Ruddock: The man who called a refugee child “it”

23 Nov

Philip Ruddock


In August 2001, 6 year-old Shayan Badraie, an Iranian asylum seeker who arrived by boat in Australia with his family, became seriously ill with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after spending seventeen months in the Woomera and Villawood  detention centres.

During the time he was detained with his family, Shayan witnessed suicide attempts, and great unrest within the Woomera prison. A letter I received from an asylum seeker described the conditions thus:

I see hundreds of people begging and crying, and I see people dehydrating in the sun. I see people with sewn lips and buried in the ground ’cause that’s what they did. I see people slash up and cut their throats and arms.

Shayan refused to eat, drink, and walk. After his plight was exposed in an ABC TV investigation of Australia’s detention centres, public outrage was focused on the Immigration Minister at that time, Philip Ruddock.

Ruddock claimed Shayan’s illness had nothing to do with his experiences in the detention centres. If the child was ill, Ruddock claimed in an interview with Kerry O’Brien on ABC TV’s 7.30 Report, it was because “it was not a natural child of the mother, it’s a stepchild.”

Ruddock referred to Shayan as “it” throughout the interview.

Philip Ruddock is an enthusiastic stamp collector. As Immigration Minister, he took the stamps from letters he received from people all over the world, requesting asylum, and requesting information about loved ones in Australian detention camps. Letters forwarded to him by Amnesty International, of which organisation he was a member, and whose badge he wore with pride. Amnesty eventually attempted to distance themselves from Ruddock’s inhumane policies by publicly requesting that he not wear their badge, as did his daughter, who was so distressed by her father’s position on indefinite detention, especially of children, that she left the country to work for an aid organisation.

Ruddock’s wife gave him a Chinese cabinet with many drawers, in which to store his stamps. He joked that it was one of the good things about getting so many letters from Amnesty, a growing stash of stamps for him to sort in his retirement.

With what hopes were those stamps bought, what fears, what dreams? Stamps on envelopes containing stories that might break your heart. In a chilling act of appallingly twisted appropriation, Ruddock took the stamps for his hobby, while simultaneously writing into history a narrative that transformed asylum seekers into criminals, terrorists and potential murderers of their own children:


Philip Ruddock has just been appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to chair a panel tasked with reviewing religious protections, perceived by the right-wing as threatened after the recent marriage equality YES vote. As John Howard’s Attorney-General in 2004, Ruddock introduced the bill that prevented marriage equality by changing the wording of the Marriage Act to describe the institution as legal between a man and a woman only.

Here is a piece I wrote on Tuesday for Independent Australia on the separation of church and state, increasingly threatened by demands from conservatives for laws that protect their “religious freedoms.” When I wrote the post, I had no idea of Ruddock’s new role.

Australia has been torturing refugees who arrived by boat for seventeen years. Ruddock was an essential part of the early and illegal inhumanity during his time as Immigration Minister.

These people have attempted to invade our sovereign territory, he said of the waterborne asylum seekers. They have jumped the queue of legitimate refugees legally attempting to achieve asylum in this country. They have broken our laws. 









77 Responses to “Ruddock: The man who called a refugee child “it””

  1. shadowedmuses November 23, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    I would usually reply more but you don’t seem to engage except liking someone’s comment so the potential for a constructive dialogue sadly is lost.,
    Anyway good article


    • Jennifer Wilson November 23, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks, shadowedmuses.
      There are others who engage here if you want to start a conversation. I just provide the topic, usually. I’m not a great engager in other ways.
      Cheers, Jennifer.


      • shadowedmuses November 23, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

        Your content however evokes engagement so to make the effort to write a response if nothing is
        Reciprocated perhaps a feeling of dismissal or
        Elitism may be felt.
        Just a thought 🙄🙃


        • doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 12:55 am #

          It’s a free country (or so we hope) and Jennifer is in her own blog free to engage or not, as she sees fit.

          Is ‘engage’ code for an argument?

          Liked by 2 people

          • shadowedmuses November 24, 2017 at 1:00 am #



        • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

          I’m not sure what to say you in response to that comment, shadowedmuses.

          I read every comment that is left here. Quite often, I have nothing to add to the comment, so I don’t pretend that I have. I never ignore challenges and disagreement.

