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81 responses to “How low will they go?”

  1. Lefty E

    Thats funny, back when I studied constitutional law, crime was a State govt responsbility.

    Isnt there an LNP state government in NSW?

  2. David Irving (no relation)

    Brian, I think Big George and The Australian parted company a while ago (although, as I don’t read the wretched thing, I may be mistaken).

  3. Tim Macknay

    Just what I was thinking, Lefty E. Why on earth would Federal Labor want to make the NSW Liberal Government’s problems its own? The LNP are certainly leading a race to the bottom, but it seems that (once again), Federal Labor has handed them a cricket bat and said “hit me”.

  4. BilB

    Federal gov does across border policing. This might be the target here. Across border weapons access, etc.

  5. paul burns

    Crime is out of control in Abbott’s office as well with one of his senior staffers threatening to cut the throat of a lobbyist with whom he apparently disagreed, once the Libs are in power. With mentalities like this surrounding him it looks like Abbott is planning to be downright thuggish once he gets into office.
    The ducking and weaving over the incident also demonstrate the Libs intend to continue with the same kind of Howardian sophistry we saw under Abbott’s lying little mentor. (Silly of us ever to expect Gillard could ever lie with such elan.) And this distortion of West Sydney crime rates with refugee policy is of a similar trope.
    (I thought Scott Morrison was a Catholic. :) )

  6. Tim Macknay

    Brian, I have no doubt the policy is a legitimate one, and the LNP ad blatantly dishonest.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair on Federal Labor in assuming that making a law-and-order announcement in Western Sydney pretty much invites the kind of confusion that the LNP ad is playing on.

    I do wish, though, that Federal Labor would get over the Western Sydney thing.

  7. Golly Gosh

    I think those who oppose the current policy settings need to indicate what policies they prefer. If these policies are more favorable to asylum seekers, at a time when:

    (a) other countries are clamping down on asylum seekers and

    (b) the pool of potential asylum seekers runs into the tens of millions

    the change proponents need explain how an exodus of people from the world’s trouble spots to Australia could be managed.

    A good starting point might be to think about the 200,000 to 400,000 Vietnamese who died at sea while fleeing Communism after the fall of the South in the 1970s.

    I accept that the detention centres in which we currently house people are inhumane but I remain to be convinced that there is a better option.

  8. Lefty E

    I do wish, though, that Federal Labor would get over the Western Sydney thing.

    Lord yes. Take your focus group in Lindsay and shove it. Its brought you nothing but pain and failure anyway.

    I dont recall Rudd doing it in 2007 (certainly the 2007 asylum seeker policy wasnt road tested there) and oh look: that was the only Federal election the ALP won outright in the last 20 years.

  9. Tim Macknay


    Crime is out of control in Abbott’s office as well with one of his senior staffers threatening to cut the throat of a lobbyist with whom he apparently disagreed, once the Libs are in power.

    Abbott has now denied that his staffer said this. Peter Van Onselen, who reported it, has also said that the staffer who made the comment offered to be a confidential source if he kept q

  10. Tim Macknay

    …uiet about it. *typing fail*

  11. Chris

    Paul @ 6 – I’m not excusing the comments as I think the language is unacceptable, but according to news reports I’ve read he threatened to cut the throat of the funding of the organisation, not the actual person.

  12. paul burns

    Tim Macknay @ 10 & 11,
    As Mandy Rice-Davies once famously said, “well, he would, wouldn’t he?”
    On refugees.
    I’ve always been under the impression despite the enormous fuss being made about boat-people, illegal refugees and various other misnomers, that, in comparison to Europe and North America, Australia’s refugee problem of hordes descending on our borders etc is in fact miniscule. Which is one of the more pragmatic arguments for us having a humane refugee problem, rather than the concentration czamp type disgrace we have now.
    We did do it with the Vietnamese. Why can’t we do it with the refugees from various places currently struggling to reach our shores?
    Psychologically, we have, being at the bottom of the world always feared the French, Russians, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, North Koreans, Indonesians Communist Vietnamese, and now assorted Muslims from everywhere and the Tamils are all wanting to land here and take over Sydney, Brisbane, even Hobart. Even the bloody desert etc. But, you know, they never do, in fact never even want to. Not even the Japanese during WW2. You’d think we’d learn something from history. Peace of mind at least?

