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137 responses to “Avoiding futility under the Abbott administration”

  1. Mahaut1329

    I have just returned to Australia and so dealing with the reality of change – it is somehow not so real when far away. I agree that just becoming haters is a waste of energy. And there is much to be done! In my view there are two avenues for contribution. One is critiquing the actions of government in terms of commitments made and their implications for the community. The other is having input to a policy process which could make a future centre-left goverement a power house of ideas. This could mean that the next few years are not wasted. The task of governing is becoming more and more complex so an intellectual base for governing is and will be essential.
    No time for hating, just work.

  2. paul burns

    Nevertheless, Abbott’s failures have to be exposed rigorously and regularly. The MSM won’t do it for us. We don’t have to be abusive but we do have to show the electorate the wrongs he’s perpetrating and trying to hide. Because try to hide them he will.

  3. jungney

    This can be a constructive period in which tobegin to really isolate the right as anti-democratic and anti-life because of its identification with corporate capital, warming denialism, war and a totally instrumental attitude to nature and people. Twenty years onfrom now and the right will be a miniscule collection of nutters, without credibility.

  4. Golliblog

    Mark:

    So, the state still does have weight, no matter how optimistic we might be about a power shift to civil society.

    In other words, up to a point, you appear to be agreeing with the classical liberals. That is to say, you accept that the overcommodification of civil society can have have a crowding out effect on private initiative. As the CIS puts it:

    But there is evidence that these informal norms governing our behaviour have been fraying over recent decades. The CIS asks what are the causes and consequences of the decline of civility and social cohesion, and what can be done about it?

    The research also examines how government is weakening civil society by trying to eradicate risk from our lives and by ‘crowding out’ voluntary activity with state initiatives?

  5. Sam

    Our biggest problem is that we may have won policy battles, but we have been comprehensively defeated politically.

    The ballot counting has only just finished, and Abbott has already repudiated his opposition rhetoric where he scored the most points, on boats and deficit/debt.

    The Abbott Government will spend this term implementing Gonski, Disability Care and the NBN (not in the form Labor started, but still infinitely preferably to no NBN).

    There are, in fact, very few substantive differences between what Labor does in office and what the LibNats do in office (with the possible exception of industrial relations policy).

    some can ride out a Coalition government more easily than others

    You could say the same about a Labor Government. Ask the single mothers whose pensions were cut.

  6. John D

    Back in the Menzies era the conservatives had power but the battle for influence was being won by the left. The points I am making here is that, in some ways, it is easier to become influential when not weighed down by the practicalities and necessary compromises of governing. In addition, power is not simply the preserve of governments. New ideas, new thoughts and growing dissatisfaction with established ways of doing things have a power of their own that will influence how governments behave.
    Looking back from the end of the Gillard government we can see a long period where Green ideas became more important. On the downside we remained stuck on the beliefs such as “free markets are the answer to everything”, “the power of the unions must be restricted”, “we must keep taxes low even if services suffer”, “balanced budgets are the sign of a good government”, “user pays” (even when others are the main beneficiaries) etc.
    The left side of politics needs to ask itself what are the key things left should be pushing for the future – The answer may be quite different from what they have pushed in the past’.

  7. Moz of Yarramulla

    [email protected]: and interestingly Gillard still stands behind that one. Inflicting severe poverty on single parents was a necessary part of encouraging them back to work. And here was me thinking that it was the lunar right who were the “work or starve” proponents and Gillard was going to either back down or claim some sort of budget necessity. But nope, she’s straight out of the glibertarian playbook “smaller, cheaper, simpler government”… that’s one thing that makes me glad she got smallified right out of it.

    I’m keenly watching the NZ situation where they’ve just elected a new Labour leader who appears to be quietly left wing. And the govt there is probably even more vulnerable to that than the Abbott one seems to be. They’re also coming up an election, so could provide us with handy tips on how to elect a left-wing government.

    My main hope right now is that Albo keeps on the way he has been, and manages to get elected PM. Mostly for what he would achieve, but to be honest also partly to watch the right wing hordes have conniptions.

  8. Golliblog

    Sam:

    You could say the same about a Labor Government. Ask the single mothers whose pensions were cut.

    Gillard is still gloating about that particular piece of nastiness whilst opining that maybe the unemployment benefit is a little on the low side.

    Hopefully the new leadership rules will make reactionary anti-working class policies less likely to emanate from Labor leaders.

  9. Su

    Inflicting severe poverty on single parents was a necessary part of encouraging them back to work.

    It’s the reverse face (a very ugly side) to her commitment to education, I think Moz. The twin ideas that work dignifies and education lifts people out of poverty are becoming more and more difficult to sustain; the rise of the precariat, casualization, the annual layoffs by companies that continue to post larger and larger profits.

    Incoming anecdote alert; I shared canteen duty with a young woman, a single parent in her twenties. She had part time work in a call centre. Centrelink is the biggest employer in our region by a very large margin.* The elderly neighbours would watch to see whether she arrived home from work prior to her primary school aged children. If ever she was late, they rang DOCS. So much for dignity, she was jammed whatever she did.

    *It sometimes seems that we are heading towards future in which a large portion of the middle class will comprise people whose job it is to hound, vilify and torment the burgeoning ranks of the poor in various ways. Reading some of the stuff written by and about people suffering under Cameron’s attack on the poor and the disabled, the UK is already a long way down that track. I’ve been reading a blog written by the father of an autistic man in the UK. The things they are enduring; deprivation of the young man’s liberty by an organization that seemed to need to boost its numbers of permanent clients, loss of housing benefit, withdrawal of services under the guise of “promoting independence”. It’s Orwellian.

  10. paul burns

    Su,
    Years ago Centrelink, then known as the SS, used to have inspectors come round to your home to ensure you were living alone (as that payment was fractionally larger than the couples payment.) They would ask you questions if you had a double bed, check your wardrobe to see if you had only the clothing of one gender in your wardrobe. Anecdotally, they were more severe on young single women or young single women with children than they were on the blokes.
    The practice stopped because of SS staff cutbacks.
    And they were called Inspectors, would you believe.
    Stuff you read about income management suggests similar is happening again, this time via computer.

  11. Chris

    [email protected]: and interestingly Gillard still stands behind that one. Inflicting severe poverty on single parents was a necessary part of encouraging them back to work.

    Do you think she really wanted to make those cuts though? I thought it was more of a case of needing a few hundred million dollars to balance the budget and they were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find the savings. And given that the changes had already been made by Howard for new people qualifying for the payment they didn’t think it would controversial. The justification given now and then about encouraging people into work is just a convenient excuse.

  12. Chris

    Paul @ 10 – given the reports of understaffing of DOCS when it comes to abuse/neglect cases you’d think they’d have better ways to spend their time on more serious cases. If a child is old enough to walk themselves home from school I’d expect they’re old enough to look after themselves in the home for short periods of time.

  13. paul burns

    Chris,
    I think it might have been a Protestant work ethic she imbibed with her childhood Methodism. IIRC she did at one point give an interview where she said that those Methodist attitudes were still an influence on her thinking, especially in regard to her attitude to work, despite being an atheist. Until the Anne Summers interview at the Opera House, I had assumed her opposition to gay marriage stemmed from that early religious upbringing.

  14. David Irving (no relation)

    Paul, I remember when I was working for the SS in the early ’70s there were a lot of (rather nasty) jokes about “star boarders”, and tales of the snoops inspecting peoples’ washing lines for evidence of cohabitation.

    I was working in the pensions department, rather cleaner work, although paying funeral benefit to widows whose husbands had just retired and died before their pension applications had been processed was a bit depressing.

  15. paul burns

    DI (nr),
    we had a couple of really nasty ones here in Armidale. One of them was really notorious for giving people on the dole a hard time. I sort of got him off my back by asking if he was discriminating against me because I was suffering from cerebral palsy. (My condition at that point had not deteriorated sufficiently for me to be eligible for disability pension. In fact, I was so in the dark about all that I didn’t realise I was eligible until I was nearly incapable of walking more than a few steps.
    Chris.
    This was the SS, not DOCs, trying to cut expenduture on benefits. Now, sadly, DOCs is apparently reporting people for income management in blanketed designated areas, which Abbott is extending. Not really sure whats going on there.

  16. jules

    Well I’ll be blockading metgasco soon, and yes its probably futile, but that is what we thought last time.

    Su – you’re right about the war on the poor – arbeit macht frei has always been a puritanical plot to keep people producing for the ruling class.

  17. Ronson Dalby

    In the early 90s, I was on the dole for about three months (first and only time in my nearly 50 year working life thankfully).

    A Centrelink inspector knocked on the door one day for an interview. He wanted to see my bank passbook (yes, the olden days!). After looking through it, he demanded to know where the money for two deposits ($12 and $17 several weeks apart) had come from. I don’t think he really believed me when I told him they were from the contents of money boxes which was the truth. So bloody demeaning as were the Friday lineups.

    I think that was one of the points in my turning from being a lifelong Liberal voter (and once member and officeholder) to voting Greens now via the ALP.

  18. Katz

    Holy consciousness-raising, Ronson! I had a similar moment when the pricks wanted me in their army and in Vietnam.

    They lived to regret trying.

  19. Ronson Dalby

    Ha … I actually wanted to go to Vietnam, Katz (6 years of school cadets followed by time in the CMF can do that too you) but failed my medical ’cause they didn’t like poofs in those days.

  20. Katz

    Ronson, did you get to sit with the Group Ws and the father rapers?

  21. Ronson Dalby

    Sorry, Katz, that went – whoosh – right over my head.

    I’ve been meaning to apply to the Archives in Canberra for a copy of my call-up file. Must finally get around to that next week. I would love to read the psychiatrist’s report.

