Australian Politics, Mark II


#5505

I’ve spent way too much time trying to determine why they would waste their time photoshopping his shoes. Are his shoes really expensive and would subtract from his ‘man-of-the-people’ persona?? or was it done intentionally to give him some potentially viral publicity which would only highlight his PR driven crusade to appear as “dinky-di Scotty from the pub”? Or were his clean, pure white lace up plimsolls a subtle dog whistle to the racist conservatives and neo-nazis whose votes he so desperately needs?


#5506

From the Shire, not the pub.

Or the Hillsong “church” in the Shire, Go Sharkies!


#5507

I still wear them.


#5508

Fair dinkum cob, the bloke’s a right wag. Strewth!


#5509

If they were Romes I’d feel just a little less repulsed by this profit churchy, but they’re not. K Swisse. I was an Adidas Campus admirer myself, but the parental budget was more Lightfoots range.


#5510

Australian conservatism

Richard Cooke

Scott Morrison deserves some praise for his response to neo-Nazis but the bar has been set low

Far-right and anti-racism demonstrators rally at Melbourne’s St Kilda beach

“The same people always claiming that ‘everything is racist now’ seem to have decided that nothing is, not even Roman salutes.”

The St Kilda rally isn’t an aberration. It is the natural conclusion of the moral and intellectual collapse of Australian conservatism.

Scott Morrison deserves some praise. It’s not often a half-hearted condemnation of neo-Nazis deserves plaudits, but achievement is relative – among Australian conservatives, unequivocal criticism of the far right now puts you well ahead of the pack. That’s about the lowest bar that you can set, but rather than stepping over it, much of the commentariat takes it as an invitation to a limbo contest. The same people always claiming that “everything is racist now” seem to have decided that nothing is, not even Roman salutes.

Miranda Devine thought the anger over a sitting Australian senator appearing alongside neo-Nazis was all a beat-up, and that the real outrage should be reserved for Chloe and Bill Shorten attending Mardi Gras, “a similarly boutique event”, on the tax-payer coin. “Maybe everyone at that rally in St Kilda was a Nazi,” she wrote in the Daily Telegraph, “but chances are that many were just Australians who feel powerless to protect themselves from Melbourne’s violent car-jacking and home invasions, and who are sick of soft, politically correct policing.”

The former IPA man Sinclair Davidson was also on hypocrisy watch, noting that Tony Abbott himself spoke at protests where “participants got over-excited”.

Many of the “over-excited” at St Kilda beach seemed to be sporting prison facial tattoos, or outlaw bikie club insignia, so it was already hard to paint them as a rag-tag Neighbourhood Watch. The real give-away, though, was the speakers. If it was all about home invasions, why choose a convicted, jailed home invader as the key note? (Unless, of course, “our” criminals are different from Them).

Nevertheless, underneath these repugnant excuses is something important: Devine and Davidson are right. The dividing line between the right and far-right in Australia isn’t one of substance, it is one of style. They are not the exception, but the rule.

We are long past the point of asking “how did this happen?”, when an Australian politician pals around with neo-Nazis. The pertinent question instead is “which one?” Senator Fraser Anning’s appearance on the weekendwas egregious, but it is hardly isolated, unique, or unexpected.

It is not even the the first time he had addressed a neo-Nazi rally: that was in October 2018 in Brisbane, at an event that billed itself as part of “LibertyFest” conference. Blair Cottrell attended the conference at which Senators James Paterson, Amanda Stoker and the MPs George Christensen and Craig Kelly all spoke. The MPs said they were not aware of the rally.

It’s true that any station built around the charisma of Paul Murray doesn’t have a great talent pool to draw from, but even for them, Cottrell was a bridge too far. But it wasn’t many bridges too far, was it. Because along with the Liberal Party, the Murdoch press, and almost every other major right-wing institution in Australia, Sky helped pour the concrete, set the girders, lay the tarmac and hammer the rivets. It can hardly pretend shock when someone finally cuts the ribbon, as if this was the first manufactured racial panic to get out of control.

