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Day to Day Politics: A tale of two polls.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

“Coalition support rises by three points in Newspoll but Labor holds lead” read the headline in Monday’s The Australian.

1 Yes, the Coalition was on 48% of the two-party-preferred vote with Labor’s on 52%. “This cannot be right,” I thought to myself. Did around 3 million people change their minds in the course of three weeks? Of course they didn’t.

The Newspoll in February recorded the same 10-point gap as Tuesday’s Guardian Essential poll.

How can that be? I have put it down to a rogue poll and I expect the Newspoll will come back next time around.

As the Monthly said.

“Newspoll’s margin of error, which is approximately 2–3%, so any upward trend for the government would at the very least need to be confirmed by another poll.”

Newspoll put it down to the Prime Ministers Snowy Hydro Carbon scheme but surely it couldn’t all be attributed to that alone.

Essential put it down to the fact that there has been a significant rise in voter perceptions that the Liberals federally are divided. It also cited the government plans to bring heavily contested changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. And another factor ist that many see the government as being ”too close to big corporate and financial interests” and is out of touch with ordinary people.

2 I have written about free speech, hate, racial discrimination and the state of our democracy on many occasions and these questions will not leave me.

If we live in the age of enlightenment. Why is it, in the name of free speech that we need to enshrine, the right to abuse each other, in law?

Or conversely what is it they want to say that they can’t say now?”

Four times the PM was asked this question at Question Time on Tuesday and he refused to answer. It would seem that once again he has caved into the extreme right to hold onto his job. It’s probably safe to say that Turnbull is now rid of anything that allowed him to describe himself as a moderate.

So the conservative right faction has won again. The liberal moderates are but a shadow of their former selves. The small L Liberals wanted the procedures of the act changed but the nutters of the right wanted to if see the words ”offend” and ”insult” removed from section 18C of the RDA, to be replaced by the term ”harass.” A massive watering down of the act. Bolt will be happy.

How one can argue that replacing words like offend and insult with the single one of harass makes the act stronger is beyond me.

An observation.

“We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it”

To quote Bill Shorten:

“If Mr Turnbull walks out of his party room tomorrow with a policy that weakens the Racial Discrimination Act, everyone will know he has sold the last shred of his integrity to hang on to his own job.”

Shorten is correct.

As for me, well I have been writing everyday now for a number of years and I have never felt constrained in what I can say.

The internal wrangling has been going on for months now. Many Coalition members with marginal seats in the inner cities have been critical of such a move saying it would put their seats at risk. It is impossible to say but my gut feeling is that this decision will come back to haunt them.

And in taking the cowards way out the bill will go straight to the upper house where it will be defeated thus avoiding a debate in the Lower House .At least we now know where they stand.

And to do it on National Harmony Day of all days.

Religious and ethnic communities opposed to any watering down of the current provisions are sure to make their voices heard.

My thought for the day.

“An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.”

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  1. Johno

    It is impossible to say but my gut feeling is that this decision will come back to haunt them.

    I bloody hope so… Turnbull is a pathetic moron.

  2. Ella Miller

    Mr. Lord, an article that brings back painful memories, and it happened on Harmony Day,

    your observation;

    “We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it”

    To look at me no one would suspect that I was not Anglo Saxon.
    Yet as child refugee I was subjected to all sorts of abuse “wog” “reffo” just to name a couple of terms used. Not to mention the torment because my mother used to make me salami sandwiches for school , with their garlic aroma , at a time when garlic was not fashionable in Australia….this was some 60 years ago.

    But the most painful memory was some years later . I was in a staffroom with the rest of the teachers. We were discussing a volatile issue,
    with many dissenting opinions.
    I stated my point of view and the deputy head looked at me in anger and said;

    “Don’t tell me you LITTLE ETHNIC you can think !”

    The staffroom fell silent, people looked in disbelief, I sat speechless with my mouth open , unable to speak.
    The head master knew what had happened and the final insult was that there were no “consequences”.
    Not one person apologised.
    That day I lost my faith and trust in my profession. I stopped expressing any point of view…I was made to feel I was less than others.
    I never spoke to that woman again …and sadly left the which I felt happy ,before that day ..and felt I was respected and seen as a good teacher , before that day.
    Discrimination can take many forms , it can be as stated above , it can be more subtle…yet still as painful.
    Having it pointed out in whatever way that “you are not one of us” will never stop being painful.

  3. Vaughan

    For the LNP 18c is just a distraction from the other decision they made in that meeting. Appointment of another Murdoch lucky to the ABC board. How about employing your investigative journalism into that

  4. king1394

    Liberals just want a ‘right to bully’ others enshrined in law.

