Vale, Comrade!

(Image Credit: Whitlam Institute)

whitlam it’s time

Gough Whitlam became Leader of the Opposition in February 1967. From that moment – at the age of 11 – I became truly, madly, deeply passionate about politics. In 1969 I argued with all my schoolmates, almost all from conservative families, about how important it was that the ALP should win the approaching federal election.

It was close, but not close enough.

By 1972, the vibe had changed.

On 2nd December, my mum and I were staying with my aunt in Roseville, Sydney – another very blue-rinse Liberal household. My aunt and her husband (an obstetrician) threw an election party that evening. The place was crawling with conservatives, the TV was on full blast, much liquor was consumed and, as the evening progressed, the faces of hosts and guests became longer and longer . . .

. . . while mamma and moi had to look as serious as possible, though we wanted to dance, to scream, to hug everyone and say, At last!

What he achieved in just under three years in two terms as Prime Minister was outstanding. From Senator John Faulkner’s tribute on the occasion of Gough Whitlam’s 92nd birthday:

Gough Whitlam has been a towering figure in the Australian Labor Party for longer than I can remember. When I first joined the ALP Gough was Leader of the Opposition. My first federal election campaign was 1972: I felt as if I spent every weekend of that year knocking on doors. I freely admit, it was quite abnormal behaviour for a teenager! But that campaign, which became part of Australia’s political history by sweeping away 23 years of conservative government and making ‘It’s Time’ part of our language, was one we all knew mattered. The excitement and enthusiasm of that election will never be forgotten by any of the countless party members and volunteers who knew that the surging tide of Labor support was not only about a change of government, but about changing the country – for the better.

And ladies and gentlemen, we were right.

The list of the Whitlam Government’s legislative reforms is familiar to all of us:

– improving the position of women and our indigenous population;
– introducing Medibank, the precursor to Medicare;
– needs-based funding for schools and free university education;
– introducing the Trade Practices Act;
– ending conscription;
– diplomatic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China.

In Opposition, in Government, and in decades since, Gough has remained indefatigable, irrepressible, and unflagging.

For more than six decades in politics, Gough Whitlam has aimed at targets higher than personal success or vindication. His energy and enthusiasm combined with the continuing powerful relevance of his goals have made him a hero to many Australians – including to me – and an iconic figure in Australia’s
political landscape . . .

On 11th November 1975 I was at home, studying for an exam (Succession, I think) the next day. I put the radio on to hear the news, and could not believe my ears. At first I thought it was a joke.

(Image Credit: National Archives of Australia)

Then I realised that something huge had just happened, so I raced down to (old) Parliament House in my VW. So yes, I was there – even if it was after that speech:

Bill Shorten has put it well:

Gough Whitlam offered us a vision of what Australia might be — a modern, multicultural nation, where opportunity belongs to everyone.

Free university education and universal healthcare. The Racial Discrimination, Aboriginal Land Rights and the Family Law Act. Protection of the Great Barrier Reef from oil drilling.

Gough ended conscription, the death penalty and he made Advance Australia Fair our national anthem. He put our suburbs at the centre of national debate.

Gough Whitlam spent his entire political life reaching for higher ground – he redefined our country and changed the life of a generation, and generations beyond.

He inspired us all in some way and he will continue to inspire us.

There will be more tears shed for Gough Whitlam today than perhaps any other leader in Australian history.

Our thoughts are with his family – a family that has given so much to our nation. Especially Margaret, a great Australian in her own right.


Hello once again patrons to another edition of Friday Night Raffles.

In light of the one of the most monumentally stupid idiotic remarks a so called Prime Minister of Australia could make I give you a little montage of how it has received.


The Idiot gets the ball rolling. What a tool



Putin hears about it

After changing his undies from uncontrollable laughter he responds


The Russkies don,t seem too happy with The Idiot,and suggest he may be diseased.


switchback-abbott-ratMaybe this will be another little nail into the coffin of the Stupid incompetent idiotic moron that sadly is the Prime Minister of Australia, The day he is gone cannot come soon enough.


