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Government by troll

The Turnbull government recently appointed Philip Ruddock as its special envoy for human rights. Ruddock will quit the government in order to take up his new position, as it will entail considerable amounts of travel during which time he would be absent from the House, and this, he considers, is not fair to his Berowra electorate.

One can imagine the glee with which this arrangement was arrived at. How enraged and outraged the lefties will be was likely the first consideration, as Ruddock’s expertise in furthering human rights, or even lobbying, was most certainly not a central concern. The man has all the charm of an embalmed corpse, indeed, his waxy pallor during his Howard years caused me to note on more than one occasion that he looked as if he’d just crawled out of his coffin as the sun went down.

Ruddock is known as the architect of the Howard government’s off-shore detention policy, the “Pacific Solution”. This “solution” was condemned by Human Rights Watch as a rights violation, as it contravened international law. The UNHCR supported this view. A long-standing member of Amnesty International, that organisation asked Ruddock to cease wearing its badge, as he had done consistently and conspicuously whilst committing rights violations. Ruddock also introduced Temporary Protection Visas.

In 2003 Ruddock was appointed Attorney-General. He introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill, in which marriage is for the first time defined as being solely between a man and a woman, thus preventing same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Ruddock once famously referred to an asylum seeker child as “it.” He was also responsible, along with John Howard and Peter Reith, of lying to the public on the matter of asylum seekers throwing their children overboard in order to gain access to Australia.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop explained it thus: Mr Ruddock will actively in promote Australia’s candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2018-20 term. He will represent Australia at international human rights events and advocate our HRC candidacy in selected countries.

Ruddock’s appointment demonstrates yet again that Turnbull varies little from Abbott in his practices: the only difference is the patronising urbanity with which he oils his self-satisfied way through his political life. Turnbull, like Abbott, makes decisions based firstly on the retention of his personal power, followed closely by the retention of his party’s power, followed closely by their collective desire to troll lefties just because they can. Yes. They are that infantile.

Turnbull continues the Abbott tradition of treating government, and governance, as a personal plaything. Abbott trolled the nation when he appointed himself Minister for Women. He did it again when IPA stalwart and vigorous opponent of the Human Rights Commission, Tim Wilson, was parachuted into a job invented for him at that very Commission, with the vague title of Freedom Commissioner and a salary of $325,000 pa.

While the LNP are having great fun trolling, it’s also their intention to take over or outsource institutions they perceive as obstacles to the implementation of their ideology. The government’s decisions have little to do with the welfare of the country, or anybody in it who is not in thrall to that ideology.

I hope the idiots who thought things would be better with Turnbull are smacking themselves on the head right now.

The LNP risking a leadership spill in an election year must be as likely as the survival of polar bears, which is to say, negligible. Turnbull is in the strongest position he’s ever likely to enjoy: he could do just about anything and remain Prime Minister. Yet he hasn’t the courage to run with it, and continues to roll over like a submissive dog under the pressure of his party’s extreme right-wing.

The man is scum. He’s worse scum than Abbott. Abbott was always scum, but Turnbull, on the face of it, seemed once to stand for something, though in retrospect I’m not sure what that something was. Turnbull has the smooth voice and sophisticated delivery the cloth-eared and dry-mouthed Abbott so conspicuously lacked, yet behind all his mannerisms, Turnbull is as hollow, and as pretentious, and as cruel.

Welcome to government by troll.

And even as I wrote this piece, news broke that Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment when you’re not having a Minister for the Environment, has just been awarded the inaugural best minister in the world gong in Dubai. I rest my feckin case.

This article was first published on No Place for Sheep.


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  1. Steve Laing

    Right on the button. Turnbull had the opportunity to make his mark because he couldn’t be rolled so soon after rolling Abbott. But he folded before even trying to bluff. Just like Tony, the goal was the big chair, not the ability to make positive change.

  2. Mal Cayman

    Like most of us, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when abbot was rolled.

    I put great hope that malcolm would be the saviour come down to save us from the extreme right-wing ideology. It seems he has let many of us down and the polls will begin to show that.

    Whatever he says, whatever he does will be seen for what it is – merely to save his position. And we can all see what his party’s ideologies are.

    The kites being flown – GST increase, Medicare cuts and privatisation of services – are merely semaphores for what is to come should they get reelected and with a compliant Senate.

    The future doesn’t look so bright all the time there’s a potential this mob will get back in!

  3. Loz

    This man has no shame. He is the last person to be involved with any human rights position. This man is beyond the pale in his complete lack of insight into his behaviour towards asylum seekers.

  4. Lee Baptie

    Silly rabbit, you don’t appoint independent people to high profile advocacy roles – they may actually advocate a position contrary to offical policy. You appoint people who can manage your public image, masters of obfuscation and spin doctors to minimise the political damage of grossly inhumane practices.

    Perhaps this is the way government has always been? With the freer flow of information citizens are becoming more aware of how the system actually works. Orwell may have coined the term Doublespeak but it has existed for as long as powerful people have wanted populations to remain ignorant of their actions.

  5. Stephen

    This is not only a kick in the head to anyone with half a conscience but pissing on them when they are down, Turnbull may be keen to move him on but he should at least attempt to show some thought or does he really not see or care.


  6. Heather (@HEB2205)

    Glad to see some people at least are coming to their senses over Malcolm Turdbull. Worse that Abbott, because he’s so charmingly slimy and persuasive. Have you all sold down the creek in a flash.

  7. Felicitas

    “Have you all sold down the creek in a flash.”… and move the profits to the Caymans ASAP.

  8. Matthew Oborne

    he did a great job at goldman sachs, oh wait he got sued for 450 million (he and sachs) what a great guy, he even said some earty type stuff at Golman Sachs, did he eve walk the walk or did he a rich bully call other rich bullies rich bullies?

    He announces the good stuff and smiles, the other ministers get to look like Dmitri Medvedev and announce all the bad stuff he really wants so he can stay as PM.

    Poor medicare could get flogged off to cash converters like the last time we had a government that resembled ice addicts more than honorable members.

    Then we will be told sorry you have to die but the market forces control you lifespan now.

  9. Bronte ALLAN

    “Pacific solution”, no he needs a “final solution”! Another great article Jennifer! Almost all the AIMN contributors seem to get it “just right” with their comments & writings etc, well done everyone!

  10. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Wonderfully astute writing, Jennifer Wilson.

    I think the LNP Bastards have three agendas. One, to line their own pockets eg Stuey Robert. Two, to brown-nose Big Biz so to continue to receive kickbacks and party donations. Three, to frustrate the stuffing out of progressive people seeking equity for everyone.

    It’s not only infantile but it’s nasty. Such nastiness attracts consequences. They must think they live in magical bubbles.

  11. brad

    Lnp refers to a political party in qld. Coalition refers to the liberal and national party in government federally. It’s a shibboleth that unfortunately detracts from the force of the articles comments.

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