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It isn’t the only question that matters, Mr Abbott

“Again I keep making the point the only question that matters is, is this government prepared to do what is necessary to keep the boats stopped, the answer is yes”. Prime Minister Tony Abbott when asked about alleged payments to people smugglers by the Australian government.

There is never only one question that matters. When the leader of the country reveals this conviction as his bottom line, you know he has abandoned the basic the principles of liberal democracy.

Abbott has now publicly confirmed that in his world view the end absolutely justifies the means. If you believe he will only apply this conviction in order to “stop the boats” you’re dreaming.

What it sounds like to me is that Abbott is constructing rationalisations, minimisations and justifications for misappropriating taxpayers’ money in order to engage in the illegal act of bribing people traffickers to find a destination other than Australia, in preparation for these allegations being confirmed.

The levels on which this is corrupt, degenerate, and potentially lethal to human life are myriad, but Abbott hopes to reframe these acts of bastardry as the necessary means to the noble end of keeping Australia safe.

If it is Abbott’s creed that the means justifies then end, he is without doubt crazed. It’s a belief that can be, has been and will continue to be used to justify every kind of violence, genocide, repression, oppression and suppression, and those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

There is, in the Australian abhorrence for waterborne asylum seekers as represented by both ALP and LNP governments, more than a tinge of racism. The vicious punishments meted out to them, such as indefinite detention in off-shore hell holes, demonstrate a disregard for humanity other than our own that is but a few steps away on the continuum of contempt from murdering them.

Let’s not forget that Abbott once memorably and bizarrely observed that Jesus didn’t intend everyone to come to Australia, so not only do we have the means to an end conviction in Abbott, we have the religious fanatic’s belief that he knows what God wants and is carrying out his wishes.

“The only question that matters” is a phrase favoured by those who have something to hide. It’s an avoidance phrase, and it’s a phrase intended not to inform but to obfuscate. It’s up there along with “the details don’t matter.” As soon as someone tells you the details don’t matter you know those details are central, and someone desperately doesn’t want them revealed.

It is not for a politician to determine the “only question that matters,” at least not in a western democracy. That’s the language of dictatorship. If Abbott is using taxpayers money to pay off people smugglers that’s a question that damn well matters. Apart from that, nobody thinking straight wants to be at the mercy of a government that is so flagrantly prepared to use human beings as an end to their own means.

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.


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  1. Darren

    It is “The end justifies the means”, not “The means justfies the (or then) end”

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    More likely constructing rationalisation, in order to take powers on a dictator. QandA worth catching up on. productive debate for once.

    Stopping the boats has nothing to do with security or national intelligence,

    The executive do not have the luxury of answering questions from the voters.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    Undermining of our parliament and democracy doesn’t offer any protection to it’s citizenships. Once again we only hear about poll on the ABC where they are negative about Shorten. Yes, News Poll got a mention.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott is saying, that we can only be safe if we suspend the rule of law, separation of powers assumption of innocence and all we have benefitted from under the Magna Carta.

    Added to that, all government much operate in secrecy. All PS and NGO must be gagged.

    I, for one, find that too high price to pay.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Darren. Fixed. 😳

  6. Steve Laing

    Yep. Dolores performance last night confirmed it. They are using “terrorism” as the threat to further erode our rights. It now wouldn’t surprise me if they decided to suspend elections “for security reasons”. Imagine the brouhaha if Labor had taken this course of action. But from Murdoch, hardly a murmur.

    I was glad that Bret Walker was emphatic that he did not believe that the cabinet, nor a minister, should have the right to remove someones citizenship without first a conviction of guilt, based on evidence, in a court, despite Dolores (and clearly the rest of the rightest wing of the cabinet) assuming that he had approved that. She looked quite put out.

  7. Penelope Gerbode

    I am an American married to an Australian in Melbourne. I watched Q&A last night. Bret and Gillian should be running this country. I am horrified at Abbott’s misuse and abuse of his office and the citizens of this country.

  8. kerri

    Thank you for these excellent observations Jennifer Wilson! I have been saying all week that the lie of preventing deaths at sea needs to be debunked out loud again and again! All of this asylum seeker nonsense has absolutely nothing to do with deaths at sea and everything to do with keeping coloured people away from our precious nation. Malcom Fraser was absolutely right in every respect when referring to Abbott’s fanatical racism. Abbott will stop at nothing to prevent others from enjoying a peaceful and prosperous happy life and that includes most Australians!

    LOL Steve Laing! Took me a minute to work out who Dolores is!

  9. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    Great Article thanks. Abbott is using Religion to suit Self . How can you call yourself a Christian or Catholic, if you are only interested in Self? Where are his Pricipals of God or Life. Help those who need Help. Be Honest and Respectful to those that are less fortunate.

