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“Language is a virus from outer space!” William S. Burroughs

“Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts.”
– attributed to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord by Barrere in “Memoirs

Language has always interested me: Its ambiguity, its beauty, its capacity for creating meaning, its capacity to deceive.

So even before the Tony Abbott we’re implementing the promise we made, not the one you thought we made, I’ve always listened carefully to what was being said. And it doesn’t take much listening to notice a distinction between Turnbull’s announcement that they won’t be taking the increase in the GST to an election, and a promise that they have no intention to increase it…

And, as I’m sure of you are going to say, one can have no intention to do something and, well, things change, so you can change your mind. Surely.

Unless you’re Julia Gillard.

But I was particularly intrigued by the language of some of the people defending Cardinal Pell after the recent leak about the police investigation.

For example, after Cardinal Pell issued a statement saying that the allegations were “without foundation and utterly false”, I couldn’t help but wonder if allegations could ever be “without foundation” and “utterly true”, or “with foundation” and “utterly false” or anyone of the many combinations. It made me wonder whether Pell was suggesting that there was no basis to the accusations, or whether he was suggesting that there was no investigation and that the whole thing had been made up.

Then when Archbishop Denis Hart told us that the allegations do not reflect “the man I have known for more than 50 years”, I couldn’t help but think that a character reference is no real refutation of the accusations.

He added: “It is very disturbing and concerning to read reports based on leaks to the media that Victoria Police has been investigating allegations of abuse against Cardinal George Pell for the past year and that his first knowledge of these allegations has come from those media reports.”

So when Hart went on to call for an investigation into the leak, it seemed to confirm to me that there was, at least, an actual police investigation and that stories of one weren’t just some fiction created by someone with the aim of causing “maximum damage” to Pell’s reputation, as Hart had suggested.

And speaking on behalf of the Melbourne Archdiocese, Shane Healy told us that there had never been a finding against Pell under the victim compensation scheme. Which one would think would be fairly obvious, as surely if there were a finding against him, he wouldn’t have been allowed to continue in his position. I noted that he didn’t say that there had never been an accusation against Cardinal Pell.

Yes, yes. You’re right, of course. This is trial by media. It’s wrong. What people say or don’t say isn’t the issue. We should allow justice to run its course and one shouldn’t read too much into what various people say. Particularly people who aren’t part of the investigation and would have no idea about a person’s guilt or innocence.

It’s like all those who doubt the doctors who informed us that Cardinal Pell was too ill to travel to Australia. There was a rather snide backlash from some suggesting that the doctors were just doing it to protect Pell.

As if the doctors wouldn’t know when it was dangerous for people to travel. As if doctors would do the wrong thing. We can trust doctors. Unless they’ve put people on a disability allowance – then we need to have their opinion checked by another doctor.

Speaking of doctors, isn’t it terrible how those doctors in Queensland are attempting to subvert the will of the government by refusing to release that baby. Asha, or whatever her name is. It’s got nothing to do with her health. They just don’t want to release her to travel back to the purgartory of a detention centre.

I use the word purgatory deliberately because people are calling it hell, which is inaccurate because hell is eternal suffering, whereas purgatory is that place where you wait until you’re purified enough to be moved on to a better place.

No, the asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus just need to stay there until they’re purified enought to be settled somewhere else. I hear that there are negotiations going on with Malaysia and The Philippines and Indonesia.

You remember Malaysia, and the Malaysian solution?

Remember Scott Morrison telling us that it was clear that protection for the refugees didn’t exist there.

Yep, that’s sort of place that we need as a deterrent!

This may be harsh, but unless we send a clear signal then babies’ll be coming here all the time and the drownings at sea’ll start all over again.

It’s only by putting her in danger that we can discourage people from undertaking the possibly dangerous voyage where they may drown, but that’s not a sufficient deterrent so we need something stronger like making sure they never get to settle in Australia even when they’re born here.


P.S. Breaking news of rumours about a deal to allow Baby Asha and family to move to community detention in Brisbane. Either this is a trick to get the protesters to move away, or else it’s another example of the government backing down at the first sign of resistance.


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  1. Kaye Lee

    “OPPOSITION immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has likened the treatment of asylum seekers in Malaysia to the treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia.

    Both were equally shocking, he said, as the Coalition succeeded in pushing for a Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s immigration detention network.

