Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Q&A

Watched ABC’s Q&A the other night 19-Apr-2010, Premiers, Population And The Politics Of Fear and got my first good look at Scott Morrison, Coalition Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

He’s confident, polite, articulate and a complete sleaze bag.

Morrison’s willingness to inflame xenophobic sentiment on boat people Asylum seekers proves that the Liberal-National Party Coalition still has Simple Minds on the issue of Immigration, in the most evil sense of the phrase.

Scotty’s (and Tony’s) Dog Whistle

Scotty’s Dog Whistle on Q&A was ‘put migration last’. Here it is:

SCOTT MORRISON: At the end of the day migration is the question that you answer right at the end of the process,

The AlanJonesAPhiles in the electorate understand this language immediately. It means ‘we don’t want don’t trust don’t need don’t care about don’t give a tinker’s curse about boat people go away go away now fast you yer mates and the UN can just go and get stuffed’

Now, you can’t say that sort of thing directly in a civilised nation, so you have to preface the whole thing in an acceptable-face-of-evil sort of way by couching it in noble sentiment. Here’s Scotty being calm and reasonable about the whole thing:

we are currently growing at a rate of net overseas migration of, on average over the last seven quarters, of 300,000 per year… what this debate, I think, is really all about is about strained cities, about water resources, about energy supplies into the future, and all of these types of things.

So, Scotty tells us migration is killing the environment, so its not that we don’t like xenos, no, we LOVE Tamils, Afghans, Hashemites, Vegemites and Amelikites, its just that they’re killing our cities, drinking all the flamin’ water and overcrowding the public transport. So if they could rack off back to whever they come from we would all be mightily pleased just be reasonable…its nothing personal, its about our very personal survival, not yours

…which is why Australia needs to put migration last, or to quote Scotty

migration is the question that you answer right at the end of the process

Now, Scotty started all calm and reasonable just tootling on his Dog Whistle like a good ‘ol boy, but was then directly called out as a xenophobe by member of the audience who asked

JOY GOODSELL: My question is to Scott Morrison. …I was wondering why you can’t behave like Bruce Baird did when he was acting for refugees, instead of stirring the racist pot that you’ve been doing over the past few weeks?

Onya Joy.

So Scotty puts the Dog Whistle away and comes back with more like a Dog Bagpipes and starts spraying the Howardisms thick and fetid.

He calls the Boat People ‘illegals’…

I want to stand up for people who are sitting in camps all around the world whose places are denied by those who choose come by an illegal method.

…notice again trying to couch his stink in a noble cause.

He calls them wilfull destroyers of documents:

those who have wilfully gotten rid of their documentation…they come here dispense with their documentation

(of course acknowledging that some have their documentation destroyed by no fault of their own).

He says we are in danger from a flood of refugees:

There are 10 and a half million refugees in the world today… Where do we stop?

And finally – we should be grateful for this – flat out says he doesn’t support ANYONE coming to Australia by boat.

SIMON SHEIKH: But the truth of what you said there earlier tonight is that you don’t support people who come by boat.

SCOTT MORRISON: No, I don’t…there are 10 and a half million of them… last time we were in government it worked. We reduced the boats to zero and they stopped coming. We make no apology for it.

No Boats. Its what the Coalition thinks the people of Australia want. Its the goal Abbott and Morrison in their tiny, diminished hearts stand for.

But they cannot achieve it, setting aside for the moment the infantile banality of such a xenophobic and mean spirited policy objective, Yes, in 2002, zero boats arrived, but that was due to Australia’s immigration zones being redefined under the infamous Pacific Solution (the boats still came) and also this does not account for many months when Refugees arrived by boat in much the same numbers at present under Howard’s watch

Rudd’s figures on boat arrivals correlate the same way as Howard’s do: to external factors, i.e. overseas war. Which is the raison d’etre for the UN Convention On Refugees

But counting of boat numbers misses the point at so many levels. It makes me queasy to think that the alternative government of a prosperous Liberal Democracy like Australia can imagine pride in refusing refugees of war; worse turns them into cheap political capital.

The huge majority of refugees under Howard were found to be a legitimate refugee (97% Iraqis, 93% Iranians, 84% all asylum seekers) under the relevant UN Convention which has its genesis in the experience of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. None were found to be terrorists.

