Reporting the new paradigm

The Australian claims that Labor suffered an “embarrassing defeat” yesterday in the House of Representatives.

An amendment to standing orders, which enables members to speak to a motion to recommit a vote when a member has been unavoidably absent was ironically won by the Coalition when Tanya Plibersek, who is pregnant and close to term, didn’t vote. Christopher Pyne explained that debating such motions would enable the House to determine whether members had a serious reason for not voting.

By contrast, it was reported neutrally in the Fairfax press.

But, speaking of Fairfax, an otherwise informative article by Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald makes the mistake of calculating the possible numbers given the lack of a pairing arrangement for the Speaker as if Bob Katter were permanently in the Opposition camp. He’s not: he’s been voting with Labor quite a bit. It seems difficult for some journos to grasp the full implications of the fact that cross-bench MPs have not effectively signed up to one side or other by virtue of agreeing to vote a certain way on confidence and supply.

In any case, Katter made it quite clear that he would be inclined to support the government’s continuance. His preference for Tony Abbott to form a government was on the basis of the specific offer on his electorate’s concerns, not some sort of defacto return to the Coalition ranks.

Similarly, most articles on the first Question Time expressed some sort of cynical surprise that political points were still being scored. I don’t think anyone seriously expected that a more consultative and deliberative Parliament would see politics abolished. Yet that’s the frame applied.

Elsewhere: Tim Dunlop.

Update: A correction. The Fairfax story was based on misreporting by AAP I’m informed. Plibersek was paired as was Crean.


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82 responses to “Reporting the new paradigm”

  1. Mercurius

    Other reporting on the New Paradigm from Murdoch and Your ABC hacks:

    – Abbott’s brilliant second place proves he’s the real winner
    – Moses Red Sea fiasco drowns Egyptian charioteers
    – Immunisation rorts: billions wasted, nobody sick

    etc.

  2. Chris

    Kim – Abbott claimed that Plibersek was paired so that wasn’t the reason that the government lost the vote. I guess someone could look at the video to see exactly what happened.

    The defeats will get a lot less embarrassing as they occur more often and the public gets used to the new situation. In this case I think we’ve ended up with better rules and it should be seen as beneficial to the governance of Australia.

  3. Hal9000

    I see Abbott is still pursuing the ‘teh Labor Government has no legitimacy’ line. This is really quite incendiary stuff, with a real potential to destabilise the political system, presuming the media continues to parrot his lines.

    A consumer of the msm learns, then, that the government (and presumably the laws it enacts) is illegitimate, and that the judiciary is out of touch and pro-criminal. Surely it’s time for a strong leader who can set things to right.

    I’ve just been reading Antony Beevor’s revised book on the Spanish Civil War, so perhaps I’m unduly worried. The degree that the stability of the system depends on goodwill and trust is often forgotten, and always ignored in media reporting. The constitution is silent on most of the detail about how the system works, but even if it weren’t, functioning still depends largely on goodwill. Many of the Libs actually understand this, so I suspect the troops will be getting more restive than is being reported.

  4. Katz

    As I write, Andrew Wilkie is making his maiden speech. He said he will speak on Iraq.

    Here is a little drop of Glenn Milne poison:

    Former intelligence officers can’t stand him. They say that when he went public on the Iraq War it was on the basis of intelligence that was shared with 23 other intelligence officers on a “your eyes only” basis. They say the other 23 came to precisely the opposite conclusion to Wilkie.

    History proved Wilkie right. But that is not the point say former colleagues. In the words of one:

    “When you sign on for the ‘intelligence services’, you commit to serving your country and ‘the cone of silence’. It was not my job to agree with government. It was my job to serve the government. I was never privy to all the reasons why a government embarked on a particular course of action and nor should I have been. They were the government. I was a public servant. Everyone who enters the intelligence services knows that. Wilkie broke that code when he publicly spoke about ‘no evidence for weapons of mass destruction’. He was and still is despised within the intelligence services. No-one within the services will ever be public about it, but you can take it as read. He is despised in the intelligence community, even by those who may have shared his opinion about WOMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction).”