  5. Zathras

    Ella Miller,

    I’m the child of European immigrants and also grew up in an Australia that had a resentment of “wogs and reffos” and experienced the same resentment and intolerance you describe.
    It’s an unpleasant feeling that is somehow never forgotten and you can still see it happening elsewhere in society today.

    I’ve always found it interesting that the loudest commentators about racism (or no racism) in Australia have never experienced it themselves and the proposed changes to 18C have different meanings to different people.

  6. Harquebus

    “If we live in the age of enlightenment. Why is it, in the name of free speech that we need to enshrine, the right to abuse each other, in law?”
    To identify the abusers and verbally combat them. 18c will not change peoples minds. It drives them underground where their opinions fester only to emerge at some later date; possibly violently.
    Love and hate are human traits, legislation can not control them. It can only cover up what is undesirable.
    Protection breeds weakness.

  7. Ella Miller

    Zathras, thank you for your acknowledgement of what some in our society are subjected to.
    When we have leaders who openly vilify (Dutton comes to mind)..laws will NEVER change attitudes.
    Sad that humanity has not evolved enough to see that we are all flesh and blood, we breathe the same air, we live on the same planet.
    We survive or not as ONE.

  8. wam

    Ella, I was nearly 30 before I ate rice other than as dessert.
    When Taso came to the desk to have his maths checked I would light up a cigarette so he wouldn’t come close enough for me to smell the garlic.
    My first foray out of well done meat and 3 boiled vegs was Hungarian goulash in hindley st and it was terrific but I didn’t know why I loved it till I burped Taso.
    We had(and many still have) the arrogance of the ignorant and would still have without the multicultured refugees refusal to culinary assimilate.

  9. kristapet

    No truer words than these were spoken

    “An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.”
    Shame on the LNP /Malcolm Turnbull and the rest of the Liberal wankers and cronies for their nasty “I wants”, and hang the rest; and let me be a bigot and a bully and say whatever vicious words I want, to whomever I want
    I hope this “burns” them
    This weakening of 18C is incomprehensible to any egalitarian intellect
    We need to be better than this, we need a better world
    A friend suggests that it would be better to start afresh with Australia becoming a Republic
    A chance to create a flourishing, enlightened society, a fair and just one, respecting equality and allowing difference
    I agree and I think we need with riders ( And, I am not asking for much), and as idealistic as it sounds, this wish list, such as:
    An Ethical Constitution with, plus the Magna Carta embedded in it , combined with, and with strong Racial Discrimination Laws,
    Along side, a special Treaty with First Nations People, showing respect, by, granting some rivers, wilderness areas, and some iconic environments the same rights as a citizen
    An Inclusive Constitution which has special Elder Council ( chosen for wisdom, proven worthiness and exemplary, high moral character)
    its member representatives covering different sectors of the community and their interests (No Board stacking, here either)
    No lobbying by Corporations, no donations from Corporations or big business magnates, to influence (strong-arm) the government ,
    one with creating a fairer voting system, maybe ( MMP (mixed member proportional), or STV (single transferable vote) whatever, but, one without preferential voting, because it is open to gerrymandering and corruption
    A system with an Independent Federal ICAC, (no Board stacking), instead,
    A system which has structures embedded within it with provisions that takes care of the old, vulnerable, the poor, the young, a system which does not discriminate against different sexual genders, or, ethnicity, or, race or religion, and which safeguards, science, art and culture ( a nation with strong Arts and Culture and Science is an advanced culture of thinkers and innovators)

    A system which includes a structures providing legal justice, education and healthcare coverage and protections as a constitutional right Certainly not a system that can change laws on a whim, bigotry, prejudice and monetary interests e.g.,Native Title and 18C

  10. Terry2

    As many commentators are noting this morning, harassment appears to be legally defined as an ongoing pattern of behaviour over a period of time and not an isolated incident.

    So, whilst insult, offend, humiliate in the existing legislation would enable an instance of racial abuse on public transport – which seems to be on the increase – to be reported to the HRC for conciliation and possibly subsequent civil court action ( i.e. by the complainant NOT the HRC who do not take matters to court), harass would require repeated abuse on an ongoing basis before it was recognised by this law.

    Surprisingly for a lawyer the Prime Minister has not defined or redefined harassment in his redrafted legislation. So, it cannot at this stage be remotely considered as an improvement.

  11. stephengb2014

    Well it is quite clear that we do ‘not’ live in the age of enlightenment, otherwise we would not need laws to protect that half of humanity from the bullying abuse by the other half!

    So Harquebus, your comment tells me that you are not enlightened at all. In fact legislation does control the access of those not enlightened, the evodence is that humans have collected groups for protection since himan time began, and to do so acceptable social practices had to have existed. Even if those practices were not writen as law, they were npne the less observed and there were penalties for not observing them. Hell even our closet cousins in the animal world have acceptable behaviours and penalties for not observing those behaviour norms.

