Abbot in wonderland: Or what if Tony really was a surfer?

blindboy
Surfpolitik

I cannot think of any politician in Australian history with Tony Abbott's capacity for living in worlds other than the one the rest of us live in.  A world in which carbon dioxide does not cause climate change because it's invisible, a world in which buying boats in Java somehow prevents people smuggling, a world in which no moral opprobrium attaches to the creation of international gulags for the convenient storage of non-persons beyond the reach of Australian law, a world where a curriculum created over years of work by educational experts stands to be replaced by one flung together at the last minute by right wing ideologues.

251890-abbott-surfing.jpgThis imaginative capacity encourages me to emulate him and consider how things might have been different. So let's all duck down the nearest rabbit hole into a world where Tony Abbott was a surfer.  I have heard him described that way in this world and this may be technically correct but I suspect most of us would rather preserve the term for those with a degree of competence and perhaps even some connection to their local surfing community. I have reliable eye witness testimony to his failure to meet the first criterion and at least circumstantial evidence for the second. Therefore, encouraged by this government's attitude to bold language, I will call him a kook.

For those who think I am inspired to write this by partisan politics, well it is true I usually vote Labor but these days it is in the sad knowledge that moving from worse to bad is all that can be hoped for. No, my comments are based on a consideration of how things might have been different if Abbott had been a surfer. I mean a real one with some skill and passion.

It is probably hard to imagine now, when beachside suburbs set record real estate prices and brutalist domestic architecture dominates the headlands, but our strongest surfing areas were working class and lower middle class right through to the early eighties. The steel cities of Wollongong and Newcastle, the old stock of housing on the Gold Coast, the fibro cottages that were standard through most of the lower northern beaches, the housing commission areas at Maroubra and the cheaply constructed apartments at Dee Why. These were all areas with fiercely competitive surfing cultures. 

The point being that instead of growing up in posh and comfortable Wahroonga where it's all  "After you Ponsonby", then progressing to a seminary where, blokes always being competitive, they presumably spent most of their time trying to be holier than each other, a surfer of Tony's generation would have had to deal with a harsher reality. One which might have given him a little more sensitivity to the needs of the less privileged. He may even have encountered people who had to work for a living in a real job rather than the various pieces of political puffery that occupied him in the pause between working for Jesus and working for John Howard. He may even have run into people more than willing to forcefully express their disagreement with the type of shallow self justification that has been his hallmark. I think it would have been a salutary experience for him to try his usual 5 seconds of spin after a drop in at Narrabeen some time around 1978.

It's also hard to imagine that a keen surfer of Abbott's generation would not have spent at least some time in Indonesia. The relevance of this is obvious to those of us who have cringed at an ignorance so profound that he believed he could control people smuggling by buying boats. Not to mention a cultural insensitivity that would do Sir Les Patterson proud.  None of this bloody Asian subtlety for Tony and as for apologising when all we did was tap the President's phone! Not on! As a surfer he would have known more about Indonesian manners than simply being on first name terms with Terry McArsey.

The other aspect of this is that most surfers have travelled outside the tourist areas and met ordinary Indonesians living lives of a difficulty it is hard to imagine if you have never seen them. Subsistence farmers and fishermen for whom everyday means hard labour. Entire families of the under-employed whose only hope of eating each day is finding some way of scrounging a few Rupiah out of the hard streets of the city. Disabled beggars, abandoned or orphaned children, the dispossessed living in their cardboard shanties on the side of the road. If you have an empathetic bone in your body Indonesia will locate it for you.  

643419-tony-abbott-and-riz-wakil.jpgGiven that experience, he might even have stopped to consider the fate of the refugees his blockade has trapped in Indonesia. Remember that by definition, the option of staying in their home countries is not available to refugees. So now a country that struggles to lift its own population out of poverty is expected to pick up an increased refugee burden from one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

And finally surfing almost inevitably raises environmental awareness. You cannot spend all that time between the sea and sky without developing some genuine feeling for the natural world, a feeling conspicuously absent in a leader who refuses to take climate change seriously, fails to make even a token attempt to protect The Great Barrier Reef and wants to open up old growth forest in Tasmania to logging. 

So climb back out of that rabbit hole and shed a tear for the world we actually live in where the Prime Minister is a notorious kook who is indifferent to the suffering of any but his own privileged class, a world in which our elected leader is the greatest environmental vandal in the land, a world in which we move ever more rapidly from democracy to absolute plutocracy. It is hard not to believe it would have been a better place if Tony had been a surfer.  If only because he then would never have gone into Federal politics. No surfer wants to spend that much time in Canberra. //blindboy

Comments

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:16am

Imagine if one of his daughters was gay.

griffo1's picture
griffo1's picture
griffo1 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:51am

Nooooooo. Its not worth thinking about

Sean951's picture
Sean951's picture
Sean951 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:07am

I say I'm sick of biased blogs on both sides, I also say keep this political bullshit off swell net or you will loose a customer base

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:18am

Sean, thanks for the warning but allow me a quick response. This particular column (Surfpolitik) is a small corner of the editorial, which itself is a small corner of Swellnet. We publish nation-wide surf reports and surf forecasts, host global wave modelling, run competition news, post our own self-penned weather articles, and have a very vocal forum community.

One blog doesn't define who we are.

Sean951's picture
Sean951's picture
Sean951 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:53am

I understand Stu but politics just like religion divides people. I should have read the category as i did not see that you guys at swellnet had a political sub forum, my fault. I would not want to be in the shoes of the current PM Abbot nor the previous PM Rudd. I also don't know a surfer that would be capable of holding or performing in a job like PM. Or to put it another way I don't think we would be better off as a nation.

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 1:39pm

I reckon SwellNet should keep on to anything they want to. If it's a surfer's perspective on politics and social change or whatever comes along, then it's going to be unique in some way.

I'm a surfer every second of every day, but I'm not always down at the beach.

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 1:40pm

I reckon SwellNet should keep on to anything they want to. If it's a surfer's perspective on politics and social change or whatever comes along, then it's going to be unique in some way.

I'm a surfer every second of every day, but I'm not always down at the beach.

PS. TA rode over me at freshwater once. Kook.

Jordan05's picture
Jordan05's picture
Jordan05 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 7:38pm

Do you really belive as surfers we all have one perspective! Yep,I surf but don't put me in the same boat as you. We all have our own opinions. If you think we're all the same, you should go and buy some billabong shares.

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 9:19am

Don't really know what you just said.....but....
Definitely - we're all different with different perspectives - and I'm happy to read political opinion on a surf website because the perspective has a surfing element to it - which adds a dimension that I care about.

You're welcome to your own boat Jordan05.

meatstick's picture
meatstick's picture
meatstick commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:44pm

I'm with you all the way Sean, keep this crap off surfing sites! If you want to have a cry about politics and naming people as kooks, do it in your local pub on a sunday arvo! We read enough about it in the media, keep it away from surfing I say.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:43am

In a world where if you believe in climate change, you are called a "gaia worshipper" ( a comparison to being a loony hippy), or if you are a skeptic you a called a "denier" ( a comparison to holocaust "deniers"), many of us "simple folk" are too scared to voice our opinions....... The whole debate on climate change has been hijacked by bullies with vested interests.....

Sheepdog

rusty's picture
rusty's picture
rusty commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:52am

Imagine if Julia had actually been a leader, instead of completely incompetent.

roubydouby's picture
roubydouby's picture
roubydouby commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:01am

Roughen his skin up with some sunspots and you'd almost have a third Carroll brother.

Results may vary.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 11:33am

Gold.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:05am

Here we go...... Stunet..... This will not end up being a logical and objective thread, or a decent "debate".... Both sides of the argument should take note of the book "100 authors against Einstein", where 100 prominent folk attacked Albert's relativity theory... Apparently, Albert famously scoffed - "100???!!!! If I am wrong, it'd only need one......."

Sheepdog

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:10am

Here's one for you SD:

bjdibcyccaaw-um.png

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:16am

Stunet... What can I say.... You've proved my point ;)

Sheepdog

mundies's picture
mundies's picture
mundies commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:28am

I think its relevant having this sort of political stuff on a surf website. It doesn't hurt to be aware of what is going on, especially if heading to Indo as there's a backlash there in certain places against Aussies. Plus the environmental stuff let alone the big business/economic stuff. If you only want to read inane teenage surf stories there are plenty of magazines and surf sites that cater for that.

mundies

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:37am

Fair enough, Mundies, but that wasn't the point I was making. I'm talking about the capitulation of decent objective debate, which is reflected in our parliament on both sides, in the banal free media "infortainment" news broadcasts with their so called "expert panels" etc etc... You also see it with right wing "blogsites" like Andrew Bolt, and on the left with "getup".
Meanwhile, the masses eat their cornflakes and catch up with what undies Kim Kardashian is wearing today..........

Sheepdog

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:40am

"This will not end up being a logical and objective thread"
The article was nor meant to be objective and given its premise it could hardly be logical, but if you think of the recent events mentioned at the end of paragraph 2, you might see why I would think it appropriate to have a bit of fun at Abbott's expense.

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:01pm

Byline says Stu Nettle, but signed off by blindboy. I've got my brush out, but I don't know who to tar with it...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:28pm

Ahhh...editor's mistake, Kaiser. Point the brush toward BB.

mickj's picture
mickj's picture
mickj commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:18pm

Yeah I'm not sure where to start here either.

There are plenty of guys here in WA that meet your criteria BB, yet vote Conservative, myself included. Sure I think most of us would prefer Malcolm was the one bedded down at the Lodge rather than Tony (who I'm personally no fan of) but that's the beauty of the Westminster system, we still ultimately vote for a party not a 'President'.

Be interesting to watch the Senate re-run here as barometer for progress post Federal election, albeit limited to a relatively small % of the national population.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:29pm

"It's also hard to imagine that a keen surfer of Abbott's generation would not have spent at least some time in Indonesia"

I haven't been to Indo..... I'll never go to indo..... I am in my late 40s...... Using that logic, I mustn't be a keen surfer.....lol

So, BB, you are right when you say "given its premise it could hardly be logical"....
Just stirring......;)

Sheepdog

gavin007's picture
gavin007's picture
gavin007 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:41pm

I agree with Sean951, let's keep non-surfing related politics out of Swellnet - generates too much agro! The only thing of interest to me is whether our PM is a kook or a hoad.

In http://surfing.about.com/od/wordortheday/g/kook042105.htm -

"To be called a "kook" means that you can't surf well, have a terrible style, talk trash, or even snake your fellow surfers. Maybe you do all these things at once. Kooks have been around since the birth of surfing. I'm sure even the Duke had to deal with couple of them over in Waikiki back in the day. The problem is that it seems that the worst kooks of them all don't realize the extent of their own kookdom."

