Tag Archives: Alan Jones

Bishop stays. Goodes goes. Abbott is silent. What is wrong with this picture?

31 Jul

eggs

 

In case you are still in any doubt about what matters and what doesn’t to the Anglo-Saxon hegemony think on this: white Speaker of the House of Representatives and Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s personal pick Bronwyn Bishop remains in charge of the House, in spite of decades of financial abuse of taxpayer funds, the obscene details of which are unfolding daily before our disbelieving eyes. The only thing that keeps her in her job is Abbott’s support, because while the Prime Minister cannot actually sack a Speaker, there’s little doubt that if Abbott pressured her to get on her bike, she’d be mad not to obey.

On the other hand, Indigenous football star and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has been driven from his sport and public life by unrelenting racist attacks every time he shows his face. Goodes’ reaction to a thirteen-year-old girl calling him an ape has been held up by the racist commentariat such as Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt as being the reason footy crowds have taken such a set against him. However, it seems to have escaped the commentators’ collective memory that it was in fact the illustrious Eddie Maguire who at the same time called Goodes “King Kong.”

What also seems to have escaped their racist filter is that Goodes did not know at the time that a young girl was responsible for calling him an ape, and when he did become aware of this he handled the situation admirably, meeting with the girl and her mother, and engaging them  in conversation about the wounding and divisive nature of racist insults.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, normally a man with an opinion on everything no matter how irrelevant, remains conspicuously silent on both matters. Ms Bishop’s shenanigans with helicopters and luxury limos have left rotten egg splattered all over Tony’s face, an ungracious response on her part to the man who, when he won government, rewarded her with the prestigious job of Speaker. Getting rid of Bronwyn will cause Tony to lose egg-splattered face, as it will be an admission of his lack of judgement of a woman he’s known for decades, and indeed, has been heard to refer to as his “political mother.”

But as Freud would have it, an adult man must at some point cut ties with his mother, and this could be Tony’s moment to sever the umbilical cord.

Abbott apparently can’t say anything on the Goodes’ matter either, given his demographic is fundamentally xenophobic and racist, and he can’t risk alienating them. While the country engages in a national conversation about racism, our leader remains unacceptably silent, missing in action. While the indignation and outrage at Bishop’s fraudulent behaviour escalates, our leader remains silent, missing in action. The number of topics Abbott can publicly engage with seems to be shrinking daily: he certainly seems incapable of entering into the energetic debates that will shape and reshape our nation in a most concrete fashion. In other words, he’s useless.

Ideology can do that to a man. Render him useless.

 

 

 

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Mr Rabbit takes his arse to London

13 Nov

In the absence of both Mr Rabbitt and Jemima Puddleduck a very bearable lightness of being has graced us at Hill Top Farm these last  weeks, disturbed only by the occasional dispatch from foreign countries that serves to remind us that this respite is indeed temporary, and things will return to acrimonious normality in the too-near future.

Mr Rabbit, having failed to find any takers for his rear end at home, has joined the arse drain and is busy flogging his wares in London among those traditional arse hounds the British conservatives. If he doesn’t succeed in selling it (the competition is fierce) he can at least rent it out for a flogging and earn a bit of spending money. He’ll have to be discreet, however, as BDSM is illegal between consenting adults in the UK , thereby proving beyond doubt the theory that we repress that which we most desire.

Meanwhile, Jemima has been busy making lots of very important new friends on her amazing adventures abroad. Who would have believed a humble duck from Wales could go so far in her adopted country, to which she fled seeking refuge from the harsh northern climate, and where her parents worked like dogs to establish themselves and give their daughter a real crack at life!  Oh, that many more would be given the opportunities granted Jemima, especially those hapless Middle Eastern people who keep fetching up in boats, fleeing for their lives, wanting only a future for their children!

Take note ducklings. You too can achieve like Jemima if you only put your minds to it, insist on hatching your own eggs no matter who tries to talk you out of it, make lasting connections with faceless men,and don’t get caught up in that bloody domesticity that brings so many good women undone. You know, the thing that starts off with gooey feelings and astonishing sex and ends up in sleep deprivation, homicidal fights about the washing up, months without sex, and your career down the drain because his job is more important than yours. Unless of course you’re lucky enough to land a stay-at- home drake, in which case, go girl duck.

In his leader’s absence, that suave and silver-tailed Mr Turn-Bull-Fox exchanged his old leather jacket for a brand new coat of exactly the same colour, sprucing himself up for an attack on Mr Rabbit’s arse when it gets home, flattened and vulnerable after hours of travel on a Qantas plane that hopefully won’t be grounded in Dubai. I believe the extraordinarily talented Stephen Fry is still in that city, trying to get home and not happy.

