Before you ignore this letter like all the other outraged mail you must be getting in response to your book, The Conservative Revolution, you should know that this is not a letter of grievance. It is one of congratulations. I want to congratulate you for your honesty and your commitment to your ideals, which you are obviously unwilling to hide whether you’re causing yourself and your government political pain or not. Well done Cory. Brave man.
I also want to congratulate you for forcing this honesty onto Tony Abbott. Some in the media are already reporting that Abbott is distancing himself from your published work, but when you actually scrutinise what Abbott has said, he’s done nothing of the sort. Today, through a spokesperson mind you, Abbott released this statement:
“Senator Bernardi is a backbencher and his views do not represent the position of the government”.
I’m sure you’re just as interested in this statement by Abbott as I am, so let’s scrutinise it further. The first few words are nothing because we already knew you were a backbencher. You chose to step down as Abbott’s front-bench-attack-dog-in-chief after public outrage concerning your interest in bestiality. Note you made the decision to resign. Abbott didn’t fire you. This is an important distinction. Abbott called you ‘ill-disciplined’ which I can only assume meant you were ill-disciplined in hiding the real values of Abbott and his right-wing crazies. I mean colleagues. Like you.
The next part of Abbott’s very brief statement, which I also note is wholly lacking in condemnation, says that your views do not represent the position of the government. These words were selected very carefully I assume. And I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing I have Cory. I’m sure you are fully aware of the little back-handed way Abbott has quite consciously refused to censure what you said. He’s decided not to make any personal comment about how he feels about the horrid nature of what you call ‘ideals’. He’s commented about the position of the ‘government’, which he, I’m really sorry to say, is currently in control of. These are weasel words that do nothing to personally distance Abbott from anything you have said. This is like me saying ‘Senator Bernardi lives in Adelaide and his views do not represent the position of the state of South Australia’. Abbott’s statement neither approves nor condemns what you have published, and in no way distances him from what I can only conclude from this lack of distancing is a shared opinion on abortion, on family structures and on the relationship between church and state.
So now that I’ve conclusively cleared up the shared values that you have publically outed on behalf of your right wing colleagues, including Tony Abbott, I just want to summarise for you how disgusting you and Tony Abbott and others who share your views are. From one of the many outraged Australians who can’t stand the idea of people like you representing our interests, I want you to know that Abbott might not be distancing himself from you, but your book will ensure the electorate distances itself wholeheartedly from you at the next election.
How dare you say that the children of single mothers are promiscuous and lawbreakers. Apart from the fact that you have no research or data to back up this abhorrent assumption, you also have no right to judge families who for many reasons, often outside of their control, are not viewed as ‘traditional’ by you. How dare you accuse women of using abortion as birth control. The outrage I would like to express about this sentiment is too overwhelmingly expansive for this letter, but let me just try to explain it with one descriptive word that sums up you and your mate Abbott. Hateful. Full of hate.
The thing that upsets me most about you, if it is possible to rank my objections without diminishing how outraged I am about some more than others, is your idealism around bringing the church into your government. If it wasn’t bad enough that you’ve ripped science out of your government, now you are trying to do exactly what progressives like me feared you were going to do, and what we warned people you would do, and what no one wanted to hear when they were busy giving you and Abbott a free pass and what people who voted for you refused to admit after you all promised not to do this. You want to turn the secular nation of Australian into a religious state. You want to impose your biblical wrath on all of us. Through policy. Just like Julia Gillard warned us all you would do, but no on listened because they were too busy accusing her of playing the ‘gender card’. If Gillard was playing the gender card, you, Cory Bernardi, are currently playing the religious-zealot-hateful-judgemental-lunatic card. And Abbott is privately cheering you on.
I don’t want you to feel that this letter has gone from a congratulating tone, to one of negativity. So I will leave you with this message. Thank you again Cory for being brave enough to continue with your un-disciplined campaign to remind us, and to show the entire country exactly what you and Abbott and the rest of your conservative blue-tie wearing dinosaurs really think. We salute you. And we look forward to ripping apart future statements from Tony Abbott’s office full of weasel words that refuse to distance his views from yours.
Happy belated New Year everyone!
While Tony Abbott was in France over the Christmas break, he sent out his pre-recorded Christmas and New Years messages to the plebs back home.
With the help of my family, including @CatRollison, @KayRollison, Rick Fielding and two of my favourite Tweeps, @GalacticWomenAu and @ForthLeft, and with the extraordinary production skills of @WineTosser, we recorded my latest letter to Tony Abbott during the Christmas break:
I’m sure you’re a huge fan of Open Letters, what with your passion for free speech. I am also a fan of free speech within the bounds of reasonable conduct, and so today I’m using my free speech to write you this letter.
I’m also a fan of getting to the point quickly so I’ll put it out there right up front. I think you’re a dickhead. Unlike lots of other people who also think you’re a dickhead, I haven’t come to this conclusion recently, or after the announcement that you’ve been parachuted into perhaps the most oxy-moronic position your buddies in the Abbott government could have handpicked for you. No, I noticed you a long time ago as the boy playing in a man’s world, as you did your best but failed not to blush from the neck up while yelling at climate scientists in a field of scientific endeavour you know nothing about. Although I did note many months ago that your profile on your then-employer’s website, that you are/were apparently undertaking a Graduate Diploma of Energy and the Environment (Climate Science and Global Warming) at Perth’s Murdoch University. What’s that about Tim? Did you complete this qualification, or were you laughed out of the classroom for your ‘opinions’ around weather, and how it’s always been windy so climate change doesn’t exist?
Just to recap, you’re more than welcome to use your free speech to deny climate change, and I also enjoy the right to tell you you’re a dangerous, irresponsible, obstructive fool who is contributing to the demise of the planet I live on. Since you are often used as the mainstream media’s poster-boy under the guise of ‘balance’ on the subject of climate change, since they can’t find a climate scientist to go into bat for the fossil fuel companies that no doubt help fund the IPA, you are the blushing face of denial for many Australians. So we’ll think of you, and we’ll be reminding you of your contribution to the problem, for as long as you continue your charade of self-interested denial for the benefit of your career.