          I’m not in the habit, in face to face encounters or online, of speaking when there’s nothing to be added by my speech. If I agree with a comment, I’ll like it, and that’s also an acknowledgement of the commenter who has taken the time to post. But if I have nothing to add, or dispute, I don’t pretend otherwise.

          This is how I run my blog, and, come to think of it, my life.
          Cheers, Jennifer.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 12:52 am #

    Yes, Turnbull must often wonder what to do with the eminence gris of the Looters & Nutters Party.

    This old fart (translation of eminence gris for the kiddies) is probably wandering around the belfries of the LNP just itching for a gig.

    The said fart will make recommendations which will happily be ignored by the parliament, girded as it is and should be by the recent poll; a pollie’s backbone is always better with good polling numbers, such that even Abbott might be taken a little aback by the 75% yes vote in his own electorate.

    Don’t fuss about Ruddock; he may soon enough feature in the obits column. 🙂


    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

      I actually thought they’d got him out of his coffin, DQ.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn November 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

        They used to dig up his voters and take him out of his coffin for elections

        Liked by 1 person

  3. shadowedmuses November 24, 2017 at 1:03 am #

    As I understand it being a writer is having the humility and lack of
    Ego to help each other write Doug.


    • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

      Well, I’m not in the business of helping anyone to write, shadowmuses. I finished teaching at the university some time ago.

      Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

      Write away; we’ll decide to whom we will reply, and the circumstances in which we reply 🙂


      • shadowedmuses November 24, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

        Wow, I thought I made a suggestion on HER blog. But thanks for the paternalistic damsel in distress protective attitude Doug. 👍🏻👍🏻


  4. shadowedmuses November 24, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    Hence my comment was genuinely loving
    Unlike what you seem to be hiding behind subtle aggressive patriarchal frameworks


    • Phil November 24, 2017 at 7:47 am #

      Doug was perhaps a bit protective as bloggers are often taken to task by their readers for this. And Jen is very likely busy in other arenas saving her ‘engagement’ for that particular combat zone, Twitter!
      No offense intended. Keep commenting.

      Liked by 3 people

      • samjandwich November 24, 2017 at 11:41 am #

        Yes do please keep commenting shadowedmuses, we’d love to know what’s on your mind.


      • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

        This is interesting, Phil. The very idea that bloggers should be taken to task by readers for not *engaging* to the degree readers desire is pretty funny, really. It’s a blog. We do it for free. Where did this idea come from that we have an obligation to anyone to do anything?

        Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote November 25, 2017 at 7:27 am #

          A lot of them have nothing better to do. I’m still working full time as well as following my other pursuits, yet I stll want to “engage” if only to educate some of the more educable trolls. (Speaking of which, where are Frank and Havana? Has Nurse turned off the internet?)

          KBO, Jennifer!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Audioio November 25, 2017 at 11:12 am #

          Especially since this blog has a domain name, which means Jennifer is paying for it. (Last time I checked, WordPress won’t let you deploy under your own domain unless you pay them. And if you deployed on your own web host, you have to pay for that and the domain name.)

          Therefore, she can do as she pleases.

          How delighted I am that she pleases to allow the old guard from Ellis Table Talk to hang around. I’ve missed you all.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

            Yes, I do pay for the domain name. I’d hate some troll to get hold of Sheep

            The old Ellis crowd are frequent visitors, Audioio, most extremely welcome, though I sometimes feel very inadequate in comparison to Bob’s dedication to everyone.
            He is irreplaceable in the blogoshpere.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. paul walter November 24, 2017 at 2:36 am #

    All I can say is, no sign Ruddock has mended his ways after watching him on an episode of The Drum recently:

    If you can’t trust him after this, how could you trust him with further inputs?


    On the other issue raised, I understand that Jennifer Wilson has become “disengaged” in the way of someone who has been too close over too long a time with some issues becomes. I think resulting alienation and depression play a role…others can’t see what seems so obvious to her, but should she refuse to “engage” as another commenter has put it, the lack of dialogue except through silence, which is of course can be a tactic itself, this merely convinces those that those who question aspects of her readings of the issues feel they must be right on the basis of a lack of refutation.


    I understand that it might become a drag doing a blog over a long period of time. At one stage, Dr Wilson invited the rest of us to contribute openers, but for different reasons no one has availed themselves of the opportunity to do this.

