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We’ve been played for mugs

“It’s clear to me, that for too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt.

We are a free and fair nation. But that doesn’t mean we should let bad people play us for mugs, and all too often they have: Well, that’s going to stop.”

When I heard Tony announce this I thought here we go, he has finally realised that he is not up to the job and is going to step down.

Silly me.

Tony was of course talking about the terrorist threat from asylum seekers, immigrants and the unemployed.

“There’s been the benefit of the doubt at our borders, the benefit of the doubt for residency, the benefit of the doubt for citizenship and the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink.”

Considering we are spending billions on it and being asked to give up some of our most basic freedoms, just how big a threat does terrorism pose to the Australian way of life? Crikey reveals some pertinent facts.

As of September 4 2014, since the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney, there had been 113 Australian victims of terrorism. That includes Australians killed overseas in terrorist attacks as well as non-Australians killed here, such as the Turkish consul-general murdered in Sydney in 1980.

During the period 2003-12, between 700 and 1000 women and children have been killed by their partners or parents in domestic homicides. There have been over 22,800 suicides in that time and around 66 deaths of indigenous people in custody.

In the same period, nearly 1700 Indigenous people died of diabetes at a rate, on average, about seven times higher than non-Indigenous Australians. If we’d invested a little of the money we spent going to war in Iraq or inflating the budget of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation on programs that lowered Indigenous diabetes to just twice that of non-Indigenous Australians, around 1200 lives would have been saved, or around 10 times the death toll of terrorism.

The real threat to this country is not from terrorism. It’s from politicians who choose to reward their donors and put their party in front of the people’s best interests. It’s from economic illiterates who think a surplus is a political goal within itself.

Inaction on climate change is a real as opposed to imagined threat that will cause enormous hardship and suffering if not addressed immediately.

Cutting money from health, education and research is a real threat to our future prosperity and well-being.

Ignoring domestic violence, defunding support groups and preventative initiatives will see this scourge continue to destroy families and take lives.

Defunding indigenous programmes will see the gap widen rather than close.

Rescinding gambling reform laws will contribute to the tragedy of family breakups and suicide. Gambling addiction was a contributing factor in nearly 130 suicides in Victoria over the past decade, according to figures released by the Victorian coroner – more Australian deaths in one state than have been killed worldwide by terrorism. Yet dumping reform was one of the first acts of our previous so-called Social Services Minister.

Despite obesity being a growing problem, this government fights against food labelling laws. It resists taxes on alcohol and anti-smoking campaigns. Just whose interests do they represent?

In a time of supposed debt and deficit disaster, Mr Abbott is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep us all afraid whilst ignoring urgent issues that will save many lives.

It is you Mr Abbott that is playing us for mugs and you are right, it’s going to stop. You have asked your party to give you the benefit of the doubt that you wish to deny all others but it will not save you. Whether by your own volition, at the insistence of your party, or through the electoral process, we will remove this clear and present danger to our country.

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  1. Graham Houghton

    Bullseye, Kaye. On a partly related note, it’s terrific to hear that the Queensland government has more women than men on the front bench. One thing I fervently hope will come out of all this current political dysfunction, is a completely rebooted political landscape in this country. Yes, Abbott is the biggest threat to Australia; a clear and present danger.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of being played for mugs….

    “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Telstra Corporation are lending money to their cashed-up pay TV business Foxtel at 12 per cent, claiming tax deductions on the loan and lending the money back to themselves at an interest rate of zero.”

    This is exactly what the new laws were designed to prevent. No wonder Abbott dumped them.

  3. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    We need an opposition which manages to persuade the marginal liberals that they are being led by a psychopathic vision-free idiot.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Remember all those sacked public servants….

    “The federal bureaucracy’s spending on consultant managers and business professionals is increasing by almost $1 billion every year as documents show they can be paid four times more than full-time public servants doing the same job.

    Internal Defence Department paperwork shows it has looked at paying a chief engineer up to $660,000 a year – or $3000 a day – when a bureaucrat doing the same job would receive $160,000 annually or less.”

