IN THE BRAWL over whether
Communist Party Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was “spied on” and/or is “an embarrassment,” any particularisation of her own reprehensible conduct seems to have been eschewed. Hanson-Young has secured a smokescreen — winning a defamation case against a lads’ magazine — to hide behind. Yet she is an embarrassment, a disgrace, and is unfit to hold the privileged office of a Senator for South Australia.
Given most of Australia is enjoying a public holiday this Monday — a cold, blustery day indeed in Melbourne, to add a local slant to the conversation — I’m inclined to ease readers into a new week of discussion in this column, and to that end if this morning’s article looks a bit like a “greatest hits” compilation, I apologise.
Rest assured, there is nothing “great” about the insidious specimen that masquerades as a Senator from South Australia, Sarah Hanson-Young.
But it strikes me as convenient, to say the least, that a long-running dispute with notorious lads’ skin magazine ZOO Weekly — after it photoshopped Hanson-Young’s head onto the body of a bikini model as part of an attempt to cajole her into participating in a lingerie shoot three years ago — should be settled, and settled in the Senator’s favour, just in time to coincide with the latest uproar over her activities late last week.
Before we get to that, I should like to note that for an individual whose Twitter handle (@sarahinthesen8) is so obviously contrived to emulate the tasteless US “drama” Sex In The City — with its guileless, styleless, sex-addicted heroines and endlessly vapid “story” lines of gratuitous sex and other stultifying superficiality — Hanson-Young’s “outrage” over Bauer Media’s depiction of her in ZOO seems similarly contrived, to say the least.
Certainly, it fails to emulate the response to a similar overture to the more stylish and urbane South Australian Labor MP Kate Ellis some years ago (who, from memory, was also offered a considerable sum of money for her trouble) who admitted to being flattered, and laughed the approach off; Ellis was later shown to be a hypocrite, of course, for jumping on Julia Gillard’s fabricated “misogyny” crusade against Tony Abbott when she had voiced no such fury when voted “Australia’s Sexiest MP” in a Herald Sun survey of parliamentarians.
But the not-unattractive Ellis’ response to an offer to be featured au naturel in some grubby magazine’s glossy pages ensured the issue was shut down as a talking point overnight, and it contrasts with the redoubtable Hanson-Young, whose Twitter feed for the past two days has been filled with little else apart from rehashing the ZOO incident and her “victory” when in truth — and I say this without intending to condone the magazine in any way — even those who found an obviously doctored representation of Ms Hanson-Young in its pages amusing three years ago would have long ago forgotten all about it.
It is difficult therefore to believe anything other than far from shutting the issue down, Hanson-Young will now continue to milk the very issue she took legal action over for all it is worth, not to rail against what she calls its “smutty ridicule” of her, but simply because it merely represents the latest opportunity to draw attention to herself.
Yet even the grovelling apology from Bauer Media that Hanson-Young is now tweeting on high rotation seems to have been drafted by someone whose tongue was firmly planted in their cheek, stating as it does that “Senator Hanson-Young has made a significant contribution to asylum seeker policy in this country,” and far from offering the Senator a cloak to hide behind to deflect attention from her shortcomings, as far as I am concerned it amounts to a clarion call to rip into Hanson-Young over the disgusting charade she passes off as responsible and principled activity as an MP.
Three weeks before the 2013 federal election I published an article that was roundly critical of Hanson-Young’s performance on 2GB host Ben Fordham’s radio show; this was the infamous event at which she airily dismissed the deaths of more than a thousand asylum seekers at sea with the unbelievably heartless observation that “accidents happen,” which was all the more stunning for its lack of decency in view of the fact “heart” is something Hanson-Young claims drives her brand of hard-Left socialist politics as much as anything else.
As I have noted before (and as remains the case) that article remains the fourth most-read of the 1,012 published here since April 2011, and is one of the few pieces in my archives that is explicitly sought and receives traffic without fail every week; it speaks volumes for the Senator’s notoriety that even a couple of years after her obscene dismissal of hundreds and hundreds of asylum seeker deaths as accidental, there remain people interested (or repulsed) enough to be seeking out material that relates to her ill-advised utterances.
I did acknowledge her re-election when it happened, painful as it was to do so.
To be sure, I try to avoid discussing Hanson-Young as much as I possibly can; I understand haters and sycophants of the Left alike are insatiable when it comes to media coverage of the Senator’s antics, but demand for material relating to Sarah Hanson-Young is not enough for me to afford discussion of her on a regular basis; I take the view that the less she is given oxygen and made politically legitimate by the allocation of press space and airtime, the better.
But it is, at times, unavoidable, which is why about six months ago I wrote of Hanson-Young’s field trip to Cambodia — which was ostensibly to discover conditions “refugees might encounter” if resettled there under Abbott government border control policies — but which, in truth, appeared then and now to have served no real purpose aside from collecting ammunition to use in unreasoned and politically motivated attacks on the government: not out of compassion for refugees at all, but for electoral advantage.
If this sounds like too long a bow to draw, it should be pointed out that when it came to the Greens’ despicable support for the so-called BDS campaign against Israel, no such “diligence” was done on the Palestinian terrorists and fanatics who stood to be the chief beneficiaries of such a boycott; never mind the fact Israel wouldn’t be shooting at targets in Palestine at all were it not for the fact that it finds itself under virtually incessant attack from interests sworn to “wiping it off the face of the Earth.”
