Friday 15 July 2016
Coming from a party with a long history of frightening people the conservative’s accusation of a scare campaign on Medicare is an affront to ones sensibilities.
Those of my vintage will well remember Robert Menzies’ “Reds under your beds”. “We are to be invaded by the red hordes from the north” he shouted loud and clear in every election campaign he participated in.
I remember as a young boy seeing pictures on posters in trams, in the newspapers, and shorts at the cinema with pictures depicting the communist hordes thrusting their way towards us. There were others with hundreds of Chinese rolling across Sydney Harbour Bridge in their rickshaws with guns and communist flags.
Both the Trade Unions and Labor were pursued with vigorous anti-communist slurs and scare campaigns for decades.
Tony Abbott in his tenure as both Opposition Leader and Prime Minister, on a daily basis sought to place the public in a perpetual state of shock and awe. Remember his daily visits to businesses resulting in another deceit about a carbon tax. A Sunday roast was going to cost $100 (screamed Barnaby Joyce) and Whyalla was going to be wiped of the map. He insinuated a crisis around every corner every day. Pathetically so, without fact nor reason. Yes, the Carbon Tax was going to wreck the Australian economy.
ISIS are coming to get us. And you personally. His scare campaigns were relentless dirty gutter politics. He stopped at nothing to frighten the shit out of people. It was like being on a permanent war footing.
He promoted fear like a legitimate political weapon and wielded it unapologetically.
He created a budget crisis saying that all hell was going to cut loose. Lie after contemptible lie was told, terrifying the people into believing that the Australian economy was about to collapse.
Amazingly when they gained office we found no crisis. It was just shrill politics from a demented politician.
They had conducted a scare campaign about budget deficits and government debt, but in government Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey forgot all about it.
Make no mistake, the conservatives have been running scare campaigns for decades. Who will forget Phil Ruddock demonising Asylum Seekers always referring to them as illegals? Never in their scare mongering did they had the dignity to treat these folk as human beings.
Ruddock even told us that refugees were so evil and inhuman and violent that they throw their own children overboard. He went on to say that they were bringing diseases to our country. Nothing was left out in their putrid zest for demonising these people.
Scott Morrison, the ‘Hillsong Christian’ at one time even went out of his way to encourage his party to be more destructive with their damnation. Praise the Lord.
Had Abbott continued in office their smearing of Muslims may well have reached its zenith during the election campaign. It is a scare campaign that in its longevity has shown the right of Australians to be the masters of scare.
John Howard, together with Bush and Blair with the use of blatant lies scared the world into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The consequences of the scare campaign are well-known. In Australia we are constantly reminded by the right about terrorists and of course Muslims. Thanks, John.
More recently Liberal anti everything backbenchers conducted a scare campaign against the ‘Safe Schools’ legislation. We have been told that Labor’s negative gearing proposal would wreck the property market and during the election that a Labor/Green alliance would be one of chaos.
Their extravagance of language in these matters knows no bounds. Which of course makes their accusation of a Labor Medicare scare campaign bereft of historical conscience.
It’s anyone’s guess as to what sort of scare campaign Bernardi and his fellow homophobic MPs will mount during the marriage equality plebiscite but it’s sure to be chilling.
In other words, ‘they have form’ as Australians are apt to say.
So it is the height of hypocrisy to hear the conservative parties complain of a Mediscare campaign.
Malcolm Turnbull’s sullen and perplexing speech on election night blaming a result he didn’t anticipate, was full of shrill rhetoric about a well-funded Mediscare campaign. He blamed Mediscare on an unwelcome result.
What we saw was a deeply disappointed man unable to objectively point to the real reasons for a horrific performance.
An objective leader might have done some internal critical analysis and found himself wanting. He might also have questioned a hollow plan for jobs and growth.
Was it a scare campaign? There will be differing opinions. In my view a scare campaign usually has no substance in fact. In this case there was enough superficial evidence, at least, to suggest that if the conservatives had no plans to rid themselves of Medicare they certainly planned to play havoc with it. In my view Bill Shorten was correct to say that Medicare was under threat.
You only have to look at the conservative’s historical attitude to Medicare. They have been against it since Whitlam introduced it in 1974. Fraser tried to get rid of it. Hawke restored it.
They would try again if it were not for the public’s support of the programme. Conservative governments have always tried to destroy it using various methods. Turnbull’s government is no different.
Dr George Venturini in his excellent series on this blog “The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 40)” has this to say on fear:
“The State lives on fear. Today, it is the fear of ‘terrorists’, which is a manufactured threat, meant to scare people into handing over their rights and dignity to the tricksters in power. “Our twentieth century is the century of fear,” wrote Camus in his article ‘The century of fear’ for Combat, the newspaper which had supported the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Camus said that fear could be regarded as a developed science”.
My thought for the day.
“How is it possible for the inherited rich and privileged to understand poverty – how can those with the means to pay medical costs understand the inability of those in ill-health who cannot?”