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Quiet Australians?

On Monday night, the ABC aired a Q&A episode titled First Australians and Quiet Australians.

There were seven questions asked, two of which were about an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The so-called “quiet” Australians were represented by three questions about supposed religious persecution and two about how Labor’s “taxes” would hurt the wealthy.

Far from being quiet Australians, religious people and wealthy people have a hugely disproportionate and loud voice in our politics.

First cab off the rank, Ruth McKie suggested that “a massive groundswell of united prayer and fasting” had delivered a miracle election result.

“It was over parents’ rights and the loss of religious freedoms,” says Ruth, assuring us that “quite a majority of people out there” share her views.

Next questioner, Judy Wilkenfeld, certainly seemed to agree.

“Given Labor’s disastrous loss in last week’s election, including the loss of votes from faith-based electorates and voters, will the Labor Party be reviewing their current policy of removing the protections in the Anti-Discrimination legislation that currently protects faith-based organisations?”

It seems these women agree with Israel Folau and want to preserve their right to discriminate against people based on their sexuality and to condemn homosexuality as evil and unnatural.

The third question on religious persecution asked what could be done about the rise of anti-semitism in Australia, citing “a dual threat – from the far-right and from Islamists.”

An article published by the ABC Religion and Ethics site a few days after the election opines that Labor’s secularism lost them the election.

“The lack of authentically religious voices within Labor is one reason why the party made it very difficult for religious voters to support it in 2019. Another reason is its drift towards a secularism that has no place for religion in the public square. Many of its activist supporters seem openly hostile to those who hold traditional religious beliefs.

The 2019 election showed that the policies that appeal to affluent, irreligious, university-educated activists in the inner cities do not resonate with voters across the country. Labor needs to appeal to mainstream values. That may mean seeking to understand afresh the religious voices in the public square, and to treat people of faith respectfully.”

It is hard to justify the idea that the religious voice represents mainstream Australia when only an estimated 15% continue to take their religions seriously.

According to the 2016 census, those declaring that they have “no religion” increased to just over 30%.

Most of those who nominate a Christian religious identification participate infrequently – with 8% of Anglicans and 12% of Catholics estimated to attend once a month or more.

When Australians aged 13-18 were asked about their religious identification in a representative national survey in 2017, 52% said they had “no religion”.

According to recent research the responses of young Australians to religious diversity is one of great openness. They are most likely to be of the view: “Be whatever you want, or nothing, as you wish; just do not try to use religion to block, shape or change me.”

They are the future.

The question labelled ‘Quiet Australians’ came from a young lady who couldn’t understand why her friends were cross with her for caring more about her inheritance than about “climate change and humanity as a whole.”

“I voted Liberal because Labor Party policies were going to completely threaten my financial position and that of my family,” she pleaded.  “Why is politics so full of anger and shaming these days?”

The other question Q&A chose to air came from a person Tim Wilson confessed was a Facebook friend of his, whilst neglecting to mention that Michael Tiyce is/was the president of the East Sydney branch of the Liberal party.

Straight-man Tiyce (and I mean that in a comedic sense rather than sexual predeliction) feeds friend Tim a line to allow him to bask in his own glory.

“Tim Wilson: You were accused of running a scare campaign regarding the retiree tax. First, what do you think of that allegation, and second how important do you consider the public opposition to the tax proved to be for the government’s re-election?”

When Tony Jones suggested it wasn’t really a retiree’s tax, Tim Wilson assured him it was.

“You get a tax credit if you’ve paid tax. If you remove the credit, you only have tax.”

Huh?

Tony Jones to the rescue, asking Mark Dreyfuss “Would you agree, at least, that it was a financial impost on many retirees?”

Dreyfuss answered “It was a removal of a benefit or a subsidy that is paid by the Australian Tax Office, using other taxpayers’ money… to about 3% of Australian taxpayers.”

Tony persisted.

“Well, 3% who were on it, and how many per cent were waiting to use that system, and how many relatives and people who had the system?  I mean, you’re not…you’re not seriously considering continuing with the policy, are you?”

When Dreyfuss refused to commit to what the party’s final policy position would be, Tony interrupted to say “You wouldn’t want to lay a bet on keeping that policy, would you?”

