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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Tim Blair & others « Previous | |Next »
February 13, 2003

Sorry. Nothing much to say about Tim's Bulletin column this week(subscription required). No real crevices for me to get my finger nails into.

The signs of a continuing crisis in Australia that are noted by Tim are: nudity for peace in Bryon Bay NSW; Carmen Lawrence MP not being able to board an American ship berthed in Perth; Victorian Premier Steve Bracks slurring his speech at a sports event; and John Valder, a Liberal wet, being confused when he was seven years old.

These are the signs of the absurdities of Australian life. Little humorous details that show the meaninglessness at the heart of life. Light relief from the blanket media coverage of the Iraqi war.

Miranda Devine's column War-wary will not weary them does not disappoint. Its in Anne Coulter territory. Miranda has been in the US and, upon returning to Australia, she was quickly:

"...struck by the infantile level of debate here over Iraq. Just for starters, there has been the nude peace protest in Byron Bay, the sneering tone of the anti-Bush letters to the editor, the gross anti-Americanism exhibited by federal Labor and fellow travellers, the "gotcha" reaction to Bush's unremarkable "coalition of the willing" remarks and the wacko campaign to persuade people to send their anti-terrorism packs back to the Government as a war protest."

That about it. Lots of the usual neo-con stuff about anti-Americanism ('the anti-US bilge that permeates so much of what passes for Australian debate'; lefty sneers ('sophisticated people everywhere who sneer about Howard's and Bush's binary morality"'); a quick dismissal of France and Germany ('who cares what France and Germany think' and the left sneering because they no longer know what is right.

Tim Dunlop blogs on this piece by asking:'Why does Miranda Devine hate Australia so much?' I can affirm a key point he makes, that Miranda's own text contributes to the infantile level of debate. Miranda does not address the Australian commitment to the United Nations; the concern about the impact of the war on the region Australia is in; the lack of evidence that Australia's national interest is threatened by Iraq; a preference for a policy of vigilent containment etc. She does what she accuses other of doing: exhibiting 'a profound lack of seriousness and understanding of the issues which face Australia and the world'.

Janet Albrechtsen is more circumspect. She addresses the vitriol of Howard's ALP opponents and says that Howard is a conviction politician:

"Whether you agree with Howard or not, at least he believes in his own position. Voters respect that. And that drives his detractors to distraction. It drove them crazy in 1996 when voters preferred the dull, boring Howard to the clock-collecting Mahler-loving P. J. Keating. And it's driven them to Olympian heights of vitriol ever since. But people want leaders with convictions. On that score, Howard's history says he's way out in front of the conviction-challenged Crean."

What Janet does not say is that many Australian citizens who oppose the Bush administrations war are also conviction politicians. But they are abused by the neo-cons because they are peace-niks and appeasers. Once again there is a failure to engage with the issues such as these raised by Graham Edwards MP about not forgetting the lessons of Vietnam, the accusations of treason levelled against those who question a unilaterial strike against Iraq the long-term ramifications of the war in his speech on 5th February (House Hansard p. 225.)

Or the issues raised in this speech by Graham Edwards (Matter of Importance, House Hansard 6th Feb, p. 366) about the Commonwealth Government, that so quick to send someone else's kids to war, but is so very slow to fairly compensate serving men and women of the ADF and their families in the event of death or injury.

Its time to move away from the Canberra political hothouse to the common life of the nation and the concerns of ordinary Australians who will bear the brunt of this war. As Graham Edwards points out, it is always other people's sons whom the politicians send off to an overseas war to defend the security of the nation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:32 PM | | Comments (0)