Some Home Truths

There are some things which are true, and some which are not. There are many things which are debatable, or contentious, or even undecided. But the true things will always be true. Our media habitually believes that stupid, nonsensical, or just plain wrong opinions deserve to be treated with the same weight as those things which are true.

Let us take vaccination as an example. Vaccination is always beneficial, and anyone who disagrees needs to have a tin-foil hat fitted. Their opinion is wrong, every day of the week, and whenever a modern citizen is exposed to measles, or some other disease of your choice, the blame lies squarely with whomever is not vaccinated, or their parents. Because the vaccination (2 doses) prevents infection in 99% of cases.

The Port Arthur mass shooting did occur. I cannot believe that anyone truly believes that it did not happen, but if they do they are wrong. So no time should be spent on allowing people who wilfully believe untruths, to be heard. They are wrong, and they’re wasting our time.

Climate change is happening. Don’t ask me, ask the climate scientists who study the matter. Between 90 and 100% of those scientists agree climate change is happening, and it is caused by human action. But perhaps even more compelling is the opinion of global insurance companies. They don’t usually entertain fairy stories, so when they start to factor climate change into their calculations of premiums payable on property, you know the grown-ups are convinced. And they have been convinced for at least 15 years.

When a politician claims to deny climate change, don’t believe him or her. They believe, but they are using their powers to block remedial action, for base political purposes. They are actually betting our future generations’ lives, on the base ambition of hanging on to power.

Remember when same sex marriage was seen as the gateway to all sorts of moral and sexual dangers. I think the possibility of bestiality was even floated, by a wild-eyed zealot. It is clear that the community supports the concept of same sex marriage, hence the overwhelming vote in support. Most of us support the notion of couples who wish to marry, no matter their names, or genders. Who else’s business is it, anyway?

So why are we still listening to the voices of the hysterical, who seem to think they are vulnerable to random outbreaks of homosexual lust, or even the terrific humiliation of having to bake a cake, which might have a representation of two people, of the same sex, in the icing. It might just be their names, not even an image. Mercy me!

Should I ever be elected to a position of unreasonable power, I would mandate that homophobic bakers must bake one homo-cake annually, upon pain of having to watch The Rocky Horror Show on high rotation.

There are certain things that right-thinking people know to be true. People fleeing persecution deserve to be treated with humanity and dignity, for as long as it takes to adjudicate their cases.

The only difference between people fleeing their homelands, by boat or by airplane, is that the boat arrival was much harder, and probably more expensive, in both blood and money. So there is no reason to discriminate between them.

People who, by virtue of their circumstances, or their health, or their level of education, or their exposure to childhood trauma, or by the very fact that they are unemployed, or affected by addictions, or their age, or even where they live, are entitled to be treated as all citizens are entitled to be treated. So throw away robo-debt, increase Newstart, stop the rorts in the Job Centres, and actually create some real jobs.

Stop wasting money on private schools. If you’re too good for public schools, or your kids are, then pay for your own education. And for everybody’s sake, please stop allowing churches to pay no tax.

A couple of words sum it up: Humanity and dignity. So any government who treats the disadvantaged unkindly, and without respect, deserves to be thrown on the scrapheap of history. We do not live in a jungle, we live in a society, one which we have spent a long time shaping. I was once proud of the type of society we built.

These days, with our neo-cons, our so-called libertarians, our dry economists, we have lost the plot. Balanced budgets, when we have over 100,000 homeless people, are a disgrace. We pay taxes for a reason. We want services, and we want our leaders to act for the common good. That is what the word “Commonwealth” means.

The last ‘known known’ on my list is that power corrupts. We need transparency, and any politician who denies us the right to see the workings of our governments, is immediately suspect. They must be hiding something, if they won’t let us, their employers, see what they’re doing.

Three Rich White Guys From Sydney – 1. Tony Abbott

I contend that this country has been cheapened, degraded and trivialised by the three individuals who have occupied the Big Chair over the last five, nearly six years.

First of all we had Tony Abbott. That sentence is almost enough, because we all roll our eyes, and we have visions of the guy in way too small bathing costumes, the rictus of his smile, him eating an onion like an apple. But these are relatively benign matters, of taste rather than substance.

His transgressions against the body politic are beyond mere actions which can be reversed one day – they are of the soul, of the health of our collective psyches, of our belief in decency and truth. They are the sickness of seeing someone who cannot possibly believe what he says, and yet he says it. Even if he is contradicting himself. Even if he is arguing that he never said it, when we have definitive proof.

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions,no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.” Jan 30, 2014.

That seems to be fairly clear. But his successor (Malcolm Turnbull) claimed that he did not say it, of if he did, he didn’t mean it. I am paraphrasing, but to quote Malcolm Turnbull is a tedious process, because after he has covered any and all possible contingencies in the statement, one is in danger of expiring due to old age, or boredom, or possibly both.

Tony Abbott led the least successful government since the 1960s, if we judge governments by their ONE JOB, passing legislation. He also forced his successor to take the issue of same sex marriage to an expensive plebiscite, thus again forcing the government to avoid their ONE AND ONLY JOB!

Tony Abbott’s failures are so numerous that we forget how terrible he was, and embarrassing. Remember his comment where he confused “suppositories” with “depository”; why did he make that mistake? He is a Rhodes Scholar, with degrees in Economics and Law, and a Master of Arts from Oxford. I can only ask who was on that selection panel.

And don’t forget Prince Philip as an Australian knight. As I said in an earlier post, Abbott is the gift who keeps on giving.