    Hang onto your hats.

  5. Diogenes

    Katz @7

    The following words from one of Wilkie’s former colleagues are a classic example of what an ostraciser would say:

    Wilkie broke that code when he publicly spoke about ‘no evidence for weapons of mass destruction’. He was and still is despised within the intelligence services. No-one within the services will ever be public about it, but you can take it as read. He is despised in the intelligence community, even by those who may have shared his opinion about WOMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction).”

    http://www.psychologyinfo.com/DrHorwatt/ostracism.htm

    Ostracism is the actions of individuals or groups that ignore, exclude or reject others. Ostracism is intended to deprive the target of the sense of belonging. It has been called “social death.”

    There are several motives for ostracism: punishment for the violation of a social norm or rule is one.

  6. Gummo Trotsky

    History proved Wilkie right. But that is not the point…

    ROFLMAO!

  7. Katz

    Yes, Diogenes.

    Those words are also an attempted apologia for committing war crimes.

    Perhaps Milne’s uncredited source hasn’t heard of the Nuremberg War Trials.

  8. Patricia WA

    So who is likely to break the code of silence to publicly support Milne’s assertions about their solidarity in sharing an opinion that history has proved wrong? No wonder they loathe Wilkie!

  9. Martin B

    I am drawn to the resonances involved in the unnamed source saying that we should believe, without evidence, a claim about a man who blew the whistle on statements without evidence.

    No-one within the services will ever be public about it, but you can take it as read.

  10. Andos

    From the Hansard; Oakeshott, Windsor and Crook voted with the Opposition, while Katter, Bandt and Wilkie voted with the Government.

    The idea that the Government needs 75 votes to win any division is a furphy. All it needs is more ‘Ayes’ than ‘Noes’ (or in this case, vice-versa). As we can see from this vote, in a tight division it’s really going to depend on whether the each cross-bencher sides with the Opposition or Government or chooses to abstain. The reality is the mechanics of the House are much more nuanced and complicated than the whole 76-74 seats result on Sept. 7th that most media was so obsessed with.

    With such breathless reporting of a ‘Government in crisis’ and such (and with the instant gratification required by us Twitterers), it seems that we might get a bit of erroneous reporting as shown by the AAP story yesterday.

  11. Katz

    So who is likely to break the code of silence to publicly support Milne’s assertions about their solidarity in sharing an opinion that history has proved wrong? No wonder they loathe Wilkie!

    Yes indeed, PWA.

    The only conclusion that can be sustained is that these intelligence insiders believe that their primary function is to use taxpayers funds to construct lies for the purposes of misleading taxpayers and other citizens.

    Here is the fetish of secrecy and the cult of leadership exposed in all its putrescent evil.

    Glenn Milne should be commended for revealing it, even if he didn’t mean to.

  12. Don Wigan

    A very pathetic effort by Milne.

    Whatever his faults, it is very hard to describe Wilkie’s actions as anything but full of integrity. He resigned before he said a word.

    Aside from Wlikie voicing his view, that there was no evidence of WMD (confirmed as Milne ultimately admits), he did not respond to the smear promulgated by Bolt, presumably from a political source, because to do so would have breached security.

    It does seem to be taking the media a while to catch up with the new paradigm.

  13. Sam

    you commit to serving your country and ‘the cone of silence’

    As all Get Smart fans will know, the ongoing joke about the cone of silence was that it didn’t work.

  14. Gummo Trotsky

    I wonder if the intelligence community is equally contemptuous of the unnamed source who leaked Wilkie’s report on Iraq to Andrew Bolt?

  15. Wozza

    I see.

    So what we have concluded on this thread so far is that, if a member of the intelligence community, even if it involves disclosing information he has received in complete confidence and even if he is outnumbered 22 to 1 by colleagues who disagree 100% with his interpretation of this information, he is a man of integrity and great wisdom for spilling it to the media.

