Every decision the honourable members make will be based firstly on how best it serves his or her party. Rarely on how it serves the country and the people.
“Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity, I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.”
I then asked myself how the Abbott/Turnbull governments stacked up against my thinking, and I had to admit they have been deplorable.
What I am, however, is an artist, an observer, and given that observation is the basis for all science I feel entitled to a view. For me the ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth and reason, never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation. Science has made in my lifetime the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. John Lord
For me, the changes brought about by the advancement of science and technology have been astonishing. As a progressive, I crave change that is worthy and is advantageous for the betterment of society and the world that we inhabit.
I believe that our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.
You cannot change what happens. Particularly when you have no control over it. What you do have control over is the way in which you respond.
Why is it, in “the name of free speech”, that we need to enshrine the right to abuse each other, in law?
You would think that an enlightened progressive free thinking society would want to eliminate it not legislate it.
It is not a question that requires great philosophical, ideological or even theological debate. It is a black and white question. Supposedly we live in an “age of enlightenment,” a period where the world has made enormous technological advances, but at the same time our intellects have not advanced the capacity to understand simple tolerance.Indeed, if we were truly enlightened we would treat our fellow human beings, with respect love and faithfulness.
We would do unto them as we would expect them to do unto us and we would strive to do no harm. We would love life and live it with a sense of joy and wonderment.
We would form our own independent opinions on the basis of our own reason and experience; and not allow ourselves to be led blindly by others. And we would Test all things; always checking our ideas against our facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it did not conform to them.
We would readily admit it when we are wrong in the knowledge that humility is the basis of intellectual advancement and that it is truth that enables human progress.
But for me my early journey has shaped what I believe in, the way I think about social justice and my world view. I hope you enjoy this account of my first 14 years.
it’s hard not to see a group of people who have no idea how to govern for the country as a whole, who are purely in politics for what they are able to extract from being an MP for themselves, being able to win the next election.
What a disaster it would be, if for whatever reason they were given the reins for another three years.
When a party is in such disarray the need to stay in “power” becomes the overarching imperative. This gives rise to the likes of Dutton to take any short cut to maintain his and the government’s grip on power. The Coalition’s only policy has been the demonising of those who are not white, Anglo-Saxon, and Christian.
So Dutton and others see no reason to deliver good government so close to an election. They see the rhetoric of blame as a “winning formula”.
But today, Mr Dutton stepped up the rhetoric against the judiciary, blaming “soft sentences” on the appointment of civil libertarians as magistrates, and labelling one Supreme Court judge a “left-wing ideologue”.
The judge in question, Lex Lazarus is one of Victoria’s most respected jurists and Dutton would know that by convention he is unable to reply.
And the “who” they want to be’ politician during times of poor leadership is a most dangerous animal because the likes of Turnbull have no power to stand up to them.
So Dutton will keep up with his sarcasm (except for when he sleeps) and other offensive expressions calculated to raise racial hatred and break down society.
We can only conclude that Dutton is not in it to help create a better society with a better future for all. He has been a failure at his two other Ministries and compassion has eluded him thus far in this one. I can only conclude that the Liberal Party when it comes to the immigration portfolio believes that it needs a mongrel in charge, so Dutton was an easy choice.
My thought for the day
“Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests.”
The new Minister for Anything approaching evil insists that “people are to scared to go out to restaurants of a night-time because they are followed home by these gangs”.
When asked to provide factual evidence of this the former copper from Queensland could not. No one is surprised for it is a method of demonising people that he has used for some time now.
Is it effective? Well, he must think it is because he takes every opportunity to use this malevolent methodology of scaring people at every opportunity. He is the sort of bloke I would never like to meet up a dark ally on a bleak cold winters night.
In short I have posted a summary of the qualities of some of our cabinet members. Surely the Liberal and Country Party can come up with better people than these.
“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.”
As I write I reflect on the year 2017. I can only conclude that it is another wasted in the advancement of our nation. I try to think of things positive that I might share but I cannot. I stop, hesitate, because marriage equality must surely go down as a magnificent victory for the people. I can’t even count how many pieces I wrote on the subject. Yes, it was a victory for the people, we did it in spite of the politicians not doing what they were elected to do.
We showed what we are capable of doing when we turn our collective attention to the common good.
If I do not support the 95% of scientists, every major scientific institution and the research that is constantly peer evaluated I am obliged to accept the alternative. That is that I should take seriously the likes of Andrew Bolt (a journalist), Alan Jones (I’m not sure how you would describe his contribution to society), Lord Monckton (a discredited something who was once a lobbyist for the tobacco companies), Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott (both politicians). In fact, Minchin is on the record as saying that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy to replace communism. None of the aforementioned people has a background or expertise in climate science.