    I did contribute a thread starter on an aspect of tabloid media that seemed to “work” to some extent, with the help of someone better at computers than I…I have “lost” the basic skills of word processing acquired fifteen or twenty years ago and have problems in general with computers, for example with apps like Twitter. There, that is embarrassing to admit and may invite ridicule. I really need to get locked up with a nerd for a while to “get” all the changes that have happened with computers and be able to get better use of them, but there it is, I’ve got older and maybe the poor lifestyle habits of my youth have caught up with me. Perhaps, following current affairs, Iv’e become a little disillusioned as well.

    Ultimately Jennifer, you are regarded as better qualified and more comprehending of issues than the rest of us, so it is inevitable that we will look to you for clarification at times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

      I’m not better qualified you know, PW. I’m just muddling my way through the shitfields like everybody else.

      I do have an increasingly busy life outside of the blog, and where once I’d spend hours *engaging*, not just here but on other political blogs I write for, I just don’t have the level of commitment or energy required to spend five or more hours each day online.

      I’m happy to keep putting ideas, opinions and thoughts out there for anyone to read, and I’m happy to host a site where people can engage with each other. But that’s about my limit, at the moment, in terms of contributing to the online community.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 12:46 am #

        Yes, it is right that you avoid the trap of pessimism. I try to do the same, even to the extent of lifestyle changes of my own.

        You know, I am grateful for this site. I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes on many issues pulled back by yourself and others. The results have often been cripplingly depressing, but the compensation has been the consolation of knowing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 1:10 am #

        And yes, I am glad you have “engaged” with us all on this thread starter.

        You can observe the benefits yourself in the cheerful disposition emanating of all comments here.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Barry Waters November 24, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    A re-cycled Ruddock? This waggily tailed one should follow the category of “letting sleeping dogs lie”. Now that his chequered career and numerous inhumanities have been declared, only the Turnbull government could approve of lying down with him. Let them all get fleas together.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. samjandwich November 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    That conservative flank has still got Turnbull in it’s clutches alright, despite the YES vote, and that it was largely the Labor-held Western Sydney seats which dragged the winning margin down. If the appointment of Ruddock isn’t an admission of defeat… though it seems I’m not the only person who thinks that – e.g.

    Thanks for the history lesson Jennifer, and for the intro to Independent Australia. Must have a poke around. I certainly don’t feel any sense of entitlement to a “discussion” – I just keep coming back here because I really appreciate and enjoy your thoughts. You have the ability to pick apart injustices and show them up precisely for what they are, without any hint of bias or desire for self-aggrandisement. Eternally grateful and admiring of your resilience in the face of situations that I often find overwhelming!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Brian Ansorge November 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    Not very nice.

    Not that I’m a cynic or something, but it’s obvious there are a lot of “not very nice” people in the world.


    This is news?

    To some, apparently.


    • Jennifer Wilson November 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      I don’t ever want to yawn at cruelty, Brian.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brian Ansorge November 24, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

        First of all, it’s simply not cruelty to most people.

        Get over it.

        One of the best ways to really make a difference in the world is not be one of those crusaders that is CONTINUALLY shouting things such as “cruelty” and such when, typically, it’s something hardly any worse in the overall scheme of things than things you have said to people like in your own life that you are—ironically, close to.

        Sorry, but some of us believe our focus should—with very few exceptions—those within our own sphere of influence. Love them. Serve them. Encourage THEM.

        Is that so fucking bad to believe?

        Geezus. I mean, really. What planet are you from?

        I live on a planet where people are victims of ACTUAL cruelty (personally, I’ve been assaulted several times, getting my jaw broken once) and there are petulant, promiscuous whiners who want to cheapen words like cruelty and throw a fit when I describe not very nice comments as not very nice.

        Where the hell did you grow up?

        I’ve been hearing people say far worse things to me ever since I’ve was in high school.

        But, given the context, this is expected.

        For many, it’s NEVER a spiritual issue.

        HINT: it is almost always a political one.

        And, just as frequently, nothing the average spiritual reprobate looks for in themselves.

        It must be nice to not have ever said something to someone that was “not very nice.”

        I’m doing on this thread.

        I get creeped out by SJWs who insist on politicizing an inherently Spiritual issue that afflicts everybody—uh, except for you.


