Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Watching a fishing program called ‘Big Fish Small Boats’ featuring three blokey blokes trolling for Mako Sharks, I was amazed to hear the presenter suddenly eyeball the camera and issue a climate change dogwhistle. The presenter, Al McGlashan, said (to paraphrase):

‘The Labor Government recently tried to ban fishing for Mako Sharks based on false science, but the results of the tag and release program showed the Mako are still in plentiful numbers. Now we can continue to enjoy wonderful fishing expeditions such as these.’

What the..? False science ? That sounds just like the denialist phrase ‘Junk Science’ and coupled with the reference to the ALP and tied in with activities directly based on interaction with the natural environment…He’s not dogwhistling is he ?

He is.

Al McGlashan was No.2 on the NSW Senate ticket for the Shooters and Fishers Party in the 2010 Federal Election. Here’s how he went, with S&F gaining the highest primary vote of the minor parties, finally excluded on count 32 of 35 and pushing the Liberal Party candidate into a quota.

The Shooters and Fishers are AGW denialists. Their pamphlets and platform papers are full of references to deep-green climate alarmist extermists. In fact, their election materials mention the Greens as much as they do the S&F itself. The S&F could just as well be named “The Anti-Green Party” as that is largely how they present and publicize themselves and their objectives.

McGlashan described his decision to stand for the Senate in the Sydney Angler forum:

Basically guys I am running as a fishing rep for the Shooters and Fishers becuase I am sick having my rights to fish being eroded away by radical greenies who sit eating canned tuna talking about how bad fishing is!

The Proposed Mako Ban And Reprieve

As Fishing World reported in November 2009, the Mako Shark was added to the species listed in Appendix II of the international Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Under laws introduced by the LNP Howard Government any species listed in either Appendix of the CMS was automatically banned from catch in Australia.

RecFish, the national organisation representing recreational fishermen, along with commercial operators, then lobbied the ALP government to rescind the ban which was duly done by Environment Minister Peter Garrett in January 2010.

The rationale for overturning the decision was that the listing in the CMS was on the basis of severely reduced Mako numbers in the Mediterranean Sea but that Mako in Australian waters do not migrate to the Mediterranean and therefore the reason for the listing was irrelevant to Australian Mako.

As a spokesman for Garrett put it:

“Noting the lack of evidence suggesting that Australian populations of these shark species face the same threats as other parts of the world, the government will be moving to make legislative changes to address the ongoing uncertainty for recreational fishers”

No False Science

Which leaves me wondering what McGlashan was on about. The CMS ban on Mako was not based on false science and was not based on ALP legislation. Mediterranean numbers were indeed down so the scientific basis was sound. Garrett listened to RecFish, took into account the Australia scientific data and lifted the ban based on that data.

McGlashan’s claim that the Mako ban was based on Labor shenanigans enabled by false science was itself false in both of its premises. Garrett’s department simply enacted the laws on the books, laws created by the Liberals uner John Howard. Garrett then modified those laws in the face of popular representation and scientific data. Isn’t that really a textbook example of the ALP behaving in responsible democratic fashion ?

McGlashan is close enough to the issue to understand the reality of what transpired and why but chose to be fast and loose with his telling of the story: anything the better castigate the deep-green extremist alarmists, even to injecting some anti-AGW, anti-Green dogwhistles into his otherwise highly entertaining television program.

Tim Flannery is regularly held up for ridicule amongst the Climate Change denialist community with the most common accusation made against him being that he is an alarmist.

Frequently this crticism is extended to state that Flannery is an unhinged doomsday prophet: a religious nutcase devoted to the Gaia hypothesis who thinks that the world is a gigantic human being.

When either of those accusations are made, references to Flannery’s supposed failed predictions of doom in relation to major Australian capitals are wheeled out and the continued survival of those capitals with reference to the abundance of drinking water available to them is juxatposed in order to show that Flannery is detached from reality and that therefore Anthopogenic Climate Change is not occurring.

I have rebutted the arguments against Flannery here and here.

In relation to Perth, the accusation against Flannery is that in 2004 he supposedly predicted the immediate collapse and abandonment of that city in the face of reduced rainfall bought about by AGW. Here’s the party line bought by James Patterson of the Institute For Public Affairs in an undated article which appears to have been written in about 2011:

In 2004 [Flannery] predicted that ‘Perth will be the 21st century’s first ghost metropolis.’ The following year, he said that Sydney could run out of water in as little as two years.

Undaunted by that botched prediction, he tried again in 2007, saying Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane would ‘need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months.’

Undeterred by their failure to dry-out, Flannery was at it again in 2008, arguing that ‘the water problem for Adelaide is so severe that it may run out of water by early 2009.’ Of course, even amid a severe drought, none of these cities have met Flannery’s doomsday scenarios.

Patterson, writing in 2010/2011, excoriates Flannery because Perth is not yet abandoned, following Flannery’s 2004 statements, but ignores or does not realise that Flannery’s remarks about Perth were made in relation to likely events over a 50 year time period, not a six or seven year time period.

Step Trend

In particular Flannery noted that the deterioration in rainfall catchment in Perth is occurring as a step trend with approximately 20 years between each step (not as immediate cessation as block-headedly insinuated by Bolt

[Flannery] said climate change tended to move in steps. In 1976, when the first step occurred, the south-western corner of Western Australia lost 20 per cent of its rainfall, and its catchment fell from 340 gigalitres to 111 gigalitres. The average is now 160 gigalitres. In 1998, when the second step occurred, the world experienced the worst El Nino effect and the death of 17 per cent of its coral reefs. South-eastern Australia was hit by drought.

Noting declining rainfall catchment across Australia’s capitals, Flannery became an advocate for desalination plants.

Given the intensity of contempt poured out at Flannery from the denialiatariat, it was interesting to see that The Australian, the most important organ for dissemination of denialist viewpoints in this country, published on October 3rd this year an article confirming Flannery’s statements on the situation with Perth’s water catchment and showing the strong contribution now made to Perth’s water supply by desalination. The article is called ‘Dam Buster Water Works’ by Nicolas Perpitch.