Morrison should feel pride that Australia is a signatory to that noble agreement instead of couching his dead lies in the faux nobility of the whitewshed tombs (Population Policy, UN certification, respect for documentation) he recycles for his sleazy purposes.

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.
Titus 1:15

Surfing the Net for reaction to Richard Dawkins’ appearance on ABC’s Q&A program of March 9 2010 “God Science and Sanity”, I discovered for the first time the assertion of aggressive Atheists that the Virgin Birth consitutes an act of rape.

I was familiar enough with the scripture to know that Mary consented to the Virgin Birth and responded in that manner. My Atheist correspondent, Lord Voldemort, replied with reference to scripture, Luke 1:28-38

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

And summarizes his rape argument as follows:

  • Mary’s opinion is neither requested nor acknowledged.
  • The language of directives is used.

By today’s standards, someone in a powerful position is using that power to commit rape. This is corroborated by the “I am the Lord’s servant” line.

Wills: Lets Look at Them All

Unfortunately for LV, the ‘language of directives’ is NOT being employed here, except in the directive to name the Son Jesus. Will merely signifies the future tense. It is not employed gramatically as an order or directive. In fact most of the Wills occur in the section where Mary asks about How the conception will occur, so these Wills cannot be orders to conceive. They are explanations of how the conception can occur since she is a virgin.

In fact, there are many wills in the passage, but not all are directed at Mary. Just as many are directed at Jesus. Is God also raping, dominating or abusing Jesus ? Of course not. Let’s look at His wills.

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

LV, by insisting that Mary’s wills are commands, may wish to consider what the wills directed at Jesus mean. Are they abusive, dominating commands to be great, to be the Son Of God, to be the King of the Jews and to have an eternal kingdom ? No. They are future tense, describing what will be and are denotive of the highest honour and great esteem. As are Mary’s.

See below for further comments on ‘will’

Mary’s Opinion

Mary was not denied the opportunity to express her opinion, and in fact did so by questioning the means of, then consenting to the Virgin Birth. Thus the acknowledement of that opinion then becomes moot unless LV wishes to insist that the angel should say ‘Righto then, that’s all agreed’ or somesuch.

What Is The Relationship Between God And Mary ?

LV’s mischaracterisation of the relationship between God and Mary as Rapist and Victim is a complete misrepresentation of the factual relationship which is beloved King to trusted servant.

The Angel’s Mission

LV would have it that the Angel has been dispatched to Mary to inform her that in a week or two she will be raped. His construction of the narrative is nonsensical. Rapists do not dispatch messengers to inform of impending rape. They just rape.

Rather, the angel has not come to inform Mary that she will be entrusted with a unique and highly honoured task which is to bear and birth the Messiah, the coming of whom is the most anticipated event in Jewish history. God is bestowing Mary with a unique historical honour, not abusing her.

In other words the Angel has been sent in advance by God to inform and comfort her about events which are about to take place and to describe to her what they mean. The angel’s visit describes God’s kindness and respect to Mary, not contempt, hatred or lust.

In addition the angel’s visit ahead of time proves that the wills in his message denote future tense, not immediate forced command. The visit ahead of time also implies that consent is being sought.

This inversion of God’s intent and character is typical of aggessive atheists like LV who gain perverse pleasure from maligning God and forcing foul meanings on The Bible.

An example of a similar difficult and esteemed honor might be a medieval King choosing and entrusting a servant to accompany and protect his juvenile son on a long horseback journey across the breadth of China. The servant is chosen for reasons of loyalty, courage, trustworthiness and reliability not in order to humiliate or abuse. That servant may also be chosen in the knowledge they would accept such a task if assigned it, as leaving a critical and supremely important task or entrusting one’s own Son to one not willing is to invite disaster.

Unconscious Bias

LV’s negative reaction to this passage is also a result of unconscious Western bias he brings to the passage.

Distaste for the differential King/Subject statuses (here of God and Mary) is typical of Westerners as it cuts across our culturally revered norms of Democracy and autonomy (radical individualism). However, a person from an Eastern culture reading this encounter between King’s Messenger and Subject would find it unremarkable for the difference in status and obligation assumed in the passage and indeed may well find the Angel’s attitude remakably acommodating and kind for an emissary of the monarch: The angel speaks gently, does not demand ritualised forms of address or explicit acknowledgement of relative status, allows questioning and waits for consent.