“James Ashby, Pauline Hanson’s right-hand man, driver of the Battler’s Bus and guest on the Nine panel, sought to calm the former senator, who was found by the High Court to hold dual Australian-British citizenship, however much he had denied it.
“You’ve done an exceptional job,” said Ashby. “This is a much better result than your Senate campaign.”
“Well, quite. Roberts spent his brief and strange career in the Senate having got precisely 77 personal votes.”
“Only in America“, we whisper.
My thought for the day
“Sit before your televisions and watch Trump’s antics and ponder at the gullibility of the American people and say … ‘only in America’.”
Now let me add that there is nothing wrong with opinions so long as there is a diversity of them. But the fact is we don’t have a diversity and we would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self interest groups.
“Lying in the media is wrong at any time however when they do it by deliberate omission it is even more so. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.”
He is pretty much on the ball, and when you look at the recent history you see the similarity of events. The Government sets up the ROC, so it’s unlikely to be coincidental that the ROC is looking into the period of time when Shorten was at the union.Of course, the question that everyone wants an answer to is how did Cash’s Media Adviser find out the time of the raids? Who was his source within the AFP?Tony Abbott set up a Royal Commission into Trade Unions (or the Labor Party), and another one into the Home Insulation Program. Now we have the ROC. It has repeatedly set up bodies to dig up dirt on the Opposition Leader and the Labor Party. Remember its unrelenting pursuit of Julia Gillard for something that happened over twenty-five years ago? To the detriment of its own governance it has spent far too much time with its head buried in the scandal pit.
In other words, manufacture a sense of crisis and you can get away with anything starting with maximum harm. Therefore, the conservatives under Abbott manufactured a non-existent debt crisis.Margret Thatcher said this (paraphrased):“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich.”Abraham Lincoln said this:“Labor came before capital and is not related to it. Capital is what’s acquired from labour, and would never have come about if it were not for labour. Therefore, labour is superior to capital and deserves the higher significance.”Franklin D. Roosevelt said:“They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”This is one of mine:“The GST burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc.”Before addressing the issue of social engineering I should say exactly what I think a Government should be regardless of its ideology.
“We will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it”
2 Whilst Australia’s employment rate of 5.5% in September hit a four-year low the big concern is that full-time jobs seem to be almost a thing of the past. Sure, creating 19,800 jobs might seem fantastic but the reality is that only 6,100 were full-time. It seems that the structure of Australian jobs is rapidly changing. As good as the figures look the fact remains that for every job there are 17 people wanting it. Entry level jobs for young people we have five applicants for every job.Not to forget the number wanting more work.
those who deny Climate Change and the overwhelming scientific consensus seek to justify their belief by attaching themselves to a minority of science deniers with obscure qualifications or worse-to right-wing shock jocks and journalists with no scientific training what so ever.These people have no way of evaluating the volume of data produced by the various scientific institutions. One of the most outspoken deniers (Andrew Bolt) has, in recent times, been found guilty of deceptive lying in that he defamed some white skinned aboriginals. One has to wonder how many he has told when writing about his favorite topic climate change.Which brings me to the point of this piece: Hypocrisy.Now who said this?
It has to be said that if Tony Abbott was the worst Prime Minister we have ever had then Malcolm Turnbull has to be the most gutless. What kind of leader would allow some right-wing ultra-fanatics to ride rough shod over his every decision? Decisions that, when as Opposition Leader, he felt strongly about.
Sunday 8 October 2017 Today I again refer back to the launch of “Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir” by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, Chancellor of The Australian National University – Launched by the Hon Bob Hawke AC GCL, 23rd Prime Minister of Australia at the National Press Club last Wednesday. “In his…
Did you know that 10 per cent of Australians now hold more wealth than the other 90 per cent combined? Let me put it another way. The richest one per cent of Australians are collectively wealthier than the poorest 60 per cent. Or try this 62 mega-rich people across the globe now hold as much wealth as 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest. Try this. Australia’s richest person was worth $18 billion, equaling the wealth held by the poorest 10 per cent of Aussies.Here’s some more from an Oxfam report titled “An Economy for the 1%“: The world’s richest 1% now hold more wealth than the rest of the planet. The richest 10 per cent of Australians hold more wealth than the other 90 per cent combined. The gap between Australia’s richest and poorest is accelerating. In 2015, the wealth of Australia’s richest 1% outstripped the poorest 60%. Australia’s richest person is worth more than all of the wealth held by the poorest 10 per cent of Australians. Dr Szoke from Oxfam, the reports writer, said Australia must be part of a global solution to a global problem, and a renewed international focus on corporate tax avoidance would be critical to efforts to address wealth inequality.So isn’t it odd that the Turnbull Government is contemplating increasing the rate of its consumer tax in order to give the same companies a reduction in the amount of tax they pay. Figure that out.
