Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Janet Albrechtsen, Ditch Diver for the Liberal party

Ah Janet Albrechtsen. Doctorate of law, columnist for The Australian, conservative supporter. Below is her effort in today's Oz (read by me because the paper shop lacked the SMH which us discerning thinkers like to read as opposed to Murdoch spin), where she lauds Conservatives and Howard, and reinforces her belief that the Left are just a bunch of Communist Ninnies who really can't see how great it is that we should bargain as individuals and not as a group.

You can also find her article on the below website. Her bits are in ital. My response is in normal text.

Article is located here;  http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17672971%255E32522,00.html


An excellent year for conservatives and the countryDecember 28, 2005

PSSST. Keep this to yourself. John Howard will be with us for a very long time. Even if the Prime Minister hands over the reins to Treasurer Peter Costello in 2006, the Howard imprint will remain for years to come. Looking back on 2005, Howard has put serious runs on the board. He will not be remembered as a do nothing, occupy the crease kind of PM. He's more Don Bradman than Trevor "Barnacle" Bailey, the English all-rounder who made the slowest half-century in first-class cricket.
So even if Labor gets in, our Aryan friend Albrechtsen (I say that because she's white and blonde and in Hitler's Germany would undoubtedly made prime brood stock for the glorious Reich), believes Howard's legacy will remain for years and years. I agree with her – worst luck. But hopefully next election it will be that – a legacy – not his continued political imprinting of our nation.
It has been a momentous year for the conservative cause. Howard has become for Australia what Ronald Reagan was to the US and Margaret Thatcher to Britain. Plenty of politicians spend a lifetime gaining power and, when it comes, are so busy holding on to it that they shy away from controversial but much needed reform. Think of Malcolm Fraser. Known for little more than his efforts in Zimbabwe and introducing secondary boycott provisions in the Trade Practices Act, Fraser was out for a duck, if we're talking cricket.

What is exactly this cause she is speaking about? Conservative cause?!?! Maybe it's 'Restrict the workers', 'make sure we continue to rule at all cost by massively restructuring the laws of the land to ensure this through massive increases in unregistered donation by companies, forcing workers to bargain individually, create a climate of fear and discord so the daddy party can rule for ever and ever'. I thought conservatives were about minimal impact on the individual (ie small government, unrestricted business). Not according to Mein Albrechtsen it seems.

Howard, on the other hand, is changing Australia to reflect the way we work, the way we raise our children, the way we're educated, the sorts of things we expect governments to do and, more to the point, the things we want to do for ourselves.

Worse luck. He's changed Australia to make it so women stay at home, so people cannot rely on protection from unfair bosses and employment practices, and provided massive increases in money to ideologically fuelled schooling such as polo field owning private schools that spit out Adlers and other corrupt money men that all hold our balls in their winter uniform optional doe skinned gloved hands.

Of course, Howard is far from the perfect conservative. He has thrown tax dollars at failed businesses (Ansett, United Medical Protection), set up slush funds to massage the passage of reforms (voluntary student unionism, Telstra), and continues to prop up and pander to powerful lobbies (pharmacists). Not to mention his obscene election spending sprees. But, then, reform comes at a price. And Howard is on the reform path.

Dang ! Poor old Howard. You know you can't catch a break when Ditch Diver still thinks you haven't gone as goose steeping as you can. And I just love her use of the word Reform. If you look closely the Liberal/Nationals have bandied that formerly positive word around in everything they day. Apparently taking away my civil liberties and protection in the workplace is reform. Apparently granting the ability for companies to massively donate funds without accountability to the Libs is reform. Indeed he does pander to lobbies DD, and now – even more so.

Generations X and Y (and indeed earlier generations) are no more interested in collectivist labour structures than they are in allowing central planning of their sexual and social beliefs. So the Work Choices legislation puts individual choice above union power.

I'm generation X and I am interested in collective labour structures. And why is that? Because I believe in the essential principle of fairness. I think she probably means those Gen X/Y who by right of their appearance and education can in fact influence their conditions of service because they are entering in demand trades. Not the janitors, the food processors, the service industry staff, the transport workers, and all the other semi-skilled professions out there that need collective protection and who if they stand alone stand poorer and more likely to be wiped out at the stroke of a pen by an unfeeling business just beholden to the bottom line.

