caustic letters to the editor, as well as empirically in surveys, opinion polls and at the ballot box (where voting behaviour is increasingly volatile).

While public opinion is never unanimous, the breadth and depth of this new discontent is quite remarkable – it cuts right across the socioeconomic spectrum.

John Howard had his haters, mainly because of his decision to back George W Bush in an illegal war. Spurred on by a hateful media, Julia Gillard was loathed by many because of a perceived lie. When people hate politicians, they do so with malevolent intent.

Often hate is attractive to unthinking, ill-informed minds. It is born of trepidation. A fear of not understanding. This can be witnessed in the audiences that people like Bolt, Jones, Hadley and others attract. Or when the Murdoch press display their detestation, in all its putrid ugliness, on the front pages of their tabloids.

Hate reveals itself in politics, sport, self, jealousy, race, religion, culture and relationship. Hate is simply an outward manifestation of our inner struggles with our faults and flaws.

Hate also expresses itself in leadership. The way leaders conduct themselves is reflected in the decisions they make. On a grand scale leaders like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot displayed hate in all its viciousness.

We all have the capacity for it. A sportsperson out of the blue utters a racial slur, born of hate that is completely out of character. They cannot explain why but usually their hatred is born of ignorance, something they dread, or is foreign to them.

It seems to me that hatred is fear without courage aligned with an inability to forgive. An incapacity to manage past hurts, losses and taught or acquired prejudices.

Fear goes immediately to blame and from blame a desire for vindication or revenge that manifests itself in hatred.

To demonstrate the modern political hatred we only need go back to the time of Abbott. Once in power the Abbott Government portrayed a sense of loathing. Tony Abbott and his government showed a hatred for all things Labor that surpassed the usual transitional norm. At the launch of the Paul Kelly book Triumph and Demise in which he expressed the view that our democracy was in trouble Tony Abbott said there was nothing wrong with it.

“It’s only the people who inhabit it from time to time.”

A clear example of his revulsion of all things Labor.

Another, was his comment on Labor’s environment policy:

“It is socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

In Opposition Tony Abbott made it abundantly clear that he was there to oppose everything and that’s exactly what he did. He opposed everything with combative belligerence, often using sexism as a means of degrading his opponent. He created a shock and awe mentality of a government out of control. His loathing of a female Prime Minister transferred into misogyny. The media said he was the most successful Opposition Leader the country had ever had. A strange measure of success when based on hate.

His Prime Ministership began with a determination to impose his born to rule Neo conservative ideology on the electorate with two Royal Commissions. An unprecedented decision to release cabinet documents as evidence showed just how far he was prepared to allow his hatred to go.

The first was into the management of the ‘Pink Batts Scheme’. It reached conclusions no different that the previous 8 inquiries. His reputation for hatred grew matched by a fanatical vindictiveness. He instigated another Royal Commission into Unions. John Howard saw through Abbott’s spite, saying they were a bad idea.

Then an orchestrated campaign of hatred in tandem with Murdoch was launched against the ABC.

Their hatred for asylum seekers is well-known. They have been demonising them for many years. They are detained on Nauru without any chance of being resettled in Australia. What is their crime? Well, nothing, they are just victims of hatred.

They hate people who worry about Climate Change and want to do something about it labelling them as alarmists, dismissing science as superfluous to the debate.

Yes, they hate science if it transgresses the corporation’s capitalistic agenda. The right to profit from pollution no matter the harm it does.

And they hate trade unions and resent the working people who choose to join them. They hate that young people are objecting to deregulated university fees.

Pensioners are not spared their vengeance either with a deliberate attempt to lower their living standards. If ever one wanted evidence of this government’s hatred of the poor and middle classes one only has to look at the 2014 budget.

Ross Gittens put it this way:

The first and biggest reason the government is having to modify or abandon so many of its measures is the budget’s blatant unfairness. In 40 years of budget-watching I’ve seen plenty of unfair budgets, but never one as bad as this.

To hate with conviction requires a capacity to lie with unabashed certitude. To legitimise it to the point that people think they are no longer communicating in English.