  13. paul burns

    Chris @ 12,
    I read it the other way. I think I was just so shocked it was said at all.

  14. Clifford Smith

    Pretty sure crime in western Sydney is occurring under the Liberals, but whatever…

  15. jules

    Once again Scott Morrison has shown himself to be lower than a Westboro baptist and festier than mouldy dog poo. What a scumbag. If the opposition wins the next few years are gonna be disgusting.

    anyway…

    How is announcing a policy of nationalising fascist bullshit tantamount to giving a cricket bat to the opposition and saying “hit me” wrt to crime?

    Isn’t the liberal ad an enormous invitation to hit them over the head, basically cos its total rubbish. Not only rubbish, its divisive and racist. Why is this even acceptable? if the ALP had any brains they’d hammer the opposition for this cos its one of things where they’ve gone “too far”. Its not enough to point out lower crime rates, what about a failure to understand how Federation works.

    Some of you lot are sounding like News ltd, and have been brainwashed into automatically spinning anything our current government does in a negative light that suits the opposition.

    While that is understandable given the current state of our media you should stop.

    The opposition is one non stop garbage factory and no one ever questions any of it. At least this post has to a degree (cheers brian).

  16. jules

    Threatening to “cut the throat” of anything when you’re a conservative politician in Qld talking to an indigenous person is telling. Especially given its an unprovoked attack.

    I love how Abbott reckons this matter is “now ended”. Why? if it were an ALP stooge who did it he’d be all over it for weeks.

    Plus we now have a claim that an Abbott govt will be cutting funding to Indigenous people. Hopefully that means an end to the dodgy aspects intervention but probably it’ll mean sending them to Christmas island then back to wherever they came from.

  17. Salient Green
  18. Tim Macknay


    Some of you lot are sounding like News ltd, and have been brainwashed into automatically spinning anything our current government does in a negative light that suits the opposition.

    Settle down, old son.

  19. Golly Gosh

    SG @18

    That plan is not a solution, it would in fact Australia the world’s most attractive option for asylum seekers.

    Jules @16: “Once again Scott Morrison has shown himself to be lower than a Westboro baptist and festier than mouldy dog poo. What a scumbag. If the opposition wins the next few years are gonna be disgusting… fascist bullshit.”

    I thought this site was supposed to a mature and adult place.

    Can we keep the potty mouthed trolls confined to Cat@llaxy where they belong.

  20. Golly Gosh

    SG @18

    That plan is not a solution, it would in fact Australia the world’s most attractive option for asylum seekers.

  21. jules

    Its not just you Tim, I’ve noticed it in these comments from plenty of people. In the comment threads here and elsewhere in RL and online.

    Its like a race to see who can spin it the worse the quickest. The ad is stupid and without the unhinging we’ve seen over the last few years there is no way an Australian political party in its right mind would try something like that. (Apparently most of the reaction to it has been negative and critical. Which is good.)

    The real questions surrounding Gillard’s announcement in western Sydney are along the lines of “Do we need this?” and “Really? cos I don’t believe you.” There’s no way the Libs of right now would agree to a non authoritarian stand on crime so they won’t be asking those questions.

    But anyway … don’t be in such a hurry to see how everything benefits the opposition. i know thats the national “zeitgeist’ right now, but there’s no law saying we all have to do it.

  22. akn

    When I worked in child protection we had a lot of reports of child sex abuse, some confirmed, among South Coast Pentacostalists from the Shire down to Nowra. The usual lantern jawed muscular Christians who turn out to be child abusers. Worth watching over time.

  23. Salient Green

    GG, sorry for being too subtle. I thought I was setting a good example by doing the search myself, with the clue of what to search for being in the link, with the added gentle suggestion for further reading in “Try this for starters”. There is a wealth of information out there on how Australia could do it better starting with being less punitive.
    Now, those who are still afraid of being swamped by hoards of refugees are the biggest roadblock to effective policy because this fear makes them deaf to all other solutions, as well as facts such as that refugees make up only a tenth of all newcomers to this country.

