Passing Bull 46 – How low can we go?


It wasn’t hard to guess who were the sponsors of Greg Sheridan’s attack on the Prime Minister in today’s Australian, but the inanity and vulgarity are breathtaking even by our standards.  The white-anting is said to reflect internal grief about the refusal of the PM ‘to campaign on key Liberal issues such as national security’.

The Prime Minister’s decision to tour a mattress factory on Thursday when the coffins carrying the remains of Australian soldiers killed in the Vietnam conflict were returned through the RAAF base at Richmond, in Sydney, has left some liberals astonished, confused.  They regard the politics of this decision-making as bizarre.

The official line, that Turnbull and Bill Shorten stayed away so as not to detract from the occasion, is nonsensical.  A respectful, non-campaigning prime ministerial presence would have underlined the nation’s gratitude to the fallen.

Without any overt politicising, the benefit to the PM of pictures of him welcoming home the coffins would have been very powerful.  Many Liberals think that any recent previous Liberal PM would have been there as a matter of course.

This is worse than bullshit.  It is revolting.  Our politicians are on the nose because they lack decency, taste, and balls.  The typical stunt that revolts us is a politician seeking to gain votes out of a sombre event, one that should never be tainted by politics.  One such event is the public return of our war dead.  Any politician who sought to make political capital of that would most politely be described as a jerk.  Yet when the P M and the Leader of the Opposition reach accord on respecting this basic level of decency, Sheridan says they are being ‘nonsensical.’  He, and his spiteful backers in the party, think that Turnbull should have made capital out of this photo-op, but that he should have done so covertly, rather than overtly.  Get out there and be political – but lie about it.  It takes a disgusting level of chutzpah to seek votes for welcoming back coffins of young men that his political party sent to their deaths on false premises.  The only thing that Sheridan is right about is that any recent previous Liberal PM would have been there as a matter of course.  Of course they would – that is just why they are so much on the nose.

I had proposed to vote informal, but Mr Sheridan has persuaded that I should vote for Mr Turnbull.  He is, I fear, our last best hope for any decency in Australian public life.

Poet of the month: Anna Akhmatova


They took you away at daybreak.  Half wak-

ing, as though at a wake, I followed.

In the dark chamber children were crying,

In the image-case, candlelight guttered.

At your lips, the chill of an ikon,

A deathly sweat at your brow.

I shall go creep to our wailing wall,

Crawl to the Kremlin towers.

5 thoughts on “Passing Bull 46 – How low can we go?

    • I know what you mean, but the other guy has problems, and I can just hope that things get better if he is elected in his own right. Both parties nauseate me om immigration – that is why I was going to vote informal. But now I have changed my mind for the reason given. My sense is that we – and the rest of the West- are drifting toward ungovernability. The Loony Right was behind Sheridan, but at least our leaders can be civilised in public. Unlike the U S. We should be grateful at least for that.

  1. I agree with you about Sheridan, Geoff. And about the cynicism of using the dead to gain votes.

    I dont’ suppose it occurred to you to vote Green, Geoff ? Obviously,not, I suppose. You didn’t even mention Di Natale et al as an option. Well, I won’t start arguing politics here. My God, we’d never finish !!

    But what occurred to me the other day was that in this campaign both Shorten and Turnbull have had serious gaffes. Turnbull the more so, because he doesn’t have a real politician on so many things. So, inevitably his innate cynicism will out. The same thing that happened to Hockey is now happening to him. Hockey’s old-world Tory arrogance showed up in his faux pas on the underclass’s struggles with car and home ownership.

    As for Shorten, he’s been caught out on his retreat from corporate taxes / the trickle-down theory, and his awkwardness about the ALP’s damning establishment support of the ‘Pacific solution’. And there will be more for him in the next 3-4 weeks.

    But Di Natale, whatever else you may think of him and his party, has avoided the mud-throwing. except for the personal attack on his family’s use of an au pair. But there the journo got the facts wrong and that quickly fizzled. So why ? Why does Di Natale look consistent and not vacillating and opportunistic ? One answer could be that he is in fact consistent and principled. His new policies on funding of various new initiatives, many of them controversial and breaking new ground, are far from safe and opportunist. He and the Greens are risking flak, big time. But, the mud ain’t sticking. Mostly not even being thrown.

    I’ve been a Greens supporter of many years, and someone who has locked himself to a bulldozer to hold up a coal mine. I’ve voted with my body and liberty, but luckily just got rapped over the knuckles subsequently by the sympathetic beak on circuit in Narrabri. So, I’d be interested to hear you Geoff on what I guess is your aversion to the Greens. I respect your opinion on most things. And you always write with great insight. Doubtless, I won’t agree with your take. But I’d like to read it. I suspect it’ll be the most lucid and genuine critique of the ‘extreme left’ ( forgive me if I am here pre-empting your position) that’s to be had in the public sphere.

    Thanks, SIMON WELLS

    • I am not fond of many of our politicians. We have been lucky in Victoria – so far – to have honest premiers. The premiers of NSW, SA, and Q look very good – the first looks a star. I have no special aversion to the Greens, or their leader, but I share Gough’s aversion to minor parties. My trouble then is that the majors are on the nose, and the whole basis of the party system, and therefore democracy as we know it, is crumbling before our eyes. That disintegration will continue with this election. Shorten looks to me as confected as Clinton, but at least I know that Turnbull looks like a P M. I can then hope he recovers if elected. But I’m not putting the house on it. I think his real problem is a lack of talent around him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s