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Union bashing for the new curriculum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rowan Cahill points out that:

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

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

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

Abetz echoes this cry saying:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  1. Joe Banks

    Kaye, you ask, what does he really mean. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it – trying to work out what he really means… He doesn’t know himself. They all just talk for the sake of it. And there is no real depth or truth in any of it. It’s just what sounds educated at the time, depending on the audience. Abbott is the worst but they are all the same.

  2. Ricardo29

    I dislike it when people run his name together and call him Erica Betz (see ClivePalmer) but he has such a whining voice and says such poisonous things in such a pious holier-than-thou way that you want to find a way to show him up for what he is – a political and social dinosaur. Yes Kaye Lee, with people like him in power we should be very afraid.

  3. billy moir

    he is a victim of his inarticulation and his failure to watch the abc. if little billy or any labor had watched the house nof cards the would be laughing at his ignorance because the show was about the aftermaths of thatcher and is not far away from the machinations of the rabbott.

  4. joy cooper

    Abetz was born in Germany, coming to Australia at the age of three in 1961, when his father obtained employment at Tasmania’s hydro scheme. Ironically both he & Abbott were the same age when they arrived in Australia with Abbott arriving the year before as an assisted migrant from the UK.

    His great uncle was SS-Brigadeführer Otto Abetz, Nazi German ambassador to Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. This is why I find his wrapping himself in his version of Australian World War II history.rather ironic. He certainly exhibits many of the ultra-rightwing traits & beliefs his great uncle most likely displayed. His adulation of Cory Bernardi’s insane belief systems & delusions is astounding. It is a cause of great concern when such people are in our government charged with governing Australia in a decent manner to the benefit of all its citizens. Somehow with the woeful attitude of Abetz et al that will be just a pipedream.

    PS Abetz would have been referring to the US version of House of Cards which features Kevin Spacey in the lead, not the original British version. .

  5. billy moir

    awful typos sorry grandkids abc3 family abc news me mkr all ringing with the frustations of gillard’s and lobor’s and now billy’s inaction on extremists like erica, bernardi, even sinodinos deserves a media campaign

  6. jasonblog

    Abetz has much to contribute to Australian politics. None of it particularly pleasant. He is an ongoing reminder of that question as to whether or not NAZISM is hereditary or perhaps he just come to be a fwit through application of his own unique talents.

    A scary, creepy, reminder of how far to the extreme of nut-baggery the Liberal party has drifted & how shallow their discourse regarding Australia’s past and vision for the future. Not that Abetz has any significant connection to Australian history himself. That’s why he views the obnoxious and reductionist Tea Party tactics as legitimate.

    Eric Abetz – Patriot Extraordinaire!!!

  7. Matters Not

    What does he really mean?

    When it comes to ‘meaning’, at the most basic level, there’s two sides of the coin. People who ‘write’, in most, if not all cases, have an intended ‘meaning’ they want to ‘transmit’ or ‘convey’ or whatever. In so doing, writers hope to evoke emotional/intellectual responses that are attuned to the points they are attempting to make.

    But intended meaning(s), and the meaning(s) ultimately given by the reader can be very far apart. For example, when I listen to Abetz, I know the ‘meanings’ he is attempting to convey (he’s like a broken record in that regard) and surprise, surprise he has no ‘effect’ or positive ‘affect’ on me.

    The point being that there is no ‘meaning’ apart from what each and every individual creates on an ongoing and daily basis. No ‘daily’ is far too long a timeframe, it’s what individuals do when they live. People are ‘meaning makers’ – it’s an inescapable human condition visible in every moment of their lives.

    It’s what people do when they read my personally selected words.

  8. Matters Not

    As for the ‘new curriculum’, it’s problematic at a number of levels. PROF BARRY MCGAW’s endorsed ‘conceptual frameworks’ aka know as ‘curricula’ are far from ‘perfect’ but it’s ridiculous to suggest that ‘perfection’ in this area could be possible, or indeed whether it’s desirable.

    ‘Education’, the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how’ or ‘why’ will always be problematic. It can never be otherwise, at least in a democratic, reflective society.

    As for the current ‘review’ by Wiltshire and Donnelly, (and I’ve worked with both), be very afraid at one level, but perhaps at a deeper and more significant level just laugh.

    Wiltshire reviewed education in Queensland and his tomes disappeared without trace. Same with Donnelly. (He’s an Alan Jones lookalike and his ‘insights’ are a scream.)

    If ‘payment by results’ was the operative principle, the people of Queensland were due for a refund.

  9. Pingback: Union bashing for the new curriculum. | lmrh5

  10. olddavey

    If you shut your eyes while Ecca’s talking B.A. Santamaria will be there with you.

    Or Darth Vader without his helmet.

  11. lawrencewinder

    Erich “Vichy” Abetz…. ’nuff said!

  12. john921fraser


    Mein Kampf would be the number 1 hit in the Abetz household.

  13. john921fraser


    If Abetz the idiot could sing it would be the Horst Wessel.

  14. spiral

    It appears that Neo nazi Abetz is kicking the Shit “Jerry” can Uphill,cause the only salient Historical point salvaged from “Folk Memory” has and will always be the traitorous”Pig Iron Bob” debacle,,with all its connotations.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Pissed myself laughing.

    Is this a comedy or what?

    One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

    This one belongs in the cuckoos nest straight jacket and all.

    Bloody hell Australia is the best you can do?

    Unions lost the bloody Second World War.

    Have a look at the list of unionist that died for you, you prat.

    I choke on my womit.

  16. Stephen Tardrew

    “is that the best you can do.” Brain equals sieve.

