From the heartland of privilege: the week in politics

28 Aug



Statues of Lachlan Macquarie and Captain James Cook were graffitied by protesters last week, in an action the most cowardly prime minister in Australian history described as “cowardly.” Angry criticism erupted from the most unexpected of quarters, confirming that the privileged mind governs both the left and the right when it comes to challenging the myths of white heroes. Apparently vandalism is fine, indeed it isn’t even vandalism if the political class approves of your choice of subjects such as say, Saddam Hussein and Hitler, but stay away from white icons even if they are terrorists.

For mine, spraying some symbols of genocide and ongoing oppression with paint counts as nothing in comparison with the murderous acts perpetrated against your people, but the middle-class commentariat were outraged by the lack of niceness evidenced, niceness being one of that demographic’s primary instruments of control through the exercise of the power of shame.

Their reaction seems a tad hysterical, after all they can white wash their statues just as they’ve attempted to white wash the history behind them. For example, this statement from Macquarie is never seen on or around statues raised in his honour:

How about putting that on a plaque then?

And on the matter of being nice to the commentariat if you want their support, we have this from Caroline Overington on the problem of marriage equality advocates acting mean towards those who would have voted yes if marriage equality advocates hadn’t been mean to them and made them vote no. Because marriage equality is all about how people such as Caroline Overington feel, innit, and if you don’t get that you cannot expect her support.

Here we have a further example of the dominant privileged mindset. The privileged can dictate the terms of your protest, and if you are not nice in how you go about it, they won’t help you. Indeed, they will forget all about your cause, and shame you for your bad manners. It’s not what you say that counts for these people.  It’s all in the way that you say it.

As you read this post, one hundred asylum seekers are being effectively thrown out into the streets as the Turnbull government’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton implements a new “final departure Bridging E Visa” designed to force those in Australia for medical treatment to back Manus Island and Nauru, or back to the countries from which they fled.

Families, including children born here, are not yet included, though it appears to be only a matter of time before they too will have their income support withdrawn, and be given three weeks to leave government-supported accommodation.


The ALP has protested loudly against this fresh torment of asylum seekers, however, opposition leader Bill Shorten continues to insist that none will be settled here, and he spitefully ignores New Zealand offers to take a quota for resettlement. Shorten refers to un-named “third countries” as a solution (as long as they aren’t New Zealand) and to the doomed plan to resettle refugees in Trump’s America.

It is blindingly obvious that the US project is going nowhere, since we learned that Prime Minister Turnbull promised President Trump he didn’t have to take anyone, he just had to act as if he might. So why does Shorten continue to behave as if the option has any validity?

The PNG government has in the last couple of days informed the Turnbull government that it will not permit the closure of Manus Island detention centre at the end of October, and Dutton’s planned abandonment of refugees housed there to the island community.

The reality is, there is nowhere for the asylum seekers to go, and both parties carry equal responsibility for this disgusting state of affairs. They should be brought here, allowed to stay here, and New Zealand’s generous offer should be accepted.

In the three examples I’ve selected out of the many possibilities on offer this last week, there are common motifs. They are of lies, misinformation, suppression, oppression, persecution, and the revolting self-regard of white privilege.

Yes, this is Australia, no matter how often somebody attempts to claim that we are “better than this.” Clearly, we are not.





55 Responses to “From the heartland of privilege: the week in politics”

  1. townsvilleblog August 28, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Australia has 65,000 years of black history. We were taught at school that Cook discovered Australia in 1770 but Aboriginal Australia had discovered Australia tens of thousands of years before Cook was a glint in his fathers eye.Australian history must be rewritten to include the first Australians, I don’t know about you but if I owned something for countless generations I’d consider it mine, as Aboriginal Australia should consider Australia theirs, 200 odd years compared to 65,000 years, well, there is no comparrison.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. paul walter August 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    Overington is the most fearful apparition I can remember since Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

    Liked by 3 people

    • townsvilleblog August 28, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

      Thankfully I don’t know the name, it would appear that I’m not missing much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter August 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

        You are missing nothing. Believe me.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

      I’ll have to take your word for that, PW Re Swanson I mean


      • paul walter August 29, 2017 at 11:55 am #

        Yes, classic. William Holden is shot by the deranged, faded legend, played astoundingly well by an authentic silent movies star, Gloria Swanson.