The article contains a chart showing Perth’s rainfall catchment from 1911 to 2012 and clearly highlights the step-trend described by Flannery, showing steps commencing at 1975 and 1998 with a mini-step at 2004 and 2012 on track for the lowest catchment since 1914. This backs up Flannery’s statements.

A further graphic shows that desalination contributes one-third of Perth’s water, expected to increase to 50% by December 2012. This contribution is essential in conserving Perth’s water supply as dam levels are at about 33% and the major aquifer system, the Gnangara Mound has been raided beyond sustainable levels in the face of a very dry year this year.

The subtitle to the article is ‘Long-term declining rainfall has pushed Perth to the brink of a crisis’, which words echo Flannery and notes a long-term trend of declining rainfall and increasing population which is completely unsustainable without major desalination works, again echoing Flannery.

Science Supports Flannery Again

Perpitch’s article makes plain that far from Flannery being a religious fruitcake, his comments on rainfall catchment in Australia’s capitals are supported by science and responsible planning by city administrations.

Why else would Colin Barnett, Liberal Party Premier of Western Australia and hardly a deep-green afficionado of One World Government, support the proposal to pump water to Perth from the Kimberley region ?

It is inevitable that water in West Australia’s far north will eventually be channelled to the south, Premier Colin Barnett says. Mr Barnett said that while the Kimberley continues to become wetter and the south becomes drier, it is certain that water will be pumped from the north some time in the future.

Barnett is obviously reading the reports of his engineers and scientists and acting in accordance with them and Flannery’s recommendations as Campbell Newman did in Brisbane. One can only hope the denialatariat catches on.

Scott Morrison has made it plain that Indonesia has said that under no circumstances will they accept tow-back of asylum seekers .

Which means that should the LNP win the next election they will have nowhere to storehouse asylum-seekers since Nauru and Manus prison islands will be full. Therefore in my opinion, from early 2014, following the 2013 Federal election we will see the implementation, by whoever wins that election, of Gillard’s Malaysia Solution as a means of achieving the revolting policy objective of ‘stopping the boats’.

Here’s Scott Morrison on Q&A ‘Folk Music, Five Years and Funding’ last night spilling the beans:

TONY JONES: Did you get any sense at all from the Indonesian officials you spoke to, including the Foreign Minister, that they would allow you or even welcome towing back the boats to Indonesia?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, as I’ve said on many ABC programs over the last week, I left confident that the relationship we’re building and the knowledge of our policies and how we intend to work with the Indonesians, which is not to push the problem back to them – see one of the key issues up in Indonesia is they want support and assistance to work in protecting their borders as well. So they know that we will respect their territorial integrity. Tony said that very clear in his public statements.

Morrison’s admission came in the midst of a fair barrage of bluster about how the LNP will engineer a magnificent relationship with Indonesia, the fruit of which is that the Indonesians will permit tow-back. For example:

TONY JONES: Don’t we have the right the ask whether the Indonesians will allow you to do it?

SCOTT MORRISON: And what I’m saying is we are building that relationship and I’m very confident about our ability to get the job done that we’ve promised the Australian people.

But Morrison’s slip was to admit that Indonesia had insisted that the LNP not push the problem back to them and that Indonesia has a determination equal to that of the LNP to protect their borders as well.

Game, Set and Match for tow-back. Hello Malaysia.

So, now the Coalition will attempt to keep the one-finger salute they have privately received from the Indonesians under wraps, despite the fact that the Indonesians are publicly stating that the Bali Process incorporating a regional framework for handling asylum-seekers is their preferred means of addressing the asylum seeker issue. Said Bali Process of course happens to be the ALPs preferred policy position.

To this end Abbott and Morrison are now attempting to conceal the fact that the Indonesians have explictly rejected tow-back stating reasons of diplomacy-in-confidence, despite the right of the Australian public to know that the proffered policy of tow-back is now a logical impossibility.

TONY JONES: So it’s a secret, is it?

SCOTT MORRISON: No, it’s a private discussion.

JULIA BAIRD: Yeah, right. I do think we do need to know what the situation is with the Indonesian Government and towing back the boats. If that’s a key part of your policy, we need to know if it’s feasible or not.

Scott, Tony: Julia Baird is correct. Your conversation is not only with the Indonesian government, its with the Australian electorate. If you have been making undertakings you can’t fulfil, that is your problem with the truth and not ours. (Hint: Democracy)

Enormously Expanded

Having been firmly told by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natelegawa that tow-back is not an option, the Coalition returned from their meeting with an enormously expanded border protection policy.

They have now undertaken to prevent asylum-seekers entering the entire area of South-East Asia. Said Morrison on ABC’s 7:30 on 16 October.

SCOTT MORRISON: I mean, our policies aren’t about pushing problems back to Indonesia. Our policies are about dealing with a single-minded approach to deterrence, both on our borders, on Indonesia’s borders, on the region’s borders.

The only way of stopping refugees entering the entire region would be to achieve world peace, since it is war that drives refugee flows throughout the world. It would seem the Indonesians so firmly boxed Morrison and Abbott around the ears that they emerged somewhat punch-drunk. This appears to be a now permanent condition with Morrison repeating his Visualise World Peace policy three days later in The Australian

Mr Morrison said the Coalition did not oppose regional co-operation, per se, but Labor’s regional diplomacy had become too focused on harmonising the processing of asylum-seekers already in the region and shepherding them through the assessment and resettlement process.

Instead, all efforts should be directed towards stopping them from getting there in the first place.

Good luck with that one Scott, Tony. If its any consolation our disgusting new seat on the UN Security Council may be of assistance to you.