  24. Golly Gosh

    SG @24:

    “GG, sorry for being too subtle.”

    There is nothing subtle about misdirection.

    “There is a wealth of information out there on how … ”

    If this bounty truly exists, why the coyness? Show us what you’ve got and I promise I’ll respect your confidentially ;)

  25. jules

    GG It was an intelligent argument, thoughtfully constructed and eloquently articulated.

    Lets buy into the spurious horse doo doo and assume that saving lives genuinely is a big part of the “Stop the Boats” hue and cry. If so, and an independentish group found the “best” way was that Malaysia “solution”, (a final one allegedly), then voting against it clearly meant that stopping the boats wasn’t the coalitions primary aim. Obviously they were happy to enable the continued flow of boats into Australia and use that flow and any deaths that might result for their own political gain.

    Morrison is their spokesperson on this issue. As bad as the Gillard Govt’s gutless capitulation was, coalition refugee policy was and still is worse. And, as his plan to exploit anti Muslim feeling shows Morrison has shown he will play any card in chasing power. He’s happy to exploit fear and prejudice against a demographic so marginalised they are powerless in our society, even tho all they’re doing is asking for our help. He obviously decided voting against the govt, and the consequences of that decision, which include drowned children, was worth it for a bit of political pressure on the government.

    In light of that I think my comment was accurate and fair, if a little understated.

    And what part of anti gang laws do you agree with btw? The unconstitutional bit that ends freedom of association, the bit that enables nationwide seizure laws with the reversal of the onus of proof or the bit that enables individuals to be targeted for search without the need to demonstrate reasonable suspicion?

  26. David Irving (no relation)

    Fuck me dead! Mega’s last piece for that vile rag is behind the paywall.

  27. Salient Green

    GG, your trouble is that your fear is misplaced. You fear a measly 20,000 or so asylum seekers coming here each year when you should be fearing the hoards coming here that represent our total immigration policy. I do. A city bigger than Cairns is added to Australia’s population via our total immigration intake each year.
    You think, like many others, that by treating asylum seekers like shit you will stop them coming. You are all wrong. But you don’t want to accept that and you can read all the links on the web written by humane, educated and wise people about what needs to be done but you won’t change your thinking until you want to.

  28. Golly Gosh

    Salient Green @ 32:

    Nope, I live in the real world. I’m not interested in witnessing displays of conspicuous compassion.

    The ineluctable truth is that none of your ” humane, educated and wise people” have been able to show how Australia adopting an open borders policy at the same time as the rest of the western world tighten its borders won’t create a mass exodus al a the Fall of Saigon with the ensuing deaths at sea (200,000 – 400,000 in that case) and the creation of parasitic crop of pirates who steal and rape and murder.

    Give me a real world solution that is humane and compassionate but doesn’t cause any disastrous unintended consequences and I’ll listen. Failing that, my advice is be mature enough to accept that politicians have to make hard decisions.

  29. Helen

    DI (NR): To get around the News Ltd paywall, grab a couple of sentences of the teaser paragraph on the login page and paste into a Google search. Click on the link to the article which comes up and you will be able to view the whole thing.

  30. zoot

    The ineluctable truth is that none of your ” humane, educated and wise people” have been able to show how Australia adopting an open borders policy …

    I don’t believe anybody is proposing an “open borders” policy. You obviously have evidence which can demonstrate I am wrong?

  31. jules

    GG @ 33 as opposed to an inhumane and brutal solution that doesn’t cause any disastrous unintended consequences?

    Conspicuous Compassion sounds like the sort of name a nasty jackass trying to justify behaving like a jerk would come up with. Its the sort of thing I expect from some right wing libertarian type trying to justify their selfish, inconsiderate behaviour

    That sort of person would probably think something like multiculturalism was poor or poverty stricken some other rubbish and basically try and hide behaving like that in newer language that tries to justify xenophobic fear mongering as some sort of intelligent something. As some guy once said, its “verbal refuse” like “conspicuous compassion” (as opposed to the sort you can’t see cos it isn’t there) or “the poverty of multiculturalism” that need to be sent “into the dustbin, where it belongs. ”

    Just to be clear, we can’t make decisions for other people, or interfere in other jurisdictions. We can choose not to behave like brutal thugs when people ask for help. You can also choose what you like as far as refos go but be honest about it and don’t hide behind someone else’s weasel words.

