Politicians: undoing their folded lies

24 Jul

lies2It ought to be self-evident that any individual or politician or government or opposition sincerely concerned with the welfare of waterborne asylum seekers who seek refuge in this country, would find their indefinite incarceration in off-shore detention centres obscene, and altogether unacceptable.

Remarkably, they don’t. Politicians from both major parties currently arguing that “turning back the boats” is an altruistic effort to stop people drowning at sea, need to be confronted with hard questions about what they continue to do to women, children and men after they have saved them from drowning at sea. Report after report, formal and anecdotal, reveals the appalling conditions asylum seekers endure on Nauru and Manus Island, and one has to question the sanity of anyone who advocates saving people from drowning only to treat them as human detritus, by either incarcerating them, or sending them back to a torment they’ve fled.

This is a sick and profoundly twisted argument, emanating from sick, and profoundly twisted minds. Australia treats the lives of waterborne asylum seekers with utter contempt and callous disregard, so why anyone believes politicians give a toss about saving their lives in the first place is a puzzle in an enigma wrapped up in a mystery.

We should also challenge the language in which this turn back option is framed.  it is not boats that are being turned back. It is human beings.

There are two matters that are screaming for our attention. One is the way in which we currently treat asylum seekers and presumably the ALP intends to continue treating asylum seekers, as we’ve heard no plans to address and improve their life conditions expressed so far by the alternative government.

The other is the folded lie, in which on the one hand moral arguments are made by politicians implying concern for saving life, while simultaneously caring nothing for that life once it is saved. The implication is that these lives must not be lost in our waters but they can be lost anywhere else and that is neither our concern nor our responsibility.  Lives we save can subsequently be subjected to all kinds of ill-treatment: our obligations to those lives are ended by saving them from dying in our waters.

It would be naive to imagine there was a golden age during which politicians didn’t lie. Politicians have always been liars, it’s part of the job description. Perhaps the difference is that there was a time when politicians actually cared about being perceived as liars, and endeavoured to convince us and themselves that they spoke a truth.

My distinct impression now is that politicians know they are liars, and they know we know they are liars and they no longer care enough to even pretend they aren’t. What matters most in politics is not the welfare of the country and its citizens, but who can lie with most authority, not the authority that makes a lie sound like truth, but the authority that says, I am the most powerful because I care the least about lying, and I am the most adept at the complex, folded lie.

28 Responses to “Politicians: undoing their folded lies”

  1. hudsongodfrey July 24, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    You could also tackle the subject in terms of the questions that go unanswered and why neither the media nor the people themselves seem to be asking them.

    It starts with wondering whether If Shorten hopes to emulate coalition policy his version would maintain the “operational matters” rationale for secrecy. A question that speaks to a good many suspicions about what they might be hiding.

    We now know that the masters of some vessels have been paid off in the past to turn back towards indonesia. Beyond the fact that both parties have probably participated, a shroud of even greater mystery hangs over what the Indonesians make of all this. Are they also complicit, and if so how does that fit with their interests and why? We don’t even know to what extent our Military vessels have been allowed or tolerated to operate in and around a foreign country’s waters.

    The secrecy also extends to informing our ability to judge whether one party or the other is the lesser to two evils when it comes to information that has leaked out about the way refugees are treated in detention. Would Shorten gag doctors and eschew accountability for human rights, even when children are being abused? It is hard to believe that better the devil you know might apply with that sort of thing condemned in words but condoned by the actions of the current government.

    Australian politics has been racing away from any moral high ground we formerly held towards the bottom of an abyss of scarcely imagined depths. The descent must by now be almost complete….. And with this there simply is nothing to be done but to protest as vigorously as one can, and withhold support at the ballot from either of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) July 25, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      In the light of your opening paragraph, HG, I think this tweet should be embedded here.

      I came by the tweet to which I have responded courtesy of a re-tweet of it by @MaryGarden. You will note it is timestamped 5 November 2014, the date of the helicopter charter in question. It appears to me from the clarity of the photo of the rotor, the droop of the blades, and the upright posture of the people in shot, that the rotor is stationery after arrival at the golf course.

      Had the flight been simply one of delivering the Speaker to the venue from Melbourne, and given the cost of helicopter time, one would have thought that the helicopter in question would have immediately returned to base, or departed for some other task. I’m getting the impression it may have been on standby for some task following the fund raising function we are advised was being held at that venue. Was it? And if so, for whom, and for why?

      Given that Ms Bishop has already claimed she regarded the charge for the charter as excessive as her reason for repaying it, was that helicopter slated for some follow-up task for which the taxpayer was being billed?

      Just asking.


      • hudsongodfrey July 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

        I really just meant to draw attention to the hypocrisy and double standards we’ve become inured to around Australia’s response to refugees in general.

