Category: conservatives

Texas GOPer Ignores Abortion Law But Slams Taliban | Crooks and Liars

Texas GOPer Ignores Abortion Law But Slams Taliban

Tunisia had Woman’s clinics and rights to free abortion as far back as the 1970’s. They recognized work and equal pay as well. While abortion remained illegal in most Western countries and we have a 14,5% pay gap in Australia in 2021.

A Texas Republican lawmaker on Sunday slammed the Taliban’s treatment of women even though his state has recently enacted laws stripping women of their rights.

Source: Texas GOPer Ignores Abortion Law But Slams Taliban | Crooks and Liars

Right out there: how the pandemic has given rise to extreme views and fractured conservative politics

At times, it sounds as shrill as the sectarians on the far left whom it sometimes resembles. But those on the right are more consequential because they have significant media sponsors, they exploit real fears and frustrations, and they can sound reasonable when they criticise government excess and authoritarianism. That is because our governments have sometimes, during this crisis, practised excess and authoritarianism.

Source: Right out there: how the pandemic has given rise to extreme views and fractured conservative politics

Conservatives at war with Australian teacher education

Andrew Bolt attacks the educated simply because he’s not. He pretends to be and tells one and all he was educated at Adelaide University expecting that nobody would be bothered to check.( ODT)

Conservative politicians and political commentators are the antitheses of progressive education and free thinking in Australia, writes Dr A L Jones.

Source: Conservatives at war with Australian teacher education

Revolt Against Boris Johnson Exposes Republican Complicity in the Cult of Trump

As former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted Tuesday: “Conservative MPs in UK finally standing up to Boris sadly underscores how much conservatives in the US have been cowardly in the face of Trump.”

“Cowardly” might be an understatement. Quivering Republicans have turned the party of Lincoln into a cult of Trump. They are the president’s supine enablers — and history won’t be kind to them.

via Revolt Against Boris Johnson Exposes Republican Complicity in the Cult of Trump

Cory Bernardi on the painful death of the Australian Conservatives | Australia news | The Guardian

He blew it and so did Abbott but…. don’t believe their gone (ODT)

Bernardi says Scott Morrison helped steal his party’s thunder and millions of dollars was spent on a message ‘no one listened to’

via Cory Bernardi on the painful death of the Australian Conservatives | Australia news | The Guardian

“Brexit” Boris to join Trump and Morrison in the conservative leaders’ club

What is the common denominator between all three? Not thet they are Conservatives but Rupert Murdoch to whom they all bow down. (ODT)

What is this phenomenon, that such a madcap clown is actually considered front-runner against one other opponent, the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, for the country’s highest office?

“Brexit” Boris to join Trump and Morrison in the conservative leaders’ club

Conservative parties around the world have a problem — and women are losing patience – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Andrew Bolt simply calls women not up to the task, backstabbers, traitors, and incompetant. That’s his wife hes talking about. He complained having to be the only breadwinner in the house. (ODT)

Eleven was the number that stung. When Julie Bishop received only 11 votes in the 2018 leadership contest, after serving as deputy for 11 years, many women saw red.

Some wore it too, with an entire group of Liberal women MPs dressing in red the day after Bishop wore scarlet heels to a press conference announcing her resignation from the front bench.

The message was obvious: it wasn’t about pumps but power, and women’s continued exclusion from it.

Since then, conservative women have revolted in myriad ways.

In 1942, Menzies told Australians he would represent the middle class, the non-elites, “the forgotten people”.

In 2011, then opposition leader Tony Abbott spoke about the country’s “forgotten families”.

But in 2019, a growing number of people are asking if the Liberal Party has actually forgotten women, as well as the fact that they vote.

Ms Mirzabegian said this is why Women Vote was founded — women are frustrated.

“We thought things would be different by now. We strongly believe that the time is now for gender to feature in this federal election,” she said.

