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Tag Archives: Pauline Hanson

Pauline just attacked women and I don’t like it!

In her latest sick attempt to grab votes so she can secure a seat in the Senate and claim her holy grail – a bigger pay cheque for herself; Pauline Hanson has stooped to yet another low – attacking female victims of domestic violence.

If you can stomach it – her outlandish claims that women make frivolous claims about domestic violence and women, wasting police resources and tying up the court system can be seen here

To those who think that Pauline Hanson “speaks for me” she “speaks her mind” and “she says things people are not game to say.” No. Just no.

She isn’t trendy or cool or ‘speaks her mind’, she doesn’t represent the ‘views of the people’. She is a puerile, inane, mendaciously lying, antagonistic, self-aggrandizer who flies on the coat-tails of creating hatred and division where-ever she can sniff it out.

In short – she wants to drive you to hate others, just so she gets a bigger pay cheque and give herself an ego boost.

Her entire history is about creating division and hatred for personal gain, not to make this country a better place. She never talks about inclusiveness or harmony, just divisive rhetoric about us and them – the ‘normals’ and the ‘abnormals.’

Ms. Hanson has ridden on the back of negativity and fear mongering of Asians and Indigenous Australians to create groups who can be bracketed as, not fitting in, not like the rest of us, different – ‘abnormal’.

Ms. Hanson’s 1996 Maiden speech to Parliament warned Australians of the damage that Aboriginal people and Asians do to our society. Now the fear and hatred in the 2016 campaign has turned to Muslims and she is milking that cow until it is dry. She is the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set.

If you are still thinking of voting for her then why is her platform in 2016 not about stigmatising and creating division between white Australians and Indigenous People or Asians? It was so important last time she put her hand up that ‘Australia is being swamped by Asians, or Aborigines get too many privileges.” Why not now?

Answer: Because Pauline Hanson knows there are no votes in it. She knows people will be outraged in these days of reconciliation and people know that Asians have not swamped Australia.

However, there are still many people who are fearful of Muslims, do not understand their culture, are not ready to accept them as Australians and underneath that is fear and that fear equals votes where she can get them.

Indeed, there are always pockets of men who feed off ensuring women are kept weak, meek and not heard. There are always pockets of men who think they deserve a bigger space than women in the world; even if an epidemic is so severe that women are the focus first; these types of men simply must insist that the experiences of men must be the primary focus, regardless of the implications for women or the burdens or consequences women suffer.

Pauline has pricked her ears up and she is listening to these men. Even where the system does recognise men are victims and there are men specific programs (many created BY women), and the language is changing to intimate partner violence to be more inclusive.She simply does not like it.

Pauline won’t speak to any of this because she wants people to believe this is a gender issue. She wants people to believe that men are the most hard done by and women are ‘winning’ tax payer funded supports over more deserving men like it is some sick contest.

If the welfare bludger who gets it all versus the hard working tax payer who gets nothing could be an uglier colour – this is what it looks like.

So apparently there must votes in appealing to this group. To get these votes, today’s latest target (bullies have targets) are victims of domestic violence.

Hanson’s allegations that women victims of domestic violence make frivolous claims, is the same divisive, attack dog, them and us mentality of those who seek to stigmatise those on welfare as dole bludgers, cheats, lazy and frauds. Or those who seek to label people of different ethnicities as ‘bludgers and job stealers, murderers and rapists.’

The main aim of Hanson’s breed of politician is to stigmatise a particular group. Today that group comprises of women who are emotionally tortured to the point of self-worthlessness, beaten, threatened, stalked and killed.

Stigma aims to socially discredit a group of people. Stigma seeks to bracket people so they are not ‘normal’ and when people are seen as ‘not normal’ people who think they are ‘normal’ are afraid of the ‘abnormals’.

When people are afraid, opportunistic, egocentric politicians put themselves forth as ‘the protector’ of the ‘normals from the ‘abnormals.’ No one needs protecting from women victims of domestic violence.

No Pauline, you do not need to protect anyone from women victims of domestic violence.

No Pauline, you do not need to plead a case for less tax-payers money going on women’s services.

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be threatened by your ignorant rhetoric and be bracketed as ‘abnormal.’

No Pauline, just because men experience domestic violence, it does not invalidate the experiences of women and make their claims frivolous.

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be shamed into thinking they are ‘wasting the big strong policeman’s time and not speak up.’