  22. Ronson Dalby
  23. Katz

    Oh, Ronson, Ronson, Ronson, are you in for a treat?

    http://youtu.be/5_7C0QGkiVo

    The answer comes right at the end.

  24. drsusancalvin

    How to respond? Well for a start I want to call out this nonsense. ” TONY Abbott may not have yet stopped the boats. But at least he has stopped the general hysteria of the last three years of minority government. ” You are kidding me. And then this – “A conspicuous silence has fallen over Canberra since September 7. It is the silence of a government presumably doing what it should be doing rather than ceaselessly screaming at the electorate.” You are fucken kidding me.

  25. jungney

    Golliblog @ 4: the strength of civil society waxes and wanes according to the legitimacy and authority of the state. There was no civil society before the rise of the state, initially as sovereign authority in England, which authority gradually devolved to individual sovereign authority with the advent and advance of democracy.

    As you will be well aware, Hobbes described the state of human existence prior to the rise of sovereign (regal) authority as akin to “a war of all against all”. State authority is the guarantor of civil society, not its antagonist.

    And what do you mean by the ‘overcommodifiction of civil society’? What rough beast of an idea is this that lurches off the page at me? Either commodification is a good, or not; either it works for all, or for none which means that you can never overcommodify. After all, we’re all in the market now, ain’t we? which is where we are all equal bearers of such burden of currency as we can accrue.

    Overcommodification! Are you some sort of pinko?

    I’d

  26. paul burns

    drsusancalvin @ 24,
    hear hear! Just so long as he never has to answer questions from Australian journos. And hasn’t Benson heard? Obama’s probably not going overseas because he has to stare down a bunch of Abbott-like loonies in the US Congress.

  27. jules

    Its Murdoch doing propaganda for Tony before he shuts the ABC and kills the internet.

  28. Chris

    drsusancalvin @ 24 – that is hilarious!

  29. Moz of Yarramulla

    [email protected]: she had the option of pleading poverty/necessity, both at the time and during that interview. Since she chose to plead “fcuk the poor” instead, I can only take her at her word. As I do when she says she opposes same sex marriage because she does not think marriage is a good idea for women (how that means she opposes two men marrying each other I am not sure, and I’m a bit disappointed that no-one has asked).

  30. philip travers

    Not so humorous is the views around a murdered Police Officer at Tamworth.Something about almost obeying the elected officials,and one cannot have Police without the paymaster was so sickening,that it was easy for me to forget that Police get dead,and unable to follow the dictates of O’Farrell.Tamworth may have been in passing part of the history of endless numbers of the Aboriginal community killing themselves inside jails.And a recent episode of a young Aboriginal being bashed on the Coast to Queensland,means Churchillian speech is still important to the unaffected by Brain Fry,a genetically inherited problem of workers,farmers ,and maybe,even Police Detectives,having a rabbit felt hat on and seeking information in the great outdoors.Dusty Slims cannot make up for details of history.There was even in N.S.W. a Aboriginal Police Officer who quit because of the lack of progress in sometimes just apologising for terrible behaviour.Nonetheless Commander Tait who shot himself in the head would of thought today was a wonderful day for speech making.What with the display of well engineered watercraft and Navy types who take the idea of protestors against government seriously.More so,if they are not prepared to be in riot gear.Sydney Harbour ends in Tamworth.Swimming pools of tears cannot drown out the desert that Australia has already become in a tiredness of real spirit.The Public Man as Official is still persisting they know all,feel all,and justification is acceptable on the basis of being employed to endlessly claim something about themselves,which isn’t plainly obvious.Voting means you are not a criminal.I choose to be a criminal,because I have a Brain fried bloody memory.

  31. Graham Bell

    Mark: I’m slightly less optimistic; unless or until the “Privatizers”(ALP) and the “Job-Smashers” (Greens) have radical changes in direction, the progressive side of Australian politics won’t progress too far at all.
    You are right about there being too much hate – the voting public is probably well and truly fed up with all the hate and with all the senseless brawling.

  32. Terry2

    Moz @ 29; Re: Julia Gillard and her explanation of her (i.e. personal) view on marriage, my understanding of her position is that she does not see marriage as a necessary corollary to a loving relationship and hence she and Tim have decided to bypass it as a superficial social and/or religious custom that they choose not to follow.
    For her to abandon her considered position to recognise same sex marriage would be both irrational and hypocritical.

  33. Ronson Dalby

    Terry2,

    Same sex marriage is ALP policy and polls show a consistency of 60% plus support for it. Gillard’s personal position should’ve been irrelevant.

  34. paul burns

    People who aren’t neutral about same sex rights or in favour of same sex rights tend to be a bit irrational about the whole topic in my experience. If two same sex people want to get married, so what?; let ’em. Its no skin off anybody elses’ teeth. If they’re friends of mine I’ll invite them round to dinner or to a dinner party; if not, I won’t. What is it these politicians don’t get about same sex marriage? Its beyond me.

  35. Helen

    Thinking of Greens as “job-smashers” is just internalising the News Ltd / Gunns Ltd paradigm. Think of all the white collar AND metal and electrical trades jobs which could be generated if we got really serious about solar, wind and tide power, both R&D and manufacture. Think of all the jobs which could be generated if old growth logging (which has been in decline employment wise for decades due to mechanisation and poor overseas demand) was replaced with employment on timber plantations and well run, well maintained national parks.

    People who whinge about Greens destroying jobs are usually talking about old growth logging which really only employs a tiny, dwindling rump of workers, mainly on contract work.

  36. Moz of Yarramulla

    Terry, I don’t see how that works as a position. As prime minister she implemented a huge number of things that she did not personally want or need, from NDIS to school funding to action to reduce the long term magnitude of climate change. Why is same-sex marriage the exception? It should not be about her, it should be about helping the people of Australia be either wealthier or happier (depending on how she measures success).

    She talked about a feminist position where marriage is a patriarchal institution. Fine, I understand some of the detail of that analysis. But to me she should have brought that up at the time, not sat on it until she no longer has any power to implement her position. It’s a classic “had the power, sat on her hands, later claimed spiritual purity”. Yeah, right.

    At the very least she should have chimed in and said “I don’t think marriage is helpful or necessary, so we should instead be talking about how to remove it”. But no, she’s quite happy for straight people to get married, even though she thinks that that is actively bad. And by her feminist analysis, same-sex marriage is the only marriage that could hope for a relationship of equals until after the gender revolution (cf Mary Daly, for example). So her rationale for opposing it doesn’t work.

    I think she’s a cowardly bigot on this issue. She’ll say whatever she thinks will excuse her failure to work towards the equality she claims to want.

  37. jungney

    Moreover, Helen, in every state in Australia the forests have been mismanaged in one of the most blatant, if under appreciated, acts of corporate capture of the regulatory bureaucracy – the various state forestry offices – in Australian administrative history.

    In NSW the recent proposal to open National Parks to logging derived from the NSW state forests dept. signing supply contracts for more timber than it could provide. They’ll have to pay significant penalties on those contracts. More alarmingly, however, the error exposed that the dept didn’t have a clue about its own stocks. The sooner these clowns are out of the forests, the better.

    If that means job losses, so be it. When the BHP shut down the steel plant it took thousands, maybe even appx ten thousands, of jobs with it. And now conservationists are supposed to be embarrassed about rural job losses that count in the hundreds, tops.

    I don’t think so.

  38. jungney

    Steel plant in Newcastle, for information.

  39. Moz of Yarramulla

    Helen: I’ve had many good times talking to logging people about job creation and destruction. It’s usually quite easy to get them ranting about how the industry is consolidating, everything is contrator-based now, jobs are being ripped out by mechanisation etc, and the days of the small local sawmill are long gone, the big woodchip companies are a bunch of money-grubbing bastards who don’t care about their workers. Rant rant ranty rant. Then I say I want to stop woodchipping native forests and bingo, suddenly it’s teh greenies who are doing all the aforementioned bad things. Ooops.

    The stats for Tassie are quite revealing – there’s more than three times the jobs and ten times the turnover in tourism than timber. But it’s all small operators and there’s no single large player who can afford to “lobby government”, shall we say. The Tourism Tassie people spend a lot of time begging local tourist businesses to put a few hundred dollars in the pot, while a certain major company is putting more than TT’s entire budget into the pockets of politicians every year, as well as lobbying and so on. And this is common, I’ve seen it in multiple places in NZ and Oz.

  40. paul burns

    At the very least she should have chimed in and said “I don’t think marriage is helpful or necessary, so we should instead be talking about how to remove it”.

    Gawd, Moz, can you imagine how the MSM would have reacted if Gillard had admitted to her views on marriage while in office? They would have gone ape-shit! So I can understand why Gillard said nothing.
    OTOH, you are right. She was a homophobic bigot.

  41. Topher

    I think it’s a bit harsh to call Julia Gillard a homophobic bigot. I think her position came down to that she didn’t believe in marriage, so she couldn’t see the point in extending it.

    I don’t think that’s a great position when their is a clear call for from it from the LGBT community – just because she didn’t see the point of it, doesn’t mean she should stand in their way, but it’s not homophobic.

  42. Moz of Yarramulla

    Topher: but her claimed grounds don’t work that way. She can’t say “marriage is bad therefore same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed”, without “marriage is bad” being the foundation of the statement. And if it’s bad, shrugging her shoulders and saying “oh well, never mind” is just awful.

    Especially in light of other things that she is passionate about. Like, say, equality. Back in the 1970’s there was huge feminist turmoil when the coloured folks finally got through to the nice white middle-class women that there’s more to oppression than sexism. About the time, oddly enough, that the filthy lesbians were making the same point. I’d like to think Ms Gillard noticed that and took some of it on board.