  32. David

    Jules: If L e f t i s t policies are appealing, why did Thatcher and Reagan defeat you lot in the 1980s?

  33. Golly Gosh

    Jules @36:

    You keep telling us Australia is a viciously racist country with a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation. It would be inhumane to permit asylum seekers to live under such conditions.

    Just out of interest, would you grant citizenship or PR status to economic refugees as well as bonafide asylum seekers who lobbed up on Oz shores?

  34. FDB

    GG – “economic refugees” are unlikely to spend tens of grands on a spot on a leaky fishing boat. They can get on a plane for a fraction of the cost and little to no risk of drowning.

  35. FDB

    To answer your question though – anyone arriving by boat who doesn’t even claim asylum out to be treated just like those who come by plane with no visa or overstay.

  36. Golly Gosh

    FDB @40:

    That would be a disaster as it would induce potentially hundreds of thousands of people to attempt to get here by boat, cause countless deaths at sea, lead to a resurgence of the post Fall of Saigon piracy problem and also seriously peeve our northern neighbours who would have to deal with much of the fallout.

    No government will institute such a policy. Discrimination against boat arrivals will remain. It is tough but it is realpolitik and paradoxically, the most compassionate option.

  37. FDB

    I don’t think you read what I wrote.

    Those who come by ANY means without a valid visa and don’t claim asylum should all be treated the same – i.e. deported at their own expense.

  38. FDB

    Conversely those who come by ANY means and DO claim asylum should all be treated the same – once their identity is established and claim submitted for evaluation, they should be released into the community pending a decision on their case, and given the opportunity to lead some semblance of a life for as long as the uncertainty lasts.

  39. David Irving (no relation)

    Thanks, Brian and Helen – the ggogle trick did work. I’ve heard of it before, but Mega’s last column is one of the few things in the Oz I’ve wanted to read recently.

  40. Golly Gosh

    FDB @43

    There is nobody stopping you running a senate ticket as a single issue candidate with that proposal. I’m sure Jules would be happy to be on the ticket. I mean, it’s not like this is simply an exercise in conspicuous compassion, is it? Jules has already assured me that you guys are bleeding over this issue. Heck, if you demonstrate your sincerity by running a ticket I’ll donate 50 bucks to the campaign as a goodwill gesture.

    Maybe you could sit alongside Nick “No Pokies” Xenophon in the next parliement ;)

  41. FDB

    GG – you have repeatedly claimed that a more compassionate treatment of people arriving here by boat hasn’t been articulated, and that any such treatment would result in border pandemonium.

    Now that I’ve articulated one, you ask me to take it to an election.

    Dude, I’m just some guy on the internet.

    As some other guy on the internet, would you like to comment on my proposal? Do you have anything to say about it, beyond the tripe you’ve offered?

    Why would it result in “open borders”?

    Who would lose out from it?

    Who would gain?

    These are your questions to answer, as a blog commenter – I have assigned them as your peer. Let elections not come into it.

  42. jules

    Jules: If L e f t i s t policies are appealing, why did Thatcher and Reagan defeat you lot in the 1980s?

    At what? What are you talking about? Chavez is so popular he still wins elections after he is dead.

    Ohh i get it … if you think not paying dodgy and incompetent foreign security organisations excessive amounts of taxpayer dollars to stuff up consistantly is a L e f t i s t policy then we clearly have different definitions of what those letters mean.

    GG Thats quite funny.

    As far as “economic refugees” go … I don’t think skilled migration is a terrible thing – it seems to work ok. We have a visa process that seems to enable skilled migration quite successfully.

    I am yet to be convinced that economic refugees arrive here in large proportions by boat tho.

    The reason people wish to come to Australia is because we have (well had) a reputation as a free and tolerant society. And to a fair extent (despite ridiculous changes to law over the last decade or so) that is true at the moment.