BTW  It’s Raffle Night And


As it is one of my favourite times of the year we will be having not just A Melbourne Cup Sweep but also one for the Caulfield cup Tomorrow and Cox Plate the following week .

I will post when the draw opens early on the sat morning. First in best dressed. Suitable prizes will be awarded to the winners .


Good Luck to all

Lateline and the Anatomy of An Islamophobic Stunt

Today’s Guest Poster is zorahzorah, who has written an outstanding analysis of Alberici’s disgraceful performance on Lateline. Hat tips to Gravel and Andrew Elder for bringing this piece to The Pub’s attention.

(Image Credit: Powerhouse Museum)

The clusterfuck of racism, hatred, and hysteria that embodies Islamophobia is still brewing in Australia and day-by-day is taken to newer heights. The past few weeks alone have seen anti-Muslim attacks even more rampant and growing, a plan to cage Muslim women in glass boxes in a horrifying level of racialised misogyny that is frankly dystopian, and one of the biggest newspapers in the country linking Hitler, a white, European, supporter of the Church, with Islam in a new ploy to demonise Muslims.

Amidst the toxic flames of racist hysteria, ABC’s Lateline decided to make their own contribution to the national Islamophobic frenzy. For those unaware,

Lateline is a current-affairs program on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC. It claims to be “challenging, intelligent, and provocative.”

Last Thursday, the host Emma Alberici decided to interview Wassim Doureihi, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Now, I know absolutely nothing about Doureihi, nor Hizb ut-Tahrir, and nor am I accusing Lateline of being the sole purveyors of Islamophobia in this country. But in this Lateline episode, Alberici delivered an absolute masterclass on how to stage a classic dog-whistling Islamophobic stunt. It had every possible ingredient you would expect in an anti-Muslim spectacle: racism, orientalism, condescension, and outright contempt, delivered in the only ways mainstream white Australian “journalists” know how: smearing, obfuscating, and demonising.

From the onset of the interview, Alberici treated Doureihi with a truly exceptional level of hostility and condescension. Even for those who have regularly watched Alberici’s interviews with politicians, the hostility was stunning. The tone was set. It was clear what this was going to be: a staged set-up designed with the sole purpose to demonise.

It was clear that Alberici knew the value of playing the white woman standing up to the Scary Brown Man™ and it was beyond obvious that this was the narrative she was seeking to create for her White Australian audience, and thus, she was playing it hard.

The first half of the interview was dominated by her attempts to make Doureihi condemn the actions of ISIS. She pursued this line with a truly extraordinary level of pig-headedness, getting visibly animated in her determination to make Doureihi take her bait and condemn the group. Here we see Alberici peddling the pervasive “logic” that Muslims have some special responsibility to condemn ISIS. The argument of Alberici, and all those who peddle this claim, is predicated on the idea that Muslims are all by default inherent supporters of terrorism, unless they jump through hoops to prove otherwise to white people. Alberici pursued this racist narrative head-on, steely determined to push it onto Doureihi. The ferocious determination with which she pursues it is really something to behold.

Visibly furious that Doureihi refuses to play into her gutter game and be cornered by her, Alberici decides to change tack and deliberately attempts to work him up into the racist stereotype of the Angry Brown Man™ she knows White Australia all came to see her “take to task”. Alberici is determined to make this a spectacle and play the part that White Australia will go crazy for. To do this, she employs the type of contempt, condescension, and callous, wilful ignorance that all people of colour are all too familiar with receiving from white people.

See, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m angry. I’m angry because it was the sheer, brazen, and unremitting contempt that got to me about Alberici’s behaviour and that really hit home for me, because that is the type of contempt that I and other nonwhite people have to endure daily from White Australia. Unrelenting racism and gaslighting abounded throughout the segment. When Doureihi rightfully refused to accept the bait that he must condemn ISIS, her response was not to hear out why it was a racist question, but to push it even more belligerently. When he brought up Islamophobia, she dismissed it as “a so-called phobia”. When he tried to answer a question, she rolled her eyes dismissively, one of multiple times. And when he tried to bring up the fact of the Western invasion that slaughtered up to a million people in Iraq, she replied, “I don’t want to talk about context.” That said everything.