        I stand by


        • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 9:14 am #

          It’s probably a mistake, Brian, to make assumptions about the life experiences of people you’ve only encountered briefly on a blog.

          I hope you find something more fulfilling to do with your time than continuing to leave comments such as this in cyber space.
          Cheers, Jennifer.


          • Brian Ansorge November 25, 2017 at 9:21 am #

            What, and turn my back on all the fun and “fulfillingness” that others, such as you seem to be enjoying?

            Hard to discern your true intentions.


      • doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

        Rule no. 1: don’t engage with trolls.
        Rule no. 2: don’t engage with trolls.
        Rule no. 3 : see rule no,1.

        Liked by 1 person

        • shadowedmuses November 24, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

          All trolls are equal, but some trolls are more equal than others.


          • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 10:38 am #

            two trolls bad, four trolls good.

            Liked by 1 person

            • shadowedmuses November 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm #



  9. doug quixote November 24, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    Being asked what city was best to live in, “That city,” Solon replied, “in which those who are not wronged, no less than those who are wronged, exert themselves to punish the wrongdoers.”‘

    It was so in 570 BCE, and is so today.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael Faulkner November 24, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

    Thank you Jennifer for providing a history of Philip Ruddock revealing once again his appalling and shameful stance as Immigration Minister in the Howard Government some 15 years ago. We Australians have short memories about our history, except for the hubristic military kind.

    Ruddock’s ‘ gift ‘ to us is to provide a local example of Hannah Arendt’s ‘ banality of evil ‘ enacted by him as an elected officer of the Australian government . His urbane surburban solicitor persona stood in contradiction with the chilling de-humanising comments he made about boat arriving refugees and his actions as Immigration Minister, in those years.

    Ruddock was central to the Howard government’s largely successful propaganda campaign to maliciously demonise asylum seekers coming to this country, and for me, Ruddock’s statements and actions as Immigration Minister helped me to appreciate how a person such as Adolf Eichmann could come to do what he did in the 1930 and 1940s in Germany, ….. just ‘ doing his job’ as an agent of the state. He was the first in a line of similarly oriented egregious Liberal politicians as Immigration Minister ….. Vanstone, Morrison and now Dutton.

    That this man could be nominated for any position advising government is a national disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote November 25, 2017 at 7:16 am #

      Arendt got it wrong. Eichmann’s defence was to argue that he was just a train timetable clerk who knew very little about the orders he carried out.

      Arendt took this facade virtually at face value. The reality was very different – Eichmann was enthusiastic and dedicated to the destruction of the enemies of the Reich, and Jews in particular:

      “I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction” as he put it in a more candid moment when capture seemed unlikely. And he wasn’t exaggerating.

      He was a major player from before the Wannsee conference to the argument with Himmler, who in late 1944 wanted to cover his tracks: “Will you obey my orders or will you not obey my orders!” Himmler shouted at him over the closure of several death camps Eichmann wanted to keep going.

      There are people like Eichmann around today; all it needs for it to happen again is for good people to turn their backs whilst the Eichmanns of the world do as they will.


      • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 9:25 am #

        I have long puzzled over Arendt’s phrase, DQ. As you point out, Eichmann certainly was not banal in his ambitions and the execution of those ambitions. Yet his methods were of the most banal kind. Perhaps the is what she meant. Evil, while not in itself banal, can be expressed in the most banal of ways. The monster is frequently terribly ordinary.


      • Michael Faulkner November 25, 2017 at 10:27 am #

        Thank you for clarifying Doug.

        There are a number of layers of meaning in the phase the ‘banality of evil ‘ which we might discuss at some length, and, I agree with your observation.

        My understanding is that Arendt was struck by the sheer ordinariness of the middle-aged balding besuited man in the dock in 1961 and the juxtaposition of this persona with the extraordinary and diabolical acts he had engineered on behalf of Hitler’s Germany.

        When we see the vile bile comments and accusations about the detained asylum seekers dripping from the words of many self-styled ‘ dinkum Aussies ‘ on online blogs, it helps us appreciate the latency potential for xenophobic sadism, and the capacity for brutality and persecution that resides in many of our fellow citizens. Yes, among our Australian population, there are people around like Eichmann.

        Thus I agree especially with you last sentence Doug.

