Abbott’s denial of reality

14 Jun



It’s the goal of every political party to impose its particular concept of reality onto the nation over which it desires governance. Treasurer Joe Hockey, for example, wants to convince us that if we have a “good” job that pays sufficiently well we will be able to buy a house, even in what governor of the Reserve Bank Glenn Stevens describes as Sydney’s “crazy” market.

In other words, Hockey wants to impose his party’s ideological belief that all that is required is hard work to get you where you want to be. In the matter of affordable housing this fallacy is easily challenged: nurses, emergency workers, teachers, police, all essential to the safety of any community, are paid so comparatively poorly they have reduced opportunities to purchase a home in the city in which they serve, yet their jobs are “good” in every other sense of the word, and they work hard in traumatic and difficult circumstances.

In Hockey’s ideology the individual is entirely responsible for his or her fate, and the wider social and cultural context in which we exist is of no relevance whatsoever.

Even cabinet ministers occasionally have difficulty meeting their mortgage payments, Prime Minister Tony Abbott folksily tells us, and his own daughters are wondering how they’ll ever get into the market. These comments only serve to confirm the “craziness” referred to by Glenn Stevens, however this is not Abbott’s intention. In yet another cosy homily, the Prime Minister is attempting to brainwash the nation into the belief that it is normal to struggle mightily to own a home, and that housing is a privilege, not a human right.

The LNP ideology in general, not just as it is revealed through the prism of the housing market, is based entirely on the denial of the reality of everyone other than themselves and the like-minded. So as another example, in what must be the most twisted effort thus far to keep the country free of asylum seekers arriving by boat, we now hear that the Abbott government is allegedly using tax payer dollars to persuade people smugglers to turn their over-loaded boats towards Indonesia where they presumably will either offload their cargo of human misery, or conceivably turn right back around in the hope of being intercepted by another representative of the Australian navy and border patrol who will, if they are lucky, pay them more thousands of dollars to turn back to Indonesia.

This interesting variation on Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence will, the government assures us, ensure ongoing success in its campaign to turn back the boats and keep Australia safe. The fact that we pay those vile people smugglers to turn around will not, of course, encourage the people smuggler trade, because the Abbott government wants to stamp that trade out and paying them to turn back will stamp that trade out, dummy, what is wrong with you that you can’t get that?  It won’t even risk more drownings at sea because paying people smugglers to turn back their boats will stop drownings at sea, or at least in the bit of the sea that belongs to us, because the people smugglers have been paid and paying them means nobody will drown.

Are you gas-lighted yet?

The government has zero interest in the reality of waterborne asylum seekers, their struggles and their fate. The only reality that matters is that of a group of largely white males who currently comprise the orthodoxy, and whose sole goal is to remain in power. Their task is, by hook or by crook, to quote their leader, to persuade enough of the citizens of this country to share that reality and vote them back in. Denial of every other reality is essential to achieve this outcome, onshore and off.

Denial is an insidious psychological mechanism, on a personal, community, national and political level. One of the most destructive of its effects is the barrier it inevitable constructs against change. Nowhere do we see this played out more dramatically than in the Abbott government’s fanatical loyalty to the continued use of fossil fuels, brought yet again into stark focus this week by the Prime Minister’s brain fart on the aesthetic offensiveness of wind farms and his intention to find, by hook or by crook, expert evidence to prove their danger to human life.

A few weeks ago Jeff Sparrow tweeted about the demented wind farm phobia displayed by both Hockey and now the PM. Its roots, he claimed, lie in the fear that at their every turn the turbines are whispering: “Hang the bourgeoisie. Hang the bourgeoisie.”

Denial, in the psychological sense, causes a refusal to accept evidence-based reality, refusal to acknowledge the repercussions of one’s own actions and the effects those actions have on others. The denier uses minimisation, rationalisation and justification to cling to a status quo under challenge, and the more frightening the challenge, the more desperately the tools of denial are brought into play.