Like the rest of the illiberal global Left and its more hardcore adherents, Australia’s Greens are welded to the grotesque “ideal” that has become fashionable in “thinking” circles that Israel’s opponents should be empowered, and feted, and coddled, irrespective of the real cost to both Israel and the free world more widely; barely weeks ago, US President Barack Obama — a socialist likely to be viewed by future generations as the most dangerous and worst President in American history — struck a “deal” with Iran on nuclear proliferation that leaves Iran’s capacity to develop and acquire nuclear weapons within five years or less unhindered.
Iran, of course, is just as committed to the obliteration of Israel (and, of course, the United States itself) as the Palestinian terrorist insurgents and jihadi groups are; amid the vocal support of the Greens for these noxious objectives, Hanson-Young’s is but one of several adding to the cacophony of anti-Israel, anti-American hysteria. But it is present, nonetheless, and in the context of a wider consideration of the merits or otherwise of her value to the national debate in Australia it cannot be ignored.
All of this takes me to the fracas that erupted late in the week over allegations Hanson-Young was “spied on” during a visit to the detention centre on Nauru in December 2013, and in considering whether any heed at all should be paid to this ridiculous claim, it bears remembering that at the very minimum, the Senator is a troublemaker wherever conservative governments and asylum seeker policy intersect.
It bears remembering that on an earlier visit to a detention centre, suggestions — never substantiated or proven, but never rebutted either — were rife that Hanson-Young had incited asylum seekers to riot against being held in captivity, and I raise that matter now because from a contextual perspective it may be instructive insofar as the actions of the private contractor, Wilson Security, were concerned during the Nauru visit.
It should also be noted that Hanson-Young has been one of the most outspoken voices on the hard Left in attempting to smear the Abbott government (and more particularly, the Liberal Party) over the issue of children in detention; the facts are that no children were in detention when the Liberals left office in 2007, and more than 90% of those incarcerated under policies implemented with and influenced by the imprimatur of the Greens during the tenure of the Gillard government have been released since the Liberal Party resumed office 18 months ago.
But with all of this in mind, it should surprise nobody that those charged with maintaining the order and security of government facilities on Nauru would consciously decide to keep Hanson-Young under observation during her visit in late 2013, but the response of the Greens — as usual — has been to blow the issue out of all proportion for no better reason than attention seeking and grimy political advantage.
Their new leader, Richard di Natale, made the ridiculous suggestion that keeping an eye on Hanson-Young was indicative of a “quasi police state (sic),” which merits neither exploration nor credence.
Hanson-Young, for her part, sent her allegations of being spied on to the parliamentary privileges committee, which might be able to act if she can show she was obstructed, but is hardly going to subpoena witnesses simply because a decision was made to keep a known agitator and hostile opponent of the very policies being carried out on Nauru under close watch.
And she was sufficiently chuffed to forego being “Sarah In The Senate” for the proverbial five minutes to instead call herself “The Raven” on Twitter, which was apparently the code name allocated to her by the security detail charged with making sure she behaved herself: it was hardly an offensive thing to call her.
But once again, you have to wonder whether Hanson has any sense of humour at all, to say nothing of a perspective in any way grounded in either the real world or in any meaningful comprehension of the fact that actions have consequences: even hers. And Hanson-Young has drawn an awful lot of attention to herself for all the wrong reasons during seven undeserved years sitting in the Senate.
I think Immigration minister Peter Dutton got it about right, saying of Hanson-Young that she “gets most of the facts wrong most of the time” and has a penchant for making allegations that generally prove “completely unfounded.”
Yet the unrepentant Senator — with an answer for everything — even had the temerity to lash out over the scrutiny her visit to Nauru elicited in view of her past antics, suggesting it was “creepy” and trying to tie the whole episode back into (you guessed it) an anti-Abbott rant replete with recycled and tired allegations of sexism and misogyny against the Prime Minister.
Is it any wonder most people — with the exception of the portion of the tiny minority who vote Green who actually like her — are fed up with Sarah Hanson-Young, her histrionics and her allegations, her conspiracy theories and her crackpot agenda, and the career that regrettably survived the last election by a wafer-thin trail of preference leakages from other candidates?
I hope she enjoys — nay, revels in — her “victory” over Bauer Media and ZOO Weekly because, in the bigger scheme of things, a moment is all she will be spared.
In the bigger scheme of things and as it pertains to her political career, the “victory” over Bauer Media is a red herring she will fail to ignore to her own cost.
At the end of the day, anyone who cries “Wolf!” too often will eventually be spurned, and Sarah Hanson-Young — be it over asylum seeker policy, Israel, “misogyny,” or any of the litany of other issues in which left-wing drivel finds expression that she sees fit to spew forth upon — has pretty much exhausted the tolerance and goodwill of the reasonable Australian public.
Hiding behind some minor legal victory over a lads’ magazine will not and should not shield her from the rancour and hostility her uninformed and misguided diatribes and rants incite, and we have to be very clear that whatever else Ms Hanson-Young may or may not represent, she is the outspoken advocate of left-wing policies that are either unworkable, run counter to the national interest, or — usually — both.
She is a poor international example of lawmaking in Australia, and like most of her party colleagues is a truly cringeworthy indictment on the undemocratic system used to elect Senators and on those South Australian voters who provided sufficient support for her to be re-elected at all in 2013.
But unlike most (but not all) of her contemporaries at the Greens, Hanson-Young is among the worst of a bad bunch: divorced from common sense, seemingly guided by ideology and socialist pedagogy, Sarah Hanson-Young embodies the lunatics that so characterise her party in the eyes of its detractors.
She is — as Dutton noted — an embarrassment to Australia; she is an absolute disgrace to this country; and I believe unfit to hold office as a Senator. That she does is an affront to basic decency and to democracy.