No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not sink to the depths of silence when so many people around them are trying to lift them up to speak up.

Instead of giving examples of why or when men are not believed, or what services we need for men; Hanson’s ignorant allegation is that women are frivolous in their claims.

This is to give the impression that women are creating a false epidemic with their mendacious lies and this gives no real space for male victims. (Just read the comments following the original article linked above.)

We do not need to shame or silence women, or make them think that they are a burden on the system, so women shrink even more and create a bigger space for men who are victims of domestic violence.

If Pauline Hanson is unable to argue a bigger space for men in domestic violence services, without putting women down, then why does she deserve anyone’s vote?

If you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson up to this point, ask yourself, “How does it benefit our country to start a narrative which is only meant to stigmatise and shame women who are victims of domestic violence and make it harder for them to speak up?”

To appeal to enough people to win votes with this latest outlandish claim; Pauline Hanson will want this message of ‘women victims of domestic violence making frivolous claims’ to get louder and louder and the following to grow bigger and bigger. Just like she did back in the 90’s with Indigenous people and Asians.

Imagine the same aggressive, hateful, divisive rhetoric raising its ugly head as Hanson has done to Asians, Indigenous people, those on welfare and now Muslims; towards victims of domestic violence. Imagine that kind of Australia.

The more aggressive, the more hateful, the more divisive the rhetoric, the more doubts that are created in people’s minds, the more women remain silent because of this narrative and the more perpetrators believe women will not speak up, then the more women will die. Is this what you really want to vote for?

When Pauline Hanson attacks diversity, she doesn’t recognise how other cultures enrich us and teach us and how we can learn respect for customs and traditions. Multiculturalism helps us to stop being insular and selfish and gives us the gift of inclusiveness. Now she wants to widen the gap between women and men. She wants to give the impression that women are getting more in this space than men are. She wants us to position men and women victims to compete. She wants us to think about how unfair that is and how she can help correct that ‘unfairness.’

It would be a safe bet that if people started to be doubtful of cute kitten owners or didn’t understand them, Ms. Hanson would jump on that bandwagon as well to serve her own ego. I don’t believe any nationality, sexuality, gender or religion or anyone who is slightly different than in Pauline Hanson’s world of what is ‘normal’ is safe from being a target, if she thought it meant more votes.

The growth of this type of Nationalist, divisive and hateful politician, can be summed up in the words of Aboriginal Elder and former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Senator Patrick Dodson:

“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.”

On July 2, we will decide the Prime Minister and his Government. This Prime Minister and his MPs and Senators must listen to Mr. Dodson’s words and work hard to build a future where Australians live with certainty, hope and inclusiveness of all Australians and put an end to politicians pitting us against each other.

That future Australia will not be built with any contributions from Pauline Hanson.

…and if you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson: Hang your head in shame.

stigma goffman

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Virus Alert

By Richard O’Brien

CSIRO scientists have announced they have discovered a new and virulent strain of the Hanson virus infecting Australian fauna. Following a major outbreak in 1996 the virus was eventually brought under control with the introduction of the Common Sense vaccine in 1998. Despite this, scientists have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to completely eradicate the Hanson virus due to its ability to remain dormant for years while waiting for an opportunity to once again spread.

The virus is usually contracted when fauna comes into regular contact with horse or cattle dung. While most species of Australian fauna are susceptible to the virus – often resulting in prolonged periods of nausea and regular bouts of déjà vu – it is particularly prevalent in the subspecies Raciust Arseholus, better known as the common wanka.

The wanka can be found throughout most parts of Australia, often congregating in mobs around Andrew Bolt’s blog, talk-back radio shows and proposed locations for mosques. Possessing a generally obnoxious disposition, the wanka can become aggressively territorial towards many introduced species, despite being an introduced species itself. Wankas often adorn themselves in nationalistic paraphernalia to gain acceptance into the mob. Despite their jingoistic appearance, wankas spend most of their time carping on about how shit the country’s become, to anyone who’ll listen.

The introduction of the Federal Government’s Bigots Protection Act 2014 has led to a sharp increase in wanka numbers which, combined with recent outbreaks of Islamaphobia, have helped create ideal conditions for the Hanson virus to spread. This problem is further compounded by the fact that wankas are generally unresponsive to either the Common Sense or Rational Discussion vaccines.

A spokesperson for the CSIRO says scientists now believe they are close to a breakthrough in their quest to eradicate the virus.

