Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An astute observer of Oz politics

My friend Bill B. in Tasmania - whither he retired from Adelaide - is a very sharp observer of politics in the magical Land of Oz, the country we often call Australia. His blog is a repository of wise reflection, at times no doubt controversial. Bill himself would applaud robust debate and diversity of view.

If you want to connect to his blog let me know: I'd need to get his permission since I do not provide contact details willy-nilly. However, what he wrote is worth the reading - and here it is: Bill gave it the heading


"Yesterday we were treated to the spectacle of Tony Abbott being elected as federal Liberal leader. Abbott represents the socially conservative extreme of his party. Conservative commentators like Miranda Devine are in ecstasy.

Abbott's election was, as they say of doubtful convictions, "unsafe". The result was 42-41, but they had denied a vote to Fran Bailey, a Turnbull supporter who was away ill. And on Saturday, two new Liberal members, likely Turnbull supporters, will be elected in the inner city byelections in Higgins and Bradfield.

Abbott's conservatism is also unsafe. A few years ago a young man turned up thinking he might be Abbott's son, from a pregnant and deserted girlfriend in Abbott's past. In Abbott's morality, not taking precautions and then deserting a mother and child is OK, but using a condom would be evil. In this case, Abbott was shown not to be the father, but how many real deserted offspring might there be?

Both sides of the parliamentary debating table are now manned by conspicuously religious men: Rudd, a conservative Anglican, on one side, and Abbott, a conservative Catholic, on the other. It's like something out of the 17th century.

We are concerned that all five parties in the federal parliament are socially conservative.
  • For PM Rudd and Labor, everything is either "revolting" or "disgusting" and he never stops telling us so. Gays are inferior scum whose relationships don't deserve recognition.

  • The Liberals have elected one of their their most socially conservative members as leader, replacing socially progressive Malcolm Turnbull.

  • The Nationals were part of the conservative take-over of the Liberals.

  • For Family First, social conservatism is the essence of their existence.

  • Most shocking of all, the Greens have lurched to the conservative end of the social spectrum with their endorsement of Internet censorship campaigner Clive Hamilton in Higgins and prostitution recriminalisation campaigner Kathleen Maltzahn in Richmond. I recently received a letter from Senator Ludlam confirming that the Greens are in favour of Internet censorship, a massive and unheralded change of policy.
Socially progressive people are now completely unrepresented in the Australian parliament. Surely there must be others besides us who would like to have someone speaking for them."

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