    Whereas if the Leader of the Opposition, whose job description involves something like, er, opposing the Government, voices views widely supported publicly and which involve breaching no confidences, and these upset the Government, he is an idiot and it is the bounden duty of the media to close ranks behind the Government and not report him.

    Got it.

  16. Sam

    even if he is outnumbered 22 to 1 by colleagues who disagree 100% with his interpretation of this information

    Or so says that Reporter of Record, Glenn Milne(!), based on anonymous second hand information.

    information he has received in complete confidence

    I take it, Wozza, you’re not a big fan of whistle blowers or legislation that protects them.

    Wilkie strikes me as a bit of a prat, but he did the right thing on the Iraq intelligence. For his trouble he got vilified from one end of the country to another.

  17. Fine

    I have a family member who worked with Wilkie at that time. I’ll just say he would disagree 100% with that Milne article.

    There’s an agenda here and it’s a bit too obvious what it is.

  18. Sam

    Oakshott got the treatment from the OO brown shirts a week or so ago. Now it is Wilkie. No prizes for guessing who is next.

  19. Mr T

    Another example of the continuing MSM fascination with process over policy.

    As far as I can see, this is this is a minor but good piece of reform. But the conservatives (note: use of coalition to describe the conservatives is inaccurate as there is a coalition on both sides of the political divide)are opposing everything by default.

    In the current climate, they need to be called on every No vote. (there is room for a Crikey blog similar to Pure Poison)

  20. Martin B

    The job description of the LotO is to lead an alternative government, not to oppose the government per se. There is a subtle but important difference. You cannot properly lead an alternative government while deliberately eroding confidence in the institutions of government.

    There is a reason why they are referred to as “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”.

  21. moz

    Martin, you may refer to them that way but I could not possibly comment.

  22. Katz

    Wozza:

    I see.

    So what we have concluded on this thread so far is that, if a member of the intelligence community, even if it involves disclosing information he has received in complete confidence and even if he is outnumbered 22 to 1 by colleagues who disagree 100% with his interpretation of this information, he is a man of integrity and great wisdom for spilling it to the media.

    No Wozza, you don’t see.

    If the Government chooses not to act on the misinterpretation of the intelligence, then the public servant is compelled to silence.

    If the Government does not break international law by acting on misinterpretation of the intelligence, then the public servant is compelled to silence.

    If the public servant conscientiously believes that by acting on a misinterpretation of intelligence, the Government will thereby commit a war crime, then he is compelled by international law conscientiously to attempt to attempt to prevent this breach of international law. Otherwise, said public servant would be an accessory before the fact in breaking international law.

    Clearly, Andrew Wilkie conscientiously believed that this last possibility was the actual situation.

    Hope this helps, Wozza.

  23. Incurious and Unread

    Leaving aside the spin, nobody here has commented on the substance of the amendment on which the government was defeated.

    Why was Labor on the other side to Windsor and Oakeshott on this? I thought they had common interests in good governance and stable government. Or so I have been told.

  24. Wozza

    Actually, Katz, I think what I said in regard to the view of the blog being that Wilkie is a man of integrity and wisdom is more or less exactly what you said, isn’t it?

    So what, actually, don’t I see?

  25. Wozza

    And also, what Incurious and Unread asked.

    If one is going to read anything into this incident in regard to implications for ongoing management of Parliament, rather than just dismiss it as a meaningless hiccup because that is what the bulk of commenters hope and pray it was, it surely behoves us to seek some idea of what the issue was that caused the independent votes to fall the way they did.

    I haven’t seen anything in the media on that at all.

  26. Katz

    So, Wozza, do I understand you to imply that in leaking the Iraq lies, Wilkie was in fact a man of integrity?

    If so, I have no argument with you on that matter.

  27. Incurious and Unread

    Wozza @30.

