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Has anything changed? Not judging by the comments.

While many Australians, and no doubt the rest of the world, are still breathing a collective sigh of relief at the deposal of Tony Abbott, his supporters are still smarting and licking their wounds. Abbott himself is still pretending to not wreck, not snipe and not undermine, by telling his supporters he could still have won the election, while those within Abbott’s camp have conveniently forgotten Abbott’s own overthrow of Turnbull not even a decade ago, albeit as leader of the opposition.

Malcolm Turnbull is by far more popular than Abbott. A jump in the polls after Turnbull ascended to the top is a pretty clear indication that Abbott as leader was the problem. Even a commitment to retain the most odious of Abbott’s policies has not dampened Turnbull’s popularity. Likewise, Andrew Hastie’s easy win in the Canning by-election after the coup was a good indication that the Coalition’s policies were not the problem for most people – the problem was Abbott.

Despite Turnbull now giving the Coalition a fighting, and likely, chance of winning the next election, Abbott’s supporters are still coming out hard. With the Liberal party effectively split in two for loyalty, diehard Lib fans continue to fiercely support Abbott’s legacy. As a result, they are reminding Australian’s of what the Coalition stands for, regardless of leader. Consequently, Australian’s cannot forget that the same party is in charge and nothing has really changed.

On Saturday, 3 October 2015, Malcolm Turnbull (or his staff) posted a rather innocuous photo and caption on his Facebook page, to which I replied. Some of the responses to my light-hearted comment serve as a reminder of the sheer ignorance and wilful deceit of the Coalition rhetoric and propaganda.

Turnbull’s initial Facebook post which prompted my comment was not remarkable. It was rather normal and not the slightest bit inflammatory. It hardly gave the impression of aiming to boost Turnbull’s standings in the polls, nor indicated a desperate attempt to show Turnbull leading the nation as a humble servant.

The post showed a photo of Turnbull with actor Chris Hemsworth, with the following words:

“Good to meet Chris Hemsworth today – talked about the contribution of the creative sector to our economy. But a bit weird he insisted on me calling him Thor“.

My comment, intended as a light-hearted comparison to what we had come to expect was:

“I can just imagine Tony Abbott’s caption to this photo, ‘Good to meet Chris Hemsworth today – talked about the contribution of the creative sector to our economy. He told me I could be a god just like him because of my superpowers stopping the boats’.”

This sparked an immediate tirade of misinformation, absurd assertions and a litany of personal abuse. Clearly critical thought and fact checking are not considered necessary for the diehard Liberal supporters.

The obvious response, and one of the most perpetuated lies of the Federal Government was that Abbott did indeed stop the boats.

“He did stop the boats as promised.

Granted, he stopped any boats landing on Australian shores, but he did not stop the boats. The Commonwealth has openly admitted that 20 boats were prevented from landing on Australian territory up until August 2015, and the Government has never refuted that it paid people smugglers to turn a boat around. If the boats had actually stopped there would be no need to turn them back.

Abbott cannot even claim credit for the massive reduction in boats leaving Indonesia: the credit belongs to Kevin Rudd II and his hard-line asylum seeker stance just before the 2013 election, where he declared no person arriving by boat would ever be resettled in Australia.

One response on the post demonstrated complete ignorance of Coalition policy and spending, saying:

“So you would rather pay for illegals than pay for what Australians need like bigger pensions better child care education etc etc. fix our own because no one else will, would or could!”

Ignoring the fact that it is not illegal to seek asylum, the Federal Government currently spends $1 billion a year on offshore detention. It also intends to cut pensions. Extra childcare funding is reliant on cutting family payments, leaving thousands of families worse off. New Treasurer, Scott Morrison has also announced that the Coalition is pushing for privatisation of health and education. It seems pretty obvious that the Government has a very clear intention to spend billions on arbitrary detention, and as little as possible on the Australian family.

Another poster astutely remarked:

“Eva is so far from the left she could probably fall over, let me guess your against offshore detention you probably believe in global warming. … I bet Eva is also against Christianity and private education.”

This disturbingly amusing ‘insult’ is a perfect example of the ignorance of the typical Coalition supporter. Apart from the billions of tax dollars currently used to arbitrarily detain asylum seekers and refugees, including young babies, it is laughable that someone would attempt to use the situation to cast aspersions on my character given the offshore detention regime supports rape, sexual assault, and physical abuse. A growing list of people are calling for the detention centres to be closed, on top of a Senate Committee inquiry recommending that children and families be immediately removed from Nauru.

Global warming, or climate change, is a pet hate of the Abbott supporter. With 97% of scientists agreeing that climate change is a serious issue, Australia has been criticised by a UN climate expert for its abysmally low greenhouse gas emissions targets. Despite Turnbull’s previous stance and criticism on the Coalition’s environmental policy, he has indicated an intention to retain Abbott’s laughable Direct Action. No doubt the Coalition supporters found Dutton’s recent shamefully embarrassing climate change ‘joke’ hilarious too.

