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The government as sea lions

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco. I’m reminded of that querulous and stinking marine rabble whenever I encounter the Turnbull government in my media. The sea lions are a nasty bunch, and they fight a lot.

I now can’t picture Malcolm Turnbull as anything other than a self-congratulatory pinniped in a top hat, barking and clapping his flippers at his own cleverness as Lucy throws him a fish.

While the PM hastened to reassure the country that he had “excoriated” his rogue MPs (including ministers) who left parliament early on Thursday afternoon, the real issue is not that the LNP have taken this event as “wake-up” call for their one-seat majority government, but that such a call was needed in the first place.

Surely someone (a staffer, one of Dutton’s ninety, yes that’s ninety spin doctors) could have reminded the government that with a one-seat majority, everyone really needs to stay till the end.

That seasoned politicians holding powerful positions (and, apparently, their entire staff) need such a fundamental “wake-up” call is worrying indeed. What it confirms is what I’ve long suspected: the LNP perceive governing as a game weighted in their favour that they are entitled to win, without any particular merit, or even by actually playing it. Any challenges to these perceptions are dismissed as little more than the grumblings of opinionated upstarts.

Turnbull’s first sitting week after the election was woeful. First thirteen of his backbenchers defied him on the matter of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Next, for the first time in some fifty years, the government lost three votes in the House of Representatives because of the Thursday bunk-off. Thankfully, they’ve now gone home for a few days.

On the matter of Section 18C, it’s interesting that the cohort advocating a “watering down” of the section are those who are the least likely to ever need the protections it offers. Read this piece by Jeff Sparrow on the co-option of speech laws for their own benefit by those who have no skin in the game.

Similarly, those most vehemently opposed to marriage equality are those who can in no way claim to be, in reality, affected by it.

(If such people are seriously concerned about a perceived debasing of the institution of marriage, they urgently need to make infidelity illegal. Imagine that).

I think it’s safe to say that politics has ceased to be much to do with good and fair governance, and is now almost entirely to do with the furtherance of the interests and ideologies of largely (and sometimes large) white men. In this they differ little from the sea lion colony in which the dominant males rule in their own interests, biting great chunks of flesh out of dissenters and shoving them, bleeding, back into the sea. It’s every pinniped for himself.

They even savage the young, and the ones with the loudest bark win.


This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.



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  1. kerri

    Could not agree more with the lazy attitude if the LNP. They think just being in power is enough. They appear to do little preparation for issues that are serious and concerning for those of us who pay their wages and even the “taxed nots” who suffer from their poor governance.
    Turnbull is especially lazy trusting that a few air punches and a forthright timbre will convince us all he is just the man for the job. He lacks the respect of his team and is rapidly losing the respect from the public with the exception of the media, not just MSM mind you, who still believe like he does that he is the chosen one.
    They regard the Parliament as a game rather like dungeons and dragons where outwitting their oppostion is the name of the game. Thursday night showed that two parties can play that game.
    Some may regard the Labor “stunt” as petty politics but the ALP outsmarted, outplayed and outwitted the government at their own game and I applaud them for it.
    Their actions were entirely legit and the LNP were caught pants down.

  2. diannaart

    I have been to Fisherman’s Wharf, San Franciso – LNP far more stinky.

  3. flohri1754

    Is there any sign of them being an endangered species as of yet? The large, white, entitled men I mean …..

  4. Jennifer Wilson

    No! Far from it flohri1754

  5. Gangey1959

    ” “EXCORIATED” Clench ones buttocks to the point of causing pain to whoever has inserted anything into ones own rectum.”
    Good on you mr prime minister. That will teach them not to f*ck with you next time.

  6. helvityni

    To me they look like hungry crocodiles,much scarier than the first Bluetongue lizard I met in Australia, and that almost knocked me off my perch.

    Those Liberal Crocodiles are ruining this country, economically, morally, socially…

  7. paulwalter

    Jennifer Wilson’s reference and link to Jeff Sparrows article in the Guardian on scabs has been edited out somewhere between Sheep and here.

    How so?

    Whoever was responsible, shame!

  8. The AIM Network

    All fixed, paulwalter. It would have been an error on our admin’s behalf. Thank you for pointing that out.

  9. paulwalter

    I see I have been censored… once again, for shame.

  10. Michael Taylor

    No Paul, we fixed up the error so I removed the comment as well as the response from admin to say it had been fixed.

  11. jim

    Watching Abc’s compass, here we have a 20yr old billed as a “senior fellow” from the IPA (a Liberal party group) together with “a fellow from the institute of international affairs (a liberal party group) both saying the poor are better off than they were 20 yrs ago. pffft when is this rot going to end never I guess, unless we keep showing them up for what they really are, ie.. liberal party stooges.
    To me they look like Fn creeps.

  12. paulwalter

    Ok, Michael. When you have made several million more stuff ups you can be rated as incompetent as I am.

    Ok, The Sparrow article, I saw red. As if enough times has not been spent seperating the concept of hate speech from mere factual observation. You insult someone exclusively or merely cos they are black, that is hate speech, to point out some thing factual, like scabs pilfering others job, eg injuring them, is merely a didactic pointing out of a moral crime. You can physically hate some people yet still not be guilty of hate speech because you point out some thing factual.

  13. paulwalter

    I think the IPA is a paedophile’s dream location.

  14. jim

    Never ever have we had such a deceptive, untrustworthy, morally bankrupt, corrupt government in our history. We actually now EXPECT them to lie. I actually don’t think they can tell the difference anymore. They take NO ownership for their stuff ups. Everything is always someone else’s fault. Blame Labor. Blame unions. Blame UNESCO. Blame other countries. Blame anyone but The Liberal Party of Australia.

    They’ve had 3 years to fix the so called budget emergency but no; they increased debt, increased our deficit and cut the essentials out of essential services. They have lowered the respect people had for us in other countries. They have set us back financially, humanely, environmentally and morally. They have divided us and pitted us against each other. We are all as paranoid as can be and trust no one. They use Murdoch’s media to whip up scare campaigns and spread malicious gossip. They use two bit grumpy old talk back hosts to justify their diabolical screw ups.

    They rob the poor to pay off the rich. The divide between the battler and the billionaire has never been greater. They have the audacity to tell us all that the age of entitlement is over whilst they take it in turns like pigs at the public purse trough. Well that’s it. Enough is enough.

  15. paulwalter

    Jim, thanks for read. That is exactly the IPA agenda that horrifies me and most of your posters at the comments section who grasped the meaning, apart from one Barry Tucker whose stupidity in posts only emphasised the points you and the rest were making.

  16. Kronomex

    The image at the top of the page will never be as creepy or scary as the one of Duncehead doing his his serial killer clown impression.
    Turnbull doesn’t have the balls (well he does, but the choke collar and chain around them…) to stand up to the arseholes in his party and tell them 18c will not be changed and/or watered down.

  17. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    They might be clapping sea lions now but they’ll be shark-bait soon when their bubble bursts. (The imagery is all jumbled, I know, but I couldn’t resist the devastating image awaiting them in a bit over 2 years!)

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