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The real bullies

By 2353NM

A Brisbane 13 year old committed suicide last week because, according to his mother, he was being bullied. He identified as being gay and apparently was being bullied at school. Rather than join the chorus of those who instantly know what was going on and speculate for a week or so until something else comes along, how about we look at the culture that seems to be genuinely regretful when a tragedy such as the death of a Brisbane school boy occurs but votes for and allows much greater crimes against our society to be celebrated.

Prime Minister Turnbull appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 a few weeks ago and left no one in doubt that in his opinion the ‘elite media’ at the ABC was keeping the issue of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in the public view. Now Section 18C is the bit of the legislation that doesn’t allow you to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ someone based on their race or ethnicity . The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has been a leading light in the calls for this section to be repealed since radio announcer and newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt was found guilty of an offence under the section in 2013 in regard to two articles he wrote in 2009. The IPA claims that Section 18C restricts ‘freedom of speech’. According to the IPA:

First, it has become a major touchstone for a growing debate about freedom of speech in Australia. Since the Bolt case in 2011 there has been a sustained campaign in favour of repealing 18C. This campaign was partly born out of the deep concern about the provision being used to silence a prominent and well-respected columnist in a mature liberal democracy such as Australia.

But it also brought to the fore the idea that governments have passed laws which restrict this most fundamental human right, and that something must be done to turn back that tide.

Second, political activists and their lawyers have come to realise that section 18C can be used to aggressively pursue political goals.

The case against Bolt was not merely a group of offended individuals making a legal complaint in an effort to remedy personal loss. It is possible that the complainants could have made out a defamation suit against Bolt. But the case was pursued using 18C as a battering ram because of the negative perception that would be created by a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The problem with the IPA’s (and by association Turnbull and his conservative LNP colleagues) argument is the existence of Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act. According to the Human Rights Commission website:

Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act contains exemptions which protect freedom of speech. These ensure that artistic works, scientific debate and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, providing they are said or done reasonably and in good faith.

In the same week as the schoolboy died in Brisbane, Australia’s Immigration Minister claimed that his predecessors (ironically from the same side of politics) in the 1970’s did the wrong thing by allowing refugees from Lebanon to enter the country because some of their grandchildren were now radicalised Muslims. According to, Dutton made the argument:

Australians were “sick” of over the top political correctness, the Minister told media after a Greens Senator said his comments might be factual but they weren’t “productive”.

Mr Dutton rejected suggestions his comments were whipping up racism.

Instead, he blamed the “tricky elite”, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens MPs for making the remarks a big deal to win political points.

“I want to have an honest discussion,” he said.

Dutton may have evidence to back up his original claim:

The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 of those people are from second and third generation Lebanese-Muslim background …

But he conveniently overlooks the fact that every person charged with a crime in Australia since 1788 is either an immigrant or descended from immigrants. As reported:

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten issued a statement calling on Mr Dutton to apologise for his remarks.

“Enough is enough,” Mr Shorten said.

“Our hardworking migrant communities shouldn’t have to tolerate this kind of ignorant stupidity and he needs to immediately apologise.

“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to show some leadership and pull his Immigration Minister into line.”

Shorten is right to a point: enough is enough and Turnbull should pull his Immigration Minister into line; however, Shorten’s political party still supports the indefinite detention of refugees in sub-human conditions, or their refoulment to their original country, contrary to the 1951 Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory). Shorten is sitting on both sides of the ‘barbed wire’ fence here.

What is really interesting, however, is Turnbull and Dutton using the term ‘elites’ as an insult. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, elite has two definitions, although it is doubtful if Turnbull and Dutton are referring to the one involving typewriters. So we are left with one definition — broadly, the best part or the socially superior. Others have already done the Turnbull is ‘more elite’ than you or I thing seriously or in fun than it’s possible to do here, so it’s not worth repeating the blindingly obvious.

While Dutton may not as be as well off as Turnbull, he’s not going to be ‘short of a bob’ as he gets older — unlike a lot of those in Dickson he claims to represent. Dutton will be sitting on a parliamentary pension when he leaves parliament as well as his superannuation as a police officer (for which of course he has to wait until his late 50s or 60 to access, along with the rest of us) rather than eking the increasingly hard to get pension out until the next payment.

Paul Bongiorno, writing in The Saturday Paper suggested:

Whatever way you cut it, Australian politics in the past week travelled further down the low road of ignorance, prejudice and bigotry. It’s the new fashion propelled by the extraordinary success in Britain and the United States of politicians who push these buttons.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, already a practitioner in the dark arts, quickly took his cue in an interview with Andrew Bolt on Sky News. Bolt suggested that former prime minister Malcolm Fraser got the Lebanese refugee program wrong in the late 1970s. Dutton agreed “mistakes were made”. When parliament resumed, Labor wanted to know what these mistakes were. The answer was profoundly jarring.

Of course Dutton’s response was that a number of the people most recently charged with terrorist related offences were Lebanese Muslims, a failure of the Fraser Government. Bongiorno went on to suggest:

What should be remembered is that Dutton, who is fast becoming the leading conservative voice in the Liberal party, is a Queenslander. A clue to his approach could be the alarm at the spike in support for One Nation of which his fellow Queenslander, Attorney-General George Brandis, speaks. A hot microphone picked up his frank conversation with Victorian Liberal party powerbroker Michael Kroger this week. In what he thought were private remarks, Brandis revealed support for One Nation is already running at 16 per cent in the Sunshine State. He is convinced it will win seats at the next state poll.

In 1998, One Nation peaked at 22 per cent to capture 11 seats in the state parliament and deny the Nationals and Liberals government. Adding to the alarm is the Palaszczuk Labor government’s reinstatement of compulsory preferential voting. According to the sotto voce Brandis, this could lead to a split between the merged Liberal and National parties that form the LNP. The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green believes that had preferential voting existed at the last state election, Labor would have won a majority on Greens preferences.

Politicians playing politics is to be expected and both Turnbull and Dutton have been around long enough to be ‘good at their game’. However, as the leaders of the country surely they should be the moral elite as well as the financial elite. As Shorten suggested, Turnbull should have pulled his immigration minister into line. As Bongiorno wrote:

Fraser’s immigration minister, Ian Macphee, was scathing in his reaction to Dutton. In a statement released through the Refugee Council, he said the attack was “outrageous”. He said: “We have had a succession of inadequate immigration ministers in recent years but Dutton is setting the standards even lower. Yet Turnbull recently declared him to be ‘an outstanding immigration minister’. The Liberal Party has long ceased to be liberal.

From Turnbull, all we heard was crickets (nothing).

Not that the politicians are the only ones who seem to be practicing the ‘game’ of kicking groups of people while they are down. Fairfax reported in the last week of November that a number of Caltex franchisees seem to be paying their staff considerably under the award rate of pay for working all hours of the day or night in an environment that has a number of hazards to the physical and mental well being of the employees. Caltex isn’t the only organisation that has been accused of underpaying staff with, according to Fairfax:

One in four Australian workers who checked their pay through a union-run online wage calculator found out they were being ripped off, with staff in the restaurant business the worst affected.

Based on nearly 20,000 workers’ pay details entered into the Fair Pay Campaign Calculator over three weeks, more than half of all restaurant industry submissions (60 per cent) showed staff were being denied minimum rates of pay.

And it gets worse:

“It’s horrifying,” said Maurice Blackburn employment principal Giri Sivaraman.

“It’s horrifying to think that so many people across a wide variety of industries are getting underpaid.

“This isn’t a case of a few bad apples — you can’t isolate it to one type of job, one industry, or one employer — this is systemic wage theft, and it’s just so widespread.”

Another troubling result from the data related to employment in Australia’s pubs and clubs, where nearly 92 per cent of casual staff who used the calculator to check their wages found out they were being underpaid.

Sivaraman is already assisting a number of people who were underpaid by 7-Eleven franchisees in the related scandal earlier this year.

It’s probably unfortunate for Caltex that they are a public company and under Australian listing laws, they operate in an environment of continuous disclosure. So we know their profit for 2014 was $493 million and the 2015 ‘record’ profit was estimated to be between $615 and $635 million at the time the Sydney Morning Herald reported in December 2015. Their franchisees and other smaller businesses (along with the corporate structure of 7-Eleven) have considerably fewer requirements for publicly reported financial results.

While Caltex is probably not responsible legally for the actions of its franchisees, it is responsible for the contracts it has with the franchisees and, as they have been in the industry for a long time, they should by all rights know the costs involved in the 24 hour a day operation of a petrol shop. In a similar way, 7-Eleven corporate should know the costs of running a corner shop or petrol shop. It seems on the face of it that either Caltex and 7-Eleven both charge the franchisees too much or the franchisees are greedy. Regardless, if you were a small shareholder in a large firm that was involved in underpayment of wages, you would have to be concerned at the senior management of the company who stood by and watched the business’s name be trashed due to taking advantage of those who could least respond to bullying and intimidation.

So how does all this relate to a Brisbane schoolboy who committed suicide?

According to the boy’s mother, he was bullied because he believed he was different to the ‘ordinary’. Regardless of the matter of the school knowing about the claims or acting on them, some of the students at the school seemed to think that it was acceptable practice to tease or bully someone who was ‘different’. Do you wonder where they got the idea that their actions were acceptable behaviour? Could it be they were following the behaviour of Turnbull or Dutton (or Abbott)? Surely the actions of big business of imposing conditions on contractors that conspire to ensure they cannot comply with Australian laws for the payment of staff while making a profit is also bullying.

It is a sad indictment on Australia, if at the same time as we rightfully decry bullying at schools and similar institutions, we allow our political and business elite (in the true sense of the word) to get away with bullying consumers of a certain media channel, grandchildren of migrants from the 1970’s or those who have to work in lower paying and (let’s face it) rather insecure employment.

Teenage boys who suicide should be mourned – and those that victimise or bully anyone should be called out. Pity our national elite seem not to think so.

If you or someone you know is suffering distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. wam

    Not worth the read. Just another example of bullying being sidetracked.
    The death of tyrone unsworth is too serious for this treatment.
    Homophobia is rife in the big 4 church, home, work place and school(classroom and yard), from which the pollies are spawned.
    The prime target in any search for a solution to homophobia and suicide is the church.

  2. Max Gross

    Excellent post. The LNP bullies, charlatans and nut jobs are in charge. Myself, when I visit a dentist, GP or hop aboard a plane, I hope those in charge are among the elite in their skills!

  3. babyjewels10

    Well said. Shared.

  4. Michael

    LNP bullies behaviour does serve only one useful purpose – easy, daily, real live, contrasting examples of how NOT to behave to your children.

    How did they manage to float to the surface? – what does it say about us?

  5. OrchidJar

    I haven’ t seen such a cruel and nasty long bow drawn since the Battle of Crecy.

    An otherwise pedestrian argument made utterly preposterous, and dare i say, cruelly insensitive, by roping together the profoundly tragic death of a young boy to the political machinations of Turnbull’s & Co.

    I say to the author, shame on you for disrespecting everyone involved, your readership included, with such viciousness, such heartlessness, in the service of making a shallow point on a blog.

    “Do you wonder where they [the bullies] got the idea from…?”
    “Could it be they were following the behaviour of ……. ?”

    Disgraceful opportunism.

    And that’s even before I get to the idiotic premise outlined in your first paragraph!

