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Federal

Jun 17, 2010

Vote Last Steve Fielding

Steve Fielding's buffoonery in the paid parental leave debate has given way to something altogether more offensive. Labor has a special responsibility to put him last this election.

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There’s never been any doubt Steve Fielding is a prize idiot. His idea of senatorial behaviour has chiefly revolved around ludicrous stunts, apparently random voting and trying to inject himself into any debate going, frequently on the most offensive terms.

None of which would, under most circumstances, be an obstacle to a successful political career.

Yesterday, however, he managed to reach a new low beyond buffoonery, reaching into malice and gender hatred that appalled even right-wingers in the Senate.

Fielding, interviewed by the ABC this morning, showed a remarkable gutlessness in insisting he hadn’t been the first to suggest that women might become pregnant and then have abortions entirely for the purpose of accessing paid parental leave.

Wrong. Fielding was the first to raise the issue. “Drug addicts and welfare cheats can get pregnant, then after 20 weeks have an abortion and still pocket the government’s cash,” he said in his speech before the bill had gone into committee. He was the first person to raise the issue despite numerous senators on all sides debating the bill on Tuesday and before him yesterday.

And in fact, Fielding has been spouting malicious garbage about paid parental leave since at least Tuesday morning when, on the doors, he said the government’s scheme “is putting prisoners and prostitutes ahead of stay-at-home mums”.

The line didn’t really get the sort of media run Fielding is used to, so he had another go yesterday, tweeting:

About to talk in the Senate about PPL. The govt is giving prisoners and prostitutes the payment while stay at home mums get nothing

Welcome to Steve Fielding’s version of the Madonna-whore complex: stay-at-home mums and prostitutes and prisoners.

Quite how people in prison or on welfare or in marginalised employment are going to get access to parental leave wasn’t something Fielding offered to explain.

Even more conservative members of the Coalition have woken up to what Joe Hockey understood several years ago when he was workplace relations minister — that paid parental leave is a workforce participation measure, not a social policy. It’s about the fact that we desperately need to maximise the number of skilled people in our workforce (or as Hockey put it more simply “we’re running out of workers”). Support for stay-at-home mothers, whatever the rationale for it might be, is a wholly separate issue.

Not, apparently, for Fielding, who happily equates working women with prostitutes and prisoners.

But it wasn’t on such fraught and admittedly complex gender and social issues that Fielding made his stand, but on the line that women would deliberately get pregnant and then abort in order to obtain benefits under the scheme.

Sarah Silverman has a joke: “I want to get an abortion. But my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving.” Fielding must have heard her and thought she was serious.

And just to show he has real class, Fielding did it in the context of debate around access to the scheme in the event a baby is stillborn.

Even strong pro-life advocate Barnaby Joyce (who, unlike a lot of conservatives, takes his pro-life convictions seriously enough to be a dogged opponent of the death penalty), was outraged:

What are your motives on this one, Senator Fielding? What are you trying to do here today? What is your motivation? Is this a sincere and honest approach on which you have spent a period of time lobbying people, discussing the issues and going through the proper mechanisms and processes? Have you done that, Senator Fielding? Or have you just brought in a highly emotive issue without actually consulting or doing the footwork? What is your primary motivation? Can you tell the chamber about all the people that you have discussed this with? Can you tell the chamber about all the lobbying you have done on this issue? Or is this merely a political ploy of yours? If it is, I think it is absolutely disgusting.

We don’t know what Stephen Conroy thinks of Fielding’s efforts yesterday. Which is a pity, because Conroy, in particular, and the Victorian Labor Party more broadly, are the Dr Frankensteins responsible for this creature, stitched together in 2004 from half-baked political smart-arsery and anti-Green sentiment.

True, other parties can claim a bit of the credit — both the Australian Democrats and Meg Lees’ political deathbed lash at her old party, the ‘Australian Progressive Alliance’ — preferenced Family First (candidates: Fielding and Danny Nalliah) as well. But Labor can claim credit for ensuring Fielding was elevated with Labor preferences ahead of the Greens’ David Risstrom.