    Without law we decend into the animal world and not even the world of our nearest cousins, you seem to think that we should just allow the biggest bully to survive and everyone else can be for the abuse of the bully boys. Back to Hunter / hunted.

    Perhaps you should remind yourself, that means you would be bullied by someone bigger than you!

  12. Ella Miller

    Wam, it is sad that acceptance of different foods can’t translate into the fact that we are all human, with all our differences and similarities.
    We as humanity have a long way to does not ensure change…education does. Though I begin to wonder.

  13. Harquebus

    At least I am willing to argue against those that display hatred and bigotry. Those that hide behind legislation are leaving the good fight to others.

  14. Ella Miller

    On the weekend I had the joy of reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, to my grandson…worth a read.

    Your comment that ” Perhaps you should remind yourself ,that means you would be bullied by someone bigger than you”
    Sorry we have laws ..remember the ten commandments?
    They don’t seem to have made much difference..and are you suggesting we accept a dog eat dog world? Hope I have misunderstood.

  15. Keitha Granville

    No matter how multicultural, no matter how enlightened, there will always be some who cannot accept another ethnicity in any way. (Hitler, KKK)
    For these we need STRONG racial abuse laws.
    So if the LNP is changing them to something weaker, they must be aligned with the views of Hitler and the KKK.

    If it walks like a duck . . . . .

  16. helvityni

    I don’t see much enlightenment about right now, not when we have chosen people like Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison, Dutton to govern us, enlightened people have no use for politician like Hanson…

    What did Brandis do for the Arts when having that portfolio, Morrison and Dutton treated asylum seekers as sub-human….92 year old British war veteran might have to pack his bags and go back home; where our humanity… I can’t bear to hear ( on Harmony Day) how cruelly Aboriginal youths were treated at Don Dale….

    Some even want to have a right to offend…why?

  17. Sam

    Unless I’m missing the point of Stephens post, I think he was arguing against harquebus contribution and what you picked up on as being off Ella, were views Stephen was associating with harquebus.

    Of course I’ve only had 90 minutes of sleep overnight, so I’d not be surprised if I misunderstood.

  18. silkworm

    Was mighty impressed with Dreyfus’ response to the 18c debacle. He would make a great PM.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    Yesterday the PM set out to con all, in process to wedge Labor. By having Brandis introduce bill in upper house, he ensures no debate in lower house, knowing it will be defeated. Of course blame will lay with Labor. After all we had PM’s passionate speeches supporting the change.

  20. Florence nee Fedup

    Silkworm, Burke also doing excellent job.

  21. helvityni

    silkworm, I have always been a Dreyfus fan; indeed he would make a great PM, he’s intelligent and civil, no childish name-calling from him.

  22. Harquebus

    Excellent job? Take a good look around you.
    Dreyfus and Burke are just two more idiots who have done nothing and will do nothing to solve our problems. The sooner they and their ilk are gone, the sooner we can begin to repair.

  23. David1

    Harquebus if you find Mark Dreyfus QC and Tony Burke LLB idiots, it would be helpful if you made your qualifications available to us. Then we can share in your superior intelligence that places you above the two gentlemen you judge so harshly.

  24. jimhaz

    My view is that both sides are overdoing the arguments. I do see a technical need to change 18c, but no pressing one.

  25. jim

    All The LNPs Fillibusters can’t beat a Labor that’s confident to differentiate its economic values and spending priorities from the Liberals’in SA,WA, Vic, ACT Qld.
    Mind you all the stupid policies of the LNP have been…. well…helpful..

  26. Freethinker

    I still believing that the introduction of the 18c is another “tool” to divide the electorate.
    When the ruling minority is in trouble the best option is to divide more the silent and weak majority.
    Time it is in their hands to make more damage that it is in their agenda.
    Be fore the elections some sweet will come to buy votes as it has been done before.

  27. Jaquix

    Mark Dreyfus and Tony Burke have been magnificent in their denunciation of this weakening (called “strengthening” by MT) of the racial discrimination act. The level of ignorance and misinformation that floats around the airwaves on this subject is truly astounding. Saw an Ivanka Trump lookalike “interviewing” Tony Burke on Sky this afternoon – she claimed to be Jewish – she kept repeating Lib-speak nonsense to the bemusement of Tony Burke, who had just very clearly explained the ramifications, again, though she claimed she had been listening.

  28. Peter F

    Am I correct in claiming that, in order to prove that Australians are not racists, the PM wants to enshrine their right to be racist in law? Do we really need such protection? Are we really so bad?

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