BREAKING news that so-called “father of reconciliation” Pat Dodson is to be appointed to the vacancy created by the resignation of WA Senator Joe Bullock is a cause for disgust, not acclaim; a vacancy open only because the ALP would force its MPs’ votes on a matter of conscience, Dodson is a pawn for a party whose MPs are deserting it in WA and has little to offer voters aside from clickbait policies and the divisive politics of class, gender and race.
You really have to wonder what planet Labor actually lives on; I have been challenging several associates of mine — all of whom parade their unbridled commitment to “democracy” before them — to tell me which is preferable: a “conscience” vote of 226 MPs that has been rigged to ensure same-sex marriage is legislated; or a plebiscite of 14 million voters, which would almost certainly vote to scuttle the measure by at least a 60/40 margin.
Not surprisingly, the individuals in question (almost all of whom are inclined to the Left) mutter about electing representatives to make such decisions, in a clear deference to Parliament imposing what the majority do not want, and when it is pointed out to them that any conscience vote would be an oxymoron on account of Labor refusing to permit its MPs a “conscience” vote at all, there is no response.
The best that is offered is a reference to the Abbott government’s binding position against the measure, and that, too, is shut down when it is pointed out that the Abbott position was not enforced in a “conscience” vote context at all.
I begin thus because the latest abuse of the notion of principle is playing out at the ALP this morning; by now everyone knows that WA Senator Joe Bullock — himself preselected three years ago in a controversial deal that saw openly gay Senator Louise Pratt dumped to an unwinnable spot on the ticket — has announced his retirement, citing the binding position on same-sex marriage enforced on ALP MPs at last year’s Labor conference.
Bullock’s resignation comes in the wake of all three of the party’s lower house MPs in WA all jumping ship too, citing various platitudinous reasons for doing so, which begs the question as to what else might be going on at the ALP aside from a dawning realisation that Labor is being “led” by an imbecile, but even so.
Pratt — in the moment of euphoria that was all her party allowed her — announced she would contest the vacancy.
But over at the Labor Party, where life moves pretty fast and where a cynical stunt is always ready to be wheeled out, those who really decide such things were already miles ahead of her.
The announcement that so-called “father of reconciliation” Pat Dodson will fill the vacancy created by Bullock’s departure — which comes with a four-year unelected term and $800,000 in salary plus perks, if a double dissolution doesn’t interfere — is not cause to applaud Labor, is not some enlightened and/or clever choice, and it most certainly does not amount to “principle” in spite of whatever Bill Shorten or anyone else might now say.
After all, Dodson has been around for decades. Today is the first time any public move to put him into Parliament — in clear view of a difficult election and in a state the rats are fleeing the ALP ship — has ever been made.
Paradoxically, the elevation of Dodson to a vacancy created over gay marriage is not being filled by a diehard advocate for the measure (whatever you think of it yourself) and despite the illiberal enforcement of support for gay marriage on its MPs, the move effectively gives Pratt the shaft for a second time in three years.
But at the Labor Party — where the majority of voters are viewed as a necessary evil, “principles” are variable commodities, and elections are approached with the mentality that the ends justify the means — it’s not a distinction likely to bother anybody who cares.
Even if you agree with their agenda (and I certainly don’t) one of the most damning criticisms of the finger shakers and Chardonnay drunks of the allegedly intellectual Left is that their copybook of pet causes — gay marriage, open borders for asylum seekers, climate change, shameless pandering to select and highly targeted minorities — is big on “symbols” and being seen to be doing something, anything, but as often as not bereft of clear planning to achieve tangible and measurable outcomes.
So it is with “reconciliation,” upon which whole industries and armies of academics, consultants, do-gooder troublemakers and other sponges on the public purse depend to even exist: and at the heart of that dependency lies the paradox that these industries and armies of parasites rely on the very problem they purport dedication to eradicating never being resolved at all.
What is “reconciliation?” What are the markers and signposts that will show progress towards it? What are its aims and objectives? How will we know when we have achieved it?
Specifically, what is it that Aboriginal people want before they are prepared to say they are “reconciled” with modern Australia? What will they do and what do they expect the rest of us to do to achieve their objectives? These are not racist questions, although a standard tactic of the Left is to accuse anyone outside their cabal who asks them of racism. But one thing I am certain of is that those Aborigines living in disadvantaged circumstances want action and outcomes, not meaningless gestures and bullshit.
Regrettably, the ascension of Dodson to the Senate, whether you like it or not, is just that — a bullshit, meaningless gesture.
This wasn’t thought out or planned; it was cooked up to turn the embarrassment of Bullock’s resignation into some kind of positive.
There is no plan, or road map, or clearly delineated objectives: just a flurry of media activity and plentiful photo opportunities which Labor thinks it can exploit to push Bullock off the front page.
But there is a bigger issue here, and it is an old one: rather than advance realistic policy to deal with the mess it left the national finances in, which it has ruthlessly compounded in the interests of political expediency by marshalling obstruction in the Senate, and rather than expound a platform aimed at bettering the lot of the vast majority or even all Australians, the “modern” Labor way of slogans, stunts, and the divisive politics of gender, class or (as in this case) race has prevailed.
Like Nova Peris three years ago, Dodson — decent man that he is — is now being tokenised and exploited for the ALP’s petty grandstanding purposes, and anyone who thinks his presence in the Senate will make an iota of difference to the lot endured by some of his people is delusional.
Of Pratt, the brutal truth is that by dispensing with the capacity of its MPs to think for themselves on gay marriage, Labor has no further use for her, and is free to throw her on the political scrap heap once again.
But Dodson — far from providing any practical impetus toward “reconciliation” or even offering guidance as to what it actually is, beyond being gifted a Senatorial sinecure — is useful indeed for the ALP, as it pursues this week’s fatuous and contemptible adventure in search of clickbait headlines and a roar of approval from the Chardonnay drunks cheering it on from the sidelines.
This is not an appointment worthy of applause, and without disrespect to Dodson, has nothing to recommend it.
This is simply yet another grubby, grimy Labor stunt, an empty action in pursuit at any cost of undeserved power, and a smokescreen to hide the fact the party has no coherent platform.
To put it bluntly, it is also an abuse of the very constituency Labor claims it is acting in the best interests of: last time, it was the LGBTIQ community; today it is the Aborigines. Tomorrow it will be someone else’s turn. But the only beneficiaries in all cases will be the power-crazed spivs at the ALP and the trade union thugs who control them.
This morning’s announcement from the ALP is despicable, and worthy only of contempt. In the final analysis, it doesn’t come with a program to help indigenous kids into jobs, to get them off alcohol or to stop them snorting petrol, or to better the health and/or education of their communities: practical measures that might in fact make a difference.
So much for reconciliation. But where the Left is concerned, all “reconciliation” offers is the ability to lecture political opponents and brandish catchy slogans and empty gestures — all at the expense of the taxpayer.
Dodson’s elevation proves it and, once again, will do nothing to remedy the blight of Aboriginal disadvantage.