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Number 4 for 2023: A farce only a monster could love

We continue the countdown to our Top 5 most viewed articles in 2023. Number 4 goes to Grumpy Geezer for this piece from October:

A farce only a monster could love

* * * * *

The ‘No’ campaign and the Trumpifaction of the tinpotato

It has been said that Donald Trump appealed to many millions of Americans because he gave them permission to be the very worst of what they always were. In a divided and acrimonious USA a scandal-weary public has become numbed to the orange Trumplethinskin’s outrages, while others have gleefully embraced them.

The botoxed, duck-lipped Fox News Barbies, the goateed ammosexuals, the evangelical god fodder, antisemites, trailer trash and white supremacists, the defiantly ignorant oicks, evolutionary dead-enders, low information, chuckleheaded moon units, the proto-nazi authoritarians and the kooks and goons admire his cruelty. They like the hideous aspects of his character. An increasingly desperate Trump may be headed to prison but Trumpism lives on in the GOP. He has normalised the nasty.

“MAGA voters won’t change. They’re in a statist, authoritarian cult driven by racial animus, lurid conspiracy twaddle, and a corrupt media-entertainment outrage complex that has conditioned them to constant outrage with a steady drip of agitprop.” (Rick Wilson – American political strategist and former member of the Republican Party).

Meanwhile here in Oz, Trumpism hasn’t just infiltrated the L/NP it has been embraced by them.

P. Duddy and the biggest collection of halfwits and felons to ever pollute the political discourse of this country have, through their successful sabotage of the Voice referendum, established the template for their future behaviour – imported American culture wars (“the woke agenda”, “the radical left”, undefined “elites”, whatever “other” scapegoat du jour comes in handy), outrage politics, manufactured grievance and the deployment of an overflowing Trumpian swill bucket of lies and distortions. And season that with some of Spud’s not so secret sauce – good ol’ Howardesque racism.

Pulling out all stops to destroy the Yes campaign for purely political purposes as they always intended and then blame Labor for its failure is Trumpian in its chutzpah – peeing through our letter box then ringing the doorbell to ask us how far it went¹. Coached by apparatchiks from the US Republican party with its capacity for excess and extremism the Spud has taken to GOP perfidy as a supplement to his natural FUD instincts and his ‘oppose everything’ Mad Abbott-redux mendacity. The Voice referendum saw Spud’s Trumpy play – field testing the efficacy of blatant falsehoods where truth becomes meaningless, his lies, one after another, his hole-in-the-bucket pretext for ever more details “flooding the zone with shit” and denying space for challenges to his deceit while directing resentment at some manufactured grievance all while going unchallenged by a lazy or complicit media.

To further his own base ambitions Herr Shickltuber has shown he will abandon truth as a foundational principle of a functional democracy. Remember, this guy is so appalling the Tories chose the fabulist Skiddy Morrison over him. He’s less popular than herpes but as with the American’s Tangerine Man he’s now tapped into the worst in us via his Voice duplicity, one element of which is the anti-elitist from the Chairman’s Lounge and the Tories’s tame aborigine who gave the racists permission to openly piss into the hand generously offered by indigenous Australians. “A weaponised conservative woman who can say things out loud that white conservatives haven’t dared to say since the early 1960s²” Jacinta Nampijinpa Price gave Spud his “some of my best friends are Aborigines” cover for kicking our First Peoples when they are down.

While we in Oz have our share of the comfortably dumb, window lickers, frank spankers and people whose faces are too small for their heads are we not immune to the American’s port-a-loo in a cyclone Trumpism? We flatter ourselves that we’re more egalitarian, we’re the land of the fair go, we’re fair dinkum rugged individuals who can think for ourselves and who look after our mates. As the ‘Yes’ option in the Voice referendum got torched we were rudely awakened to what a load of old flannel that self-image is. Could it be that instead we’re a nation of timorous Chicken Littles who in 1999 declined the opportunity to put our big boy pants on and become a republic? Frightened, nay-saying, gullible, gormless dullards, wilfully ignorant, selfish, compliant sooks lacking in imagination and ambition?

There is some comfort that many millions of us supported the Voice, and that the systemic disadvantage of indigenous lives has been brought to the fore so that even the nasties must acknowledge its reality (while denying any accountability for enshrining it). But large swathes of the public who inhabit the trailing end of the decency bell curve have been gamed by a nasty campaign of racist tropes.

Not once did Spud, his pet dragon – the less than fully shevelled LeyZ Sussan or that feral fright wig in a pants suit the egregious Michaelia Cash call out any of this repugnant behaviour – the standard they all walked past. Instead there have been Trumpian attacks on our institutions including the courts, the AEC and government itself.

