Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter

Advertisement

Journalism

Aug 23, 2011

What motivates the Parl house rallies?

Do the right-wing rallies that have proliferated here this year have anything to do with protest movements elsewhere? Well, one in particular...

Share

Quite a bit of effort is being devoted to explaining why, from the Arab Spring to the London riots, from suddenly Eurosceptic Europeans to the Tea Party, governments everywhere are under siege.

Thomas Friedman, he of the most laughable piece on the Arab Spring in the entire Western commentariat, tried recently to manufacture a “theory of everything” to argue it was all about — sitting down? — globalisation and communications technology. The year 2000 called and wants its copy of The Lexus and the Olive Tree back, Tom.

More usefully, Reuters’s Felix Salmon has talked of a massive collapse in consent and trust in governments. Nouriel Roubini, warning of the possibility of a depression, said “recent popular demonstrations, from the Middle East to Israel to the UK, and rising popular anger in China — and soon enough in other advanced economies and emerging markets — are all driven by the same issues and tensions: growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness.”

It’s rather a long bow, but at some point someone may make the effort to link up the Convoy of No Confidence, the anti-carbon tax protests and efforts such as last week’s anti-gay marriage rally with this wave of worldwide discontent. There is a connection, of course, but it’s only with the Tea Party in the US, in the apeing of tactics, the cultivation and manipulation of a grassroots movement by media figures and wealthy conservatives (whether the Koch brothers or Gina Rinehart) and shared platforms of climate denialism .

But similar demographics also keep recurring with these groups, and it’s interesting to think about why. The Tea Party is characterised by middle-aged or older, conservative, white, middle- or higher-income people, more often male than female. That’s exactly the demographic for climate denialists in Australia and, judging by those who have turned up to the no-carbon tax rallies, similar to that group as well.

There’s some overlap with the demographics that characterised One Nation voters — who tended to be middle-aged (but not, despite the stereotype, old) middle-income and religious. But One Nation members tended to be poorly educated (Tea Party members are better educated than most Americans) and were primarily regional.

That’s why there’s no link with what’s happening elsewhere. It’s isn’t comfortably-off middle-aged white men breaking into Foot Locker in London.

Why the shared demographics between here and the US? What’s interesting about the Tea Party and the various rally movements that have emerged in Australia is that both have only done so since Barack Obama became president and Julia Gillard became Prime Minister. Moreover, they’ve emerged despite Australia and the US being almost polar opposites in terms of economic performance.

While the Tea Party (particularly where it overlaps with the birther movement) contains racist elements and there’s a strain of misogyny in the attacks on Gillard, I suggest these groups aren’t driven by overt racism or sexism. The participants in such groups are unlikely to be any more racist or sexist than the rest of us.

Instead, the motivating force behind these groups appears to be more about expressing resentment about social and economic change in recent decades, and particularly because such changes have delivered nothing but difficulties for the demographics we’re talking about: social change has undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular, and, in the Australian context, economic changes have squeezed them, along with everyone else, into a far more competitive, market-based economy that no longer delivers the sort of certainty they grew up with and that Generation X, in particular, never had.

For such people, Gillard’s gender (and unmarried status) or  Obama’s race are not so much a problem as a high-profile, indeed inescapable, symbol of how much the world has changed and changed in ways that deliver nothing but pain for such people. That’s why they elicit such fury, not because of innate s-xism or racism.

This resentment of change and sense of persecution at the hands of broader socio-economic forces perhaps explains another commonality of such groups,  here and in the US: a conviction that they are being repressed and censored. There’s plenty to be concerned about when it comes to the state of free speech in Australia. But when right-wing rallies receive massive media coverage out of all proportion to the number of attendees, the claim rings hollow.

And sure, it’s a staple of the Left that the mainstream media is biased and right-wing, and conservatives always think the media’s full of trendy left-wing journalists. But in the case of the recent rallies, it has a peculiarly personal flavour of persecution to it. And it had its most absurd expression yesterday in the sight of Alan Jones, a rich, old, white, conservative male and thus the perfect — OK, near-perfect — rally spokesman (though alas, Alan, you were only following in the tyre tracks of the truckies’ mate, John Laws), inventing a wholly fictitious claim that the AFP had stopped trucks outside the ACT. That is, the miserable numbers at the rally weren’t because people disagreed or weren’t interested, but because the federal authorities had stopped them.

This claim about “censorship” is now a regular argument of right-wing groups or commentators, and often expressed along the lines that any criticism or even inconvenient factual reporting of its claims is an abrogation of free speech — that is, the “right to free speech” is now supposed to encompass a right to be heard without any counter-argument or undesirable coverage.

Sophie Mirabella attempted this pre-emptively ahead of the rally yesterday, using News Ltd’s opinion platform to accuse “freedom of  speech-loving journalists” of trying to “find an offensive placard, to photograph someone looking unhinged” as a way to deter free expression — even of politicians themselves (who as we know lack their own platform to say whatever they like and get national coverage). Mirabella herself made the comparison with the Tea Party, claiming “the same uneasiness was revealed in the way the US media reacted to the Tea Party movement. Protest, it seems, is the preserve of the left.”

Evidently Mirabella doesn’t read too much US political coverage. The coverage of the Tea Party by the US mainstream media has been a publicist’s dream, and a critical part of its success in swaying the Republican Party’s political tactics — exhibit 1, the “Democrats are just a recalcitrant as Republicans” tone of the debt ceiling debacle.

Sometimes the demands for free speech are a cover or precursor for attacks on critics. In July, the Australian Christian Lobby withdrew from a debate on same-s-x marriage in Tasmania, insisting that one of its members had been “slurred” by the “gay rights lobby”. “For many these concepts are precious, even sacred, and people with those views should be free in this society to raise them in the public square without intimidation,” said Jim Wallace.

Last week’s anti-same-sex marriage rally at Parliament House, convened by the “National Marriage Coalition”, of which the ACL is a founding member, then featured US speaker Rebecca Hagelin who compared same-sex marriage to polygamy and “marriages” between paedophiles and children (imagine the stir if a visiting progressive had compared heteros-xual marriage to rape). And what better example than Alan Jones, angered by a straightforward and appropriate question about fees from journalist Jacqueline Maley yesterday, gallantly trying to incite the gathering against her? Perhaps Maley, being, you know, a woman, and deemed a “leftist” by one participant, was the nearest they could get to Gillard.

The trick is, these groups aren’t motivated by any particular issues, however angry they may be about a carbon price or taxes. The issues are mere tokens. It’s more about them and their resentment that the world has changed on them in ways they don’t like and don’t feel comfortable with. It’s the sense of persecution that comes from no longer occupying a privileged position in society but instead having to cope with life just like everyone else.

Advertisement

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

125 comments

Leave a comment

125 thoughts on “What motivates the Parl house rallies?

  1. Perry Gretton

    Interesting that this article appears immediately after the lead in the newsletter in which Crumb’s accurate observation features: “One can see in this example how skilled media professionals with low standards of integrity are able to mould and manipulate public opinion, popular beliefs and, ultimately, the direction of politics. The majority of the population in most places is not alert to this kind of deceptive manipulation. They are more or less defenceless against such clever ‘perception management’.”

    The Coalition of the Credulous, addressed by the misogynist rabble rouser Alan Jones, are ripe for this kind of manipulation. I’m older than most of them, yet do not feel adversely affected by the changing times, perhaps because I have a sceptical disposition.

  2. Jimmy

    “It’s more about them and their resentment that the world has changed on them in ways they don’t like and don’t feel comfortable with”
    It seems to me that any movement towards a more socially responsible and equitable society is treated as communism by the likes of Jones, the Tea Party and the organisers of this rally.
    The American rights mantra of “everyman for themselves” seems to be prevading Australian society more and more.

  3. Charles Richardson

    “But One Nation members tended to be poorly educated” – did they really? One Nation voters, yes, but I’d be less sure about members, and because of compulsory voting I don’t think you can directly compare voters here & in the US.

    “The participants in such groups are unlikely to be any more racist or sexist than the rest of us.” Research suggests that’s definitely not true of the Tea Partiers, & I doubt it’s true of the convoy of no consequence either.

  4. Jillian Blackall

    I also think there is a strong partisan element, hatred of the ALP & Greens, but that could be a result of the factors described here.

  5. Suzanne Blake

    Bernard,

    These people are motivated by anger. They don’t get a hearing from their local MP, they feel the Government are not listening, despite the overwhelming feedback from various sources.

    I wrote to my local MP twice about a small business issues, and the PM and Minister and Shadows. It got the thanks for your letter response and 4 months later got a pathetic letter from Minister’s office, that did not answer the issues and looks like a standard issue letter. I must say I got a similar letter from Shadows, just saying they would raise in Parliament at the right time. Unsure if that happened.

