It’s dawned quietly here in Sydney. I am up and at my keyboard, with only the familiar, individual calls of our local Butcher Birds echoing across our little valley to keep me company.
It’s a cool morning and the boys are down from the country for school holidays. They’re asleep upstairs. Being adolescents, they will continue to sleep until a crow bar is applied to their angelic, if pimply figures, or until they smell food… whichever comes first.
Oh well, such is life, and boys. At least now they can make their own toast. All they have to do now is learn to stack the dishwasher. Or empty it. Either would be progress.
Elsewhere in Sydney, other boys, “Teh Terrorists”, will also be stirring from their spartan cots in suburbs like Lakemba, Campbelltown and Lidcombe. There was even one in my own leafy suburb at one stage. I saw the helicopters myself as they hovered not far from my back deck. The helicopters were real enough, but alas the beheading sword was plastic, purchased at a flea market in downtown Auburn, if I remember correctly. They had to let the Threat To Our Way Of Life – and his mum – go.
I do wonder what the ISIS wannabees think as they transition from slumber to sentience? What wonderful thoughts must crowd their first waking moments! They could kill someone, or perhaps rape a virgin. Maybe they could separate a few heads from a few torsos. So much to do, and so little time to do it!
So little time because, while they have been sleeping, their Nemesis and our National Protector, Tony Abbott has been up and at it. While riding his bike he has been thinking of ways to deprive them of their citizenship, jail them, banish them, vilify them and in general carry out his sacred duty of wedging Labor… of keeping his country safe. A few kilometres on his bicycle, a session at his Vladimir Putin dart board, a couple of whirling dervish rounds with his Bill Shorten punching bag and Tony is ready for a day of fear mongering, division and general muckmenting.
The last two weeks have been the distillation of Abbottism. Gillian Triggs was bullied on live TV for being a politically partisan statutory office holder, a bullying all the more effective due to the bully being Bronwyn Bishop, the politically partisan holder of the highest statutory office in the land. Takes one to know one, I guess.
Ah, QandA, you have all the trouble makers on, don’t you?
Then we had the triumphant crowing in Parliament as Tony picked up on the utterly sensible, sober and perfectly researched bootstrap run by a section of the Fairfax organization, comprising ex-Murdoch scribblers and “investigative journalists” (who had first achieved fame for hacking into Labor party databases), attempting to make out Bill Shorten was an Enemy Of The Workers. Fairfax types know a lot about The Workers. They’ve sacked enough of them recently. “Killing Season”, indeed…
Their evidence? Bill scored even manual labourers $150,000 gigs digging holes, a guaranteed job for two years, kept all their RDOs (after a little reshuffling of half of them, glossed over of course by the bootstrappers, in their zeal), made the company $100,000,000 by bringing in the biggest construction project of its type in Victorian history 5 months early, kept the hated CFMEU out of the job altogether, and set-in-concrete the model for all such future contracts. All in return for a contribution to the AWU – not Bill, but the union – of $300,000.
Shorten did such a bad job of wrecking the mould of “rampant unionism” that Abbott’s mate, Tony Shepherd, tried to take the credit for it himself!
If ever there were questions that needed to be answered, answered again, and then answered at least a dozen times more, until more questions that needed answering came up, these questions were those questions. I know this, because a Sydney Morning Herald editorial (those Fairfax Lefties!) said so, while saying that it’d be better all round if Bill just threw in the towel and stepped down. It was the Killing Season, after all and the SMH had a bootstrap to run.
The other Killing Season was the Reality TV show we were told was a “Must See” because it was “the most brilliant political documentary in Australian television history”. Reality TV promos always tell potential viewers that the show is “Must See”. They also spruik each episode as “The episode all Australia has been waiting for”. Usually these involve weddings or someone having a baby. Occasionally a key cast member falls off a cliff, because he asked for too much money at contract time, and got written out of the show.