  43. jules

    In comparison to our reasonably free and open society, people arriving from a country like Sri Lanka are escaping a place where a reporter for a Sunday paper can write their own obituary on a Thursday or Friday, naming the Govt as their killer and have it published in the Sunday edition as a genuine and accurate obituary. (Something whinging crybabies like Andrew Bolt would do well to reflect on.)

  44. Golly Gosh

    FDB @39
    Jules @48

    Go to 05:30 on this Dateline program about asylum seekers from Sri Lanka. The interviewed prospective (and failed) asylum seekers state very clearly that they are economic refugees. Some of them claim that on arrival in Australia they will be given jobs and accommodation and various bags of money. Some expect to get a mere 16,000 rupees while others expect to get 60,000 to 100,000 rupees from the Australian government

    Don’t you guys read or watch current affairs reports? This news is old hat.

  45. jules

    The interviewed prospective (and failed) asylum seekers state very clearly that they are economic refugees.

    If they’re failed refugees whats the problem?

    However did you miss the bit about internal refugee camps being shut down and denied food? How is someone who is escaping that an economic refugee? Did you miss the UN criticising Sri Lanka 6 weeks ago for ongoing human rights violations (one of which appears to be starving their own population)?

    They are the same as every other refugee displaced by war or famine or disaster, and of course those people who are displaced by those things can be called “economic refugees” but its a bullshit distinction – anyone escaping a war etc is also an economic refugee by definition. They’re looking for a better life etc etc – everyone in every refugee camp in the world is an economic refugee for the same reasons.

  46. Helen

    Yes, because economic refugees commonly sell all their assets and move to a foreign country with only the clothes they stand up in, knowing they will need to overcome a language barrier.

  47. Golly Gosh

    Helen @51:

    Yes, Helen, that is exactly what they do. Millions of poor Europeans sold everything they had to buy a ticket on a ship to America, arriving with nothing but the clothes on their back. Haven’t any of you guys ever picked a history book or watched a doco on the immigrant experience?

  48. paul burns

    GG@ 52,
    Re migrants to America –
    English/Scots – fled from religious persecution.
    Palatines, refugees from the Thirty Years War.
    Irish – refugees from the Great Famine and British oppression and religious persecution
    Russian Jewry – refugees from 19/20C pogroms.
    Now that’s just off the top of my head without looking at any books.

  49. Golly Gosh
  50. Helen

    Yes, Helen, that is exactly what they do. Millions of poor Europeans sold everything they had to buy a ticket on a ship to America, arriving with nothing but the clothes on their back. Haven’t any of you guys ever picked a history book or watched a doco on the immigrant experience?

    And what else was happening at the time, G-G/
    That’s right: War and genocide.
    Similar to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.
    It may be impossible for your ethnocentric head to wrap around this one, but when people are living prosperously and safely, they actually prefer to live in the country where they grew up and where their social and familial links are. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it.

  51. Golly Gosh

    The claim that Scot and English migrants to the US were mostly fleeing religious persecution is also risible.

  52. Helen

    So, G-G, you think economic migrants prefer to risk their lives and suffer untold months / years in refugee camps rather than fly here in comfort on a tourist or business visa and then overstay? And presumably you have no faith in the screening process? We are talking about claiming asylum, after all.

  53. Golly Gosh

    Helen @55:

    The comments policy forbids “imputing ideas or motives to others or stereotyping them because of perceived group membership or ideological affiliation.”

    Your accusation of ethnocentricity is clearly a breach of the policy.

  54. Matt in the Springs

    GG- have you been to Sri Lanka? Do you understand what life is like there (still) for someone of Tamil origin ( in both a day to day sense as well as in general as a member of that community)? If not then to try to say that anyone fleeing from Sri Lanka is merely an economic refugee is what’s risible in these comments.

    And to add to Jules’ comment earlier the editor who penned his own obituary was Sinhalese (i.e. not Tamil, if that could happen to him imagine what they might to to someone they thought was an LTTE sympathiser). For those interested you can read it here: http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090111/editorial-.htm

  55. Helen

    Oh, well done, G-G. Perhaps you could cease imputing sinister motives to asylum seekers on the basis of their perceived group membership.

