As I listened to Attorney-General George Brandis today unconvincingly bellow (shout loud: argument weak, as the father of my children used to say) that Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered by history as one of our great prime ministers, I reflected that while it’s sadly apparent Brandis is a fool, what is most unsettling is that he apparently believes the rest of us to be even bigger fools.
Malcolm Turnbull will be remembered by history as one of the weakest men ever to hold the nation’s highest office: I’m damned if I can think of many who’ve been more ineffective, more blustering, more incompetent and more so obviously at a total loss as to what to do next. No amount of Brandis’s maniacal talking up is going to change that situation, as we saw with failed and sacked prime minister Tony Abbott, also marketed as great and in the process of leaving a powerful legacy, as his popularity hurtled off a cliff like Sidney Nolan’s upside down horse, his death cult followers clinging to the saddle, three-word slogan at the ready: Nothing to see! Nothing to see!
There’s a pattern here. Talked up one day, compost the next.
No one can make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear, least of all the meta data-challenged Attorney-General who will himself be remembered largely for his technological ignorance, his ludicrously expensive bookshelves, and his elitist notion of what constitutes art.
Turnbull’s deplorable decision to carry on with predecessor Tony Abbott’s (the one who will be remembered for giving Prince Philip a knighthood, just one of a vast array of incomprehensible acts of wilfully destructive stupidity) ill-willed and non-binding plebiscite on marriage equality demonstrates yet again that the Prime Minister is haemorrhaging principles from every orifice, in a kind of spiritual Ebola that has afflicted him since he took office.
I am unable to think of one reason why the Australian public has a “right” to vote on the right of citizens to marry or not. This is not a question of protecting the Australian public’s rights: no member of the Australian public will suffer during the enactment of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality is a human rights issue, and it is an outstanding example of heterosexual arrogance to reframe it as an issue on which “the people” are entitled to have their say. Why are they entitled to have their say? Give me one good reason.
If “the people” are “entitled” to “have their say” in plebiscites on all matters regarded by politicians as “too important” for them to simply do their jobs, why bother having a parliament at all? We’ll use their salaries and perks to fund opinion polls instead, then all they’ll need to do is pass the legislation.
The High Court ruled that parliament already has the authority it needs to simply amend the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage, without consulting anybody. Why are we paying the idle swine to hand the job back to us?
Trust me, said George Brandis when asked if his party would honour a *yes* vote, and that’s where I fell off my chair and rolled on the floor laughing my arse off.
It used to be that when Abbott said anything good about someone we knew they’d be in the dumpster fairly soon. It’s very hard to believe that Brandis is serious about Turnbull’s strength as a leader. I don’t think he is. He’s shouting loud because his argument is, like its subject, weak. His exaggerated praise of Turnbull is turning the corner into mockery. Brandis knows what’s coming.
Some of you may be familiar with the segment on ABC broadcaster Jonathan Green’s Sunday Extra, The Year that Made Me. A guest who has achieved chooses a year from her or his life which to them was highly formative. Malcolm Turnbull could do this gig. He could call it The Year that Made Me lose every principle I’d ever held, and left me a dusty, creaking husk of a man, and taught mean the true meaning of the phrase, laughing-stock.
I’m at a complete loss as to understand why that rasping husk of compromised humanity we’ve had inflicted on us as Prime Minister decided to co-opt this morning’s hideous mass slaughter of gay people in Orlando, Florida to the service of his government’s pathological border protection policies.
Not once in his obligatory comments on the mass murder (this link has since been updated by SMH to include Turnbull’s third press release in which he refers to gay people) did Turnbull acknowledge the identity of the victims, rather he carefully framed his remarks within the “terrorist threat facing the Australian way of life” narrative, a threat for which the LNP, with the full support of the opposition, created for our salvation the paramilitary border protection force.
Turnbull stopped short of invoking “stop the boats” and I suppose we should be grateful that even he, apparently, was unable to draw his stinkingly homophobic bow that far.
Had the victims been children they would have been identified as children. Had they been black, they would have been identified as black. Had they been Palestinians, Jews, women, protestors, Australians, ISIS, students, politicians, doctors or the homeless, they would have been identified as such.
But these were members of the LGBTQI community and Malcolm Turnbull could not speak their name.
Other politicians, including Obama, Clinton, Shorten & Plibersek have made a point of speaking directly to that community in their commentary, acknowledging that this has been an attack that will affect LGBTQI people wherever they are.
The murderer’s motives are as yet not fully known. But what is unquestionable is that he targeted a gay venue, and that he has been described by his own parents as “not religious, didn’t pray or fast, was very angry when he saw two men kissing.”
It might behoove us to remember at this time that the most vocal opponents of LGBTQI communities in Australia are white Christian men, some of whom are in the LNP, and some of whom gave Malcolm Turnbull his job. Could this perhaps go some way to explaining the PM’s bizarre reluctance to acknowledge the Orlando massacre for what it clearly is? A murderous attack on a particular community because of that community’s sexual orientation.
Whether or not the murderer was informed by other political motives as well does not alter the fact of his choice of target.
Let’s not forget that Turnbull recently bowed to pressure from Christian homophobes to gut a Safe Schools program that sought to educate, and protect LGBTQI kids from bullying, depression and suicide.
