An odd thing happened yesterday... My husband is supportive of my interest in politics & social justice, though not actively involved, considering it more of a waste of time as “You can’t change anything”. Given spare time, he would rather play Battlefield or watch Dr Who, whereas I obviously will be on Twitter or ranting on my blog. Yesterday it all changed...
Twitter was of course agog with the IPA 70th Birthday Bash, speculating on what happened there, annoyed that the likes of Sky News & ABC didn’t really tell us too much, particularly when guests were such luminaries such as Rupert Murdoch (keynote speaker), Gina Rinehart, Cardinal George Pell, Andrew Bolt (MC), Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle... with a special address by Tony Abbott. Now you would think, that many influential people and more, in one room would be considered newsworthy? Apparently, not so much at all. A little bit of footage about protesters outside the dinner who were wanting to ‘Jail Murdoch Not Assange’ and that was about it.
What really went balistic on Twitter was when Mr Abbott posted his Address to Institute of Public Affairs 70th Anniversary Dinner, Melbourne on his website. Well, every man and his dog was reading, discussing, ranting, retweeting, some were even gagging about it :( To be perfectly honest, I had to read it a few times, the Tony Abbott on display in this speech is NOT the normal Tony we see in the papers & on TV. Everyone knows Mr Abbott is Catholic, everyone knows that he is conservative, not everyone knows just how ‘much’. We hear a lot of “Bad Government...”, “Gillard lied...”, “Government in Chaos” etc., “I love the IPA” or “God gives us faith..” Not so much?
This is where I come back to my husband, obviously I was horrified by the speech, so he had no choice but to listen & read it just to shut me up. Which he did, then was horrified himself, so appalled he actually made comment on Google+ which is funny as he normally only makes comment about Tech stuff (he is a programmer) or Sport, see rant here.
Now I love Twitter, though I don’t like the arrogance of many on Twitter. Maybe as I have only been actively participating for the past 6 months I am more aware of it, though on Twitter, what is assumed is ‘common knowledge’, is not at all! This annoys the hell out of me, as when Twitterati blithely toss aside what the likes of a Andrew Bolt says or writes as “Well what do you expect he is a right wing nutcake”, I am like, "Well, actually NO, the rest of the population still tend to subscribe to the theory of 'If it is on TV or in the Newspaper it must be true', so he has a hell of a lot of influence and should not be ignored". The same is said of the IPA on Twitter. Don’t know who they are? Neither did I until a few months ago, this is what I have learned so far “Just Who the Hell are the IPA?”.
Call me an idealist, but I think that when we vote for people they should be representing our electorates, not big business or secretive think tanks. I am not that naive to believe that Lobby groups don’t have influence, though at least Lobby groups are recorded, publicly available, we know who their clients are, we know what they are pushing for and why. I also believe that if you want to be head honcho in this country, it is important that journalists cut through the spin a candidate puts out there in the media to actually show the public what they will be getting should this person become our Prime Minister. Unfortunately, even though we have no choice in PM, that decision of who you ‘like’ better as Prime Minister, constantly reinforced by the plethora of polling reported is a major factor in many punters decision on how & who they vote for.
Which brings me back to my husband... He thought Mr Abbott was conservative, he knew he was Catholic, he was not expecting to see:
“In the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve could do almost as they pleased but freedom turned out to have its limits and its abuses, as this foundational story makes only too clear. Yet without freedom we can hardly be human; hardly be worthy of creation in the image of God.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the foundation of our justice. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” is the foundation of our mercy. Faith has weakened but not, I’m pleased to say, this high mindedness which faith helped to spawn and which the IPA now helps to protect and to promote. “
Don’t get me wrong, I have a Catholic family and many of my friends are Christians (looking at you Pascal), and other religions, so though I would call myself an Atheist I am not against religion, though like my husband, who is ok with religion as long as they don’t shove religion down his throat, all good. The religious spiel in this speech, particularly ‘creationist’ emphasis, really creeped him out, thinking that a man that serious about his religion, could run this country. He felt, as I did, that there was no way in hell that Mr Abbott would be able to put his own beliefs aside to represent the majority of the population, though it did explain why he would not allow a conscience vote for Liberal MP’s on the likes of Same Sex Marriage?
I have to admit, it was amusing to watch him, as I knew that he would soon get to the bit where Mr Abbott promises the IPA what he will do when he is Prime Minister...
“John, there is one campaign where you will not prevail – namely your urgent advice to me in the IPA Review last August to be more like Gough Whitlam. You had a great deal of advice for me in that particular issue and I want to assure you that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the Department of Climate Change, abolish the Clean Energy Fund. We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form. We will abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies. We will deliver $1 billion in red tape savings every year. We will develop northern Australia. We will repeal the mining tax. We will create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. We will privatise Medibank Private. We will trim the public service and we will stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN.
So, ladies and gentlemen, that is a big “yes” to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me in that particular issue of the magazine….but Gough Whitlam I will never be!”
And interesting it was LOL! Like me he was horrified that basically, a think tank, which we know nothing about as the public was setting the agenda for this country, reminiscent of movies depicting the shady semi-religious cult type secret society who meets in the dark to plot, upstanding respected leaders of society during the day, the power behind the throne at night type... So horrified was he, the political ‘rant’ post mentioned above just had to be done. What was most surprising, was the number of people who spoke to him, as an aside, who were also unaware of the influences on Mr Abbott, basically feeling pretty ripped off, as they are intelligent tech type people who had no bloody idea at all that this was how Mr Abbott felt and more importantly “Who the bloody hell are the IPA?”.