    You seem to have developed a perfect theory whereby no one can ever be an asylum seeker because there have been migrants in the past. Like Zeno’s paradox, it’s a perfect little closed argument, but not terribly useful in reality, and I can’t waste any more time on it; you’re not going to be convinced anyway.

  56. Helen

    Matt in the Springs, I have a friend from Sri Lanka from a similar background. I won’t say what branch of the media he was in to avoid identifying him. For the first four years or so here he lived in a house in Brooklyn (possibly the dreariest suburb in Melbourne) with a front door which was swollen shut and which the landlord didn’t fix. Economic migrant my arse.

  57. Golly Gosh

    Matt, that is a story from 2009. The war in Sri Lanka is over.

    At @49 I link to a Dateline program that interviews failed Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

    -None of them mention ongoing abuse.

    -None of them believe they will end up spending years in immigration detention upon arrival in Oz.

    -All of them believe they will get houses, jobs and bags of money from the Australian government.

    QED.

  58. Matt in the Springs

    As I suspected GG- you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m going to join Helen @60 and waste no more time on this one.

  59. Golly Gosh

    Lol. I’m married into a family that contains successful asylum seeker applicants and former re-education camp inmates who were starved and tortured. It is precisely because I have been intimately acquainted with the issue for 20 years that I am well aware that the current system is gamed.

  60. jules

    The war in Sri Lanka is over maybe, but as mentioned above, the UN recently passed a resolution condemning Sri Lanka for ongoing human rights abuses including disappearing people and extra judicial execution by security forces and pro govt militias. (Pro govt militia usually means death squad doesn’t it?)

    You didn’t acknowledge that and then preceded to ignore it when arguing with matt @ 59. You also ignore the rest of the tv report you linked to, which clearly mentioned that ongoing abuse was happening (including closing refugee camps for homeless tamils by cutting off their food supply). You also missed the rather obvious point that the people interviewed were failed asylum seekers. That means they didn’t get political asylum in Australia.

    Surely that suggests the screening program actually works, and further, given the high rate of successful applications by detainees in a system designed to make successful applications difficult, it seems to indicate that economic refugees are a separate issue to asylum seekers who arrive on boats.

    So if anything it appears the current system is being unsuccessfully gamed … and therefore has little to do with the current situation wrt successful asylum seekers.

  61. Helen

    Well, it seems we have an answer to the question in the post title, and the answer is, “very low indeed”.

    Currently, there is no legal requirement for the content of political advertising to be factually correct.

  62. jules

    Cheers Helen.

    Random lowness from someone who’s lower than US interest rates…

    The coalition is committed to revising the national curriculum, its appropriateness and its implementation.
    History is what it is. We should know the truth about it and we shouldn’t allow it to colour our present and our future.
    This would be a priority for us. The coalition doesn’t have a black armband view of Australia’s history.
    Anzac Day is very central to our understanding of our Australian character and our Australian history.
    I think it downplays Anzac Day for it not to be a stand-alone part of the history curriculum.

  63. paul burns

    Like the eruption of Mts. Vesuvius and Etna aren’t a reason to find another country to live in? Na, of course not. That ‘s too humane.
    And religious persecution of Scots and English? Well, you could start with Carl Bridenbaugh’s Mitre and Sceptre. Transatlantic Faiths, Ideas, Personalities and Politics 1689-1775 And that hardly touiches what went on under Charles II. Nor does it consider the founding of Maryland, and why.
    I just closed my eyes and pulled one book off the shelf that’s stacked with books on religion from 17-18th century.
    I haven’t even bothered to look into the Scots for you.
    And I do suspect the persecution of the Highland Scots, many of whom fled to America were Catholic. And the Ulstermen who didn’t fit in in Ireland were Presbyterian.
    WTF do I know?
    Nor do I have the time and nor do I see the point.

  64. paul burns

    jules @ 67,
    That quote is fascinating. If history is what it is etc I better give up writing the stuff right now and just go out and buy that big definitive book that tells me and the rest of the world what it is. After all, what is, is, isn’t it? I don’t know who the quote was from, but was he talking about religion or history. Even I know there is a difference.

