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Tag Archives: Eric Abetz

Should the media act more responsibly?

By Dave Chadwick

The public’s hunger for every image and piece of information about terrorist acts and mass murders does not always need to be sated. I question the effort of the media to feed this hunger with endless detailed national coverage when an attack occurs. Do they not realise that this is the exact reaction the awful perpetrators are hoping for, or are they so greedy for ratings they do not care? Would a more restrained approach make society even a few percentage points safer?

The valued concept of a free and impartial media to act as the ‘Fourth Estate,’ and hold all three branches of government accountable to their representatives has a long history in democratic theory. The importance of a balanced and independent analysis of national and international affairs is put into stark definition by the blatantly deceptive and obfuscating practices that modern politicians employ. Although its Fourth Estate role is a powerful argument against government interference (which doesn’t seem to bother our current government), it is not a licence for the media to publish and post whatever pleases them. It also charges them with the responsibility of publishing in the public interest.

I’m not an historian or expert in media law, but it seems to me that the media has misinterpreted the idea of public interest. Public interest here does not necessarily mean what the public is interested in – but what is in the public’s interest to know.

What is in the Public Interest?

I could write a whole article about media outlets’ preoccupation with selling us news stories that are really not in our interest, such as what happened on last night’s episode of the Bachelor (which by the way, I really don’t care), instead of giving us a better understanding of ongoing developments in Ukraine or the South China Sea, but I won’t. I am not really arguing against this (doesn’t mean I like it though), as I realise they have to make a commercial decision about what consumers want and some publications are marketed to a particular type of consumer.

My concern is when the media (and with the advent of online technology, all social media users have the potential to become lay-journalists) publish and share information that is actually against the public interest. Whether through greed or naïveté, media users are unthinking accomplices to the aims of terrorist groups and psychopaths with the incredibly detailed coverage they reward them with. If social media users were more discriminating with what they shared and media outlets were more restrained with their coverage, the payoff these groups and individuals get from their atrocities would be reduced, potentially reducing the likelihood of further atrocities. That sounds like something that would definitely be in the public interest to me.

Only recently, a clearly unwell man acted out his rage in a heinous double murder in Virginia and even went to the trouble of videoing it and posting it to social media. The logical inference of such action is that he wanted to share his actions with the world. How did the media and the rest of the world react? Exactly the way he wanted. Television and print media published articles about every aspect of the attack and his life, while the online community was retweeting and sharing his gruesome posts. News articles even provided screenshots and links to his social media page. I actually saw an article in The Herald Sun that published his final social media posts after describing him as a man who wanted his actions and words to go viral. Nice of them to fulfil his dying wishes. To other unwell, lonely, desperate people, what is the message? The more despicable your actions are, the more attention you will receive.

Now I don’t want to imply any less personal responsibility of the perpetrators of disgusting acts like these, but I do wonder what useful function does the saturation media coverage and vapid online sharing of these types of event serve. Would most attacks still take place? Probably, but would all of them? I’m less sure.

When the first of ISIS’s execution videos was released, like most of us I was saddened for the victim and his loved ones. I was also horrified and angered at those who would perpetuate such an atrocity and deliberately seek to use it as a political strategy. These feelings of impotent rage returned each time I saw it on TV news bulletins and heard the audio on radio or saw people sharing the video on social media. That happened an awful lot. It was difficult to avoid for a few days. If the terrorists wanted to bring their message to people around the world, they succeeded. However they only succeeded because they were allowed to.

The public execution was a propaganda strategy that held no tactical value. If no one watched the videos would there be any reason to make them? I would contend not. So why are people in the west so helpful in actually facilitating and encouraging it? I know Tony Abbott liked to see national security headlines on every paper as often as possible, but was it actually in the public interest? It was no surprise to see a string of similar videos released in the following weeks.

What if …

What if a law was passed making it illegal to broadcast or forward any vision or audio these crimes? Or even without legislation, if the media guidelines changed to dramatically reduce the frequency and detail with which they did cover them. Obviously the exception would be for the files to be passed on to DFAT or the AFP so they could take appropriate actions. A short factual, unsensationalised (I know it’s technically not a word, but its meaning is obvious) report detailing the important facts of the story is all that needs to be made public. The public’s fascination with every aspect of this does not have to be fed, just like six-year old’s love of ice cream doesn’t have to be fed. Is there any other reason people really need to see the video? I would argue it is hardly in the public interest and would suggest it is actually against it.