Trump: “The electon was rigged.”

Spud: “…I don’t think we should have a process that’s rigged and that’s what the prime ministers tried to orchestrate from day one.”

The mere idea of Old Chum Dutton as PM is sticking a Grange label on a goon bag. He’s a physical palindrome – afflicted with Zachary’s disease he’s an arse whichever way you look at him. A visionless plodder who confuses bullying the powerless with strength, validating willful ignorance as a legitimate excuse for nastiness – “if you don’t know, vote no”. Tories prefer their electors to be uninformed and apathetic.

His bald-faced, opportunistic tarring of Albo with the Alan Joyce stigma – “hanging out with Alan Joyce, red carpet events and, you know, they’re besties having dinner together, all the rest of it”.

His risible claim that the rabidly anti-union, low wagers are the party of working Australians.

In government the Tories needed the parameters of common decency to be written down – perhaps not so much to provide guidance on what constitutes acceptable behaviour from adults but as a means of identifying loopholes. Spud has no core beliefs about anything. He makes it up as he goes along.

The Tories’ pals from Advance’s stated tactic of instructing its volunteers to use fear and doubt rather than facts to defeat the Voice.

The Tories have a shared ethos of the increasingly rabid right – neo-Nazis, cookers, Karens, heirs of the murderous squatters, the Christian Taliban, racists suddenly discovering they’re against racism. Given the success of the right-wing baggers’ carpet bombing of a polite invitation to progress reconciliation we will now see an orange-tinted potato amping up the lies and misinformation.

When tested do we manifest anger and hostility to defend an identity that is based on dominance? Are we susceptible to far-right ideology that attacks democracy and normalizes violence against progressive agendas and liberal values³? Post-Howard the Tories are a party of opposition and resentment playing on fears and prejudices defined by what they’re against. The Liberal Party of Robert Menzies has devolved into authoritarian demagoguery while the Nationals, as ever, just tag along for the free ride.

‘No’ voters have not only denied First Peoples a means to improve their systemically disadvantaged lives they have also endorsed Dutton’s Trumpification of Oz politics where truth, integrity and fidelity are entirely dispensable.

* * * * *

¹ Author Maureen Lipman

² Tony Wright, SMH

³ Trumpism, the extreme far-right ideologyopendemocracy.net

* * * * *

Good reading

Peter Dutton bids for the mantle of conspiracy-theorist-in-chief. Crikey.

“No” camp has been seeking to sell even our most venerable institutions down the river to gain political traction. There is no conservatism in that – it is Trumpian. The Monthly.

“Importing US approaches into Australia [during election campaigns] has rarely worked … but a referendum is very different,” said Axel Bruns, a professor in Queensland University of Technology’s digital media research centre. “The choice is more similar to US voting. You can run these polarising, polarised campaigns that are about two stark choices”. The Guardian.

The right’s No campaign is a Trojan horse. Crikey.

Mark Kenny | Could Opposition Leader Peter Dutton vacate the middle entirely? Canberra Times.

Peter rabid. Rachel Withers, The Monthly.

Stunt man. Rachel Withers, The Monthly.

Peter Dutton is the exploding fire hydrant of politics pushing his party to the angry fringes and electoral oblivion? The Guardian.

What are ‘Advance’ and ‘Fair Australia’, and why are they spearheading the ‘no’ campaign on the Voice? The Conversation.

“Compare that with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s latest op-ed in the Herald Sun, which is riddled with misleading statements and scaremongering. He continues to claim we do not have the detail about the Voice – we do – and that the High Court could give the Voice to Parliament undue power – it can’t. He says the constitution has been a source of stability for 122 years – in fact, Australians have voted to change it eight times. Dutton called the Voice “the most consequential change to our system in history”. In 1967 we quite literally voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make special laws for Indigenous people, and to count Indigenous people as people in the census (they were never covered under a flora and fauna act, however, as the ABC debunked) – rather more significant changes than an advisory body, one might think.” (Crikey).

“If the world’s post-truth era is just getting started, and if the Coalition is determined to take advantage of it, then the last few weeks will seem, in hindsight, quite mild. And in case you don’t think things can get worse, remember this: every time you’ve thought that in the past two decades, they did.” (Sean Kelly, SMH).

“Opposition Leader Peter Dutton always looks sincere. The trouble is that he says things that are objectively untrue, things he cannot possibly believe.” (Michael Bradley. Crikey).