Similarly, the VSU reforms are based on a simple idea that no one should be forced to join a union, be it on campus or in the workplace. So if students want to jump on a bus to Woomera to protest against mandatory detention, fine. But don't expect other students to pick up the bus fare by paying compulsory union fees.

Get fucked DD. A fraction of funds was ever used by unis for political action as well you know. The vast bulk of it was providing services on campus for those that needed it, clubs for people to interact in, and building esprit de corps and a feeling of belonging. My understanding is that DD spent her entire time with her nose to the grindstone in an effort to win, win, win. Which likely explains her current 'me, me, fucking, me' mindset which is so clearly evident in her poisonous bile that she spews forth from the Oz, which I note with irony she did in the SMH until they forced her out (and her leaving them to settle a massive defamation case because of some shit she wrote about Pat O'Shane).

Indigenous people are being encouraged to take responsibility for their lives, to work, to be able to buy their home, to send their children to school, because the past 30 years of top-down, bureaucrat-driven regulation has failed them.

Yes blackies. Get back to work. Stop lying around in those homes you don't own, in areas with no employment and minimal resources to improve your lot in life. Oh, and stop clinging to your old identity and try and be a bit whiter if you can. Me? Peroxide darlings. Does wonders. Seriously I support the efforts of Noel Pearson and all those awesome programs that have been bought in to assist indigenous Australians. But let's not forget that land rights and all that other guff was fought tooth and nail by the Howard government and his ilk, and that they did not support a number of programs that worked either. You bet indigenous Australians need to help themselves as they are in turn helped. But patronising dog whistling about 'responsibility for their lives' is just fucking code for 'we are white and we are better' and you fucking know it.

Telstra is being sold because public ownership of assets in such a hi-tech, high risk, fast-moving industry is only slightly less Jurassic than Soviet-style collectives or the Great Leap Forward.

Ah yes. It's the soviet mantra to own infrastructure that supports the common good. Excuse me DD, but can you actually explain how Telstra being sold when it provided $$$ to the government coffers actually helps us? Er no, you can't can you? Because it doesn't. You support it because your party supports it.

Critics go bonkers at the idea of Howard changing Australia. The level of vitriol aimed at the Prime Minister on each of these issues is testimony not only to the significance of these changes but also to the fact Howard is overturning long entrenched vested interests, be it in the workplace, on campus, in indigenous politics and so on. A few weeks ago, even University of Sydney vice-chancellor Gavin Brown was calling VSU supporters such as Howard "redneck philistines". Hardly an intellectual response from our lofty academics. But, then, no one relinquishes power or money quietly.

It's not about power you skanky right winger. Do you honestly think unions exist solely as a power source for some ardent Marxists? Do you honestly feel that universities opposed VSU because they were scared of opening up their $2 sausage rolls against the $1.20 ones down the road? Of course not. These institutions existed to help people. All the ones you named here existed as a service to protect and assist people in need. Not people on some sort of power trip.

Then there are the genuine but misguided Fabian socialists who believe, to steal from Reagan, that a little band of intellectual elites in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. These people have lost their elevated status in Howard's Australia.

Plan for ourselves. Yep because the immigrant with poor English earning fuck all doing a semi-skilled job has ALL the power to protect themselves and plan for themselves. Fuck me rigid. Individual planning only works in an atmosphere of mutual balanced cooperation. Those workers that could demand more because of ability or scarcity already could. It's the ones that can't that need collective protection. Not all of us have wealthy husbands, or PhDs or beautiful children going to beautiful schools. Ditch Diver certainly made her way in the world from humble beginnings, and all the more power to her, but I hardly see that her entering those phases of employment where she had rights and bargained collectively held her back. Unless it was because at the SMH they put her through the cadet system like everyone else and she thought this was somehow demeaning to her obvious ability to be greater than everyone else. In fact, I bet I just fucking nailed it. And it's not Howard's Australia. It's OUR FUCKING AUSTRALIA. And he's made it worse for people through his ideologically fuelled desire to ensure continued rule and that the bosses in this country are looked after. Of course, should I expect anything different from 'I wear stylish glasses' Ditch Diver whose boss is Murdoch? No, I guess not.