    So, Gillard is willing to fight to have women in the boardroom, aboriginals in parliament, but not queers in the marriage office. She’s not homophobic, but.

  43. jules

    Paul B

    Gawd, Moz, can you imagine how the MSM would have reacted if Gillard had admitted to her views on marriage while in office? They would have gone ape-shit!

    As opposed to them going apeshit anyway?

  44. jungney

    The problem for Gillard around marriage equality was (and is for all ALP leadership) Joe de Bruyn who runs the shoppies as a fiefdom and as a grouper’s redoubt within the ALP.

    So, Gillard was merely politically expedient when she declined to back marriage equality. This expediency may have been eased by her own prejudices, who knows? In light of her unconventional relationship with Tim it appears discordant that she declined to go into bat for others whose intimate relations are still regarded as unconventional.

    That’s always been the problem for liberalism. It recognises individual rights but fails entirely to even see how those individuals aggregate to form a group whose rights need advancing or protecting. The opportunity to recast the ALP as a broadly inclusive party of liberal rights was thereby lost because of the dominance of a reactionary form of liberalism, an extreme liberal indivdiualism, in Australia that translates well to the ‘I’m alright Jack’ roots of this nation. And of which Gillard was an active agent.

  45. paul burns

    jules @ 43,
    I concede your point absolutely. But they would have been saying things like Gillard was destroying the family, destroying Western civilisation, launching atheistic attacks on the churches, etc, etc. All rubbish, and they probably have been far more inventive than that. With all that was being thrown at her already, I can see why she kept quiet.

  46. Topher

    Moz: I do agree it’s not a particularly coherent or great position, I just don’t think it’s coming from a place of homophobia.

    It might have been that she was more meh about it, and didn’t want to annoy some of the more conservative elements in the ALP.

  47. Nickws

    jungney @ 44

    The problem for Gillard around marriage equality was (and is for all ALP leadership) Joe de Bruyn who runs the shoppies as a fiefdom and as a grouper’s redoubt within the ALP.

    No it wasn’t, their core position was rolled at conference on this, and she rolled it, in a masterful example of generalship.

    Her problem was she was afraid of the Australian public on this issue of prime ministerial action, at least when it came time for the parliamentary vote.

    Blaming DeBruyn for this is like blaming him for Hanson almost winning a quota at the senate election—there’s major problems in this country with the acceptance of social modernity throughout general society, tribal Left Labour movement perspectives shouldn’t prevent you from realising that.

  48. Moz of Yarramulla

    Topher, I’m tempted by jungney’s idea that she’s beholden to catholic wrong elements in the ALP that are religously opposed to equality. If so she would obviously have to lie about her reasons. And maybe I’m giving her too much credit by suggesting she’s homophobic, she may simply have thought the subject was done and she’d never be asked about it, so when someone did she came up with a dumb lie on the spot.

    PB: exactly, keeping quiet was the smart move by the sound of it. Since she’s started trying to justify herself I’ve lost a lot of respect.

    Jungney’s point has me thinking about the parallels between some of the unconscious sexism that makes life hard for female leaders in european cultures, and the unconscious homophobia that allows liberal people to assume quiltbags are less deserving of human rights (or that denying those isn’t as bad when it happens to quiltbags). But surely Julia Gillard of all people would be aware of that and would have carefully thought through the implications?

    I would ask a former staffer who is a close friend of mine, but I’m not sure I want to get into that discussion just yet. Definitely one to keep in mind should the subject ever come up, however.

  49. Su

    A little more than not wanting to annoy them, I think. My understanding was that a binding vote on marriage equality risked nothing less than a split in the party as those social conservatives on the right had indicated that they would cross the floor to vote against it, meaning they would be expelled from the party. Rudd, remember, pledged not to attempt to reverse the conscience vote.

  50. jungney

    Thanks su. That info brings more clarity. This mob of reactionaries need to be purged from the ALP. If they left in a state of moral high dudgeon, that would be perfect. Then they could join the Liberal Democrats or whoever the eff they are. Groupers, mad rumpsters, Santa Maria-ists. Go, just effing go!

  51. Ronson Dalby

    What’s with Liberal party members and their need to use taxpayer funds to attend marriages:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/big-bucks-for-mps-bollywood-adventure-20131005-2v0wf.html

  52. Katz

    A wedding would be incomplete without a weird and creepy uncle.

    Who better for the role than a Tory pollie?

  53. Ronson Dalby

    Katz,

    I’m now getting Arlo Guthrie recommendation ads on my travels around the Internet. I wonder why. 😉

  54. Katz

    Cyber litter. Ironic.

  55. Sceptic

    Mark I do not take much comfort from the Liberals sneaking into office with an agenda stolen from the ALP. Not entirely of course because they intend to dispense with the carbon tax and their version of the NBN will provide an unequal service.

    As far as I see it the Libs politically ‘outperformed’ the ALP by playing dirty. In doing so they have provided a working model for politicians in opposition.

    TA and the gang, deliberately, relentlessly and cold-bloodedly lied about the state of the national accounts, the legitimacy of the Gillard government and whipped up fear that we were being invaded by people pretending to be asylum seekers.

    They were aided and abetted in this by a largely unquestioning media with some sections of the msm acting as party spokespeople.

    Every mis-step by the ALP, particularly when JG was PM, was magnified. Every achievement was underplayed. Gillard and the destabilizer Rudd were turned into figures of fun while TA was lionized.

    Of course the Libs won but not as handsomely as expected after all that kid glove handling. That gives me a bit of hope.

    Now they are in office the Libs continue to obfuscate. The media, by and large, have bought the idea that TA left Indonesia with his asylum seeker policy intact. Some sections of the media have even praised TA for not giving press conferences. Are we witnessing Stockholm Syndrome here?

    But of course columns still need to be filled. What to do if the press is denied their daily drip feed of delicious gossip about internal squabbling within the ALP because all is peace and love with the party these days, and if they can’t follow TA around to write captions for stunt pics or scribble down doom and gloom ravings? They may have to trawl through expense sheets and find out that government MPs have been into the taxpayers’ purse to fund wedding attendances and personal libraries.

    Annoying stuff but incidental when the media shows every sign of being indulgent with TA. Oh well. He was in opposition then. You can’t use over-blown rhetoric when in government. He has changed. A statesman. Give him a chance.

    Spare me.

    So what is the ALP to do to win back office? Go all positive on us when it has been shown quite clearly that the media is not interested in that. No, the model is there for the taking. They will have to play the Libs at their own game and play on fears where they already exist and simply make up others which do not.

    It is not an enticing prospect.

  56. PavCat

    Since she’s started trying to justify herself I’ve lost a lot of respect.

    Moz at #48: apart from being (presumably) blindsided by a question after her Anne Summers interview from a smallish child presumably put up to it by some adult in front of God knows how many people during a live-streamed event at the Opera House, and obliged to say something that wouldn’t make her look like a child-hating monster (’empty fruit bowl’, ‘deliberately barren’, etc etc), where else has Gillard been ‘trying to justify herself’?

    In general, I’ve seen a great deal of nonsense talked about this issue, including by that child and on this thread. It’s as though people didn’t know that we live in a democracy and the Prime Minister cannot do, or undo, things by fiat. The Australian Prime Minister does not have absolute power, thank the Goddess, so why are people persisting in talking as though s/he does?

    Also: both Shorten and Albanese have said publicly, in the wake of the Paul Howes intervention, that they wouldn’t change the ALP’s current position on equal marriage and I haven’t heard a peep out of anybody about that, much less seen either of them called a homophobic bigot. I wonder why that could possibly be.

  57. jungney

    PavCat:

    [borked blockquote fixed to aid clarity ~ mods]

    … we live in a democracy and the Prime Minister cannot do, or undo, things by fiat.

    But, but … she could have been a leader, someone to save us, and she wasn’t in the same way that Beazley failed to lead over the Tampa and Rudd failed to lead over sexism and the need for a double dissolution to introduce a carbon tax or the way that Rudd failed to lead over equal sex marriage until it occurred to him as a politically expedient move. She didn’t lead on the issue which is the role of a Parliamentary leader. It’s not to be the best damned legally trained bureaucrat.

    The real failure is the way that she shirked the opportunity to widen the civil and social base of the ALP by inclusive politics towards the GLBT community. This is the worst failure of liberalism, the failure to recognise rights and include people on the basis of subjective identity.

    So she didn’t lead because she didn’t know what was required. No intellectual framework except her own individual advantage which concept she generalised through policy as a glibertarian project.

    Bah.

  58. Moz of Yarramulla

    PavCat: in my case the lack of comment is because I haven’t heard anything on the issue from either of them. Most of my Oz politics info comes from LP and other blogs with a quick scan of the Guardian online every now and then. I just haven’t seen it reported, which I know is very reactive of me but there you are. Most of what Now I know there’s been something said I can go and hunt it up.

    I curious though, do you think Gillard really did expect that same-sex marriage would never come up again? That level of stupidity really is the generous alternative as far as I can see. I thought I’d covered all the plausible options, but by all means, if you can come up with a way she can get to where she is without being homophobic and bigoted, I’d love to hear it.

    And as for your shooting the messenger, what age limit would you be comfortable with for someone to question a politician? And at what age are kids allowed to wonder why their parents can’t get married? I firmly believe “when they can form coherent sentences” and “when it occurs to them”
    respectively. I realise that a large majority of Australians believe that politics should abruptly enter a young adults life when they turn 18, but I disagree.

