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The hysterical fringes have stopped sensible debate

So many important discussions this nation must have are being hijacked by sensationalist scaremongering and the caterwauling from the extreme right.

In true Trump fashion, racial profiling is on the rise. Muslims, Africans and asylum seekers are vilified in a frenzy of xenophobia. Aboriginal disadvantage is due to laziness and giving them too many free handouts.

We can’t even fix the tragic plight of the refugees on Manus and Nauru. They are “quietly” bringing people here they tell us in media reports that are supposed to satisfy the growing calls for immediate action whilst saying “shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone”. At the same time, to satisfy the indignant right, they continue to fight tooth and nail in court to stop these people being freed.

Any discussion about migration quickly simplifies to they are taking our jobs, making housing unaffordable, and clogging our cities.

The genuine issues get lost in an unhealthy lean towards white supremacy, encouraged by this fixation with insisting we all revere western civilisation. Any criticism is unpatriotic. It’s become like some sort of cheerleading exercise – we are here to lead the rest, always prove that west is best.

The same has happened with action on climate change. It has been stymied by the threats of a few politicians to withdraw their loyalty to any leader who even mentions emissions reduction. Anyone who mentions science is a greenie leftard warmist who spends their days at inner-city cafes eating smashed avo and drinking lattes.

These few have been actively courted and bombarded with misinformation from the Minerals Council, the IPA and other lobby groups and media determined to squeeze one last payday out of their coal assets or denialist propaganda.

With pretty much every expert, every agency, every organisation, every stakeholder, and every financier saying renewable energy will reduce the price of electricity, our government seems determined to guarantee the profits of anyone who will build coal-fired power. While they crow about the surge in coal prices, they seem to forget that that makes coal-fired power even less competitive. But hey, joining the dots isn’t big with the extreme right.

In trying to remove discrimination in marriage laws, and promote respectful relationships and acceptance of diversity by providing teachers with resources to use in schools, we have unleashed the extreme right religious lobby who are fighting hard to entrench their discrimination and undo any idea that society actually accepts people for who they are.

The success of these fringe-dwellers in frightening politicians has made everyone realise that sensible discussion ain’t gonna happen – loud threats work better and it’s dog eat dog in trying to shout the loudest. View the education funding jostling.

It remains to be seen how far Labor will go in courting votes by trying to appease the wrong people but one thing is certain – until we remove the Coalition from office, any chance to progress sensible decision-making will be stopped by the Monash Forum and the Monkey Pod boys.


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  1. Diannaart

    Sensible discussion? Sooooo last century.

    … JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’re on the bus tour. Why are you flying?

    PRIME MINISTER: Well the bus is going all the way up to Rockie and that’s where it was always planning to go. I mean, it’s a big state and I need to cover as much of it in four days as I can. So we were never planning to take the bus to Townsville, we’d always planned to take that last leg up to Townsville by plane because that was the most effective way to get there and to spend the most time there with people on the ground. I mean, these visits aren’t about sitting on a bus. They’re about actually engaging with small businesses and our supporters and the people of Queensland and listening to them.

    JOURNALIST: Then why have the bus?

    PRIME MINISTER: Because it gets me from A to B.

    JOURNALIST: Will you be taking the bus to Rockhampton from here?

    PRIME MINISTER: Yes. The bus will be going to Rockhampton from here. That’s right.

    JOURNALIST: With you on it?

    PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got to get there earlier than the bus tonight.

    JOURNALIST: So you will be flying to Rockhampton?

    PRIME MINISTER: I’ll get into Rockhampton tonight and I’ve got a programme tonight in Rockhampton and the bus can’t get me there quick enough so I’ve got to fly.

    JOURNALIST: So you’ll be flying to Rockhampton and the bus will catch up with you and then you’ll fly onto Townsville?

    PRIME MINISTER: I’ll be flying onto Townsville. And your point is what?

    JOURNALIST: I’m just interested in the point of the bus if you’re not on it.

    PRIME MINISTER: I am on it, I just got off it.

    JOURNALIST: But not onto Rockhampton or Townsville?

    PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well it’s a practical thing. I want to spend as much time on the ground with Queenslanders, and when I can be on the bus and go from place to place on the bus, that’s great. But I’m not going to sacrifice time with Queenslanders, listening to them and hearing them and talking to them about what’s important to them just to satisfy the media’s interest in the timetable for the bus…

    Rossleigh must be weeping.

    Acknowledgement to the Blot Report

  2. Kaye Lee

    If the bus wasn’t to attract media attention or to allow Morrison to stop off in small towns, what was it for? Are we being charged for the bus and the planes?