        The body language presentation was telling with Kate Carnal an honest front on the camera but Overington doing the excluding big hair narcissist side-profile.

        The medium becomes the message; where are you, Baudrillard?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson August 29, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

          I’ve been thinking about Baudrillard a bit lately, PW. He’s a visionary.


          • paul walter August 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

            Comes of hitting your head up against a wall.

            Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni September 1, 2017 at 8:16 am #

          Paul, well observed re Kate C and Overington 🙂

          I prefer Ellen to Juuulia, bur why is always looking at her notes…?

          Liked by 1 person

          • helvityni September 1, 2017 at 9:31 am #

            h, wear your classes… ‘but why is she always…’


          • paul walter September 1, 2017 at 10:15 am #

            Camera gimmicks to confuse the punters.


            • paul walter September 1, 2017 at 10:16 am #

              And yes, I’ve come to prefer Ellen Fanning to Baird also.


  3. Marilyn August 28, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    And most of the disgusting media go along with the lies and bullshit and none of them every dissent enough to scream in fuckwitted pollies faces THEY ARE NOT OUR HUMANS TO TRADE AROUND THE WORLD LIKE TINS OF FUCKING PEAS, NAURU AND MANUS ARE NOT OUR COUNTRIES AND WE DON’T HAVE ANY FUCKING BORDERS THAT NEED PROTECTION FROM BABIES.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rhyllmcmaster August 28, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you, Jennifer for your wonderfully pertinent sentences.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rhyllmcmaster August 28, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be great if the graffiti artists instead put up the alternative plaques such as your quote on Macquarie? Does anyone know any artists who could do the job?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. franklongshank August 28, 2017 at 11:17 pm #

    All human rights lawyers like Kon Karapanagiotidis should be stripped naked, taken to a very small island, (Bramston Island in Queensland would be fine) and hunted remorsefully like tiny screeching, fleeing animals on a new exciting and edgy reality TV show.
    Their carnage should be telecast live on CBS Channel 10, hunted by enthusiastic Liberal and Trump supporters dressed in indigenous native garb, smeared in remnants of Stan Grant’s Kiwi boot polish, dressed in hessian loin cloth and armed with cross-bows.

    See me for licensing agreements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn August 29, 2017 at 4:56 am #

      How about we send you instead you vicious prick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • zeb August 29, 2017 at 11:24 am #

        Actually, he’s not really a vicious prick at all. Just a rather pathetic old man desperate for attention.

        Liked by 1 person

    • drsusancalvin August 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

      I’m bewildered franklongshank. Why are you here?

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter August 29, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

        To aggravate Marilyn and others. He(?) is an old culture wars warrior from Bob Ellis days.

        But be warned. It is the licensing agreements he is really after.

        He flogs them before folk wake up and the thing collapses, by which time he has fled to a bottom of the harbour tax haven on Cockatoo Island.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 29, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

      WTF is wrong with you frank?


      • paul walter August 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

        Doesn’t like lawyers.. all those previous cases have taken their toll.

        Should have listened to Richo and Rivkin on the dinghy on those fishing trips on the harbour when they kept hauling up mail-bag flounder full of wet banknotes.


    • havanaliedown August 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      Frank, is there room on the island for Julian Burnside?