    All you have to do is look at the polls, “leader” satisfaction and letters to editor to see Australia is in major problem. We are being laughed at by people who read widely overseas, as some of my business contacts remind me of.

    So…………no wonder there is an overwhelming call for an election.

  6. Margaret Kerr

    To be simplistic, perhaps the Alan Jones and his followers are just really, really bad losers who, not having won at the ballot or its subsequent tie break, will keep throwing tantrums until they get what they want. Too bad there isn’t a naughty corner to send them to.

  7. Andrew McIntosh

    The copying of American tactics seems right because culturally Australia has been copying everything US since the last war. It would have to be a factor, at least. It’s not just the right that are into copying overseas tactics, either. The radical left have for decades as well, although I’ve noticed more a tendency to favour British and European tactics rather than North American. Witness so-called “black blocs” at some large rallies.

    In a way, it makes sense to take note of tried and practised methods from overseas and adopt them here, rather than take the time to think and develop new ways. We’ve always identified with the larger anglo powers than anything else, including anything unique. Taking a simple political concept and swapping “Australia” for “America” is about the easiest thing to do, and has the most appeal to easy thinkers rather than anything more original.

  8. Simon

    Great article, Bernard, but the line about resentment of how the world has changed seems a little to easy and convenient. Maybe it is right, but I can’t think how anyone after a certain age doesn’t feel insecure at how the world has passed them by. Why this is happening now can’t just come down to the eroding of privilege. These guys are rentseekers – are they complaining about being done over by other rentseekers? i.e. the younger middle class families with an over-sized mortgage living somewhere west of sydney? I don’t know. This bears more analysis.

  9. Jimmy

    Jillian – I was talking to a bloke the other day who thinks this is the worst govt in Australian history and the carbon tax is going to be terrible for Australia.
    He thought the scientists & economists didn’t know what they were talking about and said “the people are right.
    I pointed out theat weh Howard brought in the GST “the people” were against that (he actually lost the popular vote) but it turned out be be a good thing, he diagreed and stated that the GST “is killing business”. So i asked, “did you vote against for the ALP in that election then?” but he vehemently said “No, the GST was just the price you had to pay for good govt!”

    So yes you are 100% correct, these people would vote Liberal no matter what policy the liberals had (in this case one rally organiser said she wanted a govt that got back to “market based” economics while opposing Gillars carbon policy) or what policy the ALP had. It’s the old “only the liberals can manage the economy argument” despite the fact that the current liberals need to find $70b in savings just to fund promisies they have already made.

  10. ralph

    This is the same lot who argued that anyone who disagreed with John Howard was a “Howard Hater”. The supposed Howard Haters don’t hold a candle to the poisonious rantings of this lot against Julia Gillard and the Greens.

  11. C@tmomma

    I called them the ‘Convoy of Grey ‘No’mads’ because that’s what I saw, wealthy self-funded retirees in their very expensive to buy and run, Winnebagos and Ovation Camper Vans, with more money than sense, it seems, and time to burn, both at home in front of their computers, where they read the daily Yellow journalism e-mail and get riled up, and out on the road, where they don’t seem to have the wit or the imagination to do any more than drive around and around Australia, ‘Spending the Kid’s Inheritance’, and listening to Alan Jones on their radios. Then they stop and bitch and carp with all the other time wasters in God’s Waiting Room on the road. I imagine them to be already Scrapbooking yesterday’s event as though it was some sort of meaningful experience in their lives and in the life of the nation, when all it really was was an old Queen(which fact they conveniently ignore because it doesn’t suit their narrow worldview, pretty much like they ignore the facts of Climate Change), proselytising to his Ray Stevens-loving(I was horrified to find he has sold his soul to the Conservatives in order to keep the flickering embers of his career alive), ‘Kings of the Road’. Absolutely pathetic spectacle, all in all. However, opportunistic Opposition Leader bereft of a soul himself(maybe that’s why God orchestrated his casting out of the Seminary?), Tony Abbott is along for the ride with the bulging, ageing baby Boomer demographic, whose votes he positively salivates over. My goodness, who said that smoking pot didn’t give you permanent brain damage? I think this lot of easily-led sheep proves conclusively that it does.

  12. Jimmy

    Suzanne – “These people are motivated by anger.” True but anger by it’s nature lacks logic and rationality, so being motivated by it isn’t a good thing?

    “no wonder there is an overwhelming call for an election.” – What as evidenced by a couple of hundred people protesting? Hardly overwhelming?

  13. Joe Magill

    This subject is a constant in my conversations with friends. Why is there so much anger? Is it because Gillard is a woman (and Obama is black)? Is it Abbott’s campaign? Is it the shock jocks? The bare statistics show we are ever better off. Why doesn’t the population at large believe this? And why, as Suzanne Blake does, are so many calling for an election? Where does the sense of illegitimacy come from? You can blame a government unable to sell policy but that doesn’t justify the never ending angry whinging. I just can’t understand this.

  14. Perry Gretton

    With regard to Australia, the feeling of resentment is partly fuelled by missing out on office by a whisker, as well as by the humiliation of Abbott losing to Gillard during negotiations with the independents and Greens.

  15. Peter Forrest

    “It’s more about them and their resentment that the world has changed on them in ways they don’t like and don’t feel comfortable with.” – There is a scientific description for this – ‘cognitive dissonance’ . Alan Jones would not be one of them. He’s smart enough to know who butters his bread, that bunch of people out there feeling dissonanced All he has to do is keep them stirred up and he’ll continue to rake in his millions.

  16. Suzanne Blake

    WOW

    Someone wiped the smirk of Anthony Albanese face today. He looks very sober, deep in thought and subdued? Any ideas? So does Wayne Swan, Deborah O’Neill and the others in Parliament behind the dispatch box.

  17. Perry Gretton

    Craig Thomson?

  18. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    You cannot be serious. Its the protest yesterday, the weeks and months before, the comments made by voters over the past 7 months…… you may represent the 27% of rusted on ALP support, but the masses of smoking issues is working like WD-40 on that….

  19. Jillian Blackall

    I don’t understand this big swing to the Coalition in the polls. I have always been a Coalition voter, as have some of my friends, and we are probably going to vote for the Greens this time (after the first preference to the Sex Party).

  20. Jimmy

    Suzanne – There is a big difference between saying you would vote for the coalition and wanting anew election tomorrow!
    As for the protests every pro carbon tax rally has been attended by many more people than the anti carbon tax ones.

    I wonder if you could name one policy of Abbott’s you support and explain why?

  21. klewso

    I don’t know – but with neither Obama nor Gillard being a “white man” – it does seem to make it a lot easier to protest?
    As well as that “born to rule” mentality?

  22. Malcolm Street

    “These people are motivated by anger. They don’t get a hearing from their local MP, they feel the Government are not listening…

    I wrote to my local MP twice about a small business issues, and the PM and Minister and Shadows. It got the thanks for your letter response and 4 months later got a pathetic letter from Minister’s office, that did not answer the issues and looks like a standard issue letter. I must say I got a similar letter from Shadows, just saying they would raise in Parliament at the right time. ”

    I see, the Opposition is just as hopeless, which justifies anger at the government?

    “All you have to do is look at the polls, “leader” satisfaction and letters to editor to see Australia is in major problem. We are being laughed at by people who read widely overseas, as some of my business contacts remind me of.”

    All I see is some extraordinary whinging and scare-mongering in a country which has weathered the GFC better than just about any other developed nation. I read widely in overseas media and believe me, in comparison we are doing very, very well.

  23. Ruprecht

    Diddums on not getting letters answered by MPs.

    Over 1 million Australians marched peacefully in protest against the Iraq War and we were not only ignored but insulted. The government of the day called us an unrepresentative mob, rent-a-crowd, and the Murdoch press called us Howard Haters.

  24. Jimmy

    Malcolm – ” I read widely in overseas media” Then you would also be aware of the fact that most foreign political journalists can not believe the Australian meddia obsession with “polls” to the point where policies are largely ignored. That is one of our biggest problems.

  25. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jillian Blackall

    “after the first preference to the Sex Party”

    when all else fails!!

  26. GocomSys

    @Joe Magill posted Tuesday, 23 August 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Re.: The never ending angry whinging!

    The easy going, open-minded, friendly self-deprecating Aussie with a larrikan attitude is hard to find these days. After over a decade of systematic political dumbing down we ended up with a majority of the public confused, disillusioned, disaffected, discontented and disconnected. What could make the situation even worse is that there is now a real danger that someone “unhinged” get’s his hand on the tiller. Too scary to contemplate!

  27. Jillian Blackall

    @ Suzanne

    The Sex Party is the ideal alternative. It has something for everyone.

  28. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jillian Blackall

    Can’t argue with that. Welcome to the board, even the numbers up a bit.

