Bitch Fight: Just Abolish The Australian Of The Year Award

INTERNECINE BRAWLING over an elitist, increasingly divisive award is not only unedifying, but a symptom of the entitlement complex of the Left and an object demonstration of why the bauble must be abolished. The 2016 Australian of the Year is a poor, undeserving choice. Recent predecessors and pretenders are no better. Far from recognising excellence, it has become a prized trinket of social engineers. Australia will be better off without it.

To some extent, I have been beaten to the punch by one of my favourite conservative columnists — the Daily Telegraph‘s Miranda Devine — but whilst Miranda has covered some of the ground I wanted to address (and you can read her excellent piece on the farcical 2016 Australian of the Year award recipient here) the subject is still worthy of discussion.

But before we start — and I have to be careful how I relate this — I have a story to share.

Many years ago, I knew an individual who was (and it’s the only way to put this) an attention addict; everything was a drama, or an acting-out of fantasies, or — most usually — she was the victim in some conspiracy of the universe against her; unable to accept or respect authority (unless it pandered to her), unable to hold down a job without abusing her employers and/or starting highly visible relationships with male colleagues, this girl is probably the most self-destructive individual I have ever met, although I should add that her wanton behaviour was carefully and deliberately contrived to achieve the maximum attention and sympathy possible, as widely as possible, and from as many people as possible.

Fail to gasp in sympathy and wring your hands in a suitably obtrusive fashion, and you were booted. She wasn’t looking for friends, she was looking for a cheer squad, the members of which were invariably referred to as “the beautiful people.”

This person was fond of male company — not that there’s any harm in that — and was “quick off the mark,” so to speak, with first dates almost invariably ending up in bed (and those around her regaled with lurid accounts of her adventures at every turn). Whilst it does not become us to judge, the reason I note the very high number of partners is because it was accompanied by a very high number of accusations — rapes, stalking, other predatory behaviour, assaults — that never led to criminal charges despite the fact Police were kept busy attending to her complaints.

Eventually, one of these men evolved into enemy #1.

Fast forward about ten years (omitting, deliberately, much of the information that could identify her), this individual made something of a career out of her tale as a domestic violence victim; confronted on at least one occasion that I know of over the decision of Police not to pursue charges in relation to any of her allegations, or on account of the total lack of any medical proof of her story, she made attack her defence — and became abusive. The Police had been wrong. Her medical records were destroyed in a flood. And of course, the individual who had confronted her was screamed at and called…well, all kinds of things. The bottom line: she said what she said, and therefore every detail of her story was true.

(And no, it wasn’t me who confronted her. I just heard about it afterwards).

Never mind that a cursory following of it in the press, over a period of years, was sufficient to identify a progressive development of that story, and ongoing embellishment of key details in it.

Remember, there is no judgement here. But this is an individual with a known history over decades of exaggeration, dramatisation and fabrication of life events, so it came as no surprise that when disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson was outed a year ago as a fraud, this person panicked, announcing to her inner coterie that all of her domestic violence work would have to stop as she “had had enough of it,” and reportedly destroying the manuscript for an autobiography that (unbelievably) was set to be published by some ultra-feminist wimmins’ network that had clearly decided it could cash in.

An attempt to blow the whistle on her, in the wake of Gibson’s humiliation, fell flat: the man she had made a fortune and cultivated a cult following from maligning (but never naming) refused to speak to one of the journalists who exposed Gibson as the fraud she was.

The reason I start with this ostensibly inane anecdote is because last year — when domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty was announced as the Australian of the Year — it was reported to me that the mother of all tantrums was thrown by the individual I have just told you about within her closed circle of confidantes. She should have been Australian of the Year. Her work on domestic violence was “better” than Batty’s. Her story was “more compelling” (seriously) than Batty’s. And it seemed, standing on the outside and observing from well beyond arms’ length, that she realised her opportunity to be a national “hero” had been usurped by Batty’s appointment: for the past few years, the Australian of the Year award has been a march through the ranks of minorities, the oppressed, the marginalised, the hard done by. But the odds of a second domestic violence identity receiving the award in rapid succession to Batty would seem remote. All that hard work at profile building and greasing up to influence shapers, on the part of the individual in question, had been for nothing.

Seriously, folks, if you’re determined to be “a star” and prepared to be a victim, a convincing story and a fair amount of worn shoe leather is all it takes to get this close to being declared a national celebrity on Australia Day.

And it seems that comparably bitchy recriminations have erupted this year, with transgender military identity Cate McGregor apparently similarly miffed at not being named Australian of the Year herself; the Fairfax press is carrying a story that notes that despite subsequently apologising (who could fail to be convinced of the sincerity of that?), McGregor lashed out at the appointment of her former boss and former Head of Army David Morrison as a “weak and conventional choice” and — in an interview with (apparently prominent) gay and lesbian magazine Star Observer — declared that the National Australia Day Council Board “did not have the courage to go with an LGBTI person.”

In other words, with her.

