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

storm in a teacup « Previous | |Next »
January 30, 2012

Ho hum. Another media beatup by the Canberra Media Gallery with the headlines of "Australia's day of disgrace" or commentary about a blight on our national day.

This beatup amplifies the Coalition's attack about a former staff member's (Tony Hodges) role in informing the tent embassy protesters via the intermediary of the ACT union leader Kim Sattler about Tony Abbott's whereabouts at The Lobby restaurant on Australia Day. Oh, and what Abbott said about the time of Aboriginal tent embassy being up. There's no evidence of a criminal act by Hodges, the AFP is not conducting an investigation, and Hodges has resigned.

The Coalition's outrage with its rhetoric of riots, mobs inflamed, greatest breach of security ever, thuggish violence etc is designed to undermine Gillard's political credibility. Their political framing is that it is all Gillard's fault etc , etc. It's just part of the warfare game of politics. It looks as if 2012 will be the same as 2011. The Canberra Media Gallery follows along, jazzing up a minor event.

tentembassyCan.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra, circa 2006.

The Australia Day events are a media beatup because the AAP reported (1.35pm on Thursday) that ''Tony Abbott says it's time to move the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra''. Yet the media isn't critical about the right wing's media practices in heating up the political atmosphere, or the dog whistle about the riots being incited by the PM's office, or their simplistic and cartoonish representations. The Canberra media Gallery's narrative is one of Gillard leading the Labor government to extinction and they simply frame the pub gossip about a minor event in terms of 'will Gillard survive 2012'? Or when will Rudd challenge?

One infers from the media construction of a 'riot' by a 'mob' that was 'violent' that we have a media fabrication before us. The media now see it as their job to heat things up, deepen the party political divisions, and launch attacks on aboriginal activists. The cultural wars continue.

Underneath this political hothouse runs the thread of those who identify with settler Australia. They continu to justify the dispossession of indigenous Australians from their land by Britain, the colonization, applying English law to aborigines, and the decades of neglect. They continue to defend settler Australia against the black armband interpretation of Australian history.

What is obscured by the media beat-up is the pressing issue of Aboriginal people moving from welfare dependence (with its associated deeply entrenched destructive behaviour that tolerates excessive alcohol abuse, domestic violence and school absenteeism) to take part in the market economy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:26 AM | | Comments (13)


The Australian newspaper does carry on with its rhetoric about the squalid tactics, aided and abetted by government and union staffers, and its demand a full investigation into the events surrounding the tent embassy protest on Australia Day.

Its editorial says:

What this murky and undignified affair has exposed is the unseemly underbelly of Australian politics where the dark arts of political skulduggery, deception and deceit are marshalled by political apparatchiks and activists to advance or undermine one politician over another.

The Murdoch press would never practice the dark arts of political skulduggery, deception and deceit would they. They are above such things.

The editorial continues by saying that the protestors encircled the venue and bashed on the glass walls in a display of thuggery and intimidation. The inference is that mob is on the march. They need to be put in their place quick and smart.

It is clear who is to blame, according to The Australian. The event

should cause the wider political Left to reconsider their tactics, which have done nothing but harm their cause and harden public reaction against them. Ridiculing, silencing or using predatory behaviour against those who share different points of view has no place in an enlightened democracy such as Australia.

It is The Australian who defends an enlightened Australian democracy against the totalitarian Left.

What a beatup.

Amazing, just here from a look at a take at ScepticLawyer from the Legal Eagle; a bit "softer" in approach, more critical of the crowd' behaviour, but I think over all the consensus has been that the whole thing has been decidely tacky, for all the reasons mentioned.

Those embarrasing Aborigines
I don't get the puffed up anger.
The demo looked threatening but it looks on video that the police threw more punches.
Also what is wrong with telling someone where a public figure is attending a public event - it was public - not secret - Invitation only?
Certainly no embarrassing blckfellas

According to the narrative in the Murdoch Press self-determination that was advocated by the Left has been a big, big failure. Aboriginal individuals need to take responsibility for their “dysfunctional” communities.

The political climate is becoming ever more polarized with the divide between left and right ever deeper.

were the protesters really violent over and above loud chanting and banging on the window of The Lobby and the Commonwealth car once Gillard and Abbott had been escorted to it from the restaurant?

One account

Chris Uhlmann on the 7.30 Report tonight was talking in terms of Gillard's office inciting a riot. There fore there needed to be a police investigation.

There was no 'incitement' and no 'riot.'

I wonder why it is called a tent embassy. Aborigines lived in wigwams didnt they.
Anyway good on them for causing a shit stir. Thats all it was really but the the pics of Gillard being carried without shoes cemented a picture of her not being in control in a lot of peoples minds.
Hopefully this event will give the natves their balls back and cause more marches. You whites only want the abos that are drawing pictures and working and are happy to hide the rest in poverty.

The media functions like a fun house mirror, refracting a version of reality which suits its own agenda and aims

the damage to the Gillard Govt is mainly self-inflicted--- the staffer's attempt to be clever in the way they manage politics by tipping off protesters about the location of Tony Abbott so they can protest against him.

Yes this is the sort of dirty tactics that goes on from both sides all the time. This time it backfired and the advisor who would actually be quite expert in this sort of game was placed on the chopping block. Why? Because instead of orchestrating the daily events and media and winning the day/slot somebody nearly got hurt and it made them look bad. But he will be back. He will have a nice holiday and be parachuted in somewhere.
The media missed the real story though. The natives revolted on Australia day. Hopefully they can grow from this and move away from their 200 years of domestication.
The day could of only been better if one had thrown a boomerang and hit Abbott in the side of the head and knocked out his false teeth. All captured and replayed in glorious slow motion on the 6 oclock news. Oh well maybe next time.

Thanks for the links. Michael Brull did a post on "The Drum" the day after G.Davies' post in which he wrote:

"The Labor Governments of Rudd and Gillard have continued and expanded the racially discriminatory intervention. It has pursued an assimilationist agenda in the Northern Territory, dismantling bilingual education, cutting funding to homelands so that Aboriginal people are forced to move to hub towns, seeking to destroy their connections to land that is culturally valuable to them. The Labor Governments have continued the Howard process of taking away Aboriginal rights. Meanwhile, there has been no evidence of improvement in socio-economic conditions in Indigenous communities. Jenny Macklin's own handpicked board to review the intervention explained that "dysfunctional government service delivery" and "the chronic failure by all levels of government to provide basic civic services" to Indigenous communities were the "key determinants" of all their problems. When "the most recent statistics on child removals show Aboriginal children are being taken from their parents in numbers much greater than the Stolen Generations."

(There are useful links in the original)

Michael Brull's article is good one. He highlights that the agenda of the Tent Embassy and its supporters is about Aboriginal sovereignty, about the ability for Aboriginal people to control their own affairs.

Contrary to what Abbott claimed its not time to move on from that. The Intervention in the Northern Territory, which Abbott supported, takes away the ability for Aboriginal people to control their own affairs.