  29. GocomSys

    @Suzie
    I would find your “muddled” logic quite amusing if it weren’t the very sign of the underlying syndrome I described in my previous post. Sorry, I just realised you probably wouldn’t be able to understand what I am talking about. Yep, you proved my point!

  30. Suzanne Blake

    @ GocomSys

    The clowns on the tiller now, can’t be worse than any clowns on the tiller in the next Parliament.

    This Parliament is ‘unhinged’ from reality and from the vast majority of the electorate. Even for a doubling of the statistical margin of error, the POLLS indicate this. So do the ‘whingers’ as you call them.

    Some ‘whingers’ are not as rusted on as you may be. Some ‘whingers’ may be at the fringe, but I would guess that 95% are not.

  31. Jimmy

    Suzanne – “The clowns on the tiller now, can’t be worse than any clowns on the tiller in the next Parliament. ” This is an argument for keeping things the same not change, or did you get things backwards again?

    And even if I did reverse the tense’s it is hardly a compelling case for calling an immediate election? If as you say (or at least I think intended to say) the reason for change is only libs “can’t be any worse” it doesn’t mean they will be any better so why the need for an election now?

    I will also reissue my challenge for you to name one coaltion policy you agree with and the reasons why?

  32. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    I agree with their Agriculture policy and in particular the policy to dramatically increase Australia’s ability to produce food (all types) and related commodoties (eg wool)

    I agree as I have stated on this Board 20 or more times, Australia’s competitive advantage in future years will be to sell our food production to overseas markets (and own own of course). The more we grow, the better off we will be.

  33. Oscar Jones

    Suzanne Blake : So…………no wonder there is an overwhelming call for an election.

    I’m so sick of this type of dishonesty. No-one need like the results but please tell the truth. Where is the proof for an “overwhelming call for an election “?

    There are small pockets of rabble rousing protestors (in the hundreds only) and the Coalition. That is not “overwhelming. The millions of Australian voters are silent and going about their lives.

    Likewise the Coalition’s ( and Gina Rinehart’s ) dishonest claim of a minority government. It’s simply not true. There is a coalition of Labor and Independents with a majority voting power and a Coalition of Liberal and Nats in Opposition.

  34. Scott

    The only reason the right are protesting more is that the left (Rudd/Gillard, Obama) are in power. When the right was in power (Bush, Howard), it was the left that was protesting more.

    The level and orientation of protest just boils down to who has the power and who wants it.

  35. Perry Gretton

    Yes, I’m tired of the continuous claim that this government is illegitimate. I fail to see how it would have been more legitimate if the Coalition had struck a deal with the Independents.

    We have a government that for all its faults is doing the job for which it was elected. It should be allowed to govern for as much of its term as circumstances allow, and not be brought down by some local version of a recall election.

  36. Perry Gretton

    @Scott, in recent times the level of protest has been much higher when the Right is out of office.

  37. Jimmy

    Suzanne – Is that the policy to increase funding to R&D by $150m? Wow throw out this govt now then and install a new the coalition because they’ll give farming groups an extra $150m for research in a $100b sector.

    Is the ALP against us growing our own food?

  38. Peter Ormonde

    Interesting article Bernard…

    Not sure about the “theory of everything” or the direct comparisons between the Tea Party and the local tea baggers however.

    Worth bearing in mind that comparisons between a relatively uneducated Australian and a well-educated American are rather tendentious… there are so darn few of them.

    Certainly the organisations and individuals throwing their “weight” behind the Convoy of Inconsequence seem to draw their inspiration from the Tea Party. But the US mob actually purport to be reclaiming the US constitution and small “l” libertarian free enterprise. The tea baggers are far more a coalition of the really really annoyed. This was particularly evident when tea baggers were asked what they wanted … they all had a shopping list of complaints but – in the end – all they could come up with was the “abolition” of the Upper and Lower House and a new election.

    Observers of the political fringes may be interested in this piece from a WA commentator:
    http://exiledonline.com/teabagger-dundee-america-exports-libertarian-revolution-to-australia/comment-page-1/#comment-36066

    While there is a Ma and Pa Kettle element to all this, there are however some nasty characters lurking about in the shadows … one is Canadian “civil libertarian” “feminist” turned professional climate campaigner Jo Nova. Very interesting background that lady.

    Personally I find it most comforting that despite all their efforts – and even the presence of the great motivator himself Alan Jones – the show was a fizzer. I take it as evidence of the deep underlying commonsense of the Australian electorate. We know these problems are serious, are real and they won’t just go away by us all going for a drive.

  39. Rodney Jarman

    If I understand Bernard’s premise he’s saying these rallies are disaffected groups of people with no consistent ties but their inability to deal with change and certainty.

    Having recently returned from the States my theory is there has been a fundamental breach of the social contract between the general populace and the powerful, be they business or politicians.

    People have worked hard, paid for college educations, been law abiding, good citizens and generally done the right thing. Now, they find themselves without jobs or prospects, in jobs that don’t over the costs like they are used to. They can’t afford decent education, health care, holidays or whatever. They find themselves working harder and harder and just treading water.

    They don’t understand the complexities of why, they just know this is not the deal they signed up for. I think they’ll find it is greed that is the source of their troubles. Perhaps this anger will be fired up at corporations rather than Governments.

    In Australia, we are somewhat insulated from this affect (sic) but I suspect it will come sooner or later. It won’t be about grey nomads who are rusted onto the Libs but about Gen X’s and Y’s who find themselves with kids and mortgages and no chance of being a grey nomad rusted onto the Liberal party.

  40. The_roth

    There was a great Rolling Stone article on Tea Party constitutes in which the journalist, after going on tour with various proponents of that group, stated that the major supporters he saw (apocryphal of course) were older middle class people on welfare who didn’t want to see anyone but themselves with their snout in the trough.

    Here’s the URL http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/matt-taibbi-on-the-tea-party-201009

    I’m almost certain I linked to it from Crikey in the 1st place, when it was first published.

  41. Jillian Blackall

    @ Rodney

    I think a lot of people don’t recognise that most people can’t have everything, eg a large house, 2 or more children, holidays etc. There are trade-offs required. I am generally quite happy with my life and the main reason is that I have avoided the expense of children and I focus primarily on paying the mortgage for a small apartment in a suburb that I like.

  42. Jimmy

    Rodney – “In Australia, we are somewhat insulated from this affect (sic) but I suspect it will come sooner or later.” How or why will this happen? Our fundamental economic position is dramatically different from the US, plus we have a better health, education, industrial relations and welfare system and a better regulated banking system.

  43. Captain Planet

    I suggest these groups aren’t driven by overt racism or sexism. The participants in such groups are unlikely to be any more racist or sexist than the rest of us.

    Instead, the motivating force behind these groups appears to be more about expressing resentment about social and economic change in recent decades, and particularly because such changes have delivered nothing but difficulties for the demographics we’re talking about: social change has undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular, and, in the Australian context, economic changes have squeezed them, along with everyone else, into a far more competitive, market-based economy that no longer delivers the sort of certainty they grew up with and that Generation X, in particular, never had.

    I suggest that these groups are driven by overt racism and sexism, respectively.

    If an individual or group of people are upset that social changes have delivered nothing but difficulties for the demographics we’re talking about: social change has undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular, then I suggest that their primary driver is racism and sexism. Angrily lamenting the loss of male, white dominance – what could be more racist and sexist than that?

  44. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Looks like Suzzie is the only one whingeing about the govt. ( just doing it multible times )

  45. Blaggers

    To all those calling for an early election, please build a bridge.

    This is the government the populous elected. This is democracy.

    I had to endure the Howard years – turning our back on closer ties with our Asian neighbors, becoming lapdogs of the US, sending us into an unjustified war, completely ignoring investment in renewable technologies. The list of embarrassment is long and hurtful.

    And really, would you, in all seriousness, vote in Abbott? What has he shown us? What sort of inspirational leader is he? All he seems to inspire is hate, vitriol, division, anger, lies, disrespect and ignominy. And he is meant to be of the god fearing Ilk.

    As i see it, there is currently no one fit to lead. The only two who gave us a glimmer of hope were killed off by their own parties. The only two who had the backbone to stand up to the corporate/capitalist democracy we are currently in.

    And what’s with the socialist remarks. One hand argues, it is the evil that will unhinge society, and on the other, the government needs to spend more on hospitals, roads, homeless, disadvantaged. Correct my simplistic understanding but isn’t pure socialism a system that generates the best for all?

  46. Gederts Skerstens

    Keane’s quite correct, in bits: “…Instead, the motivating force behind these groups appears to be more about expressing resentment about social and economic change in recent decades,…”

    That’s right.