Couldn't find a link on the internet, but when I was a school kid, anyone who owned a board, however never went surfing, was called a "hoad".

What I would love to see on Swellnet is a collection of videos and photos of our PM at his best (and worse) in the water. Then Swellnet followers can be the judge. How about it, Stu?

rusty's picture
rusty's picture
rusty commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:31pm

I agree.

I'm lovin' the layback cutty he's doing in the article. I'd love to see the sequence. I'm not sure about the kook about to run him over though.

adbiz's picture
adbiz's picture
adbiz commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 12:53pm

Why the politics on surf site? For the record, people who transit through a safe country (indonesia) to reach Australia are illegal immigrants, denying genuine refugees a chance. And wasn't it Labor who bugged the phones? And by the way, labor lost the election by a majority of voters rejecting their costly self serving policies - and class war.
Get over it and have a surf and chill.

get real

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:41pm

" people who transit through a safe country (indonesia) to reach Australia are illegal immigrants,"

That is a common misconception adbiz. Refugees are not illegal immigrants and last time I looked at the data the vast majority of those arriving by boat were found to be genuine refugees. As for Indonesia being safe for refugees you might like to do a bit more research on that!

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:07pm

They're not "kooks"!!!! They're "eggrolls"..... Fuckn americanisation... Leggies are now leashes...... Biscuits are now cookies...... Paw paw is now papaya.... and the humble rockmelon is a fuckn cantaloupe...... ( in my best yankee accent) - "I just wanna say that I feel uncomfortable with this situation!!!! And I tell ya somethin', Let's preeeeeey to jeeessuss oh thankyou lord, cos I can feel a heeeeeeealin comin' on!!!!!!" ;)

Sheepdog

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:13pm

Paw paws aren't papayas, they're two different fruits that look similar. The word kook isn't American it's Hawaiian, comes from the word 'kukae' which is slang for shit.

Anything else I can help you with buddy?

 

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:16pm

Why the politics?

Well, politics is part of life, surfing is also a big part of most of our lives, as is the environment we disperse ourselves in, and I think we see both politics and surfing intertwine all the time. Just look at the local hierarchy in the water as a simple example.

You don't have to participate in this convo if you don't want to, but the great thing about this site is that we offer the opportunity for greater discussion about subjects on the periphery of the surfing world, that many people are interested in.

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:25pm

Putting political persuasions aside, its common knowledge that The Ton' has holidayed in Indo.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:30pm

...and a paw paw really isn't a papaya.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:39pm

Stunet wrote; "Anything else I can help you with buddy"...... yeah, Stu..... possibly a little bit better research on your behalf would be nice...... Because the work "kook" was derived from the word cuckoo, a bird which was also called the cookoo by north american indians........... It was immortalised in the Jack Nicholson classic about a madhouse and a north american indian pretending to be "cuckoo", in "one flew over the Cuckoo's nest"....... Google most dictionaries to find the true word history if you like....
And in the meantime, here's some light reading for you, in regards to "Carica papaya". Take not of part 2 and first line in part 3.....

http://plantsjournal.com/vol1Issue1/Issue_jan_2013/2.pdf

Now is there anything else I can help YOU with, buddy? ;)

Sheepdog

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:40pm

I believe there are two different definitions & origins for kook. I would not consider a surfing kook to be eccentric or crazy. Ask someone who knows absolutely nothing about surfing what a kook is and they'll generally paint a different picture to our understanding.

I've always been curious about the Pawpaw/Papaya difference.

Jaspo's picture
Jaspo's picture
Jaspo commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:41pm

Good read. Nice to know people of a reasoned ilk still exist among the surfing community (or exist, even). I registered for swellnet exclusively to show appreciation for this, thanks.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 1:47pm

Thanks Jaspo

uplift's picture
uplift's picture
uplift commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 3:21pm

Its not always the yanks fault, the corgis have a lot to answer for. The little fuckers need a bigger area to waddle around in, so tone is just being a loyal subject and taking care of business. Anyway give tone and for that matter hocker a break, they are about to do some heavy lifting, and hard core belt pullin' as the poor fuckers struggle to live through the next budget.

The whole system that we, the kooks champions, champion, is ludicrous and ridiculously primitve. The biggest castle in the land.

The countries foundation is shit. Shit stinks, and things built on it sink. The record, history, demonstrates it unfailingly. Films like '12 years a slave' as horrendous as they are, are made to look like light hearted family viewing compared to what went on here, for much, much longer. Still, that film demonstrates the system that has 'progressed' into todays society.

As our mate used to tell us when we'd want our old surf bombs saved, 'you can't panel beat rust, throw it away and start again.'

But, that's impossible, what could possibly be better than the mighty 'Westminster System, and what kind of uncouth 'savages' would follow it anyway.

Abbot's a kook for sure, Hitler was a jibbering lunatic, but, people love them, and will fight to the death for them. Yes sir, he's my next door neighbour, but yes, he's a traitor. God save his wretched soul.

Hell hath no fury like women scorned. Except scorned kooks.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:11pm

Some valid input from uplift?........ Fuck me...... It's march 31 isn't it........ Nice work, stairdodger, don't agree with a couple of your sentiments, but nice work nonetheless....

Sheepdog

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:38pm

Whatever side of politics your from tony deserves to be ridiculed just for being such a gumby, yes being such a gumby..., yes tony is a gumby..., repeat..., repeat...,then if you consider his manufactuted persona his realnes is open for questioning.

But there are a lot of 'real' surfers making a living in indo that dont seem too troubled about the surrounding poverty, it seems many surfers don't even seem too concerned about the environment and climate change.

Hitler may have been loved but i dont think even the party faithful could love Abbott.

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:22pm

As a mere peasant from the suburbs, my humble viewpoint is - I wish a lot more pollies surfed, as kooks or rippers. Perhaps then a knighthood for Sir Fanning and Dame Gilmore? Even Sir Stu?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:58pm

Only if it gets me more waves.

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:50pm

I'm not going to call Abbott a "kook".... I'm didn't call Gillard a "witch". But I am going hold our politicians accountable for their policy decisions........ Uplift, you write "they are about to do some heavy lifting, and hard core belt pullin' as the poor fuckers struggle to live through the next budget."

Well..... To strip 1/2 a billion dollars ( that's $500 000 000) from public hospitals whilst
keeping the 5 1/2 billion dollar per year ( that's $5 500 000 000) maternity leave scheme where women who earn 100k get 50K is just plain ridiculous...... They are also keeping the baby bonus....... But public hospitals get stripped of vital funds.....
Middle class welfare for votes is more important than emergency wards........ Work that one out.....

Sheepdog

roubydouby's picture
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roubydouby commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 3:05pm

It's not jut middle class welfare votes, it's also the trump card of 'increasing GDP'. The baby bonus means more mouths to feed and therefore more demand in the economy and therefore higher GDP.

It's all political bullshit though. If you look at the stats, GDP per capita hasn't changed much, only the number of souls has. Therefore our economy appears to be 'growing', while in reality it hasn't grown, it's only merely maintained. But that doesn't stop the pollies patting themselves on the back.

Still, cutting funds from public hospitals is a f#cking sin. Same with the the transferring of funding to private schools (not to mention the Christopher Pines revision of the history curriculum). It's a move to an Americanised system where decent health care and education will be beyond the reach of lower income families. Pretty sure these kinds of changes make an absolute mockery of Abbott's 'Christian values', which translate to 'Do unto those who went to your private school as they would do unto you'.

Results may vary.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:54pm

....fair call Sheepdog but no-one on the labour side ever advertised bigotry as this government has done.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:08pm

It's the last two weeks that have really got me baffled. Since the news that Brandis was trying to change the Racial Discrimination Act. To be honest I don't feel real strongly one way of the other, perhaps because I'm a white, middle class male so will never be subject to racism, but also because I believe in free speech so can't argue too hard against Brandis.

What does puzzle is why they're making it such an issue. There's been no ongoing issues surrounding the act, no court case where justice was found wanting, and yet after six years in opposition they've come in and tried to change legislation that was working perfectly fine.

It's that, the active volunteering to change the act, moreso than the act itself that has me wondering what the fuck is up with this mob.

upgrade's picture
upgrade's picture
upgrade commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:31pm

Stunet, methinks that the reason they changed the racial Discrimination Act is so as to allow people to sling mud, get people fighting between themselves. It's a time honoured tactic called 'Divide and Rule'. It takes people's attention off bigger issues as they get themselves worked up about dumb stuff, 'he said, she said' stuff; while everyone's brawling they rob the till. Sad that everyone falls for this racism stuff.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:00pm

I agree stu. Biggsie on RRR down here in Melbourne last Friday was wondering why is it the wealthy middle class white heterosexual suited blokes were worried about the laws around racism. His take on it was that it was the Andrew Bolt law. They don't want a red neck bigot like themselves silenced by the courts. They just want to call themselves knights and dames, kowtow to the mother country, and the masses should know their place. It really has me flabergasted as to how we ended up on both sides of parliament with the daggiest, most uninspiring leaders imaginable. Sad time in Australian politics.

yorkessurfer's picture
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yorkessurfer commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 4:59pm

I recall reading somewhere that Abbott did have a real job at some point in his pre-political life, writing articles for one of Emperor Murdoch's propaganda rags?

niggly's picture
niggly's picture
niggly commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:07pm

nicely written blindy.

upgrade's picture
upgrade's picture
upgrade commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:44pm

niggly wrote: nicely written blindy.

Yeah, I agree, just enough tongue in cheek to get me through another day of life under the most regressive govt we have yet experienced. And to everyone, just think, when this govt totally stuffs up the reef and the climate, just think of all those deadly stingers that are heading further and further south, with each warming year. Short term money gain, long term pain for all us life forms.

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:12pm

yeah, blindboy, but calling him, or 51% of Australians bigoted because they are isn't going to win an election in 2 1/2 years time..... Logically and calmly pulling ridiculous policies apart will....
And what is "bigoted"? Is it part of human nature? Is BB bigoted towards "kooks"? Towards those of my generation who haven't been to Indo? Towards wealthy surfers? Is that a form of "class warfare"? Am I bigoted towards standup up paddle boards and mal riders?
This is where it has to stop... The name calling, the accusations, the pidgeon holing.... This is what both parties want...... Whilst the mud is being flung, bad policy goes unnoticed.....