But there are other reasons that Reality TV episodes are “Must see”. For example, there could be “a Reveal” during the program. In renovation Reality TV the “Reveal” consists of homeowners re-entering their houses, bursting into tears, putting their hands up to their faces, hugging each other in horror, and exclaiming “
OH_MY_GOD!” when they see the new purple and orange tiles in the bathroom, with the grand vista windows at the front of the house that let them see out onto… the street they hate living in anyway, because its full of bogans like them.
There were several “Reveals” in The Killing Season. For instance, it was “Revealed” that Kevin Rudd ratted Julia Gillard out to Laurie Oakes so that she would lose the 2010 election. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that…
Then there was the excellent product of Sarah Ferguson’s relentlessly investigative mind when she teased the truth out of Julia that Mark Arbib was involved in the coup. Who’d a thunk that?
But the best “Reveals” were about Bill Shorten. Before the show even went to air, we’d already been told what the reaction to these would be by the Press Gallery: Bill would enter that dangerous state of becoming “beleaguered”.
And what “reveals” they were!
- Bill wasn’t even on the show…
- He knew about the coup on the night it was hatched, and spoke on the phone to his colleagues…
- Someone said that someone said that Bill “couldn’t be trusted”…
- Bill had a meeting with Kevin Rudd in 2013…
This last “reveal” was a beauty, because Bill had told some shock jock or other that he had not met with Rudd. And then he fessed up to it! This made for screaming headlines along the lines of “SHORTEN LIED TO SHOCK JOCK!!!…
Of course, all this lying took place 2 years ago, but in Abbott Dead-Buried-And-Cremated World, “2 years ago” is practically yesterday. Ask Julia Gillard. The witch hunt against her went back 10 times that. And some even say she still has questions to answer.
Unsurprisingly, the pundits’ predictions all came true. They have a gift for self-fulfilling prophecies, those hacks. From being a common or garden LOTO, with an election-winning poll lead extending out over the previous 14 months at the beginning of Killing Fortnight, Shorto did in fact become, as they told us he would, “beleaguered”… “embattled” even. That’s with Labor’s election-winning lead increasing by a percentage point or so. Imagine if their electoral ratings had gone down…
Amazingly, all the journos of the Press Gallery, at the ABC and on The Drum and Sky News came to this conclusion independently and simultaneously. The odds against the Press Gallery all saying the same thing at the same time must be billions to one. But Sportsbet didn’t even make a book on it!
So, Tony took up the baton and horse-whipped Bill in QT, much to the merriment of our esteemed 4th Estate. They might be impervious to facts, or sit po-faced when confronted with policy, but give the hacks a good stoush to write up and they spring into action… sound and fury signifying action, at any rate.
Finally they had a genuine “bad guy” to flog to death. Not the bloke who’s been sacked from every job he’s ever had, punched walls either side of women’s’ faces when he lost a student election to them, abandoned his pregnant girlfriend because “he wasn’t ready for fatherhood”, failed at the priesthood because (he told us) he couldn’t keep his tossle in his pants (nice “Macho Man” excuse, that), slagged off a man dying of mesothelioma a few days before he passed away, stood under a sign saying Julia Gillard was Bob Brown’s Bitch, bragged on national television that he lied all the time, proved it by concocting the greatest tissue of lies in the history of Australian politics, longer than a jumbo roll of Sorbent, gave Vladimir Putin a koalaing instead of a shirtfronting, changed policies more often than you or I change socks, admitted he lied on climate change policy, on pensioners, on education, on the ABC and just about every other policy crevice he ever cast his saurian eyes upon. No, they didn’t go after Tony Abbott. It was “Get Shorty” week. It said so in the script, and in the promos, written weeks, even months before.
First he was up before the Royal Commission. It’s one of the few occasions where a current political leader has hauled his opponent before such an inquisition, so that his murky past can be delved into. Throw a Royal Commission into the mix and the Group Thinkers went beserk. It didn’t matter to them that it was a witch hunt. Witch hunts are what they do all the time. Boy, would Bill have to answer questions that needed to be answered then! In the meantime there were the same questions needing to be answered now! Bill was in a perfect bind. No wonder there were calls for his resignation.