        The Bishop issue was dealt with in one of Jennifer’s earlier posts whereupon I did make some comment. It was a bit rich seeing Shorten taken to task over some lesser incident of accounting for Union funds a very long time ago when Bishop’s greater profligacy with taxpayer funded excursions is still almost entirely unjustified.

        Rather than drag up these tips and matters to do with who attended what weddings in the last decade or so maybe they ought to simply cap politician’s expense accounts and be done with it. Pick an average number add a 10% safety margin, index to CPI, and allow for special dispensations in unforeseen circumstances. When you set the speaker alongside and ordinary backbencher, because there’s no reason their requirements should differ, then you’ll realise how far over the top Bishop has gone here and act accordingly.

        I’m happy for all that to occur. It merely reflects what we the taxpayer thought when first the issues with the speaker’s helicopter ride came to light, that we don’t like being taken unfair advantage of.

        What I’d add to that however is that our cynicism with politics is also built upon the transparency with which these issues are pursued along partisan lines as a gotcha on one of their opposite number. Many of the issues we see being agitated about turn out to have happened a long time ago and could have been raised earlier, but weren’t until the individual in question presented an irresistible political target. In that sense timing matters quite a lot and we shouldn’t imagine people don’t see the balance of fairness for what it is when the interestingness of minor scandal overtakes the interests of running the country.


        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) August 2, 2015 at 7:50 am #

          Apropos your last paragraph, agreed. It is interesting that we are now hearing as to proposals to outsource MPs travel in bulk to/through a single firm.

          I’m sensing that those who may have brought this matter up within and around the Parliament may now be realizing that the highlighting of the questionability of some of these travel entitlements have wider implications.


          • hudsongodfrey August 2, 2015 at 8:10 am #

            I don’t know if we want to create a monopoly by going through a single firm. What I wouldn’t mind are caps to keep MP’s accountable, or perhaps some kind of grant system whereby they apply for foreseeable needs that they can justify and simply stop being reimbursed when that justification runs out.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) July 26, 2015 at 9:43 am #


        As can be clearly seen, the timestamp on the tweet referencing Bronwyn Bishop’s arrival at the fund raising function venue is 6 November 2014, not 5 November as claimed. Not a huge deal, I know, but I would not like to degrade in any way the value of the tweet as evidence. I did not have the tweet in view when I posted. Still learning about the Android platform.

        In the early reporting relating to this charter flight I recall some mention being made as to her comcar having been dismissed from her Melbourne meeting venue earlier that afternoon to await her at the fund raiser venue at Geelong, in the event beating her arrival by helicopter. I think this may have been an aspect of the matter that got up some peoples’ noses. The timings as to bookings, lead times and foreknowledge as to scheduling of the Speaker’s time on this day need to be clarified.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) July 28, 2015 at 9:41 am #

        FWIW, others familiar with helicopter operation agree that Bronwyn’s chartered chopper was stopped after having delivered her to the Geelong venue.

        Was the helicopter standby time at the venue, for however long that was, charged to the Speaker’s travel entitlements account? If so, who was the passenger(s) for whom it was standing by, given that the comcar was also standing by at the venue, ostensibly for the Speaker?


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) August 4, 2015 at 9:27 am #

        Just to post a footnote as to the outcome of ovine rotary wing operations of recent days, especially given the historic interest in tweetstorms on this blog, I embed these tweets:

        Fascinating to see the apparent attempt to distract from the #choppergate hashtag conversation by taking credit for, and elevating, an MSM sponsored hashtag conversation, #putyourwalletsout, as defining Australian reaction to the use and abuse of travel entitlements and double standards.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. samjandwich July 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Whoever called Bill Shorten a “faceless man” was obviously well acquainted with him. Not just a cliché in this case but an incisive flash of intuition, as I think I’m now finally convinced if not before…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Di Pearton July 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    This has long been the way of conservatives, and if ALP wants to be regarded as anything but conservative, then it must show us the evidence. Conservatives are ‘pro-life’ in that they are anti- abortion, but have no ongoing commitment to supporting the resultant foetus/baby/child/young person and adult.
    I wonder if it indicates a lack of imagination, and hence lack of empathy, or a fear of ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, which can lead to victim blaming….or good old political opportunism?
    What did Paul Keating/Jack Lang say?
    ”In the race of life, always back self-interest – at least you know it’s trying”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn July 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      Every evil refugee ”policy” in Australia was first written and passed through parliament by the ALP who actively hate refugees while pretending otherwise.

      They are racist evil scum and while Burke contended that evil flourishes when good men do nothing in Australia the evil flourishes out in the open with media complicity and lies to back the evil up.

      They are evil, pure stinking at the head evil

      I used to think murder might make them pause, it doesn’t.


      • Zathras July 24, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

        I think you’ll find the ALP are no different from other parties when it comes to their quest to win.