Labor has a special responsibility for Fielding. His malicious intervention yesterday shows he is no longer simply a buffoon, he seems eager to incite hatred of women. Labor should now face the same demand that the Liberals faced in relation to Pauline Hanson and One Nation back in the early years of the Howard Government. They must put Family First last on all how-to-vote cards in the forthcoming election.

The Liberal Party — some quickly, some like John Howard not so quickly — eventually did the right thing in refusing to preference One Nation. Labor should show it has similar resolve to put Fielding last.

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71 thoughts on “Vote Last Steve Fielding

  1. Venise Alstergren

    @LIZ: The Exclusive Brethren have been banned at one stage, unless I’m getting them mixed up with Scientology who are on the precipice of being banned at the moment, and very very close to being banned again.

    Along came the most odious, and evil little man who has ever been the PM of Oz. I refer, of course, to John Howard. He gave them a legitimacy they hadn’t had before.

    It was during his tenure that they got their grubby paws onto the water rights business.

    Google ExBr to find article by Christine Milne of the Greens to get a toe hold on the subject.

    Are you saying some ExBr kids whose fathers had abused them, were hassled by the family church, the Exclusive Brethren, to withdraw these allegations?

    Or that the Exclusive Brethren children were hassled into indicting their fathers on trumped up charges?

    Tax cheats are indeed sickening, but to me the greatest evil is brought about by religion. The government allows religious charlatans to exist on the public purse, the leaders of these religious cults steal the minds of the people stupid enough to believe in them. But the greatest crime of all comes about when they steal peoples souls.

    But cheer up everybody! ❗ Don’t frown or be upset. 🙁 These bastards VOTE ❗ And in our marvellous Democ ❓ racy the religious vote is more important than the votes of the poor beset-upon taxpayers 😯

    You think the mining companies are bad. All they do is buy influence. Religious cults deal in SOULS. As do mainstream religions, but that is a separate issue.

  2. Liz45

    @VENISE – There was an article in GreenLeft? re the Exlusive Brethren and their role in helping in both State(particularly a Tasmanian election of a few yrs ago) and allegedly the Howard govt elections – even though they don’t believe in voting? They get all the lerks and perks of being a religion; allegedly work their ‘books’ in order to get more, even to the extent of some members getting welfare benefits. They also employ ‘smart’ legal people who take people to the Family Court so frequently, that the opponent runs out of money – they’ve even (allegedly) harrassed kids to withdraw their accusations of sexual abuse against their fathers, church members? I think they’re as vile as others(religions) and worse than many! Sickening in’t it? If I had my way all the religions would pay taxes like the rest of the community, instead of bludging on those who pay their way and don’t destroy peoples’ lives!

    I’ve just read an article by Lenore Taylor of the SMH re the facts surrounding the revolting comments made by this person. The issues he raised, offensive as they are, had already been canvassed and responded to by some hard line anti-abortionists in the Coalition – they were satisfied, that there was very little to no risk of women seeking a termination and receiving any money at all! He was just being revolting – and succeeded very well! I hope the ALP has learnt a lesson via Fielding – be very careful who you give your preferences to!

    I’ve also read an article by Adele Horin(SMH) where the alleged welfare cheats pale into insignificance when compared to tax cheats. Neither the Howard govt, nor I suggest the Rudd govt try hard enough to get some of the$$$$billions these rich bastards owe the rest of us! The difference is, several million by welfare cheats(often not done deliberately, but because Centrelink hasn’t taken note of their last phone call or statement) as opposed to many billions by tax cheats. How come some millionaires can still get family benefits, or those with assets of well over a million get a pension, part or full? Fielding would be better off attending to these anomolies rather than making disgusting allegations against women!

  3. Venise Alstergren

    Damon, thanks I’ll have a hunt round to find it.

  4. Damon Schultz

    Venise, you may also be interested in “Behind the Exclusive Brethren” by Michael Bachelard, if you haven’t already read it.