I realise this idea may draw some unflattering Orwellian comparisons from civil libertarians. But is this really a slippery slope to the government-controlled media of 1984 (I’m not talking about an actual year that is the title of a book for those to young to have realised)? I don’t think so. You can use a slippery slope argument to predict pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean your prediction is correct (as Eric Abetz and Corey Bernadi have shown). Increased government regulation of the media and individuals’ online activities may ring some alarm bells, although I believe there are similar laws about child pornography and although it is a significantly different issue, I haven’t heard any complaints about such laws.

The other argument people may raise is that such a law would make people even more beholden to the media and would prevent independent verification of the reporting of these types of events. It is true to an extent, but seeing the video or reading a mass murderer’s life story (as reported in the media) doesn’t solve that anyway. I would agree the potential for media agencies to shape national dialogue with their reporting of an event is already unsettling, but social media provides a counterpoint to this already. I can’t see this change adding much to this situation as there is still much that can be reported and shared. The videos of 9/11 and the moon landing have not stopped the conspiracy theorists on either subject because some people will believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is- that is why there are still anti-vaccers and climate change deniers in the world.

Is that the answer?

I do like the concept of an independent, uncensored media, free from government and shareholder interference, but Australia seemed to give that up some time ago. The reality is that a lot of news reporting and commentary is filtered by existing beliefs and assumptions of the commentators, even this one (astonishing I know). I have outlined how I believe current media practices around the reporting of terrorist attacks and mass murders, as well as the unthinking actions of social media users, may play a part helping the perpetrators achieve their goals. Political attacks mean very little when their message is contained, after all. I know it wouldn’t stop such actions, but would it make them less attractive to desperate individuals? I think so. As much as governments are often wary of over regulating the media for fear of public backlash, I think it would at least be worth thinking about and discussing?

What do you think?

This article was originally published as Real Agents of the Fourth Estate or just greedy Real Estate Agents on Quietblog.

Why do we have a Coalition government?

The obvious answer as to why we have a Coalition government at the moment is that the majority of people voted that way at the last election. But why?

Many people were sick of the white-anting and disunity from a party which removed two sitting Prime Ministers. I am wondering how they feel now that the Liberals have done exactly the same thing. Should this government be labelled ‘illegitimate’ with calls for an immediate election? Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Andrew Nikolic, Cory Bernardi, Tony Abbott and others are unlikely to accept a smooth transition any time soon.

Others were convinced that the warnings about climate change were ‘alarmist’ and that scientists were only doing it to get funding. Or that they were part of some UN new world order with Zionist banks ready to send us all into subsistence slavery under Agenda 21. I am wondering how they feel as every year more heat records tumble and extreme weather events cost us billions.

Many voted Coalition so they would fix the ‘debt and deficit disaster’. Labor was spending like drunken sailors! How are they feeling as government spending continues to rise, the debt continues to grow by about $50 billion a year, and we experience the biggest deficits on record?

There were those who felt we were being invaded by a horde of potential terrorists coming by boat. We have stopped the boats arriving and in so doing, been condemned by a world coping with an enormous tide of displaced people due, in part, to our aggression in the Middle East and likely to continue as we withdraw foreign aid and replace it with military expenditure. Are they happy that to stop the boats we are prepared to torture children?

Those that were angry that “Bob Brown’s bitch” was making deals with the Greens must have been somewhat disappointed when one of Joe Hockey’s first actions was to make a deal with the Greens to eliminate the debt ceiling. I am wondering how they feel as Victorian Liberals look set to preference Greens ahead of ALP.

Some people were concerned that the Labor government was spending tens of billions on a national broadband network that would just be used to play video games and download movies. Malcolm could get us a system that would cover all our needs for much cheaper and get it finished by 2016. Or not. All this talk of digital disruption and innovation must be making them wonder what’s going on, not to mention cost blowouts of $15 billion due to Malcolm’s multi technology mix which, it turns out, will take a lot longer than anticipated to provide a system that will be outdated before it is finished.

