Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a memoir about the recently deceased Gough Whitlam.  He is/was not a fan.

End of the road for Edward Gough Whitlam: aged 98

The memoir below is kind, as befits the dead but I think I should add a few comments here to balance the account.  It is not fully set out below WHY he was sacked as PM by Sir John Kerr  -- his own appointee as Governor General.  It was because Gough had brought on a constitutional crisis by attempting to govern without parliamentary consent, the consent of the Senate, in particular. That he  played fast and loose with parliament generally via the "Khemlani affair" was what motivated the Senate to refuse him supply. So Gough was hardly honourable.

One thing that has always amused me about the patrician Mr Whitlam is that he always used his second Christian name.  Being a common old "Eddy" was obviously not to his taste.

Although he was undoubtedly a most erudite man, Eddy had a strange and disastrous intellectual gap.  He himself admitted that he did not understand economics.  And the economic disasters under his regime were unending -- with inflation reaching 19% at one stage.

Somehow or other he did nonetheless manage one very worthwhile economic innovation:  He cut tariffs by 25% across the board. 

And as a libertarian  I have to applaud his ending of conscription.  The motive for that was however anti-military  -- as we can see from the fact that he also abolished Army cadets in the schools -- who were doing nobody any harm and were in fact a good influence on teenagers.  But Leftists resent any power but their own.  And his vaunted withdrawal of the troops from Vietnam was only the final stage of a withdrawal that was already almost complete.

His "free" universities did not last.  Fees were reimposed by the subsequent Labor party government of Bob Hawke, a man who DID understand economics.  And Malcolm Fraser reinstated the cadets.

And as for his free and universal medical care, you can judge the quality of that by the fact that 40% of Australians -- just about all who can afford it -- have PRIVATE medical insurance these days. Australia's "free" public hospitals are like such hospitals everywhere  -- only for the desperate or the optimists

Gough Whitlam remained one of Australia's most admired figures despite being the country's only prime minister to be sacked, a key moment in the nation's political history.

Mr Whitlam, who died on Tuesday aged 98, was a flamboyant and erudite war veteran who ushered in a series of important social reforms during just three years in power from 1972 to 1975.

His centre-left Labour government stopped conscription, introduced free university education, recognised communist China, pulled troops from Vietnam, abolished the death penalty for federal crimes and reduced the voting age to 18.

But Mr Whitlam will be best remembered for the events of November 11, 1975, when he became the nation's only leader to be dismissed by the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, governor-general Sir John Kerr.

Mr Whitlam's dismissal was prompted by a refusal by parliament's upper house, where his Labour Party did not hold a majority, to pass a budget bill until the government agreed to call a general election.

To end the impasse, the governor-general took the unprecedented step of sacking Mr Whitlam, installing Malcolm Fraser, then opposition leader, as caretaker prime minister.

Mr Freudenberg said it would never had occurred to his friend to fight Sir John's decision.  "The idea of going to barricades would have been inconceivable for a parliamentarian like Whitlam," he said.

"He believed deeply in the parliament as an institution for social reform and the expression of Australian democracy. He had a great love and respect for the parliament. The irony is that it was through the parliament he was destroyed."

David Burchell, of the University of Western Sydney, who has written widely about Australian politics, said it was ironic that the 1973 oil crisis, inflationary pressures and economic stagnation provided one of the worst times for Mr Whitlam's big-spending, socially reforming government to be in power. [The inflation and stagnation were CAUSED by Gough's free-spending and anti-business policies]

"Even though the government was dismissed, a lot of their policies remain popular," he added. "Few of the social reforms enacted were ever rolled back."


Burqa ban: Parliament backs down and makes extremists “smile”, according to Jacqui Lambie

BACKING down from the controversial decision to ban burqas in Parliament’s open public galleries will make Islamic extremists “smile”, according to Jacqui Lambie.

The Presiding officers this morning overturned their controversial decision to segregate people wearing head coverings behind enclosed glass in the chambers.

“The decision today to allow burqas and other forms of identity concealing items of dress to be worn in Australia’s Parliament will put a smile on the face of the overseas Islamic extremists and their supporters in Australia — who view the burqa or niqab as flags for extremism,” the Palmer United Party Senator said.

“To the Islamic extremists, today’s decision will prove how weak and indecisive we have become as a nation and how our PM lacks the courage of his convictions when it comes to Australia’s national security,” she added.

“Today’s decision will boost the extremists’ morale and encourage them to commit more atrocities and acts of violence against Australians — so that they can create a world where every woman is forced by their religious leaders’ law to wear a burqa or niqab.

“Today’s decision will also attack the morale of members of our ADF special forces, as they are about to deploy into Iraq.

“It comes at a time when all ADF members’ morale is at rock bottom after the government’s insulting wage offer. This decision will be like rubbing salt into the wound.”

Senator Lambie said she will proceed with a private members’ bill making it illegal to wear the burqa in public.


Mathias Cormann 'a d---head' for 'inappropriate' girly man reference says Labor's Brendan O'Connor

"Girl" is inappropriate but "dickhead" is appropriate?  Strange Leftist values

Labor frontbenchers have attacked Finance Minister Mathias Cormann over his use of the insult "economic girly man" against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, with one accusing him of "sounding like a dickhead".

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the joke was on Senator Cormann, who had been left looking like a "bit of a dill" in his attempt to get a headline.

"A Finance Minister of Australia doesn't have to sound like a dickhead if he wants to make a point " Mr O'Connor told Sky News.

A few breaths after swearing on television, the Labor frontbencher then rounded on the Finance Minister for his language.

"It's not the sort of language that a Finance Minister would normally be using. They'd be focusing on the significant decisions that are made in government," he said.

Penny Wong, Labor's leader in the Senate, said that being a girl should never be used as an insult.