But I guess that’s the part that’s most disappointing Tim. Your denial of climate change is just one small part of your public persona that I find personally offensive. What I also find really offensive about you is the apparent inconsistency of your position, which is really just a consistent suck-up to the Liberal Party, the people you need to give you jobs that you don’t deserve and are completely unqualified for. It doesn’t surprise me that you are an ex-student politician, because you don’t seem to have ever broken out of that immature mindset. So even though you paint yourself as a bastion of the IPAs agenda, encompassing small government and completely unregulated markets, when it comes to your devotion to this agenda, versus your devotion to Tony Abbott’s agenda, your priority in the pecking-order of your dedication is clearly Tony Abbott. Maybe if you were an actual academic, working for a real institute, you would have a more consistent position as the ‘classical liberal public policy analyst’ which you claim to be. Maybe if you weren’t just a Liberal hack, you would understand why it’s very perplexing that you haven’t already mounted a huge defence of the Carbon Price as a market-based mechanism used to reduce carbon emissions. And where is your outrage about Abbott’s Direct Action policy? You’re very quiet on this front Tim. I see that you diligently went along with Abbott in decrying funding to Holden, but what about fuel tax credits to mining companies? Where is your outrage about this intrusion into the free market you supposably cherish? And, of course as we’ve all seen, you’re now working at the Human Rights Commission, with the apparent goal of improving our rights to say and do whatever we like without risk of being sued for discrimination, however if people are saying or doing things you don’t like, you’re all for the police-state’s favourite silencer – the water cannon.
See what I mean about you being a child in a man’s world? It’s just embarrassing Tim. It’s embarrassing for you, for your Liberal mates and totally cringe worthy for all of us who have to hear about it.
A scan of your Twitter feed quickly reveals you to be far more interested in fighting what you very immaturely refer to as ‘Lefties’ (anyone who disagrees with you), than fighting for anyone’s right to free speech, let alone Andrew Bolt’s. And this morning I read that you’ve been bombarding the Department of Climate Change, a government organisation your ex-employer the IPA have lobbied to shut down, with hundreds of freedom-of-information requests, in fact 95% of all the requests they’ve had since April, no doubt with the overall goal of sabotaging their ability to concentrate on their important work of combating climate change, something you don’t believe in anyway. So you want to wreck them like a bully-boy kicking over a sandcastle. Just because you disagree with them. That’s pretty pathetic Tim, don’t you think?
From the behaviour you have exhibited throughout your career so far, I can see you are not just unqualified for the position you’ve been gifted at the Human Rights Commission. You’re also too immature to be representing any such organisation that does important work for the community. Whether you plan to get inside the commission and wreck it internally, or if you’re just interested in the substantial publically funded pay-cheque as a thank-you from your Liberal buddies for your blind support of their election campaign whilst at the IPA, you don’t deserve to be paid by the public to work in this position. Oh, and Tim, since we know you think public servants are a complete waste of space, I just wanted to remind you that you are one now. So I look forward to your gratitude towards the Community and Public Sector Union for your yearly pay-rise and the excellent entitlements that have been fought for and upheld through the unity of workers.
UPDATE: I mistakenly thought this article was from 2013. It is in fact from 2011. Apologies.Follow @Vic_Rollison
I am writing you this open letter as a concerned South Australian. Please don’t shut down your Holden manufacturing business in Australia. I know you are working hard with the big wigs at General Motors in the US, and I know Australia’s most incompetent Prime Minister of all time is making your job really difficult. But I just hope you don’t let Abbott’s stupidity destroy the car manufacturing industry in Australia forever.
I must admit I’m as confused as you are about Abbott’s recent statements regarding government funding to car manufacturers. Before the election it was almost impossible to hold him down to an actual policy, and even when he did provide some detail, the mainstream media didn’t bother to scrutinise any of it. But I did find this reference from August, to something Abbott apparently said:
“If the motor manufacturers want to come to us after the election, obviously they can and we will sit down and we will have an adult discussion with them about trying to ensure that those industries have a strong future, because that’s what all of us want.”
Note the word ‘adult’. I guess that sort of statement put lots of uninformed voters at ease. But what’s not putting anyone at ease now is the realisation that the words Abbott used to describe his potential behavior as Prime Minister appear to be the opposite of how he actually intended to behave. Calm. Mature. Adult. More like rabble. Chaos. Childish. Joke.
In fact, Abbott’s government is turning out not just to be a comedic joke, but is actually becoming depressingly dangerous. And their shenanigans in their negotiations with your business could be their most damaging legacy. I’m guessing you, like me, are beside yourself with rage that Abbott would be so flippant about a decision that is going to destroy the lives of thousands of Australian workers and their families. I know you know all these facts, but I’m reminding you again to show just how serious this situation is. In Adelaide, Holden’s decision to leave Australia could cost 30,000 jobs when you include all the component and parts manufacturers becoming unviable after Holden leaves. Anyone with the ability to count can easily understand the economic equation in favour of providing government funding to Holden to enable you to keep producing cars in Australia. Quite simply it will cost the country far less in monetary and social costs to give Holden government funding to stay, rather than paying possibly generations of jobless members of our community a lifetime of unemployment assistance once their industry disappears.
All us rational thinkers understand why every car producing country in the world provides government assistance to car manufacturers. The benefits of keeping a manufacturing industry alive instead of crushing communities through endemic unemployment are impossible to quantify in monetary terms only. But the problem we’re facing is that the man who is in charge of the decision to provide the government assistance your company needs to justify making cars in Australia, is too incompetent to make the right decision. You see Mike, as I’m sure you’re finding, this is all a big game to Abbott. He thinks he’s playing chess with you, but the problem is, he doesn’t even know how to set up a chessboard. He’s currently bouncing sideways like a broken ping pong ball, reiterating that the government won’t give any more funding to car manufacturers, whilst also contradicting himself by putting off an official announcement until after the Productivity Commission delivers their report, whilst also ignoring your very clear deadline of Christmas this year. And now he’s saying he wants Holden to clarify your position, after his government colleagues have been leaking to the press about your apparent plans to shut down, which no one at Holden can confirm as fact. This is beyond chaos. This is farcical.