        And as Richard Flanagan notes in ‘The Guardian’ today, Australia is now recognised as the inventor of a vile form of repression.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 10:34 am #



    • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      Michael, I think I find Ruddock the most chilling of the Immigration Ministers so far, largely because of the manner you describe. He impressed me as the one most close to what I imagine was the senior Nazi bureaucrat. I also wonder if he is most representative of the bureaucrats in DIBP and Border Force, who carry out the orders of their minister and senior public servants such as Pezzullo.


      • Michael Faulkner November 25, 2017 at 10:51 am #

        Jennifer, thanks for your comment above. Yes, pretty much my thoughts too about Ruddock, a chilling man whose actions evoke memories of serious human rights abuses from other epochs.

        And more recently, Dutton and his ambitious DIBP functionary, Pezzulli, stand close to an essential pillar of our very Australian-ness, : exemplified in the prison brutalities of 19th century Port Arthur and Norfolk Island, the massacres by settlers against the First People in the unacknowledged Frontier Wars, the egregious White Australia Policy, and in the cruel detentions of long term resident German and Japanese nationals during World War.

        As we know, systemic human rights abuses against others particularly minorities, migrate so easily from generation to
        generation, ….. though they may take different forms.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. paul walter November 25, 2017 at 1:06 am #

    Brian Ansorge’s point is well answered in the reply of Michael Faulkner.

    Brian’s contribution rest on the proposition that only a few are suffering and it might some what be true in isolated, atypical places like Australia, but truth is, Manus is actually a representation of the world at large.

    It may be true that the strange people who run things, including Turnbull neolibs as well as the rednecks on behalf ot the oligrachy they are in thrall to, would gladly establish third world living conditions as a universal norm and signs are they have been attempting to fulfill the preconditions for imposition of this, including through the looting of Australia through Free Trade and Censorship to thwart an understanding of the real world, while laying the blame for economic failure on the general public here so that it will accept winding back of social infrastructure for tax cuts for the rich as a consequence of its own alleged unworthiness, including through guilt.

    Divide and conquer it is, but we are not absolved. The global billions suffer physically for our overlord’s sins and we suffer through our consciences for the whoring of ourselves for self preservation and material comfort, our guilty complicity and torturous and complicated denialism as the truth becomes more obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      Exactly, PW. Are we to measure torture and genocide only in numbers? I think not. The fact that Australia tolerates Manus says everything about the moral degeneracy at the heart of this country. It is no different from any other atrocity, except in its scale. If we can do this to 600 men, we can do it to 600,000 if the situation arises.


      • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 10:41 am #

        And one day it can be done to us, because we have ok’d it for others.
        That’s another thing Eichmann discovered, during his final days.


  12. townsvilleblog November 25, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    My memory is not reliable these days however I’m sure it was Ruddoch was was involved in the “children overboard” lie at the time of the Howard govt. It I am correct how could anyone believe Ruddoch on anything? Also involved with “the weapons of mass destruction” lie if memory serves…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      Yes, Shaun, he was central to that lie. Reith, Ruddock, Howard, maybe others. I can’t remember them all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter November 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

        And that idiot Beasley, re Tampa.

        Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote November 25, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

          Beazley allowed himself to get wedged over Tampa and children overboard, rather than calling them out.

          And to Jennifer: they are better forgotten, footnotes in Australian history.

          Liked by 1 person

          • townsvilleblog November 27, 2017 at 9:10 am #

            Doug, better forgotten indeed, but the past helps us understand the nature of the beast which is the LNP.


          • Marilyn November 27, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

            Beazley agreed with pushing away the TAMPA, the only time he baulked was when Howard wanted to allow the deaths of refugees or TAMPA crew to be legal and with immunity. He was ALP leader when TPV’s came in and when the so-called Pacific Solution was agreed Senator’s Schacht and Bolkus filibustered for hours in the senate but the ALP were always going to vote for it.


            • paul walter November 27, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

              In doing so he through away a wonderful chance to get rid of Howard. Still ranks as the mistake of the century.


  13. allthumbs November 25, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    Ruddock spent 42 years in Parliament. Is that a sign of success? Is that a sign of a successful individual in terms of Liberal Party philosophy, of competing in an open society, or independence from the public purse or free from the reliance on government?