At a press conference on 1 December 2014, Abbott was still insisting that all families were $550 better off on their power bills since the removal of the carbon tax. An unmitigated, deliberate lie.

Nobody lied with greater sincerity than Abbott. As a professed Christian he should know that nothing good was ever built on a foundation of hate.

The Prime Minister and his government has shown an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have hate on their lips and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.

Those on the left of politics, the progressive social democratic engineers of society, are concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right, the conservative privileged elitists, are concerned with those who can.

My thought for the day

“The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.”


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  1. Graeme Henchel

    I’m not sure what the point of this story John. You lament the infusion of “hate” into the world of political discourse. In my view they started it. I despised Fraser and Murdoch for what they did to the Whitlam government. The lies, the distortion I remember the word of the time was “reprehensive”. Though Fraser mellowed that thrust for power showed how ruthless the conservatives are.

    I despised Howard with his using the Tampa incident and the racist dog whistling that begat Pauline Hanson and our national disgrace of Manus and Nauru. I despised his lies that got us into the Iraq war that reverberates today with our constant terrorist threat.

    I despised Abbott for his unprincipled opportunism and bastardry and the lies, always the lies, and the blue ties.
    The current regime is a kakistocracy, a government of the worst of men with Turnbull the great Snake Oil man at the helm.

    Hate, yes I hate them, and Murdoch and the rightwing media types with a passion for what they are doing to our country, to our people, to the planet.

    On the plus side it does give me an interest.

  2. Peter F

    Two articles I have read this morning, one about Sally McManus, and yours highlighting Abbott. They deserve to be read together. Thanks John.

  3. corvus boreus

    Another comparison twixt John and Michaels articles is to contrast the demonstrated conduct of Sally McManus with that of Kathy Jackson (ex-HSU), Tony Abbots’ ”lady lionheart’ of the union movement, who is currently facing a shitload of criminal charges..
    Bear in mind that not only did Abbott loudly praise the ‘courage and integrity’ of Jackson, but that he was also directly responsible for the appointment of Michael Lawler, Kathys’ sexual partner and co-resident throughout her alleged affairs of misconduct and misappropriations, to the position of 2IC of the Fair Work Commission.
    A greasy sleaze corrupting both organisation and oversight, Tonys own extra-toxic brand of snake-oil.

  4. Terry2

    On the subject of Royal Commissions, I see that Kevin Rudd is suggesting that we need to have a Royal Commission into News Corporation and their relationship with the coalition government and in particular the influence News Corp had in limiting the speeds and reach of the NBN for purely commercial reasons.

    Rudd alleges that the influence News Corp applied to the federal Coalition has led to a substandard NBN.

    You may recall that the Abbott and Turnbull governments dismissed Labor’s fibre-to-the-home broadband proposal as excessive for our needs and too costly, modifying it to fibre-to-the-node using a mixture of existing copper wire and pay TV cabling for the final connection to the home. Rudd says it was News Corp’s opposition to the plan that led to its modification – because it could otherwise boost competitors to its Foxtel pay television network, including Netflix, which relies on a fast broadband connection.

    He has a good point, the threat of streaming was very real for Foxtel who dominate pay TV in Australia – although ironically the main reason it took Australia so long to permit pay TV was political insistence that there be no monopoly of this technology. That failed and Foxtel have the monopoly and a large proportion of the population do not have the requisite speeds to allow streaming (I include myself in that) and with the present NBN service, have no prospect of being able to stream services like Netflix.

    We then have the odd situation where the present coalition government slipped $30 million to Foxtel allegedly to encourage them to foster niche sports including women’s sports. The Minister responsible, Mitch Fifield was never able to explain this largesse and why a commercial payTV company with limited patronage can more effectively encourage niche sports as opposed to a free-to-air broadcaster like the ABC or SBS.

  5. Ria young

    I am so fed up with the hate shown to most by the LNP and Murdoch newspapers, especially since Abbott was in opposition, that I will not buy ANY newspapers. I was disgusted by even The Financial Review, when all articles were political, not business, before 2013 election, that reading this newspaper was a complete waste of time and money. Hate and lies, and more lies. I hope that are more people that feel as I do, stop buying newspapers until the Murdochs of this world realise that this bigotry is not what we want to read, and start reporting news that is truthful.