We just need you to hold on Mike, and don’t let Abbott put you off Australia. I’m really sorry about his behaviour. I’m sorry this country was fooled by three word slogans. I’m sorry so much of the business community got behind Abbott too. To think, Abbott claims his government is open for business. But apparently, Mike, no one read the fine print on this slogan. You see, Abbott is only open for business if you are open to helping him, personally. He doesn’t care about Holden workers’ jobs. He only cares about him and his mates. Like Gina Rinehart who is set to reap great returns from her investment into Abbott’s campaign, with Abbott currently working to remove the Mining Tax just for her and her fellow fat cats. And in doing this, he’s getting rid of tax revenue which could easily be used to fund the very affordable assistance to car manufacturers to keep you employing Australian workers. I can’t understand why even the most disengaged voters can’t see that this whole situation is blatantly ridiculous.
And that’s the other thing that upsets me about Abbott’s stupidity. Rinehart’s mining industry, which gets various types of government tax-breaks and subsidies, employs only around one seventh of the number of South Australians employed in manufacturing in this state. And Rinehart can’t take her business elsewhere because the dirt she needs is here. If she is forced to pay a super-profits tax on her already outrageous profits, that’s no disincentive for her to run her business here, because she can only make the money here. This is how her father set her up for a million consecutive lifetimes of fortune. But Holden cars can be made anywhere. Anywhere a government values employment and productivity growth. Anywhere a government understands the multiplier effect of investing in an industry to support the economy. This is simple economic theory. Again, I know you know this, but I’m just trying to show you that I feel your pain.
I implore you Mike. Don’t let Australia’s village idiot of a Prime Minister ruin this great country through sheer ideological fundamentalism and intellectual inadequacy. And please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help keep Holden here.
Victoria RollisonFollow @Vic_Rollison
I’m seriously unhappy with you. You might think that you understand why this is the case. You might think that I’m disappointed because the Labor Party is no longer in power, and it would be a lie for me to say this doesn’t contribute to my dissatisfaction. But what’s more important, and what’s driven me to write this letter to you all, is something far larger than the people who get elected. My issue is with you. You personally, and your greed and your selfishness, and your decision to put a fractional increase in your electricity bill ahead of your responsibility to provide a sustainable future for my planet. The planet I live on. The planet I am hoping will provide my children and grandchildren with a place to live. Yes, I’m hoping you haven’t contributed to the death of my offspring. This is how seriously outraged by you I am. This is personal.
So you probably noticed, or more likely didn’t unless Kyle Sandilands/Stefanovic mentioned it, that approximately 60,000 Australians turned out on Sunday to rally for action to combat climate change. You know, climate change, that thing that you deny, discount, laugh at, and generally ignore every time you have the opportunity. And yes, if you’re an Abbott voter, I do believe it’s fair to put you in this bucket. If you even begin to tell me you want action to reduce the catastrophic effects of climate change and that you also voted for the man who vowed to ‘axe the tax’, the very mechanism that was reducing Australian emissions and contributing to a world-wide acceptance of the need to do something about climate change, I will tell you you’re a moron. A dangerous moron. And this leads me to my reason for writing you this letter. I want you to know that I’m not just pissed off with you. I’m furious* (*not a strong enough word). And I’m not pandering to you anymore. This is a call for those who share my anger not to pander to you either.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that climate change rally-ers have been out in the streets before, with similar rallies calling for similar action to do something about climate change. Yes, we’ve been out before. But I think it’s time things changed. I think it’s time to talk about what’s happened in Australia. I think it’s time to call you all out for what you have done. Australia had action and emissions were reducing. But now Abbott is undoing it, because you supported him to do this. Because you elected Abbott, you have brought about an outcome which equates to you personally choosing a few dollars in your pocket over the safety of the planet. You don’t seem to care about your taxpayer dollars being wasted on Abbott’s ludicrous tree-planting exercise, Direct Action. Nor do you care that every credible scientist – and most economists – know that this policy will not work. This waste of money scheme is going to end up costing you far more personally, through your tax dollars, than the Carbon Price would ever have cost you. And no one has yet been able to explain to me in words that make sense how you processed this decision into a rational thought.
I actually think it’s pointless that we, those who want action, rally quietly in huge numbers and then go back to our day jobs on Monday and tell our work colleagues that we were there at the rally and how it’s going to help. We’re talking to work colleagues who, in their majority, have used their democratic vote to empower a man who everyone with half-a-brain knows is a climate change denier, for the personally convenient purpose of maintaining his friendship/donor relationship with the likes of Gina Rinehart.
But that’s the thing about Tony Abbott. You people, the ones who voted for him, invented him. Like a disturbingly incoherent Frankenstein thug, you needed someone to tell you that climate change wasn’t a problem. You needed someone to maintain your comfortable status quo, to tell you that your pastimes of shopping and buying credits on your Candy Crush iPhone game were perfectly justifiable ways to spend your spare time and money. You needed this man to give you a reason to do nothing, and to campaign against action when someone tried to do something about the biggest problem our society has ever, and will ever, encounter, to make you feel like you’re not doing something wrong by doing nothing. But that’s the thing. You’re not just doing nothing. You’ve given Tony Abbott a mandate to undo the only action we had. The action we, the responsible Australians, rallied for. You’re the handbrake, you’re the ‘control z’ that could destroy the lives of my future offspring. You don’t care that people are already dying in countries you’ve heard of but never visited, as long as your electricity bill isn’t more than it was last month, which it probably isn’t because you spent half the month in Bali drinking 50c beers and buying $1 copies of Breaking Bad Season 2 so your plasma TV wasn’t on for 18 hours a day. And this is the point I want to make.
Climate change is not a debate. You have no right to an opinion on climate change. You’re not a climate scientist, I can guarantee it. Climate change is happening. It’s killing people now. Whether you like it or not in your comfortable little greed fest, we’re having more regular and more severe storms, droughts, floods and fires across the planet because of climate change, right now. People like me don’t go to rallies because we have nothing better to do on a weekend. And personally, I’m sick of the attitude that we, as a community of people who want to do something, should pander to people like you who refuse to listen, who refuse to understand what scientists are saying (note I say ‘understand’ and not ‘believe’ because this is not a fairy in the garden that you can choose to believe in or not). This is real. And it’s affecting those who want to do something about it just as much as it’s affecting you. But since you voted for Abbott, the coal companies are back in charge. Now we have a government who doesn’t even bother to attend the Warsaw climate conference, where the world is discussing plans to do something. Now we have an environment minister referencing Wikipedia to justify his denial.