  5. Venise Alstergren

    DAVID: Sorry about that! I hadn’t pegged you as being religious. 🙂

    ENGINEERINGREALITY @DAMON SHULTZ @ URL_GREY: It was “Breakout: How I Escaped the Exclusive Brethren” by David Tchappat (2009).

    It gets worse when you know the Exclusive Brethren are deep into the conservative side of politics-thanks to the manipulative and downright evil, John Howard-although they don’t allow their rank and file to vote.

    Also they have the inside running on water contracts. I’m not sure, but I have the feeling that I read that water can’t move anywhere without Exclusive Brethren say so. And, if you didn’t already know, they receive government funding for their schools. That means our money folks! 😈

    Google them. Then reflect on how bad all of these shadowy religious cults will become under the aegis of Tony Abbott. 😈

  6. Damon Schultz

    Venise & URL_Grey: More recently there was “Breakout: How I Escaped the Exclusive Brethren” by David Tchappat (2009).

  7. Url_Grey

    Venise said: ‘Someone lent me a book written by an escapee from the Exclusive Brethren. It wasn’t Tolstoy but it was terrifying. Unfortunately I can’t remember the title. But a second hand bookshop might have it.’

    You may be thinking of New Zealander Noel Virtue’s Once A Brethren Boy published in 1995. However I sincerely hope there have been many other escapees who lived to write about it.

  8. Syd Walker

    That’s nothing.

    I know someone who deliberately got pregnant with quadruplets so she and her drug-taking mutiple partners could clean up with $20K!

    Can’t mention names, naturally.

    Happy to sell the story for a suitable price to any of Mr Murdoch’s delightful newspapers.

  9. Sancho

    Anyone check out the letter from Roslyn Phillips in the Oz this morning? Apparently she’s personally spoken to a couple that waited 20 weeks to abort a child so they could pocket the $5000 baby bonus.

    Sounds wonderfully spurious, so I Googled her, and – whaddya know – she’s national research officer of Festival of Light and married to its president.

    Wiki describes FoL as “an evangelical Christian group in Australia which campaigns for family values and against the permissive society….Its stated mission is to be “a Christian ministry to the nation, promoting true family values in the light of the wisdom of God“”.

    Funny that the estimable Ms Phillips didn’t disclose her position in the tiny fringe of Australians who actually agree with anything Steven Fielding says. Funnier still that she would be privy to an anecdotal story that happens to justify his misogynistic attacks on working mothers.

    Not that I think evangelical fundamentalists would tell lies for Jesus or anything.

  10. Larrythelibrarian

    I will never trust Labor with an above the line Senate vote, after the debacle of Fieldings’ election.

  11. David

    @ venise…I actually googled that passage from the bible, wouldnt know my gospels from my corinthians.

  12. Alexander Berkman

    there’s nothing like christian love is there!

  13. Bellistner

    I wasn’t aware that ‘drug addict’ was a career path!

  14. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    @Janauthor, and with the Greens, any paid up member can nominate, as long as they can get a written endorsement from I think two other paid up members.

    Then all paid up members get to vote on who will be the lead senate candidate. The voting form includes an option for “non of the above”.

    At some stage there is a probability check.

  15. sickofitall

    Of course Fielding is targeting a fundamentalist Christian (Hillsong, et cetera) constituency. Unlike, though John Howard or Bob Carr, he is part of them, and so hte cynicism in him is misplaced. And the other interesting thing is that Hillsong, say, can influence Australian Idol (slightly), but Federally? not so much…

  16. sickofitall

    @Jenauthor: each party has some variant of a state branch which selects suitable candidates, and then ranks them according to seniority. That’s a simple explanation. Family First would have interviewed some candidates, and picked the one closest to the state managements philosophies and expectations. The process is supposed to be transparent. But it usually isn’t.

  17. eclectic eel

    If you listen to parliament on ABC News radio you would have to marvel at the fact that there aren’t more deranged
    and delusional souls than Fielding on display – or maybe they disguise their madness better.