  6. Miriam English

    Very good point made, Ad Astra. We need to make bullying unacceptable everywhere it rears its disgusting head, but our politicians and business people seem to be delightedly using it as a weapon. Shame on them.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Thanks, 2353, I enjoyed your article.

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Dutton infuriates me. Turnbull infuriates me. They both deserve total electoral annihilation. I’d also like to see Dutton behind bars.

    Now that I have established my antipathy to the LNP, I’d like to highlight one of the points made in 2353’s quotes, which basically said if preferential voting had existed before the last election in Queensland, Labor would have won on Greens preferences.

    See “The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green believes that had preferential voting existed at the last state election, Labor would have won a majority on Greens preferences.”

    My case rests. The ALLiance between the Greens and Labor is essential.

    Canberra already realises it, so why is Labor too thick to accept it elsewhere?

    This comment is not made ignoring the sadness of the 13 year old boy’s death.

    It is in response to assorted critics who choose to ignore the need to join forces in combined philosophical, principled, pragmatic and practical ways, so that The ALLiance can hope to re-introduce programs that seek to support people like this young bloke, who fall outside the conservative perception of what is acceptable.

  9. Kyran

    “I’ve had it up to here with my tolerance,”
    That would be Pauline Hanson. It’s probably the first time I have understood what this fool was saying.
    I’ve had it, up to here, with my tolerance of these imbeciles. The mere mention of names like dutton, hanson, dolt, talcum, or organisations such as the IPA, would normally turn me ‘off’ an article. In your defence, you weren’t complimentary. Fair play to you.
    It would take, literally, a few minutes to destroy every ‘fact’ in their utterances and expose their ideological bent. Thank goodness talcum invented the internet.
    Asides from the 13 year old lad, we now have youth suicide at unprecedented rates.
    There was also a 10 year old lass in the west Kimberley region of WA in March, this year.
    Think about it. Can you imagine any of the ten year old’s, thirteen year old’s, you know seeing their future as so devoid of hope, that opting out is the only answer?
    By way of disclosure, a friend of my 17 year old lad committed suicide about a fortnight ago. It’s been a long fortnight.
    For what it’s worth, if you see a bully, front it. In my experience, they don’t hang around for long. If you see a fool, ignore it. It only empowers the bullies.
    Thank you 2353NM. Take care
    If you or someone you know is suffering distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

  10. Dave C

    The first word that comes to mind when I read of young people like this suiciding is “christian”.
    Jesus wept, and is still weeping while these deplorables use his name to justify their bigotry.
    And I’m an atheist, but I believe that if JC was a real person and not possibly a myth dreamed up by a bunch of self-serving nutters to suit their own ends he’d be effing disgusted.

  11. helvityni

    Excellent post, Ad Astra, I think we are a very punishing nation. Look at how those boys were treated at Don Dale detention centre, no rehabilitation, just harsh rough treatment of young boys, often locked up there for very minor crimes…heart breaking stuff…

  12. Dave C

    Sorry OrchidJar, but you must be living in another world.
    LNP Government members have a habit of denigrating anyone else if they can score a political point.

    A week or so ago we had a piece of LNP scum, whose name I can’t remember blaming renewable energy on the deaths of two little kids in a backyard pool in Qld, and laughing as the bile flowed from his dribbling hateful mouth.

    You really need to open your ears and listen to the likes of Bernardi, Christensen, Abetz and the rest of the right wing low life to see why some people have had enough and decide to end their lives.

    I haven’t mentioned One Nation here because to do so would be to go down to their level.

  13. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    Bullying is embedded in identity confusion fuelled by unemployment, aggressive consumerism and a commercial media that has little ethical purpose. The right to bully is a crime and not a freedom.

  14. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    There’s never a right to bully. While I probably agree that Denis’ causes create bullying circumstances, I also sincerely believe there are personality traits that encourage bullies to grow or otherwise tolerate them.

    We don’t condone natural criminal personality traits in other ways, so we should not allow bully traits to fester either. Treat it like criminal behaviour and I bet we’ll see a significant decline overnight.

  15. wam

    that is two of us in the real world, orchid jar.
    dave c a point of christ in suicides is ‘suffer the little children to me’.
    Any fathers who kill wife and children for a better life in heaven is forgiven on earth as it is in heaven.
    but I cannot forget the last lines of hollis brown and wonder how many kill for god.

  16. Dave C

    ploise exploin!

  17. helvityni

    Jennifer M-S, good post, totally agree with your sentiments, and with yours too, Dave C. Bernardi, Christensen, Abetz, Dutton, Morrison and many others of that lot seem to be without any empathy… heartless indeed…

  18. Exoplanet

    So how does all this relate to a Brisbane schoolboy who committed suicide?

    Sadly, for this author, this question came far too late and was addressed and justified – well, frankly, not at all. I’m sorry, but it has to be said: this article is a moral and intellectual mistake of significant proportion. To be utterly honest, the political cheapness of it makes me feel violated.

    It happens, but this author is capable of, and ought aspire to, much better.

  19. Michael Taylor

    If it makes you feel violated, nobody forces you to read our articles.

  20. Exoplanet


    Why do you do that? I’m speaking to the author, not you. Why can’t you treat them [your authors] like adults and let them deal with criticism as they see fit? Assuming they wish to do so at all. I think this article horribly misguided. Am I not allowed to express such a view?

    Do you want me to elaborate further at to why, so as to properly justify my remarks? I mean, seriously, you don’t see how some might perceive this as an attempt to use the tragic death of a young man to make political points that are only tenuously connected to the actual reality of his death? And that the article fails miserably in making that connection sufficiently? Barely days after it?

    Allow the author his response. That is the respect an owner/moderator shows their authors – and their readers.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Oh, so I’m not supposed to join in on conversations. My apologies for the violation.

  22. Exoplanet

    It might be said, Michael, that given your status as owner/moderator, your ‘involvement’ in conversations has a special status and may in certain circumstances, and with respect to certain word usage, be interpreted as intimidation. And, as a matter of logic, one cannot know the nature of an article till one has read it.

    Imagine how you might feel as a member of this boy’s family reading this article. I know these things are matters for subjective judgement, and I appreciate that, but this sort of thing troubles me deeply and I would imagine I’m free to express my concern – always contingent on an author’s considered explication. As opposed to a moderator’s cheap intervention.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Cheap intervention? Give me a break. Talking on my own site (which somehow you knew, which is somewhat interesting considering you’re new around here) is cheap intervention?

    If you like I will call the author – who you expect to be available late on a Sunday night – and inform him that his presence is required. You wish to speak to him. Now. Immediately.

    Drop everything, 2353.

  24. Jexpat

    Dave C.

    Yes, the poster you refer to does live in another world. The Liberal Party stooge world.

  25. OrchidJar

    This is the real world Dave, my real world; of clear comprehension, of not letting my political ideologies confuse questions of logic and morality, of speaking some kernel of truth to those that do, of exposing the rhetorical deceit of this author who seeks to conflate the death of a child with the actions of the Liberal pollies on the strength of nothing more, NOTHING MORE, than the pitifully tenuous ‘do you wonder…?”, and ‘could it be….?”

    The author has allowed partisan politics to get in the way of both logic and decency.
    The only thing worse than that, if that’s possible, is the reaction of some here who have either missed it, or condoned it, because of a tawdry political point scoring, a dishonourable myopia as bad as the one they decry.

    Reread your contemptible,
    ‘You really need to open your ears and listen to the likes of Bernardi, Christensen, Abetz and the rest of the right wing low life to see why some people have had enough and decide to end their lives’.

    Your’e not from my left Dave; your’e just the flip side of One Nation’s/ the Lib’s coin.

  26. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-SmithDecember 4, 2016 at 8:28 pm
    “See “The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green believes that had preferential voting existed at the last state election, Labor would have won a majority on Greens preferences.”

    My case rests. The ALLiance between the Greens and Labor is essential. ”

    Queensland now have preferential voting and it won’t matter because Hanson is on the scene and will be a balance of power player,
    ALLiance wouldn’t make a difference

  27. Miriam English

    I’m amazed at the number of people unable to make the connection between the way bullying is accepted in politics, in business, and school. Those who absurdly cry foul when that connection is made seem to think understanding that connection is somehow a violation of the bullied child’s name. If I was a parent of a child bullied to death I’d feel gratified by this article. I’d want bullying to stop, not only in school, but everywhere. It is one of Australia’s most pernicious evils. It spreads and spoils everything. Clean it up in school but allow it to remain in politics and business and it will just spread right back again. They are genuinely connected by social values.

    You people who are putting this article down, what is wrong with you? It makes an important and valid point.

  28. Michael

    Agree Miriam – leaders are people who are to looked up to set the tone for us (via the 4 minutes it takes to complete a ballot paper) to do just that in all respects – and some in our society use that as an excuse or reason to perpetuate leaders’ behaviour in their everyday lives, irrespective of age.

    Does that help to connect the dots?

  29. OrchidJar

    To Miriam, perhaps your point would have more credibility to some, certainly not me, if you were not also the same woman who upon reading an opinion different to her own told the author that he needs to ‘go back on his medication’.

    If you had said it to me i would have taken you before the Anti-Bullying Discrimination Commission Against Microaggressions, Macroaggressions, In-Betweenaggressions, Safe Spaces, Triggers, and Other Assorted Insults and Offenses that fall under the blanket purview of 18C ’insults and offenses’.
    I would claim a monetary value of 18.5 million dollars but would abide by an out of court settlement of 18.4 million as a gesture of compromise to the ambiguity and expansive meanings of the words ‘insult’ and ‘offend’.

    Miriam, no one likes bullying but to suggest, as the author does, that there is a tangible umbilicus between the tragically confused mind of a thirteen year old boy and the rhetorical machinations of our pollies, machinations only discerned by our adult chattering classes, is to step into the crazed world of Alice in Wonderland type logic.
    By all means you can go, but don’t suggest that those who refuse to step off that precipice are somehow condoning bullying.

    I might even be tempted to question whether such a person had ‘gone off their medication’, but that line has already been used.

  30. helvityni

    Miriam English, thank you for your perfectly sensible post.

    I have always been baffled why there’s a need for some people to bully. Is it an inferiority complex that makes them to put down others, those they feel are somehow superior to themselves…As you say it’s rampant amongst Australian politicians, it has always been practiced in our schools, in sport…

    Here I have a very wealthy neighbours, business people who move a lot and prefer renting to buying their homes. I heard some other neighbours referring to them as ‘only renters’…. LOL

    If you don’t like someone’s articles here, move on to the next one, or write a ‘better’ one yourself.

    I always understood it’s up to the blog host/hostess to run their sites as they choose. Anyone can start their own blog and find out how perfect that will be.

    Reasons for bullying are many, fear of the unknown, envy, jealousy, feeling inferior, not been taught to respect others, people who are different to oneself, etc,etc…

  31. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bullying at any level and to any degree that allows one to impose their power over another, mixes into the general atmosphere of malaise of nastiness that bullies create. It is all related and the author is right to connect those dots.

  32. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    tell that to the Labor people in Canberra, who have shown good common sense by joining forces with the Greens. Go The ALLiance!

  33. 2353

    Thanks for the comments all.

    The point of the article is that bullying killed a 13 year old in Brisbane and the media and most in this country rightly condemn bullying. Bullying of the alleged grandparents of some ‘radicalised Muslims’ due to their ethnic origin, bullying of those who do not want the law changed to to make it LEGAL to bully others based on their gender, ethnic origin and rest is not only tolerated by the some of the same media that decrys bullying of a 13 year old boy – but actually supported. Either we allow bullying or we don’t. Any other option is a double standard.