So this is my statement: I’m not pandering to you anymore. I’m not pretending it’s a good use of my time to try to convince you of the completely and utterly proven fact of climate change. Polite diplomacy has not got us anywhere. You need to know loud and clear that you’re the problem. And you need to take responsibility for what you and your selfish lifestyle, and your prioritising of dollars on your electricity bill have done to the continuation of the planet we all live on, the same place where we all hope to see our children live without being destroyed by your selfishness and greed.
Your legacy is a country which convinced other wavering, weak societies that there was no point taking action, because it would just be un-done if they did. You will be remembered, and studied by future generations as the people who had the chance to do something, but were too selfish, mean, greedy and self-centered to sacrifice just a small amount for the benefit of the future. I don’t give a shit if this statement upsets you. You deserve to feel upset. You deserve to feel like total cowards. You needed to think of people in the future, and all you could think of was an insignificant sacrifice on your electricity bill which might affect how much, ever so slightly, you can afford to spend on your lifestyle today. You could have just made the easy and smart decision to cut down on your electricity usage, which was really the point of the Carbon Price in the first place. But this was an inconvenience to you. Your mindset is a complete outrage. You’ve democratically elected the most dangerous person you could possibly have voted for at a tipping point in the future of humanity, and you argue in favor of this disastrous decision with all your energy whenever you can. This is beyond wrong. Your behavior is reprehensible and it’s time we told you so.
Next time you’re in the tea room at work equating climate change to the Y2K bug, I think someone should tell you you’re a blight on our future. Next time you spout your bullshit about the science not being settled on my Twitter stream, or you write loony comments on my blog to justify why you don’t want to do anything about climate change, I’m not going to engage in a debate with you as this just gives you the idea you’ve got some credibility in the argument. You have no credibility. I’m going to tell you you’re selfish and greedy. And I’m going to bring up this conversation with you rather than letting you ignore it. I’m calling on others who are as concerned as I am about the path this country has chosen not to pander to you anymore either. This is not a debate. This is you choosing to play Russian roulette with the lives of my unborn children. It’s not time for me to try to convince you to do the right thing because you’ve already had the chance to do the right thing and you spectacularly didn’t do it. Those who are worried about climate change aren’t going to get anywhere by being nice to you people. It’s time to get angry. It’s time to explain to you the gigantic error you have made. You voted for Tony Abbott. Now you have to live with what that means. It’s time to pop your comfortable little bubble. You’ve done the wrong thing.
Let me start by saying I’m a big fan. You can file this letter under fan-mail if you like, but as you can see, since it’s an Open Letter, it clearly has a much larger purpose than patting you on the back. The reason for my letter is that I wanted to let you know about a huge problem Australians like me are currently having to deal with. This problem is our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and his blatant predilection for making political decisions in the interest of his corporate mates, while stomping on the interests of working Australians.
Today you published a brilliant article about the state of politics in the UK, which started with this cracker of a first paragraph:
“It’s the reason for the collapse of democratic choice. It’s the source of our growing disillusionment with politics. It’s the great unmentionable. Corporate power. The media will scarcely whisper its name. It is howlingly absent from parliamentary debates. Until we name it and confront it, politics is a waste of time.”
Corporate power. I couldn’t agree with you more that corporate power is a scourge on democracy. It’s hard to know where to start to explain just how bad things have got under our very new Abbott government. But the following information might give you a good starting point to understand the outrageous advantage our new Prime Minister is giving corporations. One of Abbott’s first acts in office has been to establish a ‘Commission of Audit’. The ‘Commission of Audit’ is Liberal government speak for ‘making it look like we’ve consulted and analysed better ways to cut government funding for government programs, services and infrastructure, when really our plan is just to slash and burn without any thought for the outcomes on the community’. Or, shorter, the ‘Commission of Audit’ is code for ‘justifying our small government ideals’. If it’s not bad enough that Abbott is pretending to cut government spending through a responsible process when in actual fact the very act of cutting government spending is an irresponsible process, the extra outrage is really too much to bare. Wait for it George, because I can just tell you are going to be as outraged as I am. Who do you think Abbott has chosen to chair the five person panel carrying out this Commission of Audit? Who has he given this crucial job, the outcomes of which will impact harshly on every Australian earning yearly just a small fraction of what the corporate interests earn every day? Yep, you’ve got it. Tony Shepherd. President of the Business Council of Australia. A lobby group for business. Australia’s Liberal Prime Minister has handed over responsibility for deciding how tax-payer funds are distributed, to big business. I can completely understand that you’re pissed off with your UK government for obviously being influenced by big business, so imagine how you would feel if you were me, and your leader was actually handing over power directly to corporate interests. It’s a bloody outrage!
But, I’m sorry to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more outrage to come. I know you know all about how evil Rupert Murdoch is, and like me, you probably wouldn’t trust this man to feed your cat for the weekend, let alone trust him to decide who should be Prime Minister. But have you heard what Abbott is doing for Murdoch, his buddy, who conveniently and corruptly used his media empire to campaign on Abbott’s behalf throughout the election? Did you know that our previous Labor government had already started rolling out a National Broadband Network (NBN), which would finally bring Australia equal to European and American internet infrastructure? This NBN was not only crucial for the economic productivity and competitiveness of Australian businesses, but also of great benefit to households, especially those in rural areas, as it provided new access to education, health and community involvement via home computers. I can hear you thinking – surely Murdoch and his buddy Abbott would have no problem with Australia moving out of the backwater and into the twenty first century via a high speed NBN? Well, yes and no. You see, Murdoch couldn’t allow Labor’s NBN to be rolled out to households as it would give Australians improved access to internet TV via companies like Netflix. And the last thing Murdoch wants is a competitor to his Foxtel Pay-TV network. So Abbott is working to destroy the Labor NBN, and is instead building a not-super-fast broadband network only available to companies, and not available to households at all (unless you can afford a huge cost to connect. A new type of haves and have-nots). All this for his buddy Murdoch. For Murdoch’s corporate interests.
As you are learning George, Abbott is very selective about which corporate interests he is interested in helping. For example, you would think he would be all for innovation and scientific advancement to grow the capability of Australian companies, to grow their capacity to contribute to the economy, which is his number one concern. But Abbott isn’t if for innovation if this innovation happens to be in the field of renewable energy. Because this entire field of endeavor is very inconvenient to Abbott’s buddies in the coal industry, who provide much support to Abbott’s election campaign fund. So Abbott cuts funding to renewable energy and has also recently slashed funding to the CSIRO, Australia’s scientific research powerhouse. Of course, Abbott is no friend of science, if by science you are talking about people who believe climate change is caused by anthropogenic activities.