Ms Whittaker added: “Women are sick of being represented mainly by men.”

via Conservative parties around the world have a problem — and women are losing patience – Analysis & Opinion – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

UK government vows to do more to protect Christians from persecution worldwide after ‘dramatic rise in violence’ | The Independent

Jeremy Hunt announced the review, saying it would make recommendations on the practical steps the government can take to better support persecuted Christians

Conservative voice wishes to put his glorious cultural imprint on the world again. Remember how the Christians were victimized by Aborigines in Australia and how that’s still happening today with their accusations of “Stolen Generations”. That hurts!! (ODT)

via UK government vows to do more to protect Christians from persecution worldwide after ‘dramatic rise in violence’ | The Independent

Defence Force inquiry into war crimes under attack

Nothing needs to be investigated except Trade Unions, Welfare, Immigraton, Not Banks, or White Collar Crime, or our Defence Force absolutely nothing say those at the top why? Because reality bites!! (ODT)

Nelson had likely been copied into the email chain because he is seen as a sympathetic voice: over the last 12 months, the former defence minister turned custodian of Australia’s military history has queried the need to investigate anything but the most egregious of war crimes.

via Defence Force inquiry into war crimes under attack

Fact check: Are more than half of Australia’s working-age Muslims not in the workforce? – Fact Check – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The claim

Independent Senator Fraser Anning has frequently used Twitter to campaign against those migrants and asylum seekers he claims come to Australia “for a life of permanent handouts”.

Senator Anning, who represented Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party until January 2018, has also praised Turnbull Government plans to tighten eligibility for welfare payments for recently-arrived migrants.

via Fact check: Are more than half of Australia’s working-age Muslims not in the workforce? – Fact Check – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Why all this heat about a 55-year-old university professor, who, in his personal deportment, looks as plain and harmless as an aspirin? Because Peterson has the cojones to say a lot of bold, some would say bad, things. Political correctness has gone overboard. Men are in crisis. The gender gap isn’t simply the result of sexism but of deep biological differences that no amount of social engineering will remove. Women tend to choose caring careers that pay less; men are more likely to opt for dangerous and dirty jobs that pay more. Motherhood has been devalued. Blaming inequality on capitalism or the patriarchy is a leftist delusion. The Western helicopter parent needs to back off: children are tough and resilient. The term “white privilege” is a racist insult, a self-loathing term used by shallow liberals.

Right-winger? Not me, says alt-right darling Jordan Peterson

Koala wipe out: Government apathy and the STD killing our national icon

Koalas are in big trouble with disease now rampant in wild populations.

Dr Michael Pyne, head veterinarian at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, says that one-third of Australia’s koalas have been lost over the last two decades, largely due to the spread of chlamydia, which now affects between 50 and 100% of wild populations.

via Koala wipe out: Government apathy and the STD killing our national icon

Ouster of ‘Sloppy Steve’ Leaves Breitbart Bannon-Less | Common Dreams

Free Speech amongst Conservatives doesn’t exist

“God, I can’t believe the whole movement just collapsed on this guy. He’s done,” the source said.

“Bannon still thinks of himself as a revolutionary,” Swan concluded shortly after news that Bannon was ousted from Breitbart emerged. “That self-perception won’t change. It’s just that now he has no vehicle, no staff, no platform, and no major donors funding his ambitions.”

“Media Matters has closely tracked Breitbart since the site’s inception and has written countless pieces about the site and Steve Bannon. Nobody knows Breitbart better than we do. Breitbart will be as odious, contemptible, and awful without Steve Bannon as it was with him at the helm. If anything, Breitbart showed that it is now committed in total devotion to Trump and can be best identified as a mere PR apparatus serving the Mercers’ agenda. Without Bannon, Breitbart will remain just as disreputable and disgusting as ever. We’ll be watching.” Media Matters

via Ouster of ‘Sloppy Steve’ Leaves Breitbart Bannon-Less | Common Dreams

‘Only dead fish go with the flow’: Eric Abetz finds a cause for rebellion in same-sex marriage| (Abbott’s political doppelganger… Minorities win as long as they aren’t Indigenous ,African or Muslim etc) olddog

"It's only the live fish that have the capacity to swim against the current": Liberal senator Eric Abetz speaks against ...

The senator lamented he was “currently in a minority” when it came to same-sex marriage. And yet he held out hope that what is righteous could again be in vogue. Public opinion, after all, was no more than a “windsock”, flapping helplessly in the breeze – who knows when the winds might next change?

v ‘Only dead fish go with the flow’: Eric Abetz finds a cause for rebellion in same-sex marriage

The Royal green light behind The Dismissal of the Whitlam Government

It is now clear that in a staggering breach of Australian sovereignty, the Palace was involved in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government and that this involvement was hidden from the Australian people in a process of collusion, deception and artifice, writes Professor Jenny Hocking.