    Our Brians – (deliberately mispellt) are being deployed beyond their design specifications and are showing increasing
    signs of malfunction.

    Stay tuned for further chaos.

    Cheers.

  18. Damon Schultz

    Am I the only one here who suspects that, far from being the outburst of an idiot, this is a shrewd appeal for votes by Fielding to a Christian Fundamentalist constituency? Fielding knows his victory was the result of a sublime alignment of Preferences which cannot be relied upon this time around, so he needs to set himself apart from the crowd.

    Surely this is the point that Joyce is making: “Or is this merely a political ploy of yours? If it is, I think it is absolutely disgusting.”

    Fielding is a loony, but to dismiss him as the idiotic product of a Preference deal accident is to underestimate him, I think.

  19. Socratease

    ^
    I guess the Senator will take this as a ringing endorsement and carry on regardless.

    He’ll read that poll as he’s travelling well with a massive 16% support, a number he can only dream of, LOL!

  20. Syd Walker

    I see that with 4 hours to go, 84% of SMH readers think Fielding has ‘lost the plot’. That’s on a self-selected sample of nearly 7,000

    Surprisingly forgiving people, Herald readers. 🙂

    I guess the Senator will take this as a ringing endorsement and carry on regardless.

    That, after all, is the approach taken by the idiot Laborite Hollowmen, who first came up with the genius idea of nudging this guy into the Senate with ALP preferences, to ‘do over’ The Greens.

    They are the folk, presumably, who continue to ignore the poll run by the SMH a couple of weeks back, based on a sample ten times larger: “Should the government filter the internet?” (Answer: 99-1 against).

    Now they’re blaming The Greens for the failure of the Rudd Government’s climate change response. It’s crap of course, and presumably they know it, but brazen repetition of dissembling nonsense is what clever-dick politics is all about.

  21. jenauthor

    Does anyone know how people get themselves onto the senatorial ticket for the various parties?

  22. sickofitall

    @David: like most fundamentalists who believe in the literal truth of every word of the Bible, I suspect Senator Fielding would do with that passage as he would with every passage that challenges his narrow and bigoted and uneducated and ignorant view: he’d ignore it.

  23. postielinley

    I dedicate this classic DEVO song to the Senator who seems to have the IQ of 37

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=XzFw7FUN72o

  24. jenauthor

    @ Jan
    [I believe that what people say about others reveals how they think and act. What rorts has Senator Fielding dreamed up for himself?]

    Ah yes, a devious mind is ever suspicious.

  25. jenauthor

    @David
    [James 1:26
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.]

    Have you also sent it to Abbott? The opposition has an abbott and 2 bishops on their front bench, yet their ‘christianity’ is severely in question when you you look at their refugee/health/social policies.

    Perhaps they also need reminding.

  26. Malcolm Street

    EngineeringReality – and the kicker is that us taxpayers are paying the Exclusive Brethren to keep their madrassas, sorry schools, going the way they like them.

  27. Jan

    I believe that what people say about others reveals how they think and act. What rorts has Senator Fielding dreamed up for himself?

  28. Venise Alstergren

    DAVID: You are so naïve. What have you done other than to prove you read the Bible?

    If you want either of the senators’ attention you email them and say. “Hello there! My name’s David. My father just died and left me a billion dollars.” You will have their undivided attention, I promise you.

    These people use the word God, the way other people would use a shorn-horn. Use it and lose it. Get real my boy!

  29. Venise Alstergren

    ENGINEERINGREALITY: Someone lent me a book written by an escapee from the Exclusive Brethren. It wasn’t Tolstoy but it was terrifying. Unfortunately I can’t remember the title. But a second hand bookshop might have it.

    There can’t be too many people who’ve lived to tell the tale. At least it helps to explain why these people are so ignorant.

    Without books, TV, movies; no newspapers, one’s friends being chosen for you and so on. No, perhaps you’ better not look for it. It put me off my Müesli for a week. 😈

    Cheers
    🙂 V
    V

  30. David

    As the Hon Senator is a God fearing man I have sent him this…

    James 1:26
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

  31. Liz45

    I was so disgusted by Fielding’s comments that I sent him an email to tell him that they were disgusting, offensive and repugnant! Funny how he let his own sex off the hook? Women ‘doing it on their own’ agin!