So let’s recap… Royal Commission, dodgy deals, and – there was no escaping it – Bill Shorten lied to a shock jock. He even admitted it. What a politically inept wanker, actually admitting to something. Such is not the stuff of Prime Ministership. If you can’t lie your way into office, how can you ever hope to lie to everyone as Prime Minister of Australia once you get there?
And he got a good deal for his union members and for the company on the Eastlink project. What’s a union leader for, if not to call strikes, embezzle money and send the employers broke?
Admittedly it had been hard to get the “Shorten beleaguered” story up. There were, for a time, a few distractions. Take Joe Hockey’s enlightening observation that all hopelessly under-cashed home buyer hopefuls had to do was “get a good job, preferably in the private sector”. That meant “Bye-bye home ownership” for nurses, fireys, ambos, teachers, university professors, pen pushers everywhere and even Commonwealth Public Service departmental heads.
But there was a glimmer of hope for the hopeless. It arose from Joe’s history of canny real estate buys. If they came from a rich family, were prepared to misrepresent their credentials as lawyers and real estate agents to a man suffering from the delusion that lawyers and real estate agents were the kind of creeps he did not want to sell his house to, so that they could buy his house for a fraction of its market value, transfer majority ownership to their wives and then spend the next umpteen years claiming taxpayer money to bunk down in it as “living away from home allowance”, then they might have a chance. I mean… FACE!/PALM!…
These people would be just the kind of good citizens Joe has been banging on about for years. Deceiving their way into a house purchase, bragging about it in their book that no-one ever read, and then paying off the mortgage on the public tit. LIFTERS ALL! If Joe’s tale of property propitiousness didn’t inspire a nation to try harder, what would?
Actually, it sank lower than Joe’s stapled belly. So, abandoning Shorty for a while, Tony came up with stripping citizenship away from anyone he (or more accurately the Potato-Headed Dutton) did not like. It was unconstitutional, but those pesky judges always get in the way. What did Shorty think of it? When Bill hesitated for a moment, wanting to actually see the legislation, this proved that he was soft on terrorism. The head kicking could begin again.
What legislation it was! Not only terrorists, but even graffiti artists were in the firing line, if they held dual citizenship. Putting aside Tony’s very own brush with Anglo-Australian status for a moment, this “dual citizenship” thing was clever. It gave Australians the idea that terrorists and graffiti artists had a certain lack of loyalty to their new country by not renouncing their original allegiance to the home country.
It would be almost natural justice (except that natural justice is so “yesterday”, and was specifically excluded from the bill) for them to lose their halal-eating, dole-bludging privileges and be turfed out of Terror Australis. As to natural citizens – those born here, and hence with sole citizenship – there were “no plans” to strip them of any rights… until there were.
That’s right, just a few days later, Tony used the occasion of a speech on the hallowed propositions of Magna Carta to call for its abolition. “Citizenship” was “out” and “Banishment” was “in”.
In one step we had sat in the time machine, and gone down through the ages. As the years clicked away in reverse the time dial rotated ever faster. Reprising the late Rod Taylor, Tony sat at the controls and wound back the clock: 2014, 2010, 1994, 1950, 1879, 1750… on and on the dials whirred and the lights flashed… only towards the end did they start to slow down…. 1300, 1290, 1280, 1265. 1255 and finally came to rest at 1254, a full year before Magna Carta was put in front of King John by a bunch of pissed-off barons, to sign and seal. We had made it to the middle of the 13th century alive, intact and ready to start banishing citizens again…
Right on cue, the ABC had chimed in with a real, live terrorist asking a Lib parliamentary secretary, one Ciobo, a curly question. The wash-up of this incident has all the trappings of an ABC shit fight. First, a de rigeur grovelling apology from Tony Jones. Then, next morning, the ABC logo on an ISIS flag, care of the Courier-Mail Photoshop Dept. Billy Shorten somehow got entangled into all this. Already he been asked “ARE YOU SYRIAS BILL?” by the Tele (oooooh… how cutting!), and now he copped it for being a traitor to Australia, and even for “rolling out the red carpet for terrorists”, because he – unaccountably – thought that bringing them back here to Australia, giving them a fair trial (with evidence and stuff) and then, if they were found guilty, locking them up for a long, long time was the way to do it.