    This is what the SMH says [fingers crossed that my attempt at embedding a link works]

    When an MP or senator misses a vote inadvertently after, for example, being stuck in the toilet or failing to notice the division bells ringing, the vote can be held again, or recommitted.

    In the Senate, a recommittal is automatic.

    Labor attempted to have the same condition apply to the House of Representatives but the reform agreement signed with Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor stressed there must be a debate in which the absence must be justified and then a vote taken.

    The manager of opposition business, Christopher Pyne, reinstated the condition with an amendment and Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor supported the Coalition.

    In short: Labor was attempting to breach the reform agreement but did not have the numbers to achieve this.

    Or am I missing something?

  28. Tom R

    Nice to see Abbott showing concern for the welfare of unborn children. “Stay in the chamber and vote ya scarlet hussy! I don’t care about your gyno appointment!”

  29. Wozza

    Katz I can say no more than the previous comment: I agree that the view of this blog is that Wilkie is a man of integrity and wisdom.

    My point, if I have to spell it out, was the incongruity of simultaneously supporting to the hilt the leaking and maximum media coverage for the unproven and unproveable allegations of a nobody about confidential intelligence material, and minimum media coverage for the strong views of the Leader of the Opposition about(at least judging by the amount of clamouring on this blog about it) a critical current and public political issue. My own view about either of the issues in isolation is neither here nor there.

    Of course I do not expect you to agree that incongruous is the right word. Both cases are about the media covering only what commenters here want it to cover, in the terms that they want it covered. If one accepts that that is legitimate goal, they are entirely congruous, if that is word.

  30. jane

    I was never privy to all the reasons why a government embarked on a particular course of action and nor should I have been. They were the government. I was a public servant.

    But I was only following orders, m’lud. The usual pathetic escape clause used by the guilty to absolve themselves from responsibility for their actions.

  31. Sam

    The Nuremberg defence was unedifying even at Nuremberg, much less 65 years later.

  32. Diogenes

    Incurious and Unread @ 32

    Are you missing something? Yep, our members of parliament are playing hopscotch. Remember the game?

    Hop over square 1 to square 2 and then continue hopping to square 8, turn around, and hop back again. Pause
    in square 2 to pick up the marker, hop in square 1, and out. All hopping is done on one foot unless the hopscotch design is such that two squares are side-by-side.

  33. PatrickB

    @34
    ” the unproven and unproveable allegations of a nobody about confidential intelligence material”
    “about(at least judging by the amount of clamouring on this blog about it) a critical current and public political issue”
    You’re not making any sense. Can you stop being so lamely obtuse and just say what you mean?

  34. Wozza

    Thanks Incurious. Agreed, if the SMH is correct – frequently I admit a big if – the issue is that Labor tried to pull a fast one by slipping in language at odds with the agreement with the independents, but got caught out.

    I can see why some people here would prefer to take the “move along, nothing to see here approach” and put it all down to a mere hiccup in turn out.

    I suppose though one could legitimately take the view that pulling a fast one is so common with the ALP that it shouldn’t be regarded by the media as real news.

  35. Sam

    Why don’t wait and see who has the numbers on the big stuff, like the NBN and mining tax, before jumping to too many conclusions on who controls the House?

  36. Diogenes

    PatrickB @ 38

    It’s the monty pythonesque stream-of-consciousness style of writing.

  37. Wozza

    Indeed Diogenes that is the style to which I aspire. I only regret that I didn’t think of inserting a discussion of hopscotch to make things clearer.

  38. Incurious and Unread

    Wozza/Diogenes,

    I must admit, the description of hopscotch did bring to my mind Pythonesque images of besuited, bowler-hatted MPs hopping mutely from square to square.

    Any connection to the question I asked went right over my head though, unfortunately.

  39. Chris

    Kim @ 5 – yea sorry, my post crossed with yours.

