Politics seems to have reached a point where we don’t just have different views depending who we are. We’ve gone beyond Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” where some were arguing that Trump’s inauguration numbers were greater than what was being reported. At least, Conway was trying to argue a consistent set of incorrect information. She wasn’t trying to argue, as has become what I would suggest is Doubled-down Schrodinger’s Cat Position. Schrodinger’s cat, you may remember, was a physics thought experiment where a cat could be considered both alive and dead until one opened the box. Politician and opinion writers seem to arguing that the cat is both alive and dead AND they’ve opened the box to have a look but we can’t see because it invades the cat’s privacy/the cat is commercial-in-confidence/the cat is wrapped in a Cabinet paper/viewing the cat would sap consumer confidence.
I mean, is it just me but does anyone else find it strange that the Commonwealth can approach the robodebt court case announcing that they don’t have a duty of care while rolling out the Indue card. Of course if you’re a critic of the card, you can argue that it not only humiliates the holder but also makes their lives infinitely more complicated. However, the government’s argument is that they’re doing it to help the poor souls manage because if they don’t have to get approval to spend their money then they might waste it on things like drugs, alcohol, second-hand goods or rent. Yes, the government doesn’t have a duty of care, but it does care enough to check how people spend their money and it’s their duty to ensure it’s spent well.
Just when I thought that was going to win my nomination for Political Schrodinger of the Week, Chris Uhlmann bobs up on Twitter with this: “For all of those who are taking up the memorable catch cry of RFS volunteer Paul Parker. Here is a bit more context from an interview he did with 9News AUS. There is only one politician in Australia he doesn’t think should “get f-ed”. Guess who?”
Yes, he wanted us all to know that Paul Parker was Pauline Hanson supporter.
Reading the response to Uhlmann’s tweet, the general reaction of the loose coalition of left and sensible centre who felt that Parker spoke for the nation when he told the PM where to go – which, if you didn’t hear it, wasn’t Hawaii – was, “Oh well, it’s a free country and while we don’t agree with him on PHON, he’s still a brave firefighter and didn’t deserve sacking just because he swore about the PM.”
It seemed to me that nobody much cared. Nobody was nominating the man for canonisation; nobody was asking him to run the country.
This was not the response that Uhlmann was wanting but, as with the wind farms not being the sole cause of the blackouts in South Australia a few years ago, Chris is not the sort of journalist to let the facts get in the way of his story. Suddenly there appeared an opinion piece from Unhlmann: “In despair, I wondered how politics got so bad – then I looked at Twitter” where he laid the blame of all that was ill with the state of politics at the feet of Twitter where Australia “has shattered into gated communities of the mind; a society Balkanised by its bigotries and harnessed by its hatreds.”
One of his main reasons for this conclusion? The way we all turned on Paul Parker after we discovered his political leanings. Which thanks to Uhlmann were broadcast on Twitter by… Oh, Chris Uhlmann.
According to Uhlmann, “When this nugget hit Twitter, it was like watching a train pull into Central Station as most of the mob got off. In the all or nothing era, St Paul can’t be part of what we hope for, he has to be with us on everything. He can’t be blemished by views that trigger delicate sensibilities.”
See, it’s not journalists who are failing to demand standards from politicians by holding them to account and reminding them of their tendency to hold more positions than the Kama Sutra. It’s Twitter!
I had just finished telling a friend that I thought that Uhlmann had managed to outdo Andrew Bolt and was a surefire candidate for lowlife of the week, when I was reminded that one should never underestimate Bolt’s ability to limbo dance under a snake’s belly.
Most of you probably heard about his little chat with Gerard Henderson where he said that the St Kevin’s coach “hit on the boy” and “no sex occurred”. Notwithstanding the fact that “hitting on” people in the workplace is generally not a good idea, there’s a whole offence called grooming which means that people can be charged even if they haven’t actually “hit on” the underage boy or girl.
Andrew wasn’t finished. He followed up by attacking the ABC for their reporting of his remarks. He was outraged that the pubic broadcaster had suggested that he was trivialising the coach’s behaviour and that they had falsely reported that he’d said that “only hit on” when what he’d said was that the coach “hit on the boy and no sex occurred”
Mm, don’t know about you but I infer a suggestion of “only” from that sentence.
Earlier this week I thought Scott Morrison’s anger about GM closing down Holden was sure to be the Political Schrodinger of the week. After all, Joe Hockey practically ran the car industry out of the country and we stopped subsidies in the first year of the Abbott government, but hey, it was the company that let Holden “wither away on their watch”. Yes, that’s right – Scottie didn’t try to blame Labor for that one.
Still, it is strange that Morrison should be angry about a commercial decision. For a start, it’s not like Holdens run on coal and secondly, doesn’t his government believe in letting the market decide. And when the market makes decisions like replacing the Holden Caprice Commcars with BMWs, doesn’t that mean that the company should realise the writing is on the wall and that they owe it to their shareholders not to waste money on something that not even the Federal government will buy?
Yes, it was a very even field, but I think the winner has to be Andrew Bolt.
Altogether now, to the tune of “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars”:
Sports rorts, gun clubs, Morrison and leadership,
Pauline, coal mines, climate change and Energy
Indue, Uhlmann, Andrew Bolt and Holden Cars.
Yes, we sound pretty Australian.
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