TEH QUEUE … Agen

Getting back to last Monday’s Q&A, Amanda Vanstone repeated a common myth that brings a veneer of principled solace to the tow-back crew. That myth is the one that says ‘No Advantage Prevents Queue-Jumping’ or as Vanstone put it:

The Houston Committee, I think, came up with a reasonable notion of no advantage over others. Now, I’ve been, and others may well have, to some of the camps in Thailand where the Karen are, where you have third generation people living in camps and I’m prepared to say that I’m behind tough border policies that do not give advantage to people who can afford a people smuggler over some poor so and so who has been waiting for generations in a camp and hasn’t got the money for a people smuggler. I’m happy to stand up for that.

Vanstone champions the notion of ‘The Queue’ to state that wicked, cashed-up asylum seekers are preventing deserving third-generation refugees from getting selected in Australia’s v. generous Humanitarian Immigration quota. So NO DVANTAHGE RULEZ.

But, myth-busting here, if a person’s family has been in a refugee camp for two generations which is say 30 years then let’s face it, they are never going to be selected by anybody. They are not in a queue as much as permanent storage.

Vanstone may or may not know that TEH non-existent QUEUE is 135 years long with total world refugees at 10.4 million and 80,000 places made available each year by resettling nations such as Australia. Once in the predicament of a refugee camp there is precious little hope of getting out. Q.E.D I win the Internets agen.

Vanstone is a decent person. She has forgotten that the reality of persons fleeing war and persecution is that some are lucky enough to leave with money and/or papers and some are not. Our sense of fair play is indeed aroused by the thought of families sequestered in refugee camps to the third generation but the so-called queue does not exist as demonstrated by the very fact of those third generation refugees. Their childhoods have been robbed from them by circumstances beyond their control.

That fact is not made more palatable by then robbing the childhoods of other persons whose parents were fortunate enough to escape with money to pay a people smuggler, who indeed may himself be an impoverished fisherman trying to find some way to feed his family.

If indeed the queue did exist then Vanstone might have a point, but there is no queue.

I went to see David Marr talk about his latest Quarterly Essay ‘Political Animal: The Making Of Tony Abbott’ which is about Tony Abbott, his motivations, formative influences, career to date and what he would be like as Prime Minister, which is a high probability event at the time of writing.

The event was held at Mosman library which is located in Tony Abbott’s electorate. Most attendees appeared to be in the 55+ demographic.

Marr is a youthful, fit-looking 65 year old. His talk was a delight, beautifully phrased and balanced in its appraisal of Abbott despite Marr’s evident wish that Abbott not become PM. Marr spoke completely without notes.

In praise of Abbott, Marr said that ‘we could do a lot worse as PM than he’, that Abbott is a decent man, ‘eloquent’ and ‘can be a great speaker when he wants to be’, that he has been a notable political journalist in that he has written regularly for newspapaer and magazines all throughout his political career, that he was a good and effective Cabinet Minister, that Abbott ‘has done a great deal of growing up’ since his university days and is ‘not the same man as yesterday’.

The Punch

The hysterical invective directed against Marr’s essay notably by Christopher Pyne and Greg Sheridan but in general by News Corp publications and Coalition parties was completely divorced from the reality of Marr’s essay which ,in line with Marr’s talk, was a very balanced account of Abbott the man, his career and achievements.

The invective was aroused because of the now infamous incident from Abbott’s university days related by Marr in which young Abbott, defeated by a leftist female opponent for the SRC Presidency, approached her at the declaration of the vote, crowded her against a wall and then punched the wall menacingly each side of her head.

Marr, for his part, said he was a little disappointed that the whole other content of his 90 page essay has subsequently been ignored except for the one or two paragraphs about this incident, but in my opinion he appeared gratified by that same overblown attention which triggered panic in Abbott’s camp (which of course includes News Corp). Marr is only human to be gratified if his investigative research and factual reporting affected the political climate with such immediacy.

But neither do I think that Marr was being disingenuous to speak of a slight disappointment. Naturally, he would prefer the full content of hisd essay discussed.

Marr spoke about the hyperbolic reaction by the Right to his essay and analysed it this way: since popular polling (Newspoll etc.) has been in existence in Australia (since approx WW2), Australians have never voted out a government to elect a leader who is significantly less liked than the incumbent PM. It has never happened.

While the LNP currently controls a 53-47 lead on the 2PP polling, Abbott trails as preferred PM 36-43. Abbott is not liked by the general public. Indeed, one-in-five of LNP voters, Abbott’s own people, prefer Gillard to Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. Overall, Abbott’s unpopularity is a drag on the LNP vote.

So, while the LNP is well in the lead, that lead is fragile because the electorate does not like Abbott. If he stuffs up, and Marr says that Abbott’s minders believe that could conceivably happen at any moment, that 2PP advantage could easily evaporate. ‘The Punch’ was just the thing to reinforce the negative perception of Abbott. It had to be vociferously denied. Which it was. In exceedingly shifty tones by Tones and in hyperbolic fits by his cheer squad and official supporters.

Marr said he asked the publishers of Quarterly Essay to specifically invite Greg Sheridan, given the intensity of his criticism of the essay, to craft a detailed respond to ‘Political Animal’ to be published in the next Quarterly Essay. Sheridan, showing the paucity of his position and hollowness of his criticism, declined.

Abbott’s fragility, specifically commented on by Marr, is a reason why Abbott declines tough interviews. Foe example, he has not been on Lateline for almost a year and his appearance on Insiders on July 12 this year, his first there for 16 months, was notable for the extremely tight and wooden nature of Abbott’s responses…and a remarkably soft performance by Barrie Cassidy as interviewer. Perhaps Cassidy wants Abbott back.

On the subject of The Punch Marr simply states ‘I’m a professional journalist’. He might have added that he is a highly decorated one. It is plain Marr would not trash his hard-won reputation as a quality journalist on some make believe.

Marr stated that the great and necessary challenge confronting LNP strategists is how to make Tony liked. He thinks we are on the cusp of seeing that strategy unveiled, whatever form it may take.

