Inequality and The Soul

Valued contributors at the Café have often commented on the social and economic consequences of the growing inequality in Australian society.  During the Howard years we saw the encouragement of a ‘greed is good’ mentality expressed by Howard as his ‘aspirationals’.  This term not only encouraged smugness in the already wealthy but reinforced the idea that the only goal worth aspiring to was wealth and its accompanying benefits such as being able to buy the best.  The best it was expressed, equated with happiness.

The result of this attitude was that there was hardly a bleat except from the left-leaning blogs and a few hardy mainstream journalists about the erosion of investment in our public schools, public health & hospitals and the general lack of interest in anything pertaining to community.

As many on this blog have observed, it seemed inevitable that Australia continue to follow the US lead towards ever increasing inequality.

Nicholas Kristof in this morning’s Age in this article comments on the ideas of British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett from their book  The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

The Spirit Level suggests that inequality undermines social trust and community life, corroding societies as a whole. It also suggests that humans, as social beings, become stressed when they find themselves at the bottom of a hierarchy.

The authors provide specifics which include “more mental illness, infant mortality, obesity, high school dropouts, teenage births, homicides..”

It is clearly not possible for all in society to be equal due to ability and opportunity but given the consequences then surely a more egalitarian society is what is really worth aspiring to.

88 comments on “Inequality and The Soul

  1. Good stuff Min, and the spin off from Howard’s encouragement to individuality above all else, even bringing in policies that directly rewarded the aspirational at the cost of the community, was extraordinary personal debt, which continues to this day.

    So successful was Howard in fostering the shift from public debt to personal debt as the US had previously done, we overtook the US and every other country to become the most personally indebted nation in the world. Howard boasted of that being a great achievement when in reality is was a great failure, which was why he was genuinely surprised when after saying “we’ve never had it so good” there was a considerable public backlash stating we don’t have it so good, and it was only unsustainable increasing personal debt and increasing hard work for little in return that made it appear good for Howard.

    It was when he attempted to legislate in compulsory hard work and greater individuality through IR regulations that to his surprise the backlash resulted in his ousting. He and the Liberals don’t get it to this day, still equating community and social as communism and tagging socialism as a dirty evil meme.

    And if the Liberals were to gain power they would take us down the same road as the US and blame the previous progressive/liberal administrations when it all goes to shit as it inevitably will.

  2. Just read reb’s article about online shopping that mentions personal debt. Well worth going to GT to read. Business and the opposition are making out as though the paying down of personal debt at the expense of buying unnecessary goods is a terrible thing and should be discouraged at all costs.

    The moment Abbott gets into power, if he’s still around, he will do a Howard and bring in every policy possible to encourage people to go back into unsustainable debt.

  3. Excellent points Mobius. Howard/Abbott’s idea of pitting one worker against the other inevitably fits in with his ideal that only those ‘worthy’ should succeed in life. If you want the so-called best schools, the best health care then your enemies on the road to success are your co-workers. A cult of individuality over society of which Ayn Rand would be proud.

  4. I had the displeasure of listening to Alan Jones blabber on the Worchchoices were the best industrial laws this country has ever seen and Rudd should be condemned for dismantling them.

  5. Thanks, Min, lots to think about here. Not sure how relevant it is to your theme, but thinking about inequality while watching the news coverage of our floods I couldn’t help but think of the enormous inequality in the amounts of compassion being poured out here to our own who indeed have lost much and other victims of disasters elsewhere in the world who have lost everything, including loved ones.

    I wouldn’t want to belittle the loss of things like mementoes and photographs, but other possessions can and will be replaced. Those without homes will be re-housed and supported by us all in one way or another. Which is great that we have such a society with a government, whatever its political bent, empowered to use our money in a myriad ways to help the less fortunate generally, and disaster victims particularly.

    Many of the people trying to get here in small boats had none of that when their homes were destroyed by bombs or they fled in the face of advancing and murderous armies. And now they face another enemy – yes an enemy, who does not want these strangers here at their gate, asking for help in their time of need. True some of us don’t have the heart to turn them away, but others would.