Well, it wasn’t actually Bill Shorten who said this. It was Mark Dreyfus Doofus, a Jew, who came in for some gentle ribbing in the Tele (again) by a clever bit of pictorial juxtaposition, showing his photo next to one of Goebbels…
OH_MY_GOD! THAT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!
Photoshop IS fun, isn’t it?
But in Tony’s mind, what was a mere life sentence compared to stripping away rights to eat halal food and bludge on the disability pension, while living in Syria all the time, so they could more easily cut heads off? Ray Hadley agreed, so Tony must have been on the right track.
Sure, Mark Scott made some noises in defence of the organization which he heads, but it was water off a duck’s back for Tony (and a bit too late for Mark, after years of pandering to the Liberal loons, both when they were in Opposition and in government). In true Death Cult style, Tony demanded that “heads should roll” at the “nest of Lefties” in Ultimo, proving once again, the old adage: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em”, in the nicest possible way, naturally.
As if on cue (but it couldn’t have been that), our very own Neo Nazis appeared at the front door of the ABC, forcing ABC employees to scamper out the back. Not a word of condemnation from Tony for that (and I’ll bet you there won’t be a word from any of Tony’s Trustees at the ABC either). The ABC is not on Australia’s side, and the Nazis are. You can tell by the flags. As for the vilifying phone calls and the threatening messages Tony’s fans left… well… “sticks and stones…”.The ABC should nut-up, or (preferably) shut-up.
About the only person who wasn’t accused of being a squawking chick in the nest of Lefties was the QandA host, Tony Jones. Obviously an oversight on someone’s part. And I don’t recall seeing Chris Uhlmann mentioned either, come to think of it, nor “hard hitting” Leigh Sales. Liberals still go on her show. It’s true! Mr Smooth, Mark Simkin has, of course, already left the building. We wish him well in his new career… whatever that is. I’m sure Mark’s smiling…
Strangely, Ultimo was not on the map of terrorist strongholds in suburban Sydney and Melbourne provided by ASIO when Tony went to their offices to be briefed by “X” (their Director) – in a totally unscripted and spontaneous way – on the progress of the War On Terror. It must have been an oversight, rather like the one that saw Man Monis practically offer to give himself up to Bookcase Brandis SC, DH, by intimating, in a formal letter to the Attorney-General, that he wanted to join ISIS, and could Bookcase kindly provide Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s address and phone number? Of course, Mr Monis was ignored. He was a crank anyway, wasn’t he? It wasn’t as if he was ever going to do anything about his delusional obsession with narcissistic self-aggrandizement. That was plain for all to see… oops …
Anyway, the visit to ASIO showed Reality TV viewers the throbbing heart of the Battle Of The Death Cults as Tony sat there sombrely perusing a Very Important Map of caliphating cadres from Lakemba to Camberwell, while up on the wall The Big Picture showed ISIS’s vicious grip on the Middle East – from 2014, over a year ago. Well, the map was one lifted from the Washington Post (ASIO has Photoshoppers too, I suppose). I bet they haven’t heard of Ultimo over there in the US either, what with all their attention being focused on the abomination that is Gay Marriage (OK, sorry, I promised myself not to talk about Gay Marriage).
Aye, the Force has been strong in Tony this last fortnight. The Gallery’s saying it’s his “best ever fortnight”. He’s managed to upset just about everyone. He’s turned Australia upside down. He’s proved that left is right, except for the ABC, which is always left. We now know where the Death Cults are, and who belongs to them: Khaled Sharrouf (deceased), Zaky Mallah, Bill Shorten and Mark Doofus… the latter trio being very much alive, still dangerous and still beleaguered. Mark Scott comes in for a special mention, with a sort of “Reverse Walkley”, awarded for being the Facilitator In Chief of the Ultimo branch of Terror Australis. What’s to complain about? The columns and stories just about write themselves: “That’s Our Tony!”