Speaking of climate change, another of Abbott’s best buddies is the ludicrously wealthy mining magnate Gina Rinehart, who makes billions by mining iron ore. Apparently Rinehart is deeply angered by the idea that her company should have to contribute compensation to the community for the pollution she spews into our atmosphere via her profit-making activities. So Abbott is hoping to appease Rinehart’s anger by killing the Carbon Price. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such helpful friends?
And speaking of Rinehart’s profit-making activities, you might also be interested to hear that the Labor government introduced a super-profits tax for mining companies, to try to recoup some of the value from the sale of natural resources to be shared with all Australians, rather than it being spent on Rinehart’s endless court battles with her children over, you guessed it, money. But no, the Mining Tax deletion was also high up on Abbott’s Rinehart inspired agenda. He sure does know how to look after his mates, who are very agreeable to providing campaign funds to support his election campaign.
In conclusion, in defence of the Australian Labor Party, who could definitely do with someone defending them once in a while, I would like you to know that our previous Labor government were trying to fight corporate interests, exactly as you would like a political party to stand up and do. The Rudd and Gillard governments definitely were not a waste of time. They wanted the NBN to be for all Australians, but Abbott has said no. Labor wanted Australia to do our bit to reduce carbon emissions via the Carbon Price, but Abbott has said no. And Labor wanted to redistribute the wealth accumulated by greedy corporate interests through the sale of Australian natural resources, but Abbott has said no. And now Abbott is handing power to the very same people who helped him to produce the political policies to benefit themselves. It’s enough to make me sick George. I just thought you should know what’s going on down here. And the last thing that is going to help is if we give up and let them have what they want (and by the way Russell Brand, not voting is not an option in Australia, thankfully).
Finally George, I’m glad you’ve said you’re not giving up yet. Because neither am I.
I am writing seeking clarification. I can’t help but notice that you seem to be a little confused about your appraisal of the performance of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
I’m wondering if you perhaps want to rethink your description of Abbott, the Prime Minister, in the book you have been trying to flog – Remarkable Times – Australian Politics 2010-13: What really happened. I won’t pretend to have read this book. In fact, I found it near impossible to read even an extract, so predictable and so utterly boring and so obviously not about ‘what really happened’. You see, Laurie, between 2010-13, what really happened bore so little resemblance to what you and your fellow political journalist hacks reported as happening, you are the last person I would go to for insights about Australian politics in Australia across any period, let alone the previous three years.
But, without having read it, I think I’m safe to assume your book has a similar theme to all your political reporting between 2010-13, summed up concisely in this extract. Describing Abbott’s first 11 days as Prime Minister, you say his behaviour over these 11 days is evidence of his new approach to government as being “careful and methodical”, where Abbott would “behave in a way that was ‘clear, consistent and coherent’”.
In contrast, you explain the difference between Abbott’s government and the previous Labor government using these words:
“But as far as the public and the media were concerned, it was 11 days of unaccustomed quiet after the Labor years of crisis, chaos and constant politicking. No-one complained. The nation was over politics and welcomes a respite”.
When you say ‘clear, consistent and coherent’, what I hear, as an informed voter, is a political hack using Peta Credlin’s press release to explain, without scrutiny, what Peta Credlin wants Australians to think an Abbott government is going to be like. When you say ‘crisis, chaos and constant politicking’, what I hear, as an informed voter, is a political hack using Peta Credlin’s press release to describe, without fact, the approach of the Labor government. When you say ‘no-one complained’, you’re not talking for me, you’re saying Peta Credlin was without complaint. When you say ‘the nation was over politics and welcomes a respite’, you are again speaking for Peta Credlin and saying what Peta Credlin hoped the nation felt, when in actual fact the only politics the intelligent part of this nation was ‘over’ was your false brand of horserace, completely lacking in policy detail, substance and fact. And this is what I mean when I say you are predictable, you are unreliable, you are presumptuous in speaking for people you know nothing about, and most importantly, you are wrong.
But here’s where I think you’ve suddenly come unstuck. The real performance of the Abbott government, only weeks into the job, has proven how wrong you have been. Because reality doesn’t lie.
Perhaps you thought all your Christmases had come at once, when you got the Abbott government you had wished for, and campaigned for all those years. But like a child who is promised a brighter future, and instead ends up with a sack of coal, the Abbott government has actually turned out to be just as incompetent, just as immature, just as dangerous and just as down-right unintelligent as people like me warned people like you it was going to be between 2010-13 and before. So you have found out the hard way ‘what really happened’. But your book is out now, and it’s too late to correct your inaccurate record.
Apparently you seem to be coming to terms with this grave error, with the news this week that you’re unhappy with the Abbott government’s secretive modus operandi. Whereas in your book you say, in an appreciative tone:
“Here was a Prime Minister-elect obviously serious about not feeding the hungry media beast”,
and by beast, I assume you mean people like you who love words like ‘chaos’, ‘crisis’, ‘scandal’ and of course ‘JuLiar’. Yet, only a few weeks later, you somewhat ironically backflip on this appreciation, having been quoted as saying:
“You (Abbott) can’t thumb your nose at the voters’ right to know and you can’t arrogantly say ‘we’ll let the voters be misinformed and we won’t help journalists get it right’. That’s just a disgusting attitude.”
I happen to agree with you, Laurie, that keeping voters uninformed is a pretty disgusting and arrogant attitude. And to this, I will say two things – pot kettle black, and, what the fuck did you expect?
You have kept voters uninformed by completely failing to scrutinise what Abbott was going to do as Prime Minister. You perpetuated the utterly ridiculous notion that Abbott could move from nasty, messy, attack-dog to mature, competent Prime Minister. I’m sorry Laurie, but this concept is idiotic. An incompetent, lazy, rude, mean, un-charismatic, unreliable, unintelligent, misogynistic, unscrupulous, inarticulate thug is always going to be all of these things, whether he lives in the Lodge with his apparently attractive daughters or not. He wasn’t just all of these things when he was Opposition Leader because it suited his agenda at the time. It’s not a coat he can just take off. This is it. This is Tony Abbott. With Peta Credlin barking instructions into his earpiece. This is Tony Abbott.