And after 18 months of appalling governance Abbott the then Prime Minister could not lay claim to any policy that has progressed the nation. His leadership was abysmal and his Ministers were found wanting with a litany of failures in, education, health, environment and the economy. Turnbull’s government has been no better.Both Abbott/Turnbull governments had enough diplomas to staff a university, but both were so intent on implementing a warped right-wing ideology, with a baseless mandate, that they forgot that policies actually mattered. They governed with propaganda calculated to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetuated on you.
Saturday 9 September 2017 Have you ever written something and felt that you hadn’t finished what you intended to say? Such was the case after I had completed my Friday post; “Out of gas, steam, and no energy for gay marriage.” When I reread it later it seemed empty of conclusion. Now that the High…
1 In a doorstop interview on a cold and winter day in Canberra the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott made his intentions known as to how he will campaign for the ‘NO’ vote.He intends linking it to free speech.He intends linking it to political correctness.He intends linking it to freedom of religion.It wasn’t my intention to continue with this subject today but I recalled when working on the Republic campaign in 1999 just how dangerous Tony Abbott was. John Howard played good cop and Abbott and Nick Minchin played bad cops.They did so by scare-mongering, lying and fabricating impossible situations like riots with alsatians in the streets.His intention is clear. He will if he can turn the plebiscite into a public brawl on these unrelated issues. He will try to drag Turnbull into an ideological demarcation dispute – separating the right and left of his party.In meat in the middle of Abbott’s sandwich will be lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people whose emotional wellbeing he gives not a thought.How on earth the three things he mentioned are related to a question about marriage equality are beyond me, but the devious Abbott – who couldn’t lie straight in bed – will find a way.
Wednesday 9 August 2017 So the best-assembled brains-trust ever in the history of Australian politics has decided to let the issue of Marriage Equality go yet again down the path of a plebiscite. So desperate they are to have the public confirm what is already known that they are prepared to spend up to $170…
Thursday 3 August 2017 When the lady with the awful hairdo uttered these villainous words of inequity … ”There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making there are only individuals making their way” (paraphrased) … and when the second-rate actor aligned his politics with the Christian Right, the scene was set for…
Friday 14 July 2017 I confess to having been a news junkie all my life. An obsession with news generally – and newspapers in particular – started when I was around fourteen or fifteen. I would purchase a newspaper to read on the tram on my way to work and The Herald on my way…
Sunday 26 March 2017 You have to wonder about the sanity of people like Pauline Hanson. Three weeks ago she advocated parents have their children take a non-existent test before vaccinating them. She followed that up hours after the London attack with a video #PrayForLondon hashtag as a way to “solve the problem”. When asked…
Saturday 11 March 2017 1 There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest impediment to the future prosperity of Australia is our political system. In particular, conservative politicians. I say conservative because they are more attached to the system of capitalism than those of the left. And might I add, pre-disposed to the…
Friday 10 March 2017 Author’s note. 1 There are some things we write that at a later date when writing on the same subject the words we choose seem inferior to the original ones. It is with this in mind that I post. A Society for the Common Good. That’s what I want. I was…
Thursday 3 December 1 Ashbygate refuses to go away. Brough is contrite for misleading parliament. Turnbull would know only too well what happens when you allow controversial cover ups to fester. A heavily qualified apology to the House of Representatives on Wednesday changed nothing, merely confirming what was already obvious: that he had misled the Parliament. He…
Saturday 26 September 1 It seems to me that the coverage thus far from the MSM of Turnbull’s challenge to Abbott and his subsequent elevation to the Prime Minister ship is that of an election rather than a change of leader. I say this because it is reminiscent of a honeymoon period. In essence nothing…
Saturday 5 September 1 “If you want to stop the deaths, if you want to stop the drownings, you’ve got to stop the boats,” Mr Abbott told ABC Murray Goulburn Local Radio. In making this statement he ignores the fundamental fact that in Syria 300,000 people have been killed so that stopping the boats actually…
The subject of political lying, since the election of Tony Abbott, has almost become a permanent point of discussion on main stream media, social media and the blogosphere.
Why is this so? It’s because the Prime Minister has set a record of lying both past and present that is unprecedented in Australian political history. If you think I am exaggerating read “Remembering Abbott’s past”.
Lying is so engrained in his political persona that he knows not the difference between fact and fabrication.
More recently his lie about funding the ABC (and all the others) has drawn immense criticism. On Monday 24 November he denied in Parliament that he had broken a pledge not to cut funding to the ABC and SBS, telling Parliament his government had “fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”.
In saying this he used another lie to justify telling the original one. This is not just wrong but appallingly immoral. To suggest the first lie was not one is to suggest we are no longer communicating in English.
And Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to do the same thing only served to devalue his own integrity.
