I have a particular contempt for those who seek to demonise vulnerable minorities for their own gain. It must take a singular level of conceit and lack of empathy.
With characters like Hanson, Palmer, Dutton and Katter already inhabiting the Australian political … this particular niche is getting pretty crowded, but the rising (or perhaps sinking) frontrunner in this moral race to the bottom could be Fraser Anning.
I’ve been reluctant to write much about his deliberately provocative exploits in the past because I didn’t want to give him any kind of publicity, but after his illogical and appalling response to the Christchurch attack, we are past that. Anyone still supporting him is not going to be swayed by anything I say- even if I stick to mono-syllabic words.
So how do we judge his supporters?
Scott Morrison may believe compassion is some kind of affliction, but I believe it is important; just as I believe its absence is a character flaw. And like anyone with any compassion, I was obviously happy to see the Phelps Amendment passed yesterday.
But having said that, it is quite a limited and conservative amendment really. My happiness was certainly tempered by the fact that there is still much more that needs to be done; and even more so by the government response in the following 24 hours.
Still, it is at least a start. I must say I had little faith in them, but I have to give some credit to Shorten and the ALP for not buckling in the face of sustained and deceitful public pressure from the government cheerleaders in the Murdoch Press.
The aftermath of the recent sexual assault and murder of a young woman in Melbourne is depressingly familiar.
Most reasonable people feel anger, sadness or both as we mourn and reflect on the fact that the innocent victim could just as easily have been someone close to us. That's how you react if you have a shred of empathy anyway. There is a very different reaction from a small but vocal segment of society that is just as familiar.
This smug and clichéd response is used almost universally by all manner of MRAs, alt-right edgelords and old-fashioned chauvinists (or at least the half of them that can manage three-syllable words) in response to almost any criticism from a woman.
The trouble is, it’s not.
There is a huge ideological gulf between misandrists and the type of submissive women these men seem to want to see in society. Most women occupy the space in between, where they are not afraid to call out unacceptable behaviour of an individual, but have no problem with the male gender as a whole.
“Fraser Anning charges taxpayers to try to legitimise neo-Nazis,” is barely a sensational headline. Nothing about Anning’s appearance at the hate rally in St Kilda is surprising. Given he faces a crowded field for the racist vote, he had to do something to separate himself from Hanson, Katter and even the LNP, so I suspect he views the angry response as positive publicity.
Anning’s attendance at the rally wasn’t the whole story of the day though. I feel there are some other noteworthy points that have been overshadowed and are worthy of more attention.
As the calamitous country-sized dumpster fire that is the Trump Presidency burns ever higher and more bizarre, it is notable that there are fewer MAGA-chanting misanthropes basking in its warmth.
On both sides of the Pacific, there were a number of commentators who celebrated Trump’s ascension to America’s Commander-in-Chief, (whilst ignoring his blatant racism, sexism, dishonesty, stupidity, nepotism and other faults) as a victory for right wing populism and a black eye for progressive politics. With their hypocrisy writ large and the benefit of hindsight, these cheers must seem embarrassing now to all bet the most ardent Trump supporter.
Our Prime Minister is truly a vile caricature of humanity.
Remember ScumMo’s claim that he prayed and wept over the fate of refugees in offshore detention? Or his professed willingness to work to at least evacuate the children in the lead up to the Wentworth by-election. He doesn’t seem so upset about it now does he?
But while refugees may seem a whole lot less human to the government now that Wentworth has been lost, they are still just as human and are suffering no less than before. Medical reports from countless agencies are truly shocking!
Kerryn Phelps and the crossbench haven’t forgotten though. And while it’s taken a long time, we are finally seeing tiny signs of compassion and backbone on this issue from the ALP, instead of the supine grovelling to racists that has dominated the last ten years of immigration policy.
I didn’t really want to add to the hyperbolic reaction to the Tasmanian Government’s recent changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act, but it seems like people are going to keep talking about it in either a disingenuous or plain ignorant fashion so I want to put a few thoughts out.
Firstly, to my knowledge, I have never needed to use by birth certificate to prove my gender. If my gender was not recorded on my birth certificate, it would have made zero difference to my life. But if you were transgender person, and one who had already had to endure years of suspicion, derision and hostility to your true sex, wouldn’t it be nice to not have that detail recorded where you can’t change it?
