Fuck you, Tony Abbot. (And fuck you, Australia.)

What a mess. I imagine those of you in Australia will be inundated with election crap, but trying to follow it from afar has been an interesting process. Physical removal somehow makes it all the harder to know what the general feeling is, what people are thinking and saying and muttering in their sleep. But for fuck’s sake. The fact that it’s even possible, let alone probable, that we will have Tony Fucking Abbot as a Prime Minister makes me want to shoot myself in the face. It also makes me want to surrender that return ticket unused and spend the rest of my days illegally on this continent over here, where at least everyone knows when their politicians are fucking them in the mouth. (Note: there may be a fair bit of swearing in this post. Tune out now if easily offended.)

Not that I could say I’m unhappy with the result in general terms. I’ve never been a great fan of the Labor Party, which is generally a boorish organisation, and tends either to atrophy or ossify very quickly once in government, losing any sense of flex to a crippling rigidity. The idea of them being progressive died decades ago – see Conroy’s internet filter, or Brumby’s various efforts to kill live music and entertainment in general in Melbourne. And after their efforts with Rudd, Labor didn’t deserve a victory. Rudd was one of the few genuinely intelligent and talented leadership contenders this country has had in half a century, and made the prospect of Labor rather more palatable than it had been. God knows what all you people being opinion-polled got so shitty at him about. Frankly I don’t give a fuck if he yelled at a stewardess. Being Prime Minister is a tough job, and he wanted a sandwich. Too much to ask? As for yelling at his ministers, that lot are almost entirely a bunch of spineless creep hacks who knifed him at the first chance, so they deserved all that and more. Rudd was one of the few in Cabinet who was against shelving the Emissions Trading Scheme, yet he’s the one who was killed off when the rest had their way and Labor’s inherent inertia came to the fore once again.

So in that sense, neither party getting a majority is a good result. It reflects what has been bothering me my whole voting life and more: that there are essentially two shitty options, and nothing more. Finally some power is going to the minor vote. Having a Green MP in the mix is a good thing, though what I’ve seen of Bandt doesn’t give the impression of a hugely dynamic individual. The three ex-National Party rural independents aren’t necessarily gimmes for the Coalition either, given they hated the Nationals enough to leave. What I’ve seen from each of them so far seems very balanced. And the other great boon of a result is that the witch-burning whackjobs from Family First have been cleared out of the Senate, and hopefully we will never hear of Steve Fielding again.

Of the independents, Rob Oakeshott in particular has been reassuring. His interviews have been completely upfront, without a bunch of politician fudging, and he seems to have a common sense approach to most issues, including refugee policy and climate change. He’s saying offshore processing of refugees is expensive and unnecessary, and processing should be done more humanely and on Australian soil. And he’s saying the ETS needs to come back on the agenda. He says his hero is his university college principal Dr Peter Cameron, who was tried for heresy by the Presbyterian church for supporting the ordination of female priests while Oakeshott was a student. Cameron refused to recant on his views and took the punishment, and Oakeshott says the lesson he learned is to stand by his beliefs regardless of the consequences. He seems to have done this numerous times, in quitting the Nationals to contest his state seat as an independent, then quitting the state seat to contest the federal one he holds now, both risky moves. If either party ends up relying on his vote, and he sticks to his principles, we could finally see some positive action on a number of fronts.

And of course the really interesting one is Andrew Wilkie. Working as an Australian intelligence officer in the lead-up to the Iraq war, he shot to prominence when he quit his job and went public with information that intelligence was being misrepresented by Howard’s government to argue the case for an invasion. Of course it wasn’t enough to avert Australia’s involvement, but it put huge scrutiny on the deceit. Wilkie testified to a number of commissions, and was the target of vicious attacks and attempts to discredit him by Howard and various henchmen. Wilkie is an interesting character, going from being a military man and Liberal Party member to a Greens senate candidate and finally to an independent. Should his vote be the crucial one, watching the Coalition trying to deal with him after how thoroughly they bastardised him just a few years ago will be an intriguing proposition. It would also be a revenge story of Monte Cristo proportions, and a nice reminder that one person can actually achieve something of significance on their own. Good on him.