    I wonder if Ruddock will shake the hand of Dutton who calls people like Ruddock’s daughter Kirstie Ruddok “unaustralian” who back in the day was a refugee advocate and lawyer. Or for that matter whether Dutton will shake Ruddock’s hand, the father of a serpent’s egg that undermines the laws of Australia and lately New Guinea?

    I wonder if Ruddock acknowledges and is grateful to the historical support from the very same people of the extreme right that so maliciously abused his daughter and her ‘traitorous” behaviour to Australia and for diluting our anglo past and future by supporting the crime of multi-culturist policies?

    Remember Ruddock’s career was a compromise by Howard to appease the left wing of the Liberal Party. A compromise to the moderate factions of the party.

    Go figure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • doug quixote November 25, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

      Just so. Ruddock was supposedly from the “left”of the Liberal Party. I have a good friend who was leader of the so-called left of the Liberals in NSW; he just cannot see that people like Ruddock, Baird, Morrison and others too annoying to mention are simply on the wrong track.

      The world view is at fault. He describes himself as “warm, dry and green”, meaning socially progressive, economically rightist/individualist and environmentally aware.

      The economically rightist/individualist bit is the problem. The Liberals see the “every man for himself” idea as a fundamental meme. It informs and perverts their every policy.

      DQ sighs.


      • Moz of Yarramulla November 27, 2017 at 6:30 am #

        The whole “left wing of the right wing party” thing confused me when I first got to Australia, because in NZ they don’t have formal factions[1].

        But then I got here and saw Martin Ferguson and went “ah, the right wing of Labour” and wondered why there wasn’t a yellow union faction in the Liberal party for him.

        What gets me is that you have these people in parliament who claim that their values are fundamentally opposed to those of their party except for one core agreement, and say they’re trying to change everything else. So you get Ruddock “soft hearted left wing liberal” who says neo-liberal economics is more important than anything else but after that he’d like to be nice to people. It’s just not plausible – he says he fundamentally wants to screw the poor six ways from sunday, then respect their human rights? Like, say, crushing the unions while respecting their right to be in a union? What the funk?

        The “green wing of labour” people are no more coherent, if somewhat more successful at least at a policy level. “we represent the resource extraction unions, and think they shouldn’t exist”. Goodonya mate. What they inevitably end up doing is trumpeting small victories while losing every battle. The Rudd “subsidise polluters” carbon tax being one of the more glaring examples, but you just have to look at basically every major environmental campaign and which side Labour acted on to see that they follow public opinion rather than leading.

        [1] Except, possibly, for the green/red split inside Labour which still exists, and was for a long time why senior Labour people bitterly refused to even discuss being in coalition with the traitorous splittists who formed the Greens.


        • paul walter November 27, 2017 at 9:42 am #

          I liked that… good posting.

          The contradictions abound as to both major political groupings and the Greens have caught the disease.


          • Moz of Yarramulla November 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

            Thank you. I feared it was a bit of a rant with no clear point, but it’s not that bad now I re-read it after a few hours.

            My problem is that I know some of the NSW Greens figures but more as people than factional operators. I’m more of a big tent campaigner, taking help from whoever is going my way, so my main impressions tend to be of people who work for green causes (or not), while saying whatever they say. So “Green” MPs who refuse to get involved with dodgy anarchist types like me, or the ones like Lee Rhiannon who will go out of her way to help. My one interaction with Bob Brown was him saying something like “that’s a bit harsh, but I agree with the sentiment” when I was introduced to some nobody* who was overly effusive and I said “are you here to help or just for the photo op?” (* probably a Right Honourable Nobody, IIRC)

            I mean, at the Baxter protests … 15 years ago? … there were a lot of anarchists, lots of socialists, the queer kids, and some religious types. I organised stuff beforehand with the socialists because they do that well, then travelled with the queers and worked mostly with the anarchists. Less worry about factions, more about getting stuff done. Ignore the passengers, except to make sure they’re not getting in the way too much.


            • paul walter November 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

              Agree, a sort of rainbow coalition.

              That’s how it worked during the Vietnam and Apartheid demos way back, until it disintegrated back into tribalism.

              Very little irritates me more for counterproductivity than the cat calling that goes on between Labor types and Greens, it is fighting over the spoils of defeat as Don Dunstan once said.