Have you ever considered why Abbott’s office has disappeared into the cone of silence? Have you considered it’s because they’re completely over their heads and don’t actually have any idea what to say about their revolting plans for this country? This is not some grand master plan. This is a grand retreat into nothingness. This is incompetence personified.
You and some of your colleagues don’t like that Abbott’s not telling you stuff. No doubt this has nothing to do with concern for the Australian community and how informed they are, and rather more to do with your difficulty in finding something to talk about, having relied on press releases from Peta Credlin, complete with Abbott’s talking points, and leaks from Rudd for all those years. But guess what Laurie, this is the least of the problems we, the informed public, have with Tony Abbott. I’m less concerned with what he’s not saying, and more concerned, if concerned is a strong enough a word, with what he is doing. Handing responsibility for massively important decisions about government spending to a business lobbyist. Cutting funding to scientific research. Embarrassing Australia on the global stage. Slashing and burning public sector jobs. Ripping up future-proofing infrastructure by destroying the NBN. Raising the debt ceiling to all time highs with no explanation as to why just weeks after claiming a ‘budget emergency’. Cancelling the Carbon Price for an expensive joke of a Direct Action Policy which is beyond humiliating for the country, right at the same time when the public are finally starting to realise that electricity bills are not more important than the safety of the planet. Lying about deals he’s made with Indonesia to turn back boats and pretending the very act of him becoming Prime Minister has stopped the boats. Not to mention the real ‘chaos’ and ‘crisis’ which Abbott refuses to address – his and his minister’s fraudulent use of taxpayer funds for expensive travel and accommodation for their own egos and personal entertainment. And you thought Julia Gillard’s dodgy ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago constituted a ‘scandal’ because some nut-job internet troll said so? You still said she had ‘questions to answer’ even after she answered every snide and absurd question you are your malicious colleagues in the National Press Club could conjure up? Seriously Laurie, you have no right to tell anyone ‘what really happened’. You’ve been negligent to the extreme in informing the public what to expect from an Abbott government. Now you’re worried that Abbott’s secretive non-consultative strategy is keeping voters misinformed? I really hope you don’t live in a glass house with a ready collection of stones.
Moving on to ‘what the fuck did you expect’. You seem quite surprised now that Abbott isn’t turning out the way you anticipated. So I say again, what the fuck did you expect? Did you fall for the ‘they are just the same’ tactic, used to refute people like me who said, for years, that Abbott was going to be a disaster again and again and again no matter whether people wanted to hear it or not? Whenever I think of Abbott, and what a setback he is for Australia, I can’t help but hear the words of Paul Keating from this interview in 2010 where he said:
“If Tony Abbott ends up as Prime Minister of Australia, you’ve got to say, God help us, God help us. A truly intellectual nobody. And no policy ambition. You know, I mean, is that all there is?”
As I knew, and as you are quickly learning, Abbott is all there is. And thanks to the lack of scrutiny of him by people like you before the election, Australia is stuck with him. For one term at least. And now you’re saying you’re not happy with Abbott’s performance? Spare a thought for people like me, who saw it coming and are now justified to say over and over again – ‘I told you so’.
It’s funny how sometimes we get to see the worst of people and the best of people all in the same day. The best of people is not you, in case you are wondering. Tim Flannery and his new Climate Council colleagues are the best of people. They could have sulked when you fired them last week, from the most important jobs in Australia. But they didn’t. They’re too busy working for free, setting up the Climate Council. They have no time for sulking.
I want to make it clear, the founding members of the Climate Council are not working on something they ‘believe in’, like someone who works for a church because they believe in God. They are working on the important cause of educating our community about the devastating effects of climate change, which we are already experiencing, and which are going to get worse as people like you make it your life’s work to reduce action which could save millions of lives. I don’t know how many temperature records you need to see broken to take this situation seriously. Although I suspect we already know all we need to know about your strength of character in this situation. Having titled your university honors thesis ‘A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay’, it does seem a bit odd that you are now Abbott’s chief ‘kill the carbon tax’ environmental vandal. I mean, minister. I guess power is more important to you than doing the right thing for the community. Even if that means completely changing your view of the world on a subject you won an award for researching. Perhaps you don’t think carbon emissions are pollution? If this is the case, I guess the one blessing is that you’re not Abbott’s science minister. Oh, that’s right, your government has no science minister. Funny that.
So since people like Tim Flannery are the best of people, you are quite obviously a perfect example of the very worst of people. In response to the news that Flannery and his colleagues are courageously keeping the catastrophic effects of climate change in the public eye by working pro-bono to set up the community funded Climate Council, you said this news vindicated your decision to scrap the tax payer funded Climate Commission, with this explanation:
“That’s how democracy should work,” … “If people want to invest in those with a particular view, they have a right and a freedom to do that, and our job is to make sure that we deal with the core scientific agencies, that we protect the taxpayers’ funds. The fact that this can be done at the private level shows that taxpayers’ funds were not required from the outset.”
Wow. I was lost for words for a moment. It is 2013 and Australia’s environment minister is calling a group of world-renowned climate scientists ‘those with a particular view’. That’s like saying all those people who think the sky is blue shouldn’t be supported in this particular view as this is a belief, not a fact. Do you want to make your climate change denial any more obvious? What a complete and utter disgrace!
I was similarly lost for words when I read ‘protect the taxpayers’ funds’. How about you worry less about money, just for a moment, and start to worry about the environment where this money is being earned and spent? It’s called earth and it’s where we all live and we all keep our stuff which we buy with money. How will your government coffers look after climate catastrophe strikes? Or are you hoping not to be environment minister by then? How about worrying about the protection of our communities (ie the people in them) rather than the protection of taxpayer funds? Thanks for letting us know where your priorities lie. Very helpful.
So I guess since you think it’s great news that Australians who are scared about climate change are democratically reaching into our pockets to fund the climate council, this should now set new precedents for ‘user pays’. We all know your government loves nothing more than the concept of ‘user pays’. Maybe every road and footpath should have a toll at the end of it, so only those drivers and pedestrians using that particular strip should be the ones who pay for it? How about sewerage – should we drop a dollar in a pot every time we flush? Maybe parents should pay for their children to go to school and if they can’t afford the fees, their child shouldn’t be educated? How about medical bills – only those who can afford to have a heart operation should be in a position to save their own lives? Your version of our society sounds pretty depressing actually.
