Abbott’s Denial of Reality

Another good analysis of this repugnant regime by Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep. Thank you as always, Dr Wilson.

“Tony Abbott recalls how to deny . . .”
(Image Credit: Paul Kane/AAP)

It’s the goal of every political party to impose its particular concept of reality onto the nation over which it desires governance. Treasurer Joe Hockey, for example, wants to convince us that if we have a “good” job that pays sufficiently well we will be able to buy a house, even in what governor of the Reserve Bank Glenn Stevens describes as Sydney’s “crazy” market.

In other words, Hockey wants to impose his party’s ideological belief that all that is required is hard work to get you where you want to be. In the matter of affordable housing this fallacy is easily challenged: nurses, emergency workers, teachers, police, all essential to the safety of any community, are paid so comparatively poorly they have reduced opportunities to purchase a home in the city in which they serve, yet their jobs are “good” in every other sense of the word, and they work hard in traumatic and difficult circumstances.

In Hockey’s ideology the individual is entirely responsible for his or her fate, and the wider social and cultural context in which we exist is of no relevance whatsoever.

Even cabinet ministers occasionally have difficulty meeting their mortgage payments, Prime Minister Tony Abbott folksily tells us, and his own daughters are wondering how they’ll ever get into the market. These comments only serve to confirm the “craziness” referred to by Glenn Stevens; however, this is not Abbott’s intention. In yet another cosy homily, the Prime Minister is attempting to brainwash the nation into the belief that it is normal to struggle mightily to own a home, and that housing is a privilege, not a human right.

The LNP ideology in general, not just as it is revealed through the prism of the housing market, is based entirely on the denial of the reality of everyone other than themselves and the like-minded. So as another example, in what must be the most twisted effort thus far to keep the country free of asylum seekers arriving by boat, we now hear that the Abbott government is allegedly using tax payer dollars to persuade people smugglers to turn their over-loaded boats towards Indonesia where they presumably will either offload their cargo of human misery, or conceivably turn right back around in the hope of being intercepted by another representative of the Australian navy and border patrol who will, if they are lucky, pay them more thousands of dollars to turn back to Indonesia.

This interesting variation on Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence will, the government assures us, ensure ongoing success in its campaign to turn back the boats and keep Australia safe. The fact that we pay those vile people smugglers to turn around will not, of course, encourage the people smuggler trade, because the Abbott government wants to stamp that trade out and paying them to turn back will stamp that trade out, dummy, what is wrong with you that you can’t get that? It won’t even risk more drownings at sea because paying people smugglers to turn back their boats will stop drownings at sea, or at least in the bit of the sea that belongs to us, because the people smugglers have been paid and paying them means nobody will drown.

Are you gas-lighted yet?

The government has zero interest in the reality of waterborne asylum seekers, their struggles and their fate. The only reality that matters is that of a group of largely white males who currently comprise the orthodoxy, and whose sole goal is to remain in power. Their task is, by hook or by crook, to quote their leader, to persuade enough of the citizens of this country to share that reality and vote them back in. Denial of every other reality is essential to achieve this outcome, onshore and off.

Denial is an insidious psychological mechanism, on a personal, community, national and political level. One of the most destructive of its effects is the barrier it inevitable constructs against change. Nowhere do we see this played out more dramatically than in the Abbott government’s fanatical loyalty to the continued use of fossil fuels, brought yet again into stark focus this week by the Prime Minister’s brain fart on the aesthetic offensiveness of wind farms and his intention to find, by hook or by crook, expert evidence to prove their danger to human life.

A few weeks ago Jeff Sparrow tweeted about the demented wind farm phobia displayed by both Hockey and now the PM. Its roots, he claimed, lie in the fear that at their every turn the turbines are whispering: “Hang the bourgeoisie. Hang the bourgeoisie.”

Denial, in the psychological sense, causes a refusal to accept evidence-based reality, refusal to acknowledge the repercussions of one’s own actions and the effects those actions have on others. The denier uses minimisation, rationalisation and justification to cling to a status quo under challenge, and the more frightening the challenge, the more desperately the tools of denial are brought into play.

The Abbot government suffers a group psychosis, so deeply ingrained is its pathological denial of any reality other than its own; its callous disregard for the effects of its actions on any other group, and its narcissistic belief in its own entitlement and superiority. This can only go one way: downhill. Currently, we have no significant organised challenge to the Abbott government’s dominance, but when we do and we must, even it means widespread civil disobedience, the orthodoxy will decompensate, and hopefully implode. This will not be a pretty process: overthrowing tyrants never is.

Change is an anathema to conservatives, and we are in a time of enormous global changes that must be maturely addressed. They will not cope. They are already not coping, and if we had an opposition with any kind of a spine, the government’s sick reality would be under real and consistent challenge.