I will reiterate, these are intelligent people. They are not the ignorant masses getting their jollies from another Kardashian wedding, they are educated people and they have never heard of the IPA and sure as hell have no idea as to their influence on the likes of a Tony Abbott, nor the connection with “long-serving director of the IPA” Mr Rupert Murdoch. Twitter & Journalists may see this as common knowledge, the public don’t! This is a serious disconnect that needs to be addressed.
Even Journalists are starting to comment that the Liberals have given us very little in the way of policy to be implement ‘when’ (note it is WHEN as they have all decided as a collective that we don’t really need to vote) they are in power and Mr Abbott is PM. Yet, we have a dinner, where Mr Abbott openly states ‘which’ of the 75 IPA objectives in their manifesto "Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia" he will implement?
This is the crux of the issue, we see the political advertising, we assume that if you toss in a dash of spin, that what we are seeing is what the Political Party has decided is policy, not a think tank full of ‘fellows’ that we have NOT elected.
Then again, what the hell would I know, I am just a punter who only found out who the IPA are 6 months ago? A run down on what just this punter has been able to easily find about the IPA are available on this page “Just Who the Hell are the IPA?” I obviously don’t expect the News Ltd Murdoch controlled media (about 70%) of our media to inform the public, obviously not in their interest as heirs apparent to the power behind the throne, but surely the other 30% could remember what they were taught back in their old Uni ‘ethics’ day and instead of just reporting “The Opposition Leader says...”, start reporting and informing the public as to ‘who’ the real Mr Abbott is and ‘what/where’ his ideas and policies are coming fro m?
With more public knowledge, way more than the likes of my husband
and a few of his tech mates will question, just who the hell are
‘the conservatives’ we might be voting for in September?
Just how 'fundamental' and 'evangelistic' are Mr
Abbott's religious beliefs AND just how much influence does the
IPA have over Mr Abbott?
UPDATE: 3.25pm 7th April 2013 - Petition "Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition: Clarify which of the IPA's 75 policies the Coalition plans to implement." via Tom Cummings @cyenne40
Cheers & best of luck,
PS: I don't normally look at Facebook a lot, but have to say thanks to "Tony Abbott will never be prime minister" for helping to spread the word of the IPA Dinner and Mr Abbotts assurances to the IPA via @TAWNBPM :)
In regard to my final question above, the below has been raised on twitter. Considering what we have seen in this speech, it is a worrying thought?
More food for thought... Mr Malcolm Fraser is just one person with interesting comments on the character of Tony Abbott in this compilation "Tony Abbott Grand Slam". Maybe this is why we don't see Mr Abbott doing any serious long interviews with serious Journalists, only mates like Bolt or News Ltd employees?
I will add articles that scrutinize Mr Abbott in some way shape or form as I find them, so far, the pickings are thin :(
Took nearly a week but this one is great: Richard Ackland
has written on in the Sydney Morning Herald in regard to the IPA
claiming ''victory'' for free speech yet not answering phone
calls in regard to "Defence of Freedom of Speech" with West
Australian reporter Steve Pennells and BusinessDay's Adele
Ferguson being taken to court to reveal source documents by Gina
Rinehart -"Silence says a lot on free-speech
stance" The institute knows on which side its free speech is
buttered. via @JustinianNews
Alan Austin in newmatilda.com has a funny take on our soon-to-be Liberal PM: "How Well Do You Know Tony Abbott?"
Heartening to see a mainstream paper have a look at Mr Abbott & state the bous 'free run' he is getting in the media: Mike Carlton of the The Age's "Fortune favours the not-so-brave Abbott"
Damien Murphy in The Age has a very interesting article... "If Tony Abbott wins the federal election, 20 per cent of his likely ministry are products of a Jesuit education. Abbott, and his possible deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, attended St Ignatius' College, Riverview." - "In Canberra, as it is in Rome: here come the Jesuits"
Heads up on this one via @lindyasimus "Tony Abbott - a look at his behaviour in Parliament over the last 12 months" brains behind this classic @phonytonyabbott who has a very interesting site "PhoneyTonyAbbott - the truth about Tony Abbott"
"Tony Abbott gaffes" compiled by choosing @ch150ch is a must read, starts at Aug 2010 and will take you down memory lane... An awful lot of comments that are not befitting a potential leader of a country?
@bluntshovels has done a very good piece suggesting we look at the 'reality' of Mr Abbott implementing some of the IPA policies as per his speech "I am not a widget: privatisation of social services"
Ben Butler of The Sydney Morning Herald wrote "Gina digs deep at celebratory nosh" ) besides the obvious hypocrisy of a woman who is suing journalists giving donations for IPA people to go overseas to a campus specialising in 'Individual freedom' and more... There is a great photo on this page showing "Tony Abbott and Rupert Murdoch at the IPA dinner" will leave for you to decide the relationship :)
Really good look at what IPA policies above that Mr Abbott has agreed to implement by @newsfliporg "Workers as property: Assessing the implications of IPA policy"