    I don’t vote above the line in the Senate -haven’t for some time now!

    As for the proposed Internet filter. My eldest son and his lovely wife and kids bought my new computer down at the weekend. They have a special program on their kids computer -the parents receive a list of all the sites the kids visit each week -they could get it each day if they wished. I asked them about the proposed filter and if they think it’s necessary -they both said no!The chn are 11, 9 and 7. The computer is not in the chn’s bedroom. These parents are committed to protecting their kids. The chn have their own computer – next to their parents which is locked! I was pleased to hear about this program that seems all parents need to protect their kids from harm!

    So, our gut instinct about the need for the filter is correct – it’s not to protect children – it’s to censor adults!! I support the broadband system though. There are people over the hill from me, walking distance, who can’t get broadband – a few klms from me? It will make such a difference to them. One of the trial zones is about 13 klms from me. I await their responses? I find it exciting!

  32. sparky

    Fielding reinforces Niebuhr, religion is good for good people and bad for bad people. I’m concerned about his children, what on earth could they be hearing around the dinner table?

  33. EngineeringReality

    Good Lord Venise! Your list sends shivers down my spine!

    I left my hometown in country NSW in 1997 to go to uni and came back 4 years later to start to hear rumours of parts of the town being bought up by “The Brethren” – never heard of them before but since then they have worryingly purchased enough of an area of the town to start to qualify as a ghetto.

    Luckily country towns are excellent at not tolerating openly different people and so they have had to keep to themselves and operate in the shadows – but worrying none the less that some strange cult has arisen and established itself in an area I knew well in my lifetime.

    Of course one Sunday I went to see Planet Hillsong’s Spacedome Mothership in Baulkham Hills – it took a full 10 minutes to walk around the property boundary. As I took a shortcut through the carpark back to Coles I saw 4 large islander looking security guards immediately appear from different parts of the spaceship and make a bee-line directly for yours truly. I quickened my pace and stepped off the Hillsong property & into the Coles carpark just outside grabbing distance to the merged group of Hillsong heavies who had converged onto me.

    So much for a welcoming and open religion… Or perhaps they just wanted to get me on board so I could voluntarily & immediately tithe 10% of my income in exchange for my freedom!

  34. my say

    [on that the next time it was presented). This one was the clincher. If any piece of legislation was aimed at helping families… anything to help stop teen-binge drinking should have been supported by a party called Family First. But not so. Business first. Always]

    that is why the name puzzles me whose family does he put first.

    none that i would know of.

  35. Venise Alstergren

    ENGINEERINGREALITY: Don’t forget the even more unpalatable truth that Family First, and Australian Family thingos are American imports, as indeed are Scientologists, Sacred Brethren, Religious Brethren, Morons, Hill Song, A Wink and a Nudge, and my name’s Fudge, Hey Nonny Nonny and a Hotcha Cha Cha, Exclusive Brethren, Seventh Day Dentists, Einer Wicky Wocky Wok and it’s Catmint Time, ad nauseam. To and From, Where’s My Goose, I Won’t Tell You, and My Shoe’s Come Loose. And all the other clowns.

  36. Sancho

    In Right-wing land, being a dole bludger is a fulltime job that the Greens and Labor can’t wait to make a legitimate career path.

  37. beckchanock

    I really don’t get why drug addicts would get parental leave. But I don’t expect sense from him after his jealous ranting on how great immigraiton detention centres are.

  38. Roger

    Finally, after hearing Barnaby’s response to that Fielding loon, finally I agreed with something Sen Joyce said.

  39. EngineeringReality

    @Socratease

    I hadn’t heard of him – but good point – add the word “Children” to the list of words you need in your party name to get elected!

    Its all summarised in Monty Python’s election night special where the member from the Slightly Silly party is beaten by the Silly Party’s “Tarquin Lim Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel”.