Sheepdog

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:23pm

Sheepdog it is hard to think of worse behaviour than drawing attention to the right to be bigoted without also drawing attention to the responsibility that accompanies it, which is basically to keep it to yourself. If you want to draw a parallel between my attitude towards kooks and the anti-semitism, hatred of Islam and prejudice against anyone of non-European background which lurks constantly in the background of Australian culture feel free, but I know which is trivial and which is tragic.

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:28pm

Good questions sheepdog, the media hasnt realisrd the public have moved on and the left v rlght thing isn't so simple anymore. Labor especially have been slow to realise this

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:39pm

That's fine, BB...... And I agree, but like so many in this .com world, you've zero'd in on only one facet of my post, and taken it to an extreme....... I'll say it again.... Pointing out the bigotry that so obviously exists in 51% of Australians isn't going to get the Labor party back in power...... It didn't get Howard out...... The only thing that got Howard out was Rudd zoning in on bad policy - workchoices.......
Your bigotry angle is another subject... And I stand by my opinion that bigotry is a part of human nature with 50000 years of history... Ask the Hutus or the tutsi's.... It's not a "white thing" at all.... Greed is part of human nature.... Jealousy..... Humans beings can be quite horrible..... We can hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but things aint gonna change, not for a long time anyay....
And BB, when Gillard, a self admitted atheist, and one in a defacto relationship, said she was against gay marriage because of her conservative upbringing, did you consider her a bigot? I mean, she had no religious reason to oppose gay marriage.....
Or was she just pandering to the bigoted religious vote?

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/pm-julia-gillard-gay-marriage-against-m...

Sheepdog

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 5:51pm

I am no great admirer of either side of politics Sheepdog. As you point out we all have our prejudices and it is a part of human nature which is exactly why politicians should take great care not to stimulate it. If they want to address free speech and liberalise the laws then they need to put forward a carefully reasoned argument and take care to spell out that rights come with obligations. Brandis went the exact opposite way, no sound argument just an encouragement to abuse. The other side of this is that the whole issue could be interpreted as paying back News Ltd for previous favours by allowing their idiot right wing ideologues greater latitude therefore boosting the sales of the Tellycrap and associated arse wipes. Community damage? The most vulnerable exposed to greater risk of abuse? They couldn't give a rats.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:05pm

True BB...... But with freedom of speech, you have to take the good with the bad... I mean...... I would hate to live in North Korea, or China, or Nazi germany, where if you say one bad thing, you are put to death.... Now, yes, those are extreme cases.... I know that...... The way it is going, soon comedians wont have anything to joke about..... I am afraid that society is being wrapped up in cotton wool..... I am no fan of the coalition.... Far from it.... But I also know what Brandis was trying to say. He did it very clumsily..... In fact I think he did it on purpose, along with Abbott and his "Sir wankalots....... Because here is Blindboy, and here is sheepdog, sidetracking themselves instead of zoning in on 1/2 a billion dollars being cut from hospitals, middle class welfare, and Arthur Sinodinos's dodgy dealings.
Can't you see it blindboy (pardon the pun)? One of the oldest tricks in the book...... Smokescreens........
CONCENTRATE ON BAD POLICY!!!!!!!!!!!

Sheepdog

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:14pm

I agree Sheepdog but if you look a little harder you will see it is always the same with the Liberals. John Howard used race and prejudice to lever public opinion and they are still at it. So yes it is a distraction from immediate issues but it is one that reveals the diseased heart of their philosophy.

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bobhawke commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:32pm

the northern beaches is full of Tony Abbots. Abbot rhymes with bigot

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floyd commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:41pm

Keep politics out of Swellnet you say .... I'm old enough to remember Tracks Magazine before it went all glossy and Top 40 circus on us and it was was full of stories on politics, environmental activism and alternative lifestyles. Why, because those things should really matter to surfers. Just look at the over development, rape even, of the Australian East Coast and every other coast with waves to see why every surfer on the planet should be active in political and environmental debates.

Abbott is a climate change denier although for political reasons he hasn't the guts to say so, the grubby sewer rat. Just today, in response to the UN's latest report on climate change and the damage its doing responded by saying "look, Australia has always been a land of droughts and flooding rains". Fuck me, where did he get that from? Wikipedia?

We are just plan dumb here because its too easy, we have it too good, all by blind luck mind you. The UK has a conservative government that has introduced action to combat climate change, they have gay marriage and they retain public ownership of public utilities/assets, nah not here we got Rupert and Gina and there should be riots in the streets because of it.

I'm with you BB, if only ......

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:43pm

Thanks floyd

yehmateyeh's picture
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yehmateyeh commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:45pm

Absolute rubbish article. But I digress, I've said too much already.

Yehmateyeh

yorkessurfer's picture
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yorkessurfer commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 6:57pm

The Abbott/Murdoch Coalition need to play to our fears and predudices because that's what gets them elected.
Then they can start work on their real ideological agenda of pandering to big business (Trans Pacific Trade Partnership), privatising public assets, dismantling Medicare, eroding our wages(penalty rates) and minimum wage(work for the dole), and manipulating our education system to brainwash future voters.
It's a long term strategy and works very well for them.

old-dog's picture
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old-dog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 7:28pm

All I can say to coalition voters is go fuck yourselves you bunch of sniveling little spoilt brat private school mummy's boy wankers. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the issues and still votes for this mob must have their head well and truly up their own anus.

mk1's picture
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mk1 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 7:41pm

Hahaha classic post.

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mickj commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 8:04pm

I'll jump in here for a debate Old-dog, since I went on the record above as a right wing voter. Happy to discuss my personal background as required, although it won't match your chosen description all that well I'm afraid (brought up by a single parent, one of six kids, govt schools all the way, spent 10 years paying off my own HECS debt etc).

Consider myself reasonably well read on the 'issues' but of course happy to keep learning, from you or anyone else.

So in that spirit:

- What exactly are the 'issues', and
- More importantly, what am I missing from my apparently visually impaired worldview?

Cheers,

Mick

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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 8:44pm

I think old dog will be OK with me jumping in here mick. There are a range of issues and it would be great if there was more policy divergence between the parties but there are some clear differences. On welfare the government's policy is to increase middle class welfare with the maternity benefit and decrease benefits to those actually facing poverty on unemployment benefit or single parent benefit. Even for the complete economic rationalist perspective this is spectacularly poor policy and is ultimately self defeating as the prison population increases and health costs soar. Have a look at the US if you doubt that.

On the environment, the previous government tried to keep Australia in touch with the rest of the world on climate policy. The present government is looking backwards on this issue and again, this is likely to impose real costs down the line when changing climates force serious international agreements on emissions.

On education the current curriculum reviews are clearly politically inspired and represent an appalling attitude towards education. Do we really want governments imposing their ideologies on children and curriculums changing with every new government?

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mickj commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:26pm

Hmmm ... is the maternity scheme generous? Absolutely. Is there a correlaton between that and the prison population (let alone a causal link)? Far less confident of that, there remain substantial safety nets here in Aus (yes even under the Coalition) that aren't available in the US to the less fortunate in society.

It's not that simple an equation, e.g. the Nordics generally have even more generous maternity / paternity schemes and I don't often hear that leading to exploding prison populations for a multitude of reasons.

Issues with the ALP's carbon tax have been covered ad nauseum elsewhere but for me it a) didn't just keep Australia in touch with the rest of the world but significantly overshot the mark in terms of cost of carbon vs permits elsewhere and b) was a terrible piece of political implementation. And it showed, they lost heavily in the Federal election last year for a bunch of reasons (this was one of them).

Re: your last point mate, I think there should be zero political (or religious) interefence in education as well but to say the ALP left their own ideology at the doorwith Gonski is a stretch. A desire to influence isn't just a right wing phenomenon.

And to briefly post a few points back:

- On the environment, I firmly believe that some places are worth protecting whatever the cost, but I'm pragmatic on what that means globally. It's very, very difficult to avoid being hugely conflicted on this issue in my opinion, particularly anyone from an OECD nation anyway.

- Aus has a structural budget deficit that needs dealing with somehow, governing this country is as hard right now as its been since the early 90s. So far, the Libs have done a reasonable job. Movement in the AUD is going to be really important over the next 12 months.

- Rising unemployment is the key issue locally, and for all the debate (and uncertainty), union membership in this country is in freefall. The ALP has very little to offer by way of aspiration, even to its heartland.

- As someone else mentioned, the whole Indo spying thing you mentioned originally happened on the ALP's watch. Plus any hard eyed political analyst will say the same thing, every country spies on whomever they're able to ... if the Indo's could bug the Lodge then they'd do it every day of the week (and maybe they are, but I doubt it). That whole issue was just hay for domestic Indonesian politics, nothing more.

Interested in your response.

Cheers,

Mick

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old-dog commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:41pm

@mickj
Hi Mick sorry to take so long to reply, just got back from the desert. I fully respect your right to be a conservative voter ( I had a few too many the other night and felt like stirring thing up a bit.)
However I just cant understand how any battler working class bloke can vote for a party of born to privilege elitists who so blatantly favor their own kind at the expense of the great unwashed.
Their so called direct action plan to lower emissions is just a way of handing billions of tax payers bucks to the big end of town, what a joke. They are desperate to bring in cheap labor from O.S. to put downward pressure on already low wages and cut penalty rates for millions of low paid workers. Work choices is not dead, its Abbots holy grail. The Libs couldn't give a rats tossbag about manufacturing workers , they don't vote for them anyway. Labor I= Robin Hood. Liberal = Sherriff of Nottingham.
The bottom line is : If you truly believe that the extreme rich aren't rich enough and the poor aren't yet poor enough then by all means vote for Abbott. He is out to shaft us at all costs. A-fucking-men.

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calo23 commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 7:29pm

The alternative is have an extra 500,000 Indonesians hit out shores each year, costing us tax payers all $70,000 a pop regardless of whether they stay or go... If people want to apply for asylum there is a proper way of doing it. If you lived in indo, of course you'd wanna go live in the place those rich surfers/tourists come from. Unfortunately the world can't operate like that though

Calo23

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Sheepdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 7:38pm

Floyd.... Note my first comment re' the use of the word "denier"..... Yorkes, Of course it gets them elected. But so does an inept Labor party so far up their own arseholes that they can't function properly..... And no takers on the Gillard/gay marriage angle???? BB??? floyd???? Was she a bigot? Yes she was.....Was the labor party bigoted by setting up New Guinea re' "boat people"? Yes they were..... The Labor party stooped to the low levels of the coalition, and have no one to blame but themselves...... That blatant lie to the Australian public "there will be no carbon tax yadda yadda"..... The stabbing in the back of Kevin Rudd....... If Rudd had've been kept as leader, and if they did the decent thing by taking the carbon tax to an election ( like the gst was), Abbott would probably not be in power now.... The Gillard fiasco set the Labor party back sooooo far.... Idiots...

Concentrate on bad policy...... In my lifetime, there has been 3 Labor governments.... Whitlam, Hawke/Keating, and Rudd/Gillard/Rudd....

Whitlam won by targeting the highest unemployment and inflation in over a decade...He used policy..... Once in power, they could bring ideology into it - getting rid of conscription, getting out of Vietnam, medicare etc etc etc .

Same with Hawke..... Frasers bad policy putting us into recession.... Once in power, ideology - the aboriginal treaty, Atsic, outlawed sex discrimination.

But Rudd/Gillard????/ Yeah, used bad coalition policy ( workchoices) to get power, but tell me , what areas of social ideology did they achieve? Zilch.... Zero.... Just matched the coalition's nastiness by sending boat people as to New Guinea, putting single mums on the dole, and not giving gays the rite to marry....
I hope the next labor PM is as brave as Gough, or Bob, or Paul.....
Sorry for waffling.... I'll shut up now....

Sheepdog

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memlasurf commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:23pm

Their education initiatives were positive, however I agree they shot themselves in the foot which allowed the 'unelectable' mr charisma abbot to get in. Too much infighting.

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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 7:41pm

calo as far as I know the total number of Indonesians applying for refugee status in Australia or arriving by boat is zero. The people trying to arrive by boat are almost always genuine refugees from war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq who have managed to get to Indonesia. Hard as it may be to believe given recent events and the inhumanity of Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, things are much worse in Indonesia, so the only hope for most refugees arriving there is to find another country. To be classified as a refugee you have to have evidence that your life was under threat in your country of origin. If you want to express an opinion it is usual to be in possession of at least the basic relevant facts. This might help
http://www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au/doc/rice_moremyths.doc

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uplift commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 8:44pm

I agree sheepster, the distribution of funds is ludicrous. Being in the healthcare industry, its always pissed me off. But, in reality, the champs of the kooks, the zombie foot soldiers, are thick and fast there too. Its ingrained, the conditioning, the brainwashing is brilliant. God save our 'gracious' Queen. I say this only to illustrate a point, but I have all these so called exceptional references and reputation in the healthcare area. I would constantly listen to my workmates moan and grizzle about the shit wages, shit conditions, the burn out rate, disrespect, etc, etc etc. Then at the endless fund cutting meetings, when a high paid goverment exec, an overseer, would start speiling on about the wondrous volunteers, rallying the troops to do their bit for the country and volunteer even more, lest the health system collapse, the same workmates, the same lemmings would leap up and volunteer... even more. When I would ask the overseer if they were a volunteer, and perhaps huge savings could be made if their whole managerial department, and the minister would volunteer, and that obviously they aren't, and that the system is useless, they merely smirked. Knowing full well that they could quickly rally the lemmings into a frenzied mob, hell bent on lambasting me, the traitor, the cold hearted tight wad, the heartless sod, the non Aussie. The shame! Worse than a surfer in footy shorts! Only my great size would save me, as a room full of zombie workers were triggered into action.

What is the definitive human nature?

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pedromorales commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:20pm

An article written by someone who is biased , hateful and jealous is not going to be very helpful or informative. The people who agree think he is a hero and the people who disagree think he is a nutjob. This article (and some of the comments) encourage close mindedness and division. Like a religion coming on to a surfing website saying you are dim witted and heartless if you don't devote your life to our religion. How are you going to feel if you don't believe in their god?
.
Leave the biased shit off our website, it's only pissing in some peoples pockets and pissing off others.

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blindboy commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:23pm

Good one pedro, I thought you were serious for a minute.

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silicun commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:36pm

'brutalist domestic architecture dominates the headlands', brilliant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=askQEyNS3Ak

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roadsideservice commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:43pm

Regarding comments saying that politics should be kept out of surfing, I just wanted to encourage Swellnet to keep on keeping on.

I come from a school of thought that believe 'the personal is political'. Surfing is a political act. Oceans are political. The line up is political. Surfing bumper stickers are political. Gentrification of beaches is political. Surfing competition is political. Nationalistic, racist, sexist surfers are highly political. The surfing industry is a political force beyond the control of any of us and will kill us before it kills itself. We need to be talking about this or this shit just festers.

And, so long as surfing is imagined to be in any capacity 'alternative' way of life, we should be discussing all of the issues that blindboy raises in this piece - and we should be looking for alternative worlds.

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silicun commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 9:49pm

wise words

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wellymon commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 12:07pm

True

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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Shatner'sBassoon commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:00pm

Is it mere coincidence that Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison, even Bronwyn Bishop (!) are all members for Sydney beaches, let alone the local state members (too many to name!) all from that same coastal stretch? Do a run around each state and the picture is similar? Where there's waves, there's Liberals??
The question begs:
Are surfers voting these right-whingers in??

Then, there's this:

http://www.mua.org.au/event/364/

Can anyone imagine a Young Liberals version?? Lids or SUPs? Goatboats???

Probably, whatever the tour guys are riding in reality...

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:13pm

I love the opening line with comrades in it. I had a giggle at that one. On the other side it would be knights and dames.

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copperdog commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:32pm

To all those complaining about Abbot as PM, you seem to forget that we had an election where over 50% of the electorate voted for him. They did it knowing full well his views on climate change, asylum seekers, the environment, religion ect. He won, the other bloke lost - that's called democracy. If you don't like it, tough. You'll get another crack in two and a bit years. Either that or join Senater Hanson-Young in getting the Soviet Socialist Republic of Greenland established, where everyone who reads The Australian gets sent to the gulags

copperdog

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kaiser commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 10:58pm

I think your utopian synopsis of the working class beachside communities or surfing communities is a bit too general and ignores important social and cultural issues of Australians, blindboy. In fact, if you take on board Abbott's reputation for misogyny and spurning of the unemployed, I wonder whether he may have actually been quite immersed in such parts of our society.

The fact is some of the subjects of your story became shredders because they did work hard and practice and apply themselves, while a healthy portion did so through all the spare time thanks to the support of the govt and spent plenty of other time destroying families and damaging their children and their future adult lives.

We all have a place in this world. Some get the balance right - they contribute and receive in equal measure. The rest of us fuck it up at either end of the spectrum.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:06pm

But it is learned, we are not born that way. Bigotry that is.

kaiser's picture
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kaiser commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:28pm

Sure is. But if we wanna talk bigotry, some of these very communities have been the focal point of that sort of behaviour in recent times.

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sypkan commented Monday, 31 Mar 2014 at 11:54pm

Yes Abbott won fair and square, just sad that liberals could win an election with one.of the least liked leaders of all time, a sad reflection of the incompetence and growing irrelevance of labor rather than anyrhing else.

As someone said recent labor stood for nothing significant, just take the high moral ground on issues, belittle those that don't agree (the real working class as opposed to their chardonay socialists) then lose the big arguments like climate change anyway where there was once support. Labor need to find a purpose, rudd showed u can't juggle every ball trying to please everyone.

Labor (and possibly blindboy) need to spend some time in working class suburbs that are not next to glamourous (relatively) beaches to see what's really going on.

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 1:37am

I agree with Pedro. This column is not the opening of an enlightened debate. Opinions are already set in concrete and all that has and will result is finger pointing and accusations of ignorance . No side will be swayed.
Blind boy for example, I will not state whether I agree or disagree with your views , yet as someone that prides them self on a self proclaimed open minded ness , has this debate swayed your opinion at all or just given you an opportunity to denigrate those you imagine to be less intelligent or less informed than your fine self?
I would have to say the latter mate, so to what purpose ?

Like everyone else I am grateful to Stu, Ben and Co for what is my favourite website, it is their baby and they can publish what they like. But personally , I tune in to Swellnet to get my dose of their unique slant on the world of surf, not the same political dross that is available in waaaaay more than enough places in this world.

To not want to discuss politics in this venue is not to have ones head stuck in the sand regards these issues, I just come here to get my fill of that which brings no small measure of Joy to my life....SURFING.

Now before you say that I should just not read this column, I say to you that each one of these diatribes comes at the expense of what could have been an entertaining , enlightening and relevant article due to the finite resources of the editorial team.

Thanks for your effort regardless Blindboy.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 8:33am

I appreciate the work of Blindboy and while I'm a small businessman/contractor/sharecropper with progressive views I also really appreciate the reasoned views of MickJ.

On the recent election win and democracy in general. If a large percentage of the population is being fed views which are substantially wrong, misleading or distorting - and that applies to both sides of politics- then has the process itself become distorted?

We live in the Age of relentless propaganda.

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:10am

Mick J; you write "Aus has a structural budget deficit that needs dealing with somehow, governing this country is as hard right now as its been since the early 90s. So far, the Libs have done a reasonable job"

I respectfully disagree..... A surplus isn't the be all and end all, especially when lending rates are at a historical low. Even on a personal level taking a loan at the right time, for the right thing, can make a profit..... Anyone who has ever been into small business, or real estate, knows this.... The libs will just have another "garage sale", as they do, selling off the "family china"...... But soon there will be no family china left........ That's not doing a "reasonable job", especially when it is used to pay middle class welfare.... lazy.... Easy....
Re' "hard since the 90s"...... between 9/11 and 2007, Australia's economy was gifted a great opportunity, even if it was on the back of a false world economy...... In that time, the coalition did nothing in regards to infrastructure.... All they did was popularize "cash for votes", via this middle class welfare that I despise..... 1st home owners grants - designed to offset the gst, but pretty handy to get a "battler" to vote for you..... Baby bonus - more votes and plasma tv sales....
By doing this, the Howard/Costello government started a dangerous trend of cash for votes ( which Labor adopted via pink bats, "stimulation payments" for pensioners etc). And this has changed the psyche of the Australian public, who now hold their hand out at every opportunity.... So, it didn't have to be this hard if a little foresight was used pre gfc.....

Sheepdog

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mickj commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 11:51am

Agree with you that a surplus in any single year, or even 2-3 consecutive years, can be a good thing ... but it's the 'structural' part that's bad.

A structural deficit means that you've essentially uncoupled the government's spending from its income over the long term. Ideally, where you've had to run deficit budgets for whatever reason (e.g. fiscal stimulus) then that should be followed by a period of surpluses so in the long term, the books balance. If you're still running deficits at a time that government income (ie tax receipts) is strong then you have a real problem because borrowing costs go up, spending is dedicated to interest repayments instead of infrastructure etc etc.

On your other point I agree Howard/Costello were less disciplined towards the end of their term than they had been previously, and that's definitely where the 'Age of Entitlement' began. Even as a Liberal supporter I'm a pretty open admirer of the Hawke/Keating government's because they made some really long term, strategic (and gutsy) decisions about the country that the ALP today wouldn't dare touch (trade liberalisation, tariff reductions, enterprise barganing etc etc) ... likewise Howard/Costello were on the whole pretty prudent economic managers, albeit a little soft towards the end.

So to wrap that up, best off tackling a structural deficit as early as you're able, to extend your analogy ... better to sell some of the family china now rather than losing your whole house later. We have seen probably 10 years of poor economic management now in my view, with a real opportunity lost in terms of infrastructure spending.

And to sign off, I pulled some numbers together in debating a similar topic with a friend once, comparing Australia's GDP growth since 1961 through to today. This is of course one selective measure of progress and there are plenty of others, both 'hard' metrics (e.g. GDP per head) and relatively 'softer' (e.g. income inequality). On my numbers it shows average GDP growth since then of 3.9% under the Libs and 3.0% under the ALP (3.6% overall), both pretty good to be honest but a meaningful lead to the Coalition on this broad measure anyway.

Cheers,

Mick

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 12:17pm

Thanks for your reply, Mick. Good to have some meaningful discussion.... I'll take you on your word in regards to your gdp figures..... But one must keep in mind 2 factors... 1. - Your "3.9%" has no doubt been boosted by economy figures between 2000 - 2007.... This era was in my opinion a "false economy" thanks to derivative trading in the USA, which led to a collapse known as the GFC... During 2000 -2007 this false world economy enabled China to boom, which helped Australia's bottom line... So, 3.9% looks good on paper, but it is not "real". You also have to take in to account that Rudd inherited the aftermath of the GFC, and thankfully was brave enough to back our strong banking system with guarantees ... Possibly the only decent thing he did.... The "aftermath" I think would also have taken a toll on your labor figure of 3%...

2. - Labor historically have always been braver in regards to social policy and infrastructure.... These things cost money, and are essential...... I'd rather gdp of 3% alongside better essential services, social cohesion, and a safety net for the truly needy, than gdp of say even 5% alongside the privatization of essential services, and the erosion of community cohesion.... I choose the tortoise over the hare....
Cheers, bloke.....

Sheepdog

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mickj commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 12:40pm

No probs, likewise appreciate the engagement.

I guess taking it back to 1960s removes some of the froth and bubble of 2001 to 2007, e.g. the ALP were in power right through the 1980s and averaged 4.3% GDP growth over 1984 to 1990 so the 50 year view does normalise for some of that.

Aust did outperform all our peers globally through the GFC for a number of reasons in my view - we went into that period in an outrageously strong position both fiscally and monetarily compared to most (which Rudd also inherited, so he got the problem yes but also part of the solution), Chinese demand for our mineral resources gave us both a terms of trade and export boost, Treasury advice was good and early (Ken Henry's "go hard, go households") and yes, Rudd let loose the purse strings too.

Incidentally, growth here did slow (we had one negative quarter from memory) but we never actually went into a technical recession (two negative quarters).

Fair point on #2 and that's where everyone can come up with their own measures of progress. And I don't dispute the ALP's traditional role in providing 'brave social policy' but my argument is that's been almost completely absent since 2007, NDIS aside. Instead they just fought themselves straight into two terms on the opposition benches I reckon.

Cheers,

Mick

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 1:51pm

Re point2 - In total agreement - note my comment at 7.38pm last night.

Also, by taking it back to the 60s, we are also going back into a "different world", where gdp "seemed to be less important, where "free trade", trading partners, domestic employment (manufacturing etc), female work participation, welfare etc etc etc were all vastly different than today...
Overall, I think both parties have a decent record, the coalition only slightly ahead re the economy, and Labor slightly ahead re' nation building, apart from the last 14 years that is. Hopefully more folk like you and me can put their hands up, and help redirect the debate...
cheers, man....

Sheepdog

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:19am

And uplift, many human beings actually forget that we are animals.... 50 000 years of evolution is a hard thing to shake.... 100 years of technology masks this... But 95% of the tribe are "followers"...... Always will be....
And as far a bigotry goes, many can argue that it is "taught"..... yep taught since we were apes...... a long..... long ...... long... time.... Saw that doco last week where one tribe of chimps tore a rival tribes baby chimp to pieces and ate it..... Primal..... fear...... defend......

Sheepdog

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:31am

Got to agree with that SD.

By and large the good fortune of the first mining boom was pissed up against the McMansion/plasma in every room wall in drunken sailor style.

Major error of judgement by Howard/Costello to not invest some of that mega profit into infrastructure/education/health.

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:51am

Cheers FR... And blind boy... I was wrong.... I expected this thread to turn into a cesspit. But there has been some measured and thoughtful posts.... This is a pleasant surprise... So congrats, BB......

Sheepdog

t-diddy's picture
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t-diddy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 10:20am

awesome article! Tabbott is the Australian GW Bush - born with the silver spoon in mouth and completely ignorant to what its like to be a normal person (ie, not upper class). I think Australian surf culture is much more conservative than say American as surfing here tends to be perceived as more sport than hobby so I'm not surprised your article was met with angst but good onya; it was a brave satire!
I actually suspect Tabbott may be a psychopath, and those experiences you described in your fantasy would have made no difference, consider this pyschopath test, Does/Is Tabbott:
Have glibness and superficial charm?
Grandiose sense of self-worth?
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom?
PATHOLOGICAL LYING?
CUNNING/MANIPULATIVE?
Lack of remorse or guilt?
Shallow affect/emotional range?
Callous/lack of empathy?
Parasitic lifestyle?
Poor behavioural controls?
Promiscous sexual behaviour?
Early behaviour problems?
Lack of realistic long-term goals?
Impulsivity?
Irresponsibility?
Failure to accept responsibility for his own actions?
Juvenile delinquency?
Criminal versatility?

asharper001's picture
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asharper001 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 11:00am

Actually t-diddy, my first thought with your psychopath test was Craig Thomson.

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mk1 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 11:57am

First half of your list sounds surprisingly like K-Rudd

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mundies commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 1:55pm

Sheepdog - my comment wasn't directed at you. It was re a comment made by Sean 3rd comment in thread...

mundies

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kerry1 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 4:15pm

I don't care I just surf!

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kerry1 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 4:16pm

Are we finished yet????

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 4:48pm

Just started I would think kerry!

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Jon0 commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 4:49pm

I too was prompted to register because I wanted to say well said blindboy.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 4:54pm

Thanks JonO

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 5:47pm

Blindboy I feel for you because it sounds as though you must live in a very rough part of Australia to be witness to this seething hatred of foreigners, anti semitism, hatred of Islam and prejudice against anyone of non European background. I mean I can't speak for your neck of the woods that is obviously approaching Rwandan style civil unrest but judging by the quite extensive areas of our nation that I have visited I would have to say that Australians old have to be well amongst the most accepting of all nationalities.
It reminds me of when I am at work and my Irish co workers tell me how rascist and bigoted Aussies are but when I look around all I see is over 20 different nationalities existing and working harmoniously together, I mention this to the Irish ( who hate the English, but that isn't rascist) and they seem to quieten up.

Aussies seem to get a bad run from the hand ringing set, but please don't slander myself or every other Aussie to cover the guilt of your own rascist.

Because due to your thinking your an Aussie so you must be rascist too? Correct ?
Or are you talking about everyone bar your select circle of friends who have proven themselves virtuous enough to rise above the constant din of sharpening pitch forks that only alarmists and scare mongrels like yourself can hear.

How many Aussies have you ever heard complain about the number of refugees accepted via proper channels ?

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 6:09pm

Blowin, there is a lot of truth in what you say and my own experience day to day is similar to yours......but prejudice and racism are always there and do not need the type of encouragement Brandis gave it recently and other Liberal politicians have given it in the past. Consider the events at Cronulla, my guess is that many of those involved worked with people from many different backgrounds and had no problem until........they were encouraged to find one.
Similarly, sit back in a pub or a barbie and listen. Racist comments and attitudes are not uncommon. We tend not to hear them because they happen amongst the like minded. So yes, Australia is very fortunate and we are pretty tolerant but then again we have had benign social and economic circumstances for a long time. Sometimes I wonder how long that tolerance would last in tougher circumstances.

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t-diddy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 6:07pm

lets face it most politicians could tick some boxes on psychopath checklist
kerry1 - aint no surf

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 8:18pm

Actually Blindboy I reckon testing times would strengthen our nation.
As for the BBQ discussions , well talk is cheap and I don't think people can be blamed for venting a bit of frustration at a paradigm shift in their communities. In the last twenty years Australia has had a greater immigrant intake per capita than any developed country by far. This has not led to any real hardship but it has definitely led to a sense of identity loss as Australians are told to give up their cozy world to a multicultural program that was hoisted upon them without any real consideration as to how they felt about it. Whilst not as harshly dealt as the Aboriginal experience, the sense of displacement is not made any less real, the only difference ( though immeasurably important) is that it has been achieved in a non violent manner and the fact that for the time being we remain in the cultural majority.
Have you been to Hurstville in Sydney lately ( if I am thinking of the right place) ?
Displacement of white Australians due to indirect pressure.

But the general consensus is , shrug the shoulders , wish them the best in their new lives and get on with it. No blood shed, no civil uprising.

That should be a source of pride, not focusing on such a non issue as the Cronulla " riot".
A riot in which some piss heads threw a couple of poorly timed punches at less than a handful of individuals who would have been extremely unlucky if they walked away with a black eye . No stabbings, gunshots, hangings, be headings or burnings at the cross.

Fuck, the Americans at least broke some windows, looted some shops and set fire to a couple of cop cars at the OP Pro and that was just because some chicks were told to cover their tits. We've got nothing!

And this is the supposed black stain on or nation that the world and apologists in our midst would have us hang our heads in shame over ! Gold.

Consider this, the welfare bill to our nation is roughly one third of our budget, a fair chunk of this is dedicated to foreign aid, refugee programs and settling immigrants in to our community. This budget is actually paid for by every Aussie going to work and paying a large slice of their actual livelihood in taxes. Is there a revolution on the cards to redirect the portion of the taxpayers hard graft that accommodates this expenditure ?
Nope. People whinge. Talk is cheap.

Don't fall for the myth constantly perpetrated by the media, see with your own eyes that Australia is probably the friendliest nation on Earth.

And don't get me started on how we became so successful through " luck" ....

B.t.w The irony of my perpetuating this thread after my earlier rant ain't been lost.