“I think I’ll die without seeing a trans Australian of the Year and I think that’s terribly sad,” Fairfax quoted her as saying. You can read the rest of the article here.

I’m sorry, but having a sex change does not entitle you to be named Australian of the Year. I don’t care who you think you are. But lest anyone think this is just another isolated anecdote, we’ll go further.

In 2014, Adam Goodes couldn’t understand why his “stand” against a 13-year-old girl at a football match elicited universal condemnation from much of the football public, and the wider Australian community; last year, the Chardonnay drunks and finger shakers tried to move heaven and Earth to have Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs lined up for the 2016 award, blissfully oblivious to the servile partisan bias of this known hardcore socialist in writing a report that highlighted the child detention debacle that occurred under the Gillard government, but sought to apportion full blame for it to the ongoing Coalition administration that had overseen the release of 90% of the kids by the time it was released.

And this year, of course, we’ve been lumbered with Morrison for twelve months, gifted — as the award seems to confer — a full year in the public spotlight on a free soapbox of media exposure to advance whatever social causes he cares to champion, despite not being elected to any political office and without any tangible base of support (or goodwill) among the wider populace. The Australian Republican Movement probably couldn’t believe its luck when Morrison’s first act was to call for the monarchy to be abolished.

Everywhere you look these days lies some left-wing idiot — revered by the chatterati and elevated to celebrity by a fawning media pack — just waiting to shake their fingers and “set” the national agenda; for the most part these people have no public accountability, are unelected, and are free of any restraints of accountability, circumspection, or context.

Unfortunately, a parallel class has also emerged, comprising glory seekers, professional victims, or those who simply feel entitled to the acclaim they believe the world “owes” them: Gibson was one such creature; the regrettable individual I alluded to earlier is another; and the slew of unmasked “wellness” gurus in Gibson’s wake illustrated that they were and are far from isolated cases.

Some years ago, I knew of a gentleman who attempted to engineer appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia for himself to bolster his case for Liberal Party preselection, and someone whom he thought supportive of the scheme tipped off the Office of the Governor-General (which administers the awards) to the plot. Needless to say, there was no award. But where there is one, there are usually others just slithering around in the woodwork undiscovered.

In past times, the Australian of the Year — even if you disagreed the choice — was someone who had genuinely achieved something in the previous year.

There were entertainers, like John Farnham and Dame Joan Sutherland; sportspeople like Lionel Rose and Robert de Castella; eminent scientists and physicians like Ian Frazer and Macfarlane Burnet, the latter also a Nobel prize winner for Medicine; entrepreneurs, artists, Aboriginal leaders and judges — and many others — cumulatively constituted a representative, if evolving, cross-section of the very best in Australian achievement, endeavour and excellence.

Now it seems the award has been hijacked by the finger shakers and the Chardonnay swillers and those determined to talk Australia into the ground — with an insidious code of purportedly superior socialist doctrines to roll out over the top of it at the ready.

Now, it seems, becoming Australian of the Year isn’t just recognition for something you’ve done, but a licence to be “an ambassador” — and to advance whatever socially trendy views you please, knowing every word you utter will be dutifully be reported and broadcasted across the length and breadth of the country until the rest of us are fed to the teeth hearing about it.

The award is only open, mind you, to fully owned subsidiaries of the socio-political Left: nobody connected with common-sense conservatism is suitable. Heaven forbid that a sporting identity should get the nod. Or an entertainer? These days, the chattering elites would frown upon anything less than some scion of the fine arts that wouldn’t exist without ridiculous taxpayer subsidies to prop them up.

As for the frauds, award chasers, glory seekers, professional victims and everyone else drawn to this arbitrary bauble like flies to a turd, they can be dismissed with the contempt they deserve (and Cate McGregor, that includes you).

To be sure, I’m vehement in my condemnation of domestic violence; I have no particular problem with LGBTI people per se (unless individual ones are just not nice people); I don’t condone racism; and I have the utmost respect for Australia’s armed services.

But with the exception of Batty, there is no compelling argument to justify any of Goodes, Morrison, McGregor or Triggs even warranting consideration as Australian of the Year, let alone being given the award.

The point is that by virtue of the flawed selection process (which Miranda spelt out in her article) the Australian of the Year award is yet another fine Australian tradition that has been hijacked by the Bollinger set and open only to the kind of people who say what the Bollinger set thinks they should say.

I don’t know about the rest of my readers, but I’m just about fed up with being told what to say, or do, or think — and I don’t need cookie-cutter mouthpieces being designated as the best example of Australian citizenry to add some perverse aura of authority to the bullshit they peddle.

There’s another issue here, too: at what point is the silent majority — pushed aside for the preferential treatment of minorities under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, and (if anything) even less central to the national agenda now — going to simply snap, and make it brutally clear they have had enough? It mightn’t be a pretty sight.