Let’s not forget that Turnbull has decided on a completely unnecessary and highly expensive plebiscite on marriage equality, an event that will permit all manner of hate and bigotry against LGBTQI people free expression.
Let’s not forget that Turnbull has firmly established himself on a vile homophobic continuum (making himself clearly part of the problem) that begins with playground bullying, and ends in the mass slaughter of gays who’ve just gone out dancing for the evening.
This is our Prime Minister, people. The man who denies the dead their identity. The man who dares not speak the word.
Since I wrote this post, and after a great deal of criticism on social media, Turnbull has made another statement in which he refers to the gay club and the deaths of gay people.
All traces of his first statement, on which this post is based, have vanished from the SMH and other media. ABC Radio’s Patricia Karvalas tweeted that she’d never heard of an earlier statement, and I don’t doubt her.
Extensive tweets remain, as proof of Turnbull’s initial presser. Unless the Libs own Twitter as well as the MSM
Thrilling deconstruction of Prince’s performance in the above video from Daniel Ralston here
Probably won’t be writing much for the next little while, as I’m leaving for the annual road trip to the Snowy Mountains today, listening to David Bowie all the way.
Haven’t felt so sad about a performer’s death since James Gandolfini carked in 2013. They leave a hole in the world when they go, these shiningly talented people.
Anyways, be well Sheep people, will catch up again soon and here is Mabel Jane in my arms in a milk coma, because life goes on and who knows who the next shiningly talented person will be?
Cardinal George Pell certainly has a heart condition, one that has been apparent to even the most casual observer for some considerable time.
It could be thought of as heartlessness or a lack of heart in his attitude to survivors of sexual abuse by priests of Pell’s church. Pell has consistently placed victims and survivors second, third and fourth to the requirements and reputation of the religious institution that has fed, watered and lavishly nurtured him.
Yesterday, Pell’s lawyers advised the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse that Pell would be unable to appear before the Commission to be questioned as arranged, due to a heart condition that makes long-haul flight too great a risk to his health. Inquiry chair Justice Peter McClellan refused to accept Pell’s evidence via video link, instead postponing his appearance until March 2016 when it is hoped the heart of Cardinal Pell will have recovered sufficiently to allow him to travel from Rome to Ballarat.
It’s a measure of Pell’s character that this news has been greeted with scorn, derision, disbelief and contempt. If he is indeed seriously ill, nobody much cares, and few are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Pell is between a rock and a hard place. If he doesn’t appear before the Commission to answer hard questions, his guilt will be assumed and he forfeits an opportunity to exonerate himself. If he does appear, his alleged guilt may well be exposed as real. Either way, public opinion has so turned against the Cardinal that he has become a despised figure, of whom even some catholics are deeply ashamed.
All of this is as nothing, compared to the destruction and pain wrought upon children by priests of Pell’s church, some of whom he publicly supported. Beside this, the Cardinal’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical discomfort is as nothing.
It seems to me that a person’s character is defined by their willingness to front up and be accountable for their actions and inactions; never an easy experience, but what are we if we can’t or won’t do that?
Oh, and Pell was also confessor and mentor to failed Prime Minister and failed priest Tony Abbott (Just saying). (Not that it means anything). (Unless you want it to). (I’m done now).
At a time when we are struggling in this country with the death of two women every week from male-perpetrated domestic violence, and the physical, emotional and psychological injury of thousands more women. At a time when we are struggling with the lifelong scarring of children who witness this violence.
At a time when we are struggling in this country with the sexual abuse of children by men who have authority over them, both historical and current, children whose lives are ruined by predatory males in positions of power.
At a time in this country when we are only beginning to truthfully acknowledge the criminal damage done to women and children by men who abuse and torture and murder us.
At this time, our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his robotic axeman Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (who used to work as a copper investigating sex crimes, yes, think about that) choose as their scapegoat and human sacrifice to the racist subhumans who comprise the demographic that keeps them in power, a raped and pregnant S0mali refugee.
There will hardly be a woman amongst us today who has survived sexual assault, domestic violence, and childhood sexual abuse whose trauma will not be triggered by the treatment of Abyan by Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton.
We will flashback to the times when we cried out into a vast silence for someone to help us, and for most of us, nobody listened.
We will flashback to the terror, the helplessness, the powerless we experienced when a man more powerful than us exercised his privilege and presumed entitlement over our bodies, minds and spirits.
We will remember our impotence. The sense that nothing about ourselves belongs to us, but has been colonised by a male invader because he can, because he wants to and because he has no appreciation of or care for our humanity.
In their treatment of Abyan, Turnbull and Dutton have triggered the memories and the rage of thousands upon thousands of Australian women who have historical and current experiences of the brutality, contempt and sense of entitlement perpetrating men both feel and act out in their violence towards us.
Turnbull and Dutton have given their tacit support to sexual assault and violence against women by their actions in this matter. They may believe they are acting only against one Somali refugee. But they aren’t. They are acting against every woman who has suffered and survived, and they are acting against every woman and girl who can imagine what it is to be violated by a man, and is yet to be so violated.
When they sacrificed Abyan on the altar of their political ambition, they sacrificed all of us.
Oh, brave new world, that has such vile men in it.