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The irony of Australians who laugh about Trump

There is a slightly painful irony to Australians joking about Trump voters.

Australians generally don’t show a great amount of interest for in-depth analysis of national politics (thanks in part to the appalling and partisan coverage of commercial media networks), let alone international politics. But even so, most Australians seem at least peripherally aware of the colossal and ongoing train-wreck that is the Trump Presidency.

I noted a few months back that the number of Australian commentators willing to stick their necks out in support of Donald Trump had quietly diminished over the previous twelve months of demonstrable incompetence and dishonesty. Now Australians of many political persuasions (except perhaps One Notion voters who would probably vote for him if they could) sneer at President Trump and the voters who still support him even as he dismantles their country for the benefit of the ultra-rich.

This reaction might seem perfectly reasonable to most people, but it actually really pisses me off.

Let’s look at the Trump administration for a moment.

The President is an unrepentant, almost pathological liar who views anti-Islamic fears within the community as an opportunity to exploit. The administration is stacked with science-denying religious conservatives who refuse to acknowledge even the most blatant of wrongdoing and instead try to deflect through dog-whistling. It is a government that works for the benefit of only the wealthiest individuals and corporations; and its corruption and incompetence is obfuscated from the public through the deliberate lies and spin of the Murdoch-owned Fox News.

​You might think there is plenty of reasons Australians might think Donald Trump’s government is laughably undeserving of its position- but it can’t be any of the points I just mentioned, because they are all just as true about the Morrison government. It frustrates me that Australia’s disdain for the Trump Administration does not correlate with disgust at our own Coalition government, when they are just so similar.

Don’t believe me? Go through it yourself. Morrison’s litany of lies and false claims about refugees, the economy, the environment (and now bizarrely about cars) seems to increase every time I hear him speak. He is also widely reported as having suggested in a cabinet meeting that the Liberal Party seek to exploit anti-Islam fears for electoral gain. The Coalition’s disdain for science and antipathy for renewable energy is well documented, as has been their ongoing religious crusade against LGBTI rights. With their emphasis on cutting penalty rates, and tax rates to the wealthy as well as their protracted and ultimately unsuccessful efforts to protect the banks from the Royal Commission- all while cutting services to the most needy in society- they have also shown clearly their primary concern is for the wealthy and their lucrative corporate connections that they will leverage for financial gain after leaving politics. Overall, the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government has had more scandals and failures than any government has the right to get away with, but rather than ever taking responsibility they just try to distract the public with the aid of the Murdoch-owned papers and Sky News.

And they might get away with it. Two-party-preferred polling still somehow has Labor only slightly ahead of the Coalition and the Murdoch press is doing everything it can to narrow the gap. So yeah, I’m worried and frustrated.

Perhaps more Australians approve of Trump than I realise, but they’ve certainly gone quiet. It seems much more likely that a lot of Liberal voters and conservative commentators can see that Trump is a conman and would think themselves too smart to vote for him. This was borne out last year in polling by The Australian showing 54% of Coalition voters disapproved of Trump’s performance as president. And if you are one of those people, you might think I’m being unfair because there are other odious things about the Trump Administration that I didn’t mention above and that you wouldn’t vote for.

But it can’t be Trump’s disdain for the basic structures of democratic institutions. Peter Dutton has shown time and again that he believes the less informed the Australian people are and the less civil rights they have, the better and spent millions of dollar fighting our legal system’s judgements that sick refugees be brought to Australia for treatment. Meanwhile, Michaelia Cash is willing to spend nearly a million dollars of taxpayer’s money to fight court orders for her to cooperate with AFP investigations into the politically motivated leaking of information from her office.

It also can’t be Trump’s sex scandals and general misogyny, unless you’ve forgotten about Andrew Broad, Barnaby Joyce and the treatment of Julie Bishop and Julia Banks. Nor Trump’s smug disdain for the poor, considering the years of continued attacks on Australia’s most vulnerable by Joe “Poor people don’t need to drive far” Hockey, Scott Morrison and Christian Porter. Trump’s refusal to condemn white nationalism and neo-nazis even has parallels with the Coalition’s support for Pauline Hanson’s It’s okay to be white senate motion (later withdrawn) and their initial support for Fraser Anning’s Final Solution speech; while Trump’s general boorishness and even his willingness to mock the disabled is matched by Peter Dutton at every turn.

I could go on too. There may be no Access Hollywood tapes, but if you are okay with all of the things above, it’s hard to see what it would take to change your opinion.