    And to those who wanted the answer at 1am this morning, sorry I was in bed asleep. If that doesn’t suit your timetable or agenda – that’s not my problem.

  34. Michael Taylor

    helvityni, there’s always been someone telling us how to run this place. Mind you, we do appreciate suggestions, but it’s a bit different to who I refer to as the ‘blog police’ who more or less demand how you run the site. I’m much like you: if they don’t like this place and they’re not happy with the way it’s run or the type of articles we publish … then they are free to start their own blog.

    You would have thought that with over thirty authors, six admins and three owners that we’d know what we’re doing, and it’s because of great suggestions from our readers that we’ve been able to evolve into what we are today. And 99% of our readers like it that way. The others don’t. We can live with that. If they don’t like us, fine. It’s no bother. From what I’ve learned when speaking to other blog owners these same people don’t like them either. These people expect every damn blog in the country to do everything THEIR way. And they set about ‘demanding’ it. They irk me.

    Now I’m going to sit back and watch them come rushing in to justify their reasons. They can’t help themselves.

  35. Michael Taylor

    2353, what do you mean you were in bed at 1am this morning? That explains why you didn’t answer my calls. ?

  36. Miriam English

    Orchid Jar, perhaps I did overstep somewhat when I told the paranoiac conspiracy theorist to go back onto his medication. I became sick of his constant pointless rants about the Port Arthur shooter being framed by shadowy security forces keen to take all our precious guns away. Perhaps he’s not crazy. On the other hand…

    I have a close friend who occasionally swings “off the air”. When she does so she becomes paranoid and starts spouting similar crazy stuff. At that point she needs to be urged to temporarily increase her medication. She is always grateful afterward because she hates the subsequent embarrassment of the insane things she believes, says, and does when she’s “off the air”.

  37. helvityni

    Jennifer , you write well, why don’t you pen a post on bullying, it’s seems to be an issue worth talking about (even more), maybe we can even start to eradicate it out of our homes ,schools, sporting fields, and hopefully also finally end up with better politicians as well, next generation…???

    (Or Miriam, Kyran, Denis Bright…?)

  38. 2353

    That’d explain it Michael. The boss expects me to turn up at work on a Monday morning (although the air conditioning is working well this morning in here – and I’m not paying for it so there are advantages!)

    I’ll enjoy reading the posts justifying why this (and other) blogs have it all wrong.

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Helvi. I’ll think about it. 🙂

  40. OrchidJar

    Sorry Miriam, your desperate and overly qualified “perhaps I did overstep somewhat…” just doesn’t cut it.
    It was act of bullying from someone who is asking, berating, others to stop acts of bullying.

    To 2353, thanks for joining the conversation.

    May I remind you of your own words:
    “So how does all this relate to a Brisbane schoolboy who committed suicide?
    Do you wonder where they got the idea that their actions were acceptable behaviour? Could it be they were following the behaviour of Turnbull or Dutton (or Abbott)? “

    You are attempting to hard yoke two quite separate “events” without offering any objective or direct linkage, and rely solely on speculation, indeterminacy, and (political) bias to make your argument.
    That kind of critique may be good enough for you, and by all means, you’re welcome to it, but do not think that it is either a mature, convincing, or sensitive approach to this difficult and ugly question.
    Bullying is bad.
    There are enough readily obvious examples without you having to propagate untenable ones.

    Also, importantly, no one was expecting or “demanding” that you respond at 1am.
    That was a construct of Michael’s in a sorry attempt to diminish Exoplanet’s point.
    Read the posts.

  41. Michael Taylor

    When you’ve finished thinking, Jennifer, sit down and write it and send it in. You’ve submitted great stuff in the past. Please don’t stop!

  42. Michael Taylor

    There, 2353, you’ve been told.

    (If you’re at work now and can’t respond, I for one will understand).

  43. Miriam English

    OrchidJar, “without offering any objective or direct linkage”… yeah, except they’re all examples of bullying… and whoa! what a coincidence — that’s the title and subject of the article!

    OJ, you’re an idiot. (Excuse my intemperate response, but I can’t help noticing that you are.)

  44. OrchidJar

    “You’ve been told”
    Told what exactly Michael?
    This is a blog, right? Its purpose is to allow for the exchange of ideas, right?
    Well, I’ve just exchanged.
    So, what is the problem that requires such condescension, inanity, and off topic innuendo from you?

    to 2353, I too will understand if you don’t respond now. Anyone suggesting otherwise is simply being unduly provocative. For what purpose is beyond me.

    to Miriam,
    please highlight for me the “objective or direct linkage” between the boy’s death and the words of Turnbull & Co.
    Not examples of bullying but the direct links between the boy and the pollies.

    Can you do that?

  45. Michael Taylor

    I’m sorry, but I wasn’t talking to you.

  46. Harquebus

    Protection breeds weakness and us humans have always tried to weed out the weaklings early. When you raise wimps, you are going to get wimpy responses.

    “The universality of bullying across human societies indicates that this is a species-typical human behavior that has little to do with the cultures people live in. Bullying, it seems is part of our normal behavioral repertoire, it is part of the human condition.”
    “The tendency to bully, or coerce, others is natural and deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, and emerges in any group of toddlers playing freely.”

    Search criteria: anthropology bullying

  47. Miriam English

    OrchidJar, I know you’re having difficulty understanding, and my sympathies for that, but please try to understand. Politicians bullying people businesses bullying employees, children bullying other children. There is the link: bullying. It is also in the title of the article to give you yet another hint.

  48. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    does that mean you are condoning bullying because your source says it is part of our primeval behaviour?

    Has it occurred to you that civilisation means that even primates like we are, can learn to co-exist without having to dominate each other?

  49. Michael Taylor

    Good morning, H’. Great to see you.

    A question, if I may: Don’t you think you’re being too subjective, or perhaps even generalising? Shouldn’t each case be judged on its merits? (‘Merits’ perhaps being the innaproriate word, but I think you get my drift).

  50. Exoplanet

    And to those who wanted the answer at 1am this morning, sorry I was in bed asleep. If that doesn’t suit your timetable or agenda – that’s not my problem.

    No such person exists. That some expectation of immediate response was expressed is a fiction of Michael Taylor’s clearly overactive imagination. And if people see the purported dot-connection of this article as valid, that’s perfectly fine. How could it not be? As I said, it’s a matter of subjective judgement. I happen to disagree, and I disagree strongly. Note that this article does not mention, once, the political football that would have actually been relevant to an analysis of this lad’s tragic death – safe schools.

    And I have a passing suspicion that the parents of that poor young man might take serious offence at the opening paragraph’s suggestion that underpaying Caltex workers is a ‘much greater crime against society‘ than their son having been bullied to death.

    But, yeah, whatever. Apparently you can’t disagree with an article in this place. Sigh.

  51. Miriam English

    Harquebus, your reply positively reeks of eugenics. You know eugenics is discredited, right? It would have people like Stephen Hawking die. It sees the suicide of Alan Turing due to bullying by the authorities as a good thing. That’s an utter absurdity, and deeply objectionable. I hope those who came out against the article as being disrespectful of the victims of bullies denounce your reply (though somehow I suspect they won’t).

    The fact that bullying is extremely widespread doesn’t make it okay.

    Wifebeating was more widespread than it is today. It has become socially frowned upon, and thankfully is decreasing. It is stupid to suggest that we should simply shrug and say it is the way of people and that’s that.

  52. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    there are various ways to judge objectively what bullying is and how it affects us.

    To my mind, there is the culture of bullying where many incidences of bullying behaviour, including minor, are ignored or tolerated, and where people are told ‘to toughen up’ and ‘be resilient’.

    Then, there are the blatant incidences that lead to the tragic events such as the suicide of a young 13 year old boy.

    One lot’s importance does not cancel out the other lot. In fact, it seems to me that the first could have contributed to the young boy’s death because it may have happened constantly in less obvious, less easily reported ways, which wore down the young boy’s self-esteem.

  53. Matters Not

    Harquebus, we ‘educate’ our offspring and others so that they can escape the limitations of their backgrounds – which include biological drivers.

    But we don’t always succeed, obviously.

  54. Harquebus

    I don’t condone bullying. It is something that we are always going to have to deal with.

    We had the opportunity to learn to co-exist and blew it. Now we are going to have to decide who lives and who dies. If you can’t survive a little bullying then, you ain’t going to make it.
    There are always exceptions such as those who are incapable of defending themselves but, without a functioning society to protect them, they will be the first to go.

    Tyrone Unsworth was incapable of dealing with an inherent human behavior. Someone failed him somewhere and it was most probably the parents.

    Miriam English
    Alan Turing is a hero of mine and his suicide does irk me somewhat.
    Eugenics has nothing to with it. Evolution though has a massive head start.

    Matters Not
    I expect education, along with a lot of other things, to diminish substantially.

  55. Matters Not

    Harquebus, yes I know the world will end now – if not sooner.

    It becomes tiresome.

    By the way, blaming the parents is in very bad taste. A lack of ‘education’, I suspect.

  56. helvityni

    Yes,MN, I always thought that education was a way to civilize the population, stopped us being savages; how wrong I was… Take a look at our learned leaders, and cry…behaving like a petulant bunch of hungry/ tired toddlers in the sandpit

  57. Miriam English

    Here’s something interesting.

    Someone who calls himself “chuck”, replied to the article How to “dissolve the fog of lies”. Try truth? by posting ridiculous conspiracy theories about Martin Bryant being innocent. In an idle moment (instead of doing the writing I’m should be doing) I got the brainwave to look for an interview with Bryant to find out from his own words what happened.

    Well, of course he did shoot all those people as he quite happily admitted, but here is the interesting part: he had a perfectly normal upbringing in all respects but one, he was bullied at school because he’s intellectually deficient. His sister, who is normal intelligence is a good member of society. It seems we have bullies to blame for Martin Bryant murdering so many people.

    Bullying has repercussions.

  58. Matters Not

    Miriam English, as an aside. Apparently Bryant’s favourite toy was named ‘Chuck’.

    BTW, Bryant’s lack of guilt generates one hell of an industry – as a quick Google will establish.

  59. Jana

    Harquebus: “Now we are going to have to decide who lives and who dies.”


    Are you God?
    Or do you just think you’re God?

    Either way, I am excluding myself from the inclusiveness of your “we” statement.
    Hope you don’t mind.

  60. Miriam English

    Harquebus, the fact that humans care for their offspring (which are the weakest of all animals) and they care for them for many years, also very unusual, should be a hint as to how important caring for the weak is.

    But you won’t hear this as we’re back to doom… of course.

  61. Miriam English

    Harquebus, “Now we are going to have to decide who lives and who dies.” Implicit in that statement is the belief that some people matter and others don’t. This comes along with eugenics.

    The thing is, all people matter. I’m sure you’re thinking of all those impoverished people in “other countries” when you say this. I’ve met many people who do this. They talk about millions of Indians, or Arabs, or dark-shinned people in Africa having to die, as if they were ants to be stepped on.

    Human minds are the most versatile tool in the known universe. If we raised some billion more to a good standard of living using energy-efficient technology and minimal resource use while we greedy First Worlders cut back on our waste and over-consumption then imagine what we could accomplish when putting billions more human minds to the task of solving our problems.

    Dismissing much of the human race as collateral damage and saying we should give up and decide they die is repellent and counterproductive.

