Broad Church? Narrow Minds

By Grumpy Geezer  "The Liberal Party is a broad church. You sometimes have…

Special Religious Education: Propaganda?

The NSW Education Department (the Department) guidelines say that between thirty minutes…

The Cashless Debit Card is part of Authoritarian…

For those that don’t know much about the cashless debit cards (CDC),…

How Good Are Secret Deals?

Forget Jacqui Lambie, I have a secret deal with the government to…

Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung…

Leaders currently in office rarely make an appearance before either the International…

The spying on Timor-Leste case ... et cetera…

By Dr George Venturini  ... et ceteraOn 28 June 2018 Mr. Andrew Wilkie…

Medevac repeal is cruel, heartless and inhumane

Media ReleaseIn a callous and vindictive political move the government has today…

Fact vs Faith – does religion deserve protection?

By Rosemary J36I have a greater knowledge of the Christian faith, in…


Tag Archives: Conservatism

Whither Labor?

When the hoary old phrase ‘fall on his sword’ is used to describe a resignation, in this case the end of the career of the ALP’s Noah Carrol, you know circumstances are dire.

I am not inclined to pick over the entrails of the ALP’s loss to Scott Morrison. Rather, I’m curious why the global electorate is shunning progressive, social democrat parties around the world.

I seek the observations of political scientists and commentators I admire, but even their well-crafted explanations fail to answer my questions.

I believe in human rights, equality, equal pay, peace, an end to climate change and a benign technological future devoted to the service of humanity. In short I am a product of my schoolboy and university studies of the Enlightenment, Karl Marx, and from my own era, the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes.

I am a child of the post-World War Two period; a legatee of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating. All three Labor prime ministers are like Marx, Keynes and the architects of the Enlightenment, luminaries of the 20th and earlier centuries.

But here’s the rub. The ALP of the 21st Century remains beholden to heroes whose Light on the Hill does not shine for half the voting population.

The author and orator of the Light on the Hill speech Prime Minister Ben Chifley lived in the former Labor stronghold of Bathurst. But in the 21st Century, with the exception of the regional NSW Federal seats of Gilmore and Eden-Monaro, plus one or two others, Labor is not the political party of choice.

Unless the ALP engages meaningfully with the Bush, with its unique challenges, national government remains beyond reach.

The new NSW ALP leader Jodi McKay recognised this conundrum when she chose Yasmin Catley, the MP for the State seat of Swansea in the Hunter, as her deputy.

In NSW Hunter and Illawarra seats, both state and federal, are critical paths to government.

I first met Ms McKay at the International Media Centre in Darling Harbour during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. She impressed me then, and continues to shine to this day.

If anyone can win back the Bush for the ALP it is politicians of the calibre of Jodi McKay and Fiona Phillips, the new MP for Gilmore which centres on the regional NSW city of Nowra in the Shoalhaven.

Gilmore, Eden-Monaro and the Federal seat of Macquarie, with its ramparts of the Blue Mountains, and which Labor held by its fingernails, are the equivalents of Minnesota, and Ohio in the United States and Manchester and Huddersfield in England.

Similar regional cities and communities across Europe and much of the Anglophone world are suspicious of human rights, equality, equal pay, peace, an end to climate change and a benign technological future. In short their citizens despise people like you and me.

Instead they hearken the violent, xenophobic rhetoric of Tommy Robinson and his ilk. Or vote for populists like Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. The more discerning among them swallow the gobbledegook of Jordan Peterson.

In Australia mornings and afternoons are wasted listening to shock jocks, or reading tabloid muck. Many pore over pseudo-science peddled by the likes of Malcolm Roberts or the so called ‘fellows’ of the Institute of Public Affairs.

This daily jibber-jabber is the equivalent of the outpourings of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984.

But it achieves nothing other than serving the purposes of a cohort of so called conservatives whose rhetoric seems the antithesis of conservatism.

So whither Labor?

I believe the ALP requires a devilish, two-fold strategy. First, win over urban Greens voters who are experiencing a similar sense of shock and loss as their Labor counterparts. Second, listen to and learn from the experiences of regional and rural Party members.