“Despite its obdurate nature the Hanson virus is dependent on large doses of media exposure to survive”, the spokesperson said. “For the sake of maintaining Australia’s diverse fauna we are now asking all journalists in Australia to wash their hands thoroughly of all topics likely to be infected with the Hanson virus”.

 

First rule of war: Know thy enemy

(An update to this article was added on 18 November.)

Following the attacks in Paris on the weekend, there is little doubt that we – along with most of the rest of the Western world – are at war with ISIL. And at the risk of stating the obvious, the key to winning any war is knowing who the enemy is and correspondingly, who our allies are.

But understanding who’s an enemy and who’s an ally in this conflict seems to be something that many are struggling with. This is understandable – to some extent at least – as many still think of war as something that is fought between nations. But as I wrote last weekend, this is not a war which is defined by physical boundaries. You can’t point at a specific nationality – or even a specific religion – and say everyone of that nationality or religion is the enemy.

Jumping on the enemy bandwagon…

Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped some from using the tragedy of war to try and garner support for their own particular message of hatred and/or bigotry. Here’s some homegrown examples:

  • Tony Abbott – has been out and about, using this tragedy to push his stop-the-boats mantra, warning that terrorists are hiding in the ‘flood of refugees‘; and
  • Pauline Hanson – who has also grasped the opportunity to push her own particularly brand of bigotry, calling for a “Royal Commission into Islam” and demanding that Australia immediately cease all migration from “Muslim” countries.

The sad and tragic irony of this is that the likes of Abbott and Hanson have – albeit unwittingly – become voices for ISIL, pushing the very message that ISIL want them to push.

Pushing hatred and bigotry is exactly what ISIS want

Commentator Waleed Aly’s message on The Project yesterday evening made this very clear:

https://youtu.be/XXUZjyZVj6s

In Aly’s words:

“ISIL’s leaders would be ecstatic to hear that since the atrocity in Paris, Muslims have reportedly been threatened and attacked in America, England and here in Australia. Because this evil organisation has it in their heads that if they can make Muslims the enemy of the West, then Muslims…will have nowhere to turn but to ISIL…

We all need to come together, because it’s exactly what ISIL doesn’t want.”

But instead of coming together, many are being taken in by fear mongering – and as a result confusion reigns about who’s an enemy and who’s an ally.

Being French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a refugee.

Just look at the response to the fact that a Syrian refugee passport was found next to one of the terrorists last weekend. Suddenly more than a dozen US states have said they will bar Syrian refugees and many countries in Europe are talking about putting up fences and barbed wire to protect their borders – as though this will somehow keep them safe.

The fact that at least five of the terrorists were French nationals and their leader was Belgian is just completely ignored in discussions around how to prevent terrorism – instead the focus is on refugees. Nobody is suggesting that we close our borders to all French and Belgian citizens – even though they were the bulk of last weekend’s terrorist cell – because we recognise that this would be absurd. Being Belgian or French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a Syrian refugee.

Fighting the real enemy

The bottom line is that the very best way to fight ISIL at home is to fight racism, to fight bigotry, to welcome refugees, to support Muslims in their fight against extremism – because this is the exact opposite of what our enemy wants us to do.

If we don’t do this – if we allow the likes of Abbott and Hanson to divert our attention to their petty biases and bigotries – then instead of fighting the real enemy, we will be fighting our allies and doing ISIL’s work for them. And the outcome of this could be catastrophic.

In the words of Sun Tzu:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle.” (The Art of War)

UPDATE on 18 November 2016

Since I first wrote this article, authorities have confirmed that the Syrian passport found near the body of one of the terrorists was a fake, and that the terrorist attack was ‘homegrown’. It had absolutely nothing to do with any refugee from Syria or elsewhere. This suggests what many have suspected – that the terrorist may have been carrying a Syrian passport for the purpose of turning Westerners against refugees.

Unfortunately, the terrorists’ ploy appears to be working, as state after state in the US – undeterred by facts – confirms that it will no longer take refugees from Syria. Since I wrote this article yesterday, the number has more than doubled to 26 states. Further, conservative Republican candidates like Donald Trump are falling over themselves to support ISIS through their fear-based rhetoric – with Trump calling for the US to shut mosques and using the Paris Tragedy as an argument to support US gun laws.

This post was first published on ProgressiveConversation.

 

Abbott another Right Wing Nutter.