  59. PavCat

    Jungney, I can’t work out from your typography who is quoting where what, but you are bah-ing at something I didn’t say. I was specifically addressing the fact that most of the people I have seen discussing this are talking about it as though Gillard had absolute power to make this or that policy. As you know, and I know, she did not have that power. Your response is drift. I haven’t argued and wouldn’t argue that she was right, because I am all in favour of legalising equal marriage, but I would argue (a) that I am quite sure there are a number of behind-the-scenes things we still don’t know, and probably never will know, about all this, and (b) I’m not interested in the views of anyone who believes or pretends to believe that Gillard had the personal power to single-handedly change party policy and the law. Which brings me to …

    Moz, re children questioning politicians, you are, like jungney, objecting to something I didn’t actually say. I have no problem with children questioning politicians per se. I don’t know if you watched the conversation with Summers in Sydney but plenty of other children asked questions and most of them were both adorable and pertinent, all of them somewhere around 11. But the child who piped ‘Why wouldn’t you let gay people get married?’ was not only rather younger than that, probably didn’t have a clue who ‘gay people’ actually are, was clearly being coached by his big bro, and had clearly also been told that Gillard ‘wouldn’t let gay people get married’ and encouraged to believe that she personally could have waved her magic wand and done so without trouble, impediment or repercussions if she’d felt like it — see fiat, above — and was the wicked witch of the west because she hadn’t.

    I was repelled — and I was not repelled by any of the several other children who asked questions — by the whole heartstring-tugging ‘out of the mouths of babes’ dreck, and I am also quite sure that little moment was staged.

    And I’d still like to know why no male leader of the party, past, present or future, is being trashed for ‘not letting gay people get married’. Gillard’s gone: most of the men in this country wanted her gone, for various reasons, and now she is, and I cannot get over this ongoing wholesale male trashing of her. It bewilders me.

  60. Russell

    PC – I’m not sure you’ve answered the point that Gillard wasn’t just another (male or female) politician, but the PM and leader of the ALP and as such certainly had at least symbolic power to further equality, or not. In this case, it appears, she did not.

  61. PavCat

    Russell, I’m not sure I’ve answered it either and frankly can’t think why I should, since it addresses a different order of reality from the workaday one I was operating in, but okay, why not, here goes.

    ‘Symbolic power’ how exactly? In what way? Is this supposed to mean that she was therefore a failure as a leader, in some vague unsubstantiated way as per that comment of jungney’s where he seems to have been quoting somebody else who seems to have thought that Gillard should have been able to magic up a rainbow unicorn and ride it into the sunset?

    I wonder what sort of leader she would have been if she had not been fighting on three or four fronts: against Abbott and his droogs, against Rudd and his termites, against the media and their bullshit, against vile misogynist nutters and casual sexist slurs, against everyone she had to somehow get round a table while leading a minority government.

    Hang on, that’s five. Five fronts. I dunno, Russell, I think the fact that she managed all of that for a tad over three years without resigning, getting sick, having a breakdown or committing suicide or murder makes her a pretty fucking remarkable leader, frankly, even if she *gasp* *how very dare she* believes a few things that I personally happen not to agree with her about.

    Are you also claiming that she should have somehow exercised this mythical symbolism to somehow — due process be buggered, it’s symbolic, you understand — do something that she personally had no particular desire to do, however some of the rest of us may differ, and if you are arguing that, why are you?

  62. Russell

    “something that she personally had no particular desire to do”

    It was party policy – and only became so when it was electorally safe to be so. And wouldn’t it be strange, in a party particularly concerned with equality, to, as leader to shrug your shoulders and say “have no particular desire to” progress equality on this front, when the world around you (UK and NZ) is moving on the issue. She had the position of PM to use to stand with a marginalised group, but she didn’t.

    Really, it’s going to be a pity if we can’t talk about the good and bad aspects of her performance as PM – taking into account all the factors that made that so difficult.

  63. PavCat

    “something that she personally had no particular desire to do”
    It was party policy – and only became so when it was electorally safe to be so.

    No, what I meant by ‘something she had no desire to do’ was ‘somehow magically symbolically try to enforce party policy from the top’ which seems to be what is being advocated, quite uselessly, after the fact. I’m so looking forward to seeing whether the men here keep pushing this when Shorten or Albanese becomes leader, particularly in such abusive terms.

    Really, it’s going to be a pity if we can’t talk about the good and bad aspects of her performance as PM

    It would indeed be lovely to see a few of the good aspects discussed here. Couldn’t agree more.

    But in the meantime I think this thread drift has gone quite far enough, especially considering the subject matter of the OP, so I will leave you boys to carry on trashing Gillard, since that is clearly something you feel a need to do.

  64. jungney

    PavCat: why, my quote is of you @ 56. Typography is the issue? Strewth, its not like reading straight off the Gutenberg press. Maybe you need a second eye in order to read straight?

    You @ 56:

    … apart from being (presumably) blindsided by a question after her Anne Summers interview from a smallish child presumably put up to it by some adult in front of God knows how many people during a live-streamed event at the Opera House…

    Presumably blindsided? Totally blindsided, more like, by people who considered themselves constituents of the ALP, about the bigotry and cowardice of denying the GLBT community marriage equality. Sure, she had a rump of reactionary catholics to placate but the rest of the liberally inclined nation sees that rump as a collation of arseh*les. Bow down to them and we may as well be in HowardWorld. What year is it?

    But how dare those pesky GLBT people embarrass Australia’s First Female PM with such a question! And such abuse, yes abuse (!) of childhood innocence as to enroll a minor in asking such a question. A disgrace, I tell you!

    Gillard broke through the glass ceiling which is why she is the hero of all those other liberal individualists who have been braining themselves on the glass ceiling. The project of historically justifying Gillard is looking more and more like writing the hagiography of a train wreck.

  65. jungney

    PC @ 63 you write:

    … I’m so looking forward to seeing whether the men here keep pushing this when Shorten or Albanese becomes leader, particularly in such abusive terms.

    Oooh, abusive terms? The evidence for which is, apart form disagreeing with you, what exactly? C’mon, if you gonna play zee abuse card, ante up. Word for word, what abuse?

  66. Russell

    “. I’m so looking forward to seeing whether the men here keep pushing this …”

    I think there’s a wide range of views among the men here – it doesn’t help discussion to try and lump them all together.

  67. Chris

    But the child who piped ‘Why wouldn’t you let gay people get married?’ was not only rather younger than that, probably didn’t have a clue who ‘gay people’ actually are, was clearly being coached by his big bro, and had clearly also been told that Gillard ‘wouldn’t let gay people get married’ and encouraged to believe that she personally could have waved her magic wand and done so without trouble, impediment or repercussions if she’d felt like it — see fiat, above — and was the wicked witch of the west because she hadn’t.

    The child may have been too young to fully understand the issues involved, but it may have been as simple as having a relative or friend of the family who is gay and unable to get married and heard the matter being discussed.

    I agree that Gillard did not have the power just to change the law. She didn’t have the numbers. However she did have her own vote and she chose to vote against the legislation. So I think its quite reasonable to question why she personally opposed the legislation, especially given she was the PM at the time where leadership can make a difference. Eg How many people believe that Howard’s support for the monarchy didn’t influence the outcome of the republic referendum?

    I don’t think either that its likely there’s just one reason. Explanations that have come up:

    – Forced to by key supporters (IIRC Joe de Bruyn claims that it was part of the deal in supporting her leadership that she would oppose same sex marriage)
    – Gillard believing that marriage is inherently flawed and so should not be further extended to others
    – Belief that its political publicly unpopular (there may be majority support for it, but for those who oppose its more likely to influence their vote)
    – Not wanting to expend political capital on the effort given the low chance of change
    – Belief in the traditional definition of marriage
    – Homophobic beliefs

    Is it not possible that in practice its just a mixture of some or all of the above? What is expressed at the time is just what is the most politically convenient. So while she was PM we got the “belief in traditional definition reason”. There’s no way she would have admitted to her opposition being part of a deal to support her leadership or that she thought marriage was flawed. And although it didn’t make much sense to a lot of her supporters it wasn’t that politically harmful to her compared to admitting to any of the others. Now that she’s out of politics its all about her legacy, the second resonates reasonably well with some of her supporters so she changes her public reasoning.

  68. Topher

    I think describing Julia Gillard as homophobic is a pretty abusive term.

  69. jungney

    Now here’s the difference. Gillard’s legacy is opposition to GLBT marriage equality. Rudd’s is putting in place a mechanism designed to democratise the ALP by opening up leadership to a ballot by members thereby opening the possibility of negating the rumps and premoderns like the groupers still in the party. That’s leadership.

    Topher, in all seriousness, if you think calling someone homophobic is abusive then I reckon it has been a while since you were more than an hundred kilometers from your central GPO.

  70. PavCat

    Oooh, abusive terms? The evidence for which is, apart form disagreeing with you [oh please — ed], what exactly? C’mon, if you gonna play zee abuse card, ante up. Word for word, what abuse?

    Word for word?

    Homophobic
    Bigot
    Dumb lie
    No intellectual framework
    Stupidity
    Cowardice
    Train wreck

  71. jungney

    That’s not abuse. You know it. Argue with the Oxford dictionary definition. Unless you want to define fair comment away as abuse which would be an ideological manoeuvre worthy of Pravda.

  72. PavCat

    Gillard’s legacy is opposition to GLBT marriage equality. Rudd’s is putting in place a mechanism designed to democratise the ALP by opening up leadership to a ballot by members thereby opening the possibility of negating the rumps and premoderns like the groupers still in the party. That’s leadership.