  6. Terry2

    corvus boreus

    Just recapping on the long delayed trila of Kathy Jackson , I note from the media back in June :

    Jackson will return to court for another hearing in June before she faces a four-week committal hearing in November.

    I wonder what happened to that ?

  7. Zathras


    I’m also from that era and have somehow managed to “maintain the rage” for all those years.
    Whenever I think that it’s time to let that feeling go, people like Howard and Abbott make it so much easier and reassure me that I’ve made the correct decision.

    Whitlam called Murdoch “a shonky slob” after Murdoch demanded Whitlam make him High Commissioner to London as payback for his media support and then paid the price but no politician seemed willing to stand up to him ever since.

    I wonder if things will change once Murdoch is gone.

  8. Rossleigh

    I recently noted Trump calling people who opposed him “haters”. While it’s true that some people fit this category, it’s interesting that some politicians now feel that you can’t oppose someone’s ideas and actions without hating them.

  9. jim

    The ABC is too important in Australian culture to be destroyed by right wing zealots and Murdoch, where is our democracy going?

    It’s not “the boards” ABC, it’s the workers ABC that built it up to be for everybody, to counteract the MSM.. If I ever want to watch a mouth piece for the lying Liberal party regime, I’d watch Sky and MSM. Stop attacking our ABC and filling it up with IPA stooges.

    MSMedia get down on the fn floor my new name …The Internet,
    and you MSM LIE and DISTRUPT Australia’s reasoned debates by using omissions, filibusters and just lies.

    MSM you fit the bill for a huge Royal Commission roll over and play dead and stop ya f’n lying , for soon I hope, you all go to jail for being a mouth piece for the elitist in the corporate world.

  10. corvus boreus

    Dunno, if the committal for her trial has started the media don’t seem to reported it yet.
    The last solid on Jackson that I could find was a report from 4/9 saying that she’d abandoned her attempted claim on the +$3m estate of a former senior solicitor that she swooped on to ‘nurse’ when he was dying and doddered with dementia.
    I gather the main reason was because she realised that even if she won the claim she would have had to immediately hand any money/estate over to the HSU as criminal recompense.
    The last I could find on Lawler was a story from 14/8 saying that he had made a bid to return to the Fair Work Commission.
    I won’t post links to either story because they were Murdoch sourced (‘Das Strayan’)..

  11. Harry

    Abbott is a prime example of a fanatical conservative religious true believer, a dangerous person.

  12. Diane Larsen

    Graeme post of the day, I was in London on the day of the dismissal and went to Australia House to protest with many others as what we saw as a disgraceful act against a government that was dutifully elected by the people being tossed out by a conspiracy between a govenor general and a conservative rabble who would do anything for power. I certainly have not lost the rage I felt and have never admired anyone from the conservative side of the political spectrum, the nicest thing I can say is they are nothing but a bunch if power hungry tossers.

  13. Glenn Barry

    I always liked Keating’s assessment of Howard – “It was bad enough having the real John Howard … at least Howard was a militant, aggressive conservative driving in reverse through the rear-vision mirror.”


    So much of the hatred began with Howard, or should I say it gained higher profile legitimacy.

    Howard nurtured it within the LNP: with Abbott the festering infection was merely allowed to openly thrive and there seems to be no shortage of acolytes on the front bench incapable of discerning between cruelty and strength, oblivious to their own inherent malice

  14. Terry2

    corvus boreus

    from the Trade Unions Royal Commission back in 2015 :

    (c) in the case of Katherine Jackson, civil proceedings in which she was ordered to
    pay compensation to the HSU of $1,406,338.16. Katherine Jackson’s activities
    are presently also the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

    I have no doubt that she has avoided making any payments to the HSU members on this civil court judgement. does seem strange that the criminal prosecution has been delayed for so long : hope it is not political interference !

  15. wam

    Is it possible the rabbott believed in the $10 a week saving?
    “The figure, which Abbott uses on every possible occasion, is based on Treasury modelling. About half the amount is from taking the tax off power prices – it is easy to measure the impact that will have. The rest is from the flow through to items such as food, clothing, housing, household appliances and holiday travel.”