It’s possible the curious comment on my alleged anti-Christian sentiment comes from the commenter’s observation of a satirical anti-radicalisation meme on my Facebook page: ‘Case Study: Jesus of Nazareth’. The meme describes Jesus as a ‘radical’ who left his loving family, was tempted by Satan, attempted to recruit followers, went against the Romans and the priests, and was ultimately hanged with thieves. Clearly the irony of this meme would be lost on most Coalition supporters, who would consider Karen, the alternative music loving, political activist, and environmentalist a genuine threat to their conservative, capitalist ideals.

Despite the overwhelming majority support of the Coalition and conservative politics within the mainstream media, Australians now source most of their news online, with a recent survey finding that 59% of people access news on their smartphones and 48% relying on Facebook. While there is no real evidence that the mainstream media in general has anything more than a ‘muted’ influence over an actual election outcome, the use of social media to access the news provides a new opportunity for all political stances and ideologies to share facts, lies, and opinions, whether informed or not.

A recent Nielson report found that approximately 13 million Australians (over 50% of the population) are active users of Facebook every month. The information also shows that on average, 60% of those that discover new information on Facebook will go on to learn more. Equal numbers of people reportedly use YouTube, with around a quarter of the population using WordPress.com and approximately 11% using Twitter.

With the rise of the use of social media, and the use of the same by the ill-informed, it is crucial that Australians who care about human rights, who believe in equality, and who deplore the dehumanisation of anyone other than white, middle-class, privileged Coalition party members and their friends, continue to speak out and demand accountability.

Turnbull’s new leadership will bring with it some changes, but not enough if Australia is to reach the standard expected of a Western democracy in the 21st Century. Abbott returned Australia to the 1950’s with his personal ideology, and medieval times in more than one policy. However, as Abbott so kindly pointed out, “Border protection policy the same, national security policy the same, economic policy the same, even same-sex marriage policy the same, and climate change policy the same. In fact, the rhetoric is the same…” under a Turnbull leadership.

Turnbull may be popular, but the Coalition remains the same.

 

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18 comments

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  1. RosemaryJ36

    When will the Australian voters realise that voting for a government is not a popularity competition.
    It is the policies which most matter and then the people who can guarantee to deliver them.
    And we do not ‘choose’ the Prime Minister. In general we get whoever leads the majority party – except when the party itself decides to change its leader!
    So the most important thing is actually the ability of the party members to choose an effective leader who can then lead a government which sticks to its promises!

  2. Michael Taylor

    I wish he’d do something about the slow internet in this country.

  3. evacripps

    @Michael – he made sure that wasn’t going to happen any time soon!

    @Rosemary – It astounds me how many people think we have presidential style politics in Australia. Even Abbott himself said that the ‘PM is elected’ back in February when the first leadership coup was mooted. Unfortunately the Abbott supporters, eg, all the far right Liberal voters believe every word he says. Given most of the policies are populist, and certainly as far as the Libs go, not based on evidence, it’s little wonder the leadership is populist too.

  4. mars08

    I have finally accepted… without reservation… that the problem in this country is NOT our lazy, immoral, dishonest, oppotunist politicians. It’s the ignorant, distracted, self-absorbed, stupid, bigoted, frightened, chauvinist voters who keep voting for them.

  5. Don Wreford

    Abbott to think he could become reelected is so deluded that he would become a liability and danger to Australian society already the attacks by Islamic individuals within Australia shows how Abbott did not heed warnings about bad decision making has created a dangerous situation here, the casualties of citizens who have been killed such as the cafe Lindt saga a outcome of what Abbott is responsible for, also added to this bad decision making of police who are complicit in the death of two citizens, having gone under the guise of a spectacular show for media attention.
    Turnbull whom is responsible for a hotchpotch of a second rate wiring system for IT, for political reasons of gazumping and over riding Labors plan, a Telstra engineer told me it was not the way to go, I believe him before what to my mind politicians are no longer to be trusted, Turnbull is better than Abbott but no statesman is on the horizon as a possibility, Australia remains a second class first world country it just has a inferiority deep rooted problem although Britain is just as bad and America? why bother?

  6. randalstella

    Eva,
    The interesting thing is that half the policies that you were ‘accused’ of in the second response to you on Turnbull’s Facebook site would have been Turnbull’s – if he were not ‘leader’ of the knuckledraggers. There has to be pressure put on him to own up to what he believes.
    Thus, where interaction with Abbott was useless, Mal likes to have a say and seem sociable. He might put his foot in it sooner or later, if people with progressive ideas can keep him in dialogue long enough, often enough.
    Of course he is already being careful about that. But how long can he keep it up?

  7. mars08

    But everything will be fine. Don’t worry about it…. because footie!!!!