I think a safer bet would be that Tony Jones (and Ita Buttrose) personally benefit from the taxation concessions just as they are.

No voice for those living in poverty.  No voice for those who want to protect our environment.  No voice for those whose lives have been destroyed by abuse at the hands of the church or those who must continue to suffer their condemnation.

All in all, a very disappointing show from an increasingly disappointing ABC.

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34 comments

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  1. Jaquix

    Tony Jones is going and I say Good Riddance! Hes not worth half what hes paid. I havent seen this episode yet but did catch Marcia Langtons passionate statement. Jones had the sense not to interrupt her.
    Unfortunately the ABC is not at its best these days, but look at it like this: THAT IS THE PLAN. Murdoch and his IPA want it
    broken up into separate sections and put out to tender.” He wants it run down by lack of funding, and interference from the government (and himself) He only wants to buy the News section. Its competition for him! And he wants it cheap.
    The new Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, is not an appointment that gives any optimism. Despite the ABCs less than stellar performance these days, we must fight to save it, because its an essential part of our democracy.

  2. Jos R

    I agree with the comment that the religious and the wealthy have a disproportionate voice. I am a quiet Australian and appalled at the lies and misleading facts that came out this election. I have absolutely zero faith in our current PM as I believe that he will cut services and reduce NDIS. Education and health will also suffer and austerity measures will kick in while his mates who gave a go will get a go. We have been here since 1996 and have seen a decline in the country in its fairness and debate. It is more divided than before and kicking the vulnerable, the migrants and the refugees is absolutely an Australian value – Jason Wood comes to mind!
    My children were born here and know no other place as home. My university going son is seriously upset at the LNP and the lies they have peddled. IPA – a bunch of power hungry people with no redeeming values. Tim Wilson is the biggest liar in my opinion. How do these values get centre stage? Are they Australian values as the LNP claims? Why does Labor not attack and why do they feel like they need to be a victim? Labor needs to start a news outlet and attack. Sad, I cry for my beloved country 🙁

  3. MikeW

    I have stopped watching Q&A lately Kaye Lee, very disappointing.
    I think Virginia Trioli does a much better job than Tony Jones and should have been his replacement.

    But not to worry the happy clappy government has been re-elected, Michael McCormack is going to fix the drought ravaged areas by praying for rain, Scott will be clapping singing and praying for tax breaks for the rich, so those at the bottom end of the food chain can be trickled down upon, and all will be good.

    Never been religious myself although my Mother made me attend Church when I was a kid, must have read a different Bible to these happy clappers, thought Jesus was all about helping the poor not the rich.

  4. Paul

    What hope have we got when the Prime Minister believes in a god?

    It’s that simple……

  5. Phil Pryor

    The foundational gutless but self centred superstition and greed groups are hard to address unless straight on, so.., precious poof says it was a retirement tax, when it wasn’t and he cheated on rounding up support from waverers for conservatives, allied to a self enriching relative, Good. And, the religious extreme superstitionists (here, not from Mecca) are out to righteously reap rewards for pure egotistical effort, while denying others decency and fairness. I gave up on that Q and A show years ago for the irritation of the token nazi type, always allowed to rave on rudely, was sickening. They say masturbation is the thinking person’s T V, possibly so, from the Q and A . experience. Historically, Jesus was a rebellious jew against pompous controlling jews of the R Murdoch type, pushy prick polishers. The Jesus industry began umpteen decades later. with no quotes, documents, authenticity, merely engined up and driven by Paul, as Lenin did work for Marx’s memory. Today’s christian types include Bakker, Swaggart, Morrison, Abbott, and, do not touch this poxed praying concept or political perversion and wash very thoroughly. It is the enemy of democracy.

  6. Terence Mills

    Just hearing of prosecutions in Texas where good people have been providing water and sustenance to illegal migrants & wet backs crossing the border from Mexico, many dehydrated and in very poor shape.

    The irony is that these good folk who are following biblical teachings by being good samaritans are being prosecuted by Christians ……Go Figure !!

  7. Kaye Lee

    Save The Children compares 176 countries on the best place for children to grow up looking at access to health care, education, nutrition and protection from issues like child labour and child marriage. Australia came 15th.