  40. Diogenes

    Incurious and Unread @ 43

    Your quote from the SMH rang a bell, pun intended, that politicians are playing a child’s game and I immediately thought of hopscotch as a form of satire in that politicians seem to be hopping to the rings of bells and watch out for those politicians “stuck in the toilet”. Next time I’ll label my attempt at satire as Raillery but this isn’t a guarantee it will not go over someone’s head.

  41. Gummo Trotsky

    @34:

    …the unproven and unproveable allegations of a nobody about confidential intelligence material…

    Which nobody are we talking about here? Glenn Milne’s anonymous source or Andrew Bolt?

    Wilkie’s allegations – as Milne notes – were proven right by history. Iraq didn’t have WMDs. But I guess that’s not the point.

  42. Patricia WA

    Tom R @ 33 Would measures like these help?

    Ps and Qs for Members When in Parliamentary Chambers.

    Our lovely lady PM, Jules,
    Has introduced some thoughtful rules
    To help other ladies in the House
    Necessitated by that louse,
    Abbot, and his policy on pairs.
    “And for the men?” you ask. Who cares!
    It is easier, remember,
    When you are, and have, a member!
    If you’re male and want to pee
    You can stand and handle it, but we,
    Even without occasion to excrete,
    Will always need a cubicle with seat.
    You men will never have to queue
    And then have someone hassle you
    To hurry up, as they start to yell,
    “They’re ringing the Division bell!”
    So now there’s an arrangement for
    Loos for ladies at the Chamber door.
    Sensitive to a need for clemency
    In cases of late pregnancy,
    After lobbying by Rob Oakeshott,
    There’s provision too for a ‘Chamber’ pot.

  43. Trevor

    Am I living in some kind of parallel universe? I think I have heard tonight the LNP & alternate govt saying they dont have confidence in the chief of defence & would rather rely on advice given by “troops on the ground”. Why I am questioning my senses is that this is not prominent in our media and being given critical treatment.

    I understand the political tactics that Tony uses. Run around lighting and fanning bushfires, the more you can get going the better. Ably assisted by mates at News Ltd. Then run the line that the govt is a shambles, it seems to have worked for him so far, to a point.

    Surely though this is a bushfire to dangerous to light. Troops in a war zone are being fed a message that the alternate govt does not have faith in their command and would rather listen to them. The potential for this to have all sorts of grave consequences are staggering.

    The LNP think this is fun, light fires to destabilise a govt & give themselves a chance to get their bums on treasury benches. However I am beginning to fear they really think destruction is better than being out of office.

    But as I started. Am I living in a parallel universe where undermining our CDF to the troops in a war zone is considered a trivial issue? Must be I suppose because none of our MSM have given it more than uncritical reporting.

  44. Brian

    Incurious and Unread @ 32, Gillard was quite unfazed. Saw it as the parliament working as it should.

    Probably tomorrow the MSM will be excited by the fact that the Speaker sat the PM down, and probably ignore the fact the Pyne got thrown out for an hour for coming to the dispatch box and blowing a kiss towards her.

    Gillard’s answers tend to be quite combative politically, which is, I gather, at odds with the new paradigm, where you are meant to simply answer the question.

    The Speaker admitted he was on training wheels, but I thought he did a good job.

    Overall the Government creamed the other mob. Gillard brilliant and forensic, Swan easily dealing with whatever they threw up.

  45. Jacques de Molay

    I see the Labor government lifted the suspension of processing the applications of boat people from Afghanistan & Sri Lanka today. Nothing from the Labor hacks on here about this?

    I voiced my disgust with it at the time and like Richo admitted on Sky tonight it was done purely for political reasons.

  46. Don Wigan

    Vintage hilarious stuff, Patricia WA, in your poem at 47.

    Excellent point, Trevor, re Libs going with a gripe from a troop on the ground over defence command.

    Unbelievable that this should pass through to the keeper by the media, although I note that Gillard has taken it up, and Abbott and co have now back-pedalled.