  8. David

    @Eva…your ” Turnbull now giving the Coalition a fighting, and likely, chance of winning the next election” is one of the better contradictions I have read for a good while as you followup immediately with, “Abbott’s supporters are still coming out hard. With the Liberal party effectively split in two for loyalty, diehard Lib fans continue to fiercely support Abbott’s legacy. As a result, they are reminding Australian’s of what the Coalition stands for, regardless of leader. Consequently, Australian’s cannot forget that the same party is in charge and nothing has really changed.”

    My dad used to call it ‘having a bob each way’. Needless to say I do not share your proposition of Turnbull ‘giving the Coalition a fighting, and likely, chance of winning the next election’.
    Coalitions honeymoon polling first 2 weeks give them a 2PP led of 2% despite the snake oil salesman’s huge popularity as PM. Hardly grounds to call it for the Govt even as a maybe.

    As we so often discuss here on AIM, General Elections do not elect Govts on the popularity or otherwise of their leader. Abbott 2010 2013 is twice testimony to that.

    To conclude but noteworthy…even Popes are set up by their own as is now being revealed with the not so private audience with the nobody but lied to try to be a somebody Kim Davis, in Washington. That lie was perpetrated by one of Francis’ Priests.
    Beware Turnbull, as is written in the Abbott book of revenge…’you aint seen nothing yet’

  9. keerti

    Mars08, not only is it that the xxxx voters vote for them. It is that the polititians are the direct product of the voters. Abbott is a true representation of the nature of a large proportion of the australian population..

  10. John Fraser

    I’m watching some movie on tv with tom cruise & cameron diaz and they are speaking Russian.

    It’s like watching abbott & j. bishop …. no plan, no plot and I have no idea WTF they are talking about.

    Hows that Australian Foreign policy of dropping bombs going ?

    Isn’t it amazing how we followed the U.S. down that path and have now been joined by the Ruskies.

    Amazing piece of Foreign policy from j. bishop …. her boyfriend must have been in some sort of orgasmic bliss sitting beside her in the U.N.

  11. mars08

    @keerti…. exactly!

    Abbott was elected! First as opposition leader… because he he was effective at reaching certain types of voters…. and then as PM, because he told them what they WANTED to hear.

    Even though many wish it was not so, Abbott is a product of 21st century Australia.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    “…her boyfriend must have been in some sort of orgasmic bliss sitting beside her in the U.N.”

    http://tinyurl.com/pvs8jn3

  13. mars08

    Ah… No, M. E. Too far! Just no, no and NO!!!! There shall be NO chat of “orgasmic” anything where crazy-eyes is concerned. People might be eating!

  14. randalstella

    David,
    para 1: There is no contradiction. Eva Cripps did not write that Turnbull would win, just that he had a better chance than Abbott.
    I would question what Australians might be assumed to be paying attention to, but that does not make it contradictory. She is being hopeful. She is being hopeful about Australians bothering to notice the inconsistency between the boost Turnbull brought and the Abbott policies he has seemingly agreed to hold onto. That is the point of her piece.

    para 2: Fascinating. So, that’s where the expression came from.
    Next, if for some reason it’s needless to say in your opinion, why then say it?
    Needless to say I won’t say what my Dad would say.

    para 3: Hawke and Rudd might disagree. Parties tend to change very unpopular leaders, to avoid testing the limits of that mighty theory.

    para 4: This is you being hopeful. It does not raise my hopes, I feel a need to say.

  15. diannaart

    If the ‘personal’ is political… can’t help being reminded of my ex-husband when I finally escaped, he didn’t believe he’d been dumped either – in fact there were many occasions when Abbott reminded me of my abusive ex – hardly a positive for Abbott.

    He (my ex) started to send me flowers at work (something he had never done in our entire 8 year relationship) and progressed to constant phone calls, stalking my mother and much, much more – which is in the territory of my PTSD – and will not be disclosed here.

    Well, let Abbott, try, like my ex, he simply doesn’t have the qualities as a human being to conduct himself with dignity and grace, he will become his own worst enemy, to his party as well as himself. Turnbull will finally complete his knowledge of who is and who is not a rusted-on-right-wing-neo-con – a wonderful opportunity to learn.

    Abbott is gone, his rejection is but a part of trend across the western world where the light of reason is turned on the ineptitude of neo-capitalism.

  16. David

    @eva..I am a great fan for the old sayings. So …you are entitled to your opinion, me to mine. Have a nice day 🙂

  17. stephentardrew

    Michael you mean that ancient coppery thing that is so last century. Brilliant rich business man and Prime Minister leaves Australia with an NBN lemon after claiming great success in saving us from Labors excellent NBN network.

    This alone should be enough to sink this incompetent corporate oligarch. But no it was all Julia’s fault.

    Good lord Australia wake up before you drown in a low wage over worked swamp.

  18. randalstella

    What has happened to the 4 Corners programme on Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler?

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