    This is happening throughout government. Sack public servants, ignore government departments, and then pay a fortune to consultants and contractors.

  5. diannaart

    Sack public servants, ignore government departments, and then pay a fortune to consultants and contractors.

    Which has been going on since the 90’s (if not longer – but I was there in the 90’s) – you’d think people would learn by now.

    BTW – Great Article – I can see you have been very busy while I have been comatose.

  6. Sir ScotchMistery

    Seriously folks, we just need a government of any colour that doesn’t treat us like mugs.

    ALP and LNP are 2 sides of one coin. They report to the miners, in the case of the ALP, and to Murdoch in terms of the LNP, and all we do is bend over and let them stick it into us.

    We deserve what we have if we can’t convince the morons who vote without thinking, that a vote is a precious thing and shouldn’t be wasted on LNP and ALP, but should be applied to Independents, paid by us, representing us, in all things that matter to us, be it refugees, supporting governments that spend their lives chopping off heads or shooting people, or lethally injecting people.

    Problem is we don’t have the time or energy any more after being screwed by both parties, for so long.

  7. Wayne Turner

    Does it include taking away Abbott’s benefit of the doubt,for when he has rorted,us the taxpayers?

    Idiot boy Abbott projecting again…

  8. Jexpat

    Rosemary wrote: “We need an opposition which manages to persuade the marginal liberals that they are being led by a psychopathic vision-free idiot.”


    One of the more persuasive ways to reach people like that is to point out and stress, over and over the sorts of profligacy that Kaye Lee has posted. No one likes a brazen tax dodge (if for no other reason than through special treatment the dodger getting away with something that they themselves would be fined or prosecuted for). And no one like some high priced consultant… or err… crony coming in on their dime and making off with 4x the pay for what the service is worth.

    Along with resentment arguments, appeals to nationalism are also useful in this regard, particularly where we have massive corporate tax avoidance on profits “shifted” offshore.”

    Take for example this SMH (written by someone who’s swallowed and regurgitates the usual Liberal talking points):

    Surely it is time to confront corporate tax avoidance.

    It draws attention to the fact that not only is the Abbott government not encouraging the ATO to audit and go after large scale (think billions) corporate tax avoidance, it’s actually proposing to let these large corporations conduct their own external tax audits!

  9. mars08


    Let’s just wait and see how quickly Shorten demolishes Abbott’s latest brain-fart….

    Er… any minute now… waiting, waiting…

  10. Mike

    Vote Kaye Lee for PM

  11. Phi

    @Sir SM – I don’t think it’s accurate to characterise LNP and ALP as “2 sides of one coin”. The facts don’t support that view.

    In minority government the ALP negotiated and legislated a carbon price, Gonski reforms, NDIS, resources rent tax and much more, all of national importance, and under far more difficult political circumstances than the dysfunctional LNP in power now. Gillard’s legislative record angers and shames Abbott since he has none of the attributes needed to legislate for the real issues we need addressed in the national interest. Abbott’s LNP is an anachronism – out of place and out of time.

    For this reason, I think we should be extremely concerned about Abbott from here on. His visceral hatred of Gillard fuelled his vindictive policy repeals and if he perceives that enough Australians hate him (as they do so openly now) he is likely to use his position to attack us all even if that means doing serious damage to our cultural, economic and ecological systems. He worries me, as no other leader has ever got this far into controlling the national government, while manifesting such dire personality flaws.

    The Abbott LNP has not put forward one single Bill relevant to advancing the national interest. What they have done is criminally squander their time with vindictive petty repeals, waving the xenophobia flag and inciting fear of asylum seekers and Muslims. The nation (and the imprisoned asylum seekers) is now paying the price as we are in a serious mess across every aspect of national importance. We are also on the nose internationally.

    At this stage I am not buying the meme that although the LNP is on the nose the ALP is just as bad – as I say, the facts don’t support that view.

    I do however support your point re independents – we would benefit from greater diversity of political representation.

  12. David Stephens

    Very useful corrective to a load of arrant nonsense.