  3. DrakeN

    The real difficulty, as I see it, is getting any kind of sensible discussion within the ordinary electorate.
    So many people with fixed ideas based on little, or totally incorrect, information expounding their views on every topic under the sun and becoming belligerent and aggressive when their opinons are questioned.
    It is a deep malaise of society.

  4. Diannaart

    At the end of the PM’s report, is (predictable) crack at Labor:

    Labor will take a tax sledgehammer to our economy.

    I guess the Libs prefer to nuke our economy.

    “Sensible discussion”? Bwwaaaahaaaaaahhhhaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

  5. DrakeN

    It’s a mobile billboard, Kaye.

    I suspect that it will be another of his failed advertising campaigns.

  6. helvityni

    Must be now about almost ten years ago when on ABC’s Unleashed the right-wingers, the anti-asylum seeker mob, used to shout: they take OUR jobs, OUR houses….and to my great surprise: OUR WOMEN….

    These days they have dropped off the “wife-stealing”… LOL

  7. Kaye Lee


    As part of my research (or some form of masochistic self-flagellation), I have been observing and commenting on Craig Kelly’s facebook page. The misinformation from a member of parliament is extraordinary. He will link to an article about an actual scientific report and then completely misrepresent what the report says and even what the article says. No-one seems to click on the links to read for themselves. When I pull him up on it, which I have done countless times, I am abused by people who just react to Craig’s ridiculous lies without reading – one guy told me I don’t get satire????

    Kelly seriously wrote this…. “First they came for Coal. Then they came for our Cars. Next they came for the Cows. And now the climate alarmists are coming for the Cheese.”

    When I pointed out that what Kelly called a “new study” was published over seven years ago, Craig immediately hit google and, in the space of 5 minutes, linked to three or four more articles, none of which backed his claim that “For those demanding the government ‘’do more’’ to prevent climate change, and to meet Labor’s Paris Target, a ‘Cheese Tax’ is required.”

    If only it WAS satire.

  8. totaram

    DrakeN: Our civilisation has developed science and technology to a level that is too high for us to manage. That is why you get ignorant people insisting they know what they are talking about. There is no way they could ever learn enough about any topic, so they swallow whatever spin is put out by the mass-media. They will tell you that coal-fired power is required for “baseload power”, but they can’t tell you what “baseload power” is. I have a sneaking suspicion even Angus Taylor can’t tell us, but then no one has ever asked him.

  9. Kaye Lee


    It’s fair dinkum power.

  10. Vikingduk

    Apparently we pay for the charter flight and accommodation, Libs pay the bus and driver.

  11. Kaye Lee

    If it’s not campaigning, why are the Libs paying for it?

    Anyone else sick of the new Smogan…

    “We’re listening, we’re hearing, we’re doing” seems to have replaced “If you have a go, you’ll get a go”

  12. Vikingduk

    “About half a doz. staffers usually accompany snotty — two spinners, a policy adviser (probably his holy lump of coal), executive officer and security. The overnight travelling allowance for senior staff varies depending on location. For Brisbane $358 per night, while in Mackay it is $293.

  13. Geoff Andrews

    I have it on good authority from a collegue who works in the very bowels of the LNP that there are four reasons why he is travelling by bus:

    It serves a a toilet in case he’s caught short,
    he doesn’t have to pay excess baggage on the plane, thus saving the taxpayer tens, if not dozens, of dollars
    he intends to enter Rockhampton & Townsville in the manner of Priscilla trailing a huge Queensland flag, and
    he thought he might as well give it a go – nothing else has worked.

  14. Vikingduk

    Geoff Andrews

    No doubt to the charming little ditty Ride of the Valkyries as the motormouth motors on. Must have been why he picked up those Broncos cheerleaders, with a lowly placed source suggesting downer will reprise his role as a desiccated drag queen, complete with the fishnet stockings and high heels. An even lower sauce refused to confirm that snotty wants to pack the bus with some spare coal, just in case.

    My low sauces in high places suggested that asbestos Joolz will meet up with the cavalcade, fulfilling the role of makeup and stylist, with baarnaby, during a night on the piss, penning an aria with the working title, Whisky and coal and wild wild women, to be performed at as yet unnamed local school.

  15. David Stakes

    Is the PM for real. Must think we are all stupid.

  16. Annette Spendlove

    “I mean, these visits aren’t about sitting on a bus. They’re about actually engaging with small businesses and our supporters and the people of Queensland and listening to them.”