Fraser Anning – Aiming high

Fraser Anning is famous, because more than a million Australians want(ed) him removed from Parliament. This is quite an achievement, because a grand total of nineteen, yes, 19 people voted for him originally. So he is way better at getting people to detest him than he is at getting people to like him. You could call it a gift.

How did Anning become a senator?

He is the real Bradbury candidate, as he replaced Malcolm Roberts in the Senate, after Malcolm was tossed out for being a dual citizen. Remember Malcolm Roberts, and sigh. Fraser Anning makes Malcolm Roberts look like a Rhodes Scholar, and a renaissance man, in comparison.

Anyway, although he had been one of Pauline Hanson’s candidates in the election, he immediately resigned from her party as soon as he was installed in the senate. He was ‘vouched for’ by Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm. (Talk about buyer’s remorse). His next move was to join Bob Katter’s party, but even Bob seems to have seen enough, and he expelled Anning from his party two months later. Bob Katter expelled him for extreme views. Don’t laugh – this is serious.

At the time of Anning’s elevation to our House of Review he was also facing bankruptcy legal action from a bank. The action was subsequently withdrawn, opening the way for Fraser’s stellar parliamentary career. I do not know why the proceedings were withdrawn. (On March 16, 2019 he was declared bankrupt, so the bank might have re-commenced proceedings.)

So to recap, he has been voted for by nineteen people, he is then vouched for by Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm, then he is expelled from Pauline Hanson’s party, and then from Bob Katter’s party, and then, to finish off a great year, he blames the victims of the Christchurch massacre for their own murders. He actually said that the murders were the result of “the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate”.

We need the major parties to reform the Senate. Immediately. And we need a system where we can respect our elected representatives. So that means actually passing legislation; you know, the one job they are elected for.

Tony Abbott Will Never Be Prime Minister (Again)

One of my daughters, a wise young head, when describing certain individuals of less than stellar intelligence, uses the phrase “he (or she) will never be Prime Minister”. It is a curiously descriptive phrase, because it says everything about limits, of intelligence, of ambition, of drive, of the ability to think conceptually, to radiate warmth, to believe in service to our community …

Of course it relies on an old fashioned sense that, had we personally really tried, perhaps we could have done anything as well; but then reality steps in, and we realise that our time is past. But contained within the idea is an admiration for those who did possess those attributes, those character traits which, for good or evil, elevated them above their peers.

Tony Abbott Got through the Character Check

A closer look at some of those who DID make it to Prime Minister, however, is a cause for concern. Let us consider Tony Abbott as a recent exemplar of people who achieved arguably the highest office in the land, and yet they seem to embody the phrase “he’ll never be Prime Minister”.

Tony Abbott has a ‘highlights package‘ which is truly impressive. Of course we use the phrase ironically, because there is a curious consensus that he, over twenty five years in parliament, really had no highlights, but more a dazzling array of cringe-worthy moments, piled on top of each other. Here are some of his more horrifying efforts, any of which should have torpedoed his career, and yet he defied the gods.

Tony Abbott’s Highlights Package

  • explaining that much of what he said should be disregarded or disbelieved, unless it was carefully prepared and scripted
  • describing Australia prior to European arrival/invasion as “nothing but bush” and following up by describing Aborigines living in remote communities as having made a “lifestyle choice”
  • being voted the world’s worst ever Health Minister (although Peter Dutton has put in a late bid to contest that award)
  • listening to an elderly woman calling in on talk-back radio, who explained that the only job she could obtain, to earn extra cash so as to mitigate cuts to her health care, was working on an adult sex-line. Tony winked at the host, presumably a variant on “ooh-la-la”
  • rejecting a meeting with a dying asbestos victim, who wanted to present a petition asking for subsidies to be paid on medications for their condition, on the grounds that the man was not necessarily “pure of heart”
  • destroying any chance of Australia having an adult conversation about climate change, and sabotaging our response to it, for nearly a decade now, by removing a carbon price, and describing the science as “absolute crap” and exercising his control of the troglodytes in the Liberal Party, years after being removed to the back bench
  • his seemingly inexhaustible number of ways of describing women’s engagement with the world as being tied to domestic chores like ironing, and looking after the household budget, and sometimes having ‘sex appeal’
  • the classic video clip of him being unable to speak, on live television, to justify his “sometimes shit happens” remark, when discussing the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan
  • his re-introduction of knighthoods into Australian life, with the inaugural gong going to Prince Philip of Great Britain
  • his remarkable take on immigration, where he surmised that Jesus would understand that not everyone can find a place in Australia. This was a surprise, as Jesus died almost eighteen hundred years before Australia even existed
  • his openly stated fear of homosexuality, even though his sister is openly gay
  • his insistence on a postal ballot legalising gay marriage, even after he had been deposed from the Prime Ministership, and which cost $122 million
  • University of Sydney psychologists found that the increased exposure to negative messaging during the long and divisive debate on gay marriage caused “psychological distress” for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

What Will Unfold For Tony Abbott in Retirement?

The most distressing thing about this remarkable list is that it barely scrapes the surface of his hopeless quarter century in public life. But there is another disturbing aspect to this situation. Now that he has been removed from office, I would be willing to bet that some awful sinecure will be found for him, at the public’s expense, so that he can continue to blunder along, and after enough time has elapsed, he will retire with honours and accolades, as an ex-Prime Minister.

But despair not. This is to be an occasional series of ruminations on the performances by Australia’s leaders, and how they appear to be, as a group, uniquely unsuited to leadership. Consider some of the names – John, Kevin, Malcolm, Scott. Wow! But at least we missed a bullet when Peter (Dutton) failed. And to the conspiracy theorists out there who think I left Julia out of that list of no-hopers, I did. At least she actually did her job, which was to LEGISLATE.