Unless a cisgender individual has had to use their birth certificate to prove their gender, I can’t see how they can credibly argue that removing the detail from it will have a negative impact on children in the future.
Unless of course they do have an agenda and have no problem with lacking credibility...
I’ve seen a lot of outrage about Bunnings sausages this week and admittedly much of it is tongue in cheek or confected to fit a narrative about political correctness or safety consciousness in the modern are, but it did get me thinking just how ready we are to get outraged and make a public fuss about things in this country…
Except of course for the things we should be outraged about.
I can’t understand why every Australian isn’t sickened and ashamed of the deliberate mistreatment inflicted on refugees in offshore detention in our name. We all should be.
I normally try to write these posts in a more measured and neutral tone but I’m just too angry for that. In the 21st century, the issue of not keeping children innocent of any crime in indefinite detention should not even be up for debate. Obviously we should be getting #kidsoffnauru. All prisoners should be evacuated from offshore detention.
UNHCR has confirmed that a vast majority of the people we have condemned to these offshore gulags are refugees. Every NGO, UN body and even our own senate inquiries have confirmed that the situation is dire and unacceptable, but all our government is concerned with is silencing whistle-blowers who have seen this disaster of neglect firsthand.
What does Mark Latham stand for?
Mark Latham and Pauline Hanson are eminently deserving of each other. That is in no way a compliment of either but is no less true. They are two characters of very little integrity or worth, who only receive the attention they do by virtue of their
So with Latham finally confirming rumours of his joining the One Notion Party (and immediately not turning up to his first appearance), it will be interesting to see what happens next.
To be fair, if it doesn’t last long, it will be entirely consistent with One Notion’s track record of keeping members (I’ve lost count of the number of senators and branch members who have either quit or been expelled in the last couple of years).
But is does raise the question of what does Mark Latham actually stand for.
I really thought every sports journo and attention-starved former cricketing ‘personality’ had squeezed every bit of blood out of the ball tapering saga from South Africa earlier in the year. Surely there wasn’t that much more to be said.
It turns out I was wrong. There was a little bit more to be said, mostly contained within the Longstaff Review into Australian Cricket and then a whole lot more of the same recriminations an debate being regurgitated for a second time.
The findings that seems to ‘shock’ people the most is that Cricket Australia came to adopt a win at all costs approach. Why does this even surprise people?
Based on content of much of this site, it would probably be a fair assumption that I spend a fair amount of time talking about politics with friends and family. For the most part, it would also be wrong. In fact, when I said I wanted to see what had happened in Wentworth, the person I said it too thought I was talking about the TV series of the same name for a moment.
But I did pay a bit of attention to the events of the Wentworth by-election and had a few observations to make.
Credit where credit is due. The newest version of Scott Morrison being presented to the public appears to be well-chosen. Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise considering his carer in advertising, but ScoMo (or more appropriately ScumMo) has certainly been received favourably in many corners of the media and finds something of a happy medium (providing you can stomach inhumanity towards refugees and enslavement of the coal industry of course) just by having neither Turnbull’s patronising verbosity or Abbott’s oafish self-caricature- but that is a pretty low bar to judge success on.
For as long as I can remember being involved in distance running, I have always had terrible trouble sleeping the night before an event. One of the first races I really set myself for was the Bruny Island Ultra in 2014 and I can still remember lying awake for hours, nervously thinking about all the things that could go wrong. I finally did fall asleep, but only for a few hours, only to wake hours before my alarm and after a fruitless period trying to get back to sleep, I eventually got up an hour earlier than planned.
Not much has changed in the intervening years. No matter how well prepared I am or how early I go to sleep, it always takes forever for sleep to arrive. And without fail, I always wake well before my alarm with no chance of getting back to sleep.
But the night before my most recent race at this year's Sydney Marathon, something was different.
A little spoiler alert- for once I’m not talking about fatherhood (much as I would love to digress onto that topic once more).