Balance in all things. But ordinary white, Anglo-Saxon people are the most discriminated against group in Australian society. By governments, so-called “thought” leaders, and through insidious mechanisms like the Australian of the Year award, those who don’t fit one minority or another are being sent the clearest signals imaginable that their values and aspirations actually count for nothing.

This isn’t a problem that can be resolved at a stroke.

But in the context of the discussion at hand, I think the Australian of the Year award has become a bastardised and jaundiced concept that invites ridicule, not respect; it attracts pretenders who seek to game the process — just like the Order of Australia awards do — and to now be told that a mediocrity from the defence forces whose instinct is to advocate for a republic rather than for the betterment of the lives of returned service personnel and their families, or who thinks parroting about gender equity from a socialist song sheet will somehow impress rather than insult the millions of decent people in this country who aren’t sexist or racist bigots, is officially the best citizen of Australia this year is just one fait accompli too many from the sneering, snickering Left.

The rest of the country’s social ills might be an impossible conundrum, but this one isn’t.

Just abolish the Australian of the Year award. Shut it down. It no longer serves its intended purpose. The only people who will miss it are those who have manoeuvred themselves into a position from which dictating its appointees — and their agenda — has become virtually unassailable.

Frankly, we’d be better off with no award than having the likes of Morrison, McGregor, Triggs, Goodes et al running around the place lecturing to us.

And really, given the degenerate state and the farce it has been reduced to, would anyone really miss this award when it is gone? I think not.

 

Advance Australia Scare: Socialist Fairfax Rant Misses Mark

WHEN THE LEFT wants to trash Australia Day, it usually involves attempts to rebrand the commemoration of British settlement as “Invasion Day,” or to run off on an anti-British, anti-monarchistic, anti-imperialistic tangent that is as outdated as it is offensive. It does however seem that Australia Day isn’t so sacrosanct to the snivellers of the Left as to prevent them from belting their own can, and today the Fairfax press has certainly done that.

The notion that Australia’s Left would treat Australia Day with so much as a shred of the decency or respect it deserves is fatuous; very few thinking people expect any more from those energised spear-throwers of socialism in our midst than cheap cracks about a British invasion of a sovereign nation and a people dispossessed of it, or to use the occasion to rattle on about republican aspirations that are heavy on the language of emotional blackmail but entirely devoid of one syllable outlining how the lives of Australians might be improved were those aspirations ever realised.

This year I have even noticed an increasing number of those from Australia’s migrant community trumpeting the socialist claptrap about “Invasion Day,” apparently oblivious to the ironic contradictions that lie within their own utterances.

It is fair to say that Australia Day — from a cultural and intellectual perspective — is an annual event the Left seeks to trash with relentless abandon; even so, it seems, this is no bar to attempting to hitch its odious political agenda to the bandwagon of the very national celebration it otherwise seeks to destroy.

I have been reading such an attempt this afternoon, published in the august pages of the Fairfax press today across the country; what is presented, upfront, as a discussion of the concept of Australia as “a fairly classless society” is immediately revealed to be no more than a socialist rant about “the growing gap between rich and poor” and “the rising tide of inequality.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the points made in this insidious excuse for a responsible perspective on Australia Day read, almost to the letter, like a running sheet that might do the rounds of MPs from the Communist Party Greens or the ALP.

I have never had a great deal of time for the facile bleatings of those who rail against “the gap between the rich and poor;” this kind of case is built on the prejudices and resentments of self-appointed “champions” of the have-nots — not even, in most cases, the have-nots themselves — and ignores, as one reader noted in a comment late last week, the fact that absolute outcomes are the more meaningful yardstick by which to make such comparisons and quantifications of relative wealth.

The Fairfax columnist seeks to split hairs over a 60% increase in the incomes of the wealthiest 10% of the population since 2010, whilst conceding a 40% rise in the incomes of “lower paid workers.” I’m not going to go through the Fairfax article line by line (as satisfying as such an exercise would be): the crux of the argument, and the facts of it, are contained right there.

The lot of the low paid increased 40% in four years: isn’t this exactly the kind of thing the bullies of the Left insist is their objective? Only if the top 10% is pulled down at the same time, it seems.

The problem with socialism — as Margaret used to say, and as we seem to be restating in this column on an increasingly regular basis — is that sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money to spend.

For there to be wealth to be distributed, there must be wealth created; and for those in need of the fruits of that wealth to be distributed to them, there must be those who are wealthier than them.

This is not — as the Fairfax article would have its readers believe — a reality confined to “capitalistic Americans or stuffy Brits,” or even to capitalist, market-based economies at all: in fact, it is a reality whose “excesses” are arguably far more pronounced in socialist societies, and the more socialist a society is in nature, the more pronounced the “gap.”

In Soviet Russia, perpetual ownership in virtually everything — real and actual property — resided in the state; at the apex of the USSR sat a privileged and indulged governing class who enjoyed the kind of luxuriously opulent lifestyles undreamed of in the “working” classes, as wealth was locked away by the Soviet government for the benefit of the relative few, whilst the masses were provided squalid accommodation and a level of essential service delivery that would be regarded as third-world by Australian standards.