    Paul Ronalds, Save The Children Australia’s CEO, says the ranking is disappointing.

    “Australia has not made very much progress on the really complex poverty issues we have in some of our communities,” he said. “Australia has some of the most geographically concentrated poverty in the OECD and we’re really just not making much progress on reducing the impact on children of that entrenched poverty.”

    But hey, franking credit refunds and the right to vilify homosexuals is what we need.

  8. ken

    Q & A has passed it’s use by date

  9. John Rowe

    There’s no hate quite like Christian ‘love.’

  10. Joseph Carli

    “Quiet”!!…yeah..wait till they get their stocks and shares caught up in the trade wars Trump is trying to wage on China…after a few “Chinese burns” they’ll soon be squealing like stuck pigs!

  11. whatever

    The ABC is being used as the “Government Information Office” like they have in Third World countries.
    This morning on both Radio National and ABC Local we were encouraged to get involved with the government’s War on Waste campaign. (This is their idea of environmental policy).

    0

  12. Ill fares the land

    The only person on that episode of Q&A that spoke with any great integrity was Marcia Langton.

    She said what she thought and had the force of personal experience and intellect behind her words. The only commendation that can be given Jones for his customarily limp performance is that he didn’t interrupt her. Dreyfuss did his best, but of late, the Labor “side” has simply been outnumbered on Q&A and the “people’s representative” was somewhat limp. Wait until David Speer makes the next LNP guest on Insiders look like a twerp – in Morrison’s world, that is betrayal for which there has to be retribution.

    Q&A really has become something of a joke – the ABC proclaims it is not biased, but it seems to me there are a steady stream of examples where it is biased against Labor and in favour of the LNP (especially during the election campaign). Perhaps that is commercial reality, but the LNP is not going to reward the ABC for crawling up the LNP’s backside – the ABC is still going to be continually emasculated by reductions in funding unless it, like the rest of the media (and Australia for that matter), overtly switches its allegiance to Morrison.

    Marcia Langton made short work of the true intent behind the shreiking of the simpering religious proponents – they want to retain the right, enshrined in law, to discriminate as they see fit. The right, in short, to attack, but to not be attacked. That might be fine except that in my lifetime, many of the worst people I have encountered are those that proclaim their devout belief in Christian values – and then promptly act counter to those values. I am an agnostic, but I am happy for others to have a faith. All that I ask is that faith makes you a better person and to my mind, the more loudly you proclaim your faith, the more likely, I think, it is that you have superfically embraced a set of codified behaviours but not integrated Christian values into who you really are.

    Tim Wilson on the other hand treated Q&A as he treated the utterly farcical “Parliamentary Review” into franking credits – staged and a forum for anti-Labor flunkies (easily found on a topic as emotive as franking credit refunds, especially where misinformation was rife and it was easy to spread alarm). It was manipulated to serve as a forum for spreading misinformation. The smarmy Wilson made it look like he was being forthright by announcing the Facebook link with his obsequious “mate”, but very deliberately avoided mentioning the person’s true connection to the Liberal Party and that the question was designed to allow Wilson to further pontificate. Jones should be required to make that known on next week’s Q&A – but I doubt that he would.

    Perhaps Labor would have done the same in the same position, but that is not the point. It should have been called out and been all over the press – which it would have been if Labor had done it.

    The “quiet Australian” epithet will become nauseating. But the true intent is that Morrison wants Australians to divert their gaze away from him while he and his merry band of Cult of Morrison nincompoops spread anti-Labor and anti-union vitriol. Morrison has already nailed his colours to the mast by getting rid of Sinodinos and Fifield. Neither are strong performers, although no worse that many of the other nitwits brought into the ministry, but they were going to be inquisitive and take positions that are different to Morrisons and Mr Shouty McHollowman can’t abide that. He Morrison wants nothing to do with those who challenge his views and threaten to bring his carefully rationalised but nonetheless self-proclaimed and fragile genius crumbling down. Australia loved Bob Hawke, for better or worse. Australia doesn’t love Morrison, but he thinks that it does.

  13. Zathras

    How convenient for Tim Wilson to be fed a “Dorothy Dixer” from the audience who also happened to be a friend and also President of the East Sydney Liberal Party.