The refugee thing has always been a great mystery. Just why do so many people actually give a fuck? Why is it always such a big campaigning issue? Australia is actively encouraging migration every day. There are ads all over the internet saying “Australia is open!” We have hundreds of thousands of ex-Brits. We have tens of thousands of “illegal immigrants” in Brits who overstay their working holiday visas, often indefinitely. No-one cares. They’re white. We have tens of thousands of new immigrants admitted every year – mostly from Western backgrounds. Less than five percent of immigrants are refugees. And of that five percent, only a small proportion are people who came by boat as opposed to via UN refugee programs. The numbers are insignificant. Plus, getting here by boat doesn’t mean they get to stay. It’s not British Bulldog – “Oh, you touched the beach, you’re barley, here’s your passport and a Centrelink form.” It means they get to have a case heard, to see if they are eligible for refugee status. Nothing more. If they’re genuine refugees (if they will be persecuted on returning home) then no-one would advocate sending them back to be killed, right? That would not be nice. And if they’re not genuine refugees, then they get deported. So what’s the problem? Why not just process the cases?

And more to the point, why do we care? As voters and citizens, how does it affect any of us? Seriously, how many hassles and issues have you had with immigrant Afghans in your daily life lately? Tangled with an Iraqi? Fought a Sri Lankan? The only contact I’ve had with Iraqis is the ones who make the amazing pizza at Aghadeer around the corner from my house in Brunswick. (They put kebab meat on it! Fusion cuisine. Genius.) I didn’t really know we had any other Iraqis until they won the Asian Cup and a couple of hundred hit the streets to celebrate. As for Sri Lankans, three of my favourite people in the entire world are Sri Lankan, and I’ve never met one that I didn’t like. And I’ve never yet met an Afghan, unless you count a sweater or a breed of dog.

Or is it the “they took our jobs” argument? If I may call on Doug Stanhope again, re the Mexican equivalent of our ‘problem’:

I can watch these guys every day, can watch Border Patrol dragging them eleven at a time out of a Dodge Omni like a clown car, plastic cuffs on; and you’re right, they don’t speak the language, and they probably have no education – they don’t have fuckin’ shoes half the time … they’re all like barefoot in tattered castaway Gilligan’s Island shorts, dirty t-shirt and dehydrated, wandering the desert for four days … and if that guy is as qualified for your job as you are, you’re a fucking loser of such epic, humiliating proportions ... I would be ashamed to have anyone find out that guy took my job. No, he doesn’t speak English. Did they do your job training in pantomime, shithead? No-one bitches about immigrants taking their jobs if that person has skills of any level. You don’t hear a couple of neurosurgeons drinking, going: ‘You know what really chaps my ass Barry? All of these Scandinavian motherfuckers coming over here and taking all our good neurosurgery positions, the Norwegians specifically… I say we down this fifth of Jack and go stomp ourselves some Wegie ass.'”

I think that counts as a digression. So back on theme: the hung parliament I quite like. Neither party deserved to get up. The idea of Wilkie or Oakeshott or Bandt holding the casting vote has a lot of appeal. Tony Windsor also appears relatively sensible, from the little I’ve seen, and Bob Katter may be mad, but at least he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone. But what I don’t like (in the mildest form of understatement) is the prospect that Abbot looks the more likely to be able to form government and become Prime Minister. However it happens, Abbot as Prime Minister is a filthy abortion of justice and the natural order. It’s just not right. It’s like bestiality, but even less visually appealing. Abbot. Prime Minister. No.

Thus my problem, and thus the title of this post. Even if you’re conservative…Abbot? Of all people? Never was a man so eminently unelectable. I mean, Australia didn’t vote him in, but they still utterly failed to vote him out. Just the fact that he was a candidate should have inspired a response like the French against Monsieur Le Pen, where even the hard socialist left were campaigning for the conservative Jaques Chirac in an effort to keep his racist nutjob rival from the country’s highest office. Abbot is one of the most rancid public figures our country has ever produced. Howard’s government had a substantial Axis of Awful: the likes of Ruddock, Vanstone, Reith. But Abbot was always special, even for Howard. He was the top man’s attack dog, kept leashed until someone needed to be savaged, or something needed to be said to appeal to voters’ most base values. Anything too controversial to be said by Howard himself. Abbot would blurt, people would jump on him, Howard would deny association (“Err, err, well, Tony’s entitled to his opinions, and I can’t really comment on what he may or may not have said…”) Point is, the statement would be out there, like toxic runoff into a river, and there was no taking it back. Despite the controversies, Howard kept Abbot in the ministry for precisely this reason – as a minister, Howard’s mouthpiece would be guaranteed the right amount of publicity whenever he was told to speak up, then would be put back in his box until the next time. The man was a thug and a puppet. Now he’s in charge.