  47. Paul Burns

    Abbott and company’s critique of the Chief of Defence, and the LNP’s preference of listening to the ordinary rank and file couldn’t be read as incitement to mutiny, could it?
    On a more serious note, insofar as the attitude of the ordinary soldier is concerned, the Libs yet again display an amazing ignorance of history, as anybody who has read the letters from the front of any war throughout history of the rank and file, NCOs and even junior officers could tell him. One quite firm conclusion I’ve come to from reading letters/journals/diaries/memoirs from the Crusades, the English Civil War, the American War of Independence, and World Wars I and II is that soldiers at the front grumble. If you don’t believe me spend a day or two at the AWM archives reading soldiers’ letters. This doesn’t mean they’re at all disloyal to whatever side they’re fighting for. Its just a way of letting off steam. And though I haven’t checked them out, I’ve no doubt soldiers’ blogs from the Iraq and Afghan wars will bear out my conclusion if you bother to look them up.

  48. Patricia WA

    Agreed, Paul @ 52, “incitement to mutiny”/b> describes my own sense of how wrong it was for Fran Kelly to suggest to Stephen Smith that he should be listening to soldiers ‘on the ground’ about their needs for more back-up, rather than Houston and other top brass. The email incident too brought to mind the idea of how easily disaffection is communicated and spread these days.

    When David Johnston, called for more troops and equipment to be deployed in Afghanistan, saying he trusts the word of troops on the ground over the advice of Air Chief Marshal Houston, he spoke over-emphatically and out of character. I sensed that he was not comfortable, even that he was just the dummy for ventriloquist Abbot. Of course Abbot is playing it safe by backing him as if at a distance, but suggesting it was Johnston’s call here. If he could get away with it he’d use even this as cannon fodder in his own war with Gillard. He’s far more concerned with his battle plan in Canberra than our men in Uruzgan province

  49. Patricia WA

    Forgive my careless typing. Perhaps Kim will tidy me up! But dammit it’s outrageous that Kelly and others should be aiding and abetting the Opposition here in what is, as Paul so rightly says, the encouragement of disaffection and ‘mutiny.’ Spin is one thing, this is of a different order.

    I’m pretty emotional about this one because a member of my family has served several years on active service in Iraq and elsewhere. The last thing they need out there is journos using them as copy.

  50. Katz

    From the ABC:

    In making his case for more troops, Senator Johnston cites a recent email from a frontline soldier in Afghanistan.

    That unnamed soldier claimed his patrol nearly ran out of ammunition and did not have adequate back-up during a three-hour battle, which claimed the life of Australian soldier Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney.

    The soldier claimed the Lance Corporal may not have died if Australian troops had the right air support and sufficient artillery.

    Who is to say this alleged email wasn’t written by Gordon Grech?

    Otherwise, look at the psychology of the alleged author of this email:

    “I’m really, really concerned that we are losing this war and that my colleagues are being sacrificed. But I’m not sufficiently worried by defeat to be identified. I’d rather go on fighting this losing war and prolonging my career in this losing army, thank you very much.”

    Pathetic.

  51. Paul Burns

    And, as an addendum, they especially grumble against the brass. And if these grumbles are encouraged by senior officers or politicians in high places, they can lead to a very dangerous situation. Its about time Abbott’s Opposition began behaving with a modicum of old-fsashioned honour.
    I don’t agree with the war in Afghanistan. I don’t think they should be there. Wilkie has given a reasonable summation of how Al-Quaeda has morphed into an amorphous international organisation that is best fought by means other than military since 9/11.
    OTOH, I do not think a partisan political debate on the war in Afghanistan will do anything positive to help the boys over there who are being killed, maimed and risking their lives every hour of the day and night. I do think the war should be
    debated, though, but on a political level so the Australian public understand exactly what our soldiers are risking their lives for. Which, by the way, seems to be bugger-all, except to prop up a corrupt regime. Not that I have any time at all for the fundamentalist insanity of the Taliban. But the Taliban are NOT Al-Qaeda. The way the political madness about Afghanistan is going on, we’re going to see Abbott calling for us to send troops into Pakistan to fight the Taliban there.