  65. Golly Gosh

    Jules @65

    Do you think if the failed Sri Lankan asylum seekers interviewed in the Dateline program made it to Oz shores they would have

    (a) asked for the keys to the house and car they thought they were going to get, or

    (b) been coached by a more worldly boat companion about the realities of the situation in Oz?

    I suspect the latter.

    The UN resolution you refer to does nothing more than express concerns about ongoing reports of HR violations.

    There is no convincing evidence of an ongoing systematic campaign of terror against Tamils or anything close to it. Also note how the Tamils in the Dateline program speak freely to the reporter. This is unthinkable even in such lefty celestial paradises as Cuba.

    Sounds like life in Sri Lanka is now a run of the mill experience for those who reside outside the wicked neoliberal hegemony.

    In fact it sounds like paradise compared to the DPRK, Congo and a dozen other shitholes.

  66. Matt in the Springs

    PB @69 I suspect it was Chris Pyne (but I’m not sure). The most interesting thing about the quote for me is the cognitive dissonance of the speaker as evidenced by incompatability of these two statements: “we shouldn’t allow it to colour our present or our future” and “Anzac Day is very central to understanding our Australian character”. If the second is not implying that “history” is an active participant in the present I don’t know what is!

  67. paul burns

    Matt @ 71,
    Thanks for identifying the trenchant philosopher. Personally, I find it disturbing that we have a potential education minister who doesn’t even know what cognitive dissonance is, or that he has publicly revealed himself as a cognitive dissonant.
    As for ANZAC Day. Twill remain silent. I always get into trouble if I open my mouth too loudly about this time of year.

  68. jules

    Its Chris Pyne.

    Its not one whole quote tho. Its a series of them here and here. They appear to be part of a statement made to someone at News Ltd concerning the coalitions policy on teaching Australian history, and the whole “politically correct, black armband” view of history thing.

    I can’t find them on his website, cos he doesn’t appear to care about keeping it up to date (unless they’re very old).

    paul @ 69 I first learned history as a subject when I started high school in the early 80s, and even then it was recognised that history was a subjective thing. The details like dates may have been reasonably accurate but the meanings were always subject to critical examination and to dispute.

    That there was no definitive history that told “the whole story”.

    That probably makes it hard for Pyne to cope with, given his rigid world view.

  69. David Irving (no relation)

    Paul, you know history is over. And anyway, it’s all kings and battles. Written by the victors, so there are no shades of grey.

  70. jules

    The US state department recently released a report criticising Sri lanka for torturing and intimidating detainees, the UN report names people who have disappeared etc etc Sri Lanka is not necessarily a safe place.

    (Yes I know. Its a bit rich for the US to condemn torture given their actual record post 9/11 and in fact pre 9/11 via their proxy govts around the world.)

  71. paul burns

    Well, I suppose I can’t help myself. For some reason if I listen long enough, Christopher Pyne always brings out the devil in me.
    The ANZAC Legend is not the same thing as a history of what might have happened at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
    The history of the original Anzac landing shows that the landing was not exactly the heroic legend we have all been weaned on. (saying that circa mid 1970s could get you lots of abuse.) It gets even murkier when you get to the Western Front.
    The history of the development of the ANZAC legend and its validity is still being written, by lots of historians and that has been going on for years. When it gets questioned too much politicians who use it as a mask for a disgusting militaristic nationalism get very upset, because like all historical phenomena it never quite bears examination.
    Some veterans also get upset. Until you ask them to sit down and think about it. I’ve found its not something you discuss with people when everybody’s drunk.
    I promise I’m not even going to start on WW2/ Its just not where my thoughts are historically at the moment.

  72. paul burns

    DI (nr) @ 74,
    Na. :) That’s Game of Thrones. (which is actually quite coprehensive with its treatment of class etc.)

  73. paul burns

    sp. comprehensive.

  74. paul burns

    re my comment 76. I was having a lot of fun imagining I was talking to CP. Tone is a bit, off, though.

  75. zoot

    Well, when I went to school we were taught real history and I can assure you it only happened in the red bits of the world map. (Paul probably remembers, we’re the same vintage.)