King And Subject

LV is correct to identify that Mary has an obligation to obedience (I am the Lord’s servant) arising from her Subject/King status, but typically of aggressive atheists, LV instantly and always identifies the obligation of the Subject to the King as an abuse of power. In doing so LV fails to recognise any possibility that a healthy King/Subject relationship can exist, that such a relationship can and does exist without abuse, that the King may select servants for particular tasks on the basis the he already knows in advance that they will accept and enjoy the task and that tasks performed out of obligation may nevertheless impart high honour to those performing them.

Finally on this the King may not always choose to exercise his right to obedience. It is not evident in this passage that Mary had no choice of refusal, even though her obligation to obedience is correctly assumed. Mary could have said ‘No’ and the King may have said ‘OK then’. Given the gravity, honour and historical importance of the task God needs someone wiling, not unwilling.

To summarize some points so far:

  • The task is to bear and birth the Messiah
  • The coming of the Messiah to Israel is the great hope and entire focus of the whole history of the Jewish nation
  • Given this, a higher honour for Mary is hard to imagine
  • The task honours Mary, it does not debase her, as rape would.
  • Given the gravity, importance, surpassing honor of the task and that in involves God entrusting his Son to another person (Mary) God may well have chosen Mary for the task knowing in advance she would accept.

 

Mary’s reaction to the Angel’s visit, as well as that of her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John The Baptist, directly confirms many of the points I have made above. Her song, now known as The Magnificat, is located in scripture at Luke 1:46-55.

Mary’s Zeal For The Messianic Promise

The Magnificat records Mary’s joy in God that she has been selected for such a great honour and that she this honour is centred on assisting in bringing the Messiah to Israel. She praises God for His faithfulness in remebering his Messianic promises to Abraham and Israel.

54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

Mary’s zeal for the Messianic promises of God to Israel indicate that this zeal forms at least some part of the reason that God selected her to bear Jesus. If one includes verse 50 in this frame of reference, gratitude to God for sending the Messiah comprises about one-third of Mary’s song of thanks. The Angel Gabriel indicated specifically to Mary that the child would be the Messiah by reference to the child’s later assumption of ‘the throne of his father (i.e. ancestor) David’.

Luke 1 is a chapter all about the coming of the Messiah. The task of Elizabeth, the other major personage in the chapter is to bear John the Baptist, whose role is to proclaim the immediate coming of the Messiah and Mary’s role is to birth and bear the Messiah, name Him Jesus, then protect and nurture Him until maturity i.e. be His mother.

Mary’s song indicates her zeal and faith in God’s Messianic promises, explains her favour with God and also her selection as Jesus’ mother. God, knowing Mary’s character and hope for the Messiah, knows she will not refuse the honour and hence selects her for the role.

She certainly does not consider herself a victim and neither does Elizabeth.

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Since God knows that Mary will not refuse the honour, the Angel can speak to Mary in the future tense (Will) of the events that she has been selected for.

Missing Out, Messing Up

LV’s determination to malign God and The Bible causes him to miss out on the many encouraging aspects of the Virgin Birth narrative including Mary’s point that God has special concern with the ordinary and poor of the planet, including herself, as proven by her selection, despite being a completely unremarkable village girl for the high privilege given her.

LV’s impoverished approach to this passage robs him of both understanding and coherence. Titus 1:15 could have been written for him. Indeed LV’s very characterisation of the Virgin Birth as Rape can’t be sustained even if God had forced Mary into the arrangement. Rape is a non-consensual sexual act even where conception does not occur, whereas conception is an act of reproduction, the genesis of a human life. To treat one as the other is a non-sequitir. Sex is not reproduction. The Virgin Birth occurred without sex and hence without rape.The maximum charge that could be levied against God is “non-consensual conception”, not rape.

But the Virgin Birth was consensual, first accompanied by obligation, but then overtaken with joy.

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
Luke 1:46-47

The Coalition just can’t help itself, and why should it ? A good dogwhistle to the heaving sea of xenophobic paranoia lodged in this nation’s 45-75 yrs demographic and mostly glued to Sydney talkback radio throughout electorally crucial slabs of Sydney’s metropolitan area is still worth a seat or five.

That’s why Joe Hockey and Sharman Stone (Shadow minister for Immigration and Citizenship) have both nonchalantly dropped the aside in recent times that yellow scum China will end up holding a fair share of Australia’s debt over the next decade.

