Mr John Roskam is a God-send to a bullshit column; almost as solid as Freedom Boy. In his AFR piece the other day, Mr Roskam was on a favourite mantra. Mr Turnbull should not raise taxes. Why? He shouldn’t even be contemplating raising taxes. Australia is already a high-tax country. The second reason is that raising taxes is easy. Mr Roskam says that the Productivity Commission supports the IPA research. He laments that neither received media coverage. Have you noticed this paranoia on that side? Someone actually complained that Christianity was not getting a fair run. Try that on a Muslim or Buddhist. In a nation whose head of state has to be an Anglican.
Then we go straight to another mantra or slogan. ‘There’s one thing that’s even harder to do in Australia than cutting government spending, or restoring freedom of speech – although it’s not as hard as Turnbull seems to think it is. Does anyone honestly believe that in a free country it should be against the law to insult someone?’
In Victoria, you can go to jail for insulting, indecent or offensive behaviour in public. Take the following examples.
On a tense, packed train full of drunks after a Collingwood v Carlton match, one supporter says to one of the opposite camp ‘You’se sucks were hiding behind the fuckin’ door when they handed out guts. You are a push-over.’
On a less packed tram to North Balwyn during the daytime, a fourteen year old girl discusses her sex life on her mobile phone loudly enough for the whole tram to hear. ‘I was so horny, I could have fucked a horse.’ After that, it gets a little personal. Other people of various ages and backgrounds are discomfited – except for one evidently stimulated bogan who is showing unsettling symptoms of becoming amorous.
While he is opening a garden show, the Governor General is insulted in obscene terms by a group of men naked except for lippy, tattoos and tutus, who claim to be upset that His Excellency, Sir Peter, sold out for a gong.
A very well dressed group of people who object to the grants made to performing arts and the mining company sponsoring this concert take a seat for the Mozart Requiem and start insulting the miner on their mobile phones during the Kyrie.
At a military funeral in Australia for an Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, a well-dressed and quietly behaved group of demonstrators parade outside the church in silence. Their only protest is to carry placards denouncing going to war for the U S. The placards say that the Americans are fascists. The widow is horrified. The brother of the deceased vows to kill the demonstrators. Comrades in uniform look like they will do just that.
A frustrated suitor marches up and down the street outside a wedding with a loud hailer saying that the bride is a slut but Snow White compared to Mum. On the bride’s side, deranged Black Belt Martial Arts Champions are foaming; the groom’s side is quieter – they are down from the sticks. On Ice.
Mantras and slogans collapse in the light of the facts. They are like bats. They disappear in the light. The first object of the law is to keep the peace. That is why it is against the law to engage in conduct that will lead to a breach of the peace. Offensive or insulting conduct in public can lead to a breach of the peace. Does Mr Roskam honestly believe that in a civilised country, the police should be powerless to intervene in these cases because to do so would inhibit people from expressing their views? If the offensive or insulting conduct is based on race, is it not so much more dangerous?
This deformed simplicity was at the heart of the Abbott disaster.
Poet of the Month: Gwen Harwood
He sings, often at night; his voice is shocking.
The embarrassed aristocracy are fuel
for his crude wit, and something wild and cruel
flashes through early sweetness. Fate is knocking
……Half his life is gone.
Now from your dolphin hands I learn the strong
leaping of spirit through a temporal sea
of human love and grief. Pain breaks upon
these notes in splintering twills; here, changed to song,
wears the calm aspect of divinity.
(From Beethoven, 1798)
He couldn’t dance either.
PS I have a small investment on the German horse in the Cup, but I offer hope, not warranty.