We live in a democracy so please make up your own mind on this one. Maybe despite everything I have referred to, you still plan to exercise your right to vote Liberal. You might be very rich and waiting on further tax breaks to the wealthy, or you might be in some way tied to the fossil fuel industry and not believe in climate change. Maybe you are more worried about a Labor government than the economic collapse the self-serving Coalition government has us headed towards. If that is what you believe, I doubt I can change your opinion, and you have every right to vote for whoever you think will best serve this country. But don’t tell me you wouldn’t vote for Trump if you lived in America too.

There are obviously a lot of issues and policies that could be discussed in the lead up to the federal election. And different people are energised by different issues, but this observation really frustrates me. Right now we have an incumbent government plagued by so many scandals it is hard to keep up. One whose only strategy to distract voters from their incompetence is to scream about refugees as hysterically as possible. This is plainly and transparently similar to Trump shouting about his ludicrous wall, but according to recent polling, far more Australians seem to approve of ScumMo and Dutton’s exaggeration and deceit about boat people than Americans approve of Trump’s wall. Does that mean, as a nation, we are actually more stupid than America? I’m not going to draw a conclusion of that one, but it certainly makes it a harder argument to say we wouldn’t be stupid enough to vote for a fraud like Trump (Clive Palmer certainly thinks we are stupid enough to do just that).

The way I see it, if you are willing to vote for a Morrison government in next month’s election, despite everything they have done, then you would have been willing to vote for Trump too. So if you laugh at Trump and his supporters, the joke is really on you- and the rest of Australia if we have to suffer another three years of Liberal Government due to your choices.

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22 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Love the sign on your table, fascinated to know if you had any takers. I have yet to find anyone who says they are voting Liberal, which is pathetic. At least have the courage of your convictions and be prepared to state your case.
    Thanks, great piece.

  2. Jack Cade

    Trump is Morrison with a ginger Tom on his head. But he doesn’t need an invisible friend to interpret his babbling .
    He thinks he’s God.

  3. David Bruce

    Wikipedia has interesting section on the Westminster system of government in Australia…

    ‘Washminster’ system of Australia

    Australia is, in many respects, a unique hybrid with influences from the United States Constitution as well as from the traditions and conventions of the Westminster system. Australia is exceptional because the government faces a fully elected upper house, the Senate, which must be willing to pass all its legislation. Although government is formed in the lower house, the House of Representatives, the support of the Senate is necessary in order to govern. The Senate maintains the ability similar to that held by the British House of Lords, prior to the enactment of the Parliament Act 1911, to block supply against the government of the day. A government that is unable to obtain supply can be dismissed by the Governor-General: however, this is generally considered a last resort and is a highly controversial decision to take, given the conflict between the traditional concept of confidence as derived from the lower house and the ability of the Senate to block supply. Many political scientists have held that the Australian system of government was consciously devised as a blend or hybrid of the Westminster and the United States systems of government, especially since the Australian Senate is a powerful upper house like the U.S. Senate; this notion is expressed in the nickname “the Washminster mutation”.
    [11] Thompson, Elaine. “The ‘Washminster’ Mutation,” in Responsible Government in Australia, eds. P. Weller and D. Jaensch, Drummond, Richmond, 1980

    The ability of upper houses to block supply also features in the parliaments of most Australian states.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_system

    I wonder if the only sensible way to vote in this election is to put LNP last and Labour second last in each electorate.

  4. Paul Davis

    Q&A
    Mitch Fifield says that in 69 electorates Labor is preferencing UAP ahead of LNP ….. Bowen should’ve said yeah mate probably second last instead of last?
    Great to see that scion of conservative virtue Greg Sheridan on the panel …. hope he has his usual head bobbling spluttering hissy fit…

    Re the damp squid in Perth …. Bill Shorten obviously was the more believable and level headed.

  5. Aortic

    If the Morrison mob are reelected with those that Bowen said are in witness protection ( Dutton Price Hunt et al) would seriously consider moving to NZ even it it means having to take language lessons.

  6. wam

    Morrison is really a christian elitist, trump is just elitist. Morrison lies because it is natural to christians who must avoid avoid any risk to faith. Trump lies as a business skill and trump is on target to win. scummo has only billy to give him and rupert a chance of making their lies sound true.

    Surely not enough workers can be frightened by scummo????? He has all the hallmarks of dennis healey’s ovine phrase.

    yes paul read the papers tomorrow and see labor came third scummo, mickey mouse then billy.