    “…because such changes have … undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular…”

    Not even close. Such changes as have come close to wrecking Western society without permission from the Most of Us, diminishing the quality of life for every member of society, young, old, male, female, orange or purple, merry or morose. (Merry in the old-fashioned sense).
    Removing the notion of Good and Bad, Better or Worse, even faster or slower, where every runner in a foot race gets the same prize isn’t something We asked for. Or the results: with walking across the park after sunset now dangerous, school-leavers knowing no more after five years than when they started or ‘work’ evaluated according to its title, not usefullness.

    Social Justice is a serious issue for Conservatives.
    The Most of Us pay for everything. It’s Just that we call the shots, set the agendas according to the outcomes We want. That’s the reason for the increasing demos. Nothing to do with loss of privileges.

  47. Peter Ormonde

    Suzanne,

    You asked elsewhere why ASIO should be scrutinising those hanging about with the teabaggers … the guy above is a prime example. Deeply sinister Norwegian type stuff spews from this fella’s head.

  48. Paul Anton

    The “Tory-rage” has started, it’s just a surpise it took so long to get organised. You have to keep in mind these people are immune to all the traditional attacks from the left (ie:racism/sexism/homophobia/whatever). We’re coming after ya!

  49. LJG..............

    I think the question is not so much “What motivates the Parl house rallies” as what isn’t – despite a massive amount of free publicity from Alan Jones and the Media it’s been a bit of a non-event really hasn’t it?
    And I think we all know that writing to your local MP does F&%ck all. Unless they get a massive amount of letters and call – as in the Live Cattle Trade Issue, they will politely ignore it.

    The Marginal Electorates have the two Parties by the Ballot Boxes and I think those of us who only vote one way should learn from them. I don’t think they are going to be ignoring the wishes of those two little independent electorates this time either.

  50. Peter Ormonde

    Mr Anton…

    That’s a “foreign” name isn’t it? You’ll keep.

    As for “coming after us” … I’ll barely be able to nod off tonight, my mind cringing at the prospect of little old men in hats boodling down the Hume H’way in the Hillman Minx.

    Tory rage indeed … have a cuppa and a good lie down. Teabag OK?

  51. Ian

    Jillian Blackall,

    You are thinking about changing your vote to the Sex Party & Greens? Good thinking, neither the Liberals nor Labor are what they used to be. Now its all about politics and bowing to the corporations. Nothing is actually about governing for the betterment of the people. I used to vote for Liberal too but now I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. And Labor, the are now just the little Libs if they are anything at all.

  52. Tomboy

    Whenever I get upset by the rantings of the Queen-loving WASP(and aspiring Roman Cs) brigades, I get out a $5 note, the one with the queen’s picture on it, and fold it in that way which shows why prince Phillip von Battenburg (the queen’s cousin) has a smile on his face! Oh yes, you poor bastards, at least we moderates can still have a laugh!

  53. JamesG

    Alan Jones being held up by a police escort on the south circular makes me think of a London toilet for some reason….

  54. Tomboy

    What wine do the North Shore tories drink? It ain’t chardonnay, certainly not claret (remember the “bearded claret-swilling revolutionaries” of the 1970s that hated Fraser?). Judging by the faces in the crowds in Canberra, one could assume it’s Chateau Chunder!

  55. Tomboy

    Seriously, Bernard’s article is an excellent précis of what’s going on.

  56. Suzanne Blake

    @ Tomboy

    On the North Shore of Lake Burley Griffin, its Chateau Grech. God win its a good drink.

  57. Gederts Skerstens

    Peter Ormonde got alarmed: “…Deeply sinister Norwegian type stuff..”
    Sorry, pal. I’d type long replies, but anyone who starts a posting with “OOO…” signals it likely to be lame.
    Maybe try “EEE”, or even “UUU”?…

  58. Peter Ormonde

    Skerstens

    Don’t confuse alarm with disgust.
    I’ve read your posts from all over the world – essentially the same posts again and again – and I am actually quite concerned for your health. Are you hearing voices yet? Do you think you are on a holy mission? Deeply disturbed stuff mate. Get some help. Seriously.

  59. kraken

    Abbott and his conga line of media cronies are continuing the thinly camouflaged campaign to win government by trashing the Government’s record and its attempt to put a price on carbon. The science on climate change is routinely questioned and vilified by skilled dog whistlers and commentators compromised by their links to vested interests opposed to carbon pricing. A largely ill-informed electorate swallow the sound bites and media grabs of this shoddy bunch and are conned into believing their life-styles are under threat.

    Abbott pretends to care about the little people while doing the bidding of the mining and power companies. He is a fear monger-er of the worst sort. We have seen his type of politician down through the ages. They set up straw men to knock down and claim the credit for ‘saving’ the people from some imaginary onslaught. He pitches a different message to different audiences, depending on their relative levels of literacy – in the case of the recent rally outside Parliament three word slogans were more than enough. Demagogues always operate like this – it is in their DNA to tailor the message to suit the crowd and they are gifted at pressing the right fear buttons with confected outrage and anger.

    Another plank of the strategy is to demonize the Labor leadership, much in the way the Tea Party is demonizing Obama’s leadership in America. They paint a picture of disunity, betrayal of the body politic, a ‘stab in the back’ for decent citizens by a government beholden to ‘special interests’ and unspecified ‘elites’. More coded dog whistling to convince the electorate that their government is weak and incapable of protecting the country from outside threats and the export of jobs. Our PM is branded a liar, wooden, childless and weak. A nasty legend has been woven by misogynistic spin meisters who want their boy in power, and they will do anything (within the law presumably) to achieve it.

    The Coalition has gained rich pickings from fear-mongering, as evidenced by the Queensland vote at the last general election. The ‘tea party’ rump of the One Nation party has drifted back to the LNP, in thrall to simple minded messages on debt & deficit, the carbon & mining taxes and good ole migrant & refugee bashing.

    In much of the media and shock-jock land narrow sectional interests get a helpful leg up in most areas of debate on public policy. We get a diet of reactionary, simple minded drivel on issues such as immigration & asylum seekers and important areas of public policy are ‘spun’ through the lens of media celebrities who survive on a dumbed-down strategy of sound-bites, ‘gotcha’ moments and limpid sensationalism. Political analysis has been reduced to talk-show patter and infotainment for a presumed audience with the concentration span of a distracted gnat.

    Misinformation and outright disinformation have become the currency of many mainstream commentators. The template for this was set up with the formation of a minority government. Many in the print, radio and television media did not like this result. They did not anticipate it, they have no control over it, and they want it gone. A political shock-jock like Abbott thrives in this landscape.

    He has replaced the biking lycra with reflective lime industrial tops & roams bloke dominated small businesses and mining enterprises, filleting fish, carrying cartons of stuff, digging up stuff, butchering meat, rolling in oats and wheat, etc etc etc, pretending to care about working people and announcing the end of civilization as we know it. A true ‘man of the people’ with an eye to the big end of town (nudge, wink) …Howard battlers should be checking their back pockets because they’re being conned again.

  60. Gederts Skerstens

    Pete persisted:” …Do you think you are on a holy mission?”

    No, you’re right.
    Warm weather just ’round the corner, new Beers to sample, I’ve said my piece. The good sayings promoted by a fine publicity agent, yourself.

    The fancy of every Internet chatterer is that the Butterfly Effect may be operating; that one incisive post, read by the right reader at the right time may swing history.

    Maybe. But by and large, in the West, ( and spreading world-wide, by the look ), Democratic majorities get to set the program.
    So, let’s see how elections go, everywhere.
    Enough yapping for a bit.
    Goodnight, for now.

  61. Peter Ormonde

    Suzanne Blake…

    This is the sort of guy who gets wound up by the ranting rhetoric of the Alan Joneses, the Bolts, Devines and, in his unguarded moments, Abbott and the poisonous language of “illegitimate” governments, scientific conspiracies, secret world government and of throwing Gillard and Brown into the sea.

    In short he is an neo-nazi – a white supremacist who sees himself fighting for white culture in peril from Asians, Africans and especially Moslems. His rants elsewhere have eerie similarities – no, they are identical – to the madness of the Norwegian “cultural warrior” who shot all those kids last month. He is surrounded by a conspiracy of marxists, multiculturalists and agents of race betrayal. He is heaving with hatred and anger.

    I’m not saying this sort of nutter is the “target audience” for this sort of tactic …. but it provides an atmosphere in which they feel emboldened to speak out on behalf of “Most of Us” as he puts it. So far it is just speaking. At least here.

    We should all watch our words and our thoughts most carefully. It only takes one of them.

  62. AR

    It was GerSker’s the random use of CAPITALs that bothered me (apart from the inane content/lack thereof) – germanisch rather than scandiwegian except that he/it used it for words another than nouns.
    Not that I’m agin creative use of language or keyboards to make a point but an “infinite number of monkeys..” springs to mind.
    As to the article, my thoughts have been well covered by the saner comments above so why be repetitious?