  62. Michael Taylor

    Now we are going to have to decide who lives and who dies.

    I didn’t know that Mother Nature had a list of the people chosen to die in a natural disaster. I didn’t know that the Air Force had a pre-arranged list of the tens of thousands of people chosen to die in a bombing raid. And how about those criminals who murder people? Were they given a list? When an armed robbery goes wrong and someone is killed, perhaps they should have just killed them and not bother with the robbery. Their name was on a list, wasn’t it?

    And who is the ‘we’ you talk of? Are you one of the chosen few who gets to decide who lives and who dies? I’m with Jana: I don’t want you making my choices.

    Do you know what an actuary is? An actuary works for an insurance company and they compute premium rates “according to probabilities based on statistical records”. I knew one who worked for the AMP and he said that they predict how many people will die by such and such a way. Australian actuaries are fairly average in comparison to their Sicilian counterparts. Where the Australian actuary will predict how many people will die, say, tomorrow, the Sicilian actuary goes one step further: they will tell you who is going to die tomorrow.

  63. Michael

    We should all bear in mind that whether we like it or not, we all lead by example.

    Why? For some it is easier to copy/mimic if an act/behaviour is seen as a success formula than adhere to what could be considered generally accepted, desirable, community centred, moral code and for others as an excuse – not to be different, “If s/he can do it, then I should be able to do it” particularly if detrimental and selfish social behaviour is not challenged.

    Leading by example is not having to do and then undo hurt to others – hurt people hurt people – makes sense to me.

    Also hurt people can be helped.

  64. Harquebus

    It’s all very well to discuss what would be the perfect world where each is protected within their own little cocoon but, that’s not going to happen. Those who would be bullied are protected by civil society and functioning government services. Well, we are not much longer going to have them. How will you protect them then?

    “Now we are going to have to decide who lives and who dies.”
    Please allow me to rephrase this.
    Now we are going to have to decide who gets to eat and who doesn’t.

  65. Miriam English

    This is for you Harquebus — a quote from chapter 5 of my free online novel Companions. Here Trixie, an exceptionally intelligent young child, asks a question, and Imogene, an android who is a guide at a science museum, answers:

    “What’s eugenics?”

    “Well, Francis Galton named it and he defined it as the science of improving stock, whether human or animal. The problem was always in the word improving. It’s virtually impossible to define in any sensible way, and historically people have simply used it as a way to dignify or seemingly validate their prejudices and petty hatreds. This has let them do truly awful things — forced sterilisations of the poor, attempted extermination of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and the handicapped. Even with farm animals it often didn’t work well. It produced grotesque turkeys that were unable to mate, over-muscled beef cattle that died early due to chronic anxiety, dog breeds that had hip problems or heart attacks or breathing difficulties, cows that produced lots of milk, but containing a protein that more easily provokes allergic response in the people who drink it. There are many examples of why eugenics is not really a science, but really just a way for people to fool themselves. Used against people it was a way to dress up xenophobia and make it sound respectable instead of just sad.”

  66. Harquebus

    Miriam English
    Selective breeding could be considered eugenics but, natural selection is evolution.

    The point that I am making is, bullying will always be with us whereas a functioning protecting society will not. Care about the weak and disadvantaged? Think about how will you take care of them when we go the way of Greece or Venezuela.

  67. Miriam English

    H, have you considered that by telling everybody that it’s hopeless you are helping to create exactly those conditions?

  68. OrchidJar

    @10.09am – and neither was Exoplanet taking to you when you intervened with your violation quip at 12.02am.
    The point you’re now making is in equal parts foolish and unfortunate.

    Miriam @ 10:21 am: I’ll take that as a “no” then, shall I?
    There was never any doubt in my mind that that would be your response.
    Not a shred.
    Not an atom.

    To have offered something even remotely credible let alone valuable would have meant that you acknowledge your hypocrisy over your disgusting “medication” slur, it would have meant that you were able put aside your political bias/ideology, and begin the arduous though necessary journey toward understanding the insidious argument and the vulgar generalisations that underpin this article.

    The “connect” that you bleat on about is not there except in the vaguest, most expansive and connotative sense. To use a young boys death, a family tragedy, as an instrument, yes, an instrument, to attack the Liberals over the “culture of bullying” is inexcusable.
    The very fact that you cannot accept that the left side politics, OUR side, is guilty of the identical crime, instantly forfeits any respect or credence I might offer your posts.

    Again I’m called to state the sadly obvious: my battle is against two sides: the right, and the dimwitted, authoritarian, hypocrisy of the left.

    You can defend the author’s premise if you choose, but do not, I repeat do not, attempt to “bully” me into accepting that premise with your juvenile insults.

    Your ability to comprehend and work through these complex issues is as woeful as your “free online novel” link.

  69. corvus boreus

    Personally, I don’t think is entirely unreasonable collating the suicide of a child/youth, reportedly due in large part to being subjected to persistent peer torment over his sexuality, with the vocal lobbying of some people (principally politicians and commercial media figures) desiring to decrease legal protections against prejudicial insults (18c) and dismantle anti-discrimination programs.
    Widening it from there starts over-stretching the string

  70. OrchidJar

    corvus, forget our animus for a moment and let us speak directly to the argument:

    I think it extremely unreasonable to “collate the suicide” with the “vocal lobbying” because that connection would depend entirely, ENTIRELY, (I’m still waiting on Exoplanet to tell me how to work the HTML emphasis) on the bullying youths, 13,14,15 year olds, being not only aware, but understanding and working to their advantage the “culture of bullying” nurtured and propagated by our federal politicians. Now, I don’t know how many early teen kids you know that are au fait with complex rhetorical dog whistling of federal parliamentarians, or the intricate ethical arguments of 18C and 18D, seen only through the prism of the chattering class: radio, TV, newspaper, online news, but I can tell you from where I’m sitting they are not, NOT, involved, interested, or aware of such phenomena.
    There is no causal link.
    Full stop.
    Let us be clear.

    The author and his supporters are attempting a decidedly unbecoming sleight of hand. It is dishonest and hypocritical and advance the real issue (of bullying) not a millimetre.

    Shame on them.
    And your “stretching the string” starts to look a lot like a very considerate euphemism.

    To Exoplanet, from somewhere above, this is now the third time I’ve had reason to compliment your posts. To that compliment I add another: for your restraint and courtesy in the face of such glaring, near blinding, adulteration.
    Well done.
    I doubt my own capacity.

    I’m glad you’re here.

  71. Michael Taylor

    @10.09am – and neither was Exoplanet taking to you when you intervened with your violation quip at 12.02am.
    The point you’re now making is in equal parts foolish and unfortunate.

    Oh gawd, here we go again with the blog police.

    Some people just don’t know when to move on. They just gotta keep dragging things back where they want them.

    And please, don’t bother responding with one of your extended, outlandish responses where every word that someone utters has to be dissected, explained and justified.

  72. OrchidJar

    It’s a one line DIRECT response to one of your put downs, FFS!!!

    Blog Police?!

    Asking someone to be accountable for their posts equals “blog police”?!

    Grow a pair Michael, and move on,

    you are the moderator, right?

  73. Michael Taylor

    Do us all a favour and move on yourself. Preferably move away. You’ve overstayed your welcome.

  74. OrchidJar

    I’m not here here to be “welcomed” and have my opinions vetted by the likes of ‘haven’t the read the article but will comment anyway’ helvityini, or ‘i hate bullying and hope to dear God, no one notices my bullying’ Miriam, or ‘gosh, I’m accountable for my posts?!’ What a bizarre notion’ Michael.
    I’m here to to engage with the legitimate issues presented.
    This is a blog.
    The singular function of a blog is to present a variety of ideas, to act as a ‘marketplace of ideas’.
    If you don’t like my opinions, tough. Argue back with intellect, force, and conviction. Not with bullying, intimidation, or censorship, but with ARGUMENT and CONVICTION.

    There’s precious little of that on AIMN. The widely reported echo chamber alive and well, i’m afraid.

    I’m more than happy to leave off your posts Michael.
    I’d appreciate the same courtesy.

  75. Kaye Lee


    Have a look at how many of your posts are actually about the ideas expressed in articles. You spend an inordinate amount of time criticising others and not so much discussing the actual topics. It gets wearing. I would also ask you to consider that you don’t know everything that goes on behind the scenes with many people wanting things done just how they like it and complaining about others.

    Cut people a little slack and discuss ideas, not each other or how we should or should not be disciplined. Consideration for others should make moderation unnecessary.

  76. OrchidJar

    Kaye, I would argue, confidently, vigorously, and with timestamps, that the overwhelming bulk of my posts are on topic.
    The ones that are not are the result of two very clear developments:
    1. I am rebutting personal attacks, and
    2. attempting the near impossible of keeping others on point. The case above with Michael one proof of that.

    Tell me that my contributions have not been to the betterment of this blog.
    Tell me, no arrogance implied, that my contributions have not problemitised the questions posed, or sought the
    further consideration of our left ideology.
    Tell me that asking others to account for their own words is not in the interests of both this blog and the course of considered adult debate.
    Tell me that I have made no contribution to the discussions thus far; that my opinions have counted for naught.

    Tell me that Kaye.
    Can you do that?

    If my manner confonts, then leave off my posts.
    I will extend the same courtesy.

    “Cut people a little slack” – i made no retort to Jexpat’s lunacy above. Check.
    “discuss ideas” – check.
    “how we should or should not be disciplined” – I have made no comment on such a thing.
    “should make moderation unnecessary” – only when moderators operate by the same rules.

    Michael – you created this situation, a situation I might add that is embarrassing for all of us, the moment you sought to diminsh and misrepresent Exoplanet’s posts. You compounded that error of judgement with your juvenile “blog police” accusation.

    And for that, I am not responsible.

    I’d like to remain because I find the contrubutions of several people interesting.
    If you deem it necessary that I go, then ask accordingly and it shall be done.
    Bear in mind that I will not grant easy succour to the mindless echo of simple and disgraceful platitudes of the many here should i stay.
    I will continue to call it as I see it.
    Which is what everyone else seems to be doing.

    Your call.

  77. corvus boreus

    Animus sequestered, along with political posturing and the ‘prism of the chattering classes’.

    Assignment of connection/causality?
    Awareness of potential legal repercussions acts to help prevent individuals from committing defined offenses.
    This ‘deterrent factor’ is a basic principle inherent in legislative statutes, law enforcement and judicial punishments.
    Decreasing existing constraints against certain actions, by such ‘accepted wisdom’, empowers those wishing to commit such acts.
    Many, including youths, seem to ‘get’ this broad concept, even if they do not comprehensively understand the legalese minutiae.

  78. Kaye Lee

    Gawd you waffle on OJ. You are much more interesting when you discuss topics rather than your own, no doubt formidable, intellect. You could, however, benefit from being a tad more succinct.

  79. Miriam English

    OJ, you really think kids don’t notice when the Safe Schools program, which stops bullying, is dismantled by extremist religious bullies? You think they don’t notice when Pauline Hanson and others get up and publicly smear gays? Do you really think that has no effect? Truly?

    And if you think my earlier comment was bullying then I’m sorry for you, you poor delicate little petal. Maybe it would have been more acceptable to use some of the insults you’re happy to throw at people? Hypocrisy, much?

  80. Deanna Jones

    No relationship between public discourse and personal attitudes? That’s rich.