There’s nothing quite as pathetic as watching a former Australian prime minister trying to redress a less than stellar political career. That Tony Abbott would use the Margaret Thatcher Lecture to do it, however, seems to fit nicely into his Anglophilic world view.

The event itself, celebrating a former UK Prime Minister who was far more arrogant and divisive than Abbott, seems a fitting place for him. No UK leader in living memory evoked such hatred for the way she so callously destroyed working class livelihoods.

Perhaps one should stop wasting good time writing about Tony Abbott. After devoting the last two years to his downfall and now celebrating that most joyous event, I would prefer never to pen his name again.

But after watching some of his Margaret Thatcher Lecture as he addressed that most pompous of audiences at the Guildhall in London, it became apparent that he is destined to follow another former PM and continue to embarrass himself and us along the way. It seems he is going to keep my keyboard working a little longer.

It is sad to watch someone in decline try to establish a positive legacy. It is worse when that effort is filled with such poisonous vitriol filled with such anti-human, anti-Christian values. As Alan Austin suggests, Abbott is in danger of being “consigned to the bin of foreign, right wing nutters along with Sarah Palin, Geert Wilders and Pauline Hanson.”

thatcher Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, was the one who took on Argentina’s President Galtieri when he invaded the Falkland Islands. Against the advice from the Ministry of Defence she dispatched a Naval Task Force to reclaim them.

The Argentine invasion was a bizarre act by the ageing president in an attempt to deflect attention from his country’s appalling human rights record and its economic malaise.

The Falklands incident, however, could have been handled effectively through diplomatic channels over time. After all, it was a worthless rock in the Southern Ocean that meant little to either side. But Thatcher decided a show of force was necessary.

The result: Britain suffered 258 killed and 777 wounded. In addition, 2 destroyers, 2 frigates, and 2 auxiliary vessels were sunk. But they did reclaim their islands. For Argentina, the Falklands War cost 649 killed, 1,068 wounded, and 11,313 captured. In addition, the Argentine Navy lost a submarine, a light cruiser, and 75 fixed-wing aircraft.

As we have all witnessed recently, Tony Abbott, as Prime Minister, displayed an obsessive interest in defence and a willingness to commit Australian defence personnel to foreign conflicts. It is reasonable to speculate he would have gone further had his hold on the top job been stronger.

In his address to the English Lords and ladies, he suggested that placing boots on the ground in Syria was a necessary component to defeating ISIS. His use of the dreaded ‘death cult’ slogan was an embarrassment that, fortunately, the few who heard it, would not have understood.

But, there is little doubt that a ‘Coalition of the Willing Mark 2’, if it was gathered, would have seen Australian soldiers caught up in that conflict if Abbott was still in charge.

We are a better nation for his removal from such a powerful position. It was a strange act on Abbott’s part to make such divisive comments to a foreign audience while still a member of the Australian government. It is hard to see Malcolm Turnbull agreeing to such a scenario.

Mr Squeaky Clean? Turnbull avoided chastising him in public, but I would be surprised if that was the last Abbott heard about it. Thankfully, the address was largely ignored by the international media, but not by those were keen to satirise it.

Abbott’s term as PM is now little more than a blimp on the radar and we have regained our self-respect. This, however, does not mean to say we are being governed well. We are not. Those appalling asylum seeker detention tactics are still in play and our economy is still heading south. The latest CPI figures are a prelude to recession.

These and other issues will test the Turnbull government in the coming months. If Labor is to mount a serious challenge to counter Turnbull’s popularity, something will have to be done about Bill Shorten.

But somehow, that hurdle pales in comparison to the one the nation has already cleared. We have rid ourselves of one right wing nutter. There are still some around though and they need to be exposed for the danger they represent.

 

Racist Australia? Of course.

The Adam Goodes booing saga has me shocked. I’m not shocked at the incident itself; as a lifelong AFL supporter I’ve seen a lot of booing in my time. I’m not shocked at the accusation of some of the booing being racist; clearly we can all acknowledge that even though many of the booers have no racist intent, some of them do and obviously all the booing of Goodes must stop. I’m not even shocked at the saturation media coverage of the story, and the fact that everyone who is anyone has weighed into the debate; social media has also been in a lather all week. This all comes as no surprise to me. The issue is rightly one that should be discussed and I welcome calls for a national focus on combatting racism and discrimination. What does however come as a huge shock to me is that the public seem shocked that racism exists in our country. Anyone who is surprised that in a crowd of around 30,000 members of the Australian public, there are a few hundred racist people, needs to take a closer look at their country. Because of course there are racists in Australia. Have you seen who our Prime Minister is?