    You must forgive me, jungney. I had either completely forgotten, or hadn’t noticed in the first place, that you were a Rudd urger. Some of us think Gillard’s legacy is the NDIS, education reform, saving the river, minor shit like that. Guess it depends what you value.

    Thanks so much for the handy OED reference; strangely, I’d never come across that before. And me with a massive discount on Oxford books because I’m a three-time Oxford University Press author. Shocking really.

  73. Christian

    Perhaps Albanese and Shorten are getting an easier time on marriage equality because they both voted for it. Gillard did not. It’s a pretty significant difference.

  74. Golliblog

    PavCat @59:

    Gillard’s gone: most of the men in this country wanted her gone, for various reasons, and now she is, and I cannot get over this ongoing wholesale male trashing of her. It bewilders me.

    Actually after Rudd replaced Gillard, female support for the ALP increased by a statically significant margin acording to every major opinion. Funny how feminists chose to overlook that fact.

  75. tigtog

    Bullshit, jungney. How are those terms NOT ‘insulting and offensive’? There is far more measured language which could have been used instead but which various commentors chose not to use. They chose abuse instead.

  76. Golliblog

    Oh dear- that should be

    Actually after Rudd replaced Gillard, female support for the ALP increased by a statistically significant margin according to every major opinion poll. Funny how feminists chose to overlook that fact.

    Distracted subeditor, I’m afraid …

  77. tigtog

    Perhaps Albanese and Shorten are getting an easier time on marriage equality because they both voted for it. Gillard did not. It’s a pretty significant difference.

    Christian, thank you for offering a valid datapoint shorn of rhetoric.

    I agree that this is what I would consider a stain on Gillard’s time as PM. I wish she’d chosen differently.

  78. PavCat

    Christian at #73, yes, you’re quite right, it is indeed a pretty significant difference. Point taken. I don’t know what Gillard was really doing or what she really thinks or what was really going on there, and I don’t think anyone else does either. Personally I was surprised and saddened; I thought she was making a mistake, both morally and tactically.

  79. paul burns

    Apart from the misogyny speech and her farewell speech, I don’t think Gillard made many direct or implied references to feminism at all when she was PM. Sure, people probably knew she was feminist, but I don’t think it lost her many votes.

  80. Katz

    The fact that it is likely that the kid didn’t understand the question he asked does not invalidate it as a good question.

    Gillard’s answer to it may have been truthful or she may have been shocked into a startling lie.

    Either possibility is eminently worthy of discussion.

    If it was the truth, why was it the first time Gillard uttered it in public?

    If it was a lie, did Gillard feel herself under more pressure to conceal the truth in the Sydney Opera House than at any time she was Prime Minister?

  81. PavCat

    The fact that it is likely that the kid didn’t understand the question he asked does not invalidate it as a good question.

    I didn’t say it did, Katz; I said it shat me to tears. Using children like that is child abuse. (Sorry, I only put it that strongly so I could watch jungney go apeshit again.)

  82. jungney

    Tigtog: abuse, ya know. No-one’s behaving like Pickering here, of Jonesy, of Howard Sattler in WA. No b*tches, w*tches, threats of drowning in a hessian bag along with Bob Brown, no references at all to Gillard’s personal lifestyle or preferences, no draggin’ her down because she chose a non-conformist personal life and knitting. That stuff counts as personal abuse. Calling her leadership, in which she managed to retain minority government only because of three independents, a trainwreck isn’t abusive. It is fair comment. Calling it a success is an abuse of language and consciousness.

  83. Katz

    My first paragraph was merely setting the scene for the more important issues in the second part of my comment.

  84. faustusnotes

    Gillard’s legacy is NDIS and the carbon price. Rudd’s is a busted ALP.

  85. paul burns

    For Gillard as PM to more or less say she didn’t believe in marriage per se would have set the RWDBs off the leash even worse than they were off the leash, if worse was possible. She couldn’t have done it and have survived as long as she did within the ALP as leader I suspect. I mean, to be somewhat hyperbolic, the empty fruit bowl saga was almost read as Gillard being single-handedly responsible for the destruction of the Australian orchard industry because she didn’t eat fruit, and that was when she was deputy PM.

  86. Adrian

    Gillard’s legacy is NDIS and the carbon price. Rudd’s is a busted ALP.

    Only if put a heavy discount on reality.

  87. Katz

    One way to undermine traditional marriage with all of its patriarchal overtones would have been to allow gay marriage, which it can be validly argued, critiques many elements of patriarchy.

    It seems unlikely that Gillard would have overlooked that possibility.

  88. paul burns
  89. faustusnotes

    Adrian, you saying Gillard didn’t pass NDIS and the carbon price? Are you living in a reality where that didn’t happen?

    Or maybe the exodus of talent after Rudd toppled Gillard, and the subsequent wipe-out, isn’t “Busted” in your book? It’s clear that to some people hereabouts, the ALP is only busted when a woman is in charge.

  90. faustusnotes

    Katz: only in the eyes of a minority of RWDB beholders.

  91. Katz

    You say that as if it is a bad thing, fn.

  92. Golliblog

    Gillard’s legacy is NDIS and the carbon price. Rudd’s is a busted ALP.

    Actually if you had any inkling of the genesis and development of NDIS you would be aware that Gillard’s role was insignificant. Bill Shorten was the major figure in NDIS from its inception with other figures like Jenny Macklin getting involved later.

    Note how numerous disability support groups don’t even bother mentioning Gillard in their press release welcoming the NDIS, see here for example.

    The veneration of Saint Julia has nothing to do with any actual achievements. As John Quiggin has eloquently argued on numerous occasions, Gillard was essentially an idea free zone. Penny Wong is a far superior thinker and if we lived in more enlightened times, a worthy future PM.

  93. Graham Bell

    Ronson Dalby @ 19:
    I assume your private affairs and preferences were genuine.

    However, an epidemic of homosexuality did break out when Menzies announced the re-introduction of National Service – for the Viet-Nam War. There is a Nobel Prize for Medicine just waiting for the brilliant researcher who finds out why all that homosexuality ceased within a day or so …. as soon as Whitlam abolished National Service.

    Someone with a bit of spare time on their hands might amuse themselves by following the careers of those excluded from military service because they had outed themselves (before outing became fashionable) as raging poofs and then were blessed by an instant miraculous cure for their incurable homosexuality.

    Wonder if those who reached high positions long after missing out on the Viet-Nam War would care to reminisce about their good old Gay Days on national television? Perhaps they might show us all their real selves by dressing up and joining in the gay & lesbian Mardi Gras …. with their boyfriends too?

    Of course, none of Mr Abbott’s cabinet is old enough to have been involved in anything as shabby as that …. but wonder who might get caught if the net was cast wider?

  94. faustusnotes

    I would never, Katz! I just say it by way of pointing out that Gillard may have thought of it, and then thought “gay marriage is not going to undermine this institution, this is not the revolutionary tactic I am looking for.”

    if indeed, it were her plan to undermine an institution she personally had no interest in. Which, given all the other shit on her plate at the time, seems unlikely to me.

  95. faustusnotes

    Graham Bell, I don’t usually rise to respond to your hallucinatory ravings, but really:

    those excluded from military service because they had outed themselves (before outing became fashionable) as raging poofs and then were blessed by an instant miraculous cure for their incurable homosexuality

    can you name even one such person?

  96. tigtog

    This thread seems to be getting threadjacked in multiple directions. Thread is now fully moderated, seeing as it’s getting late. Comments submitted overnight will be approved as appropriate ASAP, and the Cat-Herding Cabal will reassess the need for full moderation tomorrow.

  97. Graham Bell

    Helen @ 35 and Jungney @37:
    Heartily agree with both of you.

    The problem with The Greens is that they are SEEN as always attacking inefficient and wasteful industries but are SEEN as never giving a damn about what happens to the workers in those industries and their families as well as not caring about all the others who suffer when those businesses and industries are closed down. They are SEEN as being nothing but vain hit-and-run ratbags.

    If The Greens had a change of attitudes and tactics and instead, engaged with the workers in those businesses and industries, and with everyone else likely to be affected, BEFORE they go on the rampage would help them lose their “job-smasher” reputation as well as winning supporters from INSIDE. The pompous attitude of “We know what is good for you so shut up” is not a formula for winning the votes of workers whose incomes are under threat.

  98. faustusnotes

    Maybe it would help the Cat-herding Cabal in their efforts to moderate this joint if there was a thread dedicated to the Gillard-Rudd issue? It obviously isn’t going to go away and, in the absence of a post on the matter and subsequent debate, maybe it would be a good idea to just make a thread we can all argue on? Then you can moderate the other threads With Extreme Prejudice on this one matter. And it can serve as a placeholder until someone decides to do a full post discussing the issue.

    It’s not just that we all like flogging this zombie horse; many other debates about the ALP, the election and the issues around it degenerate into this issue because some people here (and not just one or two) think you can’t analyze the election without considering it. For me personally, the following issues can’t be separated from Rudd’s behavior: the decline in the polls under Gillard; whether the ALP needs to “reassess” itself in opposition the way it did in 1996; the 2007-2013 govt’s legacy; and the changes to the leadership selection method. Whenever these issues come up I naturally want to point out that they can’t be assessed independently of Rudd’s behavior and the misogyny directed against Gillard by the popular press.

    It seems obvious to me, a month after the election, that the LP crew aren’t interested in an assessment of these issues directly, and that’s fine, but they aren’t going to go away. Maybe if you set up a separate thread you can shift the debate there when it turns up in connection with one of the many points that trigger it, and avoid derailing every other thread?

    Just a suggestion, of course…

  99. Graham Bell

    fn @ 93:

    can you name even one such person?