Source: The Royal green light behind The Dismissal of the Whitlam Government

Same-sex marriage: Dean Smith evokes Menzies and Howard in plea for conscience vote | Australia news | The Guardian

“The idea that members in our party are afforded a free vote or a conscience vote on sensitive issues like this one – that is a well-cherished principle, it’s a Menzian principle that John Howard used on no less than five occasions,” Smith said.“I think we will rue the day if we sacrifice those cherished values and principles on this issue.”Howard allowed five conscience votes during his 11-year term – on euthanasia, human cloning, the abortion drug RU486 and two bills relating to embryo research.Whether Smith releases his bill or not, Liberal MPs will meet on the day before parliament sits to resolve the issue of whether there should be a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.Already five lower house Liberal MPs have signalled their support for the bill and urged their party to allow a free vote.

Source: Same-sex marriage: Dean Smith evokes Menzies and Howard in plea for conscience vote | Australia news | The Guardian

Victorian Liberals claim right faction stacking branches with Mormons and Catholics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Liberals in Victoria claim the party’s religious right is stacking branches with Mormons and Catholic groups in a drive to pre-select more conservative candidates.

Source: Victorian Liberals claim right faction stacking branches with Mormons and Catholics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Conservatives quietly bin pledge to ban ivory trade in 2017 manifesto | The Independent


Theresa May has been accused of quietly scrapping a Conservative pledge to ban the ivory trade in the UK.  Former Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to “press for a total ban on ivory sales” in his 2015 manifesto, echoing a previous promise made in 2010 to eradicate the bloodthirsty practice. However 2017’s Tory manifesto, released ahead of 8 June’s general election, makes no mention of the pledge.

Source: Conservatives quietly bin pledge to ban ivory trade in 2017 manifesto | The Independent

Qantas to continue advocating for same-sex marriage despite criticism from Peter Dutton – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Qantas will continue to advocate for same-sex marriage despite Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s pointed criticism of its chief executive Alan Joyce’s public statements.

Source: Qantas to continue advocating for same-sex marriage despite criticism from Peter Dutton – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

“My Shirts Aren’t Going To Iron Themselves”: Conservatives Launch Attacks On Women’s March

Hundreds of thousands are protesting President Donald Trump’s administration and his hateful rhetoric during the campaign in the Women’s March on Washington and at numerous other marches across the United States and the world. Conservatives and other figures have attacked the demonstration with sexism and other demeaning comments.Erick Eric

Source: “My Shirts Aren’t Going To Iron Themselves”: Conservatives Launch Attacks On Women’s March

Offering Meaningless Condolences On Our Race War Against You | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

To conservatives who blindly deny the systemic racism of a nation where so many bleed and die from it: Last month, a (black) attorney and state legislator, 79, was arrested for filming a traffic stop of another (black) man. Last year, grim video shows, a (black) father of four died in jail after five fat (white) cops piled on him, though he cried “I can’t breathe” 19 times in nine minutes. And so many more. Activists hope a national boycott slated for December can stem the savagery.

Source: Offering Meaningless Condolences On Our Race War Against You | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Cory Bernardi keeps Liberals guessing about his Australian Conservatives| Andrew Bolt’s behind him

For a man seeking to mobilise a new mass movement on the right of Australian politics, the normally outspoken Senator Cory Bernardi has gone strangely quiet.

Source: Cory Bernardi keeps Liberals guessing about his Australian Conservatives

You people just don’t understand how hard it is to be a conservative Christian – » The Australian Independent Media Network

You people just don’t understand how hard it is to be a conservative Christian. According to Scott Morrison, he has been exposed to hatred and bigotry for his righteous discrimination against LGBTQI couples. The Australian Christian Lobby has reported death threats and harassment to police, which Mr Shelton said had been “distressing” for the staff…

Source: You people just don’t understand how hard it is to be a conservative Christian – » The Australian Independent Media Network

A Bishop sacrificed | The Monthly

The saddest thing about Bronwyn Bishop losing her preselection was that Bob Ellis did not survive to dance on her political grave. The only thing that would have delighted him more would have been the ultimate humiliation of her losing her seat in a general election. Still, near enough is good enough. The two unlikely antagonists came together in 1994 when Bishop, who had achieved considerable publicity by bullying and harassing public servants in senate committee hearings, began to nurture delusions of grandeur as a potential party leader.