I understand that it’s not a nice subject for many people to talk about because it doesn’t make them feel very good about Australia. But let’s take a good, long, hard look at ourselves and avoid the temptation to put our heads in the sands of denial. The election of Tony Abbott and the continued national acceptance of his strategies of using divisive, racist policies to turn Australians against minority groups is all the proof you need of a strong racist element that runs through our national veins.

Let’s not forget that racist attitudes gave birth to Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party. Sure, this party hasn’t had any recent success. But it’s easy to forget that in the 1998 election, Hanson’s party received 9% of the vote. And then of course Abbott set up a slush fund to get rid of Hanson. Because his Liberal Party needed her voters. And his Liberal Party has been courting the votes of those people who supported Hanson’s racist views about indigenous Australians and opposition to multiculturalism ever since. How has this huge population of racist Australians whose votes are so important to the Liberal Party’s electoral success escaped the attention of people so completely shocked by the Adam Goode’s booing saga? This is not some niche success either; this is Abbott’s success at becoming Prime Minister.

Fear-mongering towards racists is at the heart of Abbott’s favourite vote-winning, or poll-lifting policies. Look at Abbott’s obsession with national security, including his reaction to the Sydney siege, which was automatically framed as part of the ‘Islamic fundamentalist terrorist’ threat facing Australia, rather than a mentally-ill-lone-nutter who just so happened to be of Muslim faith. Who do you think Abbott’s appealing to when he talks about ‘Team Australia’ and says ‘whose side are you on’? When he obsesses over taking away people’s passports? Yes, it’s the part of Australia who boos Goodes for racist reasons. And what about Abbott’s asylum seeker policies that block the world’s desperate displaced people from getting to Australia, or living here if they’ve arrived previously. Does Abbott stand up for the indigenous Australians living in poverty stricken remote communities by working to improve their access to healthcare, education and social services that would help to narrow the gap? Of course he doesn’t. Instead he makes racist statements about their ‘lifestyle choice’ after withdrawing Federal support, forcing the WA government to close over 100 communities down. Where was the outrage then?

More recently, Abbott has refused to ban one of his government MP’s from speaking at, and endorsing, a Reclaim Australia rally. These rallies were attended by Australians who hate a particular religious minority so much that they are willing to march in the streets to advertise their hatred. Does the site of these rallies not shock Australia? Do people waving Swastikas in our streets not warrant a national conversation about racist elements in our society? Apparently not.

The point is, Tony Abbott isn’t some bogan at the footy booing an Indigenous footballer. Tony Abbott is our Prime Minister. He was chosen by the country to represent us. He’s supposably the best leader we could find. And his entire political career is reliant on division, scare-campaigns and appeals to the racist element of Australia which people shocked by booing football fans appear to forget exists. So I’m glad that something has put racism on the agenda, even if it’s not the issue I expected to spark the debate. And now that we’re talking about racism, and we’re all determined to do something about it, can we have a look at the Prime Minister we’ve chosen and accept that if we’re going to be shocked that racism still exists in our community, we should be shocked, and ashamed, that Abbott and his government represents us.

 

Australia Cannot Afford the Coalition

australia

This isn’t an article about economics. This is an article about something far more precious – Culture.

Australia is losing the best parts of itself and at the speed, this slide is happening we’re going to be culturally bankrupt before we get a chance to save the farm.

Things started to go bad during the Howard years. Australia’s most reactionary leader and government sought to unravel the fabric of the social reforms of the Whitlam era, particularly in regard to the rights of women, whose proper station in life had clearly been forgotten.

What he couldn’t achieve in that specific respect he made up for with his own ideas on how to reverse the progressive trend of the Nation’s growth pattern.

He took our famed and admittedly somewhat exaggerated “egalitarianism” and thoroughly trashed it with middle-class welfare programs.

He is the progenitor of the modern illness of a sense of entitlement amongst the not-so-badly-off classes. He is the force behind the demonisation of people seeking asylum in this country.

He took the long-standing and genuine humanitarian impulses of thinking Australians – from all parts of the political spectrum – and threw them into the frothy wake of a ship called Tampa.

He took the children of moral decency and reason and threw them overboard like so much burly and watched the sharks of racism circle.