    Just look at the priorities right there. Who does he want to connect with? The everyday Queenslander? Silly idea! Nope, he want to connect with ‘small businesses and our supporters..’ and as a distant third ‘the people of Queensland’

    David Stokes – yes, he does think we are all stupid.

    Dunning Kruger effect:
    In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.) Morrison ( I refuse to use the nickname – just too chummy) is a textbook example of DK.

    That hideous smug smirk…

  17. Kronomex

    DrakeN (11.40 A.M.),

    I think you mean it’s a mobile dillboard or dorkboad or dickheadboard. Or all three.

  18. totaram

    Kaye Lee: Fair dinkum power! Thank you! How could I forget? They quickly changed the buzz-word so that no one can ask what it actually means. Remember what Humpty Dumpty said to Alice! Angus Taylor is now on an unassailable wicket. He’s going for fair dinkum power and the power companies will deliver it, by Jove, or else!

  19. Geoff Andrews

    Sauce for the goose?

  20. Geoff Andrews

    Note to the administration of AIMN,
    Eventhough I tick the “Notify me of follow up comments by email” box, I never receive them.
    I receive the “Notify me of new posts” posts.
    Is it me or you?

  21. totaram

    Further to “fair dinkum power”: Dear me! The retailers of electricity seem to have no idea what this is all about:

    “Angus Taylor fails to get price cut commitment from energy retailers”

    If only they had come up with a more exciting buzz-word it might have worked. You reckon? Hee, hee!

  22. Kronomex

    Gawrsh, who’d a thunk it. Keep a playin’ thet banjo Gladys Joe Bob –

    This from a gubmint that keeps people locked up offshore in wire enclosed camps? The absolute gall of Scummo and his cronies.

    No bucket for heaving –

  23. tibor dombi

    Great article Dave, you brought together nicely some of the crucial issues that are not being discussed in an intelligent manner. Pity though, that even on here people seem more interested in buses and who pays what.

  24. Ian

    I think this falls right in the Scummo Tour of Trash category.

    On the Beefy’s Farcebook page, I posted this comment below after choking on my coffee while seeing the delightfully repugnant spectacle of Scummo stuffing his fat head with pies.

    What do the Brains Trust think? Harsh or No?

    “I was a solid Beefys customer until I saw that f*ckwit Morrison wearing a Beefys hat and stuffing his revolting head with pies. What on earth made you decide to cater to that idiot is beyond me. Every time a company decides to partake in a photo op with a politician, you risk losing a large portion of your customer base. You sold out to the LNP. Never for me another Beefys product”

    …and their reply ….

    “Beefy’s – Australia’s Best Pies Hi Ian, as a family run business, Beefy’s is not aligned with any political party. However, to be given a voice with the PM, we saw that as an opportunity to discuss some important local issues with him, with the aim of benefiting all families & all businesses in our region, kind regards Mark & the Beefy’s Team”

    So, what do the Brains Trust think?
    Do these stupid photo ops do any good for the politicians involved, or do they harm the business that get sucked into the vortex of idiocy?

  25. The AIM Network

    Geoff, that’s a glitch with WordPress. We have to wait until they fix it, which hopefully they will do soon. Let us know if it persists.

  26. Terence Mills

    MP Craig Kelly, has gone over to the dark-side with Sky after dark announcing that he will take over from Ross Cameron on the conservative froth & bubble program the Outsiders.

    Kelly, who is currently the sitting member for Hughes in Sydney’s south faces a serious pre-selection challenge, has confirmed he has a “verbal agreement” to co-host Outsiders with commentator Rowan Dean once a week.

    Seems to me that Kelly will now almost certainly lose his pre-selection in Hughes where he is not popular and he is evidently setting up his post politics career as a right-wing shock jock.

    Obviously jobs at Sky are not dished out on merit !

  27. Terence Mills


    I haven’t been able to receive follow up comments for some years : would be nice if they could fix that glitch !

  28. corvus boreus

    The wind howls and the skies weep at the news of the passing of Ted Mack.
    Ted passed quietly on Tuesday after a long struggle with cancer.
    He was a man of true principles who constantly strived for greater political transparency and accountability, and notably eschewed all the opportunity for lurks, perks, graft and grift that come with elected office.
    May his light remain a beacon for others to follow.
    Ave atque vale Ted Mack.

  29. helvityni

    We desperately need more good men of Ted Mack’s ilk in Oz politics, he was quite exceptional…and/or exemplary…

    (OK, OK, good women as well…)

  30. Kyran

    Indeed, corvus boreus and helvityni, it is disturbingly incongruous that respects be paid to Mr Mack in an article titled “The hysterical fringes have stopped sensible debate”.
    In my ignorance of his notable achievements and deep convictions, the following excerpts were of much interest.