More recent examples are the PMs Letter of advice on changes to the pension. What a deceitful document it was. Really his lying knows no bounds. He fails to mention the way the pension is calculated is to be changed (If he can get it passed) resulting in a substantial loss of income. Does he really think we are fools?
Another deceitful lie is the cuts to power bills with the elimination of the Carbon tax. The resulting drops in charges varied across the country and nowhere near the $550 he indicated everyone would receive.
Yet another example was when asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with President Hollande the PM said that we already had a Direct Action fund of 2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp 10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is a tax not a fund. And its Government policy to abolish the second.
Unfortunately less informed voters outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.
People like Bolt and Jones write and comment outrageously on the basis of payment for lying controversy. Freedom of the press may entitle them to do so but it is unjustifiable for the Prime Minister to follow suit on the grounds of a collective desire for honesty in government. It is however, highly unlikely that this Prime Minister has the decency to do so.
“Political Lies and Who Tells Them Revisited”.
The issue of truth featured largely in the last election. We the voters were often left to decide who was and who wasn’t telling the truth. Or who was telling more or less of it. So what is a lie? This election was different in so much as we saw the emergence of various “Truth Finder” sites and both sides of the political spectrum were found out telling full-on porkies, or at least using different shades of hue.
This week lying has again been highlighted with the Government’s decision to axe the Gonski Education reforms. The troubling aspect of this decision is that during the campaign Tony Abbot gave a number of commitments. For example:
“This will be a no surprises, no excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future”.
He also promised a ”unity ticket” with Labor on Gonski funding:
“You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school”.
“There will be no change to school funding under the government I lead”.
These commitments were totally unambiguous. Unequivocally intentional. So much so that the average voter on hearing them could logically assume that they were being told the absolute truth.
We now know that the Prime Minister and his Education Minister Christopher Pyne were telling blatant lies about this and many other policies. Policy decisions since the election (as listed in other posts on this blog) demonstrably attest to this. Their actions have been universally condemned by all media outlets except those of Murdoch who has a vested interest in protecting Abbott from criticism.
This all gives rise to the question of the value of the words politicians use. I for one wouldn’t believe a word Abbott says. There is ample evidence that he is a liar and he has declared so himself.
But let’s take a look at the broader picture and ask ourselves what is a lie in general and what constitutes political lying.
We know that a lie has three essential ingredients; it communicates some information, the liar intends to deceive or mislead and the liar believes that what they are ‘saying’ is not true. And we call people who use these three principles blatant liars.
When the leader of the then opposition said in July 2012: “The tragedy of this toxic tax is that it will not actually reduce emissions” and six months later they fall by 8.6%. Did he actually tell a lie? One could well argue that he had no facts on which to base his assumptive statement, so it could not be construed as a lie. It might be just an opinion. The same could be said about his statements about towns being wiped of the map and many others. However, if in politics we believe that lies or statements are made either to deceive or manipulate (and has the three principles mentioned previously), then you would conclude that he was telling porkies.
“When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts”.
– Michael Ende, The Never-ending Story
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”.
– Adolf Hitler.
Conversely, when the former Prime Minister said “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism”, “I rule out a carbon tax”, did she actually tell a lie? Clearly she showed an intent to keep her options open. As it turns out we have a market based scheme. She was not trying to deceive. She was being honest within the uncertainty of the circumstances. And the MSM never gave her the benefit of the doubt.
I have always felt that when politicians have in their possession certain knowledge and facts and fail to disclose it then they are guilty of lying by omission. When you withhold information you are denying the other person’s right to the truth. An example of this was when John Howard found out that the children overboard incident was false and withheld the information for two days prior to the 2001 election. It was in fact lying by omission. And of course there is the weapons of mass destruction lie. Did John Howard ever check the facts? If not he perpetuated one of the greatest lies in history.
“When you tell a lie you deny the other person’s right to the truth”.
– John Lord.
On a more personal level there are what we call white lies where we deliberately colour what we say in shades of hue to protect the feelings of others or ourselves, or to avoid argument.
“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is”.
– Barbara Bush.
Consider the case where telling a lie would mean that 10 other lies would not be told. If 10 lies are worse than one lie then it would seem to be a good thing to tell the first lie, but if lying is always wrong then it’s wrong to tell the first lie.
When politicians lie over a long period of time, it only serves to denigrate the liar and show contempt for the voter’s intelligence. Especially if the lies are chronic and systemic. The current use of the term “no direct knowledge” is a lie within a lie pretending to absolve a person who is fully conversant with the facts.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . . when first we practice to deceive”.
– Walter Scott, Marmion.
Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we carry out (one researcher has said ‘lying is an unavoidable part of human nature’), so it’s worth spending time thinking about it.
Why is lying wrong?
There are many reasons why people think lying is wrong; which ones resonate best with you will depend on the way you think about ethics.
Lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings; if people generally didn’t tell the truth, life would become very difficult, as nobody could be trusted and nothing you heard or read could be trusted – you would have to find everything out for yourself and an untrusting world is also bad for liars – lying isn’t much use if everyone is doing it.
Who are the biggest liars? The left or the Right of Politics.
Last year on Facebook I shared a post of an interview with Laurie Oakes and Tony Abbott (you can see it on YouTube). It is from 2005 and Tony Abbott is obviously telling lies about the Medicare safety net. At the time I made the following comment to accompany it:
“People who constantly portray the prime minister as someone who constantly tells lies should take the time to read this”.
It was then picked up by former National Times journalist Alan Austin and we had a chat about broken promises, telling lies and the current standard of journalism. He had this to say:
Remember, it was a Senator from his own side who called John Howard ‘the lying rodent’.
And have we forgotten the articles about Malcolm Fraser’s ‘Top 40 broken promises’?
Lies, about-faces and broken promises are as follows:
Gough Whitlam: 7
Malcolm Fraser: 52
Bob Hawke: 4
Paul Keating: 3
John Howard: 41
Tony Abbott (as minister): 17
Kevin Rudd: 4
Julia Gillard: 6
Tony Abbott (as Opposition Leader): 15 and counting. As PM ?
I found this to be particularly revealing so I inquired as to the authenticity of the figures and he replied with the following:
Before your time, John, I wrote a piece for The National Times in 1977 about what were then Malcolm Fraser’s top 25 blatant lies and broken promises. The then editor Trevor Kennedy – later to become one of Rupert’s henchmen – headed it “Malcolm’s battle with the time machine” which I thought at the time was unduly generous towards Mr Fraser.
Later, in 1980, I wrote a piece for Nation Review on Fraser’s top 40 lies and broken promises which then editor, Geoffrey Gold, headed ‘Promises, promises.’ Neither are online, unfortunately, but I have them in my clip file. Since then, I have kept tabs on all Prime Ministers and would love to write about it.
If I get a publisher, I will let you know. (I am tentatively titling the piece ‘Lies, damned lies and I support the elected leader of the party’). Point being that there is simply no comparison whatsoever between the falsehoods and about-faces of the Conservatives and Progressives. The ratio is about 8 to 1. Which is why the current perception that Ms Gillard is ‘Juliar’ is so bizarre from this vantage point. (I am in France. Which means I read other media than just Rupert Murdoch’s).
Well I do hope you get to do it, Alan. I have been following politics for around 50 years and it is time we had more honesty and the standard of reporting is deplorable. However, do you think there is at times a fine line between a broken promise and a change of mind? And of course changed circumstances can necessitate a change of mind. I would also be interested in what you think of the standard of political journalism in Australia today.
Again, quoting Alan Austin:
Excellent questions, John.
Re standard of journalism in Australia:
Regarding categories of deception, there are at least seven.
Staring down the camera bare-faced lies are Class A falsehoods, like this one satirised here:
This is Tony Abbott lying about a meeting with George Pell.
Promises broken for political expediency with no external factors forcing their abandonment are Class B Examples are Ms Gillard duding Mr Wilkie recently. And Mr Howard’s no-GST-never-ever which he abandoned before the 1998 election.
A Class B broken promise may, of course, be ratified by an election. If this succeeds, as indeed happened with Mr Howard’s GST, then it becomes less offensive. Say Class C.
Commitments made in good faith but prevented from being implemented despite the government’s genuine best efforts – by a hostile Senate or the High Court or a hung Parliament – are Class D.
Promises prevented from being implemented by changed economic conditions – such as Paul Keating’s L-A-W-law tax cuts – are Class E.
Promises deferred by changed economic or political conditions – such as Labor’s no carbon tax – are Class F. (Keating’s L-A-W tax cuts also turned out to be F eventually.)
Assurances of loyalty to the leader by putative challengers deserve a special category. Say Class I. (I for inevitable? Unavoidable?)
‘Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it’.
In the US election Republicans Romney and Ryan took lying to an unprecedented level. Fact finders alerted the public to 2019 lies by Romney alone. It is my contention that
President Obama lost the first debate not because he was off his game, or that he was under prepared, but rather he was taken by surprise by the willful lies that Romney was telling. The same fascination for untruth by conservatives has been exported to Australia.
In my view Australians faced the most important election in living memory. Liberalism no longer existed so what we were faced with was a political decision between a very sharp turn to the scary right. Or a party (in spite of its faults) that had the common good at the centre of its ideology. In our ignorance, or perhaps our naivety we elected a cohort – an all-male club who insisted they were adults but instead turned out to be juvenile liars.
“Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there might often be pain in truth but there is no harm in it”.
If ever a week in politics supported a headline it was the week that Gough Whitlam died. In the main the death of this, undeniably charismatic, but gifted man was met with sadness by both supporter and foe alike.