  81. Ken Wolff

    Orchid Jar (@4.44pm)

    I see you are guilty of the same ‘crime’ you accuse the author of. You have made a tentative link that requires bullying youth to be not only aware but understanding and ‘working to their advantage’ the culture of bullying and specifically raised the implications of 18c and 18d. You are being pedantic. There is clear evidence that we do not always operate from the detail of what we observe but from the impression it creates. From where I sit, many young people are well aware that in the media (whether from poliiticians or others) much abuse is not punished – that is the impression that remains active, not whether or not it involves 18c. Is it a causal link? That could be debated. But it is certainly an impressionistic link that may influence behaviour because they can see the ‘adults’ getting away with it, so why shouldn’t they.

  82. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    7.30 is telling Tyron Unsworth’s story now.

  83. Michael Taylor

    Tell me that my contributions have not been to the betterment of this blog.

    If anybody else were to make that claim you’d be the first one to mock and ridicule them. Without hesitation. Ruthlessly.

    There have been hundreds of people here who if they made the same claim I’d be the first to agree with them. You are not one of those people. If only your arrogance and high opinion of yourself could be matched with a dash of reality.

    “Tell me that my contributions have not been to the betterment of this blog.” Actually, it’s quite the opposite. It’s rather coincidental that the number of visitors to this site drop whenever you’re commenting. It’s also rather coincidental that many people refrain from commenting when you’re here dishing out your venom. Maybe it’s because everybody else here knows they can’t compete with your magnificence. Or maybe it’s because people here are sick of the bloody sight of you and frankly, think you’re a hypocrite full of waffle. It’s the latter, I’m afraid.

    “Tell me that my contributions have not been to the betterment of this blog.” My God you’re so bloody self-righteous. You’re here to make the blog great because only you can do it. We would all be massing, mindless souls if it weren’t for you to save us.

    Miriam was right when she called you a “poor delicate little petal”. Always the first to spit poison at others but OMG isn’t it a hanging offence if some is spat back at you?

    You ask for courtesy. Well let me assure you that you don’t make the rules here. Please don’t belittle all of us by telling us what you want while at the same time ignoring the respects of others.

  84. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    you are obviously intelligent and can hold an argument, so why don’t you use those talents to build a defence against the LNP Degenerates instead of forging cracks between your true allies in Labor and the Greens?

  85. Matters Not

    What MT said. (Ducks head and runs away – fearful of the ‘response’ which will be long winded and boring. As always.)

  86. Michael Taylor

    “What MT said”.

    Well if MN agrees with it, it must have been good. ?

  87. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Now, I’m waiting for OrchidJar to respond.

  88. Matters Not

    MT, you must refrain from taking the piss. I am a very delicate soul, easily offended. Or am I again missing the point? Faint praise and all that?

  89. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ok, taking the piss is fun. Hell, I’ve had to take it plenty of times with a feigned smile on my face. However, this is a serious topic and I want OJ to respond.

  90. Michael Taylor

    MN, I hold you in high regard. I always have. I certainly wasn’t taking the piss. It wasn’t faint praise – it was full praise.

  91. Kaye Lee

    Self-improvement is an interesting thing. You have potential OJ (perhaps). As things stand, I often skip over your comments. Give me reason not to.

  92. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, if I may be frank, they’re usually a repetition of his previous five or six comments.

  93. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Does that mean OJ has escaped into obscurity – again – only to come out with a different nom de plume when He (not she) feels capable?

  94. Kaye Lee

    No doubt Michael. When he’s on a rant, or gone to thesis length, I scroll past.

  95. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    So I’m not the only one who skim reads!

  96. Michael Taylor

    I doubt very much that he’s slipped into obscurity, Jennifer. There have been people in the past, that just when you thought they’d disappeared for good, come back with a court room full of ‘evidence’ against anyone here.

  97. Peter F

    I saw part of the 7.30 report last night where the suicide was discussed. He was a student at a large Secondary school. In that discussion there was never any consideration of the FACT that he was/is not the only gay person at that school. Those remaining gay members of the school community must be in serious need of support. The 7.30 report did not seem to appreciate this fact.

  98. OrchidJar

    ‘Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in’.
    Couldn’t resist.

    This will be a long one I’m afraid. As you can see there’s a lot to work through here. For anyone not interested in either frank rebuttal or opinion, or in direct responses, or who may have trouble reading more than one paragraph, then i suggest you look away now.

    I understand what you’re saying, and you’re saying much better than others, but my point of disagreement is unchanged, and still without direct redress.
    Sure, there are a myriad of ‘ impressionistic’ influences that seep through our society, from classes, genders, ages.
    Such a declaration is neither remarkable nor in dispute.
    However, let’s not lose track of the point here: the author is seeking to conflate the reasons for the boys death with the political rhetoric of our politicians using, SPECIFICALLY USING, the uncertain, indeterminate, loose, floating, contentious meaning of the begged questions:
    “Do you wonder where they got the idea that their actions were acceptable behaviour?
    Could it be they were following the behaviour of Turnbull or Dutton (or Abbott)? “

    I don’t like such fallacious argumentation. I certainly don’t trust or respect it.
    Especially as a vulgar instrument of partisan politics – left or right.
    By all means you and the others can suckle at that rancid teat and extract whatever you need to sustain the anti Liberal agenda.
    Just remember that by doing so you are, as i said earlier, the flip side of the same Liberal/National/One Nation coin.

    Good luck to you.
    I just don’t want that kind of morality on my left.

    telling someone you disagree with that they need to get back on their medication is an expression of bullying.
    Full stop.
    Hide your disgrace and hypocrisy behind any number of personal anecdotes, it won’t change that fact.
    Remember that famous quote: a bully can and will find any justification for his bullying.
    Well, that’s you.
    Recognise it, acknowledge it, and move on.

    I’ll tell you what, I’ll be more succinct if you learn to respond directly and eschew misrepresentation.

    “No relationship between public discourse and personal attitudes? That’s rich.”
    Not quite. Here, let me set out the exact proposition:
    No relationship between the highbrow, convoluted, and highly political rhetoric of Canberra politicians, and the court case of one boorish shock jock, and the specific attitudes of a group of 13 and 14 year old boys.
    That’s better.

    And before you argue a Reaganomic like trickle down effect I would say to you that video games, youtube, and other social media have an infinitely greater impact than any single political utterance sieved through a vicious and capricious media, and an even more volatile, doltish, and cruel chattering class.

    Agreed, in substance and spirit.
    This article however speaks to a very different causality.
    And bases that causality on nothing more tangible than the gossamer like ‘wonder’ and ‘could’.
    A breath of a air could barely be supported by such flimsy let alone the single tragic object of a young boys suicide.
    This is a political agenda dressed in the garments of a morality tale.
    It fails at both.

    I remain unconvinced and disgusted.
    And that’s even before i get to the authors first paragraph!
    (thank you Exoplanet for giving it a mention. Alas, lost in this grinding out).

    I appreciate the sequestering.

    Now, is that everyone?
    Anyone else want to have a go?

    And you wonder Kaye why my posts are long?
    I’m responding directly to questions put to me.
    I know it’s not really the done thing here at AIMN, but sheeesh gimme a break, i’m new here!

    that’s the thing about opinions, they differ.
    You say I’m arrogant. I say you’re deceitful
    You say I’m venomous. I say you’re rude.
    You say my contributions to the debates are hypocritical. I say yours are puerile.
    You say I’m pompous. I say you’re a moderating megalomaniac.
    You say I’m self righteous. I say you’re a sucker for inane pap.
    You say I’m so full of myself; that ‘only i can make this blog better’. I say that’s another one of you’re interpretive constructs.
    You say I’m ignoring the respects of others. I say i’m not here to gain the respect of those whose contributions I don’t value and are typical of the mindless chatter so prevalent in the blogosphere today; chatter with near zero polemic, chatter with near zero insight, chatter for the sake of pressing the ‘post comment’ button.
    My only concern is with the questions posed. There are a few writers and contributors here of like mind. There are also many more quite happy to hear their voices echoed.
    You might call that statement arrogant. I call it my opinion.
    If you view such a statement as an indictment on your blog, then so be it.
    I’m not here to make you happy or pander to nonsense; I’m here to contribute to the blog by providing, hopefully, interesting and considered questions.

    The very fact that you mistook my series of ‘tell me’s’ as evidence of arrogance is your problem, not mine.
    As far as I’m concerned they were, and still are, a direct address to Kaye, contradicting her view that my personal posts outnumbered my on-topic ones. Only by such a direct challenge am i able to put a stop to the nonsense that comes my way.
    It appears to have worked. For now.

    You say people have left the blog, or don’t post, when i comment?
    Is that true? How do you know to make such an accusation? Do they write you in private and spell out as much? Can you show me any? Or are you asking me to take the word of a man for whom misrepresentation and deceit appear to be staple tactics?

    Michael, this is your blog. You have the power to block my IP.
    That’s your call.
    I will continue to post according to my conscience.
    And you will of course act according to yours.
    I understand.
    I’ve been blogging for over 13 years and have seen perhaps nearly all there is to see in this crazy business we call ‘blogging’.

    Kaye, again,
    That’s quite fine Kaye, I more often than not skip over yours.
    However I won’t ask for reason not to.

    Your condescension is laughable in light of Michael’s post to me, don’t you think?

    Actually, no, what made me laugh more was you calling me out on ‘rants and thesis length’.
    Of all people here, you?
    Too funny.

    I’m done with this thread now. Exhausted and exhausting.
    I see Victoria has another article. Great!

  99. Deanna Jones

    All online spaces I have ever frequented since the beginning oft he internet have an resident OJ hijacking the place non stop, all with a sense of self importance, almost without exception male. They only seem to stay because they get so much attention. It’s a bore.

  100. Miriam English

    Agreed, Deanna.

    If OJ didn’t thrive so much on disagreeing with people he might even notice most of us actually agree with some of his statements of the toxicity of politics regardless of “side”.

  101. Miriam English

    In the end, OJ, you assert that there is no connection between bullying in wider society and bullying in school. Most people would disagree. You even claim it is immoral to draw such a connection.

    I feel a little like I’m stepping on chewing gum here, but I’ll give it one last shot. When I told “chuck” to get back on his medication I was responding to a set of quite crazy conspiracy theories he was hyperventilating with. If he was indeed going “off the air” then reminding him to get back on his medication is the greatest favor anybody could do for him, as my decades of experience with friend have taught me. If “chuck” was not crazy, but just a conspiracy theory kook then it would reduce to a rebuke, akin to calling what someone says, “lunacy”, as you yourself have done.

    I note lastly, OJ, that you have a tendency to overstate things and make overblown charges. It might be wise to attempt to rein that in.

  102. corvus boreus

    Direct causality is not the only form of connectivity, nor necessary in order to collate/conflate 2 related matters.
    The circumstances allegedly/reportedly surrounding the death of Tyrone Unsworth (bullying through vilification) and the clamoring campaign by certain pollies and journos to allow greater legal freedom of vilification (and an end to anti-bullying programs) are obviously subject related, even if the public rhetoric of those petitioning for greater sledging rights was not necessarily a consequential contributing factor in the Brisbane teenager’s suicide.

    As previously said, in my view the attempt to widen the conflation (eg; including the immigration ministers intemperate remarks) ‘starts over-stretching the strings’ (ie; ‘draws too long a bow’), or, in alternative archery parlance, ‘looses a short arrow from a long bow’.

  103. Michael Taylor

    “I’m done with this thread now.”