    Is compassion measurable so that one can talk about inequalities in our response to disaster victims? I know that old saw about charity beginning at home. So what about these disaster victims from overseas who have arrived at our front door?

  6. Good points, Patricia.

    Listening to Alan Jones and Bananabe Joyce prattle on about how bad the Labor Government is because they haven’t built any dams, coupled with your points, makes me even more puzzled as to why Howard gave $1Billion to Indonesia after the Boxing tsunami.

  7. Back at you with some more articles that are food for thought in this debate of Egalitarianismand the traditional Aussie creed of ‘A Fair Go for All’, which Howard tried his hardest to destroy, and the ethos of the ‘Dog Eat Dog’ society, which America exemplifies so well after the Bush years, and which the Mad Hatters’ Tea Partiers will be trying their darndest to reinstate:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/post_1496_b_803900.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/the-poorhouse-aunt-winnie_n_802338.html?page=1

    The second article is a lot to wade through, but well worth the effort to get an idea about the road the Arch Conservative forces would take us down. Especially in Australia, where Tony Abbott is the poster boy of devolving welfare to the ‘lame, gay, Churchy’ institutions.

  8. “During the Howard years we saw the encouragement of a ‘greed is good’ mentality expressed by Howard as his ‘aspirationals’.”

    Really?? If you say so but you could be making things up.

    Since you brought up the subject of morality I will tell you what I learn’t about the ALP from the Hawke/Keating govt.

    It is O.K. to stay married to your wife for political purposes (get an extra 3% of the vote) but to rid of them when you are no longer in govt.

  9. It is O.K. to stay married to your wife for political purposes (get an extra 3% of the vote) but to rid of them when you are no longer in govt.

    Sorry guys, couldn’t let that one go through to the keeper.

    Neil…that is a really sick comment …a really sad comment.

    You really should apologise to…..yourself.

  10. Top post Min.

    Corrupted share markets, pillaged Superannuation, absurd house prices & skyrocketin’ rental costs partially off the back of that, dominance of certain media & other communication outlets by the few, old school ties and corporate/dynastic influence on politics will always ensure that there are winners & losers in our societies.

    As do biological, heriditary determinants…and other environmental reasons…but in some ways a more even playing field can be created by redistribution of income, assets…and providin’ affordable &/or free services.

    And opportunities for appropriate rewarding of energies expended by way of various means & recognition that enables one to comfortably fulfill their needs…so they may go about pursuing endeavours that enriches their own lives & others.

    People need some competition & comparison & regulations & time constraints for motivational reasons…and general socio-economic efficiency…but there has to be more flexibility in recognition of individual differences & limitations…whilst ensurin’ basic protections. It’s complex.

    Howard went too far & introduced workplace legislation that gave advantages to the few over the many…and by way of his government’s tough stance on unions & general workers…supported by media & other corporate minions who were not willing to make similar sacrifices but rather added to their already growing profits/wealth/ownership…this created a sense of workplace insecurity…workers feeling the bottom could fall out…and that in itself can create mental instability & physical illness that has a deletarious effect on worker’s ability to provide necessary income and long-term security. Becoming eventually dependent on a social security system that was riddled w/ holes.

    Add the lack of interest by the Howard administration in public health & education…w/ the determination to create more of a “pay-as-you-go” system that can leave many casualties & the disadvantaged by birth & illness behind…whilst creating more temporarily successful entrepeneurs in a “prosperity” system that then ensures by way of uncompetitive behaviours, monopolies, horizontal & vertical integration & lack of regulation…that only a few shall survive as acquirers of wealth & shares…whilst the rest are picked off in a Darwinian nightmare environment.

    So, we end up w/ a “facade” system…that gives the impression that “at least a few are doin’ better who can spread the wealth in a trickle down effect”…but in fact the pool of “priviliged who can right wrongs & ensure wider distribution of wealth” doesn’t expand much in the long run.