    In the end we get the politicians that we deserve, don’t we?

  40. dirt armature

    To be nice I should say Fielding should put his own family first, go home and spend some time with them. There’s a good chap.

    To be not so nice: Fielding gives unrepresentative swill a good name.

  41. beachcomber

    Bernard, you are correct to suggest he hates women, or at least thinks women capable of murder just to gain a few bucks from the Government.

    It is hard for a normal person to understand the Demons inhabit the brain of Senator Fielding. For his brain is truly bizarre. His demons create delusions and paranoia that verge on certifiable.

    He certainly should not be in a place where his decisions could influence the laws that govern our nation.

  42. Sancho

    Corruption can be legal!

  43. Jim Reiher

    Sancho – as much as I was depressed by the preference deals done that got Fielding elected (and the Federal Senate missed out on the competent and intelligent David Risstrom of the Greens Party), it was not illegal. It was immoral. It was underhanded. It was done without Labor voters knowing that they were helping elect a right wing politician as they cast their votes. But not illegal.

    It was even more amazing that the Democrats who voted for same sex marriage with the Greens, got a preference deal with Family First. The Democrats gave their preferences to him too! And the conservative people who voted for Fielding? They never knew that if Fielding had dropped out of the race, then THEIR conservative votes would have gone to the Democrats and Labor before Liberal! Of course, those who I have spoken to about that, either think I am making it up and just lying, or they don’t care because it all turned out okay (pragmatism at its worst – no ethical reflection. Just: “did I get what I wanted out of it?”)

    I agree: vote below the line. Be the master of your own preferences.

    PS – The Greens were right to vote down the Rudd climate package legislation. It would have (to use Milne’s words) “locked in failure”. Legal advice given showed that it would have been very difficult and ridiculously expensive to change it later, with all the nice little penalty clauses and monies that would have had to go to the polluters if the deal was changed. I had initially thought that “better something, even a small move in the right direction, than nothing” …. but not so. I am now convinced that it was not even a small step in the right direction. It was actually a big step in the wrong direction: rewarding polluters, locking in failure, making us think we had “done our bit” and getting us off the hook to do something real about it all, …. no thanks.

  44. Socratease

    @EngineeringReality,

    I’m reminded of a fruit loop named Alan Corbett who got himself elected, on 1.24% of the vote, to the NSW upper house under the banner “A Better Future for Our Children”. His only notable contribution was to be caught swimming naked in the members’ swimming pool with his future wife and her six-year-old son.

  45. Syd Walker

    In civilized Iceland, at least they elect professional comedians to high office.

    http://www.ravingravens.com/blog/2010/05/the-mayors-office-a-jon-gnarr-comedy-show.html

  46. Jim Reiher

    I have wondered for some time the way Senator Fielding votes… it appears so random and without any plan or overall goals or rationale. But I think I have finally worked it out! (maybe…)

    When Seantor Fielding’s vote actually makes THE difference, (like when Howard was in office final term, and Joyce would occasionally cross the floor and ONE vote was needed to pass Howard legislation – then Fielding would vote in Joyce’s place; and like nowadays when Labor needs all 5 greens and Xenophon and Fielding to pass legislation if the Libs/Nats reject it…) – when Fielding’s vote actually will make a difference, there is consistency: he consistently votes for business interests. Think of the key things he has voted for where his vote carried it or blocked it:
    – abolition of student unions
    – allowing mega media giants to own even more media in Australia
    – not voting for the alco-pop tax the first time it came to the Senate (if my memory serves me rightly the Libs backflipped on that the next time it was presented). This one was the clincher. If any piece of legislation was aimed at helping families… anything to help stop teen-binge drinking should have been supported by a party called Family First. But not so. Business first. Always.

    Of course, when his vote would not change the outcome, then he could be seen to be caring. The best eg of that is in him not voting for the original Howard work choice legislation. But of course, had Joyce crossed the floor… well… who knows? My analysis may be wrong. But it seems to hold. His grand scheme of action is: if my vote actually matters, support business interests (essentially Liberal Party policy) first. If it wont affect the outcome, be seen to be voting compassionately.