So if you’re trying, don’t kid yourself. A vote for Abbot or his proxies was a vote for nutjobs everywhere, for racism, for bigotry, for headkickers, for viciousness, for self-delusion, for a complete moral and ethical vacuum in place of rancid ultrapragmatism. Here’s a man who can orate about the tragedy of ‘unborn children’ being ‘murdered’ when speaking of minor cell clusters, yet support locking real living babies up in desert detention camps for the first five years of their lives. Of course, Arab babies don’t really count. Tony’s image makeover to transform him into a dynamic action man and a steady fatherly figure was very well managed, but lifelong nutjobs don’t become sane in the space of nine months. His insanity is entrenched. He has been crazier in more prominent public positions over a longer timespan than any other MP (and this is spanning an era featuring the likes of Heffernan, Joyce, Tuckey, Colston, Kennett and Katter). He’s not going to get any less crazy. Bob Katter might be a few bananas short of a Filipino virus invasion, but Abbot is crazier than Katter after a two-week meth binge with The Chief in the locked ward at Arkham Asylum.

And yet … and yet they voted for him, or at least for people who they knew would deliver him office. 44 percent of the country. Nearly every second person in that great brown land over there thought that having Tony Abbot run the show would be a grand idea. It’s like hiring a pianist to play Wagner at a Bar Mitzvah, or asking Gary Glitter to babysit your kids. Just…no.

When Howard was voted out less than three years ago, a lot of people I knew seemed to think it was a new age, that Australia had finally rejected the deceptive fear-mongering lowest-common-denominator politics. I didn’t. That night was still one of the greatest feelings of my life, utterly rejoicing as we watched Maxine finally throw that bucket of water over the old witch, and saw the spectre wither and disappear. The Dan in the Hat had decreed a drinking game at the start of the evening: “Labor need 16 seats for victory. Every time they win one of those seats, we will skull a beer and cheer loudly.” Thus by the time Maxine claimed Bennelong, I was in something of a heightened state of mind. I hazily remember the Witch’s concession speech, and very hazily remember a patch or two of Kevin’s riposte, and I remember standing on the back of the couch with a balloon of nitrous oxide in hand declaiming “First nang of the new regime!” to anyone who would listen. I don’t remember why I woke up the next day with a hole in my cupboard door and a badly swollen right hand, but it seems I had a good night. Various photos that have emerged have been mildly illuminating, though nothing more.

The point is, I remember that pure and intense joy that Howard was finally gone, for the first time in my adult life. I was thirteen when his blight first appeared. I sang ‘The King is Dead’ by The Herd with as much elation as anyone else. We really did dance like it was New Year’s Eve, we did dance with sheer relief. But I also remember knowing that ‘we’ were’t the majority. I remember thinking that Australian voters didn’t kick Howard out for the reasons I wanted him gone. They kicked him out because they didn’t like WorkChoices, and because they were bored. This wasn’t a resounding wish for change in the electorate. This wasn’t an evolution of the Australian mindset to one of tolerance and fairness. I thought with unease that the same people who had kept Howard in for so long were still out there, waiting. And less than three years later, with a disembowelled Labor party swimming around in its own entrails, a fair number of them went back to familiar habits. As did Abbot, with another fear-mongering campaign based around ‘Stop the Boats’. With the same antagonistic bitter angry politics that his predecessor had instilled in him. Stop the boats? Again, who gives a fuck? You might as well base your campaign on ‘Ban Mayonnaise: The Condiment of Evil.’

So fuck you, Tony Abbot. And fuck you, Australia. Because once again I’m faced with the incredibly depressing knowledge that at least half of my countrymen can’t think straight, can’t decide that maybe ethics should come before economics, can’t salvage a bit of compassion from their hard-edged practicality. The knowledge that half my countrymen would prefer to be motivated by fear and resentment and snap judgements of things they know nothing about. That they would prefer to stay home, close the shutters, close their minds, and not be challenged by anything that might slightly diverge from their way of thinking. When America voted in W for the second time, that was the death knell, the point at which that country could never be taken seriously again. This election was that moment for Australia. Whichever side you supported, the fact that Abbot himself was at the helm, the fact that he would be nominated by them, made his side unsupportable. The fact that he got supported to the extent that he may now form a government leaves me sick and speechless. Let’s hope that the presence of the independents forces a few good results from the House, but it doesn’t change the fact that having Abbot in the Lodge is like taking a dump on the Queen. Have some respect, Australia. Show a bit of class. But you didn’t. You can’t. Oh, fuck you.

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25 Responses to Fuck you, Tony Abbot. (And fuck you, Australia.)

  1. Ingrid says:

    “There are ads all over the internet saying “Australia is open!” We have hundreds of thousands of ex-Brits. We have tens of thousands of “illegal immigrants” in Brits who overstay their working holiday visas. No-one cares.”

    Pierre, I straight up, fucking love you. I have been trying to tell people this very fact for years & years. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed. You my good Sir, Rock. Thank you x a kajillion.

  2. kninja says:

    You’re complaining about something you partially answered yourself – the choice was between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. I don’t think the problem was so much people wanted to vote for tony abbot, they just really DIDNT want to vote for labor. Julia gillard is a gutless talentless puppet and the whole thing with kevin rudd being toppled very clearly highlighted one thing – the labor party was not a party at all, it was a loose collection of disparate factions that were more concerned with internal politics than running the country.

    Dont get me wrong, I agree with all the things you said about abbott, but i think the thing you have missed by not being here is just how much people hate labor right now, they have made themselves look so bad that they are just as bad an option as tony. The election campaign was boring and the results bore out as you would statistically expect : when you give people a choice between 2 things which are barely distinguishable, half will choose one and half will choose the other. You may think thats an exageration but i assure you its not. Aside from broadband, their policies were hardly any different, because the guttless little bitches running labor behind the scenes did not have the balls to stand up for real change, they caved to the fear campaign of the libs… in the end, everyone got what they deserved – NOTHING.

  3. Julian says:

    Nice rant Geoffrey, generally my sentiments, and you managed to squeeze in a batman reference. At least your not in the country, although if Abbott gets power it may be embarrasing to talk politics with people from other nations.

  4. stacy says:

    I flew into Australia on vacation on August 14th, was subjected to a week of painful pre-election bullshit (staying with my Liberal-supporting parents didn’t help either), performed my civic duty on election day and voted for the Greens (tho my seat was a labor stronghold, which wasn’t a bad second preference). Disturbed but not surprised at the outcome. Fortunately, in 3 weeks time I’m back on a plane out of here.

    The boat thing made me want to kick the TV. We laugh and poke fun at Americans for not knowing what’s past their backyard but honestly, Australians are no better. The only thing we care about is how much our house will make at the next auction. All my non-Australian friends are shocked to find out that Australia only has a population just going on 22 million, yet we complain that we’re overpopulated. There’s more people living in Saudi Arabia and the whole country is desert!

    Anyway, while the rest of the world could really care less about what goes on in Australia, I’ll be keeping an eye on the news to see what a train wreck the country just might be after this election. I’ll always be proud to be Australian, just not in this country.

    • DDD says:

      You vote for greens and leave the country thanks heaps moron Try getting your none Australian friends to pay rent in sydney 450 2 bed unit a week yes its a big country we are only behind london in price the abo lovers stop us buying land and only release it at huge price its our land

  5. Dimi says:

    The problem is, we don’t live in a presidential democracy, we live in a parliamentary wash bucket. MP’s are elected, yet the conflation is that the leader of the party is going to be some kind of King All Mighty. Rudd was guilty of this to a T, making his whole cabinet useless by barking orders at them with a megaphone and then getting perplexed when nothing was done right.

    But it is true, since around the time Howard came to power, we haven’t had a decent ethical debate, it’s always about house prices, what you can do for me and fuck everyone else off.

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  7. Warren says:

    good stuff!

  8. Greg says:

    Nice one Geoff! The idea of anyone voting for that fucktard makes me sick. Or buy a ticket to permantely relocate to New Zealand.

  9. Finn says:

    I’m sharing this on my page, if you don’t mind, Geoff.
    I think many people will like to read it.