Others were cynical about Kevin Rudd’s ‘dishonest negative scare campaign’ regarding cuts to health, education, the ABC, family tax benefits and the schoolkids bonus not to mention the raising of the GST. But we know that was all lies, right? Or maybe not.

Many were very concerned that Labor’s changes to the fringe benefits tax which required people to only claim business usage for their cars when they actually used them for business would destroy the car industry and lead to job losses. Thankfully the Coalition got rid of that quick smart and saved all those jobs . . . oh, wait.

One thing that we can always be certain of is that the Coalition will be better economic managers. It’s in their DNA. Except every single economic measure has gone backwards under their stewardship.

They promised to expose the corruption of the evil unions and the rorting of politicians’ entitlements through the revelations by their heroic whistleblowers, Kathy Jackson and James Ashby. Just don’t mention the 10 NSW Liberal MPs who have been exposed by ICAC or the fraudulent misappropriation of millions by their Victorian state director or Bronnie’s helicopter rides.

The Liberal Party promised to be a transparent accountable government, unless it is an operational or onwater matter, or commercial in confidence, or anything to do with our offshore gulags and the sexual, physical and psychological abuse suffered by the people who came to us seeking help. And don’t dare ask about how much tax big corporations and rich people pay. That’s none of your business.

Thank goodness we now have a very popular Prime Minister, but what use is that when the urbane, sophisticated Malcolm Turnbull leads the same party that thought Tony Abbott would be a good idea?

The policies haven’t changed and the personnel who brought you those lies still occupy the government benches.

Despite Malcolm’s ‘new paradigm’, I am still left wondering why exactly we chose a Coalition government.

 

NAPLAN, Domestic Violence, Corruption And Good Old Uncle Otto!

Ideas are a bit like being caught it in a river; it’s easy to be swept along without stopping to actually think about whether or not you should swim to the side and have a think about where you’re being taken.

So yesterday, I found the commentary on NAPLAN rather strange, and I was concerned about where the current seemed to be heading.

To summarise, we’ve had NAPLAN for seven years now and (amazingly!) we haven’t seen significant improvement in the test scores.

There was also a story on the radio about a place where they’d trialled putting domestic violence offenders in remand when they breached an intervention order. This was showing some signs of being effective the spokesman said.

In other words, when you actually do something, it sometimes works.

Which sort of made me think of NAPLAN.

The whole idea that simply testing students every two years would have led to any improvement is as ridiculous as expecting that getting people ignoring intervention orders to do surveys would have led to a reduction in the number of breaches.

If NAPLAN had been combined with some teaching initiative, or at the end of the Gonski reforms then there might be something to question, if scores “hadn’t significantly improved”.

Of course, for some people, the expectation was that NAPLAN would mean that teachers tried harder. It’ll be interesting to see if this data is interpreted by politicians to mean that maybe teachers are trying as hard as they can, or whether we’ll have someone like Christopher Pyne* telling us that this simply means that there’s no need for extra funding because we now spend more on education than we did when Australia was first colonised and that literacy levels were better back then and that the only answer is to privatise it because the private sector does everything better.

Like corruption.

Well, I should be careful what I say here because there’s been allegations of a criminal nature about Australia Post sub-contractors and everyone should have the presumption of innocence. However, it’s more the light it’s shining on the wonderful shifting of much of the TAFE sector into private hands that interests me.

Apparently, unlike the public sector, the private sector exists to make a profit, and, as a result, some people put making money before giving students a quality education. Or, in some cases, any education.

Who’da thunk that, eh?

Certainly not the Liberals who seem to think that their mates in the private sector can run anything more efficiently than they can. So let’s sell off everything and then we’ll let people self-regulate, because – as Bronwyn Bishop shows – self-regulation takes away a lot of that needless red-tape that just adds to the cost. In the case, of the TAFE sector, the lack of efficient regulation means that private prividers can eliminate costly things like teachers and course delivery, making them infinitely more efficient than the those old, innefficient monolithic government organisations who were slowed done by the requirements that they actually try to teach people some skills.