  7. drsusancalvin August 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    Profile names are interesting, a signifier to the world. The name and avatar we choose can give clues about who we admire, or how we want to be perceived and that can supply context. Longshanks rorted, extorted, and expelled the Jews from England. He was an opportunistic shit and reportedly had little compunction about changing his loyalties. He made a habit of hanging around where he wasn’t wanted. He was a bit of a dick, he made others’ lives unpleasant. His legacy was a host of financial, legal and political problems. On the positive side he had long legs. Jus’ sayin’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter August 30, 2017 at 12:12 am #

      He didn’t make William Wallace’s life any better. Hanging drawing and quartering is a robust course. Still, Wallace himself had someone skinned someone alive, they all seemed fairly direct types back in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • allthumbs August 30, 2017 at 9:26 am #

      drsusancalvin is also an interesting profile name. Frank was tolerated with some amusement on Ellis’ site by Bob himself (man I miss Bob something chronic, what he would make of the current state of play, one can only imagine) and at one time I entertained the thought that Bob was Frank.

      Frank had a certain amount of wit, but lately seems to have gone down the Breitbartian commentariat road, not even that really, more like the Breitbart luvvie readership commentariat road. Where Jews are Deep State or even more powerful than Deep State, and despite their calls for small government or no government, the readership seem to want to invest despotic powers to an all powerful President to do what he likes, go figure.

      Since the great white hope with the orangutan colouring has turned out to be an illiterate dupe of his own publicity and the great disappointment settles in, Frank’s responses are malicious sideswipes being unable to point to any success of his impotent hero in the Whitehouse.

      And like a lot of white men, the global demographic reality that our place in the sun is about to inevitably end, and being the snowflake that Frank is, he goes kicking and screaming scrotum shrivelled towards death where no statue serving his memory will be left standing because time inexorably moves on at galloping speed while at the same rate the historical memory shortens.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson August 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

        allthumbs, I love your post, thank you for giving me a laugh on a grim day.


      • doug quixote August 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

        Yes, Karl that about sums him up. Frank amused Bob, and his doggie droppings of posts were tolerated.

        I miss Bob dreadfully. There is no substitute.

        Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni September 1, 2017 at 8:29 am #

          allthumbs & DQ, I too miss Bob, badly….

          As for Frank, I found him amusing, and I lost a friend when I did not join in the “ban Frank” campaign.

          Frank was least of my worries there, my true enemy kept coming back after several bannings; according to Anne this person was found to use 34 pseudos…WOW


        • allthumbs September 1, 2017 at 11:05 am #

          Gone to soon Doug.


    • Jennifer Wilson August 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

      Nice one, drsusan


      • paul walter August 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

        Fearful vision, isn’t it Jennifer?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson August 30, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

          Oh Lord, PW, there are fearful visions all around us, has it always been thus?


  8. drsusancalvin August 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Your last par describes a hellish entropy charged cultural dementia. “I feel the stirrings of a cold enthusiasm.” [sic]

    *grabs popcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • allthumbs August 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

      “entropy charged” isn’t that a malapropism? I like the way Jennifer writes, the anger is direct. I’m more of a “history is the nightmare from which I am having a lie in and lazily trying to awake….’

      I am taking great pleasure in witnessing the gathering speed of Turnbull’s nervous breakdown and endeavoring to keep count of the number of times he utters the phrase and reminds us if not himself, that the Government is indeed his, with “my government” this and “my government” that, a bookend to Tony’s “you bet you are” as he unravels before our eyes.

      Turnbull’s frenetic but boringly repetitive verbal energy is failing to provide a spark to save his flaccid leadership.

      Julie Bishop has proven that outsourcing the policy of Foreign Affairs leaves her to spend what seems like an inordinate amount of time at home instead of abroad. Her unwavering support for Ukraine might mean, if recent reports are true, that vital technology was exported by Ukraine to the land of the fat boy with the bad haircut needed to launch the missiles. Kim’s shirtfronts are in no danger at all, no not a bit.

      All history is compromise and Turnbull’s claim to his personal possession of his Government will come in handy for attributing blame when the time comes with the added clarity of his often asserted ownership.