Other Abbott

What Abbott learned from his student politician career was that you can win power without being liked. The Great Suggestion with which Abbott courts the electorate is that when the right time comes he will divest himself of his junkyard dog persona and metamorph into Winston Churchill. Says Marr: ‘I doubt that’.

Abbott is not a misogynist. He is, says Marr, in Anne Summer’s apt summation, a chauvinist.

male chauvinist 
noun
a male who patronizes, disparages, or otherwise denigrates females in the belief that they are inferior to males and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit.

On Turnbull

The scuttlebutt is apparently that Turnbull will never accept leadership of the LNP unless the LNP embraces a genuine commitment to act on Climate Change.

Marr said his friends, by which I understood he meant the gay community, have a fond hope, a fantasy, that the LNP will use Abbott to gain power and then dump him for Turnbull. Marr’s opinion is that this is wishful thinking of the most starry-eyed nature. If Abbott wins, he wins and he stays.

On Turnbull and Rudd

Backbenchers in the respective parties speak of Rudd and Turnbull in a surprisingly identical manner. i.e. ‘That son of a ##@@!%. He ripped our guts out. Wouldn’t have him back for quids.’ To the backbenchers the enduring popularity of the ex-leaders is inexplicable and to coin a Pyne-ism, vomitous

Marr believes the popularity of Rudd and Turnbull is because they look like the kind of leaders that Australians want as opposed to the kind of leaders – Gillard and Abbott – whom they currently have, both of whom are almost irredeemably unpopular, Abbott due to his aggression and Gillard, well Marr didn’t say, but I would venture Gilllard’s gender in combination with her ‘knifing’ of Rudd (illegitimacy) and untruthfuless (Ju-Liar Carbon Tax).

On The Standard and Direction Of Political Debate

The freedom to speak hate is being actively claimed by radio hosts. And what can be said of the sheer idiocy of those elements claiming that the Macquarie Dictionary adding a new definition to ‘misogyny’ is proof of some leftist conspiracy in cahoots with the ABC.

Question Time

Q. Why didn’t Abbott gain the support of the Independents in the minority government negotiations ?
A. Two reasons. Libs were on the upswing at the time. Abbott as leader would have dissolved parliament, called new elections and the Independents would have vanished like morning dew. This has been confirmed by Bronwyn Bishop. Secondly, Windsor and perhaps Oakeshott were personally repelled by the pitiful, begging manner in which Abbott conducted the negotiations. They didn’t like the man they saw.

My question, which I didn’t feel Marr liked very much was this:

Q. Since Political Abbott always trumps Values Abbott then can we assume that secular Australia has nothing to fear from Abbott’s relational with Cardinal Pell ?
A. [paraphrased] Since Abbott’s values are always expendable then even his good values can be ditched at any time. For example, Abbott did not support Workchoices since they’re opposed to his DLP values (Kevin Andrews also ex-DLP also opposed Workchoices, but Abbott will implement it if his paymasters insists and he can get away with it.

I didn’t find Marr’s answer very good, but like I say, I don’t think Marr liked my question very much. Marr does not hate Abbott but they are very different people. As Marr says in ‘Political Animal’ Abbott as PM will not pursue and will resist many issues Marr cares about such as

‘gay marriage, drug reform, euthanasia, a republic [and] a bill of rights’ [‘Political Animal’, p.91]

to which could be added humane treatment for asylum seekers and serious action on Climate Change. Its not like Marr thinks that Abbott will transform Australia into a Catholic fiefdom (much as he may like to), its that Abbott will ignore or reject the entire ‘progressive’ agenda.

And Marr is obviously deeply hurt by what he has experienced as the rejection of gay people by Catholics and conservative Christians exemplified by Abbott and Pell. So my question relating secular Australia and Pell would have had a personal salience for him.

But I speculate.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable talk and discussion.

See you at the next one.

Abbott’s ‘problem with women’ has been hypocritically magnified by the ALP and stubbornly denied despite obvious fact by the LNP. Thank goodness the Blogosphere has me to understand all this in perfect balance. Let me approach the issue by means of Hermeneutical Spiral

Abbott Does Not Hate The Women In His Family

No-one except Christopher Pyne thinks that the ALP has made that particularly ludicrous accusation.

Abbott Is Not A Feminist.

Only Margie Abbott could get away with stating that sort of nonsense. Not even Mrs. Abbott herself takes her comments seriously.

Abbott Does Not Hate All Women

This is where Feminists including those in the ALP go wrong. By equating anti-Abortion with misogynist Feminists claim that Abbott is misogynist simply because he opposes RU486 and wants to limit access to Abortion. Feminists will typically reject the notion that it is possible to reject Abortion-On-Demand without being misogynist.

Since anti-Abortion=anti-Women in typical Feminist expression and Abbott is anti-Abortion it follows that he must be ill-disposed towards or be an oppressor of all women. In this Feminists commit a logical non-sequitor and undermine legitimite critique of the extent Abbott’s misogyny, not only opening the door to Pyne’s electorally palatable idiocy, but also alienating millions of non-Feminist women who can see the obvious, that Abbott does not hate all women.

Abbott Does Not Hate Capable Women

This is where Nicola Roxon and other senior ALP figures are wrong. Abbott does not hate Peta Credlin, Margaret Thatcher, Patricia Cross, Gina Rinehart, Janet Albrechtson, Marie Laurent Pasteur, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings, or most any other capable women you can think of.

In Fact Abbott Hates Very Few Women

He only hates female political opponents.
And I think I know why.
Sub-consciously he thinks they’re lesbians.

This brilliant insight came to me during a second reading David Marr’s description of Abbott’s volatile career as a student politician in Quarterly Essay #47.

Entitlement

As we all know, Abbott is a conservative Catholic who, as a young man, absorbed the world view of Bob Santamaria who, in Marr’s words

‘deplored the Pill, homosexuality, rampant materialism, married women in the workforce, environmentalists, drugs, abortion…’ [QE47, p.11]

.