    And as “needs” change thru time & socio-economic conditions & technological/medical developments…and recognising “suffering” is relative based on above…the idea that we can create more workplace productivity whilst shrinking the safety net and demanding longer working hours & less free time…based on archaic perceptions of the society, workplaces, health & education & family commitment needs & so on…will only lead to more inequality, injustice, burdening individual/family debt, health cost demands, crime and social insecurity.

    Not to mention long-term economic instability…as we witnessed w/ the GFC…its antecedents in the Carter/Reaganism/Thatcherism socio-economic policies.

    N’

  11. Neil, Min doesn’t make things up. I for one value her word and I’m sure everyone else here does too, as do others across the blogosphere.

    Except you. But then you live in a make believe world.

  12. A study, along these lines, was released in Britain today which proved that the greater the financial inequality in a society, the sicker that society becomes.

  13. “Neil…that is a really sick comment …a really sad comment.”

    Well I think it is also true. i get sick of the slurs that you people make against Howard.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/nation-adjusts-to-pms-first-bloke/story-fn59niix-1225896299583

    “Most couples installed in the Lodge have been married for decades. They’ve been drilled in the protocol of political life and the electoral benefits of a stable nuclear family. Bob Hawke decided against divorcing Hazel after party officials reckoned it could cost him 3 per cent.”

    Did or did not Hawke/Keating throw out their wives after they lost an election??

    Not a sick comment but the truth.

  14. Did or did not Hawke/Keating throw out their wives after they lost an election??

    Who cares?

    BTW, I’m surprised little Johnnie didn’t get thrown out by his missus after he went and lost her her ‘First Lady’ title.

  15. Help! I’ve spent much of the afternoon reading Bob Ellis’s take on the election and Rudd’s fall. I agree with a lot, not all, of what he says, but just can’t come to terms with his take on Gillard.

    I know what a cantankerous, opinionated old b…..d
    he can be, but he’s a brilliant writer and a rusted on old leftie. How can he loathe her so?

  16. Why do you people feed him as he yet again does a quick look over there and then derails another topic.

  17. “BTW, I’m surprised little Johnnie didn’t get thrown out by his missus”

    Well i am not.

    In leftoid la la land Conservatives are evil while ALP politicians are angels.

    If anything it is the other way around. Min set the tone of the thread by making a slur against Howard

    I think it is typical for Hawke/keating to throw out their wives when they were politically no longer needed.

    “Who cares?”

    I bet you Hazel and Anita did.

  18. Min set the tone of the thread by making a slur against Howard

    That is complete and utter bullshit. Min simply reiterated some well known facts about Howard.

    The guy was a mean spirited lying prick.

  19. “Why do you people feed him as he yet again does a quick look over there and then derails another topic.”

    Nope. The topic started by Min was that Howard was a nasty man and by implication me too and the people who voted for him.

    By process of elimination this means That Hawke/keating were good people ( and the ALP supporters are good people).

    As for community, you cannot get more community minded than caring for your family. Hawke threw Hazel on the scrap heap when she was no longer needed

  20. Nope. The topic started by Min was that Howard was a nasty man and by implication me too and the people who voted for him.

    Huh! Where?

  21. Neil of Sydney,
    What a sanctimonious poonce you are. The only difference between Alpha Males, John Howard, Paul Keating and Bob Hawke, is that the 2 Labor leaders at least had the decency to divorce their wives when their marriages became loveless. As opposed to the sleazy rodent, John Howard, who kept his mistress on the public payroll all of his political life as his ‘Private Secretary’. Which Janette tolerated because she was addicted to the power that came with his position and the way she could be a power behind his throne.

  22. “As opposed to the sleazy rodent, John Howard, who kept his mistress on the public payroll all of his political life as his ‘Private Secretary’.”

    Any evidence for this???

    “had the decency to divorce their wives when their marriages became loveless.”

    No. They were divorced when they were no longer needed otherwise the divorces would have happened during 1983-1996.