And speaking of more efficient, I notice that WA politician, Peter Abetz (Eric’s brother) was quoted as saying that Great Uncle Otto, the Nazi, wasn’t all bad. Given the views of the Nazis on homosexuality and Eric’s recent pronouncements on same sex marriage, I was a little concerned as to what he considered were some of Otto’s accomplishments. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that all Peter mentioned was how his relative had ignored Hitler’s orders about razing Paris as the Germans were retreating and prefering to negotiate with the incoming Allied Forces for a civilised withdrawl. (Shame that doesn’t run in the family!)

What a man! Ignoring orders from your superiors as it becomes clear that they’re losing the war. Sort of reminds me of the Liberal backbench standing up to Tony over Bronwyn Bishop. That sort of thing shows great courage.

Medals all round, I say.

Nah, make it knighthoods. Not for Otto though. “I must not give foreigners knighthoods” was one of the conditions of him staying on as leader after his near death experience earlier this year.

* For those of you who watched “Mad Men”, does anyone else find that Peter Campbell reminds them of Christopher Pyne, or is it just me?

pyne campbell p

 

A sociopathic lack of empathy

One thing I have tried to teach my children is that, when you make a mistake, tell the truth, apologise, do what you can to make up for it, and learn from the experience.

The example being set by our nation’s leaders makes it hard to reinforce that message.

According to Tony Abbott, the Coalition’s woes at ICAC are due to the Labor government making rules about donations from developers, implying it is the rule that is wrong rather than the breaking of it.

Likewise in the Bolt case – his conviction for vilifying groups in our society was the fault of an unjust law rather than any wrongdoing on his part according to his special friend, George Brandis.

Hockey’s defence of the revelation that he is paying off his investment property by claiming $270 a night accommodation entitlements is that it is “within the rules”, a defence also used by Malcolm Turnbull and many other politicians. Nowhere is it questioned as to whether this is what was intended by the “away from home” allowance.

Abetz and Hockey have both used the “blame the media” excuse for things they have said. I was misinterpreted, I didn’t finish my sentence. Abbott and Pyne tell us that we misunderstood when they said they were on a unity ticket about education funding.

Twelve months into their term, the government seem unable to take the reins, constantly repeating the “debt and deficit disaster inherited from Labor” line, with absolutely no plan for the future. Tony counts off on his fingers (an exceedingly annoying habit that he seems unable to function without), “We axed the carbon tax, the boats are stopping, we are building the roads of the 21st century, and we are getting the budget under control”. There is no thought about what we will do about climate change or how we will help refugees or whether those roads are the best infrastructure investment or modelling on how the budget cuts will affect the vulnerable in our society.

But the prize for the best “pass the buck” comment must go to Tony’s mentor and spiritual advisor, George Pell. When being interviewed by the Royal Commission into child sex abuse yesterday, Pell made the crass analogy that the Church should not be held responsible for the actions of its clergy any more than a trucking company should be held responsible if one of their drivers molested a woman they picked up on the road.

The last time I looked, trucking companies didn’t run schools. They were not placed in positions of trust to care for the vulnerable in our community or to provide moral guidance. I would also suggest that if the company was informed that one of their drivers had raped someone they would not try to bribe the victim to not go to the police.

In 2002, Pell told his audience of World Youth Day delegates that “abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”, during a public religious instruction session. In response to the outcry this caused, Pell said he was merely trying to point out that sex abuse by Catholic clergy had attracted attention to the detriment of other issues.

Anthony Foster, the father of two of the abuse victims, has said Cardinal Pell displayed a “sociopathic lack of empathy” when they met to discuss the case in the 1990s.

This lack of empathy is the most frightening part of the current government and the people to whom they listen. Anyone who is not rich is to be blamed for not working out how to rort the system. Single parents are made to feel ashamed of their situation which Kevin Andrews and Cory Bernardi tell us will lead to their “sons ending up in gaol and their daughters being promiscuous”. Unemployed people are just not trying hard enough, the disabled are lazy, and we can’t afford to keep giving handouts to the sick and elderly. Refugees are to be incarcerated and vilified for wanting a better life for their families, and all Muslims viewed as terrorists waiting to behead us at the first opportunity.