    Not use our Taxes and Earth etc to Help those who can further your Pockets and Power…

  10. diannaart

    If it talks like a fascist, acts like a fascist – Godwin’s Law does not apply.

    This man would “do anything except sell his arse”, this man admits “ends justify means”, this man has stated he cannot always be believed.

    My father always told me that what’s wrong with lying is that it’s an admission of weakness. If you’re the strongest, you can afford to tell the truth.

    K. J. PARKER, Evil for Evil

    We have been warned. Tones has even warned us himself… so that we only have ourselves to blame if he is returned to power. The relationship between the PM and Australia has parallels to that of a domestic violence situation and we are the hapless victims.

  11. Steve Laing

    Kerri – sadly, all the asylum seeker nonsense has actually got little to do with keeping coloured people away from our precious nation either. We have plenty of brown people that get in through the front door, and many Libs actually have no problem at all with them.

    It is sadly all to do with garnering votes from xenophobes. Its all about votes. Once Howard realised that he was onto a winner, it has been used by the LNP as a wedge policy to differentiate them from Labor. It is one reason why the Libs (particularly Abbott) went so hard to discredit One Nation – because they were tapping into that xenophobic electorate, which the Libs need to stay in control. Its solely about power, about votes. Which makes the cruelty in those centres even more dreadful. If you looked at it entirely from an economic perspective, the amount of time, money, newspaper column space, and shock jock opinion that is devoted to this policy, you can see that it is entirely out of proportion to the size of the issue.

    Glad you worked out the Dolores reference 😉

  12. crypt0

    Indeed … How can you call yourself a Christian or Catholic … if you are a member of a congregation that allows these pseudo “christians” of this government to trade on the good name of Christianity and not call them out ?
    We expect Muslims to expose/inform upon any in their number they suspect may be up to no good. I have yet to hear the churches attended by these “christians” in the govt., many on the front bench, call them to account for their decidedly unchristian acts and utterances, which occur on a daily basis.
    I’m waiting … but not holding my breath.

  13. Loz

    You are so so right Jennifer Wilson. It is frightening to think of the awful consequences to Australia and its people if this government won the next election.

  14. Win jeavons

    Was not the mantra ‘ the end justifies the means ‘ the belief of the Inquisition, and of cruel and inhumane governments everywhere ? This is still used to justify torture and many other forms of abuse of humans, animals and the natural world ? I don’t think Jesus would have wanted Tony to rule Australia, either . This jumped 10 pound Pom has NO idea of democracy Which relies on openness and honest dealing .

  15. Kaye Lee

    And in yet another disappointing response, after the Prime Minister and senior ministers refused to confirm or deny the reports citing national security, Mr Shorten has used the same response when asked if Labor had authorised payments to people smugglers during the Rudd/Gillard years.

    “You know it doesn’t matter what party the politician is from, when it comes to security matters, we simply don’t comment,” Mr Shorten said.

    I’m sorry Mr Shorten. You have just confirmed to me what a spineless ambitious hypocrite you are.

  16. Michael Taylor

    Yep, he blew it. Too afraid of being wedged.

  17. Kaye Lee

    He is a little man with little ideas dressed up in a preacher’s voice. I am done with the Labor Party whilst he is at the helm. Is there no-one with integrity left?

  18. Michael Taylor

    Both the PM and the LOTO are out of their league.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Sadly I agree.

  20. Roswell

    And sadly I agree too.

  21. stephentardrew

    My opinion of Shorten as a Labor representative could not get much lower but like all who compromise their soul for power he has succeeded. I can’t wait to see the back of him.

  22. Garth

    I have reluctantly and sadly come to the conclusion that I cannot vote Labor whilst shorten is at the helm. Put in albanese or plibersek (possibly even Burke) and I’ll start listening again, but Bill has biown it. He’s a dud!!

  23. crypt0

    Sadly I also agree.

  24. Garth

    Off topic, but what the hell is going on with Leigh sales on 7-30?! Sometimes she performs good interviews but tonight she’s interviewing Morrison and might as well have given him a cuddle to finish the questions. Very disappointing!

  25. stephentardrew

    What’s that story about the boy that cried wolf. Enough.

  26. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Why did you apologise to Mr Shorten?

    Julie Bishop, slightly edited and altered to be an accurate public address regarding general current political conduct;

    “I would be very careful to rule in anything or rule out anything under this watch.
    We don’t rely on legal or ethical advice on ruling in or ruling out security and intelligence matters.
    The ducking and weaving just shows the double standards, the hypocrisy and the confected outrage.
    You’re being set up.”

  27. Harquebus

    “I am done with the Labor Party”
    On this one Kaye Lee, I agree with you.

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