  7. whatever

    I have just seen a photo of Josh Frydenbergs “How to Vote” card, and Clive Palmer’s UAP is there at Number 2.
    How do they expect the educated, middle-class citizenry of Kooyong to lend any support to such redneck stupidity?
    You can perhaps overlook one or two misfits but the LNP looks like the complete Addams Family assembly of weirdos.

  8. Wayne Turner

    Morrison is a dodgy used cars salesman,so sure of himself,all front,with no shame,slogans with lies,and no substance. The ONLY people that fall for it,are the political ignorant,that do NOT understand substance of politics.THE con man for the ignorant and easily led.

    This alleged government have been a disaster from day one from lying about the economy,only benefitting themselves and rich mates,to infighting,often protected by their promotional wing; All of the MSM.

    This terrible mob get back in,Australia will have yet again failed the intelligence test.

    “If the Coalition get back in,it will be because of the media.If Labor win,it will be in spite on the media”.

  9. Kronomex

    The Donald has gone way way beyond being unintentionally funny anymore and is now in the Zone of Frightening Deranged Lunatic.
    I can’t think of anything to say about Scummo that doesn’t involve much swearing and cursing, so I’ll leave it at that for the moment.

  10. Terence Mills

    I’m hearing of a lot of disquiet among Liberal grass roots voters who are not happy about this preference swap with Clive Palmer which may just work for Palmer in securing him a senate seat but it could backfire badly on the Liberal party.

    Let’s hope that the next debate sets the rules more clearly, that the moderator asks the questions : last night we saw Morrison talking over the moderator and Shorten and asking Shorten questions which the moderator stopped him answering ; a shambles but Shorten was the better performer.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Not according to 9 news Terence.

    “A measured and confident Scott Morrison upstaged Bill Shorten in the first debate of the 2019 election campaign, claims a leading body language expert.”

    Ya think?

  12. Wayne Turner

    Kaye: That same fraud said the same crap on 702 ABC radio this morning ie: ABC = Also Baised Crap.

    To make matters worse the hosts – Tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber aka Robbie F*ck & Wendy Hammy,did NOT question him at all.The last time this guy was on,he made a fool of himself ie: He said “body language” doesn’t really matter. WHAT THE F!

    Also,in a 702 ABC radio news update,they reported Shorten won the debate,but then played Lib Simon Boofheadman rubbishing Shorten,and the result. No reporting of what Shorten said at all.

    ABC = Also Biased Crap.

  13. Kronomex

    ““A measured and confident Scott Morrison upstaged Bill Shorten in the first debate of the 2019 election campaign, claims a leading body language expert.””

    Cough, choke, gag…blast, now I’ll have to wipe the coffee off my desk after bursting out laughing. If this Kelly character is such a leading expert why haven’t I heard of him? Is he kept in a box and trooped out by the main sleaze media when they need an “expert” to try and spin things in favour Scummo and the rest of the LNP?

    Well, I guess that answers that last question, taken from his web site – https://michaelkelly.com.au/body-language/

    “Michael is a leading body language and speech analysis expert for various media outlets including Seven West Media, Nine Network, Sky News, ABC radio and television, Radio 2UE, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph.” Uh-huh, pay him enough money and he’ll be the all expert you want for your cash.

  14. Alcibiades

    The Coalition Primary vote has collapsed since early 2015 under Abbott, along with donations. This term a sustained drop of 4-9% depending on the State. That 4-9% loss of primary vote is the non-RWNJs determinedly deserting, leaving only the so called Coalition ‘base’. The Notionals are in dire straights and entering the latter stage of decline as an actual Party.

    What has Morrison & the riven Coalition done or said to recall the deserters ? Nada. All the Coalition messaging is about stemming further losses from the ‘base’, and now, jumping into bed with fringe minor/micro-parties like One Notion & Clive Palmer is not going to endear the Coalition to the deserters, nor undecided swing voters.

    Apparently ~76% of voters made up their mind before the Claytons ‘Budget’ & Election was called. Quite remarkable. A record 110,000 pre-poll voters yesterday, as predicted a likely increase in pre-polling from previously in 2016 of ~27% to now ~40%. This election seems to be an annoying & inconvenient irritating irrelevancy to the vast majority. They just wanna vote and get it over with …

    The combination of the above and long standing immovable polling trends, mean all that is left to possibly court/convince is a diminished pool of ~24%, comprised of disaffected(A pox on all your Houses) (~8%?), donkey votes(~5%), both the former & the latter already factored in to 2PP polling re probable preferences. Of the true ‘undecided'(~11%?), on balance are they likely to swing to return a chaotic third term Federal government ? It is against the historical norm … that cohort is ‘fickle’ & ‘flippant’ and historically tends towards … give the other mob a go … and see what happens.

