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Hanson, Howard And The Lack Of Political Perspective!

One wonders why someone who possessed several weapons and chemicals for making bombs as well as instructions on how to make them, wasn’t subject to out anti-terror laws. One also wonders why his sentence of one month’s jail only made page fourteen of “The Herald-Sun”.

Of course, the fact that he was a member of one of our “patriot” groups may have had something to do with it. Strangely, there were no calls for the leaders of the various “patriotic” groups to condemn him and to remind their members that violence needs to be rejected.

That’s the thing about politics. We view exactly the same behaviour completely differently depending on who’s doing it.

I think one of my favourtie moments of irony in the past twenty years was when Pauline Hanson first rose to prominence and John Howard, rather than condemn her, said that it was pleasing that we’d reached a point where all this “political correctness” wasn’t stopping people from speaking their minds.

Which wouldn’t be quite so bad if the Liberals themselves hadn’t disendorsed her as a candidate for doing exactly that. After she wrote a letter to the newspaper suggesting cuts to aboriginal funding and immigration, the Liberals decided that she was no longer their candidate. Unfortunately for them it was too late, she was already on the ballot paper, and she won anyway.

To be fair, they may not have disendorsed her for saying what she thought (ok, an oxymoron in Hanson’s case, I know) – they may have done it because she released their policies prior to the election.

Whatever, the point about the same behaviour attracting different reactions remains. Take the way we’re asked to view business, for example. Businesses, we’re constantly told, provide jobs and these are people who take risks in order to create something and they should be rewarded for it.

Now I don’t have a problem with much of that. Just the suggestion that they’re all doing it to make the world a better place. I think most of them are doing it to make a profit and I don’t begrudge them that. I’m happy to pay the local coffee shop something to put my cheesecake on a plate and my latte in a cup and if he can do that without bringing in 457 workers who sleep on his floor at night and still make enough to drive a nicer car than mine, good on him. I’m happy to allow a company to make me pay exorbitant prices for putting a tick on my footwear, provding they aren’t doing it by exploiting the starving children that were the reason for my mother insisting that I should finish my dinner. (Although even as a child, I couldn’t see how eating more food was going to help those who didn’t have enough!)

But I do have a problem with the idea that you should be rewarded just because you have taken a risk. I mean, it sort of takes the meaning out the word risk for a start. However, that’s what’s started to creep into the way we treat big business. Small business owners, of course, are on their own, except at election time when they’ll get lots of praise and maybe even a tax break if it’s a really close race. Compare the way the world treated Wall Street during the GFC with the way they’ve treated Greece. Both had the potential to cause a flow-on effect, but while Greece was subject to austerity demands and has to pay back the bail-out. Many of the companies that were helped now thumb their noses at the governments and complain about paying too much tax. Yes, I know that some of you will immediately want to remind me that Greece has a social security system that’s far too generous, but remember, I am comparing it to Wall Street and I think you’ll find that they have a pretty good pension scheme too – they just call it “performance bonuses”.

When workers seek more wages, they’re portrayed as greedy. Nobody writes articles telling us how these kindly workers support several million businesses with their generous spending. No, it’s only ever the employers who are doing things out the goodness of their hearts and a love of their fellow man.

And so, when I read accusations about a job network signing vulnerable people up to overpriced training courses costing them thousands of dollars, I couldn’t help think about something I read recently about school principals ensuring that they spend their money ethically and don’t hire members of their family or close friends for work. The implication that if you get your electrician brother, for example, to do the wiring at the school, that’s corrupt. Or at least has the potential to be seen as corrupt. It doesn’t matter if he can give you the best deal, you need to steer clear of things like that.

However, it’s not a problem if you’re a job network provider to steer people into useless training. We don’t need to cancel their government contract. t’s not a problem if you’re a financial adviser to advise people to choose a product based on your bonus, rather than their return. We don’t need extra laws requiring disclosure or to ensure that the person you’re paying to give you advice is acting in your interests and not their own. These things are just part of the “risk” of private industry which people should be rewarded for.