  52. Paul Burns

    Katz @ 55,
    Wouldn’t be the same e-mail that was ‘exposed’ by the Murdochracy, would it. Sounds like it. One wonders about its authenticity. Has the ring of a Grech-e-mail.

  53. Katz

    Yes PB.

    The Godwin Grech email ouevre, revealed to the disbelieving world by Murdoch’s Myrmidons, crushed Malcolm Turnbull, thus enabling the triumph of Tony Abbott, by an earth-shattering single party room vote, thanks to the hospitalisation of one of Turnbull’s supporters.

    Was News Limited’s contribution to this spin of the Liberal Leadership Revolving Door an example of the Old or the New Media Paradigm?

  54. David Irving (no relation)

    The email could easily be genuine. A low-ranking soldier in the middle of a firefight is not likely to be aware of the strategic and logistical constraints his commander is operating under. His attention is going to be focussed elsewhere.

  55. Steve at the Pub

    51-59 Better not be written by Australian citizens. If they are, may posterity forget those commenters shared a citizenship with me.

    You don’t deserve soldiers to defend your way of life.

  56. David Irving (no relation)

    SATP, I spent more than half my adult life as a serviceman (defending, if you like your way of life). Don’t impugn my patriotism.

  57. Posterity Speaking

    Prayer answered!

    SATP’s citizenship is utterly beyond my ken.

  58. Martin B

    #60 seems even more hairy-chested than usual from SATP given that 51-59 consist of entirely unremarkable opinions that frontline troops may grumble, and not be the best placed to understand the overall situation.

    Is it ‘unAustralian’ to suggest that some frontline troops barrack for the wrong footy team?

  59. Mercurius

    DI(nr), please, go easy on poor Steve. It isn’t easy for him, so bravely bearing the burden of his patriotism-par-excellence, amongst this sea of insufficiently jingoistic barbarians.

    He feels, you see, so much more acutely than the rest of us, the way of life that is being defended in Afghanistan; and is this special faculty, this elevated vision with which he is blessed, that enables him to cast his denunciations against “your way of life” from such a great height.

    At least he bears his burden graciously.

  60. David Irving (no relation)

    If I’m completely honest, Mercurius, my original motivaiton for joining the Army was basically economic conscription, but it suited me well enough to keep on with it.

  61. akn

    I cannot help it. SATP my own family history includes a maternal great uncle who was a decorated, homosexual, pacifist, conscientiously objecting member of the IWW who eventually served with the field ambulance in WWI (France). Military history as well as civilian history is replete with dissenters and troublemakers. Then there is an old mate who was a member of ‘Sparrow Force’ in Timor who went on the join the CPA and be a long standing secretary of a regional trades hall. Another profoundly patriotic trouble maker. The best sort of patriot, actually.

  62. Sam

    defend your way of life.

    Thus spake the paratrooper from the pub.

  63. xulon

    Not sure if I’m misinterpreting this article, but is this Don Randall wishing death on Labor MPs?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/30/3026131.htm

  64. Trevor

    Steve at the Pub. I also spent a good part of my adult life in the forces. Or as you would embarrassingly put it, “defending our way of life”. Expressing that patronising bull when you don’t know who you are talking to is silly.

    Get out of the pub and try to get your head around something more complex than 1 liners.

  65. Mercurius

    @67, wow Xulon, that’s a terrific example of the New Paradigm at work. Death To Our Enemies (especially the domestic ones)! Charming.

    Yes, the roll-call of LP folk with military or quasi-military streaks is interesting. Myself, I got through the physical and the IQ tests for Naval Officering and then, to my eternal regret, was rejected to due a lack of colour perception. I can’t remember the medical term for what was wrong with my eyesight, since I do have some colour perception, but not enough for what they wanted on the Bridge.

    So my own military options would’ve been restricted to pen-pushing (Supply) instead of being a Seaman Officer. So I figured teaching was the next-best option. Go figure.

