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Just what is this ‘Team Australia’?

Once again, it seems, the Liberal party spin doctors are trying to cloud our minds and muddy the waters with yet another two or three word slogan. This time it is ‘Team Australia’.

As if we were not already dumbed down enough with the pathetic, ‘stop the boats’ and ‘axe the tax’ not to mention, ‘fix the budget’, here we are, once more, being ask to leave our basic intelligence and our common sense at the front door and enter this extraordinary world of the mystical, unquestioned, not to be doubted, dumb-arse quotes of the day.

This time it is ‘Team Australia’. Yet another lame-brain, mean nothing, distraction placed along our pathway for a compliant media to pick up and run with. It is done so that we will forget the incompetence thus far displayed, as well as the more pressing and relevant issues before us and expend our energy by ramping up intolerance, ignorance and sectarian fear mongering, something we have shown ourselves to be so good at and which can, so effectively, divide us.

So, before we become so overwhelmed with the IDEA of what ‘Team Australia’ is, perhaps we should all take a deep breath, step back and place this rather obsequious slogan under the microscope.

starts Trawling through the news feed on Facebook this morning I came across the, ‘Starts at Sixty’ page and an article headed, ‘Do You Agree With Tony Abbott on This One?’ The article then goes on to describe one woman’s experience living in a Middle Eastern country for an undisclosed period of time. This is part of what this otherwise unidentified woman wrote:

“While I was living there, everything I did and said had to be done their way. I had to dress like they did, I wasn’t allowed to swim at the beaches or lakes, I wasn’t allowed to speak or make eye contact unless it was culturally appropriate to do so. Safe to say, living there was incredibly different from what it is while I was in Australia. And, I was OK with that. I was in their country, so I was happy to live as they did.”

I am not going to suggest that this was a deliberate plant by ‘Team Liberal’ although it certainly smells like it. But, one only has to read the comments that the article has generated to see that it has had the desired effect. The responses are predominantly a cross section of the crass sectarian, if not racial, intolerance our nation experienced back in 2001 when John Howard so cleverly manipulated the Australian psyche with Tampa.

So far, there have been several hundred comments on the Facebook page. The majority of those I have read seem to be under the impression that if one lives in a Middle Eastern country and must conform to their way of life, then that means those who come to this country must therefore necessarily conform to ours. What the respondents are therefore saying is that WE are no better than THEM.

While thankfully, there are a handful of respondents who have posted rational counter arguments and warn of the danger implied in Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’, such a chant has the possibility of going viral and igniting yet another hate campaign that ends up dividing the country on a spurious issue that masks the more disgraceful things that the present government is doing and wants to do.

muslim We have always celebrated diversity. We have always encouraged multiculturalism. What is it that we fear? More importantly, who is driving this anti-Middle Eastern rhetoric? What did Tony Abbott mean when he said, “You don’t migrate to this country unless you want to join Team Australia.” What is ‘Team Australia”?

The unidentified author of the article wrote, “When I was over there, I lived as they did, but when they live here, if we ask them to adopt our practices or do their best to integrate into our lifestyle, we are deemed as being racist.”

What utter rubbish.

What practices do we ask them to adopt here? What lifestyle is the author referring to? Do we expect that they change their diet and eat our food? Should they all renounce Islam and become Christian or Atheist? Should they all forget their language and speak only English? What is it precisely that we should expect of them?

I cannot help but feel that there are elements out there, mostly on the highly conservative side of politics that have begun another round of fear mongering that manifests itself in demonising anyone who is different. This convinces me that a dark undercurrent of intolerance and bigotry within our country has been targeted and that the process of appealing to the lowest common denominator in humanity has begun and is on the rise once again. It goes by many names, easily recognised for its nationalistic spirit, like ‘Team Australia’.

Tony Abbott - going from one blunder to the next (image from theage.com.au)

(image from theage.com.au)

It worked for John Howard and one can be certain that if we are not careful, it can work again. We can stop it by demanding to know just what such catch-calls like, ‘Team Australia’ actually mean and what are its objectives.