The Abbot government suffers a group psychosis, so deeply ingrained is its pathological denial of any reality other than its own; its callous disregard for the effects of its actions on any other group, and its narcissistic belief in its own entitlement and superiority. This can only go one way: downhill. Currently, we have no significant organised challenge to the Abbott government’s dominance, but when we do, and we must, even if it means widespread civil disobedience, the orthodoxy will decompensate, and hopefully implode. This will not be a pretty process: overthrowing tyrants never is.

Change is an anathema to conservatives, and we are in a time of enormous global changes that must be maturely addressed. They will not cope. They are already not coping, and if we had an opposition with any kind of a spine, the government’s sick reality would be under real and consistent challenge.


12 Responses to “Abbott’s denial of reality”

  1. Michaela Tschudi June 14, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Reading that was like riding a rollercoaster on speed. You’ve unleashed the hounds again. Brilliant.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jennifer Wilson June 14, 2015 at 9:47 am #

      Having said I was taking a leave of absence seemed to bring the inspiration back in.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michaela Tschudi June 14, 2015 at 9:50 am #

        Ha! Yes inspiration is unpredictable, but when you get going, nothing can stop you. 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  2. doug quixote June 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm #


    Now that is an article!

    Thank you Jennifer.

    It deserves requoting, with attribution of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Marilyn June 15, 2015 at 5:01 am #

    It’s even worse than it seems. A group of refugees were rightly sailing to New Zealand legally to seek asylum and were stopped once by Australia but kept coming, so we stopped them again and gave them different boats at Ashmore Island and sent them into orbit to sink or swim.

    We enticed the crew going about their legal business of sailing a boat to accept thousands to break the law, behave like criminals, traffic humans by force and leave them to die.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hudsongodfrey June 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    As long as politicians are willing to invoke national security and sovereignty in defence of dog whistling about irregular immigration then it’s pretty clear that hypocrisy knows too few bounds for the case against paying off people smugglers to be properly dealt with.

    That said we’ve already done the debate some disservice by equating people smuggling with something approaching the slave trade, whereas apart from the minor but important matter of an immigration irregularity running a ferry service would be a perfectly legitimate occupation. You’d have to have seaworthy vessels of course, but then if we’re to assume boats have been turned back then it would be illegal to do so if those vessels were patently unsafe, so our government is unlikely to claim otherwise. The dilemma then is that in taking the position that until they reach either our waters or landfall then no crime has been committed our government might actually be surrendering its objection to people smuggling.

    And Yes, I know our authorities haven’t officially anywhere claimed that they’ve taken the position I’ve outlined above, but they’ve nonetheless taken it because had they not then in all cases they’d be forced to arrest the people smugglers on sight and take charge of the vessels themselves. Piloting them back to Indonesia under those circumstances seems unlikely for the obvious reason that the locals would object to members of our forces operating in their waters, and Indonesia’s compunction to remain silent on these matters would be non-existent.

    If nothing else, by process of logical deduction we can understand what all the “operational” secrecy may be trying to conceal. Otherwise we’d have to ask who do we think is sailing the boats back to Indonesia when they’re supposedly turned around?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson June 17, 2015 at 10:12 am #

      Who, indeed, HG.
      Our government employs those it describes as vile criminals to carry out its policies.



  1. Abbott’s denial of reality – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP | winstonclose - June 14, 2015

    […] 14JUN […]


  2. Abbott will keep you safe: unless you’re a woman and as long as you vote for him | No Place For Sheep - June 17, 2015

    […] preceding days, this time on the matter of doing anything to keep our country safe from job lots of asylum seekers, including paying people smugglers good taxpayer money to steer their fragile craft in the […]


  3. Abbott will keep you safe: unless you’re a woman and as long as you vote for him – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP | winstonclose - June 17, 2015

    […] preceding days, this time on the matter of doing anything to keep our country safe from job lots of asylum seekers, including paying people smugglers good taxpayer money to steer their fragile craft in the […]


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