    Well I’m relieved about that.

    Because you won’t be back I won’t bother responding to your self-righteous rant at 6:28am. But on the wee chance you are, I will respond to one thing: How do I know that our site visits go down when you’re here? I look at our stats, I always keep an eye on our stats. I’ve been doing it for years. You probably expect that our site visits at least triple when you’re here, but sorry, you’re not our star attraction.

  104. 2353

    Miriam English @ 7.29 – “there is no connection between bullying in wider society and bullying in school. Most people would disagree”

    That’s the point. If it is ok for Dutton, Turnbull or any one of a number of other politicians to bully people to promote a political point; it’s a dead cert that some of our less intelligent or more bigoted high school students will take the initiative.

    corvus boreus @ 7.32 – I see your point but if bullying is not ‘acceptable’ in certain circumstances why is it a long bow to suggest that ‘immigration minister intemperate remarks’ are any better – as the instigators of both actions were using their remarks to vilify.

  105. Hannah

    OJ offered valuable insights into the mind of a frustrated missionary. One can find a certain peace in understanding why s/he thought everyone must agree with his/her thoughts. The nature of duplicitous thinking, which thrives on arguing with itself, winning others over, etc, is a ‘trapping’ until the day it is seen through. After the liberation, there is the inevitable inertia – but that is not a problem as such, rather the noisy old creaky dray comes to a resting, a settling into its potential.

  106. Roswell

    OrchidJar, you said you’ve been blogging for 13 years. I’ve been a keen reader of blogs for about 6 years yet I don’t recall seeing you around. So I did a Google search for you (out of interest) and it directed me to AIMN posts only. This tells me that you must have been blogging under a different name or names. Again out interest, would you be kind enough to let me know what they were? Did you or do you have your own blog? If so, please give me a link.

  107. Kyran

    It’s funny how you miss things in an article and you don’t pick up on what’s troubling you for a few days. The value of hindsight.
    I didn’t pick up on the opening paragraph reference “He identified as being gay” until I read a subsequent article on the ABC website titled “Tyrone Unsworth: Gay Brisbane schoolboy shared bullying torment with friend day before suicide.”
    Took a while to work out that what was troubling me was the lad was being labelled posthumously as ‘gay’. It reminded me of a friend, from high school days. He was effeminate in high school. Back in those days, the 70’s, promiscuity wasn’t new, but it was being talked about. That was new. The label of ‘gay’ strikes me as someone who is sexually active, having made a choice. How does a 13 year old lad distinguish between being different (effeminate) and being gay (sexually active)? So I rang my friend and asked him. He agreed that, in high school, he identified as being different, but didn’t identify as being gay until he made that choice, in his early 20’s.
    From the ABC article;
    “He was an absolute mess, crying his eyes out and telling me everyone wants him dead and I said, ‘Tyrone, what do you mean everyone wants you dead?’,” Ms Edwards Kennard told 7.30.
    “He said, ‘The kids at school keep telling me to go kill myself’, and I was obviously gobsmacked.
    “[The other students] did call him nasty names, like faggot and fairy.
    “He loved girly things, he’s chosen dresses for me and his mum to wear, he’s asked to use make-up.”
    From your article;
    “By way of observation, According to the boy’s mother, he was bullied because he believed he was different to the ‘ordinary’. Regardless of the matter of the school knowing about the claims or acting on them, some of the students at the school seemed to think that it was acceptable practice to tease or bully someone who was ‘different’.”
    From the ABC article;
    “On Sunday hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane to remember Tyrone, with people asked to dress in bright colours, something he loved.
    Tyrone’s mother, Amanda, was due to speak but cancelled due to her ongoing grief.
    Speakers at the rally called for the controversial Safe Schools program to be made mandatory to prevent bullying of queer students.”
    On my recollection, the ‘Safe Schools’ program wasn’t about the prevention of bullying ‘queer students’. It was about the prevention of bullying. Think about it. How many 13 year old’s do you know that are capable of distinguishing between their ‘sex’ (in the sense of gender) and their sexuality (in the sense of preference)?
    With regard to the ‘example’ being offered by our ‘leaders’, let’s look at the facts. 33 people charged. How many convictions?
    From what I’ve read, many of those charged are what used to be referred to as juveniles. People under the age of 18. Kids. People still trying to identify their own identity and susceptible to manipulation. 22 of them identify (or have been identified) by their ethnicity, out of a sub-sect of 200,000 Australians, who identify (or have been identified) by their Lebanese heritage.
    “Do you wonder where they got the idea that their actions were acceptable behaviour? Could it be they were following the behaviour of Turnbull or Dutton (or Abbott)?”
    The likes of talcum, dutton, tiny, the ‘george’s, the corgi’s, etc, being mentioned as anything other than bullies is an anathema to me.
    “It is a sad indictment on Australia, if at the same time as we rightfully decry bullying at schools and similar institutions, we allow our political and business elite (in the true sense of the word) to get away with bullying…”
    Thanks again, 2353NM. Take care
    PS, helvityni. The foregoing is why I don’t write. I get an attack of the waffle. Take care
    PPS, Roswell, the sight of your name is a welcome relief to some of the dross around here. Take care

  108. Deanna Jones

    Kyran, sexuality is not contingent upon sexual activity. Most people have an idea of their orientation well before they are sexually active. Would you have the same concerns if a 13 year old were ‘labelled’ as straight? Probably not. Straights always assume children are straight long before they are old enough to be sexually active. Heterosexuality is seen as some kind of default state of existence regardless of sexual activity whereas non hetero is seen only as a sexualised category that can’t exist without the ‘proof’ of activity.

  109. Miriam English

    Kyran, it doesn’t really matter (or shouldn’t matter) whether he was gay, or straight, or trans, or bi or even of fluid gender. He was bullied to death for being different — an effeminate boy. A tragedy. We need more effeminate boys and less aggressive, macho ones.

  110. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    We all agree the 13 year old boy was made to feel ashamed and unwanted because of his identity.

    If any of us had been there to help, we would have.

    That’s also the tragedy. The people that can help, don’t or can’t or don’t see.

    It’s important that there are no more Tyrone Unsworth’s who die because of ignorant bullying and power-politics.

  111. Deanna Jones

    Miriam, hear hear to more effeminate boys and less of this lethal hyper masculinity.

  112. Kyran

    I’m really bad at trying to express myself, clearly. He was a 13 year old child. He is now being defined, post-mortem, in all manner of words. Words that his young life will never hear.
    Ms Jones, I don’t label a 13 year old child as anything other than a 13 year old child. I’m trying to remember when I was 13. Best I can offer, sex wasn’t on my mind.
    Ms English and Ms Meyer-Smith, reckon you nailed it.
    This lads epitaph?
    Surely, that is up to us. This dutton thing, bullies 13 year old kids on Nauru.
    “It’s important that there are no more Tyrone Unsworth’s who die because of ignorant bullying and power-politics.”
    Well said. Take care

  113. Miriam English

    Last night, during dinner I re-listened to an old Radiolab episode titled Oops, which discussed unintended consequences. The reason I wanted to hear it again was because it outlined the extremely unethical psychology experiments by cruel professor Henry Murray in Harvard University, USA in which he bullied and humiliated his students in a horrifying fashion over 3 years.

    One of his students was very meek and mild and much younger than all the rest. He was unusually smart to have gained entrance to university so young and was, in fact a mathematical prodigy. His stress levels while being bullied were far higher than the other students. The nickname “Lawful” given to him because he was very shy, proper, straightlaced, and unadventurous, however these experiments in humiliation and bullying has a serious effect upon him. They broke something inside him and years later he became Unabomber. This brilliant, mild, shy young kid, Ted Kaczynski, was turned into a terrorist who, over a 17 year bombing spree, killed 3 people and injured 23, and caused a fever of fear in USA.

    The world lost a brilliant young mind, as well as the minds of the three other people killed by his bombs. And goodness know what other ripple-on effects occurred in the people injured, authorities’ reactions to the bombings, and in the other students bullied.

    Please, don’t anybody ever tell me that bullying is okay because kids just need to toughen up. What a load of bollocks! Bullying has repercussions and consequences.

  114. Miriam English

    Bullied children tend to become right-wing adults, if I remember correctly. Maybe that’s why this repellent government wants to enable bullying.

  115. helvityni

    Tudge appeared on A Current Affair on Monday and threatened to jail those who owed Centrelink money:

    “We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and you will have to repay those debts and you may end up in prison,” he said.

    As I said above, a punishing and bullying country….

  116. Kaye Lee

    Will the tax evaders end up in prison too or are we just after the pensioners? What about the employers that are not paying superannuation? What about the employers that are rorting workers on visas? But let’s stick it to the unemployed!

  117. Michael Taylor

    Bullied children tend to become right-wing adults

    Not this little black duck, Miriam. 😉

    The way teachers (and some fellow students) treated the school kids would see them jailed these days. We had a teacher who would bash kids up. One day in class he told one of the kids to stand up, he punched him hard in the guts, then threw him head first into the wall. I grew up on an island where we were all children of soldiers settlers, so we all thought that being tough was normal, it was the way of the world. I wasn’t tough, hence why I was probably bullied.

    Only two weeks ago I was in a conversation on Facebook with a lot of those kids. The treatment they received from that teacher scarred them for life. Many were suicidal. Many carried memories that still haunt them.

  118. Miriam English

    Nah. The tax evaders extracting billions from Australia and taking it overseas are lifters.

    The poor people who benefit nobody (except the local communities who they support not only by spending their doles and pensions there, but by volunteering and helping out at local events and looking after children). They’re leaners and so need to be crushed underfoot.

    The priorities of this ridiculous government!

  119. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Poverty-stricken unemployed people should play Tudge at his own game and welcome jail.

    Free food, free accommodation, no bills and NO loss of self-identity because when a system is broken, it is NOT the vulnerable at fault, it is the authoritarian system run by fools.

  120. Michael Taylor

    Tudge appeared on A Current Affair on Monday and threatened to jail those who owed Centrelink money:

    “We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and you will have to repay those debts and you may end up in prison,” he said.

    At last a subject I can talk about with some authority!

    For some years I was involved in Centrelink litigation. (I didn’t work for Centrelink, but my department managed some Centrelink payments, such as Newstart and the DSP). When Howard was PM we were instructed to appeal every SSAT (Social Security Appeals Tribunal) decision that went in favour of the welfare recipient or pensioner, where the amount of money the recipient would get to ‘keep’ was over $500. Given that every appeal cost the taxpayer $5,000 and that 99% of the amounts over $500 were below $5,000 … it didn’t make a lot of economic sense.

    When Rudd was elected one of the first things he did away with was Howard’s obsession with taking everybody to court. The new ‘policy’ was to judge each case on its merits. Why throw away $5,000 to chase $500?

    And as for sending the offender to prison, that’s up to the courts to decide. Not Tudge.

  121. Miriam English

    Michael, it is sickening what used to be normal. That violent teacher you mentioned should never have been allowed to work as a teacher.

    I had one teacher who used to terrify me by dragging me out of my chair by my ear (a very painful experience) and humiliate me in front of the class when I couldn’t do maths properly. I credit him with destroying any mathematical ability I might have had. I developed a block against being able to do it. Thank goodness for computers. They let me do high-level maths now and it is wonderful.

    I had another teacher who often used to humiliate and sneer at me, making me the butt of his jokes thinking it was funny to do so.