  17. Phillip A Ellis

    All bets are off with Eric Abetz,
    who can gargle “Horst Wessel” when taking a rest,
    and taking a tantie that the Japanese
    didn’t have all our pig iron, say what you please,
    preferring the coal and the petrol and diesel
    than anything green, that half-witted weasel,
    but then that’s an insult to weasels (absurd!):–
    the man’s a lobotomised insult to turds.

  18. bjkelly1958

    Just what I needed to get the blood boiling. The hypocritical toad preaching the gospel of Sts Rupert and Gina and harking back to the reign of Ming the Malevolent as a great moment in our Nation’s history, to a bunch of acolytes getting together for their annual piss-up, is frankly nauseating.

  19. scotchmistery

    Can I urge members to refer to LimitedNews typists as such, since they have no apparent journalistic ethics.

    In the case of Mis-devine (sic) this is apparently particularly obvious in the way her eyes jump when Peta Credlin walks into the room.

  20. grumpymoran

    I noteHerr Abetz makes Much of Colebatch’s BookWhich is based on Eye Witness recollections as you would be Aware are Notoriously inaccurate i received recently an e-mail From A relative it had an Attachment Lauding Colebatchs Book

    it starts Some accountability and public airing required Thought you might be interested in reading this which

    was a total surprise to me as I have not heard about it in the past. It appears to be true – which is disgusting

    and shameful. As the Abbott government begins to take on union power and corruption, a timely new book

    reveals the union movement role in one of the most shameful periods of Australian history. it lists a number of

    Supposed incidents which don’t appear to be listed in the official war History although one is the Repatriation

    of POW on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Speaker this journey is covered in an Article on the Internet although it

    does not include reference to “One of the most obscene acts occurred the wharfies went on strike. For 36

    hours, the soldiers were forced to remain on-board” although After Disembarkation it is recorded That the Ship

    was held up at Garden Island awaiting repair to a Fuel Pipe because of a Welders Strike. The rest of the

    allegations are just allegations the Email ends telling people where they can purchase the book an asking t

    them to send the E-mail on in this way I HOPE YOU WILL FORWARD THIS EMAIL FAR AND WIDE, BUT


    I put it down to a right Wing Opportunist try to Sell A Book which Has no Credibility Confirmed By Herr Abetz’s Comments

  21. Joe Banks

    Kaye, I should apologise for my flippant comment. My loathing for people like Abetz makes me dismissive of them and everything they say. But they are a serious danger when they try to poison young minds (even Young Liberal minds). How we combat this ‘evil force’ which is emerging in this country is keeping me awake at night.

  22. Keith

    Abetz has no claim to taking a moral view in relation to WW2; his extended family has an unsavory history. He conveniently forgets that he was forced to renounce his German citizenship after having virtually been a Senator for years against the regulations of Parliament.

  23. Desley G

    The state of Australian politics and politicians sickens me to the pit of my stomach…how the bloody hell did we get here AND more importantly how do we get out?

  24. jagman48

    A funny litle man with funny litte ideas but typical of so many in the Liberal Party the moment.

  25. diannaart

    Abetz certainly ticks all the boxes and when he ticked the Bernardi box – I knew for sure he was from planet Bizarro.

    There is hope, not all Young Liberals grow up to be vicious purveyors of hatred for anyone who does not completely and unreservedly share their world view.

  26. mars08

    Unfortunately not all Young Liberals grow up….

  27. Bolirvia

    A dispassionate curricular exploration of Australian behaviour in the lead up to the Second World War would presumably also include the exploits of Pig Iron Bob. Let me lift a para from the Australian National Archives web site…
    “Attorney-General and Minister for Industry Robert Menzies earned the nickname ‘pig-iron Bob’ with his firm stand against the waterside workers who refused to load scrap iron heading for Japan in 1938.”
    I doubt either side has an entirely clean behavioual sheet in this issue.

  28. Bolirvia

    Further, given the Catholic predominance in the Federal Libs at present, perhaps he might like to look further into that Chinese assessment of the importance of religion and acknowledge that the Calvinist stream of Christianity is generally credited as influencing the economic rise of the West.

  29. VoterBentleigh

    But ask yourself how many votes the Senator is winning from such talk; he’s probably losing votes, assuming anyone except Senator Bernardi is listening. Such exhortations to the Senate are aimed at distracting from the fact that no useful legislation is being put before the Senate, as the Government does not have any legislation to propose – not even the PPL or cannot get anything major through the Senate. What is amusing about the Senator’s commentary is his claim that “the Liberal Party often has sold itself short over-concentrating on matters economic,..” and his call to “remind people that the future well-being of our nation is not wrapped up in the economic management of our nation …”. There’s the PM proclaiming at the dispatch box in the House of Representaives that, under the Coalition, Australia is open for business and preaching to the Parliament that what matters is providing the right economic conditions, while his senator is saying that is not really what is important. Almost as funny as the Two Ronnies.

  30. john921fraser


    The twat known as Abetz has just been on 7:30 Report saying


    and "hypothocating"

    When talking about the Arfur Sinodinos affair.

    Can someone please tell him the meaning of "hypothecating" is a legal term pledging money.

    Perhaps the twat known as Abetz means "hypothesize" or "hypothesizing".

    More dumbing down of a law & arts degree by the Abbott gang.

  31. scotchmistery

    OMG John Fraser fancy picking holes in poor old Eric’s knowledge like that. Dreadful.

    He and George Busch of America are both involved in word mismatching. Also our own dear leader, Reverend Abbott of God, has been known to tangle a few words at times. Though my memory revolves around him being allowed around children then noting that he is the #Suppository of all knowledge gave me a moments thought and reflection.

  32. john921fraser


    This morning on ABC radio we had Mathias Cormann saying "hyper-bole".

    Naturally I forgave him because English is his second language.

    Now we shall just have to hope that he is counting Aussie dollars and not Euros as Finance Minister and Minister doing Sinodinos job.

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