  63. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Wow , after reading Peter’s comments and a few others , i will be voting Greens and the Sex party only. Is this the butterfly effect ?

  64. Jillian Blackall

    @Lord Barry

    Yes, I think so. Vote 1 Sex!

  65. Policeman MacCruiskeen

    They’r old, they’re retired self funded reirees and their cranky because the damn applicator nozzle for the Rectinol wasn’t where they left it yesterday. Or, maybe they didn’t screw it on properly, again. Which means that it might be where…nurse, nurse!! Bloody Gillard! Bloody Brown! Ner-urse!

  66. DF

    I’ll go out on a limb and say the anger is motivated by people feeling they have lost control of their destiny and have no say in how the world is any more. My evidence is pretty subjective but I reckon I’m close to the mark:

    – growing inequality and uncertainty in a threatened economy;
    – the feeling our lives are being manipulated by corporate power;
    – recognition that politicians have been bought out by the need for election funding and are more responsive to the market and corporate world rather than the needs of the community they allegedly serve;
    – the feeling of financial insecurity in the wake of the GFC and superannuation funds being hollowed out;
    – the lack of certainty, people feel overwhelmed by the complexity of opinions, constantly changing and often contradictory findings from scientific and other research;
    – the feeling of being ripped off all the time (see the response to the Productivity Commission’s airport charges report, read the blogs about retail vs internet sales);
    – the feeling that the things which we shared ownership of and made us a community (utilities, infrastructure, Qantas etc) have all been sold off and are now ripping us off (like having your house compulsorily sold, having to rent it back and being overcharged for it);
    – a sense of loss of control over our destiny and that no-one is listening.

    The anger manifests itself against the things that are demonstrably and easily identifiable as being different from before eg Asian and African migrants, female PM, black President, gay rights, etc but the underlying reason is a sense of impotence in a time of rising inequality and economic threat.

    Abbott gets it and exploits it. He is not the solution – he and his party are part of the problem but rationality and reason will never win the fight over gut feeling and emotion. People want change (Obama’s mantra in 2008) and they will follow anyone who offers it.

  67. David Hand

    Well Bernard, there’s a teeny bit of hyperbowl(sic) in this item, exposed by your words, “That is, the miserable numbers at the rally weren’t because people disagreed ………….”. Yes, a not very well attended event.

    So maybe you’re doing a Thomas Friedman and trying to write a theory of everything. In particular, I think the views expressed at these right wing “rage rallies” are an extreme response to government performance. There are clearly Hansonite tones in it and speaking as a right of centre person, Jones is frankly embarrassing.

    So if we see the demos as the actions of a far right few, we have to then acknowledge that the deep unpopularity of the Gillard government has nothing really to do with what’s going on in the vicinity of parliament house.

    I think that the level of disappointment with Labor across the country is so deep that the far right demos, though fuelled by it, are just a sideshow. What’s happening at Port Kembla has far more significance for Gillard and when you add the member for Dobell into the mix, well I’m glad I don’t have her job.

    Labor in 2011 stands for incompetent, (RSPT, Malaysia, Batts, BER), values free (NSW, knifing Rudd, Malaysia again, Thompson), sold to the Greens (carbon tax, gay marriage). Come on guys, it’s an impressive list, isn’t it? A few grey nomads waving placards on parliament hill isn’t all that unexpected is it? And certainly not very significant.

  68. Go for it!

    I think the ALP and Greens should take on the miners headon and have a referendum on raising the tax to the 40% level that Ken Henry proposed.

    The extra money raised could go to a soveriegn Fund to benefit future generations by supporting other industries that are being hurt by the mining boom and invest in vital infrastructure.

    If the referendum was defeated so be it but it would be very hard for Abbott and his mates at News Ltd and lowlife liars like Alan Jones to attack such a positive policy.

  69. Karen

    I like your article Bernard.

    I’ve literally just stepped off the plane from an overseas holiday in Eastern Europe. The news in Europe is very depressing. For example, Italy’s debt levels are now 150% of GDP and Italy is staring at possible default. Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal are truly fstuffed – Spain’s unemployment rate, to take an example, is currently reported as running at 23%.

    Meanwhile, Australia has been reported in Eastern Europe as one of three of the best performing economies in the developed world with debt representing only 6% of GDP. Other countries are striving to match Australia’s debt levels – its the holy grail, so it has been reported. But do we hear about that here? No, all we get is fascist crap from whinging right-wing tw*ts lying about how the economy has been mismanaged. No recession , unemployment at 4.9%, debt at 6% of GDP -and this is reported as mismanagement in Australian media? Jesus Christ!

    Why the hatred and the lies from these anti-carbon tax protesters, you posit, Bernard? – Answer: (in my view) because their team is not in office and their peculiar brand of vicious right-wing politics that sees as much money shovelled in the pockets of the uber wealthy is not in place. Can’t bear any kind of slug against the corporate sector that will see a bit of redisbribution occur at the margins – too much to cope with.

    This mob at the same time argues about a left-wing class war? Yeah, I’ve read this sh*t in the MSM blogs. Well, Warren Buffet said recently, there is a class war and its been wielded by the rich who are winning it hands down. Can’t see no US TEA Party over there fighting for the little people and the need to alleviate their tax burden. No, no, no, its only the rich who matter and the transfer of their burden to the little guy. Well, if the uber rich in the US, constituting 1% of the population and owning 40% of the wealth, took a modest hair cut, they might go some way towards fixing up their economy, which is being deprived of billions because they refuse to pay their fair share!

    I can’t believe I’ve come back to this country to read about this spectacle of so called mainly middle class white males led by Jones, no less, running around holding their ars*es because of the prospect of a carbon tax and mining tax that is going to make, at best, a modest dent against the bottom lines of wealthy corporates. And, no, right-w(h)ingers, don’t say its going to hit the little man who is going to be compensated and pay less than Howard’s bloody GST! You know its not about that.

  70. Jules Labat

    Absolutely nailed it, Bernard! Whatever the merits of their arguments, and there are some if taken in right measure – Gov. often wastes revenue, is often incompetent, makes laws too early of issues that large segments of the public have not caught on to yet, even if they will eventually, is bought up by a combination of moneyed and demographic interests, etc – it’s clear that the motivator for anger IS the sense among these people that they’ve lost place. And, of course, they have. They’ve bought a bill of goods – hard work, self reliance, markets, etc – and still can’t get the respect they believe they deserve: their wives ditch them, their kids hate them, and so on. And the whole thing is made worse by a profit driven media that daily rubs their noses in it, exposing them to others who have gargantuan amounts of money more, are often younger and better looking too, and seemingly far stupider, while they, the good ones, “struggle to make ends meet’ on 150K or less. Must be tough indeed.

  71. Bellistner

    Suzanne Blake said:

    The clowns on the tiller now, can’t be worse than any clowns on the tiller in the next Parliament.

    Good job. You’ve just offended the Cartoon Gods.

  72. calyptorhynchus

    I wonder if it’s got anything to do with superannuation. These people are mostly of an age when they are thinking of retiring, but are realising that with the miserable performance of superannuation that they are going to have to work until they’re 200 before they can retire. Or perhaps they retired and then found they didn’t have enough.

  73. Peter Forrest

    Karen, what a great posting. Fully agree and thoroughly enjoyed reading.

  74. Peter Ormonde

    Karen & Peter Forrest…

    Hear, hear!

  75. Jimmy

    Karen – “Why the hatred and the lies from these anti-carbon tax protesters, you posit, Bernard? – Answer: (in my view) because their team is not in office” I often wonder what these anti carbon tax people would be saying if say Malcolm Turnball was liberal PM (or even if Howard had of won the 2007 election with s similar ETS policy) and was proposing the exact same thing, surely it would then be held up as the ideal market based solution?

  76. Apollo

    @JIMMY

    “Turnball “, BEHAVE!! 🙂

  77. klewso

    Jimmy – “Howard”? “Non-core promises”……?
    He just wanted to win an election – just like, after 11 years, “helping Aborigines”, or “the Murray Darling” – he’d say anything – doesn’t mean he meant it! Just like his apprentice, with his “Pick-A Box” policy game show.
    And even if Turnball was PM, there’s “the miner” matter of constituency of most of the rest of the party, that they “lobby the electorate” for.

  78. Jimmy

    Klewso – I admit it was unlikely that Howard would of followed through and Turnball would struglle with the rest of the party but my point in this hypothetical is that as this policy is really a classic liberal “market based” idea what woiuld these people vehemently opposed to it say if it was a liberal policy not a labor one?
    My guess is that they would back it all the way, just like the GST.

  79. Perry Gretton

    I’m confident that if Abbott had done a better deal with the Independents than Gillard, the Coalition would be on the nose with the electorate by now.