  66. Paul Burns

    Steve,
    I’ve probably met more military men than you’ve even seen, except in a coming home parade. The Army published my book, FFS! I have devoted my life to the study and/or teaching of various aspects of mostly Australian military history. I have never been a serviceman, but I have a deep devotion to and admiration for the brave men and women who put themselves in harms way for our protection. I do not have the same devotion to the politicians who put them in harm’s way, and who wouldn’t dream of letting their sons and daughters enlist, despite the fact that they thoughtlessly send other people’s children off to die in mostly useless wars in their name. But not in my name, mate!

  67. Paul Burns

    As an addendum, they rather have them working for the RWDB US Republicans, in one instance.

  68. Diogenes

    xulon @ 67

    from your link is the following quote:

    Mr Randall has told Parliament he also hopes for a change of government.

    “We’re only one death, one desertion and one sickness away from the ability to change the [composition] of this House,” he said.

    “We’ll be doing our best to keep this Government to account and if that opportunity arises it’ll be fantastic.”

    There IS “one sickness” and it goes by the name of Don Randall. Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

  69. Trevor

    72 # Diogenes. I am embarrassed to say that Don Randall is my local member. It is a tragedy he got back in we had a very good alternate in Alhana McTiernan.

    In all the years Don Randall has held the seat of Canning I could not tell you one thing that he could claim as an achievement.

    Perhaps I will send him another letter to remind him there is plurality in the electorate that he should be aware of. Sigh

  70. Fine

    Trevor is that an Airedale as your avatar? Love Airedales.

    Perhaps you express your deep repugnance towards Randall’s death wishes to Labor MPs.

  71. Diogenes

    Trevor @ 73, you shouldn’t be embarrassed for the failings on Don Randall. The embarrassment is his.

  72. Gummo Trotsky

    Oh for a couple of thousand bucks and access to an injection moulder – a Don Randall voodoo doll would sell like hotcakes.

  73. Catching up

    They say they were public servants. That is true, they were not government servants. I think that is the point.

    Also there was enough evidence in the ccmmunity to know the government was lying.

  74. Peter Kemp

    You don’t deserve soldiers to defend your way of life.

    Slightly longer SATP: Cos I take a superior vicarious utility in the shootin’ rootin’ tootin’ terrorist huntin’ commy bustin’ pub drinkin’ patriot lovin’ fraternity than you namby pamby latte sippin’ chards swillin’ lefty bullshittin’ buggers betrayin’ our brave boys in Afghanistan.

  75. Fascinated

    SATP
    On behalf of my great uncles. uncles, brother, nephew and niece, I can only say how appalled I am at your shallow description of commentato rs on this blog. Our brothers and sisters who put themselves on the line have courage, including of their convictions – you would be suprised who t hey might be.

    As for Mr Randall and his unfortunate attempt at oratory… he is just reinforcement of the vacuous Coalition meme.

  76. Patricia WA

    Randall, of course, is repeating the mantra he’s heard so often from his dear leader…..they’re only a heartbeat away from power! Does it not occur to them that the reverse is also true. One heart attack (Hockey?) – mad motorist mowing down an early morning cyclist (Abbot?) – peaceful passing away in old age (Bishop? Ruddock?) – someone throwing in the towel from overwork (Robb?) – New career/business opportunity (Turnbull? Hunt?)……

    And that’s just their front bench. Lots of other possibilities for a by-election which could whittle away their parity with Labor.

  77. JohnG

    Kim @22.

    From what you’ve reported (and what I’ve heard on RN) it would seem that most of the Parliamentary Press Gang rely on one source for their “news”. So if the source for the day gets it wrong then everyone else is caught out as well. I don’t know what the other members are doing whilst they sit in the gallery; tweeting vacuously to the world perhaps or commenting on one another’s clothing. I’m surprised that they haven’t mentioned that it looks as though JG has decided to let the fact that she’s going grey, from the stress!, show through. Good for her.