A similar reality existed in China, and to some extent still does; the market reforms engineered under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s and 1980s were not predicated on increasing the living standards and/or wealth of his people (although that has been an incidental and ongoing consequence) but rather were based on the hard political recognition that the burgeoning population would render China’s Communist system unsustainable unless the masses, to put it crudely, were thrown a few scraps off the table in return.

In other words, to keep the ruling junta — and its privileged existence — intact.

And even in North Korea — the last rigidly Stalinist society on Earth, and one of the most repressed by the cruel tyranny of Communism — those who rule enjoy distinctly first-world levels of luxury and comfort, to say nothing of being the only people in the country to even enjoy continuous supplies of running water and electricity, let alone a plentiful and reliable supply of food.

And all of this points to the first of two fatal errors in the entire dogma the Left would aspire to inflict in the name of “redressing” inequality and the “wealth gap:” to do so redresses nothing; it merely shifts the balance, transferring ownership, property rights and wealth to a privileged junta who sit in dictatorship over the population at large.

The second of these flaws lies in the consequences of attempts to “redress” the balance: crack down on “the rich” too much, and they stop generating wealth at all.

This is human nature, a condition socialist theories of society or politics singularly fail to grasp; the higher the slice of a profit, or a commercial return, or indeed the prosperity derived from any enterprise that is extracted by the state in the form of taxes (or whatever stipend you call it), the less incentive there is to engage in such activities, and eventually the “enterprise class” (as I will call it for the sake of expediency) ceases to undertake wealth-generating activities at all.

There are ample illustrations of this phenomenon — which also works in the obverse — both in Australia and elsewhere.

In the United Kingdom, the Conservative government of David Cameron abolished the top rate of income tax, cutting it from 50% (as introduced by Labour) to 45%, and ultimately to 40%. Remember that the UK’s VAT — a GST equivalent — is levied at 20%, double the rate of our own GST, which means that under Labour, Britons in the top income bracket faced notional marginal rates of some 70% on their income and expenditure.

As a result of cutting the top rate, the UK experienced a surge in taxation receipts, which also coincided with a surge in economic activity and GDP growth.

The Fairfax article points to the Abbott government’s abolition of government-funded concessional super contributions for some workers that were meant to be paid for by the Gillard government’s mining tax. Not only did the tax raise no money to fund those contributions, but it punched a colossal hole in foreign investment in Australia’s minerals and energy sector, which in turn did nothing to help Australia’s already-fragile domestic economy.

Just as it is true — and oft-stated — that no society ever taxed itself to prosperity, it is also true that no society has ever successfully taxed itself to equality. This is the basic and brutal truth that irrefutably renders these kinds of arguments fallacious.

As I said earlier, I’m not going to go through the Fairfax article on a line by line basis, although several idiocies in its claims do stand out.

Have “most developed countries become more unequal in recent decades as they freed up labour markets and opened themselves to increasing competition?” No. To the extent adverse consequences of “free” trade and competition have occurred, they are almost exclusively the consequence of market-distorting forces such as industry subsidies, collective bargaining agreements on wages, and other interventionist behaviour either by governments and/or those pillars of their economies that are favoured by such activities. The collapse of Australia’s car making industry, and the existential problems faced by companies such as Qantas and SPC, all in the face of unsustainably high real labour costs inflicted by extortionate enterprise bargaining agreements, are excellent examples of the end destination of this destructive bus.

Fairfax holds the President of the United States — the socialist Barack Obama — up as some kind of oracle, referencing his Rudd-esque remarks that the “income gap” is the ”defining issue of our time;” far from leading the US to nirvana, Obama’s administration has crippled it with the greatest expansion of government regulation in America’s postwar history, and sought to strangle it with the most doctrinaire attempt to redistribute wealth in the United States since it was founded.

Far from “a rising tide lifts all boats,” as Fairfax quaintly postulates, Obama’s regime has seen to it that the boat can barely rise at all.

And its contention that the Abbott government exists only for the benefit of “the wealthy” (which, remember, is a household earning more than $150,000 per annum — the ALP said it was thus) fails to stack up.

The arguments of the Left don’t withstand scrutiny at the best of times, despite the best efforts to the contrary of its cheer squads at Fairfax and the ABC, and this article is right down with the worst of such endeavours: misleading, misguided, and bordering on intellectually fraudulent.

But it has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of Australia as a “fairly classless society,” and nor does it argue with any rigour or substance the solutions to those gold-standard articles of faith the Left would be lost for a cause without: “the growing gap between rich and poor” and “the rising tide of inequality.”

In fact, the Fairfax article has nothing to do with Australia Day at all, and my rather blunt response to that is if it is unwilling to celebrate Australia Day — and everything that goes with living in what is inarguably the best country on the face of God’s green Earth — then it can, quite frankly, peddle this kind of shit somewhere else.