    I am willing to change this view if other evidence is given. I am just trying to figure him out….

  47. Sancho

    I wouldn’t say Fielding was elected with “surprising ease”. I’m fond of pointing out that more people identified their religion as “Jedi” in the census than ever voted for FF in the Senate.

    Fielding got there through a staggeringly cynical – and arguably corrupt – preference deal geared to keep the Greens out.

  48. David Sanderson

    Sorry, Conroy, of course. All Steves look alike to me.

  49. EngineeringReality

    Its amazing that these crackpots and religous freakshows can rename themselves with “Family” in their name and then, cleansed and laundered in the eyes of the unsuspecting public, can get themselves elected with surprising ease.

    Family First and the Australian Family Party are mere fronts for staggeringly crazed religous extremeists and crackpots – all like Fielding – and the sad fact is that they have as much to do with families as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has to do with democracy.

    I vote under the line in senate elections – it takes all of an extra 3 minutes and you actually get to see everyone who is standing for election in your state. Surprisingly there are quite a few columns that are unnamed – so why anyone would vote for these people I have no idea – but no way am I going to let anyone else decide where my vote goes to.

    The labor party keeps scorning The Greens – to their peril. I am a Greens voter who is glad that the CPRS was voted against by the Greens – and who is more likely to put labor as second rather than the coalition – but when I see labor direct preferences to lunatic religous parties with family in their name over the Greens then labor will lose my vote.

    Come on Australia – vote below the line and stop the dumbest muppets getting elected to the senate.

  50. fitter

    Steve Fielding, a frightening example of a what happens when the religious extreme, and a low IQ combine to occupy a spot in federal Parliament, I have no words to describe the esteem I hold this man in.

  51. David Sanderson

    The Conroy-haters should take a cold shower or do whatever else is required to quiet their fevered brains.

    I concede that Fielding is an unattractive personality but he is doing a competent job bringing in the NBN which will remain a huge infrastructure gain long after the current kerfuffles are forgotten.

  52. Jim

    Rarely have I heard such bigoted ignorance from an elected representative as Mr Feilding’s comments yesterday on maternity leave. His ugly-minded comments about make it clear he shouldn’t be elected to any public office, especially parliament. Family First… more like, Bigots First.
    We voters need to start checking out who we’re really voting for in the Senate so self-righteous, sanctimonious bigots like Feilding can’t sneak in the back door again.

  53. sickofitall

    As the case of Andy Muirhead may demonstrate, offenders get caught. The filter is useless. When you rank under Barnaby Joyce, you should leave. and both fielding and conroy rank under barnaby joyce.

  54. Venise Alstergren

    SANCHO: Even worse to follow. Yup, the police will have the right to search everyone’s computers to search for anything in your computer history you may have looked at. LOOKED AT!

    So if someone sends me a comment to click on, and I do so, only to find it is an accidental porn site. I will be blamed for looking at it. THIS IS DEMOCRACY AT WORK? ❓

  55. Sancho

    Don’t forget that Howard also lifted One Nation’s most disgusting and rabble-rousing policies before pushing it down the preference list. If Fielding’s rant catches on with religious nutters, the same thing might happen again.

    And Marylin, Conroy isn’t just filtering porn. He’s creating a blacklist of bloggers and politically-sensitive sites that Australians won’t have access to. Child porn is a cheap and shallow cover for it.

  56. Venise Alstergren

    Senator Steve Fielding Ha! I don’t know who I hate more Fielding, or the other Steve; Conroy.

    Let us not forget the crucifyingly asinine STEVE FIELDING, and his amazing revelations after taking a trip round the world to find the truth about Global Warming (warning, the faint-hearted should avoid this bit) ❗

    When interviewed by the media, on his arrival back in Oz, he stated “Global Warming doesn’t exist because God didn’t invent it”. (the writer heard him on the Neil Mitchell program -I think. Is this 3AW?)