My local Federal Member for Grayndler and Leader of the Labor Opposition, Anthony Albanese claims the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain as Labor’s birthplace.

Albo uses the Unity as a go-to venue for significant Labor announcements such as Kevin Rudd’s change to the ALP’s rules in 2013.

The problem with this is it cock’s-a-snook at regional Australia, in particular those nascent ALP supporters with a tattoo of the Southern Cross — emblem of the Eureka Stockade flag — on their bodies. And it ignores older ALP supporters who yearn for the story of a Labor Party founded beneath the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine, Queensland.

Track down the movie Sunday Too Far Away starring Jack Thompson in a fictional characterisation of ALP stalwart and designer of the It’s Time campaign, Mick Young. Watch it and you’ll get my gist.

If Albo can manage to reconcile the divergence of these two iconic Labor sites with their disparate traditions, he might reignite a light in the hearts of a demoralised ALP rank and file.

I believe Albo capable of this reconciliation. And while he is a much tougher character than John Setka of the CFMMEU, he cannot afford to alienate its membership.

Albo speaks in a vernacular which resonates with conservative, traditional ALP supporters, who since the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years shifted their vote elsewhere.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews strikes me as a Labor politician admired in his rural heartland.

And Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s 2015 trouncing of the hapless Campbell Newman remains a warning to Scott Morrison and his Liberal cohort which is showing signs of behaviour not dissimilar to Tommy Robinson and his bully boys.

Premier Palaszczuk’s victory in Queensland proves this nation can get very angry, very quickly.

But now it is up to Anthony Albanese to find his voice and assure the citizens of a 21st Century nation that Australia, united, will never be defeated.

Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button


“I will not let you smear the good people who marched”

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair has a bee in his bonnet about March in March. Brisbane Lead Organiser for March in March Matthew N. Donovan responds.

Tim Blair is at it again it seems.

Out of all the issues he could have chosen to cover he once again chose March in March as the topic for his highly read blog. Why it’s highly read is anyone’s guess.

I thank him for the spotlight he continues to shine on what was one of the highest turnouts for a protest in many years.

Tim, I take issue with your pathetic childish attempt at an opinion piece. Allow me to relieve you of your delusions and blind or wilful ignorance.

A big task. There’s quite a bit to wade through, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

I’m fully aware you only have one mode. That’s progressive attack mode. That’s how you got your job with Rupert and why you keep it.

You serve at Murdoch’s pleasure.

A condemnation of the standard he has for his publications.

Spotting a progressive opinion writer who works for News Corp Australia proves a challenge to even the most news aware among us.

I personally don’t agree with conservatism. You don’t agree with progressivism. That’s fine. We’re all adults.

However, having read some of your writing and hearing you on 2GB with Ben Fordham recently I’m not too sure my last point applies entirely. Something to work on perhaps?

My issue is not with you and your politics. It’s with your condescending, chest beating, arrogant language and the simplistic stereotypes you cynically use in your writing.

I’m not sure if you have a restricted vocabulary, a lack of debating skills or are just plain lazy but you really need to give your writing more thought.

It’s weak, it lacks depth and it’s tacky. I know you work for Murdoch, but seriously?

March in March was a major success. Not because you acknowledge this fact, but because you don’t.

You have gone after the movement and it’s participants like a pitbull.

I will however not let the likes of you trot out such disgraceful statements against its participants without asserting my right of reply, on their behalf.

This movement is grassroots.

Opponents think it is too large, too organised and too vocal to not have some kind of high profile backer or organiser.

I’ll tell you who the sole backer is: the Australian people.

That’s what makes it so powerful and that’s what annoys you about its prominence on social media and online news.

We have major issues with how Tony Abbott is carrying out his job, his words, his priorities and the sections of society he has chosen to attack.

You see no issue with his agenda.

That’s because you’re a cheer-leading acolyte.

We have a right to tell our government we don’t approve of the job they are doing as did those against previous governments.