He ignited the anxieties of the more conservative and insecure elements of our society with jingoistic rhetoric about border control and who should and should not come to this country.

He openly and brazenly traded in fear and loathing.

It wasn’t just desperate foreign people using desperate measures that he sought to demonise. He managed to do it to all sorts of Australians as well.

First, it was single mothers, the perception of whom he changed to lazy sluts (with a lot of help from pathologically sanctimonious media types like Ray Martin).

Single mothers in the worst financial positions (getting little or no maintenance) received less GST compensation than any other families.

During this time single mothers were perceived as a threat to the institution of marriage itself. Not merely symbolically, but quite literally, at least in Conservative terms. Fifties’ Conservatism.

Then there was the welfare class more generally. Howard gave life and breath to a deranged individual by the name of Pauline Hanson, whose single greatest contribution to Australian culture is the sickly pious and demented mentality of “downward envy” – envy and judgement directed at people who get something that you don’t, even if they have nothing in the first place, or as one analyst put it, “The unhealthy desires of some people to ensure that anyone they deem to be lower on the social and economic scale than themselves, stays there.”

The Liberals let Pauline go soon enough, only to enthusiastically embrace the worst characteristics of her social policy and sell them wholesale to a public keen for a cheap deal.

Howard also allowed greedy, profiteering insurance companies all across this country to make it nigh on impossible for community groups to continue with publicly staged events.

Fairs, fetes, festivals, concerts and markets closed down all across the land. Many have never returned. This particular loss to Australian culture is still being felt today.

Far too little has been made of it. It is a hugely significant matter to communities everywhere because it is precisely these sorts of events that make communities; these are the things that bind and unite.

Howard’s complete inaction with respect to insurance company profiteering was nothing less than cultural vandalism. No effort was made to protect communities legislatively.

Then along came Kevin Rudd and a couple of moderate Coalition leaders and it seemed for a second that things might turn around a little.

But by this time Labor had shifted so far to the centre-right that nothing much was going to change. Some of us thought that at least we might have some respite from the cultural and spiritual decline. No such luck.

Tony Abbott and the Mainstream Media were soon on hand to ensure that no such respite was to be had. There was work to be done. There were institutions to sully, minds to manipulate and demons to exorcise.

If you thought the Howard years were an exercise in abject cynicism, you hadn’t seen anything yet.

Six years of incessant Opposition negativity, mendacity, manipulation, backed, promulgated and codified by a sycophantic media, has reduced this Nation’s heart and soul to a lump of cold, dark charcoal.

No-one can possibly engage in such scurrilous behaviour for an extended period of time and not expect that it will have social repercussions. Political apathy is a real problem in this country and it’s been made worse by the political environment of the last six years.

Labor is certainly not innocent in this, but their role is far less sinister than that of the Coalition and the Mainstream Media.

But lack of political engagement is not something any political party has to fear when the media is on your side. In fact, it’s in the interests of such a party to try and increase it. An ostensibly passive audience can be told most anything and have it be believed.

You simply have to be the one in control of the message. The Coalition has offered the electorate what amounts to a policy vacuum and many have been sucked into it.

Over the last six years, the Coalition has debased the Parliament by their actions and behaviour within those very chambers. Labor’s leadership problems were unfortunate (and not entirely of their own making), but they had nothing to do with the Parliament or the Government per se.

They functioned perfectly well on the Government’s side of things despite the dramas happening in the Party Room. The tragedy is that the Coalition will not be punished in any way for their abject disregard for this Nation’s most significant institution.

The deep cognitive dissonance that has been engendered by a long and consistent campaign to demonise successive Labor Governments will likely be successful. They honestly think they are Pavlov and we are their dogs.

Sadly, the bell will toll for far too many Australian electors. Conservatives use demonisation at every turn. They know this taps into the worst parts of the Australian psyche and they don’t care – or perhaps more accurately don’t see it because that’s precisely the realm they inhabit themselves.

Like an emphysemic lung, the soul of the Nation has been gradually darkened by this mentality and the only available oxygen is laced with a toxic blend of Conservative Carbon and Murdoch Monoxide.

Political cynicism and passivity, a rampant sense of entitlement by those who have no cause to feel it, xenophobia, downward envy, loss of charity, loss of our egalitarian spirit, loss of sense of community, loss of trust in important institutions, loss of tolerance.

These are all facets of the cultural decline Australia has been suffering since the Howard Government. They are all consequences of the Conservative mentality.

