Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Real villains in the Australian Labor Party are the ‘lunatic left’

Joe Hildebrand

In the mid-1990s the Labor Party’s greatest ever powerbroker Graham “Richo” Richardson summed up the ALP in all its beauty and terror with three simple words: Whatever it takes.

This was not just the title of his book but a way of life and the mantra of the NSW Right, the all-powerful political machine behind what was then Australia’s most powerful political party.

Richo possessed probably the sharpest and wiliest political brain Australian politics had ever seen, a mind like a streetfighter’s fist. It had no time for ethics or morality, just efficiency and impact.

But compared to the crop of so-called powerbrokers that succeeded him he might as well be cloaked in white and anointed for sainthood.

The Australian Labor Party has always been beset by factional powerplays, ruthless machine men and “colourful” identities. It is what makes it so endlessly alluring and tragic.

As Richo observes in his first sentence: “No one writes books about the Liberal Party.”

But all of these deals and characters are supposed to be in pursuit of something worthwhile. The morally impure means are supposed to be justified by the election-winning ends. Sometimes you have to break a few hearts and a few legs to get things done – or at least so the theory goes.

The problem is that Labor’s latter-day “powerbrokers” have lost sight of the ends, if indeed they were ever aware of their existence.

In NSW former MP Eddie Obeid pursued power only for self-enrichment and this week in Victoria, Adem Somyurek was sacked from the government ministry after branch stacking allegations were aired on 60 Minutes.

Neither appeared to have the remotest interest in achieving success for the party, let alone any benefit for the workers it is supposed to represent.

Meanwhile, far away on the other side of the Labor spectrum, there are activists seeking to drag the party to the radical left on issues that seem less to do with the collective good than with individual indignation and/or economically illiterate socialist fantasies. These cool young hipsters and crusty old hippies are ideologically pure but they are as far removed from the interests of mainstream working Australians as the backroom boys.

And so, not for the first time, Labor is caught in an identity crisis. It was cleaved in two by the 1950s split between communists and Catholics, it was awkwardly reunited by the Whitlam government, which tried to straddle the values of the traditional working class concerns and the progressive university class, and it found its greatest and strongest expression with the Hawke-Keating era of the 1980s and 90s that managed to roughly coalesce the interests of workers and inner-city luvvies and even — shock horror! — the business community in a 13-year golden age of government that the party had never experienced before nor has since.

The lesson of history is clear: Labor dies when it is torn between cynical corruption on the right and ideological cuckoos on the left and thrives when it is the rational, reasonable, natural party of the centre.

This is clearly what led it to lose the unlosable election last year – as far away as that now seems – when this cognitive dissonance was embodied not just by the party but in the very person of its leader.

Anyone with half an eye open to politics over the past two decades knows that Bill Shorten is far from a socialist – if anything he is a political operator whose career has been wholly unimpeded by any ideological intrusion. And so it was jarring to many to hear him suddenly sounding like one.

All the bolshy talk about “the top end of town” simply never rang true. Shorten once loved hanging out in that part of the world and the AWU’s mushroom-picking membership certainly never enjoyed the benefits of his revolutionary rage.

As one wry commentator noted, it was difficult to trust Bill Shorten when even his own face didn’t seem to believe what he was saying.

Albo, on the other hand, is authentic. Yes, he has always been a political animal but he is a sincere one. He was raised by a single mum in crazy circumstances in working-class Sydney and that earthiness shows.

It also shows in his sense of right and wrong, which goes from the very grassroots of the party to the highest levels of power. Albo cut his teeth fighting dodgy branch-stacking in inner Sydney in the 1980s and when Labor’s ugly civil war destroyed both the Rudd and Gillard governments he was arguably the only leading figure to act with unimpeachable honour.

He was loyal to Kevin Rudd to the last and offered his resignation to Julia Gillard when Rudd was defeated. Gillard nobly refused to accept it and he equally nobly refused to move against her despite still supporting Rudd.

No other top level minister managed to navigate that unprecedented moral minefield with their honour so intact. Few people value such loyalty in politics these days but I do.

And so Albo unquestionably has the integrity to lead Labor out of this quagmire but that is only the first half of the battle. The second and more vital mission is to make sure Labor regains its position as the party of working and middle Australia and is no longer held captive to hard line sectional interests.