  23. Neil of Sydney,
    My evidence?
    There was a story, never litigated for defamation by Howard, in the Fairfax newspapers or Crikey, I think, a few years ago, which made this assertion upon the awarding by Howard of an OA to this woman. The story came out about the same time that news broke of Kerry Packer’s long time Mistress. Also, it is a well-known fact that Howard was a womaniser in his younger days. Also, this article casts the same aspersion, when speaking about all the politicians you have selectively mentioned here, plus others:
    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/yoursay/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/where_theres_politics_sex_scandals_follow/

  24. It’s now very late over there, but I did come back almost immediately to my comment on Bob Ellis,
    wanting to note that I had left out an important point I wanted to make that is relevant to Min’s thread. About how it’s possible for people to share ideas on issues like equality and social justice, agree politically on so many issues, be loyal to the same party and yet dislike each other so intensely.

    Where is the soul in that?

    Sadly when I got back I found that Neil had de-railed the thread again with his nasty mind. So I left it. I hope you’ve demolished him good and proper.

  25. Patricia, is Bob Ellis the fellow who wrote a recent article explaining why the ALP will win the State election? I can’t quite place it, but it was in the last couple of days. My apologies for being vague.

  26. “Sadly when I got back I found that Neil had de-railed the thread again with his nasty mind. So I left it. I hope you’ve demolished him good and proper.”

    Me nasty??? I find this a nasty comment.

    “And now they face another enemy – yes an enemy, who does not want these strangers here at their gate, asking for help in their time of need. ”

    Listen honey, both sides of politics take 13,500 refugees/year. Unless we are willing to take a lot more, any comments are just playing politics. I think we should be taking a lot more refugees and less skilled immigrants.

    Me nasty?? That is your speciality.

  27. Neil, put a sock in it. Nobody wants to discuss any issues with you.

    You’re clearly a nasty piece of work. Min and Patricia are two of the loveliest people you’d ever wish to meet. They do not deserve the treatment you have dished out to them.

    Take a walk to Kings Cross and relieve yourself.

  28. Lovely people do not make slurs about other people. All I see are slurs with not much to back it up. And my comments about Hawke/keating were not nasty. You cannot get any lower and less community minded than what they did to their wives.

    What about this comment by Patricia??

    “True some of us don’t have the heart to turn them away, but others would.”

    And what if 20 million refugees turned up at our doorstep?? We take a measly 13,500 out of a total of approx 300,000 immigrants/year.

    Let us take 50,000 refugees/year and cut our skilled immigrants by 50,000/year.

    Please tell me Patricia. What nasty comments did I make?? I told the truth and you did not like it.

  29. It’s Okay, Miglo, you don’t need to defend me against Neil.

    It is true, Neil, that Hawke and Hazel finally ended their marriage after the end of his political career. Hazel stuck by Bob through the thick and thin of a pretty turbulent career in which he did a lot of carousing and I imagine a fair bit of womanising too. He was no angel, nor has he ever claimed to be one. I rather think he enjoyed his reputation as one of the lads. He finally gave up drinking while he was PM which seemed to stabilise him and I guess his marriage too. But he also had an affaire with his biographer, Blanche D’Alpuget, and when he finally left public life he and Hazel split up for good. He than married Blanche and seems to be very happily settling into old age with her. Whose choice that was, I don’t know, but it didn’t amount to throwing Hazel on the scrap heap. She was always a highly respected and active public figure in her own right until she sadly succumbed to Alzheimers.

    I think you’re way off the mark with Keating. He was very much in love with Anita and I think heart-broken when she decided, once his political career was over, that she’d done her bit as the official wife and now she wanted her own life. She seems to be having a very creative and happy life as a private person somewhere here in Australia. Hardly on the scrap heap.

    FS, I hadn’t read anything at all about John Howard having a long standing affaire, known about and accepted by his wife. But it wouldn’t surprise me. Jeanette was certainly ambitious for him and for a life in the Lodge, well actually Kirribilli House – a much more impressive residence overlooking Sydney Harbour! Now that cost the taxpapers a mint.

    But none of that is relevant to this thread, or even to politics in general. All politicians have their human frailties. As do we. It’s what they achieve for us in government that matters, just as whatever we do in our private lives is our business and shouldn’t affect our jobs and employability.

