tip off

Rundle: Team Australia would love to have free speech, but there’s a war on

You wouldn’t want to to underestimate what a defeat this 18c stuff up is for the Right, writes Guy Rundle.

Welcome now then, Team Australia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott launched the new meme on Tuesday, at the press conference where changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 18c “insult and offend” clause was dropped, and the catch-all spy powers, metadata, surveillance and anti-terrorism bill was introduced. With the new threat to Australia from 150 people who had journeyed to Syria — allegedly to be jihadis, though we have been given no proof — we all had to come together for Team Australia, and anything that disturbed that unity had to be ditched — and that included 18c.

Today we doubled down on that with memorial services for all 298 victims of the MH17 crash/shooting down, with the PM announcing — on near-continuous loop on ABC morning news — that “this is a day of national mourning”. And on it will go for quite some time.

The truth is that the government’s record has been trashed on every single initiative. Every single one. The budget is a mess and is heading for a chaotic showdown, for which the only governmentally sensible course — but a politically disastrous one — would be a minibudget. Operation Bring Them Home is becoming a gruesome slapstick version of Antigone, with the area degenerating into an impassable war zone and making it impossible for Abbott to keep his promise. Asylum seekers have landed, briefly, on Australian soil, taking the gloss off that promise. And now, relatively minor but all the more significant as a political defeat, an abandonment of the changes to 18c — and by that token the defeat of Andrew Bolt and News Corp.

That last defeat has been the pivot on which the government has shifted its pitch. With a measure of desperation it has reached for national solidarity, the voluntary minimising of dissent, state measures as “beyond politics” — all wrapped up in a green-and-gold Team Australia bow. This is the Right channelling the other side of its politics, the real business — letting the market and capital run free, while using the heavy hand of the state to impose a single order based on a fantasy consensus.

Mind you, there were pickings for political connoisseurs. I loved the way in which Abbott presented the abandonment of 18c changes as “a luxury we could no longer afford”. It managed to evoke both the Blitz spirit of rationing and Churchill’s “truth with a bodyguard of lies” remark. A more open public society — what the Right call ‘“free speech” — had been the principle we would stand for, Voltaire, rhubarb, etc — and now that very principle had to be defended by relegating it to luxury status.

For Abbott, channelling this is easier than most. He’s from a tradition — the Catholic Right — that was as close to a clerico-fascist/Phalangist movement as Australia came. Abbott’s mentor, B.A. Santamaria, was a supporter of both Franco and Mussolini, and the Team Australia rhetoric is simply a mild Australian repurposing of the corporatist-nationalist mindset that underlies those movements. Any self-respecting liberal should gag at the notion that a nation-state can be compared to a sporting team — yet there this morning at Timmy Wilson’s Free Speech Freedom Jamboree, there was Freedom Boy giving the opening address (Brandis was meant to do it but pulled out as following his Sky interview yesterday — he had appointments all day curled up foetally at the bottom of a wardrobe, weeping) — and referencing “Team Australia”. Ironically? Didn’t sound like it.

Like many on the Left who supported changes to 18c, I got a lot of schadenfreude from the 18c car crash — actually, together with the Sky interview, car crash doesn’t cover it, it’s more like those ’70s extravaganzas where Evel Knievel jumped a bus over some other buses and failed to — while also being irritated at the crudity, stupidity and blind self-satisfaction of the government’s approach. Brandis killed the bill with his “right to be bigoted” remark (which most heard as “it’s all right to be bigoted”) and then his reply to Penny Wong: “A lot of the things I have heard you say in this chamber are … extraordinarily bigoted …’.

What Wong meant by bigotry was the remark that ruins your day, sends your kids crying from school (or not wanting to go), cuts deep in, and wears you down with repetition, because it is about your embodied self, what you most deeply are. What Brandis meant by bigotry was people saying things he disagreed with about the carbon tax. David Leyonhjelm strikes the same note at the Freedom Jamboree today, saying that he “refuses to be a victim”. Oh really, white, male, professional  First World man? You’ve withstood the terrible racism directed at Swedish-Australians, have you smorgy-boy? How brave you are. Well, that’s the end of the matter.

This strain of self-pitying, self-satisfied white guy whining that presents as its opposite has been at the heart of the 18c push from the start — inevitably since it was constellated around Andrew Bolt, who embodies that European petit-bourgeois whining self-pity so absolutely, you’d think there was just a pile of clothes and a permanently on air horn where he sat. It was always going to do badly in a multicultural society — and the government ensured that would happen by continuing to suck up to multicultural society and treat the speech of individual Australians as something to be controlled by “community leaders”. When Brandis went to Muslim leaders to combat “radicalisation”, he treated speech not as a thing of freedom, but as an infectious agent, which could seize and transform people in occult ways. The “bacillus” model of “radicalisation” was an even more repressive model than the “material hurt” model of speech that lies at the root of 18c. Once done, that was it. Once you have a multicultural society with anointed “community leaders”, you have to have something like 18c — for you have constructed the social space as one of a negotiation between groups. Conversely, you can only get something like 18c abolished by going up against multiculturalism itself and insisting on the classical liberal notion — straight out of the 17th century — that the public sphere should be an open space in which individuals trade ideas like commodities.

You wouldn’t want to to underestimate what a defeat this 18c stuff up is for the Right. The 18C clause survived the Howard era because it didn’t throw up a major case like the Bolt one and could be left in place. In that respect Howard had helped consolidate major remnants of a model of Australian state and society cemented in the Hawke/Keating era. This was the first major challenge to it, and it needed a Team Liberal who had an understanding of the society they were campaigning in — and some respect for the claims of the opposing arguments, which derived from liberalism also, albeit of a different kind. They didn’t even begin to step up. The survival of 18c confirms — as a real Australian substantial belief — the notion that certain types of collective regulation enable freedom. Keeping 18c helps keep plain packaging, helps the push for stronger food labelling, and much, much more.

That is, in effect, what the Abbott government has now switched to — a Right form of collectivism around nation, based on an external/internal emergency, the enemy within. Whatever special attention is needed to some young men returning from the Middle East, the push for this extreme and omnibus bill is political in nature. So too is the ghastly funeral pomp around MH17. No matter what Abbott says, it isn’t a national day of mourning for 300 people in one air disaster once, 40 of whom were Australian. To them I feel a faint connection, for the others simply a fleeting sadness. To bundle the Australian dead into this national process is questionable enough; to say we are mourning 150 Dutch people as a nation is absurd and ghoulish and has cynicism at its heart. It’s time someone in the churches — who get used for this sort of stuff — started speaking out against co-opted ersatz grief, for it demeans the true thing itself.

In the meantime, we will see how the liberal intellectual Right reacts to this government turnabout. Will the endless bleating about the nanny state find any register for the mass collection and access of metadata, and the criminalisation of anyone travelling to Kurdish northern Iraq — which is currently running a global tourism campaign for godssake? Rather than the occasional “loyal opposition” piece, will they come out and identify the new reactionary and repressive character of the government they supported? Don’t wait up for it. They are, by and large, cowardly and sycophantic people, eager to huddle in corporate-funded lobby group/think tanks, conformists who holler about individuality, market fanboys who have never gained an income in it, people who get more inspiration from Ronald McDonald than from William Wallace. That’s why they lost this round and will lose the next. As always, opposition to a new round of reaction will come from the much larger, better organised and more courageous progressive forces around the country.

48
  • 1
    Yclept
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Hey Tony, this Team Australia thing, is it were we all come together to help each other? Like a Union really? What a great idea, let’s have more Unions! Onya Tone!

  • 2
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    No matter what Abbott says, it isn’t a national day of mourning for 300 people in one air disaster once, 40 of whom were Australian”

    I have been wondering in recent days how todays society would handle the first world war?

  • 3
    rhwombat
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Excellent kick to the Right testicles, Guy. David Hand and the other IPA enuretics will have to pause in their celebrations at Carlton’s defenestration, and take a few deep breaths before sneering back.

  • 4
    rhwombat
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy: more Rupert than Keith.

  • 5
    extra
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Paul Keating’s description of John Howard as ‘the ringmaster of grief’ is now applicable to Mr Abbott given his recent efforts at national cohesion.

  • 6
    fractious
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Good piece. It’s amusing to read that even that tool Berg is laying into the Abbott govt. on its back-somersault-with-pike on 18C, and in the same vein the wholly contradictory statements by Abbott and Brandis on what is or isn’t “metadata” and what the ISPs would/ would not have to retain - so much for that “unity” ticket then Tony.

    PS Rather than ‘jamboree’ I think of FreedomBoy and the IPA’s trivial little salon as more of a gymkhana - lots of show ponies prancing around bravely negotiating the towering 18” high hurdles they erected for themselves, while the rest of the world either ignores them or couldn’t give a toss.

  • 7
    Maxwell von Richthofen
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy ,good honest integrity in your article and brave on a day where i suspect if you doubt the motives of the political class you will get called insensitive and cold - I watched the ceremony today as well and thought gee you know why did you (abbott) while standing at the pulpit have just mentioned “operation bring them home ” in those exact words framed once again as a political slogan while at a memorial service .Just poor taste and ignorant to the fact that people will read political statements at bereavement ceremonies for what they are just unhealthy stabs at opportunism , the timing of the data retention announcement basically the day before this ceremony the lame excuse for dropping the 18c repeal . I just wonder how they expect to ever recover from this everyone is wide awake to there shenanigans and I would image they are just waiting for heavenly interventions like this tradgic M117 crash to blow all there worries away., I would think they by now are permanently marked men ,2/3 of the front bench is critical, mortally wounded.Most governments have one or two slip ups where the media can replay tapes etc Julia carbon tax lie Howard GST promise . To compare , this government have so many you before you have even logged one a new one replaces it. Its like a dream run of political disasters.

  • 8
    Arty Boxer
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    >I have been wondering in recent days how todays society would handle the first world war?

    Jimmy: You may not have to wait too much longer. The US, Russia and Europe look ready to start another.

    And no doubt we will need more security - to deal with those who visit .ru sites.

  • 9
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Arty - “You may not have to wait too much longer. The US, Russia and Europe look ready to start another.” That may be true but I doubt we will see the level of casualties of WWI, or who towns/villages of men being wiped out in one ill fated assault.

  • 10
    paddy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Rundle on song. Simply a joy to read. Thanks Guy.

  • 11
    Itsarort
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait for the Coalition’s updated Team Australia version of the marionette sex scene - Julie and Tony perhaps…? Dakka-Dakka!!

  • 12
    SusieQ
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    and who can go past that description of Andrew Bolt? Anytime I (unwillingly) see him I will now see an airhorn.
    Terrific article that hits the mark in a number of areas.
    Go Team!

  • 13
    DiddyWrote
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    When Abbott and Brandis set out to repeal the Racial Discrimination Act 18C, they imagined the only dissenting voices would be aboriginals, muslims and bleeding heart lefties.

    As they are not the deepest thinkers, they were very surprised when the Jewish Community came out vehemently against any such course of action. Who would have guessed?????

    Brandis was so keen to regain their favour, he stupidly waded into the morass of Israeli/Palestinian relations by refusing to call East Jerusalem occupied (changing decades of Australian policy on that subject). Before he knew it Muslim nations worldwide were threatening trade sanctions.

    Stupidity heaped upon idiocy, all just to assuage the hurt feelings of right wing polemicist writing for a Murdoch rag.

    That this was even a priority for the Abbott government speaks volumes as to why they are in the dire position that they are now.

  • 14
    Samidog
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    ….Andrew Bolt, who embodies that European petit-bourgeois whining self-pity so absolutely, you’d think there was just a pile of clothes and a permanently on air horn where he sat.”

    If he reads that, and I’m sure he will, it will cause him to develop keester-boils.

  • 15
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    …market fanboys who have never gained an income in it, people who get more inspiration from Ronald McDonald than from William Wallace.’

    A great thumbnail sketch of the character type, Guy.

    Couldn’t agree more with your comments on the mawkish reaction to MH17.

  • 16
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Zut - I like the way you used mawkish (I admit I had to look up it meaning) but it definitely is the best word for it.

  • 17
    Jaybuoy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Lets get real the IPA cretins are no more than tax deductible lickspittles for Rupert Murdoch… The sooner Ruperts jawbone flatlines the better this country will be.. New Yorks most eligible bachelor doesn’t believe in free speech he thinks it should be subsidised by the taxpayer as was illustrated by his scandalous receipt of almost a billion dollars from the Australian treasury for what amounted to little more than a thimble and pea trick with a few cheques in a tax haven…When you have a long fought court battle in which you have won in the first instance and lost on appeal at the Federal Court and the prize is as immense as this one surely an appeal to the High Court is demanded if only on the basis that it can’t add to much more to the costs and it’s tax payers money being handed over.. wttf wtf wtf…

  • 18
    Dogs breakfast
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    This strain of self-pitying, self-satisfied white guy whining that presents as its opposite has been at the heart of the 18c push”

    That pretty much defines the right. Self-serving, self satisfied, privileged and all of them ironically unaware that they are the opposite of the ‘self-made men’ they imagine themselves to be.

    Oh god, the troubles I’ve seen. On some school days the butler forgot to bring me my favourite accoutrements to my lobster bisque and lime torte with jus. And occasionally the limo ride home was less than comfortable. Oh yes, I’ve seen it all, suffered greatly, but I rose above it.”

    Wouldn’t know what ‘doing it tough’ means if it fell over them. My contempt for them knows no bounds.

  • 19
    Daly
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy. So many good metaphors to enhance spot on thoughts about the lazy train wreck pretending to be governing us!

  • 20
    mikehilliard
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Nice piece, the last paragraph is spot on.

  • 21
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Team Australia fridge magnets for all.

  • 22
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh well, since we’re now Team Australia, that probably makes Abbott, Captain Australia? Perhaps a suitable uniform, with a Captain America theme: red budgie smugglers and a red, white and blue target, painted on his bare chest. Maybe a few corkscrews dangling from an Akubra, just to give it an appropriate level of dignity and class.

  • 23
    MarilynJS
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    The IPA are collecting money to run anti-Abbott ads.

  • 24
    Bill
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Great article Guy. As a Christian I could not agree more regarding the “National Day of Mourning”. Talk about separation of church and state - Abboott has wrapped them both tightly together. This merely a facade to allow Abbott to stand in front of cameras as the Mourner for the Nation. It makes me sick. Let the people affected by the tragedy grieve in private and let’s support them with respect and silence.

  • 25
    Sharkie
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The IPA are collecting money to run anti-Abbott ads.”
    Denis Naptime revoking the pre-selections of racists, sexists, and homophobes.
    Good old fashion brown paper bag corruption in NSW
    And the train wreck that is Campbell Newman.

    It’s such a shame The Chasers have been gagged just when the Liberal Party is imploding. Bring back free speech (and political satire) on the ABC Pleeeeeeeaaaase.

  • 26
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Who wants to join a losing team? Abbott is the proverbial loser always was and always will be.
    Mini – budget an admission of failure.
    A Double Dissolution – with an electoral wipe out pending – but it may be the only way out.
    A Change in Leadership coupled with a reshuffle and a new Treasurer where a mini – budget could be legitimised with a “Hockey/ Cormann have lost their way “argument”.
    A reshffle/ like the Change In Leadership — an option but who will want to step up to clean up this mess. - the lack of talent on the LNP backbench offers no real Ministerial contenders. An already unstable government and growing feeling of hopelessness amongst the Dollarocracy sponsors will immediately erupt into open warfare as contenders jockey for power.
    The IPA is already recharging the war chest so the Dollocracy is gearing up for action - which option will they support this time?
    This MOB of losers has to be kicked out and soon.
    My money is on a November/ December DD election.

  • 27
    pritu
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy, one of the reasons I subscribe to Crikey.

  • 28
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    The suppository of guilt?

    You won’t be an Aussie.
    You won’t be true blue.
    If Toady Murdoch’s values
    Aren’t your values too.

  • 29
    leon knight
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    What - no comment yet from David Hand? - Expected him to have a masterful rebuttal of all of this by now….

  • 30
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Again, anybody seen Toady’s dog, “Budget” lately?

  • 31
    Robert Brown
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    … Andrew Bolt, who embodies that European petit-bourgeois whining self-pity so absolutely, you’d think there was just a pile of clothes and a permanently on air horn where he sat”

    LOL that was well worth the effort of unscrambling!

  • 32
    AR
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Imagine what a half competent Opposition could do with, & to, this sorry excuse for a government.
    Not boots to the head, just the constant odd niggle with a stiletto.

  • 33
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    No doubt Abbott has lost a couple of battles…but federal politics is a war of 3 years, not 1.

    Still got the carbon tax dissolved, still stopped the boats (mostly)…those are two pretty important battles, and ones that he needed to win.

    18c was a nice to have, not a have to have. It won’t be a reason why people change their vote and is more for the hardened ideologue ( like Guy )than the swinging voter. That is why Abbott was happy to let it go.

    Mining tax repeal won’t be given up as easily..

  • 34
    The Hood
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Guy better take a Bex and have a lie down after that diatribe! Brilliant.

  • 35
    Sharkie
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    It won’t be a reason why people change their vote and is more for the hardened ideologue ( like Guy )than the swinging voter.”
    Whatever Scott.
    Don’t forget the Liberal Party is the natural home for those who think they have the right to be bigots. You know the type. Blue collar / angry / tin foil hat wearing / white males who would gladly vote for hanson if she was still around. These people are unlikely to change their vote to Labor, but they are very likely not to show up or vote informal.
    Abbott’s broken promise on 18C has really upset a crucial (and very ugly) sector of Australian society. Pretending this decision won’t have electoral consequences is slightly deluded.

  • 36
    Mish Singh
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I love pretty much everything that Guy Rundle writes, but this would have to be in my top five.
    I sometimes wonder if Mr Rundle and First Dog on the Moon are closely related :)

  • 37
    Andrew Dolt
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Team Australia stickers, t-shirts etc have been taken care of by First Dog on the Moon (remember him?) Good dog.
    http://www.redbubble.com/people/firstdog/works/12402996-team-australia

  • 38
    paul holland
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of Attenborough and crowd before they realised that India was no longer theirs to abuse. Pompous and self rightous, out of touch and belonging in another millenium or two before the current one.

    Those Australian flags hanging the church made me sick. Reminded me of a German parade during the 1930’s. It was political expedience at its’ worst. I pity the families having to put up with such crap. Where were the sermons when the Port Arthur massacre happened, even more died then I believe or the attack in Bali.

    Abbot must have a screw lose somewhere to do something so preposterous.

  • 39
    Irfan Yusuf
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I stopped reading when I saw the word “schadenfreude”. If lawyers are learning to use plain English, why aren’t journalists?

  • 40
    Irfan Yusuf
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    That is, in effect, what the Abbott government has now switched to — a Right form of collectivism around nation, based on an external/internal emergency, the enemy within. Whatever special attention is needed to some young men returning from the Middle East, the push for this extreme and omnibus bill is political in nature. So too is the ghastly funeral pomp around MH17. No matter what Abbott says, it isn’t a national day of mourning for 300 people in one air disaster once, 40 of whom were Australian. To them I feel a faint connection, for the others simply a fleeting sadness. To bundle the Australian dead into this national process is questionable enough; to say we are mourning 150 Dutch people as a nation is absurd and ghoulish and has cynicism at its heart. It’s time someone in the churches — who get used for this sort of stuff — started speaking out against co-opted ersatz grief, for it demeans the true thing itself.”

    Brilliant. I’ll forgive you for the “ersatz”.

  • 41
    CML
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Absolutely first class, Guy!
    This motley crew are going nowhere fast. Almost one year down, two to go!
    The rAbbott wouldn’t be stupid enough to have a DD, would he? Annihilation springs to mind!!

  • 42
    westral
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    In contrast to the many men and women who faced real danger and made great sacrifices in both the world wars, this war on terror is being run by a bunch of wimps who seems scared of their own shadow. Whatever happened to liberty or death?

  • 43
    MJPC
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Guy, from my humble opinion this is one of your best! The government is not just a train wreck, it is a total failure of the network; it is so delicious. Persons I meet who voted for this imposter are reminded of the disaster their vote wrought and they slink away with nary a good word for these imposters.
    Now we have Russian sanctions, will the Arab countries follow the example over Gaza?

  • 44
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Yes, Bill, fridge magnets for all: plus special autographed photos of Tony Abbott exercising in the John Howard tracksuit, and a beer coaster set explaining how they’re slashing unnecessary spending.

  • 45
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The suppository of guilt?

    You won’t be an Aussie.
    You won’t be true blue.
    If Toady Abbott’s values
    Aren’t your values too.”
    then?

  • 46
    Liamj
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Nice spray. The LNP has been taken over by clerico-fascist Falangist types and the IPA is just trying to salvage its brand by putting distance between it & the trainwreck. Once the Sun King reads the same tea leaves and turns on them it’ll be all over for the Abbottards.

  • 47
    Iskandar
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The highjacking of the dead for political display purposes is an old and sickening game not confined to Australia. But I have chosen to live in this place and want to think of it as better than others, yet Abbott and Co (and sadly, Shorten and Co) keep affirming that this is not the case. The sickening charade will truly be topped off if the victims of MH17 are brought home in flag-draped coffins and publically displayed. Maybe, just maybe there will be enough thoughtfulness and respect that this will not happen. But keeping one’s hope up is getting harder by the day.

  • 48
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Friday, 8 August 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Guy, this is the worst of all Governments…except for the one it replaced.

    Bashing pensioners is never a good political idea, the paid parental leave scheme a gross inequity in that all welfare is dispensed on need or citizenship - not proportionate to existing income. An Abbott special of gross ineptitude.

    The Medicare co-payment is backwards…it should if anything give all citizens a quota of free visits and charge a small fee ($10) when used up. Those who used all their free visits in a short period would be picked up if chronically ill and put on a management plan …free visits thereafter, negating the preventative medicine argument against a co-payment.

    Abetz’s 40 jobs/month is idiotic and unworkable.

    Georgie’s Metadata a fiasco.

    Georgie’s 18C a political disaster and a win for the enemies of free speech. The place to oppose bigotry is in the public forums of robust debate, not the courts where all kinds of ‘offence’ can be taken by minority non-white groups.

    That minority of one Guy Rundle could well be offended if I questioned his ancestry and suggested his folks crawled out of a bog in Ireland or a slum in Glasgow, but it would only make the courts under 18C if he were non-white.

    Oh and the orgy of Abbott, Shorten and Cosgrove et al mourning over MH17 is becoming cringeworthy. Last posts on ramps, C17 shuttles (these planes can fit two fully loaded semi trailers side by side), Ataturkian rhetoric (they are all Australians now)…and we havn’t had any funerals yet.

    Politicians and media should now leave the families of those tragically killed to their grief in private.

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