But what’s extra depressing is that you’re happy for a small number of passionate, community-minded people to fund an organisation which is trying to protect all Australians from the effects of climate change. Why the fuck should only those with a conscience be responsible for the fate of our entire community? I think you’ll find we’re all ‘users’ of this planet and we’re all going to ‘pay’ when it comes to the destruction caused by climate change.
The selfish people like you and Tony Abbott and all those voters who think it’s a great idea to stop action to reduce the effects of climate change, would never put your hand in your pocket to help. Those who are small minded and hell-bent on denial at all costs, who have different ‘beliefs’ from good people like Tim Flannery, are going to be affected by climate change too, just as much as those funding the Climate Council.
But you’re happy to leave this financial burden to good people, while your government wastes millions buying Indonesian fishing boats and paying millionaires $75,000 to have a baby. While your government builds more infrastructure for cars, but cuts funding for scientific research into renewable energies.
That makes you the worst kind of person, Greg Hunt. Petty, short-sighted and frankly just not very bright. How someone like you can be put in charge of Australia’s environmental protection is beyond me. You should try to spend some time with Tim Flannery. You would be a better person ten-fold just by breathing the same air as him.
I am writing with good news. Not good news for you. Let me explain.
You are probably in a pretty good mood right now, understandably. Your puppet is running my country. Not your country. My country. You chose to give away your citizenship of Australia, presumably because you can make more money as an American. So now you are precluded from voting in Australian elections, which is by the by because you are, I’m depressed to say, having the pulling-out-a-plug-in-a-bath sort of influence regardless. Compared to my citizen’s vote being equal to pissing in the ocean.
However, I’ve moved on from the anger I felt about this situation in the lead up to the election, when you used your Australian newspapers to not just campaign for an Abbott government win, but to bully and downright corrupt your way into power. You got what you wanted and now we (Australians, not you) have to live with the consequences. I studied marketing at university (and graduated, did you graduate from Oxford Rupert?), so I understand why you were so anxious, in a business sense, to ensure a whole new market for television viewers didn’t suddenly open up via the internet via a world class National Broadband Network. A business owner should do whatever he or she can to protect their market share, whether selling fruit or Foxtel subscriptions. I can see why it’s in your personal best interests to kill such progressive infrastructure reform in Australia in a dollar and cents way. This, of course, doesn’t make your behaviour in campaigning against the Labor government to rid your company of the NBN any less evil. What you’ve done is akin to a fruit grower sneaking into his neighbour’s yard in the night and burning down his apple orchard, because his own orchards aren’t bearing profitable fruit. So yeah, your ethics leave a lot to be desired. But what would we expect from a person whose newspapers profited from the hacking of a dead child’s phone? Business ethics? What a fucking joke.
I guess with this free run you’ve given your puppet candidate, it’s understandable that the puppet is feeling a tad cocky. This cockiness seems to be of great pleasure to you. Amazingly you even managed this week, amongst your excitement, to deliver a tweet without a spelling or grammatical error. Good work Rupert.
So you’re pleased with the level of obedience you are seeing. You love that Australia has just become the first nation in the world to turn off a climate change alleviation policy, when other countries are fighting similarly evil, rich old men like you to implement their first action against climate change. You’ll be dead before we truly know how fucked we are by your evil acts. I guess the safety of your young children and grandchildren is of no consequence to you. Not when there’s money to be made in your lifetime.
But the thing is Rupert, your joy at your puppet’s quick and decisive action to show us just how conservative, backward, unthinking, anti-intellectual, misogynist, circa 1950 and just plain old fuckwit Australia’s new government is going to be, may have some unintended consequences for you and your puppet and your puppet’s government.
I know you might not have noticed the outrage your puppet has caused in the very first three days of being in power, a power you have longed for and your puppet has longed for your entire lives. I guess it’s understandable that you don’t hear the masses when you only follow 47 people on Twitter and I can see you choose those Tweeps very carefully. A quick scan of the accounts you follow reveal The Australian, Boris Johnson, Pope Francis and the puppet himself. Excuse me if I pass on attending your next Tweet Up. But I’m fairly well connected with Australian Tweeters and this is where I get to the point where you will understand why my letter is a joyous one. You see, Australia’s progressive Twitter population might be a very small population, but we’re representative of a larger whole and we’re wholly outraged by your behaviour in unethically delivering your puppet power. And equally as outraged by the way that this puppet is also using this power. So what? I’m getting there.
Surely you’re smart enough to advise your puppet that it’s not exactly bright to prove how ready-for-power and not-sexist he is by naming himself as the Minister for Women’s Policies and Programs in a cabinet of only one very questionable woman. Leaving aged care, disability and science from Cabinet Ministries. Scrapping the Climate Commission. Meanly removing the popular Steve Bracks from a diplomatic post. Petty sackings of bureaucrats. Promoting a work for the dole policy for indigenous Australians (hello race discrimination) and a reduction in indigenous legal aid. Managing to piss off our largest and most populace neighbour, Indonesia, just to name the highlights.
Going this hard, this early is only going to have one outcome, and this is not a good outcome for you and your puppet. I know all the actions I have listed above would count as achievements to people like you. But not everyone feels this way. In fact, through these actions, your puppet has done something Labor was unable to do over the last six years, and it’s something that is going to hurt your puppet’s government deeply at the next election. I even think it will make my hash-tag prophecy come true. #OneTermTony. It’s pretty simple Rupert. Something has shifted. You and your puppet have unified and mobilised progressives. We got sidetracked over the last six years as our progressive Labor government delivered reform after juicy policy reform. Our eyes came off the ‘fighting Tories’ ball as Labor MPs infighting and Labor vs Greens infighting removed effort from the primary goal of ensuring baddies like you don’t win government. But we’ve learnt our lesson now. In only three days, we’ve collectively learnt our lesson. Thanks to you and your puppet, we’ll never err again. You’ve sparked a revolution and for that, I am very thankful. Not grateful, because you haven’t done it purposely. But thankful. Well done Rupert. Australia will, eventually, thank you. Because after progressives unite to rid this great country of your puppet, we will never forget the part you played.