  80. Ian

    DF,

    You are so right. Increasing and very transparent inequality plus all the other factors you note are very likely the underlying causes of the discontent fueling the the right wing rallies. But these factors are also the underlying causes of a feeling of hopelessness and discontent on the left – in fact all who lift their heads out of the sand and observe what’s going on.

    But the right wing reaction leads to increased hate, bigotry and a selfish preoccupation with their own perceived circumstances. On the left it seems to me it is to try harder to support the most violated and vulnerable in society; to end wars to diminish environmental harm, to ensure the privileged are called on to contribute their fair share to society.

    I think there are a lot of plausible reasons to explain why. But how to remedy the situation is another matter entirely especially when, in fact, the “forces of evil” have all the power and are gaining ground and the so-called moderates (Labor, the Democrats) appear very little different from the really rabid – certainly in their actions if not there words.

  81. JMNO

    Here, here to Kraken and Karen.

    You’ve both said it so well

  82. Andrew Demase

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows
    (L. Cohen)

  83. Blaggers

    @ Rodney “Perhaps this anger will be fired up at corporations rather than Governments.” I hope that the general populous wakes up on this too.

    @ Jimmy “Rodney – “In Australia, we are somewhat insulated from this affect (sic) but I suspect it will come sooner or later.” How or why will this happen? Our fundamental economic position is dramatically different from the US, plus we have a better health, education, industrial relations and welfare system and a better regulated banking system.” Could it be from all the negativity that spews forth from the opposition and their media croonies (directed by corporate interests) that would have us believe that we are in a far worse position than we actually are in? You would suspect from their narrative that we have an economy that is envied worldwide.

  84. Ian

    Karen,

    I’m interested to know how the Eastern European countries are faring during this crisis and what their responses to it are.

    Not quite the topic of discussion here but still.

    Thanks.

  85. Gederts Skerstens

    Ian asked Karen: “I’m interested to know how the Eastern European countries are faring during this crisis and what their responses to it are.”

    I’ll take a short break from Spring Beer-Sampling to point out some fundamentals:
    Eastern Europe knows more about all the Ideologies, Empires, Peoples’ Committees, Dictators and Political Correctness with its ultimate results through two thousand years of European history than anyone else.
    That’s why there won’t be any Federal Europe. Every Nation gets directed by its own citizens, not some Tsar, Commissars or Fuehrer running an empire from Brussels. There’s enough of Eastern Europe to vote it down.

    Sorry about butting in, but when your eyeballs pop with righteous rage, what can you do?

    (Back to sampling. Don’t post.)

  86. Karen

    @ Jimmy – I agree that if the Libs were in office and had adopted the ETS model under Turnbull or, alternatively, the carbon tax under Abbott (who supported it initially, simply, because he could use it as his fig leaf to obstruct and oppose the ETS), the MSN would have gotten behind it, provided there was ample compensation to industry. The so-called ‘swinging voters’ (whose political default position, broadly speaking, tends to be Liberal) would, generally, have followed suit.

    The irony, I suspect, is that industry and ‘families’ would have been generously compensated by the Libs at the expense of the remaining public under its own carbon pricing mechanisms (remember, this is a party who did not give tax cuts favouring the lower middle classes (unless they had children) whilst in power and who, true to form, screamed at Labor for giving up to $900 stimulus funding to the middle classes).

    @Ian – its hard to generalise about all of Eastern Europe but, in Bulgaria which is the poorest country in the EU (and where I stayed), I was informed by a relative who works in the banking sector, that the banks were not exposed to the fraudulent mortgage junk bond racket that produced the financial crisis in the West. Accordingly, the local banks did not rack up debt from bad home loans, which were then transferred to public debt, as has occurred in the West. That said, the GFC spared no-one and I was informed that property prices had plummeted by up to 40% in some areas of the country. From general reading, I know the stock markets in Eastern Europe have also been severely rattled by the GFC and there continues to be serious volatility there as well.

    Eastern Europe has its own unique set of problems, of course; the economies are more market-based now and small (and larger) businesses are beginning to flourish, which are a good thing, however, there is a lot of mafia interference and corruption at the highest levels of government. The general public is still relatively poor and the infrastructure and health care systems do not compare to what we have here, however, things are continuing to improve over there, notwithstanding the global recession. European luxury cars are not an uncommon sight now (with no old Trebants in sight). The wealthy (who are wealthy by western standards) constitute 1-2% of the population I’m told, however, many of these people constitute Mafia or ‘banditos’, as they often called. Bulgaria is an interesting, cheap and fun place to visit actually, especially on the Black Sea coast during the summer. The Balkan diets are tasty and much healthier (salads are commonly eaten as a first course); there isn’t the obesity epidemic we have here and there are lots of attractive, slim people to show for it. Word of warning (or not) – they like their vodka and rakia – its as common as beer and drunk neat in 50ml or 100ml amounts. I’m beginning to digress, now. Apologies. I’m still partially jet-lagged and not quite over my holiday…

  87. Blaggers

    Kraken & Karen: hear, hear.

  88. Karen

    @ Jimmy – I agree that if the Libs were in office and had adopted the ETS model under Turnbull or, alternatively, the carbon tax under Abbott (who supported it initially, simply, because he could use it as his fig leaf to obstruct and oppose the ETS), the MSN would have gotten behind it, provided there was ample compensation to industry. The so-called ‘swinging voters’ (whose political default position, broadly speaking, tends to be Liberal) would, generally, have followed suit.

    The irony, I suspect, is that industry and ‘families’ would have been generously compensated by the Libs at the expense of the remaining public under its own carbon pricing mechanisms (remember, this is a party who did not give tax cuts favouring the lower middle classes (unless they had children) whilst in power and who, true to form, screamed at Labor for giving up to $900 stimulus funding to the middle classes).

    @Ian – its hard to generalise about all of Eastern Europe but, in Bulgaria which is the poorest country in the EU (and where I stayed), I was informed by a relative who works in the banking sector, that the banks were not as exposed (if at all) to, in my view, the mortgage junk bond racket that produced the financial crisis in the West. Accordingly, the local banks did not rack up debt from bad home loans, which were then transferred to public debt, as has occurred in the West. That said, the GFC spared no-one and I was informed that property prices had plummeted by up to 40% in some areas of the country. From general reading, I know the stock markets in Eastern Europe have also been severely rattled by the GFC and there continues to be serious volatility.

    Eastern Europe has its own unique set of problems, of course; the economies tend to follow market-based systems now and small (and larger) businesses are beginning to flourish, which are a good thing, however, it is alleged by people I have spoken to that there is also mafia interference. To what extent this may impact on the workings of government or the broader economy is unknown to me. The general public is still relatively poor and the infrastructure and health care systems do not compare to what we have here (eg. one is put on a waiting list to receive chemotherapy), however, things are continuing to improve over there (I was last there in 2008 just before the GFC), notwithstanding the global recession. European luxury cars are not an uncommon sight now (with no old Trebants in sight). The wealthy (who are wealthy by western standards) constitute 1-2% of the population I’m told, however, it is alleged that many of these people constitute Mafia or ‘banditos’, as they often called. Bulgaria is an interesting, cheap and fun place to visit actually, especially on the Black Sea coast during the summer. The Balkan diets are tasty and much healthier (salads are commonly eaten as a first course); there isn’t the obesity epidemic we have here and there are a lot of attractive, slim people to show for it. Word of warning (or not) – they like their vodka and rakia – its as common as beer and drunk neat in 50ml or 100ml amounts. Beer, I should add is also very popular. I’m beginning to digress, now. Apologies. I’m still partially jet-lagged and not quite over my holiday…

  89. Peter Ormonde

    Thanks Karen, most interesting.

    You’re right about that enthusiasm for vodka in the East…. I remember watching a queue of construction workers lining up before dawn at a supermarket in Prague and they all emerged with two litres of Vodka each and headed off to work on the high rise going up over the road. They were back at 11 for a top up. EEEEK.

    Makes you wonder what they could do without the rocket fuel doesn’t it?

  90. Ian

    Scott,

    Rudd/Gillard the left are they? Ha ha ha!

  91. green-orange

    ” But One Nation members tended to be poorly educated (Tea Party members are better educated than most Americans) and were primarily regional.”

    The seat of Oxley is in Brisbane.

    “social change has undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular, and, in the Australian context, economic changes have squeezed them, along with everyone else, into a far more competitive, market-based economy that no longer delivers the sort of certainty they grew up with and that Generation X, in particular, never had”

    You mean like 14% unemployment, 24% interest rates and an economy that scraped along by the bones of its arse from about 1970 to 1998 ?

    Or the “baby boomers” who turned society upside down and defeated the “conservative triumph” post-WW2 when a whole generation of young people were wiped out ?


