Years ago, when The Australian was getting increasingly desperate in its war against the ABC, op-ed editor Tom Switzer ran a few stories by Paul Gray, an unctuous Christian from the Herald Sun, laying into Aunty for its secular nihilism. This was the time when Channel Ten was running Big Brother Uncut and Law and Order: SVU (“Whadda we got, Elliot?” “Netball team, s-domised and decapitated.” “A-gain?”). Gray’s objections, beyond The Chaser etc, eventually boiled down to a crime drama which centred around a married affair — proof the ABC wasn’t “family-centred”.

Switzer wisely wound the series up after that, and the record for most pathetically contrived culture war appeared destined never to be broken. But now we have a new winner, and in the same spot — Alan Oxley, in yesterday’s Ozlaunching into the Greens for “vilifying” their opponents from their smug base of certainty. The evidence for this? Greens leader Christine Milne said the Australian Forestry Standard was “not credible” and “not respected”.

Anything else? No, that was it. Apparently Milne “railed” — that is, said these words — while arguing in favour of a different scheme. This is simply expressing a forthright point of view, essential to democratic debate, yes? No, according to Oxley, disagreeing with something you disagree with is, well, something more sinister. “In my opinion, the denunciation by the Greens of those who take a different path smacks of McCarthyism.”

I could quote George Brandis calling Greens Nazis, the endless talk of “greenshirts”, Julia Gillard saying Greens don’t love their families, and everything written about Lee Rhiannon, but why bother? (I could also quote an article from The Age, during the height of the late ’90s anti-capitalist wave, which said that everyone in the movement wanted a North Korean slave state. It was written by … oh, Alan Oxley.)

Really, it’s too pathetic. If this is all The Oz now has, it may be best to wrap up the war. Meanwhile, Alan, take some rescue remedy, eat some Norgen-Vaaz, watch The Notebook, and cry your eyes out — it’s going to get a lot tougher out there. 

Peter Fray

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