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Shorten joins Abbott on the Dark Side

There was a certain politeness about Waleed Aly’s critique of our political system in his article this week, “Politics: the ugly game where the melee rules”. It was a politeness that the system, and those who exploit it, don’t deserve.

The historian and moralist, Lord Acton (1834-1902) is given the credit for the much quoted, “All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I find this a more appropriate reference than Waleed’s allusion to the AFL and ARL melee. Yes, football teams have a governing body to regulate imbalances in the game and keep it interesting for the followers. Politics doesn’t, unless the regulator is we the people, who only get to pass judgement once every three years.

But if I have read Waleed correctly, the essence of his article was short term political gain trumping the national interest, a position that should rate above a sporting analogy.

Though, perhaps because our collective mentality is so compromised these days by some of the most pathetic analogies that come out of the mouths of our politicians, aligning sport with a breakdown in our political system is probably considered reasonable.

Neither of the two major parties subscribes to the national interest unless it somehow flies parallel to their own. And nothing exemplifies this more than the issue of asylum seekers.

tampa The Liberal party hit upon a winner with John Howard sensing and playing to the national mood with the Tampa affair back in 2001. It was never in the national interest to refuse to help destitute people seeking asylum. But he did it anyway.

The decision he made on the Tampa was very much in the interest of his party winning the next election. That’s why that he acted the way he did. And suddenly we learned that wedging was the new political game in town.

The Labor Party led by Kim Beazley was just a couple of months away from putting a deeply unpopular government out to pasture when suddenly everything went pear-shaped. They got wedged between what they knew to be the right thing to do and politics of the lowest common denominator.

That issue has dogged them ever since and even though Kevin Rudd made a serious attempt to neutralise the matter in 2013, the unrelenting pressure applied by the Liberals made him lock step. He had succumbed to the wedge.

Ironically, Labor was punished for its weakness, when it was the Coalition who had lost their moral compass and sold their conscience to the devil.

Fast forward to today and the same sleazy, immoral, opportunistic lock step is being displayed by Bill Shorten. He is choosing the practical in favour of the principle; the idea being to avoid the wedge at all costs.

boat Labor is a little over twelve months from winning office and Shorten wants the party to adopt the Liberals policy of turning back the boats; the same pragmatic, morally corrupting election winning position Kevin Rudd tried to adopt in 2013.

In doing so, he is simply taking care of business, a business that has no heart, no soul, just a ‘winning at all costs’ approach that is endemic within our political system and for which there is no alternative.

Morality has been abandoned.

Only the Greens have the moral fibre to stand defiantly against the tide. Yet they too are playing to a base they know abhors the hypocrisy, the absence of compassion.

The Greens are well aware that their current support base is likely to ensure at least one senator per state in a half senate election and two per state in a double dissolution. By adopting the moral high ground, they will achieve that and maintain their relevance.

It’s not just the boats policy that is subject to the wedge. Shorten fired off his own attempt at a wedge this week announcing a 50% renewable energy policy by 2030. Take that, Liberals! Neither leader nor party has the national interest at heart. The Coalition govern to stay in government and have shown their willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve that end.

Both leaders have forsaken their morality and the values they so hypocritically espouse.

Waleed says we have to trust them “to sacrifice cynical political opportunities for something greater.” He adds, “Right now, that trust seems thoroughly naive.” To say it seems thoroughly naive is putting it far too mildly. We have been seduced by the dark side.

They (both parties) have betrayed us, themselves and the very foundation upon which our country has prospered for so long. Neither has a conscience anymore. The Liberals lost theirs with Tampa. Labor will officially lose theirs this weekend.

We should no longer trust them to do anything. They lie, they cheat and when we are not looking, they laugh at us. Is that what we want? Is that what we have allowed our selfish, miserable selves to accept?

deocracy Democracy has become a standing joke among the elite, the super-rich, and the one percent. They now control governments in a way few of us recognise let alone understand. Their message is clear: This is the new world order. Get use to it.

“All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”



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  1. babyjewels10


  2. Zathras

    We’re only in this position now because Beazley decided to follow Howard down that particular dead end as part of his “me too” strategy and now Shorten is reinforcing it.

    The truth is that it’s never been about saving lives, only about gaining votes. The dog-whistling to the Hanson defectors was well under way even before any boats sank and was part of the post-911 anti Muslim fallout.

    Softening the rising public hatred by recasting the refugees from the “people we really don’t want in this country” refugees to the hapless victims of evil people smugglers was no different than reclassifying them as “illegals”.