 

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33 comments

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  1. Graeme Henchel

    We’re team Australia
    We’ll never fail ya
    Nothing we say is true
    We’re team Australia
    We’ll never fail ya
    excepting when we do
    We’re team Australia
    We’ll never fail ya
    We sucked you in real bad
    We’re team Australia
    We’ll never fail ya
    We’re all stark raving mad

  2. Graeme Henchel

    Team Australia is doomed to failure
    With Abbott’s loony bench
    The meta outcome of their work
    Is one enormous stench
    These coalition con men simply have no clue
    As they move from farce to pantomime
    And deeper in the poo.
    The latest patriotic ploy is cast in desperation
    They need a huge distraction from their sinking situation
    too bad they don’t quite understand that internetty thingy
    They’re quickly heading up shit creek in a barb wire dinghy
    Malcolm, the neglected one, might try to save their arse
    But he can’t change the plot of this coalition farce.

  3. Graeme Henchel

    Team Captains song with thanks to Monty Python

    I never wanted to be a priest in the first place!
    I… I wanted to be…

    A Lying Prick!

    (piano vamp)

    Leaping from fib to fabrication! As lies float around inside my brain
    With my bunch of loonies by my side!
    Blowhard Brandis
    Porky Pyne
    Smokin Joe
    The dog whistler and
    That idiot Abetz!
    We’d sing! Sing! Sing!

    Oh, I’m a Lying Prick, and I’m okay,
    I lie all night and I lie all day.

    CHORUS: He’s a Lying Prick and he’s okay,
    He lies all night and he lies all day.

    I wear green vests and white hard hats,
    And visit factories
    I tell some lies so whopping
    I love mendacity

    Sycophants: He wears green vests, and white hard hats
    And visits factories
    He tells some lies so whopping
    He loves mendacity

    CHORUS

    I umm and arh, repeat myself
    I like to speak in slogans
    I ponce around in Lycra
    impressing stupid bogans

    Sycophants : He umms and arrs, repeats himself
    He likes to speak in slogans
    He ponces round in lyrcra
    impressing stupid bogans

    CHORUS

    I tell more lies, I sound real tough
    I wear my light blue tie
    I’d like to be like Johnie
    Cos he could really lie

    Sycophants: He tells more lies, he sounds real tough
    he wears his light blue tie
    He’d like to be like Johnie
    Cos he could really lie

    CHORUS

    All: He’s a Lying Prick and he’s okaaaaaaayyy…..

  4. Lee

    Poor LNP voters are struggling to understand Tony’s three word bogan slogans so now they have been dumbed down even further to two words.

    Why is Tony upset about being called the Captain of Team Australia by the Muslim community? Is it because they fail to acknowledge Peta Cretin?

  5. trevor

    Thank you Graeme Henchel.

    Better be careful there son or team Orstaya will come calling with a offer you can’t refuse to write some verses for the team song.

    Team Orstaya and cap’tn Abbott

    F*ck knuckle and his band of right wingers.

    Who plays Left wing? or is that position devolved to a yet to be specified financial settlement.

    Can’t find any humour in Abbott and his Rabble and their plans, lack of plans.

    Abbott Rabble: Can’t Govern, Can’t Count, Can’t stop Lying.

  6. mars08

    QUOTE:
    “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security…

    You are either with us or against us! If you want to be with us… just shut up, trust us and don’t complain!!! The Coalition government was born to rule and knows what is best for you!!! That’s all.

  7. Lyle Upson.

    i ask only that someone shows the loyalty scene from the movie to the Abbott, then this lame slogan will be instantly gone

    … if not, Team Neanderthal will have a chimpanzee for a mascot and the logo will be an Australopithecine wearing red undies with a racing stripe

  8. mars08

    Just what is this ‘Team Australia’?

    An exact definition isn’t important! If you are in Team Australia (First Grade)… you just instinctively know it.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has raised questions about Tony Abbott’s term “Team Australia” and warned that the “tone” of leadership matters.

    “If ‘Team Australia’ is simply shorthand for an Australian liberal democratic community, for a community of equal citizens, I don’t think any of us would have an issue with it. Signing up to this is already part of the contract of multicultural citizenship. All of us are already signed up. We are all proud to be Australians.