 

Was Australia “Est. 1788”? Er, Yes…Like It Or Not

REVISIONISTS OF HISTORY are out in force today, and outraged over a range of T-shirts designed by discount supermarket chain Aldi to celebrate Australia Day; apparently it is offensive to some to observe that Australia was “established” in 1788, and whilst some may not welcome the anniversary of British settlement in this country, that fact it occurred cannot — and should not — be erased from existence.

I’m heartily sick of the minorities lobby and its list of demands that gets trucked out at this time of year, every year, without fail: Australia Day should be permanently removed from the national psyche, as the story goes, or at the minimum recalibrated to render it a national day of shame that destroys a key event in Australian history in any meaningful context.

Elements of the same lobby have long sought to deploy similar tactics in relation to Anzac Day, among other things, in their disgusting attack on Australia’s history and national heritage.

This story was broken earlier today — appropriately enough — by Fairfax Media’s The Canberra Times, which observes that Aldi has bowed to pressure from noisy recalcitrants that the shirts are “racist,” “culturally insensitive,” “historically wrong,” and “sickening.”

Take a load off, people.

I will comment e’er briefly on the assertion that Australia “est. 1788” is historically incorrect; technically, that’s true, with Federation and the formalising of Australia as an entity occurring on 1 January 1901.

Even so, this is a shirt, not a history book, that we’re talking about; and even then, I have no problem with the idea that Australia as we understand it was “established” in 1788 — the years between that time and Federation were marked by development of the colonies that ultimately came together to form a country, and some of the richest episodes in Australia’s history took place during those formative years.

Do the revisionists of history, and the noisy minorities lobby, seek to airbrush those out of existence as well?

I think Aldi — as a large foreign company that operates in Australia on an ever-greater scale, providing jobs and injecting activity into local economies — is to be applauded, not condemned, for making an attempt to get into the spirit of national pride that Australia Day should represent to all Australians.

Even its price point ($5 per shirt) merits comment: there is little doubt that Aldi will profit handsomely from their sale, but it has resisted the urge to gouge what many others would attempt to peddle at usurious markup, perhaps setting a retail price at five or six times the level Aldi has done. In short, Aldi has put products into the market that are accessible to all.

I don’t think any reasonable person denies that Aboriginal people were resident in Australia prior to 1788, nor that their settlements were disrupted and that some of their people were killed. Even so, these considerations in no way justify attempts to wipe the events of 26 January 1788 from existence.

Some of the shirts in the Aldi range will continue to be sold, and that’s a very good thing; there are too many knockers in this country who refuse to take pride in it, and anything that encourages and fosters patriotic sentiment and a sense of ownership among Australians is to be applauded, not sabotaged.

It is not insensitive to point out that all countries, at various stages of their development — even the “imperial colonial power,” Britain, that revisionists rail against — experience episodes and events in their history that are far from ideal, embarrassing viewed in hindsight, and regrettable.

But it is a bridge too far (to borrow a phrase from a certain ex-PM) to advocate the crucifixion of national celebrations in response.

Clearly, Australians in 2013 were not responsible for the actions of white settlers in 1788.

And clearly, today’s Australia has taken and will continue to take meaningful steps to seek to reconcile its present with its past.

I think the brouhaha that has exploded over Aldi’s shirts is out of line, a colossal overreach, and ridiculous to the point it borders on caricaturing the very objectives the historical revisionists seek to advance.

Take a load off, people. This is the best country in the world — warts and all.

If you don’t feel that way, get the hell out of here.

 

Australia Day Rant: Aptly-Named Gibbons Strikes Again On “Invasion Day”

With a federal election looming — and a change of government likely — it is obvious that many members of the present Parliament will leave Canberra forever; today we look at a retiring, time-serving MP whose “services” are unlikely to be missed.

I’m not going to, er, labour the point — pardon the pun — but it’s obvious the member for Bendigo seeks attention, and today I am prepared to give him some.

Steve Gibbons is the sort of career backbencher that all political parties have; the winner of a marginal seat that traditionally changes hands regularly, and whose length of tenure defies to an extent the ebbs and flows of voting intentions on a national basis.

Gibbons was elected in 1998 at an election narrowly won by John Howard, and at which anger in regional Victoria toward the Kennett government compounded the impact of a national scare campaign waged by federal Labor over the purported impact of a GST if Howard was returned to office.

In the time since, Gibbons is one of a number of Labor MPs who has benefited from the fact Victoria has consistently been the ALP’s strongest mainland state ever since; at the 2004 election — at which the Howard government was thumpingly re-elected — it was the only mainland state in which Labor won a majority of seats (Labor also won three of the five seats in Tasmania at that election, but that was after losing two others, Bass and Braddon, to the Liberals).

In 2007 and again in 2010, his seat of Bendigo became safer for Labor as he benefited firstly from a change-of-government swing to the ALP, and later as Victoria recorded a near-record two-party vote for the ALP in the mad and misguided clamour to vote Labor in support of alleged “local girl” Julia Gillard (who is from Wales, via Adelaide, but never mind the truth getting in the way of spin winning out over the facts).