This article was originally published on Grumpy Geezer.

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  1. Kate

    This article by the eminent, foresightful Grumpy Geezer was a highlight! He described that callously inhumane, self-obsessed political psychopath, Dutton, to a tee! Well done, Grumpy! Your entertaining, honest and hard-hitting exposure of the diabolical parasites in the LNP proves that there can be “so much truth in humour”!!

  2. New England Cocky

    A worthy contender for Top 5!! The erudite Grumpy Geezer has reminded me that during this Christmas lull in the Murdoch Media Monopoly storm of malcontent that despite the calm nothing really changes among ”the biggest collection of halfwits and felons to ever pollute the political discourse of this country”.
    However, it is time to stand up and be counted ….. again!! I stand for an Australian Republic with an Australian borne Head of State, free from the social and economic parasitism of the most dysfunctional family in Europe.
    The demise of egalitarian Australia may be traced to Little Johnnie Howard, the self-serving racially prejudiced Christofascist masquerading as Prim Monster for too many years as he danced to the tune of his American masters and their war-mongering interests. We must never let this occur again!!
    However, there is unlikely to be any significant change while ever there is no legislation requiring truth in political advertising and political commentary plus the corporate donations to ”think tanks” remain unlimited and secret rather than public information within 24 hours of receipt, including linking all the corporate affiliations of the donor.

  3. Terence Mills


    Whilst I agree that we need to move towards a constitutional model with a non-monarchist focus – I hesitate to use the term republic as it has unfortunate connotations particularly in the US.

    The problem is that we are in dire need of a complete constitutional rewrite eliminating the British Crown and incorporating a Bill of Rights which of course means a constitutional convention and ultimately a referendum.

    Most new governments come to office with worthy aspirations but, as the Albanese government found out, if the opposition are not with you they will seek to kill those aspirations no matter how worthy : e.g. first nation’s Voice.

    So, it would be a brave incoming government who would undertake this major policy overhaul and you can bet your boots that a coalition government would never give it a second thought.

  4. Helen Jennings

    Wonderful! I read this when first published and enjoyed it again today. At the first read I laughed, cried and got angry and today I reacted in the same way except my anger has become fury as more outrageous behaviour of the lnp becomes known. Now OUR ABC remains a target and their efforts to end democracy are more toxic. Grumpy Old Geezer is Gold.

  5. Clakka

    Great and essential article by GG,

    Simply seconding the comments of Kate, NEC and TM – thanks.

  6. Douglas Pritchard

    Trump is very good at name calling,, and he thinks he knows all the non person ones, which of course he is fond of quoting.
    In my own case I quite like the title of Antisemitic, because that defines me as an individual who can differentiate, and discriminate from the State of Israel, together with its followers, and residents, and most especially its band of problem guys who defend it.
    The real verbal abuse would be there if it were thought that the government there, that is sufficiently deluded to believe it has some sort of divine right to occupy the land exclusively, met with my approval.
    No thanks, i do not support Trump, but fly the antisemitic flag, no problem.

  7. leefe

    That’s not what anti-semitic means, although you are, from what you’ve said, fully entitled to that flag.
    I’ve already gone into the difference between being anti-semitic and anti-Zionist, but you don’t care, do you? You just want to be able to air your prejudice openly.

    Fully agree with you about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the difficulty in doing what needs to be done with them. Republic does not have to mean the USA model. There are plenty of others whose president is basically a ceremonial figurehead, which works for me.

    The Lying Rodent has done more damage to this nation than any other single individual with the possible exxception of Rupert Mudrake. Without him, his successors could not have achieved so much harm.

  8. wam

    In 67, it was hard to believe 500000 australians thought Aborigines should not be Australians. In 23 it was unthinkable that 9500000 australians thought Aboriginal people should have no input into laws directed solely at them. It is a cruel joke that dutton is considered more capable than albanese. ps Dance of the cuckoo, there is no need for a referendum to accept a constitution. A new constitution is purely a matter for parliament.
    It would be mirabile dictu to dump the states and the senate, leaving an Australian unicameral goverment and local government.

  9. Douglas Pritchard

    Love it that you have permitted yourself a “let out clause”.
    Jeremy Corbyn, when seeking high office, was given no options on the use of that word.
    They upped the anti each time they hassled him
    You could describe it as blackmail, and eventually he could not keep up the payments.
    Now, as an exercise can you define “semetic” for me?