Source: A Bishop sacrificed | The Monthly

Day to Day Politics: A society for the common good – that’s what I want – » The Australian Independent Media Network


‘Sometimes, just sometimes ones own problems can be resolved by helping others with theirs’

Source: Day to Day Politics: A society for the common good – that’s what I want – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Explainer: what are the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom?

Even many Americans don’t know much about organisations like the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation. But these groups play a critical role in advancing conservative policies.

Source: Explainer: what are the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom?

Tony Abbott’s empty arguments | The Monthly

My attention was recently directed towards a Washington Post article from 2010. It asked the question “What will future generations condemn us for?” Looking at things that had once been generally accepted but were not any longer – domestic violence and slavery, for example – it posited three signs a practice would one day be seen as reprehensible, whatever our current complacency.

Source: Tony Abbott’s empty arguments | The Monthly

‘It’s never the science itself’: why the right questions climate and vaccines

Rand Paul

Movement’s doubts about climate change, vaccination, and other matters of science are tied to ideas of morality and belief in limited government

Creationism, climate denial and anti-vaccination rage: long before the measles outbreak in the US, a deep mistrust of scientists infected some strands of the American conservative movement.

Conservatives are not alone in their rejection of scientific experts and evidence. But the sentiments this week from potential Republican contenders for president – first New Jersey governor Chris Christie in London, then Kentucky senator Rand Paul wagging his finger during a television interview, then a cavalcade of clarifications – have exposed a number of tendencies in American conservatism.

There is the deep resentment of government. And a fierce concern for family privacy. More and more conservatives have a strong libertarian streak. But the aversion to vaccinating children – and the departure from mainstream thinking on public health and other issues – is not really a question of science, experts on the movement said. It’s about the clash between science and deeply held beliefs.

“As with any kind of science denial, it’s never the science itself. It’s these cultural fears,” said Joshua Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education.

On evolution, conservative mistrust stems from the clash with the very foundations of morality for believers – that humanity was created in its present form by God.

On stem cell research, it’s the idea of destroying human embryos that causes concern.

On climate change, it’s the argument – exploited and propagated by fossil fuel interests – that government has no place telling companies what to do.

And on vaccines, as on home schooling and sex education, anti-science sentiments largely have to do with the idea that parents – and parents alone – are the ones who should make choices for their children.
Medical experts rebuke Republican politicians hyping vaccination concerns
Read more

“They don’t want the government telling them what to do,” said Ronnee Schreiber, who teaches gender and politics at San Diego State University. “It’s about being anti-government regulation and ‘preservation of the privacy of the family’.”

Rosenau said some studies suggested that those confronted with evidence that contradicted deeply held beliefs may become more sceptical of unrelated scientific claims.

Creationists can be drawn to climate denial or mistrust of vaccines – even though there is universal acceptance of climate change by the world’s top scientists and the eradication of measles through mass vaccination campaigns is seen as a singular public health achievement.

But there is no firm evidence that Republicans are more distrustful of vaccinations than Democrats – or, leaving aside party identification, that conservatives are less likely than liberals to protect their children from disease.

The Pew Research Center, in a poll released last week, found two-thirds of Americans supported mandatory vaccines. But there was a deep strain of suspicion among those under 30 years old, with 41% thinking vaccines should be a parental choice.

More than one-third of Republicans polled thought vaccines should be left up to parents – compared to 26% in 2009. But the figure was about the same among voters who called themselves independent in the newest poll.

Some 22% of Democrats thought parents should decide on vaccines, compared with 27% in 2009.

A 2013 survey showed 26% of Republicans believe the now-demolished claims that vaccines cause autism – compared to 16% of Democrats.

But other research showed no real political divide among the outliers who fear childhood vaccinations.

Paul, a libertarian Republican, is an eye doctor, but his comments insisting that most vaccines “ought to be voluntary” and citing “many tragic cases” run counter to the guidelines of the American Medical Association, which says physicians have an ethical responsibility to encourage universal childhood immunisation. But the anti-vaccination movement much more typically skews to the left.

The environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr dismayed many colleagues when he refused to let go of the argument that preservatives used in vaccines caused a spike in autism – long after those claims had been discredited.

Religious and social conservatives did object to the HPV vaccine, which some on the right claimed would encourage young girls to have sex.

Fiscal conservatives lashed out when Barack Obama allocated funding under the 2009 stimulus to promoting the H1N1 flu vaccine.