"If we use 'girl' as an insult, what are we telling our sons and our daughters about being a girl? You are saying it is somehow less competent, weak, whatever the imputation," she said.

Senator Cormann refused to retreat from his comments for the second day in a row and said he had no regrets.

"I have used a terminology that has been previously used by somebody else, referencing a very well known expression used by somebody else," he said in Melbourne.

"It was a bit of humour to make a very serious point. And the serious point is that Bill Shorten is standing in the way of our government fixing the mess that the government that he was a part of left behind."

Asked about Mr O'Connor's "dickhead" insult, Senator Cormann said: "We live in a free world. He is of course entitled to his opinion."

The Belgian-born senator borrowed the political insult from actor-turned US politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who used it to describe the opponents of George Bush snr during the 1988 presidential election, and revived the term in 2004, notably attacking Democrat opponents of his budget at the Republican National Convention.

At the weekend, some of the heat came out of Labor's attacks on Senator Cormann's use of the term after it emerged that an ALP senator has used the same term as a put-down.

According to Hansard, in September 2005, during a debate on the privatisation of Telstra, senator Ursula Stephens referred to Liberal MP Alby Schultz as having acted as a "telecommunications girly man".

This is not the first time Senator Cormann has channelled his inner Arnie. Senator Cormann ended his first speech to Parliament with The Terminator's most famous catch-phrase "I'll be back".

The Finance Minister attacked Mr Shorten during a weekend interview for not having delivered a surplus during its recent terms in government.

"The problem that the Labor Party has today is that Bill Shorten is an economic girly man. He doesn't have what it takes to repair the budget mess that they have left behind," Senator Cormann said on Saturday.


Is this man the kind of feminist women need?

Senior journalist Wendy Squires  has made the discovery that all men are not the same

I have a dear friend who is one of the strongest feminists I know. Yet, when I tell other women that former Footy Show host, Collingwood president and Channel 9 personality Eddie McGuire is that person, the reaction is disbelief.

He can't be! How could he be? It's a PR stunt. I am being conned. There's just no way ...

Now, I understand why some people may have that impression – Eddie does dwell in some blokey domains and some of his mates may not be as inclined, but the fact remains he is not just a committed feminist, but an active one. I know it because I have seen it.

He recently spearheaded the building of a women's change room at Collingwood's training facilities after noticing girls running around the Tan in the mornings had nowhere safe to shower and change. He is determined to find ways to help stem the epidemic of domestic violence in Australia and is tirelessly committed to numerous charities, many with women and children's welfare at their core. What's more, he speaks about the women in his life with respect and near-on reverence, something I know he is passionate about passing on to his two young boys.

He's a guy who gets bagged a lot in the press, but I wish others could see Eddie through my eyes – it would certainly open theirs. There is a lot more to the man than footy calls.

But this isn't about Eddie, this is about good men in general – men who do not want to be considered part of the patriarchy. Good men who read the same domestic violence stats – showing one in four Australian women will be abused by a male known to them in their lifetimes – and who want to do something about it. Good men who do not talk about their sexual conquests with their mates, reducing women to mere sperm receptacles. Men who believe in equal rights, equal pay, equal representation and who respect and value the effort that goes in to raising children.

It is to good men such as these I would like to hand on the baton of feminism because I, like so many women I know, am fatigued. I just don't know if I have the energy to run another lap, to espouse the same messages and urge on change yet again.

I feel we women have shouldered the heavy load for too long, because the reality is, if we really want change, it is men who are going to have to activate it. The next, and much-needed, wave of feminism has to be led by men if it is to succeed.

Think about it: If we want equal pay, it is up to the men who are running the business in Australia to insist on it. If we want more board positions, it is men who are going to have to elect us. If we want generational change, it is men who are going to have to instil respect for women in their sons. And if we want to stop domestic violence, it is men who are going to have to unclench their fists and stop hitting women.

For too long the notion of feminism has entailed women striving for change, with imagery and messages wrongly regarded as anti-men. But the fact is, we need men. We want men on board. We love men. We know they hold the majority of power and influence. The baton needs to be placed in their hands if we are ever going to change over the line.

And while I despair at the statistics, I also take solace that good men exist, strong men who view women as equals and want us represented as such.

Take, for example, some of Australia's top comedians I've had the recent pleasure of contacting on behalf of a fund-raiser I'm helping put together on November 13 to support St Kilda Gatehouse, an organisation that gives street-based sex workers the dignity of a safe place.

Imagine how many charity requests these men receive, yet within 24 hours of contacting Lawrence Mooney, Greg Fleet, Adam Zwar, Mick Molloy and Rhys Muldoon, all replied with an enthusiastic yes to offering their time and talent, with most thanking me for the opportunity.

Good men, all of them, only too willing to take up the baton for their sisters. Not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk.

It is men like this I believe should be celebrated and I don't care who knocks me for it. It is too easy to write off good men; to think that because they are masculine they lack a feminine side, that because the power lies in their hands they need to hold on to it. That you can't be a great bloke, a man's man, and still respect the gender that enable their very existence.

I'll put my hand up and admit it:  I was one who would write off men too quickly; to judge them by their footy colours, their burly builds or their limited emotional vocabulary. But I've discovered that big hearts beat in broad chests, bless 'em.

At a time when abortion rights are once again on the public agenda, and many women are actively (and in my view, ignorantly) spurning feminism, or burnt out and brow beaten from fighting the fight, it is the knowledge that good men exist and are willing to take up the slack that restores my faith.

Let's respect, cherish and encourage them, as they do us.


1 comment:

PB said...

Your summary of Whitlam's true "Achievements" stands in stark, truthful contrast to the deification he is getting, largely from people to young to actually understand just how bad his Government was.