      In fact it should be inscribed on the plaque beneath his upcoming bust when it is commissioned for the Gardens of Ballarat and often quoted in history books that will document the demise of HIS Government.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson August 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

        I enjoy how Turnbull keeps declaring *I’m a strong leader* like some groovy affirmation he has written in Lucy’s lipstick on his bathroom mirror.

        It actually is his government, didn’t he pay $1.75 million for the top job?


        • allthumbs August 30, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

          Good point Jennifer, must have been money he withdrew for his self-interest bearing account 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • allthumbs September 1, 2017 at 11:16 am #

          One other point I have made in an email to Turnbull, if you notice recently Turnbull the PM for all Australians, takes every policy announcement opportunity to campaign against the ALP in general and Shorten in particular.

          It is relentless and as I pointed out to him far from Prime Ministerial.

          In the early days of Trump’s presidency the Libs were very reticent in admonishing Trump or slamming their fists to their foreheads and saying WTF were Americans thinking, quciky followed by the usual statements of we respect the democratic choices of Americans…..etc etc.

          But in hyperbole attacks against Shorten as the alternative PM, Turnbull risks undermining the authority of a future Government in the eyes of the international community, he has alleged, corruption, sycophancy, treachery, idiocy among other charges against Shorten.

          In the scheme of things these sorts of attacks could be seen as traitorous to the nation as a whole and a complete discounting, dismissal even of the intelligence, political acumen and sincere beliefs of a great and growing greater proportion of the Australian electorate.

          Turnbull’s ability to be prime-ministerial, or act prime-ministerial is zilch, despite his protestations of being leader of his Government.

          His egotistical sense of superiority once again is rearing it head, and it will be once again his undoing.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. paul walter August 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    Well, he wanted a government that does nothing and got his way, here and in places off shore, yet complains still. Clearly the world won’t fall into step, it is hardly an unfair complaint I’d find, having experienced much the same frustrations over the course of my own life.

    A person is faced from time to time with a dimly sensed notion that one instead adjusts, but isn’t Franks approach the more heroic,marching to the beat of a different drum like Robert E Lee?

    Many would suggest that a truckload of trained lawyers is a truck load of bullsh-t and what would they know, against the genuine cognosenti? After all, they ARE being payed, aren’t they?

    Where is the perversion?

    On allthumbs, lest the deep state contentions be dismissed out of hand, let us consider that in the USA you can now be sent to gaol for nearly of lifetime for suggesting people boycott Israeli or zionist business to protest the treatment of Palestinians.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. doug quixote August 30, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

    The past is another country – they do things differently there.

    But if Cook and other Europeans had never discovered (for lack of a better word) this country, the locals would still be sitting naked under the same bark humpy.

    They had 60,000 years to do differently.


  11. drsusancalvin August 31, 2017 at 8:18 am #

    “They had 240 years to do differently.” There. Fixed it for you.


    • doug quixote August 31, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

      Agreed. But that doesn’t change the accuracy of my statement.


      • paul walter August 31, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

        Yes it does, because your statement is counterfactual and unverifiable.


  12. paul walter August 31, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    Dq, surprised at such an ignorant comment from you.

    They survived for 60,000 years by learning to bend a challenging environment to their needs through the hard processes of innovation and adaptation. We would not have lasted longer than a day or two in some of the hardest enviros, what would that say of us?

    They learned how to hunt, to discover and employ substances to knock out prey and trap them through devices like fish traps and nets. They discovered which plants could provide food and medicines at what time of year and moved about their Garden accordingly and generally didn’t bother with clothes because the climate did not require them of them, something that has taken white people two centuries to realise.

    When they sat naked under the same bark humpy, it was to sit around a fire, tell their children stories and digest that last good feed of baked wallaby and yams.