Other critics include one Greg Barns, once a Liberal, then a Democrat, now politically homeless, who last week wrote that Australia had become a pigsty under Howard, the conservative ideologue. The country, he argued, needed to be rescued by some latter-day Gough Whitlam or Paul Keating. Poor Greg sits waiting for Judgment Day, when a new philosopher king will lift whatever party he then belongs to into power while the Coalition will be cast into eternal damnation.

And boy do I hope it comes soon.

To criticise Howard as a conservative ideologue gravely underestimates him. Far from this being one man's ideological jaunt, Howard has caught the temper of his times. For Howard, conservatism is not an abstract ideology. It is diametrically opposed to abstractionism. It is rooted, instead, in human experience, in what works and what doesn't. To borrow again from Reagan, when "conservatives say that we know something about political affairs and that what we know can be stated in principles, we are saying that the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations; found through the often bitter testing of pain or sacrifice and sorrow".
Howard's year of reform is driven by the idea that what works is letting individuals be free to make their own choices. Which raises a sweet irony in the progressives' opposition to Howard's reforms. The Left, after all, let the individualism cat out of the bag back in the 1960s when we were encouraged to "do our own thing" without any state interference. What people did in their personal lives was out of bounds. So why the vitriol when a similar notion is applied to people's lives once they step inside a workplace, a university or the family home?

Oh fuck off. It's not about the individual at all. These "reforms" are about degrading the base of the Labor party through denuding unions ability to organise and raise funding, and to make the average ozzer so concerned for their fiscal wellbeing in these times of greatly reduced employment protection and massive mortgages at the mercy of 0.25 increments, that they turn to they very people that caused their distress in the first place. It's about ensuring that business dominates this country instead of people. It's about engendering fear in the community of others and outsiders and again assisting people to vote their way because instead of realising they are part of a community, all they want to do is go home to their steel shuttered McMansions, thumb on the AC, and try and ignore the damage their insular fiscally fixated lives are doing to society and the environment as a whole. If the Howard government was so reformist minded Ditch Diver, why aren't they reforming the way the environment is protected hmmm? What about Kyoto? Global Warming? What about the fucking stuff that fucking matters?

But such logic is wasted. Instead, pining after bygone days, critics such as Hugh Mackay suggest workplace relations may just be on the cusp of a new "communitarian era", communitarian being an updated and refurbished version of collectivism. As if somehow a new word will fool us into thinking the Left is pursuing something new.

It worked pretty well for the last 10 years Ditch Diver. As you know, and as the Libs know. Enterprise bargaining via collective agreements helped drive this economy. All Howard did was change how some tax is garnered and, using the flood of wealth pouring into the coffers balanced the busget. Though of course his kicking pensioners off the free dental program certainly helped. The Left is, as always, concerned for the whole, unlike the Right Wing who somehow thinks that individuals that through either hard work or beneficial circumstances, should be held in higher stead than the collective whole. In DD's case I'm thinking her concern starts and ends with her immediate circle of luxury 4WD owners and those who send their kiddies to private schools.

And just to confirm that opposition aimed at Howard is too often unshackled by reason or evidence, the Howard haters have finished off the year with one of their old favourite taunts: Howard, the racist ringleader. When, after the Cronulla riots in Sydney, he refused to label Australians as inherently racist, it was just another example of "all sorts of dark shadows fall[ing] out of his mouth", according to Richard Ackland. Howard is holding the lead of that "rancid old race dog". Or, according to left-wing think tanker Clive Hamilton, Howard was whistling at us racist dogs. And let's not forget Barns's contribution: we are living in a pigsty with the PM winking and nodding to a racist populace.