    What we have here is the ethos of the schoolyard thug : conservatives with a a “born to rule” mentality where they believe they can get anything they like through threats and intimidation.

  92. Karen

    Thanks, Peter. One does wonder – those workers must have thought they needed it to cope. It is such an ingrained part of the culture and the climate lends itself to the production of vodka, as opposed to wine, say, that I don’t think that they’ll be making the change to “softer” stuff, any time soon.

  93. Gederts Skerstens

    Jules Labat had it in three sentences: “…They’ve bought a bill of goods – hard work, self reliance, markets, … the whole thing is made worse by a profit driven media that daily rubs their noses in it, exposing them to others who have gargantuan amounts of money more, are often younger and better looking too, and… far stupider, while they, the good ones, “struggle to make ends meet’.
    You got it, Jules.
    It’s a mechanical Cause-And-Effect, nothing to do with aerated Philosophy.
    So stuff is going to be proposed and other stuff opposed. There’s really no point in debating the worthiness of anything. The notion of “Good” or “Bad” has been removed, for now. So it’s just Numbers, in Democracies.
    My bet is The Good Guys have the numbers to take government in America, Australia, throughout Europe and get a spot in the Middle East.
    How would you bet?

  94. AR

    GedSk – why am I askance at who you mean, with your usual scarey germanisch predilection for random capitals, by “The Good Guys” (wot, no distaff?)?
    As in, the devil has all the best tunes?

  95. coggancreek

    Bernard, if there is a link you are looking for it in the wrong direction. It must be at the government level or higher, in the academies of the world. The link with your “grassroots” level is there. That is, if there is a link.

    The Tea Party is in America, Bernard, not here.

    Just as in Indonesia in the late 1990s, the Arab uprisings were triggered by food scarcity. They must have been building anyway, but high food prices was the trigger.

    Grassroots? Do you know where grassroots are? From Canberra they are invisible.

    Climate denialism? Bernard, the first thing driving my scepticism was the huge gap between what the scientists said and what the politicians and journalists said. And the lies! e.g. #1. Weather and climate are two completely different things.

    Weather and climate are the same thing Bernard, viewed in different time frames. If you assemble weather data on a daily basis, when you have collected 365 consecutive days’ data you have the beginnings of a climate record. Denial of this promotes confusion.

    But the lies are so many. They demand so much research that we must depend on people like you to do the research for us. So tell us, Bernard, what does the satellite record show in recent years on temperature levels and sea levels? What do the Argo buoys tell us about sea temperatures? I have read that they refute the IPCC computer models. In my view this makes sense. The IPCC models never even pretended to meet the rules of science. But even those computer models did not tell the lies that the politicians do.

    The demographics? Older, conservative, middle or higher income people are by nature the best informed people in the community. They have seen it all. They have a better understanding of long run economics.

    And, Bernard, the issues driving the convoy are not tokens. The prime movers in that rally have had their incomes halved by the ban on livestock exports. That means many of them are technically insolvent as a result of government action. Their only hope for survival is that the government may be held accountable for its exceedingly irresponsible action.

    It seems that you didn’t understand that.

  96. Gederts Skerstens

    AR asked: “…As in, the devil has all the best tunes?”

    Why does it seem that way?
    Worth asking, and more fun reading than the routine Kindergarten Kommie Krap of most of Krikey.

  97. Peter Ormonde

    Coggan Ck,

    These poor dears… they’ve had their incomes halved. We stopped them sending their “beloved” animals off to be beaten, kicked and hacked in backyard slaughter houses. Oh my heart bleeds for these characters it really does… the real victims in the grubby little business they started.

    If anyone is to blame for this squalid story it is the industry which has failed to actually address the problem but instead squandered its resources on gloss and PR jockeys here.

    These characters flogging off live animals do so ONLY to avoid Australian conditions, standards and regulation … of everything, hygiene, wages, and cruelty. It is shameful sneaky little business and the people who earn their money from doing so should be ashamed. They are a disgrace to decent farmers and graziers throughout Australia. We are ashamed of you.

  98. Peter Ormonde

    Skertens,

    You might not know this… but in Australia The Good Guys is a chain of electric discount stores … I don’t think they have any immediate plans for taking government here, let alone world domination. It is a franchise chain owned by an Indian gent, a Mr Patel from memory. He might have some issues with your Great White Race Ubermensch rubbish. As do we all.

    Now get back to wallowing in the beer hall and planning your delusional little Putsch.

  99. Gederts Skerstens

    Okay, Comrade Clown, if you insist:
    The Indians are our ancestral brethren, components of Indo-European Civilisation, with Sanskrit still visible in Baltic languages.
    You won’t get any support from them out of imagination. They’re part of Civilisation, you’re a Clown.

    You’ve got some Kindergarten Slogans that don’t work anymore. No-one knows what a “Putsch” is, now. Your “As do we all” applies to little left-over red clowns like you, no-one else. The “We all” bit packed up twenty years ago.

  100. Peter Ormonde

    Skirting

    Your sense of history is about as mangled as your sense of superiority.

    When Hitler occupied the Baltic States he set about “germanising” the “racially suitable” sections of the population. Those Latvian and Estonian nationalists who had joined the Waffen SS and so enthusiastically joined in the murder of Jews gypsies, socialists and other undesirables expecting political concessions and autonomy were swiftly disappointed. Hitler’s idea was a German colonisation of the Baltic States, not any form of independence or autonomy.

    See Skirts, even the Fuhrer thought you Latvians was racially inferior – too much sanskrit perhaps – certainly too much slav.

    You might like to pretend you guys are part of the “Master Race” and “Western Civilisation”, but according to the true believers, mate, you were just another bunch of slavic sub-humans, less useful than cattle or sheep.

    Still, you can try and join in if you like. Short memories.

    As for Most of Us, we are just laughing at you and your silly little uniforms.

    Norway is about as “brave” as you toy soldiers can get…. killing defenceless children. Same as it ever was.

  101. Ian

    Thanks Karen for your thoughful outline of Eastern Europe. Bulgaria sounds like a good place to holiday.

    I take it vodka is not fattening?

  102. AR

    Ian – not fattening as long as one doesn’t also eat, otherwise about 2,000 calories/8,000 kj per litre.
    PO – isn’t GedSk freaking out, no longer even pretending to be semi sentient. It was those damned capital letters that gave him away, even before he went off on the Indo-Aryan derailment trainwreck. I’m only surprised he didn’t get onto the Hakenkruez being an ancient Indian motif. (pre-Hellenic, Etruscan & Minoan too but let’s not confuse the poor creature.)

  103. Karen

    Mmm, Ian, I don’t think vodka is fattening, if drunk in moderation. Vodka is drunk as an aperitif over there and is consumed with food -a salad, a lean grill, seafood, or some other main. The best vodka I tried was a Russian vodka, which had no bite and left only a residual warmth. I suppose the equivalent here would be good whiskey.

  104. Suzanne Blake

    @ Peter Ormonde,

    You have just demonstrated your complete ignorance of the issue.

    “These poor dears… they’ve had their incomes halved. We stopped them sending their “beloved” animals off to be beaten, kicked and hacked in backyard slaughter houses. Oh my heart bleeds for these characters it really does… the real victims in the grubby little business they started.”

    The beef producer sell their cattle at a sale or to an agent, and have generally no idea where they will end up. Some may know, many don’t. In any case for every head of cattle sold, the beef producer pays $5 to the MLA. Its is them that should be held to account, not the beef producer.

    “These characters flogging off live animals do so ONLY to avoid Australian conditions, standards and regulation … of everything, hygiene, wages, and cruelty.”

    You obviously have no knowledge of Muslim religion as well. They want their food source slaughtered and consumed within a day. I agree its stupid, but thats what some Muslims demand.

  105. Jimmy

    Suzanne- “the beef producer sell their cattle at a sale or to an agent, and have generally no idea where they will end up. ” That’s a load of crap, every farmer I know knows when a boat order is being sort as it puts another bidder in the market and makes it a better time to sell.

  106. Peter Ormonde

    Plenty of halal slaughter houses here Sooz … not enough though…. most of my neighbours selling into that market of a Friday when the sales on down the road get the cattle off to Ningen where there is an excellent halal operation exporting top dollar beef to the Middle East. Could do it here. But they don’t. Ever wondered why?

    Got a few cattle around your way have you, or is this more gossip from some whingeing shop-keeper in the Top End?

    Where “Alan” Bolt’s earthshattering allegations about Gillard then?

    How’s the “foresnic auditor” coming along with those budget numbers?

    Too busy spreading gossip I guess.

    And to think I used to think you might have something so say.

    Whoever pays you to spread this muck, please send us some clever tories to have a discussion with instead of this dross.