    Mr Morrison said he was shocked by an ABC TV report showing graphic footage of cattle being mistreated at a number of Indonesian abattoirs.

    “I’m equally shocked by the fact of the treatment that people receive in Malaysia on the basis of reports that we receive,” he said today.

    “If we are going to be consistent about these matters then I think the conditions these people will be held and treated in Malaysia is a relevant question this parliament should be asking the prime minister.”

    His comments come as refugees in Kuala Lumpur’s suburban slums say they have been tortured in Malaysia’s detention centres.

    Gruesome personal accounts include claims of beatings with rattan canes and whippings – a fate that could await the 800 refugees the Federal Government intends to send to Malaysia as part of its controversial detainee swap.

    Mr Morrison reiterated a Coalition guarantee that asylum seekers sent to Nauru for processing would not be mistreated.

    But the prime minister could not do the same for Malaysia, he said, adding caning was lawful under its migration act.

    “The prospect of caning is real.”

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    I think PM has ordered this matter be put to bed. Why those in near region after three years have been approached. Can’t understand why NZ not taken up.

    Time for the government’s refusal allowing them to go NZ or similar countries to be tested in court,

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    How many did Dutton whine about being in Indonesia and Malaysia waiting to come. I suspect we have taken none since this government come into power. Since 2013 that is. Main reason would be Abbott thumbing his nose at these countries, leading nearly to complete breakdown in relations.

  4. margcal

    Even here, the inference is that Julia Gillard changed her mind.
    Why does no one ever say it as it is? Not doing so is a free goal to the Liberals.
    She found herself leading a minority government, so had to compromise. Maybe guilty of not giving all the options – but when did a political party ever spruik what it might be forced to do if they found themselves in minority government?

    Protesters wouldn’t want to wander too far from where this baby is resettled. Being put on a plane in the dead of night is not unheard of.

  5. Kyran

    P.S. Breaking news of rumours about a deal to allow Baby Asha and family to move to community detention in Brisbane. Either this is a trick to get the protesters to move away, or else it’s another example of the government backing down at the first sign of resistance.
    There have been numerous protests about this ‘situation’ for years, and they are increasing. I’ve been to two of the one’s held in Melbourne in the past fortnight and numbers have been around 5,000, in my estimate, both times.
    Freethechildren NAURU has put, front and center, the conditions of a lawless ‘society’. It is neither detention, or purgatory. It is the conscious destruction of the mental and physical health of all who inhabit it. A Melbourne ABC shock jock named Jon Faine interviewed potato head and was told the Orstrilian government would assist his passage to attend Nauru as a reporter. Within days, the Nauruan government, through its Justice Minister, David Adeang, stated all visitors were barred. He claimed an ABC journalist had entered the country as a tourist.
    This governments ineptitude knows no bounds. The initial campaign was to stop the return of 267 asylum seekers to Nauru. Now there is impetus to see that as a first step, and demand the return of all on Nauru to Australia as a second step. Manus is now a third step.
    As Margcal observed, “Protesters wouldn’t want to wander too far from where this baby is resettled. Being put on a plane in the dead of night is not unheard of.”
    Anybody believing an undertaking from potato head is the very definition of a NUPH, needing urgent psychiatric help.
    As for pall, just had a thought. He can’t fly, cause he ain’t got ‘the ticker’. The Italian navy have been doing wondrous work with ‘boat people’. How about we crowd fund the Italian navy to escort pall to Nauru by boat. We can do the video link from there.
    Thank you, Mr Brisbane. Take care

  6. Phil

    When authoritarians e.g. the LNP, change policy course under concerted public pressure, revenge will soon surface. Authoritarians exist to exercise authority – challenge their authority and expect payback twofold. This is a downward spiralling process screaming out for a circuit breaker. I anticipate the 2016 election will either prove Australia’s subservience to fear and authority, or it will reveal the nation’s courage to oppose and depose these LNP authoritarians.

  7. Clean livin

    Quite correct with the wheasle words regarding GST. “We won’t take it to the election”! Hey, we may have it in this years budget. Or we might have it in next years budget. If the government is serious about GST being off the table, we need a statement to explicitly state so, such as “the LNP will not alter the GST in any form, for the next period of government!”

    With Turnbull looking more like Abbott as time goes by, who knows what promises will be made and broken by these sneaky people?

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