It seemed for a moment in 2007 when the Nation flushed the Howard Government down the toilet we’d done so in a moment of genuine insight into what had befallen us.

It’s as though we woke up briefly, but have now returned to our default state of somnambulance. At this election, we have the opportunity to slow the cultural slide or to add lubricant to it.

Be in no doubt, an Abbott led Coalition Government will be a return to the Howard brand. A Coalition loss would instead see a movement in their ranks to something more reasonable and moderate, with Malcolm Turnbull at the tiller.

Be in no doubt also that a vote for the Coalition will be a vote for nine months of political and policy chaos.

There is no chance that the Coalition can govern effectively given that the current make-up of the Senate does not change until July next year. The Greens have the balance of power in the Senate.

Just how much of the Coalition’s policy agenda is going to see the light of day? Are we headed for a full election of both houses early next year? The Coalition is certainly chest-beating about that prospect. I guess that’s part of their plan to Stop the Waste.

Will Abbott instead back away from his policy agenda and tear up his “contract” with the Australian people?

Will he indulge in the mammoth hypocrisy and contradiction of doing deals with the Greens? No-one knows.

What we do know is one of those scenarios will unfold and nothing resembling stable governance will happen for the first nine long months of a Coalition Government.

By contrast, the re-election of the Labor Government will mean a neat segue from a static carbon price to a floating carbon price, and in most other respects, business as usual.

Pauline Hanson and friends

I’ve never paid any attention to anything Pauline Hanson says, but I’m starting to pay some attention to what people say about her. It was the article on news.com today titled “Please explain Julia Gillard” by Tory Maguire that directed me on this new ‘thought trail’. The article is reproduced in full below, to save the more intelligent among us from having to click on a link that leads to news.com:

See what happens when you drop your politics to the lowest common denominator.

Julia Gillard’s botched attempt at populism this week with her jobs-for-Aussies-first pledge brought Pauline Hanson back out of the woodwork, firstly to claim vindication, and now to muse on a return to politics.

When Hanson muses on something, such as fleeing Australia for ever to live in the UK, it doesn’t always pan out, so her promise (threat) to return to public life should be taken with a grain of salt.

But such is her political logic, this week Hanson has both praised Gillard for finally seeing the light on foreign workers, and now insisted she will run again because of the lack of “representation” of Australians in public life.

Gillard is fighting fires on every conceivable front. Her 457 visa pronouncements this week were a blatant attempt to appeal to the cliched idea of “the western Sydney voter”.

It’s unlikely to have much political upside, but the downside for Gillard is with Hanson on her side she loses ground in all directions.

What an apt Christian name: Tory. It clearly doubles as a political expression. Pauline Hanson unofficially endorses a Labor policy therefore Julia Gillard is guilty of dropping politics to the lowest common denominator. Hanson is ugly therefore Gillard is ugly.

Shortly before Hanson announced her unofficial support for the Prime Minister, the 457 visa issue was put fairly and squarely under the media spotlight. The article “Coalition takes aim at Gillard staffer on 457 visa is an example”. It is not a news.com site, so feel free to visit it. Talk on 457 visas was the new ‘national debate’ and of course, the Prime Minister was being slammed. Then yesterday, this:

Julia Gillard received support today on one of her other policies, the 457 visas.

One Nation founder Pauline Hanson is backing the Prime Minister’s push to fill jobs vacancies with Australians before turning to foreign workers.

I believe this was staged.

The LNP might be pleased that Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor has had to spend the last 24 hours distancing the ALP from Hanson while the Murdoch media attempt to portray them as buddies.

Mr O’Connor said he found most of Ms Hanson’s views reprehensible.

“She’s irrelevant to the public debate,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“She, of course, only came into the public spotlight because she was a Liberal candidate.”

I smell a rat. A rat called Tony Abbott. Consider this:

Pauline Hanson is backing Tony Abbott, the man who helped kill off her political career, over Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Ms Hanson, the other famous female redhead of Australian politics, said she’d put her grudges to the side and support the Opposition leader’s tilt for the top job.

“I won’t be voting for Julia Gillard PM.

“Australian people are sick and tired of the illegals coming here and being looked after when we can’t look after our own.”

Ms Hanson said she supported Mr Abbott for prime minister despite their history as foes.

Ms Hanson said she was not Mr Abbott’s best friend but he was a better alternative prime minister.

“Tony Abbott came after me, he was responsible for the slush fund against me,” Ms Hanson said.