    “But if ‘Team Australia’ is meant to suggest something else, we are entitled to ask for an explanation. Manufacturing patriotism can sometimes do more to divide than to unite. Genuine civic pride comes from within; it is not something that others can command us to display.”

    http://theconversation.com/what-does-team-australia-mean-race-discrimination-commissioner-asks-30718

  10. John Fraser

    <

    "Team Australia" says lock up children and it will discourage others from coming to Australia.

    I say lock up "Team Australia" and discourage them from breeding …… contempt, bigotry, racism, war etc etc

  11. Kaye Lee

    Our captain’s sister was on the Drum this evening, acting as cheerleader for locking up children. She and Tony have a lot in common.

  12. Kath Malcom

    TEAM AGAINST TONY

    If you deplore bigots
    If you rally against racism
    If you hate “operations”
    If you fight persecution
    If you stand up against hate
    If you work for compassion
    If you live for love
    If you help your neighbours
    If you accept everyone
    If you have tolerance
    If you love Australia
    If you care for all
    Join Team against Tony
    Oi Oi Oi

  13. John Fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    Thats where I heard my above Comment.

    Crikey are coming out with some zingers on that show.

    "The only paper that Murdoch founded is The Australian and it has never shown a profit".

  14. Jason

    ‘Team Australia’? Well, that would be ‘White Australia’ with a retro 90s corporate feel to it.

    Tony Abbott recently described World War 1 as being for a good cause. It would be useful if he could elaborate on this claim as it would give a fuller explanation of his world-view.

    At the end of WW1 the then prime-minister, Billy Hughes, articulated that the good cause as being: “… we have had great victory, and after victory peace, and after that the salvation of Australia. For all these things the men have fought to win, and they have thought to win the liberty we prize, and the safety of the banner which they fought for – the banner of a White Australia… These boys fought to keep Australia white and clean.”

    Abbott is an imperialist with retrogressive views. He buys into the knights and dames, the banners and the flags, that goes with an elitist, anti-democratic world-view.

    What is worrying at the moment is the deliberate effort being undertaken by the imbecile Abbott and the rancid Murdoch media to stir up trouble. Australia’s top spy, David Irvine has been forced to publicly stress that Australia IS NOT fighting Islam, after the Australian newspaper “misquoted” former army chief Peter Leahy as saying “We’ll fight Islam [for] 100 years.” (The Age, 22/08/2014)

    Australia has been a successful multinational country. This happened due to deliberate investment in social programs with a view to developing community cohesion. We should be thankful for that and strive to strengthen it further. One only has to look at the failures of Britain (due to Neoliberalism) to appreciate if you stop investing in people then radicalism will come home to roost and atrocity will occur.

    The inherent snobbery and divides of British society has made successful integration of multi-cultural communities something of a failure. This is evidenced in the radicalisation of disenfranchised young British Muslim men who are participating in gruesome deeds presently in Iraq / Syria. (A worrying trend emerging in Australia as well).

    It is also worth considering the historic (as perfectly illustrated by this FDOTM cartoon http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/aug/22/first-dog-memorials) and ongoing mistreatment of Aboriginals by ‘White Australia’ and appreciate that there are possibly many within Australia feeling alienated and who could be drawn to violence.

    It’s easy to get the impression that Tony Abbott may actually want something dreadful to happen in Australia. He’d be able to capitalise quite nicely on that. Abbott is certainly out of his depth when it comes to a nuanced conversation about fundamentally difficult things. Hopefully his mouth doesn’t lead us all into an avoidable shit-storm.

    ‘Team Australia’ does have a connection to militarism as well (this is scary!) http://www.defence.gov.au/teamaustralia/Team_Australia.htm

  15. Lesley Ann Porter

    This is really scary stuff there Jason, but I believe that Team Australia would do it themselves but the media would catch them in the act. Do not discount that something will happen here, but if it does it better be an early election…..

  16. stephentardrew

    Thanks for the links Jason.

    First Dog certainly makes the point loud and clear. I could never apologize enough to our indigenous brothers and sisters for the harm we wrought upon their “Nation”. I have no pride in my British Heritage. Let the truth be told. Yeah Aboriginal people just walk of their land with a wink and a nod saying there you are fellas. What absolute rot. What happened to Aboriginal people was a war crime full stop.