    “He introduced open government policies making all council meetings, committees and council files open to the public. There were no meetings of any sort from which the public or press were excluded while he was mayor. Public participation in decision making was created through the establishment of some 24 precinct committees, some 3000 public meetings and 36 referenda over his eight years as mayor. Under Mack’s leadership the council decided all decision making is ultimately the right of the public not aldermen – irrespective of the merits of the public decision.”

    “During his tenure in federal Parliament, Mack opposed unilateral tariff removal, privatisations and was the only vote against Australian involvement in the Gulf War. In his speech on 22 January 1991, Mack said:
    This war is about oil, because 40 per cent of the world’s oil reserves are in this area. This war is about years of greed, of intrigue, of malevolence by local despots and the developed world. Saddam Hussein is a Frankenstein monster created over the last decade by the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other western European countries that supplied him with billions of dollars of armaments, and with the technology for chemical and nuclear warfare. France built Saddam’s nuclear reactor. In the years 1983 to 1989, United States trade with Iraq increased from $571M to $3.6 billion. Only one month before the invasion, the United States Department of Commerce tried to push through a $7.6m deal to sell Iraq nuclear parts.”

    As always, the media latch onto common titles which all but ignore substantial contribution to this thing we call democracy. Their constant reference to him as the ‘Father of Independents’ portrays his contribution as a relevance to a political system and ignore his steadfast conviction that the constituents came first. Had the media ever recognised this, they would likely have referred to him as the ‘Father of Independence’.

    “Mack was elected to North Sydney council in 1974 and became mayor in 1980. He promptly sold the mayoral Mercedes and bought community buses with the proceeds.
    More fundamentally, Mack introduced a radical system of direct democracy. Mack started by opening up council business, with the public able to see all files and reports and attend all meetings.
    Residents could also list proposals to go to referendum and over five years 40 were held, in conjunction with council elections.”

    It is deeply ironic that, had Mr Mack not retired from federal politics due to his objection to excessive parliamentary allowances, one of the most duplicitous grifter’s to ever enter politics, Hockey, would not have stood a chance.
    The reforms he introduced to council appear to have been rescinded and eroded over time. Their site still shows an invitation for constituent participation.

    The constitutional reform of 2012 led to a reduction of councillors and, on the ‘no’ side, it notes that councillors will be expected to work more, which will inhibit their capacity to exercise due diligence and explore new options.

    This resulted in the ‘Community Forums’ being suspended.

    Not due to lack of interest, but due to lack of capacity! Having been unfamiliar with Mr Mack’s story, thank you corvus boreus and helvityni for the reference. For those who think the majority of us are disinterested or disinclined to become involved, here is yet another example of how hungry we are for a genuine opportunity.
    “Bright eyes, burning like fire
    Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
    How can the light that burned so brightly
    Suddenly burn so pale?”
    We are getting closer and closer to democracy and the likes of Mr Mack reminds us of what is in the offing. So, back we go to discussing hysterical fringes.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  31. Ken Smith

    These nongs that call themselves conservatives are nothing of the sort, they are a pack off regressive minded twats that would take us back two hundred years.

  32. Kyran

    Thank you, Ms Lee, for the link. The 2014 article notes;
    “Our many publicly funded schools of Government and Politics also seem to be largely silent on the need for political or constitutional reform with some individual honourable exceptions.”
    Four years ago! It is like we are using the ‘repair manual’ for a 1950’s produced vehicle to attempt repair of the latest overseas manufactured luxury vehicle, such is the discrepancy.

    To completely abuse the analogy, we stopped making vehicles rather than update the manual. Up until this morning, and with deep gratitude to corvus boreus and helvityni, I’d been largely ignorant of Mr Mack. What a treasure today has been.
    It’s a tad odd that a media outlet, a party to ‘the system’, is now becoming an advocate of transparency and accountability as the only effective measures of ‘the system’.

    It hasn’t had much traction yet, given the disemboweling of the ABC, the sale of Fairfax, and the rise of ‘Lachlan of NewsCorpse’. Or that political parties, by their silent approbation, have become signatories to their own ‘death warrants’. Reform will come.

    “We are getting closer and closer to democracy and the likes of Mr Mack reminds us of what is in the offing.” Thank you, again, Ms Lee. Take care

  33. Josephus

    Yes there were some good and intelligent people in power and there remain a few. So what? Populist fascism tied to unfettered capitalism lurks here and in many other societies. The bus is just one of many cheap tactics of a marketing man with a limited intelligence. The problem is democracy? poor education and shackled media? What to do?

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