    Thankfully my parents were always loving, generous, and tolerant. That counterbalanced the nastiness of some of the teachers. There were also some wonderful, kind teachers who I adored.

  122. helvityni

    Jennifer, I was going to say the same; finally all homeless would find a home….. in JAIL.

    Do not build affordable housing, start building more and more prisons.

    According to hubby, who follows Dutch news, Holland has lately closed quite few prisons, I think it was eleven….no doubt this is a result of rehabilitation.

    No rehabilitation, people will re-offend and go back to jail. A female prisoner said as much on Jenny Brockie’s program, Insight…

  123. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Exactly, Helvi

  124. Kaye Lee

    Teachers tried to intimidate me at school (I wasn’t naughty but I was a bit of a smart ass) but I wouldn’t have a bar of it. I even took a complaint to area office once and the school had to apologise (oh that was sweet). Having teachers for parents, I wasn’t scared of them and knew what to do if they went too far.

    But the teacher who made me actually break down and cry was the one who took me quietly aside and spoke to me about how hard he had had to work at school to get through and how unfair it was that I was wasting my ability, how disappointed he was that I was not using it. That got results where bullying never would.

    I have spent decades helping children with their maths and the first thing is always to get them over the fear of being wrong. Having a go and making mistakes is how we learn. Being too scared to try gets you nowhere.

    I have known many inspiring teachers, but I have also known many who were life’s cripples where a classroom was the only place they felt powerful.

  125. Michael

    Kaye Lee – Will the tax evaders end up in prison too or are we just after the pensioners?

    and a special prison for corporations (without their directors)?

  126. Deanna Jones

    Kyran, you said you were troubled that Tyrone was being labelled as gay, as if it were a perjorative term. It isn’t. I meant to gently challenge some unconscious, unintentional homophobia which I think is appropriate for this thread.

  127. Deanna Jones

    Jennifer and Helvi, would you like to hear some stories about our gaols and penal system? I spent my earlier years as a social worker, in these places. You will get a tiny travel size bottle of shampoo that is meant to last you for your entire sentence. Nobody there will know how to facilitate your access to basic human rights such as voting. The food is shitty. It’s impossible to sleep. Rape and other violence is all around you and you really have no way to stay safe. The officers are corrupt. You still have bills, just no way to pay them. It will be a huge achievement if you can get out of there without a prescription drug habit (chemical handcuffs). Your health will deteriorate. You will gain a huge amount of weight due to the shitty food and prescription drugs. You’ll lose your living arrangements on the outside whatever they were. You’ll lose a lot of your social connections. You’ll come out unemployable even if your weren’t before you went in.

    I hope this challenges your romantic ideas about gaol.

  128. Kaye Lee


    I don’t think Kyran’s post indicated homophobia in any way. Why are people labeled by their sexuality at all let alone a child?

  129. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    do NOT make assumptions about what I may or may not know or understand.

    The reality is that many people are living in the jail of poverty and prison wouldn’t be so much worse.

    I do acknowledge however, the threats of physical violence but then I was confronted that way in the carpark at my local supermarket the other day.

    My point anyway was that if f*ckwit, spineless, neoliberal pricks like Tudge think they can further intimidate defenceless and vulnerable people, that is a way for such people to make a statement that exposes the illegitimacy of a failed welfare system that treats vulnerable people like vermin for being poor and unemployed.

  130. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Deanna Jones,

    you haven’t responded as yet. Something to say now?

  131. Jexpat


    Cowardly bullies always cry and whine the loudest when they get hit back or called out.

    We can see one above doing just that: expressing poutrage at the author of the article for calling out bullies- and putting accountability where it belongs- with those who promote and encourage them. Presumably: folks like himself.

    Another curious thing about bullies parroting right wing memes: they’re always keen to play the martyr card -even (or especially when) when it’s been they themselves doing the bullying.

    btw: I don’t use the term ‘always’ lightly, but in this situation, it’s an indelible characteristic of a ceratin mindset that bears few if any exceptions.

  132. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    I thank you for defining bullies. Even the least obvious but still obsequiest.

  133. Deanna Jones

    Jennifer, you are wrong. Gaol is way worse for the reasons I already stated. I understand your point, I just don’t think it works.

    Kaye did you see my first response to Kyran? If you did and you still don’t get what I’m saying then I won’t waste any more time on it.

  134. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    let’s not forget my comment was overtly a statement of defiance against Tudge, the trudge.

    I do not wish to understate the abuses suffered by vulnerable people who have gone to prison.

    I am emphasising that while the ‘outside’ is obviously better than 4 confined walls and the various other punishments imposed, poverty outside of prison is a slow death of deprivation.

    That must not be understated either.

  135. helvityni

    Deanna, of course a jail is not a home. I was furious with Tudge’s statement about threatening poor jobless with jailing, Well they can’t keep sleeping on the streets forever; so what are they going to do, it does not look like they are planning to build affordable public housing soon.

    A friend came back from Melbourne , she was stunned how many homeless people there seems to be over there…

    One of the women who Brockie interviewed was determined not to reoffend, but also added that many commit crimes to get back into their cells as things do not seem work out for them outside. Bloody sad…

    Anyhow our jails are full already; where is this government taking the country…

  136. helvityni

    Deanna, I did not see anything wrong with Kyran’s post. Do we ever hear/ read that a heterosexual thirteen year old killed himself.

    No, because those gay bashers think hetero is normal. This young child’s schoolmates did not see him as normal…

  137. Kyran

    With respect, Deanna Jones, my point was not that this lad needed to be ‘labelled’ as anything. The news story here is that a 13 year old lad ended his own life due to bullying. The media, not me, have invariably started their reports with ‘gay 13 year old’. I also referenced a 10 year old lass in the Kimberley (from March), who ended her life due to systemic institutionalized abuse. The media invariably distinguished her as Aboriginal. The point that I was trying to make was that labels are applied by the media and they serve only to obfuscate the real issues. We have child suicide now at unprecedented levels and the conversation becomes about the children, not the underlying problem.
    With regard to detention, anyone promoting that as a solution to anything without adequate support services is, in my opinion, delusional. Our current ‘leaders’ are advocating what would best be described as a debtors prison, a notion so stupid it was dispensed with centuries ago in most civilised countries.
    “The Council of Australian Governments reports that net operating expenditure per prisoner per day in Victoria in 2014–15 was $297.34,”
    Even if only from a cost benefit standpoint, it is a stupid notion. From any social benefit point of view, it is simply asinine.
    The point of the article was that our ‘leaders’ have made bullying acceptable. The vulnerable are suffering for it.
    Take care

  138. Michael

    “This young child’s schoolmates did not see him as normal… ” have some answering to do?

  139. Michael

    Supporting Kyran – who knows an adequately supported homeless person, criminal, asylum seeker could have the cure to cancer, etc is where I believe the starting point should be.

  140. Miriam English

    Michael, that last point is often forgotten, but is extremely important. In the shame and injustice of bullying a child to death, people often overlook the fact that every human mind is the most complex instrument in the known universe, with the potential to find solutions to the mounting array of problems besetting us all. Keeping the vulnerable safe, and ensuring good health and good education reaches everybody increases the mental resources of the human race by unimaginable degrees.

    We need the women, poor, the gays, the different-colored. The gays, in particular have an amazing track record of producing some of the best minds humanity has ever seen. Society’s persecution of them is society’s very great loss. And any society that discards women’s ability to contribute to society is throwing away more than half their wealth.

    Imagine what we could be capable of if we were able to bring to bear on the world’s problems the innumerable potentially great minds currently locked away in poverty, or in prison because of being gay, or disallowed from mainstream society because of being female. All we need is just a few Alan Turings, Grace Hoppers, Albert Einsteins, Emilie du Chatelets and we could change everything. The thought that stupidity, bigotry, and bully mentality could destroy them before they have a chance to flower and possibly save us all horrifies me.

  141. Michael

    Miriam – which makes me ashamedly say that those who voted for the political bullying kickers (who themselves only seek power and ideological narcissism but have proven to have no clue as to what to do) to our Parliament need to account to themselves and their families – unfortunately our work-in-progress democracy has a demonstrable vacuum.

  142. Freethinker

    Meanwhile, when the attention is on the bullies in our government and also people are concerned on the state of the economy, we have the news in the Guardian “Rio Tinto’s plan to use drones to monitor workers’ private lives”

    “Our goal is to get to the point where we can capture individual insights on where employees are spending their time and money and improve the quality of their lives.”

    What next?

  143. Michael Taylor

    “Our goal is to get to the point where we can capture individual insights on where employees are spending their time and money and improve the quality of their lives.”

    Freethinker, like you, I think this is a huge concern. Some people might put this under the label of ‘Social Engineering’.

  144. Michael Taylor

    If they wanted to know what they do in their private time couldn’t they just send out a questionnaire? Maybe they aren’t invasive enough. Let’s send in the drones.

  145. jimhaz

    [The gays, in particular have an amazing track record of producing some of the best minds humanity has ever seen. Society’s persecution of them is society’s very great loss]

    You probably have that the wrong way around. I’d say it is often the lack of acceptance that drives the exceptionalism. The same applies to migrants who succeed highly, like most of our biggest film stars and some of the 1980’s bands of my youth.

    I pretty much only respect exceptionalism/originality, so the cost on the downside is not too high for me.

    So say in terms of Safe Schools, as well as the positive propaganda I would include a focus on trying to get the kid to excel (relative to the bullies) in some way. A non-gay “weakling” fellow I went to school with took up weightlifting when at school and his life changed so much for the better. A friend, who it turned out was gay post school did the same – but lol that was probably just a gay thing.

    What worries me about the move to the acceptance of effeminate males and butch females is the possibility of parents coddling the kids without doing anything about lifting up the childs long term confidence via self-improvement (other than perhaps complaining to the school and expecting them to fix everything).

    Personally, I didn’t have a much of a problem with the linking to our current LNP government. Didn’t someone like Kaye post quite recently a link to a study showing that under con gov suicides increase.

    I have felt it in myself with Trumps (cheating based) win. I’ve been more anti-left since (and those female protesters in parliament and about the actors ratios have not helped in that regard).

    This won’t go over well here, but I’m even starting to think that the demise in a respect for non-emotion based truths, and our dumbing down, is due in a significant way (though as usual amongst many other equally significant factors) to the rise of women and effeminate males in politics and the workforce….and only the rise of a greater number of more exceptional women due to increased freedom is hiding this possible cause from view (with a corresponding decline in male exceptionalism or principles).

    I’m not blaming women as such, all humans must have the same rights to choose what do with their lives, just suggesting it feels like a downside of equality. I see in in the way the majority of typical mainstream women goes about things – it is still mostly women talk about clothes ,celebrities, kids, food, husbands and a sort of natural obedience to authority, non-imaginative responses on less black and white issues, a desire to remove all conflict and an excessive love of cooperation. Yes men have their own set of shallow norms, increasingly overlapping, but like the CO2 issue, small percentage changes can still produce large secondary outcomes. The more gentle nature of women and effeminate males may be allowing more scope for bullies or bossy types to bully (or to mentor as future bullies or blatant liars for vested interest purposes – eg our big 4 banks like female CEOs nowadays partly I think to give an appearance of caring).

  146. jimhaz

    [Our goal is to get to the point where we can capture individual insights on where employees are spending their time and money and improve the quality of their lives]

    Those in the ALP need to be more vocal about activities such as this. We except obsessive control from the Libs, but the ALP is supposed to be for workers.

