As a CSIRO marine scientist examined a tragic creature, a seven-armed octopus discovered in a load of baloney by an abalone diver just off Dunder Heads, he mused, “Could this be the discovery of a new species, a heptopus, or has this tragic met with foul play?”
Scientist: You appear to be an octopus short of an arm.
Creature: I will admit that I am akin to a sandwich short of a picnic, a can short of a slab and a village short of an idiot when I’m out of town. Yes, I accept that I am an opposition leader short of a policy platform. But, but, but I am not willing to accept that I am an octopus short of an arm.
Scientist: So you are a stupid opposition leader with no policies and you are in a in a state of denial.
Creature: Yes, I’ll go along with that. Just call me Bill.
Scientist: OK Bill, so you agree you are in a state of denial.
Bill: Yes, I will not deny that I am in denial. I deny that I am short of an arm.
Scientist: Stupid with no policies hey? Little wonder the media is having a field day with you.
Bill: Yes, I’m dumber than a bag of hammers and as sharp as a bowling ball. In fact, the press reckon I’m as exciting as drying paint, all froth and no beer, and couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag. And they are right.
Scientist: So, you are a dumb, slow-witted, boring, weak opposition leader with no substance, no self-esteem, let alone policies. You are deeply flawed.
Bill: Yes, I’ll go along with that. But I am not an octopus short of an arm.
Scientist: Why are you so obsessed with this missing arm?
Bill: What missing arm?Listen here! I have always been one to go along with things, to drift with the changing tides popular opinion, to be a consensus cephalopod, to be a majority mollusc. Remember how I got rid of Rudd and Gillard? I went with the flow of Labor’s moods. I’m a numbers octopus. Can you imagine how a numbers octopus would look with only seven arms? I must have eight arms. I cannot afford to look ridiculous.
Scientist: You are incapable of facing up to reality. You are ridiculous.
Bill: And you, a CSIRO scientist are talking to an octopus.Don’t call me ridiculous!
Tony Abbott’s policy a failure as boats keep coming, says Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa
The turn-back of two groups of asylum seekers on Monday has put further strain on the Australia-Indonesia relationship after Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa launched another stinging criticism of the Abbott government’s boats policy.
The Coalition will rely on the clubs and gaming industry to develop support and counselling services for problem gamblers if it wins government. ”This is Dracula in charge of the blood bank,” Tim Costello said.
The Mc prefix has crept into modern vernacular to mean an imitation of the real thing. Australia’s pseudo ever-so-erudite Foreign Minister, Bob Carr alias Bob McCarr-McDonald, imposter as Immigration Minister and you know who, has weighed into the delicate asylum seeker debate with the claim that Australia is being duped by imposters – McRefugees – claiming that recent arrivals were not fleeing persecution at all but, rather, were economic migrants.
Fancy that! Refugees duping Australia. Fancy that! Our Foreign Minister duping Australia with hostility-breeding political opportunism based on McBigotry, which is electorally popular in McOz.
Ironic isn’t it? The ultimate McSymbol, Ronald McDonald more than any other single figure epitomises western culture – a clown with no heart … or brain!
Aptly dressed in his Ronald McDonald suit, Bob McCarr-McDonald appeared on Sydney’s 2GB for some McClarification. ”Just to clarify what I said,” he told Sydney radio, ”I said that, in recent boat arrivals, 100 per cent appeared to be economic refugees.”
2GB’s Chris Smith alluded to one of the problems with Carr’s argument: the fact that none of the 22,600 asylum seekers who have arrived since the government announced its ”no advantage” principle last August have been processed. Would it not be an idea to test his claims by actually processing these people, Smith suggested.
Carr had no answer.
* This piece was partly sourced from a recent column by Michael Gordon, The Age 6 July 2013: No advantage in allowing Carr to fan asylum flames
Predictably, the backlash has been severe from many quarters. Refugee advocate Julian Burnside told Fairfax Media that he thought ”Senator Carr is talking through his hat”. The Age heads this article by Jonathon Swan:
Foreign Minister ‘being a bigot’ over asylum seekers
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been described as behaving like a ”bigot” by a leading human rights lawyer for portraying asylum seekers as economic opportunists.
Refugee advocate Julian Burnside told Fairfax Media on Wednesday that he thought ”Senator Carr is talking through his hat”.
”I think he’s just being a bigot . . . It sounds very much like dog whistle politics in order to make community attitudes harden against people who risk their lives to get here,” he said.