For Sanatamaria, those social changes represented intensely corrosive forces antithetical to the values of Western civilisation, decency and the proper functioning of nations. Abbott appropriated that self-same view in toto from Santamaria and has never altered that opinion. This is bedrock for Abbott.

For Abbott, Lesbians represent a conglomerate living Frankenstein of several of the worst aspects of modern society: female leadership which is leftist, atheist and sexually libertarian. Lesbians are the living embodiment of the forces which imperil Western civilisation. Their existence in the Parliament of Australia is an offence and a threat against decency and national stability. Lesbians do not belong in Parliament or political leadership. Indeed, they are not entitled to be there.

Abbott used the language of entitlement to express his rage at Julia Gillard attended the Royal Wedding of Harry Windsor and Kate Middleton in 2011:

“She may not believe in God, the monarchy or marriage, but there will be a royal wedding bounce [in the opinion polls QE 47, p. 85]”

For Abbott, Gillard was not entitled to be at the royal wedding because Gillard neither represents nor defends any of the institutions of Western civilisation embodied by a British royal wedding. And so as for leftist female political leaders. They are simply not entitled to be in the chamber of Parliament. They are a disgrace, a danger, an affront and a travesty.

Tony’s Political Heterosexuality

Abbott’s very first newsletter article for the National Civic Council aligned Democratic Club at Sydney Uni in 1976 contained an invective against the ‘Gay dance’ during Orientation Week and the ‘perversion’ it represented. Abbott defined his political persona as a heterosexual [QE p.10] in contradistinction to the homosexuality openly practiced or condoned by Leftists. He created a no doubt satirical ‘Heterosexual Solidarity Society’ within his Democratic Club. A campus friend noted that his political style was to tease and enrage the Left, particularly concentrating on lesbians.

‘He was extrememly right-wing at a time when everyone was extremely left-wing. He used to bait them, particularly lesbians. There were a lot of lesbians about then’ [QE p.19]

Bait

Note that in the quote above that Abbott enjoyed ‘baiting lesbians’ in political argy-bargy at Uni. He still does. That explains Abbott’s reprise of Jones’s reprehensible ‘died of shame’ comments. Andrew Elder at Politically Homeless called it ‘coat-trailing’ which is a euphemism for baiting while Annabel Crabb was undecided whether it was clueless or calculated.

It was calculated. In deliberately insulting Gillard in such base terms, Abbott was back at Uni. baiting lesbians again

Tiny Tony

‘Tiny Tony’, as a wit has caricaturized the University-age, politically still developing Tony Abbott, felt that women were unsuited for leadership and specifically that God had not designed women for leadesrship.

I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons

Then, as now, Abbott was highly competitive, driven to succeed, physically vigorous and aggressive.

To be beaten by a male peer in a fair contest would be acceptable, sporting and honourable to a man attracted to chivalrous ideals such as Tony.
To be beaten by a male Leftist would be highly frustrating, even angering.
To be beaten by a woman for a leadership position, however, would be embarassing.

But to be beaten by a lesbian woman was to be subject to humiliation by infidels; a blasphemous inversion of God’s proper order precipitated by perverts who were unworthy for the prize, morally inferior and barbaric in that it represented, in Santamarian Tony’s worldview, a step towards the destruction of the social order.

I am not implying anything Barabara Ramjan’s sexuality here. I do say that for student politician Tony to be defeated by Leftists was an affront to his pride, his religion and his ontology about how society should work, one which his physical vigour and aggression could not always contain. And to be defeated by female Leftists who condone lesbianism, who would even establish a Women’s Room frequented by (in Tiny Tony’s words):

Grim-faced, overall-clad, hard, strident [women], often lustfully embracing in a counterfeit of love…

…well !

No wonder he kicked in the door of the SRC office,accidently smashing it, when defeated for the student position on the University Senate.

No wonder he punched the wall on each side of Barabara Ramjan’s head when defeated by her for the SRC Presidency.

So my thesis is that Tony’s ‘problem with women’ is really only a problem with Leftist female political opponents, in particular those women who beat or best him. In these encounters Tony’s latent misogyny rouses with his rage and humiliation, his sub-conscious takes over, he is mentally transported back to the SRC surrounded by strident, overall-clad lesbian perverts and his fountaining agression spills over into bullying.

We All Change (Somewhat)

Abbott does not believe exactly the same things he did at University. Notably, he is happy to advocate a very large Paid Parental Leave scheme, the primary beneficiaries of which will be working women. But many of his beliefs remain essentially the same as Tiny Tony. In particular, his views on the suitability of women for political leadership have not changed at all. Neither have his attitudes towards abortion.

Abbott’s political views as a student were not adopted overnight or after attending some rally with a mate. They had been baked in since infancy and were and are anchored in Catholic theology which is a body of principle that changes little except at crisis ponts seperated by centuries (e.g Vatican II). This is why the views of Tiny Tony are highly relevant to the man he is today, in my view more relevant than for most Australian politicians, and, to the point, more relevant to whatever youthful flirtation Gillard had with revolutionary Socialism and/or radical Feminism.

Abbott’s views on women, abortion, marriage and gender relations are heavily influenced, though not entirely constrained by, Catholic principles.
How could they not be?

Adult Tony aged 41 and a member of the Howard government told the Good Weekend Magine of the Sydney Morning Herald:

What if men are by philosophy or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command ?

This doesn’t mean Abbott hates women, but if does mean that Abbott thinks women are not designed for leadership. Women leaders are therefore (generally speaking) suspect, not quite the real thing, acting outside their God-ordained realm and hence cannot perform as well as men in this area. Lefist women particularly so.

In that same Good Weekend interview his interviewer stated that men hold the lion’s share of power. Tony affirmed this was a good thing. (see video here and be patient ita about 6 mins in)

Again, while this doesn’t mean Abbott hates women, it’s plain he doesn’t regard women as designed or suited for leadership. This necessarily must colour his perception of female MPs and Cabinet Ministers as leaders in the Australian parliament.