Like many things that make the news, the only truly exceptional element from the St Kilda rally was the footage. Otherwise, it was almost routine. George Christensen appeared at a Reclaim Australia rally, and guested on the kind of alt-right podcast which advertises itself with imagery of gas chamber ovens.

The Canadian “identitarian” Lauren Southern got a red carpet treatment from the Murdoch media, but her chosen security detail was drawn from Cottrell’s neo-Nazis gang as well.

Pauline Hanson invited Southern to a rain-checked dinner at Parliament House, then followed up with a motion endorsing an alt-right slogan, which nearly passed the Senate on Coalition votes. I wrote last year about Quadrant magazine’s approving noises for the Holocaust denier Tomislav Sunić, and any time you think these people have reached rock bottom, they drill for the molten core: Dr Sunić was lately a special guest of the NSW Parliament, and addressed members of the Young Liberals at a soiree afterwards.

At what point does guilt by association just become … association? This isn’t some series of repeat lapsed judgements. It is a real ideological affiliation, the end-stage of the racist disease course that has afflicted Australian conservatism for decades.

This is why Scott Morrison can attack the gestures on display on the weekend, but he can’t attack the sentiments: because they’re shared by people on his front bench. “I have repeatedly asked of the crime-plagued Sudanese in particular: who let them in?” asked Andrew Bolt, and that’s the loudest voice on the Australian right.

It’s true that not every local conservative is like this. But the exceptions are marginal, or powerless, or paralysed, or can’t seem to wrest the megaphone away from the bigoted.

The left-wing caricature of the right-wing is that their ideas are just a series of shoddy disguises for sexism, racism and homophobia, that conservatism is the natural home of “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”, to quote the federal minister for women, Kelly O’Dwyer.

Who can say, here, that this wrong, when so many are determined to prove it? Where else, in the English-speaking world, is still having controversies over Sambo drawings in the 21st century? If recent years are anything to go by, the difference between the right and the far-right in Australia isn’t some ideological gulf. Too often, it’s what people are willing to say after they’ve had two beers.


#5511

The word is that the Liberals are going to parachute Peta Credlin into the Mallee election.
Hopefully, hopefully, the local independent will get up, a chance made a lot easier if the Libs and Nats don’t preference each other.
But by gosh, I’d be embarrassed if Credlin were to be elected.


#5512

Australian does not recognise Palestine as a country, yet we play soccer against them at the Asian Cup. I don’t get it !


#5513

Won’t be getting my vote.


#5514

Lots of people have guns in the Mallee electorate.

John Ruddick had an article in the Age praising her to high heaven.

I too hope that an independent wins Mallee.


#5515

Would be a real shame to finally be rid of the mallee rooter, and then replace it with her.


#5516

For those who want to lose their lunch. This is an article in Saturday’s Age by John Ruddick (is he a relo of Phil’s?)

On December 18, the member for the federal seat of Mallee, Andrew Broad, announced his retirement. Immediately, the name Peta Credlin appeared towards the end of reports on who will replace him.

Most assumed it would be a National Party member. Since its creation in 1949 Mallee has had just four members – all Nats. But the Coalition agreement permits both parties to contest a vacant seat and unlike NSW, the Victorian Liberals exercise that option. If Credlin took the seat, it would re-energise a dispirited conservative movement. She would be the “great right hope”.

Peta Credlin, former chief of staff for Tony Abbott, is considered by some in the Liberal Party as its ‘great right hope’.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

Credlin has fierce critics but great leaders do. It strengthens them. Attacks on Credlin the political staffer were vague and just another front in the campaign to bring down her boss, Tony Abbott. The slights against her at that time are cancelled out by the electoral scoreboard. She was chief of staff to an opposition leader who was derided as unelectable. Within a year, Credlin played a leading role in helping Abbott almost defeat a first-term government, which hadn’t happened since 1931.

Indeed, Abbott morally won in 2010 but lost thanks to two ex-Nat independents who betrayed their electorates. At the next election Abbott crushed Labor and in his victory speech he thanked Credlin above all other politicos.