  13. RenounceTA

    It’s time to stop giving Abbott the benefit of the doubt, if he wont show proof he renounced his British citizenship AMIN or Getup need to start a petition to renounce his Australian citizenship

    I think it will be a powerful gesture.

  14. mars08

    Surely it’s gonna happen real soon! Ah….

    Okay… any minute now… waiting, waiting…

    Whenever you’re ready Bill.

  15. Truth Seeker

    Kaye, thanks for another fine piece, and bloody well said! 🙂

    Cheers 🙂

  16. Haildebus

    Freedom is not free. It comes at a price and sometimes, it is the ultimate price.

    Those that would sacrifice liberty for security are cowards who are not prepared themselves to sacrifice for the liberties that other Australians have done. I am glad that my grandfather who, served in both world wars, is not here to see his efforts and sacrifices wasted. I am quite prepared myself to sacrifice my life or limb in order to retain our freedoms and liberties.

    Tony Abbott is basically a cowarrd and assumes that so are the rest of us. I fear my government and security agencies more than I fear terrorists and criminals.

    Child abuse , terrorism and other criminal activity are not at a large enough scale to warrant any further erosion of our liberties. Data retention is just the first installment in mass surveillance and a grab for information on innocent people for other than honest intentions and purposes. Stasi comes to my mind.

    Do not believe the rubbish being touted by Tony Abbott and George Brandis as being necessary for combating terrorism. This is the same old lame excuse that is always used to further erode our liberties.
    You can guarantee that, the information gathered on the innocent will be used to keep tabs on the civilian population, identify the strategy of political opponents and to stifle dissent. It is my opinion that, it will also be used to blackmail politicians and journalists, if it isn’t being done already, into eroding our liberties even further and will put the control of our nation into the hands of the security apparatus.
    The data, if obtained, will be a honeypot for every hacker on the planet and also runs the risk of it being copied and sold by insiders or given away to foreign governments, notably the U.S. No one can be trusted with this data.
    I do not oppose data being retained on individuals when a warrant from a court of law is obtained.

    BTW: Back in computer science school, meta data was defined as data about data. That is things like, Data type: alpha or numeric, etc.; Data length: Number of bytes; Range: 1..9999, letters a..z or A..Z etc.;
    The meta data described by Brandis and others is actually, data. The rule was, data -> process -> information.
    It is information about you that is being sought with this data.

    Some stuff:

    “In the wake of the terror attack on the publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris, governments from around the world are calling for increased surveillance. But top security experts agree that mass surveillance is ineffective … and actually makes us MORE vulnerable to terrorism.”,no-rules-for-data-destruction-in-retention-scheme.aspx

    “Wolfgang Schmidt, noted wistfully that the current extent of mass surveillance of the domestic U.S. population would have been a “dream come true” for the Stasi.”,agd-slammed-for-secrecy-on-data-retention-costs.aspx

    “Australian telecommunications providers are worried that the government’s plan to let global technology services like Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Gmail services avoid its controversial data retention scheme would encourage customers to abandon their services.”

    “The use of regulations to prescribe the details of data to be retained facilitates the prescription of the necessary technical detail to provide clarity to telecommunications service providers about their data retention obligations while remaining sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapid and significant future changes in communications technology,”

    “After staging a photo op of world leaders, various heads of state have proposed new waves of surveillance and repressive attempts to ban encryption and violate the freedom of speech in communication devices through new spy policies and laws.”

    Some related stuff.

    “Village Roadshow significantly increased its donations to political parties over the past year as the Government works to crack down on online copyright infringement.”,village-roadshow-boosts-donations-amidst-copyright-crackdown.aspx

    “In order to prevent us from discussing and sharing interesting things, the copyright industry has successfully eliminated civil liberties online. But it was all down to a wrong and stupid business assumption in the first place.”

    “England chose a different route. Seeing how even the death penalty hadn’t worked, Queen Mary I needed an ally within the printing industry. She awarded a printing monopoly to London’s printing guild, the London Company of Stationers, in return for being able to censor anything before publication.”


  17. Haildebus

    @Kaye Lee.
    What are the chances of unblocking Harquebus?

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