  10. geoff says:

    Inga: you’re very welcome. I’m also glad I wasn’t the only one. One report I read estimated 70 000 illegals from the UK living here (don’t remember if that was total or per annum, but either way, why aren’t we locking them up and deporting them?)

    It’s fucking frustrating how the terminology is always about “an influx” of refugees when they make up a couple of percent of all immigrants (and 0.02 percent of the country’s population, based on 5000 a year, if there’s even that many).

    Corch, you’re right that they got what they deserved. Both sides have been chastened. But I’d still be whole lot happier if Labor were the ones able to cobble together some kind of government. That way they would have no authority and would have got the bitch-whipping they deserved, but without going so far as letting Abbot get in. God, I’d even be happier if Abbot needed 4 seats to make government – that way he would have to bring in Wilkie or Bandt, and we’d be assured of some progress.

    Stace, you’re right. I thought I was relatively well-educated, but over here I’ve realised for instance how little I knew about South America in total. Fuck all, really. We are pretty inward-looking. And yes, we view a lot of Australia as uninhabitable, but there are people doing more with less. It’s just the cities that are over-crowded. Here’s an interesting idea – Bob Katter and so on are complaining that the bush is dying and everyone is leaving. Why not suggest that as a place to go for ‘illegals’ or refugees or whatnot? If you escaped from a shitpot like Afghanistan, you’d probably be quite happy to settle in a nice quiet town in the country and grow fucking tennis balls or whatever they do out there. And don’t tell me that Arabs aren’t good at farming arid landscapes…

    Dimi, also true that we’ve impressed a US-style system onto what we had originally. You don’t vote for your local MP, you vote for Julia or Tony’s representative. In theory the PM could and should be any MP with the support of half the House. It could change at any time. It often has done in other cabinets around the world.

    Ethics-based debate didn’t just fall away during Howard’s time, he actively killed it off. This is the guy who got rid of ministerial responsibility (“Oh, some scapegoat in my department didn’t tell me. I had no idea. Not my fault”), and was the champion of ends-justifies-the-means policy. Saying that because we don’t like brown people coming here, it’s ok to put kids in concentration camps, rather than coming from the other direction and saying, there are certain things that are never ok. If you say it’s never ok to kill someone, you never will. If you say it’s ok under certain circumstances, that’s open to being distorted and altered so that it becomes ok under a wider and wider set of circumstances. We’ll only execute murderers, right? Well, murderers and really violent rapists. That’s fine, yeah? Or why not all rapists. Ok, and violent assault perpetrators. Alright, why not thieves as well, no-one likes getting shit stolen. Oh, and dangerous people. People who threaten national security. Traitors. And spies. National security includes the economy. Yep, domestic terrorists. People who disrupt things. Like Greenpeace, we can kill them. And some journalists are making trouble. Oh, and all these artists are political agitators. Let’s kill them. It’s in the national interest. And annoying people. And people who take up two car spaces. And the French.


  11. Finn says:

    Everything about this is yes.
    I was reading this on my phone, almost walking into things and getting off at the wrong train station because I was too busy agreeing.

    Especially with towns in the country actually ASKING to have refugees go there, that they would LOVE to have more people and more jobs, how DARE the parties put forward this “must get rid of them” bullshit?
    See the video here: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/push-to-house-refugees-in-inner-city-20100720-10jkg.html

    This whole campaign has been making my blood boil.
    I’ve been making jokes about moving over seas if Abbot gets in, but the closer it looks to becoming a reality, the more serious I become.