(Image Credit: Desertpeace)


703 thoughts on “Abbott’s Denial of Reality

  1. Strange, isn’t it? Julia Gillard mispronounces “hyperbole” and we get every MSM. blowhard, from Albrechtsen to Oakes guffawing and sniggering, yet now struck dumb by this week old scoop!

    Gillard slips with a broken shoe and we get ridiculing pics across the MSM. dead-tree editions. Yet when there are stacks of banknotes alongside sworn statements from witnesses on a bribery accusation concerning people smuggling and our own border force..we have to go to a foreign press agency…and, hey! just know how much you can trust THAT lot compared to our own “honest, reliable, most trusted, best informed journalists…”

  2. Her’s what I think. It might be fantasy, but it might not.

    This is not the first time these go-away payments have been made. It has been going on for over a year. Remember those other lifeboats that were found on Indonesian beaches with no sign of the crews, just some bewildered and ragged asylum seekers who had been abandoned? Bingo!

    No-one was ever supposed to know about payments to people smugglers. The government hoped the crews they paid would do as they were told, take the money and start a business. Because this government is dumber than a box of rocks they did not realise they were financing a new Indonesian business – load up a boat, get caught, accept the offered money, go back to Indonesia and do it all again. And because they think all brown people look the same they would not have known if the same captains and crews showed up again – and again.

    As for the asylum seekers on board – who cares? It was most likely hoped they would drown on the way back to Indonesia or would just shut up if they made it back to land. So much for ‘We are stopping people drowning at sea.’. That was the whole intention. We have no idea how many have drowned at sea thanks to Abbott’s policies. We are not supposed to care. If they made it to land, well, who is going to believe anything a stateless person with no assets says anyway.

    The government, the RAN, Border Force, ASIS, were all aware of and complicit in what was going on. They had their instructions, right from the top ranks of the government.

    Now the shit has hit the fan. Abbott and his ministers at first thought they could deal with this by denying it ever happened, as Dutton did the other day. Then the Indonesians released all the grim details to the world and the government had to come up with a quick explanation. Now they are all reciting the same lines, over and over. ‘I cannot/will not talk about operational/on water/national security matters.’ They are scared witless. This should bring down their government. It should destroy Abbott, Bishop, Dutton and Morrison. But the MSM will save them. Stand by for unicorns of never-before-seen monstrous size.

  3. ” This should bring down their government. It should destroy Abbott, Bishop, Dutton and Morrison. But the MSM will save them. Stand by for unicorns of never-before-seen monstrous size.

    I suspect you may very well be close on the money, Leone..if so and they do try the unicorns, it will move this band of robbers to the next level of criminality!

  4. leone

    I seem to have read somewhere that the Indonesians believed the turn back of boats with paid smugglers had never happened before.

  5. gigilene

    Who can really say if it has happened before or not?

    If you were a people smuggler and someone gave you US$5000 to go away and shut up would you tell your government? Or would you nick off and keep quiet? The crews of those orange lifeboats were never found, the asylum seekers – most of them anyway – were.

    This time the Indonesian authorities found the evidence.

  6. On the Morgan poll, I’ve used his state-by-state numbers to calculate the swing and the seats gained on uniform swing (even though it’s not really the best indicator)

    NSW 5.35% ALP 51%

    VIC 11.8% ALP 62%

    QLD: 8.48% ALP 51.5%

    SA: 7.86% ALP 55.5%

    WA: 5.28% ALP 47%

    TAS: 6.27% ALP 57.5%

    Seats gained

    NSW: Barton, Eden-Monaro, Dobell, Reid, Banks, Page, Gilmore, Lindsay, Robertson, Macquarie,

    Victoria: Deakin, Corangamite, La Trobe, Dunkley, Casey, Aston, Wannon, Goldstein, Kooyong

    Queensland: Petrie, Capricornia, Bonner, Brisbane, Forde, Leichhardt, Herbert, Flynn, Dickson, Longman, Dawson

    South Australia: Hindmarsh, Boothby

    Western Australia: Hasluck

    Tasmania: Lyons, Braddon, Bass

    Northern Territory: Solomon (I’ve added this seat because logically, Labor would win it if they were doing well enough to win easily)

    Some comments: Even with the swing I highly doubt that Labor would win a seat like Kooyong, so I would replace that seat with a seat like McMillan.

  7. Leone

    Right from the start, in fact the election before last, the Libs displayed extreme cockiness they could stop the boats. And of course did everything to prevent Labor taking effective action, even if it was their own policy. I wondered what they might have had up their sleeves, given Abbott was initially proclaiming boats would not be towed, nor would Indonesian borders be breached. It was inconceivable that the Indonesians would be more coperative to this mob than Labor. But not so the AFP, ASIO, and sectors in Defence.