A sociopath is someone who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. I’d say that just about sums it up.

Breaking News – Abbott Government asserts that it hasn’t changed; striped leopard seen running from flying pig!

In a surprising development, one of Abbott’s senior ministers admitted that he wasn’t an expert on everything. Eric Abetz announced that he wasn’t a medical expert and therefore wouldn’t be commenting on whether there was a link between abortion and breast cancer. While other ministers have asserted that they don’t need any formal qualifications or experience to be experts in such things as climate change, education and how to get a job, Senator Abetz preferred to argue that a lack of medical training meant that he had no comment to make, and that he only commented because he was asked a question and he was cut off before he could point out that he, of course, didn’t agree with the points he was making.

The reason for this controversial change in approach came after his appearance on “The Project”, where Senator Abetz stated: “I think the studies, and I think they date back from the 1950s, assert that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer.”

Senator Abetz issued a statement today telling people that he doesn’t listen to studies that assert themselves, because when studies start talking it’s usually a sign that something is wrong.

As further evidence of this new approach by the Abbott Government, Malcolm Turnbull was allowed to explain what the changes to metadata storage actually meant. As he is reported to have said to Brandis, “Why did that clown leading the party ask you to explain metadata when he thinks I invented the Internet?”

To which Brandis allegedly replied: “Ah…um…ah…er…ah… when you say internet…um…I… Look, I think I you’d better do the next um… thingy…”

“Interview?”

“No, no that thing where you go on radio and someone asks you questions.”

“That’s an interview.”

“Ah…umm, when you answer the questions, it’s an interview. Until you do then it’s just a… thing that… where you have a … person… asking.. um,,, questions… So until… you do, it’s just a… program. That’s my understanding and I’m Attorney General, so I know about …words and … ah… things. Besides I’m busy cancelling appearances at free speech conferences.”

And Malcolm was in fine form this morning on the ABC.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Mr Turnbull, it is widely understood there was blow-up in Cabinet. According to one report today, some of your colleagues said you threw a “hissy fit”. What didn’t you like about the data retention laws? Or was it just that you were left out of the deliberations?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Michael, I think the most important thing to talk about is firstly that data retention has been in the past and will be in the future a very important element in the fight against crime and protecting us against terrorism.

Strangely, while they talked about that “firstly”, they never actually went back to talking about the reasons for his “hissy fit”. Although Turnbull did manage to explain his opposition to Labor’s plans for data retention in 2012 was due to its inability to explain it clearly. You have to admire a man who can keep a straight face when saying something like that.

Image by teresasaum.com

Image by teresasaum.com

Multiple Ministers Scoring ‘Own Goals’

own goal Over the past week or so we have witnessed examples of possibly the most mistake prone bunch of ministerial amateurs we have seen in the past 60 years. Each in their own way would qualify as a contender for the title, “Own Goal of the Year” award, should such a title ever become a reality.

Joe Hockey is claiming that Australia’s gold plated credit rating will be at risk if parliament fails to approve a path back to surplus. Joe is starting to sound desperate but I’m not sure if it has more to do with sharpening his leadership aspirations than his concern for the health of the Australian economy.

His comments to New Zealanders that our economy is in good shape are in stark contrast to what he has been telling us. His suggestion that our credit rating is at risk is simply laughable.

But now he is fighting off allegations that he was deliberately hiding budget papers prepared by Treasury that show low income earners to be bearing the brunt of the budget cuts. Did he not realise that we would see through that in a flash? One own goal.

abetz Then, there is the Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz, who announced a revised work for the dole scheme requiring unemployed people to apply for 40 jobs a month if they want to receive benefits. That is spectacular in its absurdity. Professor Jeff Borland from Melbourne University says, “The international evidence is overwhelming. It’s hard to believe that the government couldn’t understand that this isn’t the best way to improve people’s employability.”