Qantas CEO The Iron Leprechaun, otherwise known as Alan Jones, oops, sorry, Joyce and shown here counting his pay rise, promised Mr Rabbit he’d leave his planes in the sky for the duration so Mr Rabbit would be able to get home to his wife and children and his important job in the vegetable patch. When asked about poor Mr Fry’s predicament the Leprechaun is reported to have retorted in his irresistible Irish lilt: “Feck that fecking tweeting rat fecker feck.” This in reference to the insulting tweets Mr Fry allegedly sent out to his 2+ million followers about his disappointing journey with Qantas. At least your plane didn’t run out of fuel like mine did, Stephen. And I bet you had all the food you wanted in business class while the economy people starved. Fecking class system. Fecking capitalists. Fecking flying animals.

The term “rat-fucker” caught on in Australia after Ms Puddleduck’s  Minister-at-large for Foreign Bodies Kep the Collie, made it popular when he used it to describe certain gentlemen from China whom he failed to charm one time in the wonderful (wonderful) fairy tale city of Copenhagen where, as you might recall, a humble Tasmanian girl, daughter of real estate agents, became a royal princess. Take note, girl ducklings. She doesn’t have a stay-at-home drake, but she does have lots of servants and bigger pots of gold than the Leprechaun that she can use for fabulous clothes. You could do worse.

Unfortunately,  as I mentioned in my last letter from the Farm, Jeremy Fisher (AKA Christopher Pyne) was regurgitated by the trout that swallowed him, owing to the bad taste he caused in the fish’s mouth. Mr Jeremy, now fully recovered  and cleansed of fish spittle, has returned to his seat in the House of Representatives with his prissy missy Chrissy voice restored to its previous shrilly Millie tones of highly wiley indignation. I have no news of the trout.

I am myself personally taking my own arse on a journey for the next week. Thankfully unlike Mr Rabbit I’m not obliged to offer it up for sale, and thankfully I’m not relying on Qantas to get me where I want to go. Actually I’m driving. But quite frankly that fecking Alan Joyce has forced me to re-assess my loyalties, divest myself of my frequent flyer points, and in future, ride the Virgin. Fortunately I was able to purchase almost all my Christmas presents at the Qantas Frequent Flyer Shop with my accumulated points, including a marvelous thingy that will teach the newest baby in our family all about symphony orchestras. So suck it up Joycie. You’ll never ground me again, you Celtic plank.

The political climate that nurtures extremism: be careful what you sow

25 Jul

Today the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen will sign the deal with Malaysia that will see 800 boat arrivals exchanged for Australia’s re-settlement of 4000 refugees currently held in that country. As the government has already undertaken not to expel those who’ve arrived by boat prior to today’s deal, they will be no doubt hoping the threat in itself will be enough to “stop the boats.” If this is the case it will allow the government to avoid what will inevitably be the morally messy business of actually carrying out this proposed exchange of human lives, one lot to a very precarious future in a non-signatory country, the other lot to a safe future in Australia.

The fact that we can send 800 boat people to Malaysia immediately signals that we don’t consider them as human as either ourselves, or the 4000 we are re-settling in exchange. You do not send innocent people to extremely dubious futures if you acknowledge them as human beings. The only way to send 800 people to the conditions they will have to face in Malaysia is to first deny their humanity. It is first to deny their worthiness – they are not as worthy as either ourselves, or the refugees we are accepting in their place. We do not have to be as caring about their well being as we do about our own, or the well being of the “worthy” refugees we are re-settling. Why? Because they arrived by boat? Because of where they were born? Both?

These 800 people are not criminals. Our domestic laws allow asylum seekers to arrive here in any manner at all, without papers, and to request refugee status once they get here. The Gillard government could rescind this law. That would  make boat arrivals law breakers. That would stop the boats. Permanently. The Malaysian solution is a one-off. After we reach our quota of 800 the deal is finished.

The Gillard government chooses to maintain the law that allows anyone to seek asylum and permits any manner of arrival. In a Kafakesque manipulation, the Gillard government criminalizes innocent people who are only doing what they are legally entitled to do, instead of changing the law. This is a very slippery slope, and one that should deeply concern all of us: today asylum seekers, tomorrow??

Australia was initially led down this very messy moral path by the Howard government’s racist response to asylum seekers who arrived by boat, exemplified in the events of the Tampa.  With total disregard for our domestic law, and the Covenant we signed with the UN, Howard began a slanderous campaign against boat arrivals that reached its climax in the Children Overboard affair. We don’t want people who abuse their children in this country, he declared, conveniently overlooking the fact that we already have tens of thousands of people in Australia who really are abusing children, their own and others. Australians don’t abuse their children, was the racist message based on a lie. Muslim asylum seekers coming in boats do, and we decent Australians don’t want them. Racism. Pure and simple. Replace Muslim with Jew and see where that eventually takes us.