    Then lo and behold, they were apparently succeeding with the diminshing numbers trying. Was it the brilliant idea of the unsinkable lifeboats circumventing the scuppering of boats? Did the spooks have something on SBY, or others in positions of power? Both seem long shots. The lifeboat ploy would need to be backed by something else. “Creative measures” (corrupt behaviour in other words)?

    It is my belief that payments have been made to police, other authorities, and maybe the smugglers themselves, going way back. This would have been facilitated by those aforementioned bodies, who appear to favour the Conservatives.

    What a mess now, all for political brownie points, in a war on the desperate.

  8. Lovey
    Despite all the blathering they have not stopped the boats. They have hidden passengers, kept passengers and crew confined on navy and customs ships for weeks, sent asylum seekers back to other countries where their eventual fate is not known, sent people back to Sri Lanka where they have been arrested and probably tortured, blown up boats, provided orange lifeboats and new wooden fishing boats, towed boats back, or into Australian waters so they could do their dirty work, paid bribes to governments and people smugglers and still the boats keep coming.

    And yet they have the hide to stand up in front of cameras and tell us they have kept their prnmise to ‘stop the boats’. Then, in the next sentence, they will admit they are still working on ‘stopping the boats’. The MSM allow this nonsense to go on without question.

  9. The worry and potentially dangerous thing about these payments, if they have been going on for a while,..and judging by the cavalier way they did this last lot, I’d be inclined to see a familiar pattern in the procedure…then those authorities ; ASIO, ASIS, AFP seem to have “blood-money” on their hands..and if we, the public are looking for an authority to prosecute the criminals…who do we now go to?

  10. jaycee423

    ASIO, ASIS, AFP have been slung hundreds of millions of extra $s (if not billion +) by this scurvy crew with more to come . They’ll work very hard to keep the LNP cash cow golden goose a protected species.

  11. FIFA Scandal was about ‘bribes’- and we were all shocked and aghast- how could they? Looks a bit hollow now- doesn’t it?

  12. The characteristic I associate with Abbott’s claims is that he confuses intentions with actually completing the task. In this he reminds me of a young child who is asked to clean his room, and declares the job is done on the basis of his having intended to do it, or even thought about doing it.

    So “Stop the boats”, get the budget back into balance and other such extravagant ambitions are assumed to have been fulfilled merely by his saying so – reflecting that he wants it to be so. This confusion of goals and accomplishments has infected most of the apologists, notably Hockey, Cormann and Morrison, but even Turnbull occasionally makes such statements, even though he is clearly too intelligent to believe what he is saying.

    That none of his interlocutors ever bother to correct these nonsensical claims demonstrates how far the MSM is complicit in the scam. I think this is what explains the otherwise improbable (and scary) indication that the Government still enjoys the support of 46-48% of the electorate and 40% of poll respondents continue to approve the NE’s performance.

  13. Handy all in one Ipsos chart, worth enlargin & haing a look for the state breakdowns a good longer read


    Jun 14 2015 at 11:59 PM Updated Jun 15 2015 at 5:51 AM
    Eric Abetz likely to force another Abbott reshuffle
    by Joe Aston

    Just six months since Tony Abbott reshuffled his frontbench (a fair sight earlier than the PM wanted to, thanks to the NSW corruption watchdog delaying its findings from hearings that involved Arthur Sinodinos), Canberra is again abuzz with talk of another ministerial rejig.

    Recent commentary has brought into question the futures of Treasurer Joe Hockey and Attorney-General George Brandis.

    And that’s all perfectly valid, but we reckon it’s the government’s Senate leader Eric Abetz who, as Sinodinos did last Christmas, will most likely force the PM’s hand.

    Abetz has taken leave to deal with a grave family health issue and it’s entirely possible he will not return to ministerial duties in this term of government.

    Brandis is Abetz’s deputy in the Senate but, surely, the PM wouldn’t entrust him with leading the chamber semi-permanently after his cavalier performance reading poetry in estimates? Although stranger things have happened.

    Finance minister Mathias Cormann would be the most logical replacement for Abetz.

    Abbott had always planned a big reshuffle in the second half of 2015, to take a fresh team into the 2016 election. But it’s hard to say how much his thinking has been affected by last year’s reshuffle or any changes in the planned timing of the next poll.

    Veterans like Kevin Andrews, Andrew Robb and Ian Macfarlane were always expected to spend their last months on the backbench to blood the younger cavalry in big roles, but their tenures are now looking far more certain than others in the cabinet. How fickle Canberra is.

  15. NZ’s national newspaper cartoon take on the ‘bribed’ people smugglers who were apparently wanting to make it all the way to NZ.