Many thinking Australians are embarrassed to have him as our leader and resent the direction he seems to be pointing our country.

He has no great vision of Australia. Just delusional ideas about some imaginary hey day of yesteryear. Menzies? Howard? Ahhhh yes! The “Golden Age”.

When Abbott’s key mentor, ally and advisor, John Howard thinks reinstating knighthoods is “anachronistic” you know there are serious issues.

It only serves to reinforce our deep concerns about how out of touch our current leader is.

The former prime minister, who was one of the most monarchist leaders in our history, was lobbied by cabinet to introduce imperial titles and resisted during his years in government.

This makes Abbott’s unilateral decision look even more out there than most Australians already think it is.

Let’s be frank. The Abbott Government is there to hold back the inevitable march of progress, if only for a short while. All in aid of helping big business, the well off and vested interests.

He leads an Australia where big business is at the head of the table and the rest of us are supposed to sit in the corner until the next election. You seem to abide by that too Tim but we don’t and won’t.

March in March has no agenda to overturn the government. That is hysteria and further discredits what we’re led to believe is the expert analysis and opinion in your column.

Were you outraged when conservative supporters said the Gillard Government wasn’t legitimate? Were you outraged when a few hundred people rallied in Canberra egged on by Tony’s good mates Gina Rinehart and Alan Jones? Were you outraged that Tony Abbott, Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirrabella chose to stand in front of those infamous signs, and by doing so endorsed them?

Nothing. Silence.

How telling.

I made it clear that participants of March in March Brisbane should keep signs and chants respectful and civil. All other organisers around the country did the same as well as our central campaign team.

I agree. Some signs and chants were in bad taste and only served to dumb down the debate in this country.

I’m proud to see I saw none of this in Brisbane.

It is unfortunate that some people become so angry they use confrontational means.

I continue to advocate for a more civil debate based on ideas and what we want for our nation.

I asked many times that attendees respect these wishes but given it is a grassroots movement some chose to ignore me or were unaware of them.

Short of physically removing them we can’t avoid this occasionally happening. It’s annoying and it distracts from the cause but it comes with the territory.

The main reason I am writing this response is because I will not let you smear the good people who attended because there are a few attendees who serve your political agenda to diminish March in March and hope it goes away.

Even Murdoch's Courier-Mail is poking fun at Abbott's retrograde reintroduction of knighthoods.

Even Murdoch’s Courier-Mail is poking fun at Abbott’s retrograde reintroduction of knighthoods.

100,000+ people marched that day. Some were seasoned marchers, some had never attended a march until now. People from across the spectrum from the very young to the very elderly. These people aren’t “radicals”. These people aren’t “Greenies”. These people aren’t what people like you term “dole bludgers”.

They are caring and concerned thinking Australians.

How dare you shove them into your black and white, “goodies” vs “baddies” worldview!

You did not attend an event. You are in no position to lecture or demean those who participated and you should be repudiated every time you attempt to smear these 100,000+ people for the actions of the few.

I also point out how well peaceful our protests were. Not one arrest. Not one! Not the anarchy and extremism you and your mates at News Corp Australia like to go on about apoplectically.

We understand why you do it but don’t assume we are blind to what you are up to and won’t return fire back every time you enter attack mode with your cheap personal attacks on our movement and its participants.

The chorus of those who are concerned about the Abbott agenda and his way of governing is growing every day.

March in March is growing. Our concerns are genuine. Our passion sincere.

We’re not going anywhere.

Tell Tim you work, contribute to society, care about Australia and marched peacefully in March. Take a photo holding your message and email to or tweet to @TimBlairBlog.


Matthew Donovan (pictured) is a former Labor candidate for the seat of Surfers Paradise in Queensland as well as a political commentator and freelance journalist. He’s an active Labor campaigner from Burleigh Branch on the Gold Coast. His interests are progressive politics, policy development and media/social media strategy. Matthew’s studied Journalism, International Relations and History at the University of Southern Queensland. He plans to study Political Science in the near future.

Scroll Up