Professor Boland conducted an empirical study of the Howard government’s work for the dole scheme and concluded that such schemes are unlikely to help people looking for work. That’s hardly surprising. I could apply for 40 jobs in one week if I put my mind to it. Just how many replies I would receive is another matter. Just how many interviews I could attend if given the opportunity is questionable. Just how I would do all this while trying to fit in 25 hours of work for the dole is to question my capacity to replicate Superman. Abetz has even upset the business community. Collectively, they have voiced their concern that companies will be overwhelmed by job applications that could amount to 32 million a month. Pity the bulk of them couldn’t find their way to the office of the minister. I can’t believe Abetz didn’t see that one coming. Two own goals.

andrews Now, we know that Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, wants to scrap the 90 minute rule that is used to determine how long is too long for someone to travel to work each day. Now, he is attempting to influence those couples in de facto relationships to get married for their own protection. Why the sudden concern now, or are his comments that de facto couples are more likely to separate, masking nothing more than Catholic Church teaching? His call is unlikely to result in any sudden rush to the altar though. His $200 coupons for marriage guidance have attracted just 1400 applicants from a budget of 100,000. Three own goals.

brandis Attorney General, George Brandis and Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull are at odds over piracy laws. Brandis says that internet service providers were not ”innocent bystanders” and should contribute to the costs of an anti-piracy crackdown.
Malcolm says that rights holders concerned about copyrightturnbull infringement should sue those who illegally download material. One would have thought that such senior government ministers would have consulted one another before releasing statements that contradict each other. Neither seems to understand the internet very well. Four own goals.

hunt Last week, Environment minister, Greg Hunt approved the multibillion dollar Carmichael Coal Mine development by Indian company Adani, which threatens the Great Barrier Reef. Hunt has incurred the wrath of Greenpeace which now plans to mount a campaign targeting any Australian bank that might be inclined to provide finance for the project. Putting aside Adani’s woeful environmental track record, Kate O Callaghan’s expose on the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef and the dubious economic benefits to Australians spells out, all too clearly, that this decision will haunt Hunt for the foreseeable future. Five own goals.

abbott But the “Own goal of the Week” must surely go to Tony Abbott for his ‘Leadership Call’ on the shelving of plans to alter Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. It’s another broken promise and has even drawn criticism from trusted friends (Bolt, et al.). It has also caused great distress among Liberal party members who have flocked to their beloved Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), threatening to quit the party. Wow! Six own goals.

What a mesmerising collection of mixed messages that these utterly rattled and hopelessly confused people are sending out to the good folks in voter land; all of them, it would appear, determined to lead the charge to electoral disaster. I guess we can only hope that they will be spectacularly successful in achieving that.

Union bashing for the new curriculum

Eric Abetz (image by smh.com.au)

Eric Abetz (image by smh.com.au)

Senator Eric Abetz gave a rather disturbing speech to the Young Liberals (aged 16 to 31) national conference in Perth on 25 January this year.

He told them that, over the Christmas break, he had watched American political tv series House of Cards.

“Whilst it was a good watch, the moral bankruptcy, the crass manipulation, the cynicism, were for me all turn-offs.”

I know how he feels, though he apparently assured his son that Canberra politics wasn’t quite as portrayed in House of Cards. He also assured him that:

“Congressman Frank Underwood engaged in all his unsavoury intrigues in the House of Representatives, and that such things could never happen in the Senate. I also pointed out that the US Democrats were the equivalent to Australia’s ALP”.

Right. Did you also remind him, and your audience, that it was a fictional tv show, or are you preparing them for the “we good them bad” indoctrination where fiction will be accepted as fact?

Speaking of which, Senator Abetz also read a book by Hal Colebatch called “Australia’s Secret War” which he described as “a thorough, detailed exposition of how individual unions and their leaders acted to sabotage our nation’s war efforts in World War II.” He went on to say:

“Hal Colebatch has recalled this painful chapter of Australian history which saw Australian unionists engage in a range of sabotage actions that were utterly unconscionable.

That systematic campaign of sabotage criss-crossed the nation, from Townsville to Fremantle, and cost the lives of countless Australian diggers and allied soldiers.

Their actions included deliberately damaging planes, removing valves from radio transmitters that made them inoperative.