    While in NZ , just down the road from where I was born , a cunning plan by a chap goes the traditional way of a “cunning plan” .

    Man chooses wrong false name to give police

    Giving police a false name backfired on a man who found himself locked up for a crime committed by the person he was pretending to be.

    The 23-year-old was pulled over by police on Friday at 12.36am on Whau Valley Rd and gave police a fake name.

    He was arrested and locked up, because the person whose name he gave was wanted for breaching bail conditions. Police said because people are not fingerprinted when they are found breaching bail conditions, they had no idea the man was not who he claimed to be……………He remains in custody and will appear in court on Tuesday, June 23, facing charges of driving while disqualified, giving false details and perverting

  16. A thing from today’s Question Time.

    The NE started by making a statement by leave (about the Magna Carta). It seems that the LotO had not been told about this and could have refused leave. That makes The Poodle a Very Naughty Boy.

    Bill, graciously ( 😀 ) gave leave.

    That was because he already had his bit prepared. He went through the Magna Carta on the points he wanted. Anyone with any nous saw that he chose those points that brought into prominence how the NE’s policies were out of, ahem, alignment with the charter signed by John.

    I loved it.

    Check Hansard.

  17. jaycee,

    Katharine loves Tony.

    Give The Guardian credit for bringing all the “good” stuff to notice. The editor, Emily Wilson, is doing well.

  18. The Blood Bank is getting pretty picky these days. For the second time I have been called up by them only to be denied both times. First it was for an anti-biotic in eye drops and now because I was in Hong Kong and the Philippines a month ago. That apparently means a four month wait. Not sure about anti-biotic eye drops but I hope my holidays don’t interfere with a sick or dying person missing out because of legalities.

  19. jaycee423

    Perhaps The Oaf when he said “More Jakarta less Geneva” meant “More insulting Jakarta less insulting Geneva” .

  20. Gabrielle is quite a different kettle of fish. I think her upbringing in the bush serves her (and us) well.

  21. Roy Orbison,

    Good to see you back.

    You would have thought the Blood Bank could test the blood you wanted to give. Either, they are strapped for cash or, they have enough of your type of blood.

  22. Bananas has stirred up a whole mess of trouble.

    Jakarta demands Bishop retract claim Indonesia failing to secure its border

    Last week, at Crikey, Margot Saville (whoever she is) was praising Bishop as ‘Clever, diligent, effective’: Bishop every bit the better PM’.
    I wonder if Ms Saville has changed her mind?

  23. An hour or so ago I had a delightful encounter.

    I had to go to the shops, so opened the recently-installed screen door at our commonly-used entrance to the house (aka the back door), turned around to deal with the deadlock on the main door, and suddenly realised I couldn’t close the screen door because a dear little ringtail was edging its way along it.

    So I stood quietly, until it vanished into the boughs of the pittosporum, then gently closed the screen door and went on my way.

    I do enjoy those gentle meetings; I wish they happened more often.

  24. The next time the Blood Bank calls me into town only to knock me back will be the last time. Three strikes and all that…

  25. The NE has been consistent when it comes to insulting Indonesia. From 2013.

    More Jakarta means more trouble for Tony Abbott

    ……..But his clumsiness may have put that at risk. Hugh White at the Australian National University reckons that the row will only strengthen the impression in Indonesia that when the prime minister offered “respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty” during his Jakarta visit, it was “not so much deft diplomacy as insincerity”.

  26. Replay of an interview with Paul Keating today…what he said on Aust’s position in the world was relevant..wtte: Aust’ will never be a partisan player in the area..we haven’t the population to call the shots ..we cannot single-handed defend ourselves….we have to act in a bi-partisan manner with our neighbours..

    The LNP. is trying to bully and bluff our neighbours..when we should be in a more consultative position. They are fools living in a fools paradise, I don’t think they have any idea what c.230 million people are!..we have 23 mill’..they have c. 230 mill’ …it is not a case of being afraid, it is more a matter of not poking the bear with a stick!

  27. There is a constant dysfunction in Noalition brains when it comes to the mouth.

    I reckon nature (silver spoon in mouth) and nurture (very restricted social and educational environment) are both responsible.

  28. Because you know what is going to happen, don’t you?…Abbott will stir up a hornet’s nest of diplomatic disasters, get voted out and then f#ck off back to the old dart and leave us to mop up the mess!

  29. The new Abbott defence – “It wasn’t taxpayers’ money we gave to the people smugglers. It came from the North Sydney Forum.”

  30. BK,

    HoJo is adding to his already considerable family of kittens, with that one.

  31. Question without notice: if HoJo puts his kittens into lodgings when he goes to Canberra, is that expense tax-deductible?

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