    Given Morrison/Coalition has no ‘Vision’, nil. Are they likely to be enamored of the Coalition deserting any pretence of attracting the ‘centre’ by openly aligning with Pauline & Clive ?

  15. Kaye Lee

    “I leave aside the value of the policy and focus on look for the calmest under pressure leader,” he told nine.com.au.

    So an arrogant turkey who has nothing to defend or explain in the way of policy is better than someone who does his best to explain complex policy in one minute whilst being interrupted?

    But I guess someone who makes their money by focusing on look isn’t interested in substance.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Alcibiades,

    They have no interest in attracting the centre or they would have kept Malcolm Turnbull.

    Pretty much all of the so-called moderate Liberals have bailed – Julie Bishop, Kelly O’Dwyer, Michael Keenan, Christopher Pyne, Malcolm Turnbull, Julia Banks, Craig Laundy…and others.

  17. Alcibiades

    Kaye,
    My point precisely.

    Debate body language & demeanor ? What works in shouting down & shutting up obsequious journos doesn’t convert well at all to a debate …

    An aggressive, overbearing & domineering, constantly uncivil chap, with nothing positive to say, who just rambles on about Macro level statistics & numbers as if he’s briefing the BCA, rather than an audience of Joe & Betty Bloggs’ ?

    Hence, the ‘vibe’, 25 v 12, with 11 undecided. Even if all 11 undecided ‘Undecided’, however unlikely, went with Shouty McShoutyFace, that’s 52% v 48%. Hm, coincidence ?

  18. Alcibiades

    Ouch!

    In a WA presser, Morrison & Andrew ‘handy’ Hastie are getting hammered re Pauline & Clive re Coalition preference deals. The Nationals are part of the Coalition when it’s convenient, they are their own party when it isn’t. 🙂

    Clive wants to tear up the Murray-Darling Plan, SA voters not happy.

    Then there is this exquisite exchange :

    Question: Why is he (Morrison) a better leader than Peter Dutton?

    Hastie: The prime minister showcased exactly why he is a superb Prime Minister last night and why he should be re-elected. He won is in my view. Anyway.

    Question: There has been some stuff on social media you might be able to clear up. Have you ever met Neil Ericsson?

    Hastie: I don’t answer defamatory questions and I won’t get involved.

    Question: What is defamatory about saying yes or no?

    Hastie does not answer.

    🙂

  19. whatever

    Nine Entertainment is selling off the regional newspaper arm of Fairfax. I thought they would wait until after the election, seeing as they are, or were, an integral part of the conservative cheer-squad. Just shows you how much confidence they have in Scotty.

  20. Alcibiades

    Re Trumpism & the question Hastie was asked, yet refused to answer, here’s a, um, relevant tweet, since ‘removed’ by Twitter (Twitter is doing that a lot lately … re the Libs & Nats …), last Friday:

    Fair Warning: Captured extracts of fringe right wing extremists, ‘shit-talking’, in the Youtube link below … or not ?
    The first 2min30sec is enough to understand the context … of the non response from Hastie.

    Will Ian Goodenough be next up to be questioned directly by a journo ? If so, the response ?

    💧 𝓒𝓪𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓮 𝓟𝓮𝓻𝓻𝔂
    @CatPurry9

    Interesting: Neil Erikson says that Andrew Hastie & Ian Goodenough paid him to stir up anti-Islamic hatred. Erikson claims the LIBs flew him to Perth & QLD for secret meetings. Huge, if true. #auspol Which journo wants to interview him & confirm? youtu.be/WVKK9_GfQRM
    6:06 AM – 25 Apr 2019

    &

    💧 𝓒𝓪𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓮 𝓟𝓮𝓻𝓻𝔂
    @CatPurry9
    19m
    Replying to @NyadolNyuon @slackbastard
    Erikson also said the LIBs were behind his attack on Sam Dastyari. I know Erikson is prone to bending the truth, but it would be interesting to tease it out and see where it leads. #auspol

    Things that make ya go, hm ….?

  21. Alcibiades

    Damage control, trying to get ahead of the story ?:

    Andrew Hastie and fellow WA Liberal had ‘brief meeting’ with far-right extremist Neil Erikson

    Exclusive: Ian Goodenough confirms he and Hastie met the convicted criminal at a rally for white South African farmers in Perth – the Graund

    & the prelude to the Coalition/MSM campaign to destroy Sam Dastyari … that the Graund, omitted :

    Sam Dastyari warns white nationalism on the rise after pub ambush by far-right group – ABC

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