              Yet there are sometimes heartfelt and substantial philosophical differences hence differences in approach, that cause the gyre to spin harder and things fall apart.


              • doug quixote November 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

                Labour in England worked out a long time ago that they had to stand together – or all hang separately,

                A coherent united group of thirty can dominate a loose coalition of seventy, and they do.

                The risk posed to Labor by the Greens is that the herd of cats will pull in twenty different ways at once; similarly One Nation poses a risk to the Looters & Nutters Party, the risk of splitting some nutters away from the herd.

                Parties are composed of people whose world view and interests are more similar than they are different, unless and until the external threat goes away and they can afford to split over other issues once thought less vital.

                It is the lesson of history, hard learnt and all too often forgotten as each generation reinvents the wheel.


  14. helvityni December 4, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    “Are we to measure torture and genocide only in numbers? I think not. The fact that Australia tolerates Manus says everything about the moral degeneracy at the heart of this country. It is no different from any other atrocity, except in its scale. If we can do this to 600 men, we can do it to 600,000 if the situation arises.”

    Jennifer, thank you for saying what I’m thinking about Australia; there’s something very rotten in the hearts of our leaders, that is if they have hearts…. What has happened to this country, I feel like an alien lately…


    • paul walter December 5, 2017 at 11:15 am #

      It is underlyingly tragic, the damage done to the mental health of Australians also.


    • doug quixote December 5, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

      The narrative that “we are doing this to save lives at sea” seems to be wearing very thin. Eric Abetz repeated the mantra on Q&A this week to fairly muted response, a few claps from the rusted on Looters & Nutters.

      Very few Australians who think about the matter at all remain wedded to the mantra. The difficulty is that this government has convinced itself that it is right. Tell a bold lie often enough and it becomes the truth. It still won’t work, of course; and there is the deeper frustration.

      They are locked into a bind of their own making.

      Throw them out.


      • paul walter December 5, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

        Very similar to Cash’s lies about “public interest”, refusing to answer Cameron about the fall out from this


        • helvityni December 6, 2017 at 11:39 am #

          Paul, Michaelia’s open mouth makes me reach for a bucket…


          • doug quixote December 10, 2017 at 11:22 am #

            But it’s what comes out of it that is worse.
            The Looters & Nutters Party mantra.


      • allthumbs December 6, 2017 at 10:10 am #

        It’s a beautiful wedge argument Dougt and the Libs have found a way of convincing themselves of their altruism and more importantly it is a balm for the entire country so that we can feel good about ourselves and go on about our daily lives.

        Politics, local, national and international to me has become the embodiment of David Brent, Ricky Gervais’ character from The Office and I personally blame him for our world’s current woes.

        Turnbull has come out swinging and Shorten did well to take the high road outside the Shrine this morning not to talk politics, a very deft move and played? or not with a certain vehemence that rang true and noble.

        I have said before Feeney and Dastayri were incompetent fools and both deserve public hangings at an impromptu ALP conference for the damage they have done to the Party and their bodies buried in a potter’s field in an industrial wasteland.

        The Libs smell blood not realizing it’s their own. Time for Shorten to get down and dirty.

        Here’s a line he could use, the new party donations policy trumpeted by Turnbull will have no effect on the Liberal Party as long as Malcolm is wealthy enough to fund his own leadership to the tune of a million dollars per election cycle which falls in line with the Tories User Pays ideology.

        Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni December 6, 2017 at 11:24 am #

          Yes, Mal’s millions will keep him going…


      • helvityni December 6, 2017 at 11:33 am #

        You are right, DQ, we need more brave Jennifer Wilsons….

        Liked by 1 person

  15. doug quixote December 10, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    149 MPs eligible to vote; 136 voted “Yes” , 4 voted against.

    And Abbott, Morrison, Hawke, Baaaarnaby, Andrews and 8 others didn’t even have the guts to vote no.

    It contrasts amazingly with the vote taken in 2012 in the same parliament, which voted 98 No to 42 Yes.

    How things can change in just 5 years.

    Perhaps there is hope for the world.


  16. paul walter December 16, 2017 at 1:41 am #

    “Twas the night before Christmas
    when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring
    not even a mouse”

    Fare thee well, one and all and maybe we meet up again, one fine day deep into the future..


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