I would like it known from the outset that this is not a letter of congratulation. I will not be showing any joy at the news that you have been elected to the Australian Senate. The reason for my letter is to point out to you that those who voted for the two-word-slogan ‘Family First’ might be a little alarmed at finding out what you really stand for. Do they even remember that when you stood for the Liberals in 2007, you turned the marginal seat of Makin into the safest Labor seat in the country with a swing against you of 8.63%?
It does trouble me that many Australian voters are so uninformed that literally the sum total of campaign research carried out by them was to read the two words ‘Family First’ and to think ‘that sounds good’. And this is why I think it’s important that you be made accountable for your values, even if it’s subsequent to the public’s opportunity to choose whether you are a suitable representative for the interests of Australians.
On your website, your slogan is ‘Strong Families. Strong Values. Strong Australia’. I notice ‘families’ is mentioned all over your website and in your policies. However I was wondering if you could clarify for us exactly who counts as a ‘family’? I have a husband and three cats. Are we a family? Before I had a husband, and after I left my parent’s home, was I family then? What about if I happened to never have children? Or if I was in a homosexual relationship living with my partner? Or if I was an old-aged widow living on my own with no children? Or if I was single at the age of 32, still looking for the right man? Or if I was single at the age of 32 and contentedly not interested in living with anyone? Are any of these living arrangements something you would call a ‘family’? Are families just a collection of individual Australians living together or apart? Or, do your ‘strong values’ dictate that a family is a married man living with his wife, with children at home? I suspect only the latter are the Australians you are hoping to represent in the Senate. Am I right?
Keeping in mind that your policies are defined for your special, un-inclusive brand of ‘family’, I would like to scrutinize how exactly it is you think your Family First policies are going to benefit ‘families’. And by my definition of families being any individual with friends, relatives or animals in their life, also how your policies will affect all Australians. Each and every one of us.
It didn’t take me long to research your policies on the Family First website. They are what I would charitably call ‘concise’. Let’s scrutinize two of these concise policies:
Climate change. You don’t believe in it. Apparently you think you’re smarter than 98% of the world’s climate scientists. I’m sure you’ve been told you’re wrong on this issue before, and you’ve ignored this advice. But have you been told that your willful denial is going to be remembered in generations to come as the very attitude which contributed to a planet too hazardous for future generations to live on? Have you been told you’re a dangerous extremist before? You have now. I’m fairy sure a warming world is going to have just as detrimental an effect on families as it is on everyone else. Especially since your definition of family seems to include heterosexual couples who have procreated and who are therefore bringing up the very people who will be most adversely affected by the catastrophic effects of climate change. Pity. How many people who voted for you knew they were voting for a climate change denier who will obstruct action to reduce the damage? How many of them knew they were voting for the destruction of their children’s future?
Employment. It was when I was reading this policy Bob, that I recalled that you are a former board member of the HR Nicholls Society. I wonder if we polled the people who voted for you, how many of them would know that a) you have been a longtime supporter of this right-wing think-tank and b) what exactly it means to be right wing and c) what the HR Nicholls Society stands for. When I read your Family First employment policy, it actually sounds exactly like the HR Nicholls Society’s introduction on their website. Funny coincidence don’t you think? Just to refresh your memory, the HR Nicholls Society stands for this:
“The HR Nicholls Society believes that in a modern society there is no intrinsic imbalance in bargaining power between employers and employees and the regulation of workplace relations should be minimal. That is in the interests of both sides and in maximising economic growth for the economic and social benefit of the nation.”
The content that struck me as similar in meaning in your employment policy is this:
“Family First believes it is time to acknowledge the inevitable and create, enshrine and protect in legislation employees and employers right to have the freedom to determine what is in their common interest.”
The thing that upsets me most Bob, is that you’re not even trying to deny that you would have been just as opposed to Work Choices as the union movement was, but for the reason that it didn’t strip workplace protection enough, not because it threatened collective bargaining. You would no doubt destroy the union movement if you could. You would no doubt put every employee on an individual contract, and you would no doubt fight to remove the minimum wage if you were given the chance. I wish people who voted for you understood this. I wish they understood that when you say you are supporting families by stripping away the regulation that you say makes it hard for them to get a job, what you’re really saying is that the employer should be able to do whatever they want to the employee, including firing them at will for no reason, and that the employee should have no rights to defend themselves.
For you to say you are ‘Family First’ with this attitude is insulting. The stability and prosperity of families relies on the adult’s ability to find and keep stable employment, and for that adult to have negotiating power in a situation where he or she does not have an equal relationship with their boss. Your buddies at the HR Nicholls Society are not only looking to increase the power of the boss over the employee, who might just so happen to be a mother or a father or a son or a daughter. They would also happily destroy every right that workers in this country have fought for.
I note your employment policy also includes this paragraph:
“The traditional employee – employer relationship, has become so regulated that we have, in the words of Richard Epstein “……created a legal edifice of stunning complexity. Protective laws abound on every conceivable aspect of the subject: health, safety, wages, superannuation, unionization, hiring, promotion, dismissal, annual leave, long service leave, retirement, discrimination, access and disability. The volumes of regulation, rulings, and cases on each of these bodies of law would take a treatise to summarize fully.””
These protective laws would no doubt all be at risk if you were given enough power. Health and safety laws. Wages (which you would like taxed at a flat rate of 20%, the same rate as the boss pays). Superannuation. Unionisation. Hiring. Promotion. Dismissal. Annual Leave. Long Service Leave. Retirement. Discrimination. Access and Disability. I would have thought these are all the protective laws your ‘families’ rely on for their security of employment. The security of their employment is their security in putting food on the table for their ‘family’.
Of course you’ll never admit that the simple truth is that you couldn’t be less interested in families and their welfare. The HR Nicholls Society agenda is to smash the protective power of governments so that there is nothing publically funded except a Defence and Police Force. And a user-pays capitalist system of education and health only for those who can afford it.
Maybe you should change your party’s name now that you are their poster boy. Just to be a little bit more transparent for those voters who can’t be bothered finding out what you stand for. Maybe you should change your name to the ‘Family First as long as you’re rich and not a worker and don’t care if your planet fries to a crisp Party’.
(someone who clearly did not vote for you)