“But you know what, I’ll back Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

“I’m the type of person who will not hold a grudge for the sake of holding a grudge.

Does anybody else small the same rat?

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Tony Abbott in the Lodge: Never

David Marr’s quarterly essay “Political Animal” gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. And given that Mr Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph: “Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s new strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.” Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day passes without referring to the Prime minister as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face I might add. He seeks to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined NO. Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

In the US the Republicans with all this propaganda have sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite to the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for two years the Prime Minister has been demonised by a right wing (Murdoch) news media pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a women with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character. I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation:

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven.”

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Or that’s just politics. However my focus here is on character and whether Mr Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period of time he simply doesn’t have the essence of character which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

The evidence for this assertion follows. None of these events are in chronological order. They are just as they come to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.

When the President of the US visited he broke long standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley; an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.

More recently he refused a pair whilst the Prime Minister was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.

Referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing”.

He was accused of assaulting a women at university and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.

Another women accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborated her story.

He threatens to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a women’s right to an abortion.

In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. He punched him in the face. It never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.

And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match? Yes, he did.

He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.

And let’s not forget the role he played also in the jailing of Pauline Hanson. After One Nation shocked the Coalition by winning 11 seats in Queensland in June 1998, Abbott was determined to dig up every piece of dirt he could on Hanson. In his own words, on her demise he boasts this was:

“All my doing, for better or for worse. It has got Tony Abbott’s fingerprints on it and no-one else’s.”

Yes, even after saying that, he still lies about its existence.

He was ejected from the House of Representatives once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.

In 2000 he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.

Abused Nicola Roxon after he had turned up late for a debate.

Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook or a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying at the same time. After all this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.

Together with Christopher Pyne seen running from the House of Representatives to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.

Being the first Opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.

The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?

The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.

And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

During the Republic Referendum he told many outrageous untruths.

His famous “Climate change is crap” comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question: “Is that what you always do?”

His almost daily visits to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the ‘carbon tax’ (a scare campaign best described as fraudulent). None of which have come to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.

And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so in Parliament the next day.

Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.

He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.

And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.

Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.

And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.

I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait.

We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden. I used to think that John Howard was a mean-spirited, nasty piece of work, but in comparison to Tony Abbott he appears as kind, caring and compassionate as Mother Teresa. Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and the way he belittles those who are suffering from it. He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he’s been inherently nasty for as long as people have known him, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I first took notice of his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour . . . Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”

Nasty. To the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported the listing of the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it wasn’t disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Yesterday, Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition. “It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

He loves making fun of dying people. Does he expect we’ll all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam wasn’t even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an extremely wrong note.

He said she was a ”woman of style and substance” and ”a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister”.

”There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam,” Mr Abbott said.

Nasty. To the core.

If politics is fundamentally about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On three occasions I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis has done nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye he is most effective in attack dog mode. However he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies. Or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbles over tough questions. This is particularly noticeable when he tries to explain the complexity of policy detail.

The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character. A man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy The Lodge. Given his performance of late he would do well to consider these words: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It’s easy to understand what Abbott says because he only speaks in slogans. The difficulty is knowing what he means.

I have used this line in one of my short stories and it aptly sums up the character of Honourable Leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition.

As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception.

Please note, this was written prior to the Prime Minister’s now famous ‘sexist speech’ and does not include these snippets of Tonyisms.

His dying of shame comment.

His “lack of experience in raising children” comment.

His “make an honest women of herself ” comment.

His “no doesn’t mean no” comment.

  1. “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

  2. “These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers”.

On rights at work:

  1. “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband . . . you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss”.

On women:

  1. “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience”.

  2. “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”.

  3. “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”.

  4. “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year . . .”

On Julia Gillard:

  1. “Gillard won’t lie down and die”.

On climate change:

  1. “Climate change is absolute crap”.

  2. “If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax”.

On homosexuality:

  1. “I’d probably . . . I feel a bit threatened”.

  2. “If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things . . . “

On Indigenous Australia:

  1. “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”.

  2. ‘”Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that . . .”

  3. “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done”.

On Nicola Roxon:

16: “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”

I could go on. History is filled with examples of how low this man is; of how nasty he is.

I fear that we may not yet have seen the full extent of his nastiness. We might have to wait – God forbid – for the day he ever becomes Prime Minister.

It’ll be nasty for all of us.