    It reminded me of when a former Aboriginal Affairs Minister used a staffer to impersonate someone from that community to con Lateline viewers and the public into getting their intervention legislation through Parliament.

    As long as the ABC continues to give airtime to such people they can’t reasonably be called biased. Just realise that some people appearing on that forum have an agenda and use the programme for their own benefit rather than advancing public knowledge and discussion.

  14. Roscoe

    you only have to drive past the churches on a Sunday to see how little use they get, that is if they havent been sold due to a lack of patronage so saying that religion is popular is a bit of a stretch

  15. margcal

    I think the result could have been better (in Qld at least) if GetUp! had left the electorate to deal with Dutton and Abbott and instead they’d targetted three people with PM ambitions – Frydenberg, Patterson and Wilson. All three have already risen above their competency but they all have that snake-like quality that will see them position themselves to best advantage to serve their ambitions. Forget any thoughts of serving Australia. Frydenberg has almost made it. Where was he during the last leadership coup? From whom did Melissa Price take invisibility lessons, you might well ask. Patterson and Wilson have further to go but stopping them in their tracks would better be done sooner rather than later.

    I continue to find it both tedious and ignorant that all people of faith are lumped together as “religious” and condemned for that. They are no more homogeneous than ‘all men’, ‘all Muslims’, all ‘Aboriginal Australians’, etc, etc.
    As far as Christians go, those of mainstream persuasion in general, the Uniting Church in particular, abhor the unChristian ‘prosperity gospel’ that Morrison follows. And Christians voted ‘yes’ as much or a bit more than the populace at large in the marriage equality poll.
    Why not be more discerning in your criticisms lest you alienate people who would make excellent allies on many issues?

  16. johno

    Keep up the good work Kaye. Show em for what they are. Quiet australians, what a load of bollocks.

  17. Phil

    morrison was not referring to ‘quiet Australians’ in any literal sense – he was speaking in partisan pollie terms – that is, in code albeit poorly disguised code.

    He wanted it known but could not say it directly that he held in contempt and wished to threaten all those Australians who speak up, speak out, and speak loud about things his government and his financial backers in banking, finance and mining don’t want Australians to speak about. He really wanted to say “shut up all you lefties, greenies, bleeding hearts and assorted other pejoratives”

    morrison is a divider from a divided party and no good will come from his government’s rotten carcass.

  18. Josephine Tilley

    Mr Morrison brand of Christianity is imported from America it is Pentecostal very different from the practice of the religion here. Their God is money. The belief in Jesus has been distorted because he preached the love of mankind
    He stated bring me your poor, your sick, children etc.I see nothing of this in Mr Morrison just Bible bashing.

    Pentecostal

  19. Max Gross

    It has taken me almost two weeks to renew an interest in online political commentary but I still don’t have the stomach to switch on the TV for news or current affairs. Hope died on March 18. Six years of LNP mediocrity and corruption were rewarded. I and others are still in mourning. But I realise now that there was NO massive LNP victory. They won one more seat than they did during interim PM Turnbull’s fizzer tenure where ALP gained, what, 16 new seats? The war continues and the enemies remain the same: Murdoch’s agitprop machine, the IPA and the crooks, creeps and crackpots of the LNP. And it IS a war. A war fought from the top down. It was declared in 1996 by the Lying Rodent.

  20. Kaye Lee

    margcal,

    I accept your point that people of faith are not a homogenous group and your criticism of being lumped in together as “religious”.

    I actually gave Father Rod Bower my number 1 vote in the Senate.

    I think the tolerance shown by our kids is a good sign. Respect is, as you implied, important.

    I apologise for the offence.

    We are being bombarded by people in the media talking about religious freedom which nearly always sounds a lot like homophobia when you ask them how their freedom is being curtailed.

  21. margcal

    Thank you Kaye. I acknowledge that you’re usually on the ball about this.
    I join you in admiration of Rod Bower and I would have put him No.1 if he’d been on my ballot paper.
    More than anything my comments were directed at the usual suspects amongst those making comments.