And a quick glance at the “achievements” page on Gibbons’ own website — a very short list indeed for someone who has spent 15 years in Parliament — suggests that beyond his electorate being a beneficiary of the type of pork-barrelling thrown at marginal seats by all sides, there is very little to it: certainly, virtually everything on his list of “achievements” is attributable to measures implemented on a wider basis than simply within the electorate of Bendigo.

As it reads, it would appear nothing has been added to the list in quite some time, either.

Conspicuous in its absence is any mention of ministerial office either in opposition or government, or even a stint as a parliamentary secretary; there are committee memberships, of course, but virtually everyone in Parliament gets those at some stage, and certainly during a tenure spanning five terms.

The point is that much of Gibbons’ margin of 9.5% over his Liberal opponent in 2010 is an obvious result of the higher Labor tide in Victoria relative to other states.

I wanted to run through these points in order to give readers a fair perspective on the member for Bendigo in light of his activities on Twitter and, specifically, some of the more inflammatory items he feels this stellar parliamentary career qualifies him to proffer.

Readers will recall that we first encountered the aptly named Gibbons before Christmas as part of a look at sleaze and smear as presented by the ALP; at the time he had seen fit to describe opposition leader Tony Abbott on Twitter as a “gutless douchebag” and his deputy, Julie Bishop, as a “narcissistic bimbo.”

Of course, the tweet was viewable just long enough for everyone to see it before it was removed and apologised for; in my book, it might as well have been left there permanently, for the damage had been well and truly done by the time Gibbons deleted it.

He has been at it again this weekend, describing Australia Day as “Invasion Day” and suggesting that those of us who celebrate the day do so “by throwing bits of dead animals on a cooking fire just like the people we dispossessed.”

I am well aware of the revisionist view of history the ALP and figures on the broader Left seek to perpetuate in relation to Australia Day but the simple fact is that these views — not exclusively held by Gibbons, to be sure — are tasteless and offensive in the extreme to millions of Australians who love this country and are proud of its heritage.

Even so, the comment is indicative of a distinct lack of respect for Australia Day, and shows a lack of sensitivity to Aborigines even as it seems to be attempting to make a point on their behalf.

“I hope everyone had a meaningful ‘Invasion Day’!” he wrote.

As the predictable backlash began, Gibbons followed this up with an insiderish jab from the Labor operative’s copybook. “It seems I’ve upset a few Lib Rednecks (sic). I’m shattered!”

It continued, with a sarcastic comment designed to add nothing meaningful. With no irony whatsoever, he tweeted “I promise to be much more aggressive towards the Tories on Twitter this year! – No more Mr Nice Guy.”

I’d ask what was nice about him in the first place.

Even Labor types weren’t immune from his ramblings; “Steve, you may be retiring, but we want to retain Bendigo. This stuff is unhelpful” one clearly concerned Labor local tweeted. “I doubt you would have any idea about being helpful,” Gibbons shot back acidly.

I think Liberal MP and shadow minister for citizenship, Scott Morrison, got it about right in describing Gibbons’ tweets as “childish.”

“They are the rantings of someone who is increasingly losing touch,” he said.

Losing? Losing?

Here at The Red And The Blue, we have talked about candidate selection from time to time, and it’s clear that most readers agree that candidate selection by the major parties in winnable electorates is one of the problems with politics in this country.

I have opined many times that union thugs and party hacks working in Labor MPs’ offices are groupings that are not conducive to providing adequate or effective representation to communities at large on account of their narrow and insular focuses on an increasingly irrelevant union movement and the conduct of political activities in a fashion reminiscent of student politics as practised on university campuses across Australia.

So it comes as little surprise that Gibbons’ pre-parliamentary work history consists substantially of employment by a trade union and working for former Labor Premier Joan Kirner in Victoria.

I’m happy to give the member for Bendigo a moment’s attention today, but a moment is all I can spare.

And it is to be hoped that particular attention has been paid by local ALP members in Bendigo to the very, very careful consideration of their replacement candidate; after all, in a marginal seat it’s important to put up decent candidates, and after all, local communities seek to be effectively represented in Parliament, and not made to become a national embarrassment.

A No-Confidence Motion? It Won’t Succeed…This Week…

The open rumour today is that the Opposition will move a motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives next week, potentially terminating the current Labor government. It either won’t happen, or it will fail.

This time.

As the fallout and retribution from Thursday’s disgraceful Australia Day riot continues, consideration is apparently being given, in opposition ranks, to the movement of a no-confidence vote in the government in an attempt to force a fresh election.

It’s true that what occurred on Thursday was completely unacceptable, and it is no exaggeration that the episode at The Lobby restaurant shamed Australia internationally.

As the questions are progressively asked in terms of who knew what and when, it is equally true that despite the sacking of a ministerial advisor that questions in terms of the wider picture of what happened remain unanswered.