Gillard was both tricked and forced into this after the electoral disaster that followed the Rudd assassination and never recovered from the breach of faith with the electorate. A thumping mandate for a carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2007 was turned into a carbon tax built on a fundamental deception in 2010. Little wonder it was the millstone that brought her down and what should have been a great, later-achieved political legacy instead became a cautionary tale of a fleeting palace coup.

And even after the fatal damage they’d inflicted the Greens still turned on Gillard, cutting her down in a brutal public denouncement at the National Press Club. Loyalty? You’d find more of it in a junkyard dog.

In other words, there is a place for the fanatical dead-eyed ideologues of the lunatic left and that place is in the Greens. The Labor Party should have no quarter with it and do no deals with it. Not only are these people intellectually vacuous and emotionally barren but they cannot be trusted. They are by history and definition the worst possible allies anyone could ever hope to have.

Instead the ALP needs to reach across middle Australia to once more become the party of reason and rationality. The party of common people and common sense.

This work is made all the more difficult in times of crisis but that only makes it more crucial. And it won’t be done through loud protests, it will be done through quiet conversations – in office blocks and factories and shopping centres. It will be through people feeling the party is familiar to them, an extension of their instincts, not an imposition of ideology upon them.

Elections aren’t won by graffiti tags and hashtags, they’re won in hearts. And if Labor wants to win the nation’s hearts it must reflect the heart of the nation.


How 'Chairman Dan' Andrews' lockdown went too far: Why Victoria's overzealous restrictions have led to MORE people getting COVID-19

Leftists never seem to allow for the fact that people will seek and find ways around their rules and regulations

Victoria has been called out for its slow approach to lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions as experts claim it could actually be fuelling a spike in cases.

The state recorded on Thursday 18 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest jump in the country this week, bringing the total to 1,780.

The wave of cases comes despite the fact Victoria was slower to lift lockdown restrictions than other states, including a delayed return to school, a stricter cap on patrons allowed in venues and greater emphasis on working from home.

Dan Andrews has been labelled 'Chairman Dan' by the state's Liberal Party Opposition for what they claim are his draconian COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Now, microbiologist Peter Collignon claimed the strict lockdown measures have done more harm than good, as people were more likely to break the rules because they were considered to be too severe, Daily Telegraph reported.

'If you overdo it, you find people rebelling,' he said.

'Having a really strict lockdown when you have a low community restriction has not given better results.

'My view is Victoria always went too far.'

Professor Collignon added the matter was made worse as Victoria had initially carried out fewer COVID-19 tests than its neighbour state New South Wales, during the early days of the virus outbreak. 

NSW tested 1,320 people per 100,000 while Victoria tested 708 per 100,000 between January and March.

The gap narrowed slightly in April when New South Wales tested 1,597 people per 100,000 while Victoria tested 1,102 per 100,000.

Although New South Wales has recorded more than 3,100 COVID-19 cases - almost double the 1,780 cases in Victoria - the state has been quicker to ease lockdown restrictions. 

All New South Wales and Queensland students were back in the classrooms by May 25.

Victoria took on a staggered approach as some grades returned sooner than others -students in prep to Year 2 and Years 11 and 12 returned to class around the same time as its neighbour state but it was until  June 9 that all grades finally returned to class.  

Workers in New South Wales have also been encouraged to return to the office, while Victorians have been told to continue to work from home.

Cafes and other outdoor venues have also been slower to reopen in Victoria. 

Victorian restaurants, cafes and hospitality businesses are only allowed 20 seated patrons per enclosed space, irrespective of their size and ability to accommodate more people based on the one person per four square metre rule.

This is far less than NSW, which has had more COVID-19 cases, but allows up to 50 per eating space - and up to 500 in one indoor venue.

Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews has been labelled 'Chairman Dan' by the state's Liberal Party Opposition for what they claim are his draconian COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Liberal member for Kew Tim Smith said: 'Daniel Andrews is sabotaging cafes and restaurants in Victoria. 'Andrews has never had a job in the private sector, he doesn't have a clue about small business.'   

Justin O'Donnell, Chairperson of Chapel Street Precinct Association, which represents more than 2200 businesses, said the 'one size fits all' capacity regulation could see 20 to 30 per cent of the area's largest employers permanently shut down.