I am waiting for the tide to fill in and too much time on my hands.
As Richie Collins said- " I know there is contradictions inside me but it's my way and I'm doing the best that I can ."

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 8:28pm
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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 8:41pm

So, we're going to use a Murdoch article...... An article that would be seized upon by his puppet Bolt, and the likes of Jones, to whip the hardline conservative minority into a lather...... Headlines like that sell, BB..... A current affair eat your heart out.....
I'd suggest read the report.... A link is supplied in the article.... ("mapping social cohesion")... From the article; "When asked for their views on life in Australia, 81%
indicate that they are satisfied; 64% indicate that they
are ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’, a further 24% that they are
‘neither happy nor unhappy’, a combined 88%.".....
And once again, BB, thanks...... I was wrong..... There has been some very meaningful discussion here..... Well done....

Sheepdog

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:04pm

How are they quantifying victims of discrimation Blindboy ? Are we talking walking into the Auschwitz ovens or are we talking getting called a stupid wog when they cut some one off in traffic ? I'm inclined to believe the latter and as some one who in the last couple of days alone has been told to go back to Australia by an Indian shopkeeper in Singapore because I tried on a shirt I didn't buy and routinely paid a 20 percent surcharge because I wasn't a Malaysian national in tourist attractions in Malaysia I would tell them to get the fuck over it.

Also Blindboy, come on mate.....quoting statistics ?
Like I said , see the world with your own eyes.

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yorkessurfer commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:04pm

Racism isn't always visible, especially if your a white Australian like many of us on here are. My adopted Sri Lankian sister opened my eyes up to the real nature of many Australians. At high school my brother and I would have to stick up for her when ignorant racist kids would pick on her.
Even as an adult and after living here for 30 years she would tell me stories like walking into an empty Post Office and the lady behind counter, who was engaged in an obvious social phone call ignored her and refused to serve her. After waiting quite a while she just left as she was on her way to work. Stuff like that really affects her and pisses me off!

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:22pm

Yorkessurfer that example is a bit more revealing than you probably intended. Crying discrimination after not being attended to by a useless employee ? There is where your statistics come from Blindboy. And the school yard bullying ? What kid that was different wasn't abused? It's a kid thing not a race thing.

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:22pm

Yorkessurfer that example is a bit more revealing than you probably intended. Crying discrimination after not being attended to by a useless employee ? There is where your statistics come from Blindboy. And the school yard bullying ? What kid that was different wasn't abused? It's a kid thing not a race thing.

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uplift commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:29pm

Blowin said: 'Whilst not as harshly dealt as the Aboriginal experience, the sense of displacement is not made any less real, the only difference ( though immeasurably important) is that it has been achieved in a non violent manner and the fact that for the time being we remain in the cultural majority.'

I don't think the contemporary 'sense of displacement' is at all validly comparable to what happened to Indigenous Australians. Its not legal to shoot Australian citizens, as vermin, for money. Australian Citizens don't need to be registered like dogs. Australian citizens have legal rights, and the right to vote. Immigrants aren't raping and butchering wives and girls, torturing and killing children and husbands. Australian citizens aren't classified scientifically as less than humans, as animals that don't feel pain. There is no systematic genocide program aimed at eradicating Australian Citizens. All of these things and much worse, much more disgusting, happened to Indigenous Australians for a prolonged, concentrated period. Yet despite the best efforts to wipe them from existance, they survived, and are dealing with the aftermath of butchery. Even to this day, Indigenous Australians, the long term (minimum 60,000 years), and by our own legal system, the legal owners of the land, have only the token, flimsy rights that the the Australian Government decide they can have, and that are upheld by force, and that can change at the drop of a hat.

Any hardships that our 'developed, progressive' culture experience are totally man made, and are nothing but a mental construct. The present situation is comical. As comical as peoples horror if suggesting they eat porridge for tea. They reel in horror, distraught, as if some natural law is being broken, as if some great, natural calamity will befall them.

Gold has no more natural value, arguably less than pig shit, yet people will slaughter each other for it, bow before those with it. Brilliant, dazzled by the lights.

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:31pm

Yokes surfer if a white Australian went out with your sister do you think they would cop any grief from their mates due to the colour of her skin? Of course not. This is the true measure of rascism .

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 6:54am

Blowin it goes back 15 years but I have seen an aboriginal man spat on as he walked down the street with his white girlfriend.

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silicun commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:37pm

"Whilst not as harshly dealt as the Aboriginal experience, the sense of displacement is not made any less real, the only difference ( though immeasurably important) is that it has been achieved in a non violent manner and the fact that for the time being we remain in the cultural majority." Understatement of the century right there. Australia has been 'multicultural' for some time, if you want to describe the point of settlement as bicultural rather than invasive occupation, certainly by the mid 1800's there was substantial numbers of Chinese and other cultures living in Australia (see Blackbirding) its not something that has been foisted upon Australians, its is who we are. Despite several policies that are easily described as racist, multiculturalism has persisted since then.

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yorkessurfer commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 9:45pm

Ok so in your eyes blowin we don't have a racism problem here? I've seen things differently. My sister didn't cry discrimination to anyone just confided in her brother how she was being treated. I have never been looked up and down then ignored by a shopkeeper after walking into a business like that.
I wonder if that Post Office lady will feel empowered to treat people of different nationalities like second class citizens after hearing George Brandis state that people have a right to be bigots?

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 10:19pm

Alright , by these standards name one country in the world that isn't rascist.

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 10:23pm

Gday, Yorkes..... You know, mate... I stand by my sentiments from yesterday re' Brandis... His well timed "clumsy" comments along with Abbotts Knighthood spiel are purely smokescreens to get Sinodinis and 1/2 a billion in hospital cuts off the front page... And it has worked brilliantly.....
In regards to bigotry, I also stand by my previous comments..... Goodness, as a son of a german mother who divorced my father when I was at school in the early 70s, I know how cruel people, children in particular, can be.... "Kraut", "Schulz" (Hogans heroes), "nazi"........ Different times the 1970s.... Yeah, bigotry will always exist, even within a race... Northern Ireland comes to mind, as does Sri Lanka and the Tamils.... Here we don't bomb people who disagree.... Bali.......
What the coalition are doing is preying on an inherent weakness in humanity (bigotry), purely for political gain...
All in all, Australians are a good mob...... All in all, Indians are a good mob, but I have heard some horror stories from "white" folk travelling off the beaten track....
In regards to "a right to be bigots"....... As I said yesterday, when it comes to free speech, you have to take the good with the bad..... And I'd rather live in a society where one can identify who is a bigot by them opening their mouths. Because with free speech, I can call them a bigot.... I can argue....... Once you start restricting speech, you don't know where future governments will take it.
Cheers, man...

Sheepdog

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silicun commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 10:34pm

You right Blowin, there are plenty if not the majority of countries in the world where racism exists, some to a lesser degree than Australia and some to a greater degree. Sovereignty in a sense enables it, the majority race will generally feel a level of importance above the 'intruders'. However pointing out the faults of others does not excuse the behaviour, we have to own it and once that is realised we as a country can deal with with it. Denying racism or excusing it because others are dong it to achieves nothing but perpetuates the paradigm. People are inherently good and see beyond race as something that differentiates, just look at how kids deal with each other, race is a device used to suit particular agendas.

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yorkessurfer commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 10:46pm

This article wasn't about other countries blowin, it's about the path Abbot and his merry men are leading this country on.
The politics of fear and division that the Coalition have used so successfully to gain power and to keep their cheer squad on side.
I've read your posts sheepdog and agree with your sentiments, including the disappointment of Labor when in government.
Just not sure why we need to change 18C of the racial discrimination act that has been in place for 18 years including right through the Howard years. All to protect Andrew Bolt/Murdoch from future court action for writing inaccurate and racially offensive articles to appeal to redneck Australian readers.
As for $inodino$, it's funny he stood to make $20million from his alleged dodgy dealings. Craig Thomson was crucified for spending $6000 of union money on whores because he is a weak man who thinks with his dick. Who is the more corrupt?

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silicun commented Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 at 11:25pm

Hehe, its no good pointing fingers, they've all got their snouts in the trough - labor, liberal, nationals and the greens all play in a realm of information that the public are not privy to. They are able to invest, broker deals and make money hand over fist based on corrupt use of this information or what borders so closely on corruption that it should be. And that is the federal and state gov's where pecuniary interests are somewhat dealt with, dont get me started on local gov!!

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Blowin commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 12:44am

Sorry gents I am ( and trying to remain ) blissfully unaware as to who this person Brandis is and what he has done. I'm getting the gist of it but have the eyes and ears firmly shut whilst I am OS. Regarding my post on not having my head in the sand ? Refer once more to the tepid wisdom of Richie Collins.
But from what I can ascertain , I would have to agree with Sheepdog. Smoke and mirrors fellas, AKA the old bait and switch.

Politicians eh ? What sort of person focuses all their energy on trying to control the lives of others ? The sort that needs a kick in the nuts, that's who.

The whole rascist Aussie thing gets me riled because I am regularly served it up as an undeniable fact of life by such cleanskin nationalities as Americans, English and French.

Personally I think they are jealous of our countries prosperity and quality of life, but we can discuss that another time if you so desire.

Hope your getting some waves where ever you are legends.

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uplift commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 8:44am

So, in a nutshell, some facts are emerging. Tones a kook. Yet, he 's our leader. Which makes all Australians bigger kooks than Tone.

And there's not a thing, nada that can be done about it. Complain, and Tone won't even blink, he'll just let his lackies, the Tonettes, deal with you.

In the future Tone may pay for that, but for now, he'll do what he likes. Then, if Tone pays, he's set for life, loaded beyond his wildest dreams anyway. Then, probably Kev, another mighty leader will save us. Kev's the answer. But wait, no, now Tones back, no, Kevs back, no, Tone, no, Kev, no, Tone, no, Kev...

Another emerging fact, we are chimps. No, we are in fact less than chimps, because, we are chimps, that think they aren't chimps. A recipe for disaster. Tones chimps.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 8:51am

Yes uplift it's all just a primate male dominance hierarchy playing out globally with disastrous consequences.!

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uplift commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 8:56am

We gotta get outa here blinder!

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uplift commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 8:58am

I gotta get to work, or Tone will fry me.

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Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:28am

Where are ya gonna go, Uplift? Which utopian country will you choose? ;)
Ps - I like this uplift way better than the other uplift hehehe..... Must be a gemini..... lol

Sheepdog

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:42am

Having lived in the UK and having UK friends here in Australia, one thing I can attest to is the level of "casual racism" in Australia. It is highly pronounced compared to Europe but is more along the lines of casual jokes and "he should be able to take it" statements.

Whether this is the tip of the iceberg on a deep cultural racism or if its really the outpouring of a slightly self-conscious self-deprecating nation unsure of how to deal with our differences I am unsure of BUT when it comes to access to equal opportunity, I would argue that the UK is just as racist as Australia, we just make distasteful jokes about it while the British remain quiet and keep on hiring their whiter colleagues.

I also have ethnic family members and worry about their reception in Australia, particularly the kids in school but aside from general school yard harassment that focuses on any form of difference, they seem to be doing OK, although the same probably wouldn't have been said 15 years ago when I graduated.

All of which is a discussion on racism, which is only one part of Blindboy's piece.

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mickj commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 12:23pm

Given the left-right divide in this debate, does anyone have any thoughts on Therese Rein offloading Ingeus for a reported 9 figures?

Daresay if this was Tony's wife (instead of the ex ALP PM of 6 months ago) banking a similar amount of money there would be screams of outrage about income inequality, privileged positions and exploitation etc, ad infinitum.

In the interests of balance, surely we need to apply the same criteria to wealthy ALP diehards as we do the Coalition.

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 1:51pm

mickj, of course the same criteria should apply to ALL sides of politics in these matters. Refer to my post above. The Therese Rein business is an outrageous scandal she has made millions off a company that gained its government contracts in Australia and abroad secured by her husbands political connections, selling the company that she supposedly divested in when Rudd was elected prime minister. Think about it, she is a millionaire already and stands to make at least $140 mill from the sale, that's about $140,000 per week for the next 20 years if she lives that long. What can a person possibly need that much money for. There are so many examples of this from ALL parties bar perhaps the most insignificant. Meanwhile the right/left divided underclass squabble over things like 'bludgers on welfare', 'refugees coming here and paying no taxes or takin our jobs','getting the budget back in surplus','we dont want a resource tax'. The economy is being rorted blind by ALL sides of politics through ALL levels of government by individuals and corporations. The figures illustrate these arguments for what they are - petty small minded distractions eg Apple taking 9bill in untaxed profits offshore - that is the equivalent of the entire education budget for that time and thats one company, the profits that go offshore from the mining companies is mind boggling yet people still get caught up in the debate over wether or not a resource tax is necessary. Its not until the resource runs out or the industry fails and we are left holding the bag that people are slapped in the face with the reality of the fact that none of these companies or pollies give a shit about anything except their own profits and why would they? Particularly the companies, economics is based around profit taking you cant expect anything less unless the community demands it.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 1:59pm

Silicun - I highly recommend this article in regard to the use of "that much money":

http://www.philosophersmail.com/010214-capitalism-ecclestone.php

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 2:30pm

Cheers mate but im not really sure of the point of the article and I would challenge several of the assertions made particularly the, "what should (she) do with her money" comments.

To a point I dont see a problem with personal wealth but there is a point where it becomes nonsensical in the face of someone else having no money. Its the same as personal rights, for you and I to have the right to bigotry someone else has to be discriminated against, for this woman to enjoy the wealth she has, someone else has to suffer comparably immeasurable poverty.

To argue that this is a product of capitalism is not quite right, it is a product of a flawed system of economics where certain people are able to take advantage of information or opportunities not open to others.

None of this touches on blatant corruption by individuals but also by corporations which do handle fortunes that are significant in comparison to many government budgets. Companies that have grown to such huge proportions that they are invisible, similar to the extreme wealthy. While Bill Gates might be commonly toted as Mr Rich his wealth pales in comparison to the wealth of the Rockafellas or Rothschilds etc in the same sense companies that are commonly known as big monoliths in the mainstream pale in comparison to the size of the Serco's of the world who handle budgets of staggering proportions.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 3:13pm

Hi Silicun this is the key parts of the article for me "Perhaps a lot of the resentment against the rich is really a way of being justifiably angry, not at their money, but at their lack of purpose and imagination. Could a society evolve so that it paid attention not only to the opportunities for making money but also to the expectation that it be spent with equal intelligence and rigour? Arguments in favour of redistribution and against inequality are at least in part complaints about wasted opportunities."

and

"the opportunities should lie in areas where the central government can't or won't take action."

As for the recommendations, they are flippant in title but belie a deeper social need than is encapsulated in the headings "Prevent Rows/Ideal Celebrity Magazine/Spend More Time on the Couch/Make Other People's Houses More Like Yours"

In regards to your comments, very interesting! I'll make a couple of quick comments on the points I disagree with (accepting that I largely agree)

"for this woman to enjoy the wealth she has, someone else has to suffer comparably immeasurable poverty." This is a common misunderstanding, it presupposes a closed loop economy that is restricted in size/activity. However - 1. Money passes through our impressions of value, and our impression of value unlimited. 2 Money is abundant, its one of the most prolific "things" of modern society. 3. Money itself (as a broader concept through time) is unlimited. The way she spends her wealth may not promote equality, but the fact that she has wealth does not lead to a reciprocal poverty elsewhere.

I'd argue that she is a product of capitalism in the sense that an imperfect capitalism is the only form of capitalism humans are capable of invoking. While Terese Rein(?) may be more of a suitable example of people taking advantage of information or opportunities not open to others than the daughter of the founder of F1.

Have to agree with your last para!

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 3:49pm

Ok cool, I understand where you're coming from and agree somewhat with the sentiment that -

"Perhaps a lot of the resentment against the rich is really a way of being justifiably angry, not at their money, but at their lack of purpose and imagination. Could a society evolve so that it paid attention not only to the opportunities for making money but also to the expectation that it be spent with equal intelligence and rigour? Arguments in favour of redistribution and against inequality are at least in part complaints about wasted opportunities."

These comments are incomplete by design and dont offer the remainder of the reasons or arguments ie "Perhaps" a lot of the resentment is simply resentment of inequality perhaps it is resentment of capitalism or consumerism and possibly not resentment or anger at all.

Could a society develop with equal opportunity and intelligent expenditure - this is a good question and perhaps best asking WHAT kind of society could be designed to accommodate these ideals?

The last sentence of this paragraph touches on the point that you make re : a common misunderstanding. Are these sentiments about missed opportunities? Well, as the article suggests, probably in part. However for the vast majority (who wouldnt even bother with the resentment because the issue would be beyond their comprehension as they live now) they simply will never have those opportunities. We do work in a closed loop economy sure it grows/shrinks but at any point there is a finite amount of money in the world divided amongst the population, this is no misconception. To illustrate this you just have to consider the widening gap between the rich and the poor. By the assertions made in this article just the sheer numbers of poor would cause the gap to close as the opportunities available would statistically, by an overwhelming majority, be on the side of the numbers (poor), this is not reflected in the data however and the gap has been widening exponentially.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 4:58pm

Silicun, if we clarified our terms we'd probably be in complete agreeance. But since that leaves no room for unhealthy debate, lets just press on ahead:

"These comments are incomplete by design and dont offer the remainder of the reasons or arguments" which in the quote above the final sentence includes "in part complaints about wasted opportunities" The author is not arguing that this is the whole explanation but in our non-specific rage at the super rich perhaps we've missed our own reasonable frustration in their lack of stewardship of culture, as wealth and leadership has sometimes been in the past - which is something the superwealthy could address quickly without waiting for a renegotiation of our whole economic system.

In regards to money - by essence if the economy can grow, it is not a closed loop. It is a positive game (leaving aside resource depletion) not zero-sum. There is a finite amount of money at any one point in time but if a new widget is developed and the populace find value in it, then new money can be "created" to purchase it and noone has to to go without. When Ecclestone formed F1 in the 1970's (?) the money supply was a fraction of what it is today, in building his company he contributed to monetary and economic expansion and by the time he retired and sold out the pie was many multiples of its original size, so much so that not only did the ecclestones make a fortune, but the general standard of living increased at the same time. We can see in Australia we have an improving standard of living PLUS an increasing gap between rich and poor. Not to excuse/accept this gap but we must be careful to highlight its origins, and it isn't because of an economic zero-sum game.

I believe the increased gap is due to
- Increase in debasement of money allowing concentration of wealth to financial workers and increase in the "making of money from money"
- Broader geographic reach by companies so that we aren't just buying the best products in our region but the whole world is buying the few best international products, period.
- Increasing push from mechanisation and on to "knowledge work" that leaves more and more people unable to keep up.
- Topped off with a lack of adequate redistribution policies to combat the above (as you would agree), without accepting the economy is zero-sum

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 4:04pm

"the fact that she has wealth does not lead to a reciprocal poverty elsewhere."

No, it doesnt lead to reciprocal poverty it requires reciprocal poverty.

"I'd argue that she is a product of capitalism in the sense that an imperfect capitalism is the only form of capitalism humans are capable of invoking"

Im not so sure, perhaps you are right and it cant be achieved in a capitalist society per se but there have been and possible will be in the future societies that exist at a different level of equality. Tavara is a fine example of people taking advantage of information or opportunities. If the young Cambodian girl had the opportunities of inherited wealth or investment information, insider trades etc she too may enjoy the wealth of this woman but those opportunities will never come her way.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 5:09pm

Im not so sure, perhaps you are right and it cant be achieved in a capitalist society per se but there have been and possible will be in the future societies that exist at a different level of equality.

Hopefully, but we are born to conquer nature and each other, as ants must conquer the surroundings of their nest to the best of their ability, its in our genes. This comparative success by humans represents nature winning at its own game - which is in some way natural - The vast unending competition to get, to conquer and to survive. Can we transcend it? Hopefully, but I am not holding my breath.

The only true paradise is paradise lost.

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 7:32pm

I think conquer is the wrong word perhaps, ants is a good analogy, rather than conquer I would argue that ants co exist with the surroundings of their nest and in some instances survive due to symbiotic relationships with other organisms, certainly something that requires greater attention in the human experience. Further ants are social organisms and the success of the colony is dependent on individuals working together rather than conquering each other, it is not as simple as human nature or genetic programming that drives us to compete within our species, I agree there are examples where this may be applied but similar to the ant colony our success as a species has come to a large degree from our social nature. How can we transcend our current lot??? This is the million dollar question and I hope when you have some of the answers that Im around to enjoy them :)

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:18pm

Hi Silicun, we have a thing about nature being in harmony. I started to think a little while back that nature isn't in harmony, each individual species is hell bent on mass reproduction and domination but are physically constrained by the external world and their physiology. Ants would expand the nest to as big as it could be, then split and start another colony too, if the external environment didn't limit them. And then the ability to limit them is simply another species hell bent on the same thing, seeing them as threat or food. The symbiosis exists where there is no threat or opportunity and the ants only won't fight if they are from the same colony. What we see as cohesion is war and what we see as balance is the slow process of one invader driving out another. Where does that leave us? Temporarily the victor in natures battle against itself for itself, but no doubt the will to conquer and the will to survive, that is the core of nature, has a few more tricks up its sleeve for us yet.