Howard's not a racist ring leader. It's not like he has a statue of Hitler that he flips up to reveal a secret button to send a coded signal to skin heads and Alan Jones demographic to leap in their Racist mobiles and go bash brownies and lebs. No one's made that charge and you know it. What Howard has done, as well Ditch Diver knows, is create a climate where racists respond to how the Federal government positions itself, and how the Australian positions itself, where it denigrates people on the basis of their Religion or cultural background. When Hanson bleated on about special preferences for minorities (whilst bizarrely demanding the same for angry small business that fell victim to global trade) all Howard did was say 'political correctness had gone mad' and that 'she had a right to speak her mind.' And so did you Howard, and did you? You did not. What about Tampa Ditch Diver? Did Howard use that to his advantage? You bet your sweet arse he did. In the days leading to the 2001 election Howard's team didn't put out full page ads regarding their economic management skills. They put out the infamous 'we decide who comes to this country' ads, tapping into the visceral fear the ill educated and ill informed have that somehow migrants were jumping a non existent queue and that they were here for our jobs and other shit like that. Does Howard have some responsibility for Cronulla? You bet his fucking arse he does. Because he and his government have passively stood by as rancorous racists reared once more and gave a broad wink to the electorate that 'concerns' would be addressed. Look too to DIMIA and it's shameful excuse for management of refugees. They've been in nearly 10 years Ditch Diver, all of that shit happened on their watch. Vindictive and mean spirited and, yes, racist. Why? Because their key supporters want it. Does it make it right? Fuck no, it does not.

Dark shadows? Leads and dogs? Pigs? Winks and nods? Howard's critics imagine he has some spooky Svengali-like influence over that dumb animal farm known as the Australian electorate. But, then, Howard haters are forced to talk down to voters rather than 'fess up to the fact the PM may be on to something with policies based on empowering individuals to make their own decisions, thus neutering a whole swag of elites who would prefer to call the shots. No wonder his critics are becoming more feral every day.

Ah, DD, you do make me laugh. Howard's critics are criticising the way he governs, and the way he crafts laws in this country that strip away rights (terror legislation, WorkChoices). They criticize the way he avoids responsibility for failings in government, and the way he uses public servants for his political gain.

And I'll leave those who think Ditch Diver is somehow correct with this. Explain to me exactly how $10,000 secret donations, loss of rights in the workplace, the detention of citizens without charge, creating a climate of hostility and fear causing the ill educated and the ill informed to treat those of a different background differently because of it, not to mention revamped sedition laws somehow results in 'empowering individuals'.

I bet you my trusty groat that you cannot.

4 comments:

  1. Oh god. This is why I try and avoid op-ed columnists in general, but particularly rabid ones like Albrechtson and Devine. Would you believe my dad brought up a print-out of Miranda Devine's "All Lebs are evil killers" (or something like that) column for me to read. On christmas day. He says he knows she's right and it's like that because he lived there. In the fucking 70s.

    You can see why not a day went by without an argument when I lived with my parents.

    Of course Albrechtsen is right when she says the 'Howard Imprint' will be around for a while. That tends to happen when someone is in power for 10 years...

    I'd love to see people like her sacked and forced to work at McDonalds for a year or two before having to 'individually negotiate' their way to a better job. In a paralell universe, perhaps...

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  2. frcgkbgh... spelled 'parallel' wrong. I'm going to bed >_<

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  3. Howard's rules of politics:

    1. Do the bidding of political donors.

    2. Do whatever necessary to get the votes to allow Rule 1 to proceed, as long as such actions do not conflict with Rule 1.

    That's it. Nothing else.

    Everything he's ever done is either the bidding of the donors, or to collect enough votes to do it.

    It's not about individualism, there is no brilliant vision of a better Australia, it's not about hating unions, well, OK the VSU probably was.

    A lot of leaders get a tad distraught when they realise they're just a puppet, and others, like Howard, just plain love having a hand shoved up their arse.

    Beats working for a living.

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  4. That's it in one man. There is no vision of Australia in what he does. Unless it's a divided Australia where the quest for the $ becomes the be all and end all.

    I do wish he'd wake up to himself. And all those on the right wing take a good hard look at themselves and realise they spent the last 10 years selling everyone out and for what. What is their legacy? A shitty one that's what. Albrechtsen bizzarely revels in this. Man I hope she reaps what she sows.

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