    It is true that their numbers did not drop exponentially till white people arrived, stole their land, killed their food sources and poisoned their water holes, although over another 60,000 years maybe their digestive systems may have adapted to these challenging new conditions.


  13. paul walter August 31, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    Did I mention how imported exotic diseases reduced the numbers in the humpy, naked, digesting dinner?

    The Black Plague reduced European numbers by thirty percent circa 1350 AD, why should even aborigines not be averse to diseases they had never previously been exposed to?


    • doug quixote August 31, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

      Agreed. That still does not change or even challenge the accuracy of my statement.


  14. drsusancalvin August 31, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

    DQ: In the 20C when we chanced upon a “lost” tribe we universally valued the anthropological insights, the medical possibilities, the linguistic treasures, the genetic diversity, the culinary, agricultural, and hunting lore, the art, the history, the craft, the spirituality of the people. We then contaminated, appropriated, and desecrated. Imagine if we were discovering this land now, with these peoples, with all they have to offer. I take your point, they have not, in your opinion, achieved a civilization that you value. That does not make them your lesser. It would be ironic if despite the lack of bronze, iron, glass, petrochemicals, nuclear and genetic technology they ended up having the most ancient yet long lived society of all humanity. In being, just being, in balance with their country, their law, and in spirit for such a prodigious length of time they might have something to teach the rest of us.


  15. paul walter September 1, 2017 at 1:47 am #

    He can’t mean it literally, he must be angling after something else. He’s too smart for that.

    Perhaps if necessary they WOULD have done things differently, so maybe sitting under a bark Wurlie was their (intelligent human) BEST option…climate, enviro etc.

    Would they have changed things with 20/20 hindsight?… a metaphoric “different country” as dq might suggests. If, white people had got here 60,000 years ago would it have turned out differently, given circumstances? (we are all “people” , or are white people a subspecies of much newer origins and would newer origins be sufficient to claim new characteristics thus separate species status)

    No more, I sense a trap.


    Back to the thread itself, Jennifer mentions Shorten complaining of the brutality employed by Turnbull, who I suspect actually harbours sadistic impulses himself, whilst observing that the third country option is still the ALP’s option.

    There is a bit of a situation to be untangled here: would Labor have treated the prisoners on Manus and at Nauru with less brutality than Morrison Abbott Turnbull and Dutton, this is some thing also operating within the wider overarching question of how many refugees and immigrants in general should come here, under what circumstances and decided through what criteria as well an issue in itself.

    The poles are nix to open borders and the determinants many and variant depending on as given individuals education, personality, character, prejudices, hypocrisy, intelligence and philosophies and natures in general.

    Enough of this, go back to bed.


  16. doug quixote September 1, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

    A little contrariety does us good, you know.

    An echo chamber writes no new songs.


    • paul walter September 1, 2017 at 9:56 pm #


      Unless you consider the case of Philip Glass


      • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

        I see that that Father Frank Brennan has altered his stance on marriage equality, declaring it to be civil matter on which we should all vote Yes. The catholic church, he suggests, must work out it’s own perspective on catholic marriage after the postal survey.
        I would so like to think he read he read Sheep’s excoriating rebuttal of his last public opinion, and was persuaded by it’s inarguable rightness to change his mind.
        But that’s probably not the case.

        I notice the top of the blog has gone rainbow. Does this mean WordPress is supporting marriage equality, because I didn’t do it, though I would have if I’d known how


        • paul walter September 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

          Yes. It is personal issue and also to do with financial matters which are a personal choice.

          The Church may mount various abstract theological opinions as to human behaviours when more than one or two consenting people are involved, but I think not unless non consenting third parties injured are involved as occurs with theft, rape or murder.

          It need not be in the business of forcing its view of things to the point of imposing intrusive laws that its own members would object to if such rules were imposed on them, like limits on worship or persecution..

          It good that Brennan as a representative of a better educated portion of his Church realises the damage it does to itself through compulsion.


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