    Will they also maintain the secrecy of the off-shore abuse that is being carried out in our name?

    I would rather the ALP stay in opposition longer and let the government be internally consumed by the ugliness of its own dark heart and provide voters with a real choice for a change.

  3. M-R

    I think I agree with you, Zathras … but I’m not sure. Because, after all, another term of being ruled over by these appalling, mad, dangerous people is something I simply don’t know how to contemplate. It isn’t that I want to have the ALP in power – just a different lot. I shall be voting Green for the first time in my very long life, next year; and I hope a shitload of Australians do the same: if enough of us vote Green, who knows what might transpire ? (But again, it’s not that I seek that party’s success – just a different lot …)

  4. cms

    Being of a moderately cynical disposition, I did wonder whether the much publicised turn back vote at this weekend’s conference was just a stage managed ploy to swap Shorten for Albo with maximum fanfare and minimum blowback…

  5. keerti

    This sorry state of affairs makes it very clear, shorten is not a leader. If we are to get a much needed change in government then between labour, greens and independants there has to be a credible leader. The sheep will vote for a bad leader rather than a pissant.

  6. stephentardrew

    Great article John and thoroughly agree.

    Too many devious justifications when the simple fact is that treating human beings like cattle to be trafficked across the planet due to our lack of moral fiber is clearly and unequivocal immoral. Leaders are supposed to lead not cower in the face of poll numbers.

    “When you get into bed with the enemy you are the enemy.”

    Because of the same cowardice many will let the planet go to hell in the future with absolutely no regard for their children yet they cynically use the excuse of the children being taxed some nominal amount to save the planet as an excuse for it to go to wrack and ruin. Oh scary bear we might have to pay to save the planet. Good heavens these people are insane and insanity is destroying our world.

    Let’s be clear about this to destroy your biosphere and cause untold suffering and death is insanity and people with these attitudes should not be allowed to vote because they are demonstrable masochists, plunderers of the planet and murderers.

    Murder by default and inaction is still murder no matter what degree.

    The cowardice of journalist to make a principled stand is itself an abomination of selfishness and monetary expediency due to fear of loss of job and support by the oligarchy of moral turpitude and environmental destruction.

    So our treatment of refugees is no different to our treatment of the planet. Some forty or so years after the scientific evidence clearly demonstrated it was inevitably going to happen and guess what? They were right.

    My fellow human beings time to bow your ignorant self-serving cowardly heads in shame.

  7. Pingback: Shorten joins Abbott on the Dark Side | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  8. Lee

    Good article, John. Our political leaders are a disgrace.

  9. diannaart

    @John Kelly

    I agree Shorten is attempting to avoid a very big wedgie:

    the same sleazy, immoral, opportunistic lock step is being displayed by Bill Shorten. He is choosing the practical in favour of the principle; the idea being to avoid the wedge at all costs.

    However, beg to differ than he has chosen to be pragmatic. Pragmatism would mean the fastest and most cost effective way of assessing claims for asylum, which remains onshore:

    The above report was written in May, 2014, expenses have risen exponentially since – I understand Crikey have a good current analysis with lots of facts and figures ‘n stuff – would link, if not for pay-wall.

    There really is no excuse, from the humanitarian to the downright cost effective, for our treatment of refugees; nothing, none, nada, sweet F/A.

    Political expediency, where the result; winning elections, justify the means.

  10. king1394

    But hang on a minute … if the Australian electorate is going to deliver thumping majorities to parties (ie the Liberal / National Party) on ‘sovereignty’, ‘border protection’ and being tough on ‘illegals’ how can Labor even start to pull us back to the more compassionate and indeed visionary country that we were in the 80s and 90s prior to Howard.
    Oh and voting Green as a solution – don’t make me laugh. Greens are nowhere near achieving a vote that would allow them to govern in their own right, and they have betrayed us as often as they have worked well to wards progressive goals. I notice that if Labor falls in with the Libs and lets something through it is seen as weakness, but if the Greens fall in behind the Libs, that seems to be considered OK. If the Greens have given up some purity on the original ETS, it would still be operating, and Australia would be well ahead of where it is now on emissions.

  11. eli nes

    spot on king, power corrupts is ancient and trite.
    William Osler got it right
    “soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants’
    Labor destroyed the best government in my life by allowing the rabbutt enough easily understood soap and water slogans.
    It is common sense for labor to put soap in the rabbutt’s eyes.

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