The exceptions who didn’t were Bolt and Jones. Yes, the two who write and comment outrageously on the basis of payment for controversy didn’t but eventually they will pass on as Gough did.
They will be quickly forgotten but he will go down in the annals of Australian history as a decent, sanguine, passionate and sagacious Prime Minister who made an enormous contribution to Australian society.
Something they could never aspire to do.
Yes the week was filled with controversy that only a government devoid of any semblance of leadership could muster.
In Parliament the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce (The probable deputy PM if Abbott wins the next election) got the details of how many Australians have received drought assistance completely and utterly wrong.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon called him out but as you would guess, Bronny Bishop ruled he didn’t have to answer. It wasn’t until early evening he skulked back into the chamber and quietly corrected his answer. It’s hard to explain what Barnaby said. If you can decipher it you deserve a medal.
“…you actually get the money until the department decides that you are not allowed to get the money, and at this point in time. So you keep on getting the money, you keep on getting the money, until such time as, on the application being assessed, they decide you are not eligible for it. But it is not the case that you apply for the money and then you have to wait for your application to be approved, you actually get the money straight away.”
Anyway on Tuesday of this week he got a whiff of his own ineptitude and tried to change the official Hansard record.
Then the Government for a Royal Commission into anything Labor refused to hold one into the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as part of its response to a landmark Senate inquiry. This is one of the worst scandals in Australian corporate history. It has ruined the lives of thousands of people but the government’s approach seems to be to let financial planners proceed as if nothing has happened.
During all this the boss of the corporate regulator, ASIC said.
‘’Australia is too soft on corporate criminals and increased civil penalties including more jail terms are needed.’’
“Australia is a paradise for white-collar crime.” He said.
On Royal Commissions that are politically motivated John Howard had this to say.
“I’m uneasy about the idea of having royal commissions or inquiries into essentially a political decision…”
“I don’t think you should ever begin to go down the American path of using the law for narrow targeted political purposes.”
Abbott obviously believes in the total obliteration of one’s opposition and will even provide cabinet papers if he has too.
In senate estimates we heard from treasury officials that the Prime Ministers Paid Parental Leave Scheme has ground to a halt. According to senior insiders, it is in serious trouble and loathed by virtually every minister in cabinet.
Our Prime Minister once again showing that he is incapable of governance for the common good.
In the midst of all this we had talk of Malcolm Turnbull replacing Hockey as treasurer.
“It’d be a game changer,” one minister summarised. No one disagreed with the soundness of the idea. True, he would bring competence and authority to the Treasury portfolio. He has the ability to articulate a message clearly and forcefully.
But the mere suggestion that this might happen is a reflection of the total incompetency of this Abbott led bunch of out of touch morons.
We were greeted with another headline that the whistle-blower Freya Newman had had her sentence deferred until November. Did she break the law? She did, but in so doing revealed yet another instance of the Prime Ministers use of his office for personal gain further defining his personal lack of integrity. As if it could degenerate any further.
The curriculum taught in our schools never seems to go away when conservatives are in power.
For its review the coalition appointed its usual array of religious zealots and those of indigenous indifference, all sympathetic to the government’s point of view. But this time one of the appointees, Professor Barry Spurr, further advanced his expertise in all things conservative with some emails that could only be describes as indecent. He said they were part of a ‘linguistic game’. Ah the games people play.
Perhaps the PM might consider some people of independent mind for future inquiries instead of the usual hacks.
But there’s more. It was a long week.
It seemed that Scott Morrison wanted to be the minister for everything. When interviewed on AM he denied that other ministers were resentful of him trying to take over part of their portfolios. But members of the press gallery confirmed it.
When asked in question time how his portfolio crossed over with Foreign Affairs, Defense, Agriculture, Health, Defense, Attorney-Generals and Prime Minister and Cabinet it wasn’t only the Labor side of the chamber laughing at him.
But Bronny Bishop ruled he didn’t have to answer.
And to add to the weeks worries the Government still cannot get its budget passed. To quote Lenore Taylor in the Guardian.
Kevin Andrews said he would consider “any reasonable offer” from crossbench senators in a last-ditch bid to get at least some of his $10bn in stalled welfare changes through the Senate. On top of that there is the fuel excise, that Medicare co-payment and the dramatic changes to higher education. What a bloody nightmare. It’s a pity Abbott doesn’t have the negotiating skills of Gillard.
He and Joe have never been able to admit why the electorate so comprehensively rejected the budget? We all know that the savings fell heaviest on those least able to pay. Now they are saying they will reveal more in the mid-year budget update. This can only mean more unpopular cuts. Or a mini budget.
The Essential Poll during the week found 72% felt the cost of living had become worse in the past 12 months and 48% believe that over the past two years their income has fallen behind their cost of living. That figure rises to 57% for those earning less than $1,000 a week.