Perhaps we will transcend our current lot when life expectancies blow out to 180 years, or when we first start uploading our conscious to super computers, but I am sure the pioneers of the internet were thinking the same thing about a free, global, information network .

I remain optimistic but think we will have to face up to who we are at the level of our very life force before we can get there.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:22pm

mK1 the most common form of symbiotic relationship between species is mutualism where both benefit.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 9:27pm

And is only possible in areas that don't have direct competition?

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 10:14pm

Species do not compete directly as the inevitable outcome of direct competition is the extinction of the less successful. Resource partitioning is the usual way of avoiding this. So species will feed at different times of the day or specialise on different types of food.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 10:56pm

"Species do not compete directly as the inevitable outcome of direct competition is the extinction of the less successful. Resource partitioning is the usual way of avoiding this. So species will feed at different times of the day or specialise on different types of food."

Interesting.

So weaker species will feed at different times for self preservation? Is that harmony or concession? We are currently looking at a small section of the history of species, the others having been already wiped out by competition with the current species in some stage of fighting this?

You seem to know more about this than me, so would you say your point on symbiosis negates my point on natures will to conquer in order to survive, that those who can will?

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 10:49pm

I will respond to your other post but I need more time to think about it and make a considered response mate. In respect to this line of discussion to co exist does not suggest harmony but in a healthy ecosystem a stasis is reached, while populations will boom and bust the overall stasis and the existence of each included species represented can be sustained as long as the sun is shining.

Not all interactions between species can be defined as threat or food which would suggest that there can be examples of harmony in nature. The will to survive does not account for deleterious genes, it doesnt account for symbiotic relationships, its too simplistic to view nature in these terms.

Have you read much on transhumanism? As you suggest there will be some point be it in life expectancy, population growth or resource scarcity that will require a paradigm shift, it would be nice to reach it before crisis.

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mk1 commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 11:12pm

Just saw this, will have to respond in time too. It is a simplistic way of viewing nature (we humans don't kill for no reason, for no favourable outcome) but is it a part of the whole we have been lacking? I should clarify I didn't intend that all interaction is "food or threat" but that species are constrained in as much as other species see them as food or threat (for their own expansion), and that otherwise nature will take the opportunity to expand by force when possible. An interaction may not be dependent on these factors (buffaloes don't eat ticks and birds don't eat buffalo grass)

A little on transhumanism, it seems so far fetched but scarily probable given Moore's Law.

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uplift commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 12:44pm

Not much time to answer now sheepdog. Tones got me humming and strumming along nicely, but, as for utopia, there might be room in Visser's ute.

I'm an Aquarian, but I'm sure with the right connections that could be changed. If you'd like to make a list of the things you'd like me to be, I'll do my best to fulfill them, although they may clash with other lists, and obviously will have to marry up with Tones instructions also. I can do better, farkin promise eh!

Anyway, slats has left quicky, on April fools day, and the chimps are in a fuckin frenzy. Plus, Manu isn't happy with the twins soufle, and the tempertaure's soaring on the block, creating more howling and screeching.

Back to the fray. When is a fucked knee, not a fucked knee, but actually a perfect knee... except ouch! And was it even fucked in the first place? Nah, see mayte I bin doin these farkin... ouch!

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yorkessurfer commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 2:25pm

@mickj- Therese Rein business model was actually set up on the back of John Howard's dismantling and privatising of the Commonwealth Employment Service(CES). Where as once you turned up at the DSS office(Centrelink) to apply for the dole and you would be pointed to a jobs board located next to the counter where jobs available would be pinned up daily. It was hard to claim a benefit if there were jobs you were qualified for pinned to the board.

But Howards' conservitive ideology that private enterprise could always do it better saw parasitic Job Network Providers and Agencies spring up in place of the CES (like Therese Rein's) to skim money off both the job seekers wage and off the government making these useless organisations millions.
You can thank Howard for making Kevin Rudd and his wife Therese Rein so rich mickj!

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mickj commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 4:16pm

Hmmm ... not sure I agree there because there are countless counter arguments as well. E.g. Keating ended centralised wage agreements in 1991 in favour of enterprise bargaining, so are we blaming the ALP for an increasingly casualised and insecure workforce?

I'm guessing not, standard answer is that's usually the fault of the Libs.

Therese Rein, the wife of an ALP PM no less, saw an opportunity (to the loss of job seekers and the govt according to your model) and went for it. I say good on her for taking the risk and she deserves the reward ... but the Left can't say its exploitative, self interest when a Conservative chases profits and growth, but abrogate responsibility for capital accumulation when someone from their own tribe does the same thing.

Consistency is all I'm after.

Cheers,

Mick

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 2:59pm

I agree with your point Y/S and think it needs to be mentioned to understand the problem. Privatisation is not something confined to Liberal governments though, Comm Bank, electricity etc, nor is corruption confined to either or any party. To point out how intertwined these parties are you just have to consider the Sinidinos case, up to his eyeballs with the labor corrupt Obeid, so much for party divisions! And why is Obeid still walking the streets? He has dirt on everyone, he even came out and said as much. Its been mentioned so many times on this thread, 'the strategy of divide and conquer' and my first post is a animation of how this type of politics works. To believe in a party because of an overall ideology is a weak position, surely no one could support one party over another in ALL its policies but this is what people do - defend, 'their' party on every point of policy or corruption wether they support it or not in their heart. I grew up supporting labor by family default as most do, inheriting my political views without really understanding the nature of politics but being indoctrinated into the propaganda. Not until much later in my life have I been able to uncouple myself and understand the nature of 'democracy' as we experience it. Politics has moved further and further away from truly representing the party ideology and truly representing the people in the last 20 or so years.

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Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 4:22pm

Uplift, ya gotta luv politics....... ya gotta luv human nature....... Don't make promises to me mate....... Don't have to...... We're all composted in the long run.....
I have witnessed all sorts of things in life.... Politics......And even at my ripe old age, I continue to be bemused...... I witnessed something today....... Those that happened to be "online" at the time witnessed it too..... A mixture of bemusement, amusement, disappointment, and a steep learning curve all at once..... The glory of the moment....
Its easy to earn respect but when you lose it...its hard to earn back.

Sheepdog

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cosmogizmo commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 10:22pm

Here's my old school friend's comments on this article. Bear in mind he is the son of a Baptist minister.
David Payne
"I have read some rubbish in my day but this article comes close to being the worse. I Laugh at how you left wing jokers get on your high horse and offer know solutions to the real problems we face as a country. What a joke the last government was and thank goodness we have a PM that is prepared to make the tough but right decisions. I am just glad that labour and to a larger degree the lunatic greens are starting to loose ground. Wake up to your self buddy or do us all a favour and find yourself a nice little como state to live in like north korai"

How do I respond to this sort of blinkered viewpoint? It's exasperating to even know where to start! All I can imagine is that he no longer follows the Christian values his father drummed into him while we were at school. I mean..como?(sic)...really? For suggesting that travelling surfers of Tony's generation would have developed empathy through their emersion in other cultures? This is why the left side of politics is quiet, because we're dumbstruck by the degree of ignorance that gets airtime to the point of becoming acceptable belief and behaviour. How can reason be heard over close-minded jingoism?

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silicun commented Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 at 11:40pm

The best way to respond to jingoism is to ask them to explain their position. As you pointed out there is no reasoning with jingoism and the starting point has to come from a reasoned position. Then take it from there and each time that the conversation degenerates into slurs or jingo try to steer it back to reason debate, force him to back his argument.

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cb52ster commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 7:08am

Great article.

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Shatner'sBassoon commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 3:46pm

"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."

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Shatner'sBassoon commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 3:47pm

apparently said by a John Stuart Mill...

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Shatner'sBassoon commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:35pm

probably a greens voting , uni educated, dole bludging commie...

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Blowin commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 5:45pm

Couldn't help myself. Found out who this Sinodinos fella is. I can see why the prime minister still has full confidence in the guy. Completely honourable individual. Not.

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old-dog commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 6:22pm

@ mickj sorry for the delay ,just got back from the desert. While I fully respect your right to be a conservative I cant for the life of me understand how a working class battler can vote for a born to privilege elitist party who so blatantly favor their own over the great unwashed. They hate the working class with a passion and are desperate to drive low wages even lower by bringing in cheap labor from O.S. They couldn't give a rats tossbag about manufacturing workers ,they don't vote for these clowns anyway. Work choices aint dead its Abbotts Holy Grail.
Their so called direct action policy to lower emissions is just a way to transfer billions of tax payer bucks to the big end of town, what a joke . I could go on and on but the bottom line to anyone smart enough to see through their spin is this:
If you truly believe that the Extremely rich aren't rich enough and the poor aren't yet poor enough then by all means vote for Tony Abbott. Afuckingmen.

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Shatner'sBassoon commented Thursday, 3 Apr 2014 at 6:53pm

Agreed, they're a weird mob...call 'em what you will:

The self-loathing working classes...working-class tories...turkeys voting for christmas...Howard's 'aspirationals'...John Winston's 'battlers'...the under-educated & over-mortgaged...the rugged, 'up-by-the-bootstraps' individualists...the me first & the gimme gimme brigade...grubby subbies etc etc etc
All singing from the same songbook, "the working class can kiss my arse, I've got the foreman's job at last!"

Get this maaaaates, TONY ABBOTT AND HIS GANG HATE YOU!

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blindboy commented Sunday, 27 Apr 2014 at 7:56pm
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Mr Vic commented Friday, 2 May 2014 at 7:31pm

blindboy wrote: I couldn't resist posting this.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/140423/11-ways-prime-mi...

great read, and great article.

I have been living overseas for a few years, and I can tell you that from an international perspective, this government is a complete embarrassment to our nation. Whilst most of the developed world is placing sustainability as a top priority on their agendas, we are making huge and rapid steps backwards and believe me the world is noticing.

I also find it quite disturbing that sometimes those who make a stand for environmental issues are cut down and labelled as 'greenies'. There is nothing wrong with looking for economic growth whilst keeping an environmental agenda and I have seen many examples of this being encouraged by governments.

You don't have to be a tree hugging socialist to care about the environment. I truly hope that we can move on and future Australian governments realise that this behaviour is not accepted in the developed world anymore. The world is changing and if don't adapt with it, we will be left behind and look like a bunch of conservative muppets from the 1950's