'Our State Government's one size fits all approach does not work financially for many Chapel Street Precinct businesses, particularly many of our larger businesses that are some of our precinct’s largest employers, ' he said.

'We are asking for those Chapel Street Precinct businesses that have a larger space (square footage) for limit numbers to be based on their areas available, while maintaining the one metre by four metre rule. The issue is the number cap that has been stamped for all businesses regardless of the size.'

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said authorities still plan to further relax restrictions on Monday, though a lot can happen in the meantime.

'Monday is not that far away. The plan is to continue to ease those restrictions on Monday, but a lot can happen in five days,' Dr van Diemen said.

'We don't want to take any chances and if it does continue to climb, we will be taking all of that into account when we decide whether or not to ease further on Monday.'

Gyms, cinemas, indoor sports centres and concert venues will reopen on Monday, while cafes, restaurants and pubs will increase capacity from 20 people to 50.


Mining lobby increases its virtue signalling

Australia's peak mining lobby group will release a road map on Monday to cut carbon emissions as it throws its support behind the Paris Agreement.

The Minerals Council of Australia wants to use clean energy and electric vehicles at mines across the country.

"This is a time for action, instead of vague virtue-signalling about future ambitions without the courage to outline concrete plans," chief executive Tania Constable told The Australian on Monday.

The three-year plan is expected to help Australia's major mining companies compete while calming community concerns on climate change.

Ms Constable said climate change posed risks and opportunities for the sector with sustained action needed to dampen its effects.

The federal government is currently designing its technology investment blueprint to entice funding in gas, hydro and hydrogen energy as a way to cut carbon emissions.


Pauline Hanson claims people are faking Aboriginal heritage to get special welfare payments and calls for racial preferences to be abolished

Andrew Bolt was prosecuted for saying that

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has called for race to no longer be taken into account in welfare eligibility, as she claims people are faking Aboriginal ancestry to get access to programs reserved for indigenous people.

Sen. Hanson said programs, which include welfare payments, grants and employment preferences, were open to abuse.

'The definition across the government departments is you can self-identify as being Aboriginal,' Sen. Hanson said on Sky on Tuesday.

'You can be accepted by elders of a community, and they will actually write a letter to say they accept you as being Aboriginal. So that is not good enough.'

Challenging her views, Sky host Chris Kenny said she was returning to the 'horrible, divisive' views she expressed when launching her political career.

'This takes me back to 1996 when you were kicked out of the Liberal Party,' he said.

'There are issues here sure to be discussed, but you're saying that people are feigning Aboriginality to get access to government payments.'

Ms Hanson said that the number of those who claimed to be Aboriginal had swelled in recent years.

'There's no real definition of Aboriginality,' she claimed.  'In 1971, when we had the first census, there was approximately 116,000 [Aboriginal people] and that has now increased 459 per cent to 798,400 people identifying as Aboriginal.

'One fella wrote to me saying "I'm an Islander, I came to Australia, applied for a job couldn't get it. '"But then I applied for an Aboriginal-only job, and when they asked me for identification I told them I was from the Stolen Generation, I didn't have paperwork and gave me a job anyway".'

But Mr Kenny explained that the population was always going to increase over time, like it did for people of all racial backgrounds.

In 1971, Australia had a population of 13 million, which has swelled to 25 million in 2020 - demonstrating that population does naturally increase over time because of high birth rates as well as immigration.

Criticising her assessment that population growth meant people must be lying, Mr Kenny replied: 'People are happy and proud to proclaim their indigenous heritage....but that's a huge leap to say that people are pretending.'

She went on to explain that she believed it was unfair that non-indigenous Australians cannot access the same welfare schemes despite some being in as much need.

'Right from the very beginning, I've called for equality,' she said. 'And giving that helping hand to someone who desperately needs a helping hand should not be based on race.

'Just because of the colour of your skin, the race you are, does not mean you don't need that helping hand.

'So when I have families who are not Aboriginal living in cars, who can't get housing, or their kids can't get the education they require, I just feel that we are heading down the wrong path.

'And division is happening in our country.'

A former fish and chip shop owner, Ms Hanson was pre-selected for the Queensland seat of Oxley at the 1996 federal election for the Liberals. But she was dropped by the party after a series of controversial comments about  indigenous entitlements.

That led her to found the One Nation party, which she has since led.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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