    No one would object to having a ding dong argument with you about politics here, Neil. It’s your bringing in slurs and insults that gets peoples backs up. You don’t seem able to argue a point without being unpleasantly personal in one way or another, or taking offence where none is intended.

    I was very interested in your comment about increasing our refugee intake at the expense of skilled migrants. What’s wrong with maintaining the latter while bumping up our refugee intake a bit?

  30. “But none of that is relevant to this thread,”

    Actually I think a family is a community.

    “I was very interested in your comment about increasing our refugee intake at the expense of skilled migrants. What’s wrong with maintaining the latter while bumping up our refugee intake a bit?”

    Nothing I guess. We take a measly 13,500 refugees/year. I like refugees. If you people found out who i was I am sure someone would like to kill me. I would like to think if I had to flee Australia that another country would take me in.

    Unless we drastically increase our refugee intake I think both sides of politics are well, playing politics. But the ALP in particular since they condemned Howards policies.

    “You don’t seem able to argue a point without being unpleasantly personal ”

    Well i guess I take a lot of the comments personally.

  31. “The topic started by Min was that Howard was a nasty man..” What I said was, “During the Howard years we saw the encouragement of a ‘greed is good’ mentality expressed by Howard as his ‘aspirationals’.”

    Did I name call? No I didn’t.
    Did I even blame Howard? No I didn’t.
    Do I think that Howard encouraged and utilized the greed is good mentality for his own political advantage. Yes I do.

  32. …and now he’s sidetracked the thread again into another of his small handful of talking points, refugees, which is off topic.

    Please people, Neil only has a few points he just spews up over and over often derailing or sidetracking topics to go back to these same points and you keep obliging him in responding to these few selfsame points. If he is ignored then he makes an imbecilic statement that sometimes is an insult of some kind just to get a rise, thus again derailing the topic.

    Then just to keep in the game the other Neil personality on rare occasion comes up with a lucid talking point and convincing debate only to fall back to imbecilic Neil once he has the attention again.

    If you want to continue to allow him to derail topics then it’s up to you but for me I’m only going to respond to sensible Neil and only if on topic.

  33. I was thinking about the blogs during the greedy years. Remember the comments where people said, If people aren’t wealthy then it’s all their own fault.

    Daughter Erin got into a huge debate with a very right wing former housemate who believed in this theory, who believed in the ‘rights’ of the wealthy to have a top class everything and tuff to the poor and the disadvantaged.

    My observation is that Howard encouraged this illusion via his attacks on ‘dole bludgers’ and the ‘you’re not really’ disabled.

    It is also my observation that these sort of attacks stopped once Howard departed and that being able to show compassion for others is now not as politically incorrect.

  34. Let me tell you, as a carer of a son who was born with a lifelong disability, I can’t think of anything he has done wrong to deserve the derision of those lucky enough to be born without a disability. He really is disabled, and he will have less options in life than those who sneer at him for maybe having to go on a Disability Pension(though he hopes not), in both Public and private life.
    Also as my husband’s promising career as a Marine Biologist was cut short by a drunk driver, and so had to go onto the Disability Pension as his broken back meant he could no longer Scuba Dive, or stand up anymore for very long, I find it abhorrent how the ‘Born to Rule’ crowd can look down their noses and sneer at people like him. Or my son.
    There but for the grace of god go they, however they are too arrogant to admit as much.
    Which leads me back to the original theme of this blog. The Nicholas Kristof article. Simply, if we embrace all, no matter their station, in our society, we are the better for it. If we do not, and we seek to demonise them instead, our society rots from its core outwards. That core being our leaders who are supposed to set a good example for the rest of us.

  35. Good point Min.

    Howard’s mutual obligation was never mutual with all the obligation being on the least advantaged and none on the other side of the coin.

    Howard demonised those least able to stand up for themselves and this continues or is even worse with Abbott who proved it with his “there will always be the poor” statement.

    I remember well the wingnuts contending it was the fault of those on welfare and those who are disadvantaged being in that position. Also who can forget Howard’s supposed carrot and stick approach that turned out to be nearly all big stick and if you were lucky on small shrