Defending Australian institutions

The (presumably) forthcoming double dissolution will raise many issues. But most of them can be summed up as the defence of Australian institutions that have been under attack by radical extremists. I’m referring to such institutions as the ABC, CSIRO, the weekend, public education, the union movement, the fair go and our natural environment. Mention of any of these is enough to raise a derisive sneer from the radical rightwing apparatus that dominates much of Australian politics, most obviously the supporters of Tony Abbott who (ludicrously) call themselves “conservatives”. Turnbull promised something better but he is campaigning against all the institutions I’ve mentioned. It’s time to tell those who want to undermine our way of life in the name of free market ideology and rightwing tribalism where they should get off.

34 thoughts on “Defending Australian institutions

  1. @rog

    I am old enough to recall the days (only about 20-25 years ago) when the Australian Right had serious people in it. Have a look at what IPA Review published back then. Serious stuff by Dame Leonie Kramer (who has just died), B.A. Santamaria, Ref Kemp, Alan Barcan, America’s Russell Kirk, and old-fashioned social democrats like Laurie Short and rather more hip social democrats like, yes, Bob Carr. Agree or disagree with the arguments involved, but at least the outcome obviously wasn’t astroturfing.

    Or have a read of what The Australian published under Dame Leonie’s byline. Again, serious stuff about literature and public culture. Good grief, you could even find her referring occasionally to Matthew Arnold or C.S. Lewis.

    Not a single one of the public figures I have mentioned would have dreamt of whining for workers’ compensation after being allegedly (and we only have Bendle’s word for it) vilified and harassed. Laurie Short, you will remember, actually got beaten up by a bunch of commies.

    Compare and contrast with the present bunch of whining spivs. As Kim Beazley Senior might have put it, the cream of the Right has turned into the dregs of the Left.

  2. The reason for that, Robert nf UK, is that 25 years ago multi billionaires were reasonably rare. Now they are more common and the billionaire-wanna-be contingent most of whom have the desire but not the means to get there see social need serving taxation as an “unfair barrier” to their totally unrealistic aspiration. These people are your Harvard MBA’s who use the CEO hopping method of wealth acquisition which gets them fairly easily to 50 million from which point they can see the void ahead between there and “their” billion. The other kind are the merchant bankers and share traders who see the flows of billions and decide that that money should be theirs, in the manner of Trump who famously said of Iraqi oil, “that is our oil we should just go over there and take it”.

  3. BilB :
    The reason for that, Robert nf UK, is that 25 years ago multi billionaires were reasonably rare. Now they are more common and the billionaire-wanna-be contingent most of whom have the desire but not the means to get there see social need serving taxation as an “unfair barrier” to their totally unrealistic aspiration. These people are your Harvard MBA’s who use the CEO hopping method of wealth acquisition which gets them fairly easily to 50 million from which point they can see the void ahead between there and “their” billion. The other kind are the merchant bankers and share traders who see the flows of billions and decide that that money should be theirs, in the manner of Trump who famously said of Iraqi oil, “that is our oil we should just go over there and take it”.

    Hmmm, BilB, I don’t know that I’m convinced. After all, already circa 1990 there were plenty of billionaires and Gordon Gekko type merchant bankers throwing their weight around in Australia. Remember John Elliott, Robert Holmes a Court (OK he might’ve died by then), Alan Bond etc.

    The difference is that back then, there were also billionaires like Sir Arvi Parbo to serve as counterweights. Parbo was an absolute intellectual and moral giant compared with the sleaze-puppies at today’s IPA.

    I guess it was a variation of “hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.” In the 1990s the Harvard MBA toting CEO hoppers at least pretended to be culturally literate. Now they don’t. They can’t be bothered.

  4. On further thoughts, perhaps rightwing radicals is a better label. This better expresses the non-conservative nature of the Coalition politics. (I agree they don’t deserve the label conservative any more, and they get too many positive connotations from that label.)

  5. Can we get ‘military-industrial complex’ into the label somehow? The label should indicate who’s interests they are serving.

  6. I’m not so much after an actual description, but rather something that reminds you what they stand for.

    We all share an experience of school. After that, our paths can be quite divergent. Do these people have some characteristics that stood out back in school? I was going to use a bully analogy, but both the left and right have bullies. In school yard terms, they are the ones who’ll dob you in to the teacher. But this is no use, as the teacher generally does have the good of the kids at heart.

    Nah, it needs more thought. What genuinely distinguishes them from other people? How does this manifest in everyday life?

  7. @Edward Carson

    ‘… But attacking the union movement? I’m not sure if the Coalition is challenging the right of unions to exist, rather than wanting to investigate and prosecute those that break normal criminal laws. …’

    You may not be sure. I am. (That is, I am sure that the Coalition is dedicated to attacking the union movement well beyond prosecutions for actual crimes.)

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