Shaken by the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Howard then followed George Bush into the invasion of Iraq, based on the folded lie that those responsible for the attacks had something to do with Iraq, and besides, Iraq was hoarding weapons of mass destruction.

In reality, the extremists who struck at the heart of America were from Saudi Arabia and there were no WMDs, but the Coalition of the Willing were not about to let the truth stand in the way of a good opportunity to wage war. Bush had scores to settle on behalf of his father and the first Gulf War. And then there’s the oil. Impossible as well to go after Saudi Arabia as breeders of terrorists. The Saudi princes dine at the White House and invest in News Limited. Think Fox News, and Murdoch’s support for the Iraq invasion.

Regardless of these considertions, a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment focused on Iraq swept across the US and its allies, including Australia. You’re either with us or against us on terrorism, Bush declared, and we say who the terrorists are and where they came from. In a brilliantly executed piece of propaganda, Howard conflated boat arrivals and Muslims with terrorism, struck xenophobic fear into the hearts of many Australians, and won an election that had a mere few months earlier seemed un-winnable by promising to protect us.

However Howard, like those who’ve followed him, did not move to change the law that permits asylum seekers entry. One has to wonder why. If anything would “protect” us immediately and permanently, it would be the rescinding of that law.

The Australian public’s fear and hatred of boat arrivals has not subsided. Politicians have not ceased to exploit this fear for their own gain. We are as deeply racist in this country as we have ever been. The Malaysian solution is racist to its core.

And so to Norway. The right-wing Christian fundamentalist terrorist who allegedly carried out the massacre of over 90 Norwegians on Sunday hated immigrants. He expressed rabid anti Muslim sentiments. He thought his government wasn’t doing enough to keep Norway for the Norwegians. He has expressed hope that his actions will bring about a change in Norway. His slaughter of the innocents was, he claims, gruesome but necessary.

The Norwegian slaughter represents the extreme end of a continuum. Somewhere along that continuum is the Malaysian Solution. Somewhere along it are the folded lies about WMDs and alleged Iraqi responsibility for September 11. Somewhere along the continuum is the virulent right-wing xenophobia expressed by Howard, and upheld by the policies of the Gillard Labor government. Somewhere along it are Alan Jones, Chris Smith, Andrew Bolt, and the rest of the shock jocks who conspire to agitate a fear and hatred of Muslims, and boat arrivals in Australian hearts. The extreme outcome of their racist right-wing anti-Muslim anti asylum seeker rhetoric is the slaughter in Norway.

In Australia, the unthinkable has become normalized in the Malaysian solution. The Gillard government has singled out two groups of human beings, one it considers worthy of saving, and one it considers unworthy. There is nothing we can do to ensure the safety and well-being of this latter group. We know the conditions they will encounter. We will expel these people because they accepted an invitation we continue to unconditionally extend.

You can only take such action against people you consider less than human.

Normalizing official selection practices for human survival and well being is the slipperiest slope of all. Once it becomes acceptable to decide that one group is more worthy of survival than another, once that becomes government policy and is then executed by the expulsion of the “undesirable” group, a country is deeply morally fouled.

If there is any doubt about the racist core of the Malaysian solution, ask why asylum seekers arriving by plane are not transported to Malaysia?  They are permitted to stay in this country while their claims are assessed. Generally they are not held in indefinite mandatory detention. The fact that they have papers is irrelevant to the law, which doesn’t require asylum seekers to have papers.

There is the law. And then there is government policy. In a healthy democracy there should not be discrepancy between the two. In a morally fouled country, there is increasing discrepancy between the two, and citizens should take alarmed note of such discrepancies.

The Malaysian solution is a marker of how far down the slippery slope we have already  travelled. It is the most immoral action this country has taken thus far against boat arrivals. It reveals our racist heart, and our collective ability to dehumanize. Dehumization of asylum seekers has become increasingly normalized over the last ten years and our journey into these dark waters has brought us to the Malaysian solution.

The events in Norway are shocking. They did not take place in a vacuum, such events never do. A climate exists in which such madness can be rationalized and justified by terrorists and their followers. The rhetoric used in such justifications is no different from what can be heard and read in the media every day. It is the rhetoric of hatred of other, and fear of difference. Politicians and media of all persuasions whip up these fears for their own gain. We need leaders who are capable of calming the irrational, not feeding it to gain office.

Leaders who nurture fear, leaders who capitulate to the most base human emotions are, to use Gillard’s word, evil. They perpetuate evil. They nurture evil. They violate the moral law to further their own objectives. It is indeed appropriate to describe, as did Gillard, the Norwegian terrorist as evil. But evil has many faces, and evil resides quite naturally in the continuum. Our leaders would do well to re-aquaint themselves with its meaning.

Be careful what you sow. You may not be able to control what seeds and flourishes.

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