    I worked at my new local polling booth for the election, there was no way I could wait to see the results in the news, and I needed to know for myself the political climate that I am now living in. Lots of people seemed angry that they had to vote for either.
    Lots of people told me they were voting Greens for the first time because of this reason. But mostly, people seemed completely indifferent. They did not care at all.
    The informal votes were interesting to read- “fuck them both”
    “Why, Julia? Bring back Kevin” My favourite was a happy face where they had drawn a sad mouth over the top with about 15 pencil strokes.
    This is a strong Labor seat, apparently, and they did have the overwhelming majority of votes in the seat of Rocklea, but everyone was surprised at the amount of votes Greens had. Which is heartening. If there is one thing we know about politics, it’s that change rarely happens quickly. I heard on JJJ, John Safran was talking to a woman who is part of the Greens party (didn’t catch her name), asking if she had copped any flack in a US Nader style, that a vote for the Greens was taking a vote away from Labor, therefore possibly contributing to having the Libs being so strong. She replied “I think it is a sign that people want a different alternative from the two altogether.”
    But no one seems to care. The phrase most seen about facebook is “Australia voted, and they said…meh.” (Although, I did enjoy “Abbot can’t form a minority government, he hates minorities!”)
    Not even the scrutineers give a shit. They told us “Who cares about the senate. We only want to know what’s going to happen here.” These are the people who probably should care the most. Ones who are so involved in politics they spend all day at the polling booths campaigning for their parties, and then stay back to make sure the counting team do not miscount or do anything dodgy.
    But they don’t. And it seems, neither does the rest of the country.

  12. Dimi says:

    What you wrote to Stace is what I’ve been advocating since time immemorial. There should be an open door policy, but the refugees must be resettled in rural Australia for a minimum of at least 5 years. If that isn’t an incentive to provide jobs and infrastructure funding for the bush, I’m not sure what is.

  13. Philbo says:

    Dear Goffrey, will you stand in the cabinet as minister of keeping it real if I go for PM? 🙂

    Seen the Thai’s covering the election? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ_s6V1Kv6A&feature=player_embedded 🙂

  14. Philbo says:

    Robert Gottliebsen – Thursday, 26 August 2010 09:15

    Yesterday three things happened which should create nervousness among all Australians. First the Shanghai Composite Index fell by 2%. Second, BHP Billiton forecast China growth rates for 2011 well below Treasury estimates and third, the three “independents” want to become a virtual second government and go through the books. > http://www.smartcompany.com.au/politics/20100826-why-the-independents-demand-to-become-a-second-government-won-t-work-gottliebsen.html / http://www.smartcompany.com.au/the-futurist/20100827-gold-standard.html

  15. Finn says:

    my friend Claire re-posted off my wall, saying “I don’t know this guy, but now I’m in love with him!”

  16. “Never was a man so eminently unelectable. A vote for Abbot or his proxies was a vote for nutjobs everywhere, for racism, for bigotry, for headkickers, for viciousness, for self-delusion, for a complete moral and ethical vacuum in place of rancid ultrapragmatism.”

    Abbott. Ye Gods. At least if it was Turnbull I could stomach it.

    I loved your description of post Kevin 07 elation, singing “The King is Dead” – I saw The Herd play this live after the ousting of Howard and it had special resonance. I too am gutted by the traction Abbott’s fear-mongering has had in this campaign. I’m appalled and embarrassed that both parties insist on appealing so spectacularly to the pie-eating footy-watching Aussie stereotype. Why can’t we move beyond that? It’s insulting and fuels the culture of anti-intellectualism that exists here. Have you noticed that the stereotype largely excludes women? And yet they pitch to it over and over again. See footage of both party leaders swilling beers, scoffing meat pies and whining about protecting the ‘Strayan way of loife. \

    These stereotype excludes women, Tony Abbott is clearly a misogynist and Julia is the first female PM in our nation’s history. With such a confluence of factors, why did women not revolt? Why did they not see the threat to fifty years of feminism? The last decade has seen Australians clambering to surrender our rights and liberties, so hard won by those who went before us, to a regime waving a banner proclaiming threats to national security and “ways of life”.

    What is our way of life if not the absolute belief in human dignity? Burn your ticket, Lemon. I’m coming to join you.

    • Anth says:

      It seems feminism is dead in this country. Can’t recall where, but I read about a month back that views towards women’s rights and women’s roles have gone backwards in the last 15 years. I’m more and more coming to the feeling that the mid-90s were a cultural highpoint in this country…

  17. Finn says:

    and now:
    Jessica Hart and Cj Fraser-Bell shared a link.
    Fuck you, Tony Abbot. (And fuck you, Australia.)
    34 seconds ago · Share


    Jessica Hart via Cj Fraser-Bell: Nicely said.

    34 seconds ago · Comment · LikeUnlike


    Cj Fraser-Bell Every single point in this rant has rung true for me – Fuck You, mayonnaise

    You’re going viral, Lemon.