Tonight, I don’t want to debate the issue afresh, but rather to look at the option of a no-confidence vote and analyse the likely course of events should one be presented.

Indeed, Andrew Wilkie — the Independent who incurred severely burnt fingers as a result of dealing with Julia Gillard — has indicated he would support such a motion.

Technically, what he has agreed to support is the movement to suspend parliamentary standing orders to allow a no-confidence motion to be debated, but at the end of the day, it’s the same thing.

I don’t believe a no-confidence vote against the Gillard government will succeed — this time — and it’s not a question of the merits of the motion; rather, it’s a question of the numbers.

With ex-Liberal traitor and general shitbag Peter Slipper occupying the Speaker’s chair, there are 149 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives; 75 of them add up to a win on any piece of legislation or on a motion such as this one.

There are 71 Liberal and National MHRs.

Add Andrew Wilkie to that, and presumably WA National Tony Crook — if he values his re-election prospects — and that makes 73.

Add Bob Katter, too; he wanted to put the Liberal Party into government with his vote as a crossbencher after last year’s election.

Nothing has changed in terms of the issues Katter stipulated as the terms for receipt of his vote, so we’ll add him in — and that makes it 74 Coalition-aligned votes.

The 72 ALP MHRs will obviously vote for themselves, as will the Communist Green MP Adam Bandt; so there is 73 guaranteed pro-Labor votes.

Independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are a different story.

Oakeshott’s papers are firmly and clearly marked; having thrown his lot in with Gillard — as the holder of an overwhelmingly conservative electorate, but with very few tangible political smarts — it’s fairly obvious that he would line up on the government side in any no-confidence vote.

Which makes Tony Windsor the key, on the current make-up of the House.

Windsor is very different to Oakeshott, despite holding a similarly conservative electorate, in that he a) has some political nous of his own, and b) has unfettered access to the political brain of his relative Bruce Hawker, the ALP strategist.

His own polling numbers in New England are holding up better than those of Oakeshott in Lyne, to the point that Windsor — whilst still likely to lose his seat on paper — may yet find a way to survive.

Perhaps bringing down the Gillard government in a no-confidence vote might be just the circuit-breaker he needs.

But I still think — not just yet.

For those readers unfamiliar with the whole idea of no-confidence motions in Parliament, the reality is fairly simple: if one is moved and succeeds (meaning the government loses the vote on raw numbers) then by convention, the government must either resign or call an election.

My instincts are that this issue, whilst absolutely deplorable and reprehensible, isn’t the hook Tony Abbott and the opposition need to ensure Windsor’s vote and get the fresh election they seek.

Craig Thomson might be a very different story, in a month or two…

The sheer depravity of the allegations against Thomson are one thing; for him to be charged, as seems increasingly likely, are another.

And if he is, the brief of evidence will be available, and that will form the basis of a no-confidence motion that may very well succeed.

I’d make the point that — paradoxically — it is now in the best interests of the Coalition to defer an election for a while; with half the parliamentary term now gone, a window opens in a bit over twelve months to take half the Senate to an election as well as the House, which would avoid either two elections in two years and/or a separate half-Senate election, the last of which occurred in 1973.

So if there is to be a no-confidence vote next week (and there may), I’d be surprised if it were successful.

But whether there is or not, or whether it is or not, a solidly legitimate pretext for another go is not too far away.

And if this analysis is correct, then Craig Thomson — holder of a classic marginal seat with an alleged penchant for hookers — might find the price of a screw to be very high indeed.

And so might the Prime Minister and her government.

 

 

The Sick Truth About Australia Day, And What It Means

So…48 hours after Australia Day, a few things have become very clear; this despicable episode has ultimately taken a disgraceful turn, and far from being the hero of the day on account of her conduct, Julia Gillard is ultimately responsible for what occurred.

And the Prime Minister is responsible: the staffer who thought it a good idea to tip a union official off, with the suggestion proceedings be given a “little liven up,” was an employee in her own ministerial office and as such, the responsibility of the Minister (in this case, the Prime Minister).

I’ve refrained from posting on this subject for a couple of days; partly to see what the factual fallout would be before commenting, but also because I am so outraged by what the reality of the situation has proven to be that there has been a need to cool off a bit before publishing anything.

I actually defended the Prime Minister on Thursday — I should have known better.

What a sham.

We now know that a junior advisor tipped off a union official, who in turn conveyed to willing protesters a) a doctored version of Tony Abbott’s remarks on the tent embassy which was almost guaranteed to incite a riot, and b) an urging to “give things a little liven up” or, to be frank, a direct incitement to riot, lest the doctored report of Abbott’s comments failed to achieve just that.

Presumably, these messages were delivered if not with the promise of Prime Ministerial imprimatur, then at the very least with identification they came from the PM’s office.

And that amounts to the same thing.

Aboriginal elders who were already distancing themselves from the Canberra riot on Thursday are now very angry, if the tone of comment from the incessant stream of Aboriginal leaders on talkback radio in the past 48 hours is anything to go by.