I thought I dealt with a disappointing failure on the Gold Coast (no I didn’t meet Malcolm Turnbull- I just ran really badly in the marathon). I was relatively at peace with the missed opportunity and managed to put the lingering sense of disappointment behind me fairly quickly.
I should also show some self-awareness and remember not to over catastrophise too. I have referred to this race at various times as a set-back, a disappointment and even a disaster. I must acknowledge that compared to true misfortunes that befall everyone at different times in life, my experience on the Gold Coast was pretty trivial- especially in a year that has been unbelievably good to me. But that didn’t make me feel any better about the actual experience at the time.
One of the oldest tricks going around for making people accept a bad outcome is the bait and switch strategy of offering a truly awful alternative first so that the slightly less awful second option is received with a certain measure of relief.
I was reminded of this last week after the Coalition leadership spill. For a brief moment in history, it seemed as though the next Australian Prime Minister could be the singularly unworthy Peter Dutton.
As I would rather see him on trial in the Hague than governing from the Lodge, this was obviously a pretty damning moment in Australia’s history, so I have to admit to a fleeting sense of relief that his attempted coup blew up in his face.
But it was only fleeting.
A few thoughts about Dutton's leadership challenge.
Firstly let me state plainly, the man is a first order creep and singularly undeserving of the title (not that his recent predecessors have set a high bar there). He is an unrepentant liar and dog-whistler who was a failure as health minister and a monster as immigration minister.
His shamefully deceptive claims that he removed children from detention several years ago are particularly hard to stomach. Especially as a 12-year-old detainee who has spent years in Nauru was flown to Australia for medical treatment in the same week. There are still over 100 children held in overseas detention at his behest. Dutton does not care for children.
Politicians of all persuasions spoke out pretty hard against racism the day after Fraser Anning’s “Final Solution” speech to the senate (although most conservative senators including Cormann, Bernardi, Canovan and Mckenzie offered the senate’s newest pariah handshakes and even embraces directly after he spoke so let’s not kid ourselves as to how outraged they were).
The backlash did answer a question I never knew I wanted answered: “What is too racist for Pauline Hanson?” Apparently, the answer is Fraser Anning appropriating holocaust language, although I wonder if Hanson’s attack is more about diminishing a competitor for the racist vote mixed with some spite at Anning’s defection from her One Notion Party.
But so they should have spoken out. Much of Anning’s speech was repulsive. But for all the eloquence, bipartisanship and passion of these public denouncements; there was a fair-sized elephant in the room yesterday whilst they occurred.
Surely the lies people use to defend Pauline Hanson have stretched beyond breaking point.
In the wake of idiotic statements about immigration, the Great Barrier Reef, the dangers of vaccines and her laughable taxation policy, Hanson supporter inevitably reply that at least she calls things how she sees them and you can actually trust her.
But can you?
This year she has come out strongly in favour of the government’s irresponsible tax cuts for the rich, then announced her party would not support them (losing a senator as a result) before supporting them anyway. How can anyone watching say that her word is any more trustworthy than those of her supposedly 'more deceitful' parliamentary colleagues.
An even bigger and more harmful lie that is perpetuated by facile commercial media is her claim that she stands for battlers and low-income families.
The long drawn out by-elections are nearly upon us. Super Saturday! Seriously, could I be less excited about anything in my life? Considering how close it is to the next election, would it have really hurt to leave those seats vacant for a few more months and just contest them as part of the general election? I know we can’t do that, but it does seem an awful fuss about nothing, not to mention a terrible waste of time and money for the people involved.
Despite what we will be told by people whose job it is to scrutinise the minutiae of daily political developments in Canberra, A poor showing by Labor does little more than increase the Coalition’s wafer-thin majority. But a stronger majority doesn’t make it any easier to pass legislation than a small one.
Okay it didn’t feel glorious by the end, but I challenged myself to go that bit harder from the start in the recent Gold Coast Marathon, hoping to set a big PB. It didn’t work out.
I felt amazing for the first half marathon and was running a pretty slick pace (for me), but I blew up badly and got progressively slower and more uncomfortable the longer the race went.
Instead of the PB I had envisaged I ended up coming in a lot slower than my previous best efforts- slower than I have run for the past 18 months- despite being on track to smash it at half way.