Packages and parcels for our service personnel were pilfered. Coalminers and munition factory workers went on strike prejudicing the war effort, costing lives, leading to unnecessary loss and increasing the length and cost of the war.

Australian women were needlessly widowed. Australian children were needlessly left fatherless.”

These are very damning accusations to make, but he doesn’t stop there.

“So I do ask: where was the moral outrage of the ABC and Fairfax commentariat when Hal Colebatch exposed all this in his groundbreaking work?

People killed, people injured, the war effort severely compromised – murder, grievous bodily harm and treason, all at the doorstep of the union movement and all largely ignored.

Talk about a topic for inclusion in the national curriculum!”

And so it begins. The history curriculum rewrite starts with a union-bashing book published last October from “a secret history rescued from ‘folk memory’ – and one previously suppressed by leftists.” Anyone who was 20 years old at the start of the war would now be about 95. I’m not sure we should be basing the curriculum on their anecdotes.

Rowan Cahill points out that:

“Colebatch has form, as they say in the classics. He is the third son of the short-term (one-month) twelfth premier of West Australia, who accompanied strikebreakers onto the waterfront during the bitter Fremantle wharf crisis of 1919, an inflammatory action which contributed to the death of trade union loyalist Tom Edwards following a police battoning.”

Needless to say, Alan Jones gave it his immediate ringing endorsement and, when that other expert journalist, Miranda Devine, pre-reviewed Colebatch’s book in November, a contributor to her blog posed the question:

“Where is the media campaign pushing for the unions to abase themselves and seek forgiveness for the very real harm they did to Australians? Unfortunately in Australia in 2013 that seems too much to ask.”

Abetz echoes this cry saying:

“The union movement must provide a national apology for prejudicing the nation’s war effort, remembering those families who needlessly lost loved ones because of their treasonous activities.

Instead the MUA is currently funding a hagiography about the refusal by wharfies in 1938 to load pig iron destined for Japan – an incident the Left is still milking for indignation.”

They apparently want the unions to say sorry for the actions of people who, 76 years ago, refused to send iron to aid Japan’s gearing up for war, but John Howard had nothing to say sorry for because the Stolen Generation never existed?

The Senator then goes on to praise Cory Bernardi’s book and his comments about non-traditional families. He responded to the offence taken by step-dad Bill Shorten this way:

You know the trip; “I claim victimhood. I declare that I have taken offence. So you cannot question me or assail me with undisputed, objective studies”… studies which actually tell us time and time again that the gold standard for the nurturing of children is a married man and woman with their biological children.

He gives a quote from Senator Bernardi’s book about the likelihood of girls from non-traditional families ending up promiscuous and boys as criminals.

“we know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are 5 times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; 9 times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioural problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of this.”

He claims the source of these statistics was President Barack Obama’s Father’s Day address of 2008. I know the Liberals would like us all to emulate the Tea Party but thankfully, Australian society is still a lot different to the US. Medicare, the PBS, minimum wages, penalty rates, all contribute to making life just a little easier for our low income earners compared to their US counterparts. Gangs don’t have the same hold here (yet) and we have strict gun laws. We do have problems with housing affordability and youth unemployment but comparatively, our safety net is better.

Abetz then sinks even lower in my mind by saying to the kids:

“So can I say to those who in turn might say they were brought up by a single parent, or in a blended family, and turned out okay, take pleasure in this, but ask, was it the ideal?

Would life have been even better if, all things being equal, you had been brought up with your other biological parent coming home every night to provide an even more nurturing environment?”

I wonder if anyone had the courage to stand up and say “It was better than watching my father continually humiliated or seeing my mother get hit or watching two desperately unhappy people drift ever further apart”. I wonder if anyone talked about the love and support their adoptive parents gave them, something their “biological” parent/s were unable to do. How dare he make these children feel their lives were less than “ideal” because of decisions made by others when he has no knowledge of their circumstances.

Speaking of criticism from within his own party which dismissed Bernardi’s as a minority view, Senator Abetz said:

“I have no doubt that for centuries it has been the majority view and that only in the last thirty or so years has this view come to be questioned by a number of social theorists, commentators and interest groups.