    The fakes? Of course …. and so can a hell of a lot of others …. but since truth alone is insufficient defence in a defamation action, not on a public blog …. as a witness under oath before a royal commission is fine though.

  100. Casey

    Ronson Dalby @ 19:
    I assume your private affairs and preferences were genuine.

    Yes, I too assume you are being genuine Ronson, cause God knows you’re gunna need some sort of strength forged in the valley of the shadow if you are going to go on and read the rest of our poet laureate’s screed:

    However, an epidemic of homosexuality did break out when Menzies announced the re-introduction of National Service – for the Viet-Nam War. There is a Nobel Prize for Medicine just waiting for the brilliant researcher who finds out why all that homosexuality ceased within a day or so …. as soon as Whitlam abolished National Service.

    Oh my, where did you come from to bless us with such poetry!! Come you from the faery realms? I begin to suspect you might well be fey, what with your ability to LSD all over your words so that we are all LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS after reading one of your illustrious pieces

    Do you mind if I call you Eastwind Flamewizard from now on? Given you come from the nether regions?

    My dear Eastwind, it is VERY clever of you to use the notion of an ‘epidemic’ with put it with ‘homosexuality’ – how utterly original!! As your literary agent, may I suggest one more flourish? Instead of the NOBEL prize bizzo why not a bowling alley with people getting knocked over by a bowling ball with Gough Whitlam’s face on it and the words “it’s time” and shit? Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense!! It can join the pantheon of the other brain damaging shit you write.

    And now I need a panadol.

  101. Ronson Dalby

    Graham Bell @ 91,

    The National Service medical boards didn’t just take your word that you were attracted to the same sex.

  102. paul burns

    I just turned up for my medical And said I was spastic. i was, so it worked. I know people who stayed awake for three days, didn’t wash for a week, wore scummy rags etc in their efforts to avoid conscription. They were trying to prove they were psychologically unfit for national service. One of my mates ran away from his Kings Cross address to the wilds of Queensland and was never heard of, officially, again. I knew quite a few gay men at the time, because I was in theatre, but none of them, to my knowledge, used their sexuality to avoid Vietnam. (And some of them weren’t obviously gay.)
    Another bloke I knew was swigging raw egg white before his medical because a doctor told him it would come up in his bloodwork as Bright’s Disease. And I was in one of the earliest call-ups. God knows what people got up to later.
    Sorry for being so far OT, but as tigtog noted ….

  103. Katz

    Ronson, do you recall the Medical Board’s methodology?

  104. PavCat

    I’m seeing a fascinating pattern emerging here.

    It’s already an established pattern at this, erm, establishment that any point involving gender, sexism or misogyny will be met by certain people with silencing cries of ‘gender card’, ‘playing the victim’ and whatnot. This we know. What I’m now seeing is that any defending of Julia Gillard from the more ludicrous or egregious attacks on her character and legacy, much less any actual positive remarks about her, will be met with similarly silencing cries of ‘hagiography’!

    This is by no means confined to LP; it can also be seen in the press gallery, where certain people rushed to condemn Anne Summers for not being more ‘interrogatory’ and not (oh dearie dearie me people do give themselves away with their word choice) ‘going in hard’ which I have seen at least one person say, when the event was clearly publicised as a ‘conversation’. Perhaps it is telling that certain journalists apparently don’t know what the word ‘conversation’ means. Or perhaps they don’t read Anne Summers’ words very carefully. Either way, I have never seen such a convincing public demonstration of the fact that some men feel extremely threatened by any demonstration of female solidarity. The sight of the crowd at the Opera House clearly frightened some people senseless.

    It has become very clear over the years that many of the men here likewise read the women’s comments either carelessly or not at all, the usual suspects are yelling ‘hagiography’ at people like Casey and Tigtog and Su and me and other women who have said over and over again that there were things Gillard said and did that we were disappointed and, in some cases, dismayed by. I can’t speak for Tigtog, but to my mind there was more than enough trashing of her going on and my task as I saw it was to redress a little balance in conversations about her. This is not hagiography, this is fairness, and Gillard has been treated with spectacular unfairness.

    Those of you in thrall to Prof Quiggin (hagiography, anyone?) may simply still be living in the realm in which blind adherence to a particular ready-made philosophy, theory or creed is mistaken for intellectual sophistication.

  105. Ronson Dalby

    Katz,

    One of the questions asked was about the existence, or not, of a psychiatric history which for a lot us of ‘inverts’ (2 Psychology, dated, a homosexual OED) growing up in the 50s and 60s wasn’t an uncommon thing to have. If you answered yes then one thing led to another …

  106. tigtog

    Graham Bell, can I clarify the sequence of events re claims of fraudulent homosexual identity that you are alleging? Correct me if my understanding of any of the points below is contrary to your own:

    1. Before conscription for service in Vietnam began, only young men who wanted to join the military went before the medical boards, and none of them claimed that they were gay. Generally, socially, at this time, very few homosexuals were “out”.
    2. After conscription for service in Vietnam began, and young men who did not want to join the military went before the medical boards, some of them claimed to be gay and were disqualified from military service as a result. This led to you being aware, suddenly, of a population of homosexuals who had outed themselves to the military board and who were therefore also outed socially to some extent.
    3. After conscription for service in Vietnam ended, the young men who did not want to join the military stopped having to go before the military board, and the claims of being gay stopped happening. Generally, young men who did not have to out themselves to the medical boards did not tend to out themselves generally, so you stopped learning about men who had been revealed to be gay.

    I’m not seeing why you think that this is in any way odd. There were tons of negative social consequences still in the 70s for anybody who outed themselves as gay. That young men stopped outing themselves once there were no mandatory medical board examinations seems utterly unremarkable.

  107. Helen

    Gillard broke through the glass ceiling which is why she is the hero of all those other liberal individualists who have been braining themselves on the glass ceiling.

    I love this. It’s the latest smackdown which is equally useable by left and right. So if you’re fighting for women’s equality, you go girl, unless and until you start getting into a position of real power or influence. Then you’re a bad “liberal” feminist, because you’re putting yourself over others and have lost your ideological purity. So you have to keep making the tea for the male board members forever until society is completely overthrown and there are no boards anymore. Which will be… will be… er…

    Meanwhile, the men get the money and power. Talk about divide and rule. and many of the feminists I read just lap it up. Brilliant, chaps. you’ve bought yourselves another generation of patriarchy with that one.

  108. Casey

    The sight of the crowd at the Opera House clearly frightened some people senseless.

    Lemme tell you, it would have. It was a bunch of witchez and hon. witchez who were in the mood to give her the send off she deserved.

    Of course, had it been hagiographic, it would have involved no questions at all in relation to gay marriage and (in Melbourne) refugees. The questions would have been carefully vetted. And they weren’t.

    Now, about the kid and the question. I was sitting directly under the child and looked up to see the kid being coached by a relative or whatnot, ear whispers, and then lifted to the mike like a marionette. Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if he had his hand up the child’s back and was doing the voice.

    It was a little bit excruciating and it would have been better had the elder relative asked the question himself. But it doesn’t matter really, Pav’s point regarding the question stands. I look forward to all of us going to hunt down Albo and Shorten now.

  109. PavCat

    And to get in before anyone else wilfully misinterprets, can I just clarify that the final para of my comment at #104 refers to Quiggin’s description of Gillard as an ‘ideas-free zone’. Since anyone who has ever watched her at Question Time knows this is nonsense, I am assuming he means that she is *horrors* a pragmatist and a pluralist, focused on daily problem-solving in the real world, rather than a wholesale subscriber to some particular theory or other of PPE.

  110. paul burns

    Another point about male homosexuality in the mid to late 60s. IIRC, it was illegal. If you were gay and the coppers caught you you could possibly go to jail. (I think I have the dates right. IIRC homosexuality was not legalised until the 70s, is that correct?)

  111. jules

    This thread is a fine example of avoiding futility ….

    John Howard sabotaged the republican vote by presenting a model that most people refused to vote for, its wasn’t his awesome leadership that converted people to the monarchy. If the option had been a simple question – status quo or begin to move to a republic (without a model that was forced on voters) imo republicans would have won the referendum.

    Also what Pavcat said.

  112. zoot

    I’m late, and off topic, but a quick response to Graham Bell. I had a ticket in the second national-win-a-tour-of-vietnam lottery.
    I saw no epidemic of homosexuality then or in the ensuing years.

  113. Su

    Actually if you had any inkling of the genesis and development of NDIS you would be aware that Gillard’s role was insignificant. Bill Shorten was the major figure in NDIS from its inception with other figures like Jenny Macklin getting involved later.

    By the same token, it was Shorten who cut parenting payment to single parents and tossed them on the dole, I remember this because I wrote to him saying I was going to vote informal rather than reward the Labor party for dismantling the social safety net further. Nonetheless less when I mention it I always use Gillard/Shorten, because ultimately, as leader, she is responsible. Notice that in backing away from this position, Shorten has been very careful not to paint himself as the victim of someone else’s nefarious witchlike mind control. This is because he is an adult of apparently sound mind.

    Thanks for reminding us of just how hyperbolic and chauvinist the descriptions of Gillard became. Idea free, yeah right, next you’ll be quoting the light on the hill stuff. And this is another thing I’ve noticed, the people who lapped up “greatest moral challenge” and “no lurch right” are the ones who engaged in the most sexist of commentary on Gillard, because apparently it matters not whether the pretty speeches are sincere statements presaging action or utterly self-serving expressions of moral vanity, as long as it massages the listener’s sense of self righteousness. Having beaten Gillard mercilessly with the stick of asylum seeker policy they suddenly found it went limp in their grasp, but no matter, marriage equality will do just as well. Never mind what actually happens to the people at the pointy end of those policy positions, they even managed to convince themselves that being sent to PNG with no hope of settlement here was a good thing, the key point of the rhetoric was to demonize Gillard, and any break In this pattern is deemed hagiography. It’s shameless.