This is the real Tony. As Abbott said of Mark Latham

…he is already 42 and leopards do not change their spots

Is Abbott A Misogynst ?

Interestingly, Nicola Roxon does not say that Abbott is a misogynyst. She just says he has a ‘problem with capable women’. The distinction Roxon makes is worthwhile in that it acknowledges that Abbott does not actually hate women which is the literal meaning of misogyny. I agree with Roxon that Abbott is not a woman-hater. But now Roxon and I are forced to define what ‘problem with capable women’ actually means.

Abbott’s defenders have been quite effective in blunting the force of the criticism of Abbott on the basis that misogyny means ‘hatred of women’ but Abbott plainly does not hate women. In this Abbott’s defenders ignore the fact that no-one has claimed that Abbott hates all women, so they are really attacking a strawman. Nevertheless, Abbott has been labelled a misogynist and that is plainly not accurate. I would nuance that accisation.

Personally, I would say that Abbott suffers from ‘contempt of female leadership’. Is that misogyny? About.com gives a useful definition, distinguishing between the literal meaning of misogyny and the meaning as applied in Feminist theory.

Definition: Misogyny means the hatred of women. The word comes from the Greek misein, to hate and gyne, woman. Misogyny is often used to describe contempt for women as a whole, rather than hatred of specific women.

In feminist theory, misogyny often describes an attitude that is perceived to be negative and demeaning toward women as a group. While it is rare to find someone who actually despises all women just because they are female, feminists more commonly observe prejudice against women or an assumption that women are less deserving than men. …

In other words, Feminist theory has conflated the term misogyny with sexism. In her now famous speech in Parliament, Gillard, drawing from her exposure to Feminism, utilised that conflation. Barrie Cassidy was the first commentator I heard properly distinguishing between the concepts of misogyny and sexism in regards to Abbott and I think he is on the money.

sex·ism (skszm) n.
1. Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.
2. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender.

Abbott suffers from the prejudice that women are less deserving than men of being leaders and exercising power.

He’s sexist more than misogynist.
But I do think there is a stratum of misogynism in his makeup.
I’ll give examples below.

Manifestations Of Abbott’s Sexism and Misogyny

I think that Abbott has a case to answer in relation to both misogyny and sexism. The proof for me is that I think he treats his female political opponents with less respect than he does his male political opponents (sexism) and that he sometimes shows loathing towards those same female political opponents (misogyny).

I think that Abbott’s misogyny is grossly overstated by most of his accusers. Specifically I reject the view that his opposition to abortion makes him a misogynist. But nevertheless I believe Abbott’s misogyny is there.

1. Abbott Thinks Women Are Less Suited For Leadership Than Are Men

Sexist.

This is a product of Abbott’s particular Catholic viewpoint, one shared with other conservative Christians. In Abbott this helps explain the particular antipathy he sometimes exhibits against female political opponents.

2. Abbott’s Reaction To Anna Burke

Misogynist.

In Aug 2012 Abbott was evicted from parliament by Acting Speaker Anna Burke for refusing to withdraw unparliamentary remarks. The look of menace and loathing that Abbott steadied on Ms. Burke was not normal.

In my view Abbott found it unbearable and humiliating to be forced to submit to the authority of the female speaker and his visage and attitude made that plain.

One need only compare the actions of his colleague Christopher Pyne, Manager Of Opposition Business In The House Of Representatives. Evicted from the House on a regular basis, Pyne wanders off completely unconcerned looking for all the world as if he’s heading out for a Latte in the Member’s Lounge. When Abbott left, his humiliation and anger was so palpable you could spread it on toast.

In ejecting Abbott, Burke referred to how Abbott continually ignored her directions as Speaker, in particular to desist from referring to MPs as liars.

3. Abbott Cannot Relate Normally To Nicola Roxon

Misogynist.

Roxon has related how during her time as Shadow Minister for Health, Abbott could not be civil to her at non-Parliamentary functions to which both she and Abbott, then Minister For Health, were invited. Abbott insisted on sitting with his back to her despite the fact that Roxon and Abbott were joint speakers and joint guests of honour.

In my view Abbott’s behaviour towards Roxon is not normal and I believe it relates to the occassion when he felt Roxon got the better of him in 2007 when Abbott was late for a scheduled Election debate with her at the National Press Club. In his absence Roxon impersonated Abbott amusing the audience. Then, when Abbott arrived, Roxon rebuked him for being late, and Abbott responded by swearing at her. The incident reflected badly on Abbott and he has never lived it down.

In my view Abbott has never been able to recover from this humiliation at the hands of a woman, so revealing his misogyny.

4. When It Comes From Julia, No Doesn’t Mean No

Misogynist.

In August 2010 Abbott made a truly shocking remark about Gillard possibly backflipping over the number of debates she would have with Abbott during the election campaign.

Abbott remarked:

Now, are you suggesting to me that when it comes from Julia, no doesn’t mean no?

It is impossible to believe that Abbott is oblivious to the rape overtones of his comment. They are straight-forwardly misogynist. He should be utterly ashamed of them.

5. Make An Honest Woman Of Herself

Sexist.

In Feb 2011 Abbott said that Gillard needed to ‘make an honest woman of herself’ and call an election on the Carbon Tax.

Gillard construes this statement as sexist and I think she is correct.

The phrase ‘make an honest woman of her’ refers to an action taken by man to wed his partner with whom he is currently cohabitating. While the phrase was used by Abbott primarily to target Gillard’s de-facto (unmarried) status it also carries connotations of sexual immorality, surely not unintended by Abbott.

There is no way Abbott would have deployed this line of attack against a man. This is a gender-based attack and hence sexist, though not in my opinion misogynist.

6. She, Her

Sexist.

Various ALP Parliamentarians such as Anthony Albanese and Andrew Leigh have said that Abbott declines to honour the conventions of parliamentary language in relation to the Prime Minister, repeatedly referring to Gillard as ‘she’ and ‘her’, rather than by her title ‘Prime Minister’. Social commentator Anne Summers notes that Christoper Pyne also extends this discourtesy to the Prime Minister.