Mr Burnside pointed out that for the past 15 years, 90 per cent of asylum seekers who arrived by boat had turned out to be genuine refugees, and that since August last year no asylum claims had been processed. He said Senator Carr’s claims of a flood of economic migrants, therefore, had no statistical foundation.
”It’s disgraceful that the Minister of the Crown should let fly with ideas like that when he has absolutely no facts at all to support his view,” Mr Burnside said.
In an interview on ABC television on Tuesday night, Senator Carr repeated his argument that an overwhelming number of boat people, mainly from Iran, were faking their claims and coming to Australia to seek economic advantage.
”I think people who burn their passports and repeat what very often is a well-rehearsed story, really ought to be put on the defensive,” Senator Carr said.
”If you’ve got an argument for persecution, there’s no case for burning your passport. There’s no case for being rehearsed in a story of persecution so that everyone on a vessel tells the same story word for word.”
These new boat migrants, overwhelmingly from Iran, were coming to Australia to seek economic advantage, Senator Carr said. It was an ”assault on Australia’s territory”.
But Mr Burnside said he had seen no evidence that this trend was happening.
”Most of the people who come from Iran . . . have been unable to get papers,” he said. ”They’re not allowed to leave Iran and they leave illegally because they are enemies, typically, of the theocracy that runs the place. Those people leave Iran at great risk.”
”They can’t get papers because what happens in repressive states – and maybe Senator Carr hasn’t noticed this – is that the state does not allow its enemy to have papers.”
Mr Burnside said Australians should be reminded of the ”reality . . . that people risk their lives trying to get here”.
When asylum seekers arrive by boat without papers they should be detained as a precaution for health and security checks, Mr Burnside conceded. But if he was in charge of the system he would cap that detention at one month.
After that the government should release the asylum seekers into the community, let them work, and give them access to Centrelink and Medicare benefits.
Then, Mr Burnside argued, until their claims are processed the government should require that the asylum seekers live in specified rural and regional towns, taking their Centrelink money into these towns and be spent on rent, food and clothing.
Their money would be injected into these communities and create jobs, he said.
He is big, he is loud and he has a lot to say, but the substance of what Joe Hockey says has a deafeningly empty resonance. ‘Empty barrels make the most noise’ as the old proverb goes.
At 7.10 on Tuesday evening , knowing that Joe Hockey was going to be interviewed on 7.30, I grabbed a stiff whisky. At 7.20 I decided I needed another one. At 7.30, I felt fortified enough to face 7.30.
And I was not disappointed – well I was disappointed and I expected to be disappointed, so I was not disappointed. It was painful.
I often wish canned laughter could be inserted into these inane interviews where questions are dodged, answers are non-answers, alternative policies are not espoused and twaddle rules with negativity, rhetoric, spin, slogans and gross exaggeration – no substance – just denigration of the other side – rarely backed up rational argument, let alone facts. And that becomes irresponsible, particularly when talking about the economy, which is ultra-sensitive to pessimism.
The question is not whether Joe should become Australia’s next Treasurer, it is whether to laugh, cry or get angry.
If you are brave enough, click here for the ABC 7.30 post (2 July 2013) headed: Joe Hockey says way to help ‘most vulnerable’ is budget surplus
Frustration has got the better of me, so I will take to the 7.30 transcript with RED CAPITALS.
Pass me the Black Douglas will you please?
Deep breath! Here I go …
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Since Kevin Rudd was restored to the Prime Ministership he spent most of the past six days behind closed doors with his colleagues planning how he will run the country and fight the coming election.
The economy will be front and centre of the campaign as both parties wrestle with how to play for multibillion dollar plans, how to restore the budget to surplus and how to dump or rework the carbon tax without plunging the Budget deeper into the red. Today the Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold in response to volatility in the stock market and lower levels of mining investment.
The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, is the man in the hot seat for the Coalition, and he joined me tonight from Canberra.
Mr Hockey, the new Treasurer Chris Bowen, today called out the Opposition for its use of the term ‘fiscal emergency’ to describe Australia’s economic position. And he pointed out that Australia has low interest rates, low inflation and unemployment, solid economic growth and a triple A credit rating. Do you agree that overstating your argument undermines it?
JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Not at all, Leigh. If everything was going so swimmingly why isn’t Labor delivering a much promised surplus? It is because they don’t know how to live within their means. And that means that we are facing greater challenges in a weakened position. A weakened position because Labor is leaving a legacy of deficits, ongoing deficits and over $340 billion of debt. JOE, YOU “SAID NOT AT ALL” THEN EFFECTIVELY AGREED WITH THE PREMISE OF THE QUESTION BY IRRESPONSIBLY UNDERMINING THE ECONOMY AGAIN. BESIDES, LEADING ECONOMISTS AGREE THAT A BUDGET SURPLUS IS NOT THE BE ALL AND END ALL.