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Before the disastrous 2015 coup that cost her boss his job, Credlin was unwillingly in the headlines but barely anyone outside Canberra had even heard her voice. She was a mystery to most but since then she has catapulted to stardom in print, on television and at Liberal Party functions. I know a lot of party members and cannot think of any active Liberal identity who is more lionised. The conservative minority on Twitter erupted with jubilation at the prospect of Peta MP. Many felt certain it would soon morph into Peta PM.

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Credlin was born in, and spent half her childhood in, Wycheproof (central Mallee) but her family ties to the area go back to the mid-19th century, making the Credlins some of the first non-Aboriginal settlers.

The day after Broad’s resignation Mildura’s Sunraysia Daily reported the “president of the Mildura Liberal branch, Russell Lamattina, said Ms Credlin could attract more national attention to the contest for Mallee’’. Mr Lamattina went on to say: ''No one has tried to get in touch with her because we don’t know how to”.

Normally preselection candidates are immediately badgering branch presidents but Credlin wasn’t. Supporters were deflated.

That evening John Howard held his Christmas Party. Abbott was overheard speaking and the next day the Herald reported: “Another partygoer informed us Abbott was in full praise of former chief of staff Peta Credlin, who he suggested should have a shot at Mallee.” Now we had hope.

On New Years’ Eve one of the biggest names in British media, Piers Morgan, stumbled across a Credlin video and tweeted to his 6.5 million followers, “Can we make this Aussie newsreader our PM with immediate effect?” High praise from an independent observer.

But still, silence from Credlin. Then on January 1, the summer host on her Sky News show, Peter Glesson, mentioned he’d spoken to Credlin and “she’s apparently being inundated with comments from others and text messages. She’s actually in the UK and thinks it’s hilarious.” Supporters would have preferred she was seen having a beer in Mildura. Again, hope was fading.

But on January 3, Jennifer Bechwati - until recently a colleague of Credlin at Sky - reported on Seven News: ‘‘Credlin is being encouraged to run for the Liberals. She’s getting lots of calls on Mallee but at the moment she’s enjoying her holiday.”

The next day in the Herald there was a contribution from the outgoing member for Mallee. Broad said: “Usually the better candidate wins in a contest between the Coalition partners. If the Liberals put a Peta Credlin up, they’ll be in with a red-hot shot.” Nats wouldn’t have appreciated his candour.

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On January 7, Aaron Patrick reported in The Australian Financial Review: “Liberal Party officials are eager to recruit Ms Credlin, who they believe could wrestle the rural-based seat from the Nationals’ grip. Sources who know the former top aide to Tony Abbott say she is likely to run if the Nationals choose a weak candidate.”

This line sets up the narrative that if Credlin nominates she is effectively declaring the Nat a dud. Broad was only 43 and rising in Canberra, so there could not have been ambitious Nats angling for the seat.

Credlin is apparently waiting to see who the Nats preselect. If she nominates for Liberal preselection, who would run against this Amazonian? Likely no-one because, unlike in NSW, the Liberals in Victoria are democratic and all local members vote for candidates, which disempowers factional creeps.

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When her boss lost his job in 2015 it must have been a crushing blow, but Credlin picked herself up and immediately excelled in another cut-throat industry – the news media. She seems to relish it.

I barely know her, but my sense is that her passion is legislating sound policy. Anyway, so many politicians are so bland. Peta Credlin would be anything but. She could be the “Margaret Thatcher Down Under”. Do it, Peta!

John Ruddick is the author of Make the Liberal Party Great Again.


#5517

Piers Morgan gives her the tick of approval, which is pretty ■■■■■■■ damning.


#5518

That’s all you need to know about him.

He wants a firebrand in the party, totally oblivious to the fact this is electoral poison.


#5519

Not in the Mallee , she wouldn’t be.
I’ve half a mind to throw my name in myself, just to mess up the preference flows a bit.


#5520

Problem is that most of the other candidates only have half a mind too.


#5521

Winning already!
It’s only a thousand bucks, as far as I can see…


#5522

With a name like Peta she may get some of the Animal Justice votes


#5523


#5524

Noonan trying to get into Don Dunstan’s pants! Wait, what?