It was the worst received budget in many decades. Spending cuts have to be fair, and be seen to be fair, but people also need to understand the overall plan, the purpose, dare we call it the program.
Later in the week when talking about Federal and state responsibilities Abbott said.
“It is in this great country of ours possible to have a better form of government”
I would have thought a good place to start would be to stop telling lies.
Having appointed a group of climate deniers to report on the Renewable Energy Target and Tony Abbott wanting it removed altogether the government, in the face of public opinion, now finds itself in a dilemma. It wants to compromise on the 20% target saying electricity usage has already declined. Shorten should not fall for that nonsense. Add in their ridiculous Direct Action policy and you can see we have, in spite of their various university degrees, a bunch of dunderheads governing us. Perhaps I should have said dickheads.
To be honest I could go on for another couple of thousand words but I’m exhausted. I haven’t mentioned Bishops aspirations for leadership, the credit card negotiations with the banks on welfare payments and fact that his sisters have joined the chorus of condemnation for a privately owned aged-care facility on public parklands at Middle Head.
Then there’s the criticism of the proposed Medibank float that has been described as laughable. Oh, then of course reports that Chrissy Pyne was backing down on his university policy. He said he wasn’t but then I’m not that sure he would know himself.
Goodness I have left out the most serious issue of Ebola. The government’s response has been abysmal to say the least. Just another example of their ineffectiveness. The AMA was right to give Abbott a serve.
In an effort to sound amusing and to allay the fears of those who think I am being overly negative I will close with this.
In Opposition he advocated for the protection of the Tasmania Tiger, extinct since 1936. In Government he’s turned his attention to the Antarctic Walrus – population: zero. Walruses live in the Northern Hemisphere.
Oh wait, bugger I almost forgot. Were you also aware that Catherine King exposed how it would soon cost up to $2,207 for someone to have their liver metastasis diagnosed? Tony Abbott refused to say how many people will miss out on being diagnosed as a result of the hit to imaging and diagnostic services.
But the week did began with the Speaker announcing she would not continue with the policy of segregation which had been announced as Parliament rose a fortnight earlier.
Hopefully we can now go back to segregation being something kids learn about in the courtroom scenes of To Kill a Mockingbird not during their excursion to Canberra.
The final word for ‘’A week is a Long Time in Politics’’ must go to Newspoll which had the Opposition six points up on the Government without so much as them striking a blow.
I have also observed the total unabashed acceptance by children of different races at school, and at the local swimming pool where mature judgement is made by children unhindered by the prejudicial ignorance of adults.
My thoughts drifted to my own youth and I wondered just what it is that causes people to be racist. I recalled as a small boy being told what side of the street to walk to school because Jews lived on the other side. I lived through the post war era of immigration when Australians belittled and sneered at Italians and Greeks. Then later with bi partisan agreement we accepted the Vietnamese who came by boat. But not before debasing them with the worst part of our own uniquely Australian prejudice.
Memories came back to me of a pub I used to drink at on my way home from work. The beer garden attracted a cohort of Aussie builders who sub contracted concreting work to a group of Italians. I would observe how the Aussie fellows would run them down with the foulest of language and then drink with them, without a hint of condemnation when they arrived.
There was a time when a relation who was traveling by caravan around Australia rang me from some remote area highly populated by indigenous people. After the usual greeting the following words were advanced.
‘’I’m not a racist but’’ When you hear someone say those words they generally are. What followed was a tirade of critical commentary about every aspect of Aboriginal culture and living standards. I have no doubt that much of what she was saying was true however, there was no situation that wasn’t replicated in white city society. Her comments were therefore racist. The singling out of any group for reason of drawing attention to color is abhorrent to me.
More recently I have experienced racism where I live. I have two neighbors (one now deceased) who when talking about indigenous folk have described aboriginals as taking up to much space.
At a junior football final a couple of years ago a teenage boy was standing behind me verbalising a young aboriginal player of immense talent. I allowed the insults to insinuate themselves into the minds around me. The aboriginal boy had heard the remarks and was a bit distressed about it. I turned and said to the boy of uncouth mouth.
‘’So yours is what a racists face looks like’’
The teenager slunk away probably not used to having his racism confronted. In the unnatural silence that had invaded the group where I was standing I received a couple of congratulatory slaps on the shoulder.
You see I hate all forms of racism in a way that even someone like me, with a love of the moulding of words as disciples for good, cannot do. It was a little brave of me to do what I did because I am getting on in years but we must confront it.
In watching the antics of children of different races in their play we can bear witness to the sin of the abusers of decency. By the influence of those who cannot concede that we were all black once. And those who believe that superiority is determined by a chemical compound.