  10. leefe


    I’ve never come across the word “semetic”, so defining it would be tricky. “Semitic” technically refers to a certain subset of ME groups (descendants of Shem), but the word – and especially its more commonly used extended version “anti-semitic” is, and has been for some time, mostly restricted to Jewish people, whether ME or not. The standard definition of “anti-semitic” is bigotry against Jewish people, and you’ve displayed that in spades.

    As I’ve said before, not all Israelis are Jewish, not all Jewish people are Israelis, not all Israelis or Jewish people are Zionists and not all Israelis or Jewiish people support Zionism. No “get-out” clause needed; those are simple facts.

  11. Terence Mills

    plural noun: Semites

    a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs

    Palestinians are semitic peoples as are (some) Jews , if you are going to be antisemitic surely you can’t then insist that you oppose only one group of semites. It’s a bit like saying that a “lesbian” was “person from the Greek island of Lesbos” and thus you can’t be a lesbian if you don’t have at the very minimum Greek heritage.

    These nuances are subtle but important, as Brian found in ‘The Life of Brian’

    Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?

    F*** off! We’re the People’s Front of Judea

    Words and their interpretation or misinterpretation can lead to major problems, again The Life of Brian :

    Blessed are the peacemakers misheard as saying “blessed are the cheesemakers”, “not meant to be taken literally, it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”
    But it is this sort of thing that can lead to conflict, as we have seen.

    As you were !

  12. Douglas Pritchard

    Bigot displays intolerance, but I have said that I discriminate, so that tolerating genocide on the grounds of a specific religious cult goes against the grain with me. Maybe this is something you tolerate?
    Incidentally the uniformed “classical “Jews take no part in the fighting.
    Origins for “semetic”, as you say is tricky, but I suspect that the word has been stolen (as you suggest) , like the land, and its definition is subject to change at a moments notice by the body who has planted it in our vocabulary.
    The slippery nature of the word is put to work by the originator to their propaganda advantage.
    It would not surprise you to note that not one candidate for the title of President in USA will tolerate any suggestion of the slur “Anti-semetic” and we see this appalling display of support for a nation that ignores International Law, UN, and just about every body which regulates our democratic culture.
    They are in the process of creating greater Israel, with Jews piloting bombers, driving the tanks, reducing Palestine to dust, and “bigots” are probably the only souls which may slow the process.

  13. leefe


    I’m not responding unless you write something intelligible, so the only part of your last post I will answer is this “They are in the process of creating greater Israel, with Jews piloting bombers, driving the tanks, reducing Palestine to dust, and bigots are probably the only souls which may slow the process.”

    Not bigots who concentrate on “Jewish” rather than “Zionist”. Condemn the IDF, condemn the warmongering generals, condemn Netanyahu and his extremist enablers, condemn the Zionist expansionists and I’m with you all the way. But that list does not include all Israelis much less all Jewish people. If you insist on discriminating, discriminate thus far, at least.

    *”All xx are yy” =/= “All yy are xx” It’s basic logic. Learn and think.

    (*If this phrasing is too abstruse for you, let me reword it: All apples are fruit but not all fruit are apples.)

  14. Fred

    Leefe: The issue is with “definitions”. What is the absolute definition of a “Zionist” or “anti-Semitic”?

    Using fruit as an analogy is also fraught with differing perspectives. Using the definition of “The ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant, together with accessory parts, containing the seeds and occurring in a wide variety of forms” doesn’t cover the cases of modern “fruits” such as oranges. bananas etc. that don’t have seeds. (Just saying!)

  15. leefe

    No Fred, the issue is with people who distract, deflect and are generally dishonest in their arguments and behaviours.

    Using “fruit” in that analogy works because there are plenty of fruits that aren’t apples. The fact that so-called fruits exist that don’t bear seeds is irrelevant – dismissing them from the set “fruiit” does not change the argument.

    Whatever happened to the understanding and application of simple logic?

  16. Fred

    Leefe: The same thing as happened to “common sense” (which of course is not common). Simple logic would suggest that most people will infer the same conclusion given the same starting premises (which given the range of educational, religious, political, real-life, etc. backgrounds involved is unlikely). Logic would “dictate” that you should not trust/vote for somebody that lies incessantly, but hey Scummo, Trump, BJ, etc. got elected, so go figure.

  17. GL


    “All apples are fruit but not all fruit are apples.” How about, “All potatoes are tubers but not all tubers are Dutton.”

    Speaking about Der Spud: How about we strap an explosive charge to his head, shove a propellor up his arse and send him to the Red Sea and use him as a torpedo. Just imagine if you were on the receiving end: The only warning you would get is hearing a rapid “No…no…no…no…” approaching just before he hit your craft. It would be terrifying.


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