  18. Ren says:

    Yes Abbott is possibly the most horrible human being to walk in Aussie Politics but I think it’s important to recognise the message the Australian People are sending both parties, and that is we have had enough! Rudd wasn’t a “genuinely intelligent talented leader” noone cared about his tanties they just got jack of his retractions. I’m not likely to agree with many policy changes made by either Liberal or Labor but I have more respect for a leader who actually believes in what he/she says. Rudd backed down on every bold move he made, he was gutless, useless and a waste of our time. Julia didn’t get much of a chance, she pulled some bad moves but the reality is that being the first female prime minister she had far to fall and boy did she ever! If she’d been a man I’m sure noone would have been quite as hard on her. We would have just resumed our usual apathetic approach “well that was too be expected”. But the poignancy of being the first femme PM meant she sparked high hopes and she fucked it.

    I think it’s easy to be hard on Australia when your not here, I was of the same mind when I was last OS, but the election result is a pure reflection of how Australians feel, and that’s we didn’t want either option, I can’t tell how depressing the vibe was at the polling booths, it was like the whole nation had resigned themselves to crap or crapper.

    Yes, it sucks that a lot of Aussies voters (not all aussies vote, and the ones that don’t aren’t in the demographics who would vote abbot, this is good to remember) voted Abbott, but the positive is that people are genuinely beginning to see Greens as third option. If nothing else this is a fire cracker up Labor’s ass in terms of Environmental and Humanitarian issues. With Greens having the balance of power things are not as doom and gloom as we were all starting to expect. The greens popularity is a positive move forward for Aussie politics and shouldn’t go unrecognised amongst all the bullshit.

    I agree with most of what your saying, bar the ill informed bullshit bout Rudd (it’s always easy to put the wounded soldier on a pedestal even if he got the injury killing a whole Afghani family) but don’t be too harsh on your comrades when you weren’t around to deal with the bullocks we went through this election.

    In saying all that, if Abbott gets in, as a woman, I feel I have no choice but to find meself a boat and start paddling, I just hope whomever shores I land on have a better refugee policy then ours!

    • Anth says:

      I think Geoff was right when he said Rudd was a talented leader, but you’re also right when you say his absolute lack of testicular fortitude was his undoing. The guy had 70% approval ratings at the start of the year and was scared into dropping the ETS. If ever there was a time to spend some of your political capital, it’s on getting legislation for the “biggest moral challenge of our time” through. I honestly believe it was the ETS that killed him; when he dropped it he lost a heap of people who wanted it and a whole different group who thought he didn’t have the guts to lead.

  19. geoff says:

    Ren, I don’t know that being out of the country for nine months makes me ill-informed. I’m not saying Rudd necessarily did great things, especially after the first few months. (Though the apology and the Kyoto signing were significant symbolic gestures, and the GFC handling was excellent, so it wasn’t all fail.) I’m saying he was the first option in a long long time who I actually had some admiration for, based on intelligence, ability, and a slightly more open mind than most predecessors. There was a lot of retraction and fudging, yes, but most of that started in Cabinet and caucus rather than coming from Rudd. As they tend to do, Labor reps froze up when they finally got their time on stage. Rudd was the one with the big agenda, then he had to watch as his people failed to have the balls to implement it, too worried about fucking something up and inviting a voter backlash, ironically enough. So basically the ambition of his agenda helped bring him down in the end, his mistake being he had too much faith in his own people. It seemed they wanted to cruise to the next election on the back of the well-negotiated financial crisis. I don’t think Rudd did. As I said, he was one of the few who was strongly opposed to shelving the ETS – but he bowed to his team’s insistence, then took the bullet for it. For all the talk of him being an autocrat, it seems like perhaps the converse was true and he was too easily swayed. I think in a second term he would have grown into the role more and achieved a better balance. Becoming Prime Minister would hardly be the easiest thing in the world.

    The Greens having balance of power is cause for tentative optimism, but I have some doubts. I don’t like their tendency to opt for sanctimony over practical action. The way they blocked the ETS because it “didn’t go far enough” was classic bullshit. Surely it’s better to establish something that can be built on later than to block it completely? The upshot is that is Abbot gets in, nothing will happen in his term, and if Labor gets in then they’ll have to start thinking it all over again. Best case scenario, the Greens have delayed making any start on climate change by at least four or five years. And they’re the environmental party. Clap clap. If that’s how they choose to use their balance in the Senate, it’ll be three years of preach and nothing done, opportunity lost.