The Australian parliament is a formal debating chamber with rules and conventions governing behaviour and conduct. Selective refusal to honour those rules towards a woman on a gender basis is to withdraw respect because of gender which constitutes sexism.

7. She’s A Loyal Girl

Sexist.

Abbott stunned the nation’s media during the media conference to announce his elevation to Leader Of The Opposition, giving Julie Bishop a cuddle and calling her ‘a loyal girl’. even Andrew Bolt found Abbott’s comments startling.

Referring to the intelligent, capable Deputy and accomplished lawyer Ms. Bishop in the clearly condescending manner which he did shows that Abbott does not have an opinion of women equal to that he has of men.

Abbott simply cannot conceal his true feelings towards the inferiority of women in leadership. As Christine Milne says, Abbott’s opinions of the inferiority of women are so ingrained he simply doesn’t realise his own sexism.

In a further slight on Bishop, Abbott stated that his female chief of staff Peta Credlin was

in some ways de-facto Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Even while praising one capable woman, Abbott could not help diminishing another, his instinctive and unconscious sexism again bubbling to the surface. His comments leave little doubt that Bishop does not have her position on the basis of merit alone, but at least partially as a token women in an ersatz leadership role.

8. Punching The Wall On Each Side Of Barabara Ramjan’s Head

Misogynist.

This encounter from Abbott’s student politician days is quite shocking although partially ameliorated by the fact it occurred 35 years ago. I believe that the basic hatred towards female political opponents remains, however.

Abbott’s actions have been confirmed by a respected barrister.

Abbott’s denials of this incident have been shifty, first saying he couldn’t recall and then saying the reason he couldn’t recall it was because it never happened and then claiming that it was invented by a supposed ALP ‘dirt unit’.

In my view the hysterical defence of Abbott by his good friend, journalist Greg Sheridan of The Australian, was so weird and overblown that it gives additional credibility to the event.

The audio interview he gave to Marius Benson on ABC Radio on September 10 is particularly strange including a passage where Sheridan absurdly claims Benson is trying to censor him. During the interview Benson’s tone conveys offence at Sheridan’s remarks but at the conclusion Benson’s demenour is that of commuter who has just had a random encounter with a deranged but harmless street crazy.

In print, Sheridan does muster a credible counter-claim in which a highly connected student politician at the time, Jeremy Jones (running for the ALP), never heard of the incident and didn’t believe it happened.

For me, however, the sum of the evidence suggests the incident did indeed happen, with Abbott’s shifty denials, in my mind, telling. As ALP backbencher Deb O’Neill puts it:

What sort of man can or cannot remember punching a wall beside the head of a woman. I cannot imagine for a moment that any person would be able to forget that they undertook such an act…

As an adult, Abbott punched out Joe Hockey, his Rugby team-mate, now his Shadow Treasurer, because Abbott thought Hockey needed sorting out.

Why then is it so incredible to believe the relatively immature Tiny Tony would not intimidate his despised and morally corrupt political opponent and nemesis Barbara Ramjan in his height of humiliation ?

9. Ditch The Witch

Stupid.

In my view, Abbott saw those infamous signs at the Carbon Tax rallies as mere political invective. His approval of them lay in his hope that anti-Carbon Tax sentiment could precipitate an early election. I am not convinced their misogynistic content even registered with him, so I rate his conduct here as neither sexist nor misogynist, merely stupid.

Similarly, Abbott appears on the Alan Jones radio program in which misogyny is a regular and welcome feature. Abbott is deaf to the misogyny of Jones’ listeners, construing it merely as political invective, which on one level it is. Unfortunately that invective is enervated by dollops of gender-based contempt.

Abbott is tone-deaf to misogyny with serious consequences for domestic and social violence against women. If he can’t learn he should not be Prime Minister.

Bully With Imperfect Anger Control

Intensifying Abbott’s sexism and selective misogyny is his tendency to bully and his imperfect ability to control aggressive intimitadory anger. Abbott does not resile from directing both of these traits at women.

Now, Abbott will also attempt to bully and intimidate men as Joe Hockey, Clive Palmer and Mark Reilly have discovered, but Abbott’s inability to prevent himself from bullying and intimidating women, just as Abbott has criticised in Mark Latham, reveal a character flaw which is unpalatable in any man and unforgivable in an aspirant to the Prime Minister’s office.

You can watch a video of Abbott bullying Four Corners reporter Sarah Ferguson in her report of the Minority government negotiations, ‘The Deal’.

The bullying occurs during the quoted exchange below. Abbott initially adopts a highly aggressive posture, hands on hips, chest out, head back, eyes narrowed and them looms toward Ferguson to silence her impertinent questioning, three times raising his voice as he repeats ‘that’s an offensive question’

SARAH FERGUSON: The question is though, did you have something to hide and is that why you didn’t show these costings to the independents in the first place?

TONY ABBOTT: To be honest a bit of an offensive question Sarah. It’s…

SARAH FERGUSON: I’m only going on what they said.

TONY ABBOTT: It is a very offensive question.

SARAH FERGUSON: I’m just picking up on what Mr Katter said.

TONY ABBOTT: Well it’s an it’s an offensive question from you, ah, because the fact of the matter is all of our, all of our assumptions, all of our assumptions, I think, I think will stand up to scrutiny and I am very happy to defend them. Now I accept that Treasury wants to argue with some of them ah, but they are all eminently defensible.

To be fair to Abbott, the situation occurred at extremely stressful moment for him. Treasury had just destroyed his fraudulent budget costings and Abbott had just gone to Tony Windsor’s office to try and smooth things over. In all likelihood Windsor had just that minute told Abbott that his chances of becoming PM were smashed to pieces. To have to deal with a reporter and film crew at that moment would have been difficult.

But that does not excuse bullying a woman.
Hey. He wants to be PM. The job has pressure, right ?
Abbott will bully women if he thinks its worth it.