    If his advisers use the treasury model to inform him. Then surely the $550 could be truth not a lie??

    racism and hate are learned, Lord and once learnt, they are re-enforced daily, at school, work, playing sport, home and in the media. They must be unlearnt sadly a far more difficult task the learning to be racially, sexually, religiously bigotted.

    The bombers copied the rabbott and the dixxxbransimkins copied the bombers in shelving principles and honesty(northcote??) for the ‘whatever it takes’ pragmatism.

    Labor still has principles. Gillard with one exception, let the rabbott’s ‘hate’ go unanswered but she should have attacked his debt bullshit by citing his poms and yanks debt % even now little billy could be feeding the media questions on debt or preparing counter arguments for the assault by the no on discrimination. Yes religious Australians should be able to draw on their churches discrimination against, gays,
    women and non-europeans but their advertising must contain their opposition. It should not be secret. an amendment to any proposal from the no team

    (religious indoctrination should be voluntary and outside of the school curriculum and school hours for all institutions receiving government funds)

    Hate is one of those words that have gained normal use. Kids hate broad beans in the same way as the public hate politicians. In our day, Lord, hate meant something. I have never hated anyone, even Hitler.

    pps compassion:
    Last month, a friend gave employment to an old bloke who turned up at his bush farm. He was not competent at taking tasks on his own volition rather than those assigned and he was told there is no more work. The man went to complain about discrimination and my friend was told by the commission to pay as it would be very expensive to fight the claim. Compassion and caring can be expensive. My advice was send his name to the ATO and centrelink..

  16. Time for Terry

    Unfortunately all the HATE started with Paul Keating’s humiliation of the LNP. The Conservatives drew a the line in sand after him.

    Their vengefullness has played out ever since.

  17. Vixstar

    We were told in our family you never say “hate”, you say “detest immensely” but I can truthfully say even yell I HATE MURDOCH AND THE LNP. Mmmm that feels better now when a wake up one morning to the news that both have died I am cracking open my Moet that’s on standby in my fridge for the last 20 years.

  18. Wam

    Time for Terry,
    Pig iron bob did well with his hatred of russia and china which spilled into hatred of labor?

    ps Lord, I loath the cruel disingenuous campaign by the no and detest the politicians who, after the trauma of the postal vote, now want to argue hatred again and install discrimination into the the secular state from the religious bigotry that is afforded the churches, mosques and synagogues. The pricks should have had the argument instead of the letter drop.

  19. totaram

    “Nobody lied with greater sincerity than Abbott. ”

    What does that mean? Did he actually believe what he was saying? You can’t mean that. This is a person who has contradicted himself time and time again and said that nothing he said can be believed unless it is written down and signed. Even then he has plainly lied. “No cuts to…; etc.” which you can access anywhere on the internet in his speech before being elected.

    This sincerity is totally different from that of Adolf Hitler, who completely believed his mumbo-jumbo about the master race and all the other nonsense. He was even a vegan or vegetarian for heaven’s sake, and took the consequences of his defeat by committing suicide. Can you imagine any of this rabble committing suicide in defence of their beliefs? No way. They are just paid sock-puppets and shills who don’t believe a word of what they spout. It’s all in the interest of winning a few votes or showing their faith in their donors who will reward their loyalty by finding them well-paid sinecures after their political lives are over. Sincerity my arse!

  20. Joe Mohui

    I have read many posts on this website but never commented. This post compels me to comment.

    John, you have absolutely nailed it. This is the sort of opinion that the MSM should be publishing.

  21. theyalldeservetodie

    There have never been a bunch more deserving of hatred than the LNP, I hope they all get cancer of the anus and die slowly and painfully but they deserve execution for blatantly ruling in self interest.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    The Liberal hate was on show during the Whitlam years. Increase with Howard.

  23. Umberto Ledfooti

    Any dishonest, delusional, corrupt, misogynistic, pedophile-protecting vandal like Tony Abbott can NEVER, EVER, be “a good bloke”.

  24. Luke Weyland

    This ‘Good Bloke’ sent people who sought our help back to war zones such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Sri Lanka

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