Context is the last thing that professional jingoistic race-baiters like Emma Alberici want because it upturns their agenda completely. To take context into account would ruin the agendas of those like Alberici who seek to demonise Muslims and Islam as the sole, unique purveyors of violence. To take into account the reality of constant Western atrocities wrought against the non-Western world for the last thousand years hinders those who desire more war, and more imperialism. And to take context into account means having to acknowledge blame and responsibility instead of shifting it onto others, namely, Muslims. It was clear Alberici was nowhere near ready to do that, and indeed when asked why she didn’t condemn Western atrocities, she comically, nervously declared “ok, we’re out of time”. You simply couldn’t make up something so self-satirising if you tried.

The thing about Alberici’s episode was that she was not only ready to have a Muslim on her show to treat him with utter contempt, but she was determined to make a spectacle out of it for the voyeuristic viewing pleasure of White Australia, for frothing-at-the-mouth bigots around the country, the types that have been terrorizing Muslim women on the streets. To watch a white woman try and put a Scary Non-White Man™ in his place on TV is simply racist pornography for racists, and Alberici knew it, and she was working hard at it. The next day proved her efforts. Despite it being clear from the interview that Alberici was the one taken to task, she became an overnight sensation in White Australia’s eyes, having given them the White Woman vs. Mean Non-White Man™ story they go crazy for. Media framing portrayed Alberici as a hero for treating a nonwhite person with the contempt we apparently so deserve.

However, not content with the smug, self-congratulatory spectacle of racism and Islamophobia she had purveyed in that interview, Alberici had this galling statement to make the next day:

“In his caliphate, in his ideal Islamic state would I, as a woman, have the opportunity to sit opposite him as an equal and engage in a robust discussion about these issues on the public broadcaster?”

Alberici realised that no Islamophobic stunt is complete without pulling out that well-known racist line that Muslims are inherently misogynists. Here in the West, and here in Australia, where rape culture abounds, where I and every other female I know have stories of harassment by men on the street, and where an even more alarming number of women have stories of sexual violence, according to these racist faux-feminists, it is apparently Muslims who are the real misogynists. In Australia, where the biggest risk to a woman is her own partner, it is apparently Islamic culture that is uniquely misogynistic. And here in Australia, where one woman is killed every week by her own male partner, apparently the Islamic world is the true bulwark of misogyny. If there was one single sentence that encapsulated so completely the cartoonishly simplistic and breathtakingly bigoted worldviews of Western media puppets like Alberici, this would be it, and they should all be ashamed. There are truly no real differences between these “elite” poseurs and the average raving bigot on the street that the white middle class loves to admonish for a sense of superiority.

This Lateline episode didn’t only embody every classic element of anti-Muslim propaganda; it also embodied everything that is wrong with mainstream media. Instead of being a mechanism for speaking truth to power, it is all too eager to be a cheerleader for power. See, Lateline has built up a reputation for itself in this regard. Five years ago, Lateline decided to smear Australian Aboriginal men, and more specifically, the Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu in the most grotesquely racist way imaginable, and in doing so, did PR for the racist abomination known as the Northern Territory Intervention. Since then, it has never apologised for the reprehensible manner I which it smeared Aboriginal men based on entirely fabricated and unsubstantiated reports.

Lateline has developed a pattern of perpetuating racism and refusing to be accountable for it, and for this reason, I am not holding my breath waiting for either the ABC, Lateline, or Emma Alberici herself to grow a spine, take responsibility, and apologise for spouting reprehensible bigotry. It is all part of their agenda.

In the same way that Lateline smeared Indigenous people to sell a racist government policy, Lateline again deployed racism against Muslims to cheer on the new Australian bombing of Iraq. And for this, Alberici has earned a pat on the head from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

I hope Alberici enjoys her 15 minutes of fame while us non-white folk remain dealing with the frenzy of racist hysteria running rampant in the nation. In the meantime, I hope she one day finds it in herself to apply the same level of intense scrutiny to white politicians as she did to Doureihi. Wishful thinking, perhaps.