I am delighted that reputable commentators like Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt and Paul Sheehan exposed the hollowness of many of the criticisms of Senator Bernardi’s book.”

Because they would know better than “social theorists” I presume.

And of course, he couldn’t finish without reference to our Christian heritage:

“A study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences of about 20 years ago to ascertain the reasons for the dominance of what we refer to as our western civilisation concluded that

“in the past twenty years we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion, Christianity… the Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this”.

If communist academics from China can get it, I would’ve thought it would be a no-brainer for say Senator Lee Rhiannon and the Greens, who are pushing to remove reference to our Christian traditions by expunging the Lord’s Prayer from Parliamentary proceedings.”

As he was concluding, I finally found myself surprisingly in agreement with Senator Abetz when he said:

“I believe that the Liberal Party too often has sold itself short by over-concentrating on matters economic, vitally important though they be – vacating the ground when it comes to our society’s actual foundations.

As we restore our economic fortunes, let us also remember that to succeed in that task we need to restore the societal capital, the values and the foundations of our nation’s non-economic features. To ensure the social legacy we leave future generations will determine the economic foundations and structures that we also leave behind.

Australia’s economic security will ultimately be a reflection of its societal security.

Can I also encourage you, in your discussions with family, friends and colleagues, to respectfully remind people that the future well-being of our nation is not wrapped up in the economic management of our nation, but ultimately in maintaining the social and cultural values and traditions that have in fact given us the unparalleled personal freedoms and wealth which makes us the envy of the world.”

It scares me when he says stuff like that. What does he really mean?

The Lying Christopher Pyne

Did anybody watch the 7:30 Report last night? If not, you wouldn’t have known that Christopher Pyne told a bold-faced lie about Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, a lie that was promptly exposed and quashed by host Leigh Sales. You can watch it here, in the first few minutes of the show:

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=3152075#/view/39542

It was a lie. Full stop. It was not anything he can be misquoted over; it’s not something he meant only at the time and changed his mind later. It was a calculated, pre-meditated lie delivered with a straight face. The face, I might suspect, of a person quite artful in speaking with a forked tongue.

It’s not the point that he lied for some political traction that infuriates me. The point is, he lied on the 7:30 Report and by 8:00 all was forgiven and forgotten. Where is the outrage? This was a lie on national television and he knew he was telling a lie. He knows he can lie through his teeth and get away with it. Well I’m sick of him getting away with it.

Christopher Pyne lies, and the issue dies.

I have scoured the web today in search of outrage from the Opposition or the mainstream media (MSM) if they suspect that the Prime Minister or any member of her party had lied, regardless if it was a lie or not. To the Opposition and the MSM, anything she says is a lie, and the ferocity of their attack is breathtaking. I need not tell you that the internet provides us with millions of instances where the Opposition and their media allies screeched like banshees over alleged lies, but I have selected three from the usual suspects. Here they are:

Julia Gillard should stop telling lies to the people of Tasmania (Eric Abetz).

Julia Gillard made more dishonest statements in Hobart today about the GST.

The Coalition’s position on the distribution of the GST to the states is clear: we will not support or implement any proposal that disadvantages Tasmania.

In respect of GST allocations, neither Tasmania nor South Australia will be worse off under any future Coalition government.

Despite the Prime Minister’s falsehoods that she repeated today, the government still hasn’t announced its response to the Greiner-Brumby report.

Does your national leader lie? (Andrew Bolt).

The question we now face: Is the Prime Minister of Australia a liar?

Her Four Corners disaster on Monday night is part of a pattern.

Julia Gillard deceives and, I suspect, lies. And what’s killing her is that she does it so badly.

Gillard’s great carbon lie (Piers Ackerman).

The sweeping scope of Julia Gillard’s breathtaking lies in defence of her broken promise on a carbon tax should bury her political career.

Her first lie was to repeatedly claim in the immediate lead-up to the August 21 election that there would not be a carbon tax under a government she led.

That was clearly her biggest lie, but not her only lie by any means.

Now I ask those three moral crusaders, where is the outrage over Pyne’s lie? Where is the outrage over any of his lies? And what about Tony Abbott’s history of lying? And what about your own?

Let the outrage begin.

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