But American conservatives for the most part have had no quarrel with vaccines – unless they are on a collision course with other deeply held beliefs, said John Evans, who teaches bioethics at the University of California at San Diego and is married to Schreiber.

“Religious conservatives are totally whole-hog with applied science, or what we call medicine,” he said. “They are all in favour of inventing new vaccines, but they have these moral lines.”

But it’s hard to discount entirely signs of growing distrust of scientists among some Republicans, even before more than 100 cases of measles were discovered in the US this year, in 14 states and Washington DC.

Climate scientists, in particular, have been accused of pursuing an ideological agenda for urging cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming.

“One strand in all of this is definitely the growth within the Republican right of scepticism about scientists as authority figures,” said Theda Skocpol, professor of government and sociology at Harvard. “They just don’t accept that scientists are public authority figures.”

She also said that scepticism was growing among young people across the political spectrum – people who are not as familiar with the risks of childhood diseases because of the overall effectiveness of vaccination programmes.

Evans agreed: “It’s the Tea Party ideas of ‘don’t tread on me’ and total freedom,” he said.

Even if it carries a toll.

The conservative crusade against the ABC by Abbott & News Corp Why wont Abbott go on Q & A

Andrew Bolt and Tony Abbott. © Jason Edwards / Newspix

Bolt’s favorite picture when he believed Abbott was on his side alone.

Why do Andrew Bolt and company love to hate the national broadcaster?
By Don Watson
ABC; Andrew Bolt; Tony Abbott; Conservatives

For millions of Australians, the ABC is all at once a homely source of intellectual and spiritual nourishment, a reliable source of news and information, and an ungainly emblem of the country’s character. In some measure, it satisfies both their national pride and what remains of their Anglophilia. For millions more, insofar as they are conscious of its existence, the public broadcaster is an irrelevant item of megafauna. On these broad lines the country divides: what is a sort of indispensable national house cow for one large portion of the population, another portion of comparable size scarcely knows and doesn’t give two hoots for. Like the two ventricles of the heart, they pump away in peaceful co-existence.

Then there is a third cohort, possibly numbering in the thousands, who believe the ABC is run by “Leftists” and crusades on “Leftist” causes such as “boat people, same-sex marriage and global warming”. One of the chief spokesmen for this extra ventricle, Andrew Bolt, recently asked readers of his blog to “imagine if every single one of the main ABC current affairs shows” were hosted not by the “Leftists” who presently host them but by him and “fellow conservatives Janet Albrechtsen, Gerard Henderson, Tim Blair, Miranda Devine, Piers Akerman, Tom Switzer and Rowan Dean”.

So close your eyes and imagine ABC current affairs programs, including Radio National’s venerable Science Show (Robyn Williams is numbered among the bad), being hosted not by the present “caste” of competent broadcasters but by these “conservatives”. What do you see? Fox News? What are they saying? Anything? If in this imaginary world no one at the ABC “crusaded on boat people, same-sex marriage and global warming”, as our outraged correspondent insists the present lot do, it seems possible that their replacements might have nothing left to talk about.

They would crusade on “free speech, climate scepticism and free markets”, he says. How strange, then, that they have crusaded against the ABC for letting the public know what Australian governments were up to with our neighbours, and for presenting information on boat arrivals that the government has been denying us. If free speech is their thing, how come they are for Scott Morrison and against Edward Snowden?

Oh, where are the conservatives of yesteryear, with Orwell and Oakeshott at their side, and the “open society” forever their objective? Now, it is a commonplace that open societies depend upon the individual’s right to scrutinise government policy. Why, then, are these self-styled conservatives so down on the free flow of information and so happy to defend government secrecy? Tell us again how the ABC is less than patriotic for reporting the stories of refugees in the face of the Navy’s determination to say nothing at all about what they have chosen to call, with Orwellian panache, “on water” matters. In the interests of free speech, will we swear to take the military at its word and question the patriotism of any civilian – or public broadcaster – who dares to quote a different view? Especially civilians who are “not even Australian”, as the minister for defence so sagely put it.

Yet I doubt that even disgruntled ABC viewers and listeners would charge the ABC with insufficient dedication to free expression. Or free markets. I don’t recall any of the named hosts – even the one who once worked for that stalwart of the socialisation objective, RJL Hawke – doing much crusading against free markets. Nor do I remember their extensive advocacy for same-sex marriage, but how refreshing to imagine an ABC crusading against it. As refreshing as imagining a show about science being hosted by an anti–climate science crusader.