Banishments will be carried out. Dole bludging Muzzies will be punished by being told to leave a country they’ve already left. Chits with “4 MY MORTGAGE” will still be signed and submitted by Jolly Joe Hockey. Photoshoppers will continue to ply their trade in truth, justice and the Murdoch Way. Pensioners will be rewarded for voting “Tony” by having their pensions cut. Windmills will grind to a halt, their deafening infrasonic decibels silenced forever. Coal mines will continue to spew pollution over a pleasant land, because Coal Is Good For Humanity. Bronwyn Bishop will go on wagging her finger at other politicised statutory office holders, telling them to get a real job if they want to play politics as well as she does. Maybe then they can pay their mortgages off too? Tradies will buy lots of tools they can’t use because there isn’t any work. Gerry Harvey will continue to tell us it’s Christmas. Young couples still won’t be able to afford a house. Or a flat. Or even a parking space dressed up as “a renovator’s delight”.
The Prime Ministirrer will go on stirring, foisting his amateur ideas on a cowering population more afraid of a score of disaffected youfs at their keyboards, than of the hundreds of husbands, fathers and sons, who this year will bash and in some cases, murder their spouses, with the odd one or two doing-in the whole family. Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, will continue to despair, her funding cut from under her as she pleads her case for the killings and bashings to stop (Really, she should have known, shouldn’t she? Tony promised to increase the funding… silly woman).
As always, the Press Gallery will continue to try to make sense of this. That’s their job, after all, to take a peasant and turn him into a Prince (or should that be a “Sir Prince”?).
They will trot out their memes, bestow the title of “Beleaguered” as they wish, believe that a Reality TV show was a good enough excuse for them to try to force reality (I love it when Reality becomes reality, it’s turned the full circle). From their privileged position looking down on the sandpit, they will continue to entertain the idea that Question Time is important, just because it’s put on specially for their entertainment. They will keep on interviewing each other, conducting “Group Think As It Happens” workshops on the national airwaves.
Jockstraps disguised as bootstraps will abound. More-in-sorrow-than-in-anger calls for resignations will permeate the editorials, because the editors of failing businesses, dependent on old technology, losing their customer base faster than Tony can say “Death Cult”, and disappointing those few readers that remain, will persist with the delusion that they alone have the inside running on how to run a business (or a party, or a nation).
Peter Hartcher will still be in love (with someone), but it will be – as always – unrequited. Kath Murphy will continue to lecture her readers on the nobility of journalism, just before she giggles at the latest gotcha. Barrie Cassidy will persist with his naive trust in the Sunday papers, and Lenore Taylor will sadly, but inevitably, find the True Group Think at last.
We are so far away from where we should be as a nation. We have gone from an aspirational society – multi-cultural, broadminded, relaxed, confident – to a cringing, cowering mess of terrified neurotics, afraid of Muslims, afraid of unions who have done so much for us, hating politicians, shouting, screaming, threatening national institutions, banishing citizens in a reversion to Medieval days, judgemental, wowserish and mean.
And that’s just how Tony Abbott likes it. “In confusion is profit” is his guiding motto. Everywhere he has ever been has ended up the same, from school, through university, to his stint in a concrete factory, at the seminary, to the media, into politics and now as Prime Minister with close as dammit to untrammelled power to corrupt, pollute and devalue . Throughout his life, as soon as he had some power, he has abused it, buggered it up and wrecked whatever and whomever gave him responsibility. He has both the penchant to destroy, and the charm to keep on getting his patrons to give him licence to do so.
To paraphrase another thug… “Nice little country you got here. Shame if somethin’ were to happen to it.”
Yes, Tony Abbott now has himself a whole country to pull apart, but not so as he can put it back together. In this, the Killing Season (and indeed in any season at all), he wants us divided, squabbling, accusing and intimidating each other, because when we are on the mat and he is still on his feet, only then can this little man make believe he is standing tall.