    And I’m not necessarily being hard on Australia because I’m not in it. I was furious after Howard’s last two wins, I just didn’t have a blog then to air that vitriol. I know the choice was between a giant douche and a turd sandwich, and like I said, I’m not sad Labor got dumped. But just the fact that it was Abbot on the other side – I can’t conceive of any circumstance ever where voting for Abbot would be ok. Any option would have to be better. Maybe if it was Hitler vs. Abbot, I might consider it. Pol Pot vs. Abbot, the Cambodian is looking pretty good. On a two-party basis even I would have considered voting for Turnbull rather than the mess Labor has become. He was looking like taking the Libs back to their slightly more dignified roots, where some semblance of decency still exists. But in putting Abbot at the helm, the party’s lifeless corpse should have been rolled into a carpet and dumped in the boondocks never to be seen again.

  20. Dale Slamma says:

    All of this is very interesting but I think you nailed it in the title. Fuck you, Tony Abbot. (And fuck you, Australia.)

  21. Chris K says:

    there is some really interesting insights in there Geoff. I think you’ve summed up Australian politics quite well for me and your clarity and candour make me thinbk that if you were to ever run for PM then you’d have my vote.

    I was in Australia for the early lead up to the election and the ditched out two weeks before it to go on holiday in SE Asia… Good choice it seems. I can’t think of a better time to be moving overseas longterm (which I am). I think you’re summary of the choices is prettyu spot on but you lack the feeling of complete hopelessness that seemed to be everywhere. Everyone was complete disillusioned with the current government and no one could see any signs that anything would change. The only reasons i heard anyone give me to vote labour was ‘Julia Gillard is a woman’ and ‘Tony Abbott is the devil’. Both these statements are quite correct and i agree with them (well, maybe not the first one… still deciding) but it was not really enough for me to go out and vote Labour. I hated their guts and like you i never really got why everyone was so pissed off with KRudd. I mean, at least he got the civil service working for the first time in their lives. I have friends in the service and they were telling me that often they had to work a full week or even overtime!! Unheard of really, and i say that if you’re a PM who can get the civil service actually working for all their ridiculous frills benefits then you’re a pretty good PM.

    I actually voted for the Australian Sex Party in the end, imply because i saw a debate between them and the family first candidate…. hilarious! check it out here:

    But in the end i voted for them because i didn’t want to vote either party and i despised labour so much that i didn’t want my greens vote to preference them either. I also voted for them because they opposed the ridiculous internet filter I thought that if the Aus Sex Party got in then we’d have a slighty positive independent MP.

    I felt i needed to write all this to try and give you an individual’s experienc in voting and to paint the picture of the sheer despair and failure that was voting this year. Since i have become eligible to vote there has been no real time apart from Kevin 07 that i have actually wanted to vote. So while i agree with everything you said and you put your arguments forward so eloquently (i thoroughly enjoyed reading this) I would have titled it ‘Fuck you Australia, and that goes double for you Abbott!’

  22. RunBuNNyRun says:

    While this has probably been closed for a while … it seems about time to reopen this bastard as the horror of tonight settles on so many shoulders. I apologise to any readers for excessive expletives, however it has been that kind of night. That’s right. It has happened. Three, obviously memory fucking reducing, years down the track and Abbott is now Prime Minister. With at least 88 seats at last count of the possible 150; with more to fucking come. 45% of all votes being for Liberal. And yet as I scroll through my friends list and note the chagrin, the tears and cries of frustration, the epic anti-Abbott memes and the voluble swearing, I also note that not a one seems to have voted for Liberal. Not One. Out of several hundred people. Not one cry of “YES!”, or “It’s Abbott Time!”. I know that my source here is largely of like minded people (for a given value of ‘like’ – I think some of them are bloody idiots .. some are family and hence I KNOW they’re idiots) and hence our political slanting may lean in a similar fashion. But still … with a 45% voting trend .. shouldn’t that reflect in at least ONE person I know not punching a wall and crying “Why?! Fuck! Why?!” … Regardless … I now have to re-educate myself to the Liberal Policies which I had hoped to laugh of as ridiculous catechisms belonging to a bygone era. I just hope this post makes it out before internet censorship comes back on the agenda…

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