You have to feel for the government in this. Much as they might wish to imitate their friends and supporters in what they like to call the “free” – as opposed to “government-owned” or “taxpayer-funded” – media, they can’t paint the government broadcaster as a chilling Orwellian nightmare without seeming to betray a liking for the genre. Pity, that: it would make a good speech. Like the one James Murdoch made in Edinburgh in 2009. He described the BBC in just those terms, and who cared if Orwell was spinning in his socialist grave at the gall of it? That’s the thing about the “free” press: “their money; their free speech”, as our blogger says. Free, that is, to traduce the living and the dead, posture madly, peddle influence, be parasites, ignoramuses and (vide Murdoch and son) epic hypocrites. There is no dog to bark at them – well, a couple of very small and all but toothless mutts, perhaps.

And there’s the rub. Most of those millions who value the ABC might in other circumstances be satisfied with the children’s shows, sport, music, arts, religion, farming, nature, nurture, history, philosophy, language, science, sociology, drama, emergency services and Stephen Fry. They might make do with an evening news service, if they thought they could trust commercial media for the rest of their current affairs. But they don’t trust them. It’s possible they find the very thought demeaning. They don’t like their news and opinion mixed in with advertising and coloured by the need to chase revenue through unrelenting noise and vehemence. They don’t like the tone of commercial media. It’s a matter of taste – or snobbery, if you prefer.

For the same reason, a lot of viewers and listeners would not complain if the public broadcaster stepped back from the popular melee. Some no doubt perceive bias or a lack of balance, but very likely just as many are peeved because they think it ill becomes their ABC to imitate the public riot. And this might be why the likes of such a right-wing caste are not likely to ever take over the organisation. A true conservative “eyes the situation in terms of its propensity to disrupt the familiarity of the features of [their] world”. By this definition (Michael Oakeshott’s), the ABC is in essence a conservative institution: old, familiar, pervasive and habit-forming, bearing the nation’s heritage and beliefs, speaking for the pluralist complexity of the country. It does none of this perfectly, but it is pretty well alone in doing it at all. By the same definition, the so-called “conservatives” who berate the ABC are not conservatives but heretics, radicals and vulgarians, and no amount of Dvořák – or Lou Reed – will cure them.

What is curious is where the obsession stems from. Even if the “massive power” alleged of the public broadcaster were real, it is hard to think of an election result that the ABC decided, or of political leaders cosying up to the ABC in the way they perennially do to Rupert Murdoch and used to do to Kerry Packer. Who does the British prime minister, David Cameron, most want to be his friend? Rupert Murdoch or Chris Patten, the former Conservative Party chairman and the present chief of what the Murdochs reckon is a rampant and menacingly “authoritarian” BBC? Who does Tony Abbott think more important? Murdoch or Mark Scott, a former adviser to a Liberal government and the present managing director of the equally menacing ABC? Is it that these national broadcasters have no power worth pursuing, or that in the main they use it responsibly and cannot be bought? Or that they are institutions woven so thoroughly into the fabric of national life that no amount of normal political harassment and interference can much change them? Whatever the case, true conservatives must at least half-heartedly rejoice.

Not these anti-“Leftists”, however. No doubt, as James Murdoch made clear, the “free” media resents any inroads public broadcasters are making on their commercial territory, but that’s at best a partial explanation for the journalistic Tea Partying. More likely it’s some species of projection. Never has the ideological difference between the major parties been narrower. So general is the liberal-pluralist consensus, the parties must search for something to believe in. Increasingly they find it in the dark corners of talkback radio (or the lighter ones of Q&A): not in reality, but in beat-ups and the excrescences of populism. There is a little bit of Putin in all sorts of politicians now.

Conservatives have their open society. They have a market economy, freedom of speech and pervasive liberal values. For some, so many victories were bound to prove unbearable, the more so, perhaps, because a lot of them occurred without their participation. They have inherited the spoils but, with one or two exceptions, have no claim on either the struggle or the moral and intellectual tradition. For all the unlikely power granted them by modern media, it is their fate to feel marginalised, denied, unfulfilled: when all’s said and done, like fringe-dwellers excluded from something essential at the centre of Australian life – namely, as the blogger reveals, the ABC.