  114. Nick

    I’m happy to take on board a lot of what’s being said in defence of Gillard here, and certainly see no reason to argue against it.

    I usually agree with Mark, broadly speaking, but, fwiw, I think he reacted too strongly to the Opera House event. As far as I was aware, this is what all departing Prime Ministers do – hit the public speaking circuit, and engage in a bit of – yes, hagiography – for their supporters willing to pay to see them speak. Who really cares? Whatever your opinion of Gillard, it will be pretty much over in 2 minutes, no different to Howard before her. It’s hardly a rewriting of history. Her legacy will be her legacy. There’ll be negatives and there’ll be positives. She’ll deserve some opinions and she won’t deserve others. I would have been highly surprised if Rudd didn’t cop a serve on the night, and again – so what? I’m sure he can hack it.

    But – I have to say I find this condescending attitude towards the young boy more than a little distasteful. As someone who’s auntie is lesbian, I can assure you I most definitely knew at his age what same sex relationships were. I also knew all about the stigmas attached to those relationships (eg. my nanna’s response if she brought girlfriends to family days; that she’d be refused point blank if she tried to give blood). I also knew what a ‘queen’ was, I knew that Freddie Mercury and George Michael were gay, and I knew that Klinger wasn’t. And that was some 30 years before Glee completely mainstreamed same sex relationships to teenagers and younger children.

    I take Pav’s point that, at his age, I also might have thought a Prime Minister could ‘wave their magic wand’ – and goddesses know, I’m probably still too naive and optimistic about what Prime Ministers and Presidents can actually accomplish – but I wasn’t exactly a brainless marionette either.

  115. jungney

    Helen, I’m interested in seeing good people with good attitudes making good policy wherever they are employed, man or woman, any sexuality, any ethnicity. There’s no smackdown for women in general in my critical attitude towards one form of feminism that I’ve described, along with Penny Red, as trickle down feminism. A a feminist variant of liberal individualism, which I think Gillard exemplified, is the theory of the times for a specific class of women – the usual suspects – predominantly Anglo, tertiary educated, currently employed within the professional bourgeoisie. Politically, I don’t give a damn about the social progress of women in power who don’t give a damn about the things I value; they don’t represent me, never will, and the sooner they are out of the picture, the better. The same applies to men with similar qualities and attitudes.

  116. Moz of Yarramulla

    Casey: yeah, and confront them with their awful behaviour “how dare you vote for same-sex marriage”. Or would it “you awful patriarchal scum, getting married to a woman in order to re-inforce the sexist nature of society!”

  117. Graham Bell

    Ronson Dalby;
    In another context, I would have responded to your comment with a too-clever one-liner such as “Ah, so that’s why the Australian Regular Army missed out on getting another Hadrian or Fredrick The Great as Commander-in-Chief” (both well-known homosexual military commanders) and left it at that – I’m assuming that you did acquire a fair level of military skills during your service to Australia in the Citizens Military Forces (CMF).

    However, my response was not just directed to you and to any other LP contributors who cared to chime in …. it was an oblique warning to any LNP enthusiasts lurking here that “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. It was an oblique warning that they can do all the muck-raking they like, as they have done over the past several years, but they had better wear their raincoats and gumboots when they do …. because there are a hell of a lot unimportant ordinary people out there who have very lllooonnnggg and detailed memories and, what is worse, in these days of social media and smart phones they cannot depend on their media mogul chums to bury any embarrassing stories that happen to pop up from the dim distant past.

    (They) didn’t just take your word that you were attracted to the same sex.

    My oath they didn’t! There was one unit where, very early on, some fake “gays” had already been discharged before someone woke up that their mates on piquet duty may well have been part of a plan to catch them in bed together so they could be discharged very rapidly – too late; they were already civilians again. Things tightened up after that. Many who served in RAAMC and RAANC and who had more direct contact than me with National Servicemen on examination, on enlistment and in recruit training have amusing stories of the lengths to which fake “gays” would go to get discharged.

    Sadly, as you are no doubt aware, the situation for GENUINE gay men was not amusing in the slightest – regardless of whether they wanted to join, or stay in, the Army, Navy or RAAF or whether they wanted to remain civilians. Thank goodness we have progressed a long way since then.

  118. Liz

    I think people who criticise the Gillard/Summers events are doing so, in part, because of category error. It was never going to be a hard-hitting interview. It was advertised as a conversation and as Summers wrote on the weekend, became a celebration.

    If you can’t deal with this, just look the other way please. Praising Gillard is not being ‘hagiographic’ or ‘cultist’ as I’ve seen it described. Saying she isn’t ‘shallow’, ‘stupid’ or an ‘idea free zone’, is not being worshipful. It’s being factual. I’m so sick of male commentors like Quiggin or Dr Tad slagging her off. Their snide tone informs me that they really couldn’t deal with a woman being in power.

  119. Graham Bell

    tigtog @106
    Thanks for seeking clarification.
    (1). Correct.

    (2). No. Everybody who wanted to join the Army or was conscripted was given thorough medical and psychological examinations; there were no exceptions.

    Genuine gay men who wanted to join up, or stay in the Army, did everything in their power to keep their sexual orientation hidden. Genuine gay men who did not want to become soldiers had to take the risk of either coming out or of relying on some other factor (such as poor eyesight or feeble-mindedness) to keep them out of the Army.

    Some non-gays tried to fake being homosexual in order to be excluded from military service …. those who did so wanted only the doctors and National Service authorities to believe they were gay. Coming out? No way! The last thing these bozos wanted was for their family and friends to think they had become queers!!! The only reason those who successfully pretended to be gay didn’t boast about it to all their mates as soon as they were given exclusion from National Service was the gut-wrenching fear that if the authorities ever found out that they weren’t really gay after all, they would be on their way to meet Nigel & Norah in the secondary jungle of Phu’o’c Tuy Province so fast that their feet wouldn’t even touch the ground.

    (3). Not quite. Active discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Army, RAN and RAAF continued for several years after National Service was abolished and it did not start to end until a few brave souls did out themselves. However, the desire of non-gays to pretend to be gay did end overnight.

    tigtog, you did say “you” a couple of times – not me alone; not by a long chalk – half the Army knew what was going on – which is probably a reason why there are quiet smirks all around Australia when one pompous galoot or another pops up on TV – “Oh, yes, I remember XXX when he went around camp with YYY kissing and holding hands so they could get discharged. Look what he is doing for a living now”.

    By the way. I have a lot of respect for those genuine gays who did go on active service and are now proud to march together on ANZAC Day.

  120. PavCat

    I usually agree with Mark, broadly speaking, but, fwiw, I think he reacted too strongly to the Opera House event.

    Where was that, Nick? I haven’t seen it. Have seen plenty of other reactions though.

    But – I have to say I find this condescending attitude towards the young boy more than a little distasteful.

    If it’s me you’re reading as ‘condescending’ then I must beg your pardon for not making myself clearer. I had no intention of condescending to the child, nor did I feel that way. The child cannot have been any older than seven or eight; I was watching the whole interaction very carefully and I thought he was being used, and I was disgusted by whoever it was who was using him. Casey’s first-hand eye- (and ear-) witness account seems to bear this out. It was a good question, or would have been if it had been phrased differently (‘Why don’t you support equal marriage?’ would have been just fine), but you don’t face the Prime Minister with a child on a stick in order to go for maximum pathos; you have the guts to ask your question yourself. I say again: child abuse.

  121. PavCat

    Ahem: *the former Prime Minister*

  122. Helen

    Politically, I don’t give a damn about the social progress of women in power who don’t give a damn about the things I value; they don’t represent me, never will, and the sooner they are out of the picture, the better. The same applies to men with similar qualities and attitudes.

    Yes, that’s all very nice, but the net result is that women are excluded from society’s power networks. And it’s all very nice to say we shouldn’t have power networks in the sense that we do now, but you know, there were power structures in all the alternative societies we know about, and it’s just a little bit much to accept to continue as the tea-makers for another couple of generations. And I know a whole heap of feminists have bought into this (Oh we don’t want to be like the ugly ugly elitists oh we don’t want to reproduce power structures) but they’ve been sold a pea under a thimble IMO.

  123. Helen

    Sorry, rambling. My point was – you can be all idealistic and say that, but the net result is that the usual suspects will end up dominating the power networks. White males, mostly.

  124. Jacques de Molay

    I’m so sick of male commentors like Quiggin or Dr Tad slagging her off. Their snide tone informs me that they really couldn’t deal with a woman being in power.

    Because of course there couldn’t be any other reason. Eventually the penny will drop and Tanner’s criticisms of Gillard might come to mind, privately describing her as a “conservative careerist”.

  125. Graham Bell

    Casey @ 100:
    Not the only epidemic at the time – there were outbreaks of retrospective childhood rheumatic fever (unrelated to real rheumatic fever), adult bedwetting, acute onset poor eyesight, instant partial deafness, sudden onset free-falling IQ, theatrical semi-psychoses …. epidemics galore …. and all cured overnight by Dr Gough and Dr Lance.
    No doubt those who suffered those terrible mysterious afflictions long ago hate to be reminded that they were once afflicted. L-O-L + +

    Zoot @ 112:
    How come your intake missed out on all the Academy Award candidates?

    Paul Burns @ 102:
    Too right. And the crazy thing is that there were blokes who missed out on getting their birthday drawn yet wanted to do the 2 year National Service and were refused …. but could join the Australian Regular Army for 6 years.
    Watch out if Abbott and Bishop get us into another war: they might grab you to become a staff wallah …. Me? I’m pretending I have an allergy to marching in step..