  107. Gederts Skerstens

    Peter Moronde (typo) tipped out the whole repertoire:

    …”an neo-nazi – a white supremacist…peril from Asians, Africans…madness of the Norwegian “cultural warrior” who shot all those kids…The Good Guys is a chain of electric discount stores(?OK?)…world domination…owned by an Indian gent, a Mr Patel…Great White Race Ubermensch rubbish…Putsch…murder of Jews gypsies… racially inferior…uniforms…killing defenceless children”.
    And in two days, just one little helper chipped in “… Hakenkruez…Minoan”.

    Totally unrelated to anything said and clearly just the standard technique to close down comment.
    Looks like it didn’t work.

    (There’s always a couple. Still an interesting site).

  108. Suzanne Blake

    @ Peter Ormonde

    You fail to understand the differences within the Muslim overseas community, somewill accept frozen / chilled meat, some insist it be slaughtered and consumed within 24 hours. Some don’t trust the halal process overseas.

    On the $70 billion, as I said, its impossible with the budget papers, you need to review line by line with detail. Same the HSU should have reviewed their expenses line by line, not lumped as entertainment, staff amenities etc. Understand?

  109. Jimmy

    Suzanne – “On the $70 billion, as I said, its impossible with the budget papers, you need to review line by line with detail” So again you have no idea of where you can save the money but absolute confidence that you can. You remind of the bloke down the pub who swears he could climb Mt Everest without oxygen, everyone knows he is full of it but he as he never actually attempts it no one can prove that he can’t so in his mind he wins.

    By the way if you were to go “line by line” through what I can only assume would be last years financials how could you tell what “waste” has already been trimmed from the forward estimates and what expenditure is acutally required without in depth discussion woth those who actually work within the dept?

  110. Perry Gretton

    One man’s “waste” is another man’s “essential service”.

  111. Suzanne Blake

    Talking of waste, did you see the report on Nine News about the electricity bills at Federal Government Departments, and how much they are wasting with lights left on at night….or do they blame the cleaners!

  112. Perry Gretton

    The entire business of having lights left on overnight, regardless of which department or corporation is responsible, pisses me off. It’s not difficult to install systems that turn off lights when no-one is on the floor.

  113. Suzanne Blake

    @ Perry Gretton

    Agree. Its the same when they do live crosses to stockbroker trading rooms at 6.45am and there are two people there , and the screens on in the background, as people did not turn them off overnight.

    There are systems to turn lights off. I can remember Corporate life decades ago, the last to leave the floor, turned the lights off.

    Greg Combet wants landlords and people selling houses / units to get a green certificate – the 20th new or increased Labor tax, and look at the example he sets.

  114. Peter Ormonde

    Speaking of waste …. Suzanne, please let me know which parts of “the Muslim overseas community” I don’t understand. How’s your urdu?

    Now we’ll add that $45 million to your revised Abbott Budget ….you remember the easy simple overnight cuts of $70 billion you were boasting about last week … only $60,955,000 to go … come on woman you’re almost into the home stretch.

    Goodness, is this “foresnic audiographer” really the best the Tories can put up?

  115. Suzanne Blake

    @ Peter Ormonde

    Some Muslim groups in Middle East and Indonesia insist on “24 hour meat” Why, I do not know.

    With regard to your little game. I am very confident, I could find the $70b savings, given the right tools. Yes, lots of public servants would play the Yes Minister game.

    As you recall, Defence has been asked to find $20b in savings alone. Thats from the LABOR Minister. I believe I could find at least $30b there alone.

    I would be out of Afghanistan by November, how much would that save?

  116. AR

    SuzyB I could find the $70b savings, on the evidence of your posts you couldn’t find your nose with both hands and a compass.

  117. Schnappi

    How can one believe SUZANNE BLAKE as in another column she said the PM was finished as gutter press bolt had a stat dec that would finish the PM.The bolt statdec and media person was the acholic glenn milne who tried to dredge up a 16 year old allegation ,shows the PM has got them worried if that is the best they can do,The australian had to eat humble pie and withdaw the gutter article and apoligise to the PM,”Oh How Sweet It Is”also bolt eventually had to reluctantly withdaw his garbage blog,and has made his usual dumb remark,which is not worth reporting.

  118. Peter Ormonde

    You got any evidence for that assertion about 24 hour meet at all…Indonesia or the Middle East (Big Place that) … I’d even accept a piece by “Alan” Bolt (top scoop there by the way Boltie!) I’ve actually never encountered this fresh kill requirement anywhere where refrigeration is an option but let me know … I could be wrong.

    As for needing the right tools for the “simple and obvious” job of ripping $70 Billion out of the Budget, I have sent you links to the full Budget Papers for 2010-2011…. this seems to be enough information for mere economists and Treasury Officials (and whoever can count past 10 in the Opposition)…. perhaps a “foresnic” audiographer thingo needs more detail.

    Believe you could find another $30 billion in Defence? Good – I’ll add that to the list…. The only thing I can find on Australian Defence cuts proposed is $4.3 billion over 5 years. Give me a reference for that one …. man at the bus stop again?

    I can’t believe they pay you for this tripe.

  119. Suzanne Blake

    @ Peter Ormonde

    The $20b defence savings is not new. “The entire Strategic Reform Program is expected to save Defence $20 billion”. Google it.

    Certain Muslims want the 24 hour, not the lot. Its to do with the special Halal method, not the freshness etc.

  120. Peter Ormonde

    Sooz…

    The Strategic Reform Program will reduce forward estimates of expenditure by $20 billion by 2030… they might not have done this sort of thing in your fornesic audiographist course but what it means is that instead of annual spending increases each year of say 3-5% they will grow by only 2%. Not spending cuts Sooz… less increases.

    Ah yes “Certain Muslims” – I’ve heard of them… I think I read about them on Andrew Bolt’s Storehouse of Knowledge website …. bit more detail please …. anything at all… where these “Certain Muslims” come from? a reference, a note and article anything that says “Certain Muslims demand 24 hour kill meat” … anything at all???

    Strewth… puerile nonsense… “facts” made up to suit… gossip… man at the bus stop…. stop making it up … you’re getting as delusional as Troofie: Tell the truth, say things you can back up, stop making things up. It’s just silly – wastes your time and ours.

  121. green-orange

    It’s got nothing to do with Islam, they also prefer fresh beef in The Phillipines (Catholic) and Thailand (Buddhist).

    It’s to do with the cooking ; they don’t hang the carcase – they cut it up straight away, so the meat’s as tough as an old boot.
    Hanged meat has a less “bright” flavour.

    You can get frozen beef all over Indonesia, so that renders your claim nonsense.


    The live animal trade exists solely to undercut local labour and processing standards, and in the case of sheep, as a market for old wool sheep that cannot be sold here for human consumption.

  122. Gederts Skerstens

    Getting back to the basic question, why Governments everywhere are under siege:
    They aren’t Governments. They’re currently groups of activists, with taxpayer-funded legal and media helpers.
    A Government requires the rule of the citizenry. A Monarchy doesn’t, nor some tribal arrangement. But a Government does.
    The Japanese may have started to make it clearer, a couple of days ago.
    What operates, what finally matters, is what The Most Of Us think. Not the Yappers on the BBC, ABC or Al Jazeera. The guys in Libya are operating outside of BBC guidelines, regardless of what concessions, excuses or explanations the microphone-holders have for every Grotesque, from Colonel Daffy to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot to Mugabe.
    Governments under Siege pretty much describes it: a small force defending the castle against great armies.
    Here’s the solution: The whole Castle Garrison pisses off, with all its Advisors, Media Studies Analysts, Indigenous Sustainabilty B.S. Artists, takes its Grants, Endowments, Peace Prizes, Book awards and Emeritus Professorships to the Bahamas, say, and peacefully leaves the Castle to the Citizens.

  123. Jimmy

    “What operates, what finally matters, is what The Most Of Us think. ” That is true when is comes to an election but it does not mean that only popular policies should be implemented.
    The majority of people were against the GST (howard actually lost the popular vote at that election) but if you compare the pre GST corporate and Income tax rates with the current ones you will see how beneficial it has been.
    The same can be said for almost all big reforms, unpopular when they were introduced but shown to be positive once implemented, if govet’s had only done what was popular we would be a lot worse off.

  124. Ian

    Suzanne,

    If you are looking for savings by getting out of Afghanistan better not count on Abbot to do that for you.

    Mind you, you won’t get Abbott-lite Gillard doing that either. Beats me as to why on earth we feel we need to help the Empire cling on over there at the expense not only of money but lives – other peoples lives of course.

  125. Gederts Skerstens

    Some of these Comments are quite likable.
    Thoughtfull, Reasonable.

Leave a comment

Advertisement

https://www.crikey.com.au/2011/08/23/on-the-trail-of-the-persecuted-what-motivates-the-parl-house-rallies/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

Free Trial form on Pop Up

Free Trial form on Pop Up
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.