    I agree that the ‘religious freedom’ being spoken of in the Australian context is the freedom to be an active homophobe. Indisputably you’d find a number of them in any Christian denomination, but certainly in some more than others. I’ll let followers of other faiths speak for their own experience.

    I always wonder how such people cope if they learn one of their offspring is an LGBTI person. I know the offspring do it really hard in some cases. But the parents? Does not having a gay child change their worldview?

  22. Lawrence S. Roberts

    ABC presenters are on their best behavior at the moment. They are all on “big bikkies” ($250,000 per annum, minimum) and ABC money is to be frozen for three years. Upsetting the apple cart the paymasters is not on the cards.

  23. Phil

    ‘ But more importantly, it was great to hear she was a hit.”

    Yea a hit alright, just like she was in the western suburbs of Sydney.

  24. Phil

    Hmm so am I. She’s part of the reason we have Morrison. I said part btw.

  25. Zathras

    Kaye,

    As someone who has found it increasingly easy to “maintain the rage” ever since the Whitlam era I broke with a life-long tradition and also gave Father Bower my first preference vote. He was the only candidate who displayed genuine concern for the well-being of our society and citizens plus the future of our country and would have been an excellent balance for the growing pack of extremists currently infesting our Parliament.

  26. Patagonian

    How ironic that the 15% of religious practitioners in Australia are awarded such respect, such import, such gravitas by our parliamentarians, particularly those on the lunar right, yet that other famous 15% of Australians – trade union members – are vilified, ignored and subject to constant attacks on their rights and their unions. AWU anyone?

  27. Phil

    It would appear someone has removed a self ingratiating comment that appeared between mine at 10.34 p.m. and 10.43 p.m. This so called site of free expression is no better than the right wing sites I avoid. Weak as piss.

  28. Michael Taylor

    I removed them myself. They were my comments.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Senator Fierravanti-Wells also said the government need not await the findings of a review being undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission into exemptions to anti-discrimination laws currently enjoyed by religious schools.

    “Whilst the ALRC is not due to report until [April] 2020, given its diverse and broad terms of reference, I believe that the recent election has reinforced the need for more immediate legislative action,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

    “This is vitally important to not only address our concerns but afford protection against these constant incursions from Labor, the Greens and their acolytes. It’s a new dawn on this issue.”

    Senator Fierravanti-Wells – who voted against marriage equality when it was legalised in 2017 – said the election results “had their antecedents in the same-sex marriage debate”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/folau-s-law-coalition-mps-push-for-bolder-action-in-a-new-dawn-for-religious-freedom-20190529-p51s9m.html

    How did this election morph into one about changing this country into a theocracy? From what I recall, the vast majority of the country voted to end discrimination against gays.

  30. Jon Chesterson

    I am hearing this phrase, ‘quiet Australians’ a lot since the election, a new buzz phrase being used to define a hidden majority by right wing cronies who have no evidence for their opinions, representing seriously minority proportions of the population or indeed none at all, just pure fantasy and lies. And now the ABC is at it!

    The only quiet Australians are those who are not allowed to vote because they are ‘too young’ or no longer have a voice like the poor, unemployed, socially and financially disadvantaged, and minority social or ethnic groups including those who have been denied and have no nationhood like the vast majority of Aboriginals and refugees. None of these are the people to whom they lazily and arrogantly refer.

    So, Liberal cronies out there need to stop using this phrase to support their atrocious lies, deception and devious grandstanding, and the the ABC needs to pin this down. The rest of us need to grow horns and defend our country against right wing radicalisation by religious minorities and fundamentalists. Keep religion out of politics, we all have a right to follow our own salvation, stop this uncivilised bullying!

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  32. Jack Russell

    Since the Liberal Party conspired, hatched the plot, and recruited the saboteurs to carry out the forced removal of Gough Whitlam, Australia has been in a tightening vice. Labor have had hostile, bloody-minded opposition in a rigged game ever since.

    Almost every good thing they have ever managed to achieve against all the odds has either been destroyed or crippled. This election was a mighty effort … but the cheats won again … by a grossly expensive obese whisker.

    The next three years will be truly polarising.

  33. Jack Russell

    PS: The Not Our ABC weaponised name pronunciation yesterday. What’s next … ?

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