        Both have shown they will gladly crawl over the bodies of non-voters on their way to the ballot box.

        It was Beazley who sold them out with his “small target – me too” response to the Tampa and the blatant racist dog-whistle politics of Howard and they have been in lock-step ever since.

        This latest step will take them past the point of no return morally.

        However, overall it’s the fault of the public who not only accept this stance by their inaction but actively endorse it according to the polls.


        • Michaela Tschudi July 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

          I should add that I never met Jack!


          • hudsongodfrey July 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

            It was Jack, and you have auspicious heritage 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Michaela Tschudi July 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

              Yes the Langs are an interesting mob.


    • Michaela Tschudi July 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      It was probably Jack Lang. He was my great uncle as it turns out. Formidable character!


      • doug quixote July 26, 2015 at 10:42 am #

        And one of my great uncles was Jock Garden. Wikipedia has an interesting article on him.

        An extract from another article:

        “[Garden] was in the thick of Lang’s struggle with the Labor prime minister James Scullin to enforce the half-baked ‘Lang Plan’ which Lang’s devotees saw as a nostrum to cure the Depression: Garden debated it with David Hall in August. In April his absence from a meeting of the Labor Council, because of his political work for Lang, was criticized. In June violence broke out at a council meeting when unemployed factions demonstrated. Next month he ran as the Lang Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Cook, but lost narrowly. On 6 May 1932 he was assaulted at his home by eight men, and was rescued by his two sons and two dogs. His attackers belonged to an unbalanced group, known as the Fascist Legion, within the New Guard; they trained in black-hooded gowns.

        In November the communists made another unsuccessful attempt to defeat Garden as Secretary of the Labor Council.”

        Politics was rough in those days . . .


        Liked by 1 person

        • Michaela Tschudi July 26, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

          That’s fascinating DQ! Tough and rough times.

          I double checked and Lang is my great great uncle. Missed a generation when I spoke of him above.

          And talking of dogs coming to the rescue, a story often told in my family is that Red Ted Theodore sold his dog to my gggrandfather (a miner) because he ran out of cash on the campaign trail. Who knows if it’s true, but it’s a good yarn. 😀


  4. doug quixote July 24, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    I don’t like it either. In the Mediterranean the European nations are concerned with picking up the would-be immigrants at sea, to save lives. They take the immigrants to their own territory, and at least attempt to treat them as humanely as possible, and release them into the community. Most stay in refugee camps because they can’t afford to do anything else.

    But here in Australia the bastards have dominated the rhetoric, and the Murdoch media have aided and abetted the Looters & Nutters Party in demonising the asylum seekers.

    Unfortunately I can’t see that changing any time soon.

    That means that to be electable, Labor must bend with the wind.

    I say that there is little difference in the practical procedures at sea, and that in the Australian national interest, boats have always been turned back whenever it is safe to do so. Those last few words are critical, and it was Morrison and his “on-water matters” secrecy that has clouded the issue, suggestive of the nacht und nebel (night and fog) policies of a central European regime which will remain nameless.

    I regret that the current dominant rhetoric requires Labor to appear to be in lockstep with the Looters & Nutters; but where else do we go?

    I am not a Labor Party member but my progressive small-l liberal principles align me with Labor. They are the only electable alternative to the LNP. Vote Green if you must, but be certain that you preference Labor. They are the least worst option for government.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn July 25, 2015 at 5:11 am #

      Rubbish, turning people away is barbaric.


      • doug quixote July 25, 2015 at 8:30 am #

        You can say that, but most of our citizens don’t agree with you.

        We need to educate our people. A reasoned response would be a good start.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marilyn July 26, 2015 at 5:46 am #

          Oh for fucks sake I am over your drivel. No rational country built on the rule of law should ever even talk about such barbarism.


  5. lawrencesroberts July 25, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Reblogged this on idontbelieveitagain and commented:
    Nice one!~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michaela Tschudi July 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    #turnbackshorten is trending on twitter


  7. LOVO July 25, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    I’m a tad teary at the Mo…… I am in awe of ewe *baa* …. thanx for this article… poor fella my country etc… ay.
    Once upon a time I voted for anything other than the trifecta… Lib’s… Nat’s… Lab’s…. and then along came Julia,.. and I came back into the *fold* ..as it were 😯 … and “now” come’s along…. Bill, 🙄 thus I am back to voting for ‘Anything’ OTHER than the “Trifecta’….like I said ‘poor fella my country.’
    (P.S. I vote… Tony Windsor for Vice President and Scott Ludlum for President… jest sayin’ ) …. no really 🙂
    YUZZ DON’T’s TURN’s ‘EM BACK IN MY NAME….. ain’ts no oi, oi, oi about it!!!!!! :mrgreen:

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Politicians: undoing their folded lies – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP | winstonclose - July 24, 2015

    […] 24JUL […]


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