    It is clearly a lie. If they need to improve the quality to attract or keep workers, there is nothing that a survey could not do without the need for surveillance.

    If they have sick leave problem or an alcohol “still drunk from the night before” problem they need to resolve these in other ways.
    So many darn psychopaths in business and government these days. Glad I’m nearing retirement

  147. Freethinker

    I was expecting a big revolt by the unions and at the very least a comment by the ALP.
    There is no hope for the blue collar working class.
    I am retired, it does not affect me directly but as an ex very involved activist for the workers right these kind of news make my blood boil.
    There are no respect by the ALP and the present unions towards the sacrifices and struggle of those in the pass to get better working conditions.
    The greed for material things and consumism have made the working class slaves of the financial institutions.
    It will take a lot of suffering to people realize that.

  148. Miriam English

    With respect jimhaz, I think you have that (at 3:35 pm) completely wrong. Your caricaturing of women, in particular, left a very bad taste in my mouth (talk about clothes ,celebrities, kids, food, husbands and a sort of natural obedience to authority, non-imaginative responses on less black and white issues, a desire to remove all conflict and an excessive love of cooperation). Holy crap! I won’t even touch that. It is so very wrong I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

    A surprise finding in the developed nations is that removing barriers to girls has allowed many more women to excel at mathematics. It is an area that women were considered incapable of. It turns out that for some unknown reason women have a slight advantage over men in maths (if it isn’t stunted in childhood). In Islamic countries the loss to their society by banning more than half of the population (women) from doing anything other than being baby-factories has been incalculable.

    I seriously doubt that exceptionalism is fostered by the Sword of Damocles forever hanging over the heads of gay men and women. Much more likely is that gay men have more time to work upon their interests than men who settle down to family life and work to support them. Gay women seem to have a different dynamic where they support each other in a different way to hetero unions.

    I’ve heard before the argument that coddling kids is bad. It really doesn’t hold water. Kids who have to grow up quickly in poor families only rarely excel, whereas kids who grow up in well-to-do families where they can live at home into their early adult life and take university courses supported by their parents instead of having to work their way through their studies, those kids much more often go on to become world-leading researchers, artists, writers, sportspeople, and so on. All other animals shove their young out into the hard world after a very short childhood. Humans extend that childhood for decades and allow us to grow and feed our curiosity, playfulness, creativity, skills, and knowledge.

  149. jimhaz

    [It is so very wrong I wouldn’t even know where to begin]

    Of course it is, you are not a woman anywhere close to the norm. I think you are too distant from them and probably have concentrated too much on the progress side of things, giving a confirmation bias, rather than the high percentage of women that have remained much the same, albeit this percentage decreases each year (or it would if it were not for immigration from more traditional cultures). Perhaps even Trumps much higher than expected or warranted female vote demonstrates this.

    [I’ve heard before the argument that coddling kids is bad. It really doesn’t hold water]

    Not really the same argument. I’m referring to kids already under stress from bullying.

  150. Heather

    We need to discuss the problem of bullying that is for sure. It is rife in Australia as we are not the most gentle of people. I believe it is the mongrel or animal in people that does this. Is this a barbaric country? I think it is. If you are soft and easy going watch out. You will be called dreamy, fey, away with the fairies, and there is always no elaboration or reasoning involved. Just a slam.
    Show a bit of vulnerability and you’ve had it. Carry disabilities no matter how big and small, you’ve had it. If you are not up yourself and riding your self esteem or ego whatever, like everyone else, you’ve had it. My theory is to learn how to pick up the sword with people like these, without getting their disease that is.

    I just sent off a brief message to family today. “Lose the narcissism. It’s a disease.” At least I gave a reason. One could even call it a deformity or how to do the emotions in a very unintelligent way I’ve been watching Alec Baldwin do very funny take offs of arch narcissist Trump, and intrigued with all the pouting and petulance.

    This is a true story. My parents had it so bad, she was his war trophy and he her handbag because she was so desperate being on the shelf at the age of 23. He needed an ego boost due to being shot in the arm in PNG, so he ditches the loyal long term lady waiting at home, and takes the big ego stroke opportunity with his new found position of being a rather highly decorated war hero but a disabled one. They had a strange attitude that it was okay to be handicapped in life, yet they strutted the ego and wallowed in egotism and narcissism. Finally when their first grandchild arrived, a grandson, he was born with a large swollen lower lip, like a huge pout. They were both in shock and kind of rejected the wee babe. I was so shocked and so ashamed. They just didn’t like him because he was so openly deformed at birth. The rejection was a kind of bullying in itself. Now the whole family has chronic narcissism it seems, except me and hopefully my daughter has enough restraint to avoid it, although it is so hard around narcissists. They are usually bullies too, as they blunder along so full of themselves and wreaking havoc everywhere. They spit the dummy and get all hyper. Remember Turnbull on election night. He well and truly gave it away. So there you are life does create the reality. Narcissism actually came out as the big pout. The tragedy is they never get the message that life throws up at them. Their inner deformity pops out in front of their eyes, and they totally miss it.

    A classic was someone asking the Electoral College to please choose Alec Baldwin for President. :))))

  151. Miriam English

    jimhaz, I wasn’t objecting to it for me. I meant that it doesn’t fit any of my female (mostly hetero) friends or family — nobody! I can’t think of one woman I know who can be described by that 1950s caricature of women. It is as wrong as White Supremacists describing dark-skinned people as stupid, lazy, predisposed to criminality, and natural servants. It is just wrong.

  152. Kaye Lee

    “it is still mostly women talk about clothes ,celebrities, kids, food, husbands and a sort of natural obedience to authority, non-imaginative responses on less black and white issues, a desire to remove all conflict and an excessive love of cooperation”

    Ya think?

  153. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    as women take their rightful places in 50%+ places throughout our society, expect more disruption to the status quo of preferential treatment and rewards for men.

  154. Deanna Jones

    Kyran, sure. This young person was clearly a victim of homophobic bullying, whether or not he was gay. You have to be careful, in trying to avoid labelling, that you don’t erase the type of oppression or people’s identities. I thought I was adding personal LGBT insight to the discussion but I admit it was clumsily done.

  155. Deanna Jones

    Helvi, straight people never do see anything wrong with their constructions of LGBT lol. And there is no need to rush to Kyran’s aid, he’s fine.

    Jennifer, it was your flippant “hey free food no bills!” narrative that got me all wtf. I refer you to critical criminologist, Nils Christie’s “Dangerous States” or the Health of Australian Prisoners report. I get what you were saying re Tudge.

  156. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    I’m glad we have established some common ground but the ‘free food no bills’ reference stays (even if it appears flippant to you), if arseholes like Tudge use prison as a threat to make already vulnerable, poor people more fearful.

    I might be prepared to defer to your greater knowledge on LGBT issues, but I won’t be deterred from promoting equitable opportunities for unemployed and under-employed people.

  157. Deanna Jones

    Jennifer, I guess I just don’t support the theoretical offering up of vulnerable people to go to gaol, in order to make a point. Because of my profession, those people are not abstract concepts; they have faces, names, histories etc. for me.

  158. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I don’t suggest anything I wouldn’t put myself on the line for first.

    Besides, people like you in support roles should also be more proactive in fighting the system that abuses the vulnerable that you profess to represent.

  159. jimhaz

    [I can’t think of one woman I know who can be described by that 1950s caricature of women]

    Well yes of course things have changed since then. Few non-fundamentally religious women would tolerate that degree of passiveness now. At the same time, one cannot expect the sexual reshaping of a species herd dynamics to occur overnight, in evolutionary terms, as you seem to.

    I accept that I over-generalise, as it doesn’t really bother me that much. I have the view that people should take it as intended. To me it feels as if you refuse to acknowledge that there are personality differences that affect reactions, while under the same immediate conditions, between the sexes as a whole set – just because we are talking about power distribution issues.

    All things have an effect, but only some are noticable. If you don’t look you wont see them. Differences are easier to recognise as we constantly are assessing change to survive. The media catering to women as consumers appeal to what the demand from females want more of. Look at how the SMH has changed to try and find adequate demand – a part of that is the difference in what more women than men.

    In any case bullying exists because there is a power differentiation, and it will be filled whether it be by individual bullies or mob behaviour between peers – the old nature abhors a vacuum scenario. The power of law and societies expectations of maturity in the young can only reach so far, as we can see by this particular instance. I’m not anti the Safe Schools program – I’d use the chaplain funding (though I do have concerns about how loose it might be, but I don’t have children so I’ve not looked at the detail).

    Being sympathetic and loving is different to coddling. The former is essential, the latter can weaken. Effeminate males still need to learn how to overcome hurdles as young as possible, far more so than those closer to the norm. Coddling is not trying adequately to do this because they are effeminate, for fear of upsetting the child more. If they can experience completing some just hurdles, they’ll have more strength for the unjust ones they are bound to experience if outside the norm. Building up physical stamina or strength, in a personally competitive way, helps the mind and enables courage. They are also adding to their physical masculinity making them appear less different. Of course, there is a degree of idealism in this view, as I acknowledge how difficult it would be to motivate a depressed or completely uninterested child to do physical things, and there would be X number of parents would not have the ability – it doesn’t make me wrong though. For many it would be the Arts which can give confidence and joy, but I don’t feel it will help dramatically in dealing emotionally with bullying – get them to do some of both.

  160. Kaye Lee


    “it doesn’t make me wrong though.”

    Let me count the ways but before I begin I want you to know that I think you are genuine in your beliefs and giving in explaining your rationale……that being said….you are SOOOOOOOOO wrong.

    “Effeminate males still need to learn how to overcome hurdles as young as possible, far more so than those closer to the norm.”

    Why? Because assholes bully people who aren;t just like them? We all need to conform to what the schoolyard bully thinks we should be?

    “they’ll have more strength for the unjust ones they are bound to experience if outside the norm”

    Who gets to dictate what ‘the norm’ is? The people who will bash you if you if you don’t fit their idea?

    “Building up physical stamina or strength, in a personally competitive way, helps the mind and enables courage.”

    You could have said exercise is good for you but you make it sound like you need it to be able to defend yourself.

    “They are also adding to their physical masculinity making them appear less different. Of course, there is a degree of idealism in this view, as I acknowledge how difficult it would be to motivate a depressed or completely uninterested child to do physical things,”

    So there is some look we should all aspire to? And anyone who doesn’t aspire to look like this must be depressed?

    “For many it would be the Arts which can give confidence and joy, but I don’t feel it will help dramatically in dealing emotionally with bullying – get them to do some of both.”

    Jesus Christ jimhaz – you make it sound like Mad Max rules the playground. It ain’t like that yanno. Kids happily accept differences unless their parents’ hangups screw them up.

  161. Matters Not

    a sort of natural obedience to authority

    I suspected, from an early age, I married the wrong woman. She’s so ‘unnatural’.

    Now if I could have the last 5 decades or so over again …

    I’d learn her good. (But perhaps not.)

  162. Kaye Lee


    I read the quote to my husband – he just laughed.

    I go away with my g/f’s a couple of times a year. They are a very interesting but diverse group of women. It’s amazing how some of the husbands think we spend our time talking about them. They don’t feature beyond a “How’s John?” polite inquiry. We usually end up arguing about politics.

  163. Matters Not

    usually end up arguing about politics

    I find that claim very hard to believe. Just sayin …

    Perhaps you have a link? Or two – or maybe more?

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