  126. faustusnotes

    Here’s a classic moment of male pontification on Rudd’s superiority from Quiggin:

    On the question of her replacement, I had previously dismissed Rudd, on the basis that his abrasive personality and micro-management tendencies (not apparent in his public persona, but well-attested) would make him unacceptable to his colleagues. However, the High Court decision on asylum seekers changes all that. Rudd has more credibility on this issue than anyone else in the party. Labor has no choice but to revert to a more humane position and stress the point that the Court decision undermines Abbott as well as Gillard. It now seems highly unlikely that a policy based on long-term detention of people who have already been assessed as refugees can stand up, wherever they are held.

    How’s that credibility now that asylum seeker women are giving birth on Manus Island under Rudd’s policy?

  127. Nick

    Pav, I haven’t been following any recent threads, but I thought I detected from the Overflow comments I read that Mark had written something about the Opera House event on LP that rubbed commenters the wrong way. I guess that means he mustn’t have.

    He did make some comments on Facebook (partly comparing her reception after office to that of Anna Bligh’s – no Opera House gigs for our ‘first elected female State Premier in Australia’s history’ etc). As I said, I disagreed with the tone/level of feeling/whatever you want to call it, and didn’t think it overly helpful at this stage of the debate – but they weren’t at all personally offensive, and everyone’s entitled to their point of view, and to feel strongly about things they believe in politically, and so I chose not to respond. There were more than enough people commenting there in support of Gillard anyway (including Mindy, I think).

    Regarding the boy – from the video footage, I didn’t see what Casey or yourself saw. I’d hesitate to call sitting below someone in a darkened auditorium an eye-witness account. Unheard whispered remarks in his ear could just as easily have been ‘ok, it’s your turn now, you feeling ok? can you reach the mic ok? Here, let me give you hand’ or anything else similarly innocuous. But nuff said – we saw it differently. I just thought it worth mentioning that almost any kid with gay family members knows precisely what “‘gay people’ actually are”. Fwiw, though, when the camera went back to his face after Gillard finished her response, he looked lucid and intelligent enough to me, and didn’t look like he missed anything she’d said, or had tuned out and lost focus like you’d actually expect of a child who was “being used” and put up to something he didn’t understand.

    Whether thrusting children into a spotlight, or allowing them to thrust themselves into a spotlight, is a good idea, well, quite apart from a century of singing dancing child celebrities, that’s an entirely separate issue which has been boiling away for at least 5-10 years. Mainly due to the explosion of cheaply produced commercial reality/game shows, but also any number of famous child-bloggers, and parents who bombard their semi-public facebook accounts with images and videos of their young children on a daily basis. The first time you see a young child first hand livid with rage that their parents went ahead and posted that oh so funny video to all their friends without their permission…well, it’s not very pleasant to say the least. Some parents like to learn these things the hard way, I guess. I’m in two minds about all of it, even with the child’s permission and trust. Genies/bottles etc.

  128. jungney

    PavCat @ 120: I’ve responded to your rather sweeping redefinition of what constitutes child abuse on the Overflow Thread.

  129. PavCat

    Nick, I think I need to make it clear here that I at least was not referring to Mark in any way in my comments about the reaction to the Opera House event. I don’t know about the others, but I certainly wasn’t referring to anything Mark has said, because I haven’t seen anything he’s said — I was referring rather to various journalists in various states of sniditude, both on paper and on the radio or the teeve, in a response that seems rather widespread among people who are blanket anti-Gillard and resent anyone who thinks and/or feels differently.

  130. Liz

    Right, Jacques. The penny will drop because I’m apparently too stupid to work out what I think about Gillard without some bloke telling me.

    Tanner and Gillard were competing for the same same jobs, the same seats within Labor but came from different factions. They were competitors. Gillard might have few words to say about him, as well.

    Jungney, given you’re dislike of liberalism, which is gender neutral, I’m just waitng to hear your critique of Rudd. And Albo. And Shorten.

  131. Graham Bell

    Folks:
    National Service is over (maybe?); a few more people are now aware of grubby things done, decades ago, to save the miserable hides of some of our “betters” …. an oblique warning has gone out to potential muck-rakers …. so back on-topic ….

    Mark and All:
    Although I agree with your Sarah Burnside quote

    We are citizens, not consumers. We are part of something bigger than ourselves, even if our nation state is set to swerve rightwards. A retreat into our own anger and grief is in some ways a surrender, an embrace of individualism rather than empathy, as though Margaret Thatcher was correct after all and there is truly no such thing as society. To make a real and radical change in our politics, we need something less stylish than belligerent despair: a commitment to the unfashionable notion of the collective good.

    I cannot see why personal idiosyncrasy and individual efforts should exclude empathy and a robust commitment to the collective good.

  132. Casey

    Woah. When the questions came on, and it became clear that a question would be coming from the back mike – I turned around and looked up. I had a birdseye view. I did not hear what the guy said to the boy. Of course he could have been whispering encouragement, and that’s fine, I have no wish to demonise the kid. Isn’t the point what Pav said though? The Prime MInister does not have absolute rule? That said, here is my take on the answer. It was really interesting to me because when Gillard answered that question she went from being engaging and witty and all that, and switched straight into that monotone she could go into sometimes. To me that is the voice of bureaucracy or something, and it makes it difficult for me to concentrate on what she is saying. It’s like you were up really close to the woman and now you were a thousand miles away. It seems to me that rather than the pugilistic, combative defensiveness we could see from Abbott, this was Gillard not entirely comfortable with the question. And this is something we’ve seen before. This reminds me of a description Jacqueline Kent puts forth in her bio of Gillard. At a press conference Kent describes Gillard like so: “Because she was not in control of what would be asked, she was slightly stiffer, less natural. She also had to deal with questions that had little bearing on what she had just been talking about. She got her points across as quickly as she could, but the manufactured sentences – and the chopping hand motions, a dead giveaway to her level of discomfort – made the performance less impressive than the [previous] luncheon speech had been”. There were no chopping hand motions of course, but that voice which lost all its light and shade in an instant … it made me wonder what she was not saying so that her answer might make sense to me.

    Because I didn’t like her answer at all. . She said that she and her partner decided to forgo marriage and etc, you all heard the answer. But she and Tim had the choice, and that was not addressed and it was not as if you could rush to the mike and say “but Julia Gillard you have the choice to forgo marriage, gays and lesbians do not, This is about equal rights, pure and simple, it is not about whether marriage is a retrogressive patriarchal construct” because the queues for the mikes were six or seven people deep and it was unlikely you could get to pose that question before question time ended. It was a shame. It was the great flaw in her answer and it should have been addressed. It was clear to me that there is another story there, which other people have pointed to here, Pav most certainly has. She sounded like the politician probably because she was being the politician in the matter of same sex marriage. Who knows who and what was behind her position. I hope one day she talks about it. I was very disappointed but towards the end of the answer but in Melbourne, Did she not concede she may have been out of step? or something? I can’t find any transcript of Melbourne but there seemed a slight, subtle shift. Perhaps I’m wrong, I can’t find a transcript of her response from Melb.

  133. Casey

    Bloody hell. I see the great elf Southwind Flamewizard has responded up there. Shall I go peruse? Or do you reckon it will do my already fragile head in (fragile in a good way from seeing The Turning today – people, go see it)?

    Nah. I gotta get my strength up.

    I will wait until morning to see what pretty poesy he made for me and left for me like fairy mead on the withered sedge, as if I were the knight all alone and palely loitering – and he, la dame sans merci.

  134. Casey

    *la BELLE dame sans merci, because whatever he’s on, he’s beautiful and may perhaps a the long awaited replacement for my first love, Silkworm.

  135. Casey

    *perhaps be

    feel free to fix my spelling and delete all these extra irritating posts, blog gods!

    I mean you go see The Turning and see how you feel afterwards. It’s a testament to my fortitude that I can even read, let alone respond and type some words right.

  136. Graham Bell

    Casey:
    I’ve endured your insults without complaint but you’ve gone too far now: you deliberately used the term “fairy mead”. “Fairy mead”? That can only be a sly insinuation that I am a drinker of Bundaberg rum which is made, in part, from the sugar of nearby Fairymead. I’ll have you know that on those occasions when I drink rum, it is pot-stilled Beenleigh and, if that is unavailable, the finest that Cuba can produce. ((storms off in dudgeon – high, low and intermediate)).

    Gentlefolk:
    Sarah Burnside made a point when she said, of the “F*** Abbott” T-shirts,

    Like a placard reading “Howard is a fascist” at a protest rally in the late 1990s, the t-shirts appeal exclusively to the converted

    It’s worse than she says because that mindset can make the converted re-examine their conversion.

    It is one reason The Greens have gone from being trusted by many to being distrusted. It is one reason that a lot of movements from feminism to sporting shooters have lost support and have made their own goals harder to attain.

    That mindset did work temporarily, very temporarily, for the LiberalS(??) in the last federal and Queensland state elections but only because a hell of a lot of money and outside interference was pumped in and because the ALP worked so hard to get the Liberals elected.

    Politics – in an ideal parliamentary democracy – should mean listening as well as screeching, persuading instead of bullying, working with like-minded groups instead of attacking them as if they are apostates, being open to good ideas even if they come from the opposite side of the political fence. We sometimes see a bi-partisan approach to things in the Parliament but, sadly, this is usually noticed only when it is a bi-partisan approach to robbing the taxpayers. Maybe we won’t see the ideal reached in our lifetimes but at least we can make a small start here and there.