The anti-politicians are not helping


  • October 29, 2014
  • Written by:
  • Anti-politicians are everywhere. Clive Palmer is the left’s current favourite anti-establishment politician because he is blocking some of Abbott’s nastier budget policies. Palmer has broken progressive hearts before, such as when he stood next to Al Gore and promised to help repeal the Carbon Tax only if it was changed into an ETS; he followed through on the repeal bit but failed to save the ETS. This time we’re all really hoping he sticks to his guns on higher education policy after disappointingly letting Abbott’s do-nothing Direct Action policy through today. It’s easy to forget, while appreciating Palmer’s Abbott-blocking ability, that this was the man who fought tirelessly to destroy two of the previous Labor government’s most important progressive policies – the mining tax and the Carbon Price. So Palmer’s not a progressive politician, even if he does have some really interesting ideas about asylum seeker policy. Just ask the people who voted for him – those people he’s ultimately beholden. Or look at how he makes his money.
  • Many left wing independents or minor parties spend most of their time bemoaning that the incremental improvements of the major progressive party aren’t fast enough, large enough, or anywhere near revolutionary. And they often spend most of their time fixated on one or two causes which they feel effectively differentiate them from the progressive major party. However, a pragmatist would say that in a country where an extreme right wing conservative such as Abbott can be elected as Prime Minister by a healthy majority and go about undoing Labor’s policy reforms (such as mining tax, Carbon Price, Medicare, ABC funding, health and educational funding, a social safety net just to name a few), it’s unrealistic to believe you’ll achieve any progress by throwing your weight (and lack of vote) behind an ideologically pure revolution, or a single policy ideal, that has no hope of success, and no hope of changing anything. And it’s unhelpful to spend all your time, energy, campaign dollars, talent and voice in the community bagging the progressive option when it’s the option you really want if you really do value progress.

    You might not like everything a major party like Labor does, and the flash and colour of an independent or a minor party who promises you the world without any hope of delivering might seem like a tempting option. There’s no reason why these colourful and passionate people can’t contribute to the debate and provide fresh ideas – and sometimes some great blocking skills. But ultimately we need the workhorse – the progressive major party – to be in power if we don’t want the country run by conservative neoliberals. So who are you supporting in the 2016 election? I hope Australian progressives are realistically ready for the fight.

Filed under:

Progress despite the haters:

What I’ve learned this week is that Labor leaders will always be more popular after their time in office. I think we’re already seeing this in the way that the public admire Gillard not very long after her opinion polls were as low as Gough’s. Because Labor reforms are enduring. They might not be perfect at the time, they might not go as far as the Greens would like them to, which is irrelevant when you consider the Greens don’t actually have to fight to turn ideas into policies. And of course Labor governments and oppositions will make mistakes and will be lambasted by their own supporters amongst others and will hopefully stick to their values in the end.

One thing I’ve learned about politics is that, like life, it’s complicated. I’m proud to stand by Labor while they keep fighting the good fight. Implementing good public policy isn’t about ideological purity. It’s about outcomes. Outcomes can be messy, ugly, and usually less than perfect and can make enemies of powerful people. Progress doesn’t often come about in a revolution – it can be just a preference over something worse. But any progress is better than no progress. And of course it’s preferential to be going forwards, however slowly, rather than backwards like we are under the Abbott government.

My support of the Labor Party isn’t about aligning my identity so closely to the party that the minute they do something I disagree with, my faith crumbles irrevocably and I turn my back forever on the movement and become bitter and twisted, and likely to lash out. I don’t hold the unobtainable expectation that the Labor party will be everything I want them to be all the time without fail. How is it even possible to be everything to everyone when everyone has different opinions about what this ideal looks like? Being a Labor supporter is about supporting progressive policies that align with my values. This means taking the good with the bad, disagreeing when you disagree and giving credit when credit’s due – all in equal measure.

I don’t think Gough got enough credit for his brilliant political career while he was in power, just as Labor gets no credit for their previous two terms, nor for the work they are doing in opposing Abbott. People always wait to say the nicest things about people after they’re dead – when it’s too late for them to appreciate the compliments. I keep this in mind while I watch in frustration modern Labor deal with the exact same situation. Gough supported Labor to the end. I’m happy to wait 30 years for Labor to get credit, as long as in the meantime, they keep reforming. Because it’s the progressive outcomes that are important. Far more important than what haters say today.