LEIGH SALES: Prime Minister Rudd has invited the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to debate him at the National Press Club on debt and deficit. Why are you scared to do that?
JOE HOCKEY: We’re not scared.
LEIGH SALES: Why don’t you do it?
JOE HOCKEY: This is the same old Kevin. This is the same old Kevin Rudd. A leopard doesn’t change his spots, he won’t tell us what the debt is, he won’t tell us what the deficit is. BUT …
LEIGH SALES: You’ve seen the Budget papers.
JOE HOCKEY: And last Thursday in Parliament, Leigh, Kevin Rudd wouldn’t stand by the Budget. BUT HANG ON …
LEIGH SALES: Well today Chris Bowen, the new Treasurer, has said, “I stand by the Budget predictions that were put out in May, that is the Government’s Budget and all the forecasts in there are the forecasts that we stand by.” ISN’T THAT ENOUGH PROOF FOR YOU, JOE?
JOE HOCKEY: That’s right, it’s taken seven days for them to stand by the Budget. SO WHAT IF IT TOOK SEVEN DAYS? QUICK GET-OUT-OF- GAOL THERE, JOE! But even so Kevin Rudd has not done it himself. BUT YOU SAID “THEM” WHICH WOULD, BY DEFINITION, INCLUDE RUDD. Yet he wants to have a debate about deficit and debt. Well bring it on. He is the master of deficit and debt. CHEAP SHOT. SOUNDS LIKE JOE IS SCARED OF A DEBATE ON DEFICIT AND DEBT – KEVIN MIGHT TAKE THE WIND OUT OF THE OPPOSITION’S BUDGET DEFICIT SCARE CAMPAIGN.
LEIGH SALES: But he has brought it on, so why don’t you go and meet him? If you’re on such strong ground as you say, you must be loving the opportunity to debate him.
JOE HOCKEY: We look forward to it.
LEIGH SALES: In the National Press Club you accept that invitation?
JOE HOCKEY: I’m happy to debate anyone, any time.
LEIGH SALES: Is Tony Abbott happy to lead this debate? So yes that debate’s going to happen?
JOE HOCKEY: Yeah it will happen, HOWEVER, TODAY IT WAS REPORTED THAT TONY ABBOTT HAS REJECTED CALLS FROM LABOR TO HOLD A DEBATE NEXT WEEK AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, CLAIMING KEVIN RUDD WAS INDULGING IN A STUNT BECAUSE HE HAD NO POLICY PLATFORM. BLACK KETTLES ABOUND! but they’ve got to call the election. They’ve got to call the election. COP OUT! HOWEVER, KEVIN RUDD IN HIS INTERVIEW WITH AFR WEEKEND SAID THAT HE WAS NOT AVERSE TO DEBATING HIM [ABBOTT] MORE THAN ONCE WHEN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN PROPER BEGAN. Labor is creating uncertainty by not giving Australia an election date. We had one a week ago, apparently now we do not have an election date and as the head of the Business Council, Tony Shepherd said today, this uncertainty is destabilising business. It’s undermining business and consumer confidence and I say to Kevin Rudd “if you care for Australia more than you care for yourself call an election now.” AND JUST WHO IS UNDERMINING BUSINESS WITH THE RECKLESS GROSS EXAGGERATION OF ‘FISCAL EMERGENCY”?
Then Leigh Sales went on to “explore some of your policies.”
And the excruciation continued, per se the 7.30 post heading, Joe Hockey says way to help ‘most vulnerable’ is budget surplus, which highlights Joe’s furphy that, “You can only do it by having a surplus and having excess capacity to help those most vulnerable in the community.”
Furphy! That superbly appropriate term was used by Alan Austin in an Independent Australia article back in May, in which Austin lamented that, “it is hoped he who would be Treasurer would display some grasp of economics”.
Click here for Alan Austin’s piece titled: Sloppy Joe Hockey’s 15 biggest Press Club furphies
It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.
A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.
As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh
An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:
How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.
It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.
What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.
She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.
In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.
Full columnby Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.
Mr Murdoch, no fool whatever his other failings, realised very early on that – just like a large shareholding in a company leads to control of the company – 70% media saturation can be turned into 100% control of political discourse.
… so writes David Horton in Independent Australia (22 May 2013) :