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...

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

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.

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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


    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.

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