The message is uniform, and the upshot clear: they don’t want their people tarnished by what occurred on Thursday and they don’t have any truck with it.

The misrepresentation of Abbott’s remarks, incidentally, is now accepted by the leaders of Australia’s Aboriginal community to the point some of its elders have today called for the perpetrators to be handed over to them to be tried under “blackfella” law after their punishments under “whitefella” law have been observed.

(This is where I have to smile: real, true Aborigines have humour in their ways, even when it’s something serious; I don’t think anyone would have expected Thursday’s thugs to have exhibited such grace, what with their rocks and sticks and empty bottles).

Given traditional “blackfella” punishments feature spears through the shoulder and cutting tongues out and the like, I’m fairly sure they were joking, yet deadly serious in getting the expression of their displeasure across.

Anyway — back to what all of this means.

Tony Hodge — the media advisor to Julia Gillard who put the word around about Abbott’s location and the doctored version of his comments — has now resigned or been pushed; good riddance to him.

It seems from news reports that the go-to person was ACT union official Kim Sattler, but in advance of better information or more developments, I’m sceptical.

Why would Hodge need an intermediary, when the end recipients of the “information” would know whence it originated anyway?

And given precisely that consideration, if he had decided to leak the information, why would Hodge risk adding another layer of traceability?

I have no proof of course, but an immediate suspicion is that Sattler may (or may not, we’ll see), involuntarily or otherwise, be filling the role of patsy to cushion the impact of these revelations on the office of Julia Gillard.

Gillard says she has absolutely no knowledge of the fabricated version of Abbott’s remarks that Hodge leaked to someone that resulted in the riot in Canberra two days ago.

Maybe she’s telling the truth — maybe she really didn’t know.

But the problem the dear She has is that her track record in terms of honesty and integrity is not, in the past 18 months, exactly glittering.

In reality, Julia Gillard’s record in these areas more closely resembles a strip of used toilet paper.

And she has a further problem in that this sort of stunt is exactly the type of thing the ALP in the 21st century views as a rolled-gold opportunity to score “hard” political mileage.

Whilst it would be nice to believe she is telling the truth, her denials ring hollow.

And the simple fact is that this imbecile — Hodge — not only endangered the life of his boss, he also endangered the lives of Tony Abbott and the Police officers who got them away from the fracas.

Had someone been murdered on Thursday — purely as a result of a juvenile stunt — the consequences would have been unthinkable.

And let’s not mince words here: lives were endangered on Thursday.

And we are talking about murder. Pure and simple.

The angry crowd — largely disowned after the event by the Aboriginal community proper, and rightly so — wanted blood and acted accordingly.

Some maggot hiding in the PM’s office very nearly got someone, or some people, killed.

And that’s not the sort of thing that marks out a smart political operative; in fact, it simply marks out an absolute and utter fuckwit who ought to be permanently unemployable, on any level, in any vocation, at any time, and in any place.

Julia Gillard’s five-second denial of any knowledge of the background to this incident is, regrettably, simply insufficient.

And as Hodge’s employer, it is — at the very least — incumbent on her to make a full, comprehensive and complete disclosure to the Australian public of every detail of the issue from an employment relations perspective.

Bugger Hodge’s privacy in this matter, and bugger Gillard’s past as a partner at professional ambulance-chasing law firm Slater and Gordon.

I reiterate: her staff member almost got people murdered, and she was the boss.

It would appear that a prima facie case of criminally conspiratorial conduct involving a direct employee of Gillard’s office and a representative of an ALP-affiliated union body, with the objective of inflicting terminal political damage on Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, was perpetrated on Thursday.

Abbott and the Aboriginal community are blameless.

For Gillard, though, the explanation required mandates more than a giggle and a flick of the hair on the Thursday night news.

And again — this was her employee, and this is the governance of Australia we are talking about, not some inconsequentially small enterprise in the boondocks; she is responsible for the actions of her staff and she must make the disclosure.

In closing, and ironically enough, this incident also reflects very poorly on Kevin Rudd.

Hodge was actually hired by Kevin Rudd when he was himself Prime Minister; for much of Rudd’s term as PM, disquiet abounded about his poor selection of advisory staff — their inexperience and immaturity, their insiderish and bovver-boy approach to their jobs, their general unsuitability for the roles he hired them for, and so on.

This in no way exonerates the demand on Gillard to provide a much more detailed account of what went on in her office and how much she knew, but it should also serve as a salutory warning to those ALP MPs flirting with returning Rudd to the Prime Ministership.

Don’t.

Just as Gillard is a completely unsuitable candidate for the Prime Ministership, Rudd is fundamentally unfit for the office, and this episode — germinating from one of the noxious little weeds he bestowed critical roles on that were and are clearly beyond their capacity — should serve as both a warning and an indictment on Rudd, just as they should, frankly, on Gillard.

If Gillard was “Cinderella” on Thursday night, surely she is the ugliest of sisters now.

Something tells me that the ugliest details of this scandalous episode are still to come.