  17. John Kelly

    Thanks for the links, Jason.

  18. patsy

    let us all vote to send abbot to Italy with his cruel counterpart pell…….make a good set of book ends !!!!!!!!

  19. lance

    Remember in the new Abbott (Howard 2# series )
    BE ALARMED -BUT NEVER ALERT

  20. lawrencewinder

    Team Australia = Forza Italia? Another rabid Berlosconi of an idea…..

  21. Olivia Manor

    I too, read the anonymous article in “life starts at 60” and was truly appalled by the “us good, them bad” outbursts that were coming out from the comments to the article. It looks like a large number of bigoted elderly people are part of Team Australia, and the racist rant of that terrible older woman on a Sydney bus, is the norm rather than the exception. Interestingly enough, that website while often dealing with trivia, has had a few very pro Liberal policies blogs, and It has crossed my mind that it is part of the Liberal spin machine. The person who started that website, certainly doesn’t look like someone over sixty, if the photo is recent!

  22. Terry2

    TEAM AUSTRALIA : Perhaps this is one team that actually needs some performance enhancing drugs, starting with the Captain : for the rest of us, just don’t drink the Koolade.

    As Tony was saying in Adelaide the other day, the slogans are working well, we’ve ‘stopped the boats’ with Operation Sovereign Borders, we’re ‘bringing them home’ and we’re in the process of fixing ‘Labor’s debt and deficit disaster’ with Operation Budget Repair. and we don’t mention Scottish Nationalism anymore and we’re going to fix Shorten with ‘Operation Innuendo’ which is loosely related to being the suppository of all wisdom, isn’t it ?

    .

  23. John Fraser

    <

    "Team Terry2" ………. looks pretty good to me.

  24. mars08

    Malcolm Fraser is calling the Team Australia stunt… “divisive” and “counter-productive”. Damn that bleeding-heart, tree-hugging, unAustralian, terrorist-loving latte sipping, dope smoking, welfare rorting, Chardonnay gulping, flag burning commie!!!!

  25. Möbius Ecko

    Yep mars08. You have to laugh at the right who were calling the likes of Fraser and Hewson conservatives when they led Team L-NP are now commies just for being honest.

    But then the centre can’t get too smug as their hypocrisy shows with the likes of Richardson. (Note I said centre, not left. Labor hasn’t been anywhere near left for a long time and I’m being kind calling them in the centre)

  26. Phi

    John, plenty food for thought there. BTW, if you are not going to suggest that the woman’s opinions expressed in this article are a ‘Team Liberal’ plant, then, please, let me do it for you. The writer of those words is most definitely a ‘Team Liberal’ plant.

  27. mars08

    ME:

    Labor hasn’t been anywhere near left for a long time…

    I think you (and others are making a big mistake by taking that view. The truth is that today’s Labor IS on the left. Over the past 20-30 years the pendulum has swung far harder to the right than the left. As a result, the pivot point of the pendulum has shifted substantially to the right. I fear the centre, as we knew it, is long gone. And we are unlikely to see it again.

  28. Möbius Ecko

    OK mars08, they are left of Howard far right and now Abbott’s extreme right, but that makes Howard a lefty.

  29. mars08

    Compared to Abbott… yes…

  30. joannejasny

    A point I would like to comment on is the one about conforming to cultural norms when one is there.I agree with you John, her comment was rubbish, however, we go to extraordinary lengths to appease other religious groups by suppressing our own, Why do we do that?

  31. Lee

    “we go to extraordinary lengths to appease other religious groups by suppressing our own, Why do we do that?”

    Do we? Your observations differ markedly from mine. I’m regularly seeing little or no tolerance for Islam in this country. Muslims are the baddies, Christians are the good guys. I’ve yet to encounter a Christian who acknowledges that within the last 80 years the world has seen numerous cases of genocide and other abhorrent practices performed by Christians.

  32. berlioz1935

    It “Team Australia” is the only team on the field there are lots of opportunities for own goals and we have seen lots of them from the team captain and his jolly band of ministers.

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