Of course, I’ve always thought that the risk should be borne by the business, not by the consumer.

 

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9 comments

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  1. Matthew Oborne

    They cant really can they?
    The maniac from Norway loved our conservative politicians, as do neo nazis that adored Tony Abbott, we all know how attractive far right politics has been to people like that.

    Reclaim even had a Liberal MP speak at one of their rallies, just as the Liberal Party turns a blind eye to Cory Bernardi getting international speakers renown for their racist attitudes.

    The Liberal Party want to appeal to the extreme right they just dont want us to figure it out.

  2. Möbius Ecko

    More highlighting of the contradictions that is the Liberal Party. Instead of being called a Conservative party they should be labelled a Contradiction party. Even their name, Liberal, is a contradiction as to what they stand for and espouse.

    The news snippets I saw on Nine, Seven and the ABC this morning all seemed to show the police attacking the anti-racists protesters and not the hooded, balaclava, and bandanna wearing anti-Islam protesters. The same as occurred the last time these two groups confronted each other.

    The media was also very deliberate and careful to mention that the number of protesters on both sides was low and about equal. Again this was not the case the last time when anti-racist protesters vastly outnumbered the racists, yet the media not only didn’t highlight that they went out of their way to make it appear as though the racist numbers were larger than they were and the anti-racist group was smaller than it was.

  3. Shogan

    The numbers at the reclaim marches are definitely decreasing & really, I think ignoring them is the best way to deal with them…confrontation at their marches always makes the news & gives them the coverage they so desire.

  4. Sen Nearly Ile

    The ‘lifters’ and the risk takers are covered by the political ‘caveat emptor’ and the shame of labor is their silence on ‘ job network provider to steer people into useless training..’ at an enormous cost of vet-fee debt, up to $96000 on a signature, leaving the conned ’emptors'(not the top 100000 degree level clever people) to watch their debt increase at compound interest. Remember the ‘provider’ includes the universities.
    ps Rossleigh.
    “aboriginal funding and immigration, the Liberals…” It is sad that you consider that Australian Aborigines do not deserve the respect of a capital letter whilst acknowledging importance of the libs who are shown, by your excellent words, not to deserve such respect.
    Perhaps you know about the ainu(sic) of Japan or the maori of New Zealand perhaps you have heard of the celts of the British Isles or the saami of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Siberia?

  5. Sen Nearly Ile

    I have just someone of the wireless give the fact that funeral insurance sales people have signed clients 50% of whom are under 20 and many are under 15. (remember the old ‘britannica’ days?)
    Vet providers are even more persuasive so it is impossible for most ’emptors’ to ‘caveat’ against such persuasive power driven by access to billions of government money. Such access has historically been rorted to excess and the ’emptors’ are easy prey (7/11, fruit pickers, backpackers).
    I have long been amazed that labor has not highlighted pynenut’s vet fee help(the adverts began Jan 2014) and perhaps looked at Singapore where the unemployed and low paid have a GIFT of $800 to spend on education. Labor accepts these ’emptors’ can access LOANS of $96000.

  6. Colin

    Rossleigh:

    “One wonders why someone who possessed several weapons and chemicals for making bombs as well as instructions on how to make them, wasn’t subject to out anti-terror laws. One also wonders why his sentence of one month’s jail only made page fourteen of “The Herald-Sun”.

    I missed that story, not having the privilege of living in Melbourne nor having any desire to read the Herald-Sun (and certainly not to page 14), does anyone have a link to it?

  7. Colin

    Thanks, Ian

  8. Brian Branch

    Quote : “But I do have a problem with the idea that you should be rewarded just because you have taken a risk.”

    Sorry, but shouldn’t risk come with potential reward, otherwise why bother? Why not just sit at home and let the world go by? I wonder, would we have gotten out of the caves if there was no potential reward? Electricity? Vehicles? Any technology?

    You’re wrong. The potential reward for taking a risk should never be denied. Otherwise, why bother?

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