Children celebrate difference and prove to us that racism is not a part of the human condition. It is taught, or acquired. You have to learn it and those who tutor it and preach it are to be pitied for their ignorance and imbecility. No one is born a racist but we are born into racist societies.
What is racism?
It is best described in two parts. Firstly it is the belief that one race is superior to another. That it accounts for differences in human character and ability. Secondly racism is, discrimination or prejudice based on race.
Scott Woods puts it another way.
The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.
Racism is preserved in many and various ways. Even Christian art propagates the myth of Jesus being white when in fact he would have been dark skinned and of Middle Eastern appearance. But art depicts him as white with European features and more often than not as effeminate.
Christians also cannot bring themselves to the point of accepting that dark skinned people were responsible for the introduction of religion into society. No white person has ever introduced a major religion. Some Christians even quote Bible verse to justify white superiority.
Even the law disproportionally targets colored (I hate that term) people resulting in levels of incarceration much higher than other groups.
The worst perpetrators of racism are those who do it through the guise of free speech. People like Andrew Bolt. A journalist of mediocre talent who writes in a grammatical style attractive to the intellect of 13 year olds, unable to challenge the mind (or his argument)with a word, or sentence.
Recently he wanted the law changed so that he would be freer through his column to abuse and defame. When the legislation was turfed because of its unpopularity Tony Abbott felt obliged to phone this journalist of such little virtue and apologise.
People who support Bolt and his racism need to ask just why it is that he is fixated on the subject of race (and Muslims and climate change) and the answer is simple. Murdoch has built his news empire on smut and controversy. The formula has made him extremely wealthy. And there is no doubt that Bolt is paid extraordinary amounts of money to proliferate the pages of the Herald Sun with this sort of gutter journalism.
Let us not forget what Justice Bromberg, said about Bolt’s use of language. He said,
“His style and structure is highly suggestive and designed to excite. His style was ”not careful, precise or exact” and the language not moderate or temperate but often strong and emphatic”. There is a liberal use of sarcasm and mockery,” he wrote. Language of that kind has a heightened capacity to convey implications beyond the literal meaning of the words utilised. It is language, which invites the reader to not only read the lines, but to also read between the lines.”
We should also remember that during the London riots, of the not too distant past Bolt in one of his pieces used the word ‘aped’ to describe the copycat behaviour of some people. The use of the word was legitimate in that sense until you appreciate that he was talking about black West Indians, and then the word became racist.
Bolt keeps coming back to skin, or the color of it as if it were a sexual fetish that gives him endless gratification.
And it must be said that Andrew is a convicted racist and has been found to on many occasions lie in his writing, particularly on the environment. In addition he has been convicted of defaming a female magistrate.
He wants the law changed so that in the future under the guise of free speech he will be able to vilify at his heart’s content.
Take two recent examples from his TV program. ‘’The Bolt Report’’
Bolt is an opponent of an attempt, which has bi partisan support, to recognise indigenous people in the constitution, contending that to single out any particular group is racist because it divides Australians? Former Labor minister Craig Emerson thus declared him a racist by his own criteria.
“Then you are a racist,” Emerson said, “because of the comments you made in relation to Indigenous people. By your own criterion, and that’s what you did. You identified a group of people and went for them.”
He was correct. Emerson’s remark relates to the legal case in which Bolt was found to have breached racial discrimination laws in articles that implied light-skinned Indigenous people identified themselves as Aboriginal for personal gain.
He was guilty by his own admission.
Another more recent example is when he quiet bizarrely declared that ‘’aboriginals weren’t here first’’. As I said earlier he has this thing about race that sends him into some kind of mental climax that needs constant stimulation. If you want to figure out the argument he was putting go here and then explain it to me. I cannot.
I will end where I started with my observation of that gregarious dark skinned boy playing joyfully in fellowship with his light skinned mates, and the fact each was different in color, one to the other didn’t enter the unblemished purity of their companionship. And I silently prayed that it never would.
Wonder When the Seed Is Planted
I look upon the child’s face and see
Innocence – unblemished purity
Translated in looks virtuous
How sweet how incorruptible
Then it happens with measured subtly
The distortion of youthful thought
Insinuated into free
And immature minds
I wonder when the seed is planted
When evil first takes hold
And intolerance evolves
To become scum on the pond of life
Who grants permission to damage the child?
Of its pristine purity
The wonderment of adventure
And unfiltered creativity
Is it the sin of the father?
That makes a child loathe
That makes them xenophobic
Racist just like him
When does it take root this hatred?
That enters the child’s mind
To be carried with them always
Fermenting as they grow
Are parents so imbued?
With experiences of the past
That forgiveness is impossible
Bad memories seem to last
So they pass it onto their children
And intolerance lingers on
Licking on the finger of hate
It seems to have no end
I can only ask that compassion
Might replace their putrid sin
And the cry that is inside each heart
Will – let understanding in