Summary

Abbott is not a misogynist in that he hates all women.

He is however a sexist in that he holds the particular prejudice against women that they are unsuited for political leadership. He normally only expresses this sexism towards leftist women as leftists hold views which in his view are inicimal to society’s proper order, but he sometimes expresses that sexism towards his own colleagues.

Abbott also in my view carries a stratum of misogyny is his general psychology. This expresses itself solely towards women who best or defeat him, so you only see it directed towards his female political opponents. In these cases his misogynistic humiliation overflows in contempt, loathing and, in his youth, to physical violence toward Barbara Ramjan.

An additional criteria for the expression of Abbott’s misogyny is that he is out of control of the situation i.e. that he has been defeated in a power encounter by a woman.

That misogyny also overflows in certain comments towards female opponents one of which was redolent of connotations of rape and another of sexual immorality.

His trait of bullying is not in itself misogynistic as he bullies men also, but it is alarming that he allows himself to bully women as the occasion permits. And it is terrifying that Abbott can turn up week in week out on Alan Jones’ radio program in which misogynistic invective is a welcome and regular feature.

Refusal to call out misogyny perpetuates and validates a culture of disrespect and contempt towards women which feeds into domestic and social violence. Since Abbott refuses to resile from misogyny and his male chauvinism is instinctive and innate he is, in my opinion, unsuited for consideration for the Prime Minister’s office.

Additional Notes

On Peter Slipper’s distasteful text messages which Abbott used to accuse Gillard of protecting a misogynist and so precipitated Gillard’s electrifying speech, I mostly concur with Judith Brett in her recent article ‘They Had It Coming’ in The Monthly.

In disagreement with Brett, I do not agree that Slipper’s messages were misogynistic. I consider them merely a distasteful joke made in a private context. Like Brett I consider the private nature and overall context of Slipper’s messages make them wholly unlike Abbott’s public comments and actions made over 35 years. Plainly Abbott was insincerely and opportunistically using Slipper’s remarks to pressure Gillard to dump Slipper and so narrow the numbers on the floor of the house. It was a cheap shot. Consequently Gillard’s response, imbued with sincerity and truth well skewered Abbott.

Zero Effect

As the Carbon Tax, in complete harmony with Treasury modelling, continues to have zero effect on Australian standards of living, so opinion polls reflect a majority of voters reporting the Carbon Tax has no effect on their lives thus far.

Sound Bites

This highly predictable result reflects badly on Tony Abbott’s scare campaign on the Carbon Tax and has begun to impact on his electoral prospects as measured by those polls. Abbott’s scare campaign was so obviously deceitful that influential commentator Laurie Oakes has straight-forwardly called Tony Abbott a liar.

This is an important eventuality as Oakes’ comments are routinely included in the sound bites of commercial prime-time news media and hence have the capacity to influence the political understanding of the highly prized disengaged voter.

Further Deterioration

In a further deterioration of events for Abbott, his Carbon Tax scare campaign has become a target of fun on Breakfast televsion. Recently interviewed on Channel Nine’s Today program, Karl Stefanovic, aaccompanied by sniggers from his co-host, Lisa Wilkinson, politely asked Abbott if he was insane:

KARL STEFANOVIC:

[Mr. Abbott,] I have noticed you have had a particular penchant for animal references in the last couple of days. I will play a couple of these references now. Let’s have a look:

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s going to be a python squeeze rather than a cobra strike… This is an octopus embracing the whole of our economy.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Have you been watching too much <strong>When Animals Attack?

TONY ABBOTT:

No, look, I’m not going to make light of this Karl. I mean, seriously, on your programme, Karl…

KARL STEFANOVIC:

But the animals are getting smaller!

TONY ABBOTT:

But the carbon tax is getting worse. That is the thing. I mean, the Government has been making light of this. But no one, no struggling Australian family that’s getting its power bill is making light of this right now.

Abbott is not correct when he says no-one is making light of the Carbon Tax. In fact, most Australians currently think the Carbon Tax has little or no effect on their lives.

Uncertain Emotions

So, Abbott has lost his Cred on the Carbon Tax with serious commentators and the majority of voters. Even Breakfast Television presenters feel at liberty to laugh in his face on the subject.

No wonder Abbott in that interview had the queasy look of a socially dysfunctional geek concealing embarrassment after being discovered sleeping with his teddy bear on a school camp. Here’s the video. Take note of the highly uncertain smile.

He knows he’s one stage from disaster.

If Breakfast TV treats him as a figure of fun, then he’s dead.

Picture This

KARL: Tell us Tones, is the Carbon Tax like a Squirrel Attack ?
TONES: Now, Karl…
[Cut to picture of unbelievably kyewt squirrel, wriggling cheeks stuffed full of acorns]
KARL: Or is it more of a Gecko attack ?
TONES: …the situation is unbelievably dire….
[Cut to image of Gecko harmlessly breathing on someone’s porch]
KARL: Perhaps a fluffy kitten attack ?
TONES: …the power bills are uh…
[Image of helpless kittens mewing piteously]
KARL: After all prices have risen 0.4% in the past year.
TONES: …cities will be destroyed..
KARL: Yeah, whatever. And in other news a Panda in Ecuador has given birth to Nonuplets…by Caesarian section.

Very Much Alive

But even though Abbott is staring at the reality of grand-scale public humiliation on this issue and the consequent destruction of his Prime Ministerial aspirations, he is still very much alive.

He leads in the 2PP 53-47, 51% believe that the Carbon Tax is bad for Australia (despite not affecting them personally), most have yet to receive their winter power bills and, most hopefully for Tones, we may yet still experience another Global Financial Crisis.

If those winter power bills are brutal then perception of the Carbon Tax will again turn for the worse (despite power bills rising 35% over the previous three years without any Carbon Tax) and if there’s another GFC, well, according to Tones, the Carbon Tax will have caused it. And he’ll be believed. Or at least believed that in a recession a Carbon Tax should not be levied.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.