    After that little effort nothing, absolutely nothing could surprise me. The man is a walking example of why the deeply religious should never enter politics.

  57. sickofitall

    One thing almost impressed this old cynic: Barnaby Joyce has consistency in one thing, being opposed to the death penalty and abortion. That’s a point to him. (I’m pro-choice and opposed to the death penalty.)

  58. SusieQ

    Mark Duffet and others you are right about lazy, apathetic people who vote above the line – makes life easy for parties to do all sorts of deals that we find out about afterward. As for Fielding, well, he is beneath contempt.

  59. David Sanderson

    “None of which (various idiocies) would, under most circumstances, be an obstacle to a successful political career.”

    This is unfortunately very true. If you listen to ordinary parliamentary ‘debate’ for as long as you can bear it you soon become painfully aware that there is not much fissile material in the brains of most parliamentarians. Nationals MPs are the worst but it is painfully bad from all sides.

    There is a pressing need to dilute the hacks with some real political and rhetorical talent. I occasionally hear excerpts (selective, I know) from the UK parliament and they do sound more intelligent and civilised than what we are served up here.

    It must be possible for things to improve. Mustn’t it?

  60. Socratease

    @postielinley: She did, but the bastard survived.

  61. shepherdmarilyn

    Stephen Conroy is not the bloody devil incarnate just because he wants to filter porn. He has done good stuff that goes unremarked like the all access internet in areas that were previously black spots like where I am.

    Same access, same price. Fielding and all the other FF’s are lunatics who have no idea what a family actually is but love to attack.

    In SA Dennis Hood wanted to legalise belting your kids.

  62. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Remember that Conroy is doing Rudd’s bidding on the internet filter. This is Rudd’s censorship campaign

    The Greens must be doing really badly in the polls at them moment because I keep reading on Crikey people saying that they will put the Greens last because the Greens voted against the CPRS 🙁

    Or perhaps I’m not the only person to realize that the CPRS was bad legislation, and that we are better off without it. If Rudd had ever intended to take action on climate change he would have done many things to start action right from his first budget, and even his third budget would be very different if he really believed in action. So perhaps the Greens might be polling a bit higher than ever before 🙂

  63. kevrenor

    Vote Last Steve Fielding?

    No, just in front of Stephen Conroy ..

  64. David Sanderson

    Miranda Devine chooses to believe that Fielding is unfairly attacked by snobby lefties and that he is not a buffoon but merely dyslexic. Will we see an expression of regret from her or does she think her peculiar ideological obsessions excuse her from decent standards of debate?

  65. postielinley

    If only his mum had an abortion and pocketed the money!

  66. geomac

    Fielding is a perfect example of why people should take the time to vote below the line. I will have him last on my ballot paper and Conroy just above. I was going to vote green but after they voted down the ETS they lost my vote. I dont care if they thought it was a dog of a scheme it would have made the idea and the implementation of doing something acceptable to the broader public. High ideals, so called , may sound ok but nil result on any level is backward. Thanks for this article and the only point of difference I make is the random voting pattern of Fielding as he almost always votes with the opposition. Being offensive is one thing but to compound it by being moronic shows how odd/weird Family first or maybe just Fielding is.

  67. Troy C

    What’s your point, Bernard?

  68. Mark Duffett

    Labor has a special responsibility for Fielding

    The ultimate responsibility rests with everyone who lazily votes above the line in the Senate, and in so doing puts their preferences in the hands of these clowns.

  69. Charles Richardson

    Well put, Bernard. But it shouldn’t just be Labor that should be told to put the fundamentalists last – the Liberals should face the same demand. As you say, they eventually did the right thing with One Nation, otherwise we would have had David Oldfield in the Senate. Family First should go the same way.

  70. Holden Back

    Not only is he nasty-minded he can’t even think his imaginary scenarios though. Call me devious-minded, but wouldn’t the point of ‘addicts and welfare cheats’ having children for social security benefits be to a have steady long-term income?

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