First was Ms. Stone, staining an otherwise classy performance on ABC’s Q&A of May 7th ‘Taxes, Torture and The Taliban’ by observing that we’re accumulating debt at a rate of a couple of billion dollars a week, all borrowed mostly from China. From the transcript:

SHARMAN STONE: … we’ve got a long way to go and we’re accumulating debt at a rate of a couple of billion dollars a week, all borrowed mostly from China; borrowed for the future generation to have to pay back. Now, you can’t generate jobs…

TONY JONES: Is it bad to borrow from China, by the way, the way you said that – I’m just wondering?

SHARMAN STONE: I beg your pardon?

TONY JONES: Is it particularly bad to borrow from China?

SHARMAN STONE: It’s bad…

GREG SHERIDAN: It’s bad for China.

SHARMAN STONE: It’s bad for a government to borrow money to throw into individual’s pockets at $900 [rabbits on dodging Jones’ question.]

This was followed up by Joe Hockey on the following week’s Q&A, ‘Budget Special From Canberra’, in which Hockey foreshadowed Coaltion plans for a publicly-accessible register of government borrowings.

JOE HOCKEY: …we’re going to move an amendment in the senate at the first available opportunity, to make sure there is a proper disclosure about who we are borrowing from because we’re borrowing on a scale that we’ve never done before…

Jones immediately identified the Dog Whistle…

TONY JONES: What is it you’re worried about, though? Are you worried that we’re borrowing from China? Are you worried we’re borrowing from the Middle East?

Hockey confirmed he’s up for a bit of Yellow Peril scaremongering:

JOE HOCKEY: Well, China…

TONY JONES: Which countries are you actually worried about?

JOE HOCKEY: I think it’s important to know where we are borrowing from because ultimately you take the government of China. If the government of China is now the biggest single lender to the Australian government, the Australian people should know it.

The Return Of FrankenHoward

I find it disturbing that the Coaliton is still willing to fan the flames of Xenophobia in this country.

Having been though the extremely distasteful Howard years in which Hanson’s xenphobia was not criticised until her votes returned to the Coalition, One Nation supporters were mollycoddled and wooed, in which the existence and experiences of the Stolen Generation was denied and Aboriginal entitlements portrayed as a fraudulent and bogus ‘industry’, in which the provocations to racially-motivated thuggery of Alan Jones were defended and the thugs themselves sympathized with and in which refugees fleeing war and persecution were portayed as villanous, deceitful dole-bludgers, it is incredible that the Coalition still wishes to plumb these skanky depths.

It is as if the undead Howard-Coalition cadaver of 2007 has risen again, unable to lie still through the sheer intensity of xenophobic poison Howard injected into it over the period of his leadership.

I suspect this is one of the reasons that Dame Elisabeth Murdoch says that Howard has destroyed the Liberal Party. Here’s what she told The Age

I’m very critical of John Howard. He wrecked the party and himself. He just couldn’t let go and I think he believed he could win, but he was completely out of touch. I blame Janette. I think she’s very ambitious.”

I agree with Dame Murdoch. Observing Howard’s Prime Ministership was like watching a man lose his soul in public while enjoying the experience.

Other Legacies Of Howard

Howard purged his party of actual liberals and even conservatives insisting instead on turning the Liberal Party into the political arm of Business-Corporate interests typified by the forces that created the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and attempting to de-legitimize any other viewpoint from the Australian polity.

Electoral support for this horrible vision was gained by pork-barelling the Middle Class and inflaming xenophobic paranoia in the blue-collars and pensioners. Along the way he vandalised the economy by introducing a severe structural deficit into the budget by the aforementioned middle-class welfare and tax cuts. Howard’s budgets and welfare could only be sustained by a permanent commodities boom. Now the hard times are here, the Labor party will once again have to do the work of economic (this time fiscal) reform that Howard could not stomach for the simple interests of getting and maintaining power.

Stumbling Onto A Strategy

The Coalition’s current Yellow Peril dogwhistle appears to have come about from justified concerns about Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon’s relationship with Helen Liu who is a roving functionary for the Chinese government.

This thread, More On The Yellow Peril, at Lavartus Prodeo contains that story and the comments make for useful supplementary reading including a suggestion that the Australian right are merely following the American right in smearing China since it constitutes a rival to US Economic/Military hegemony.

Breathing Foul Air

It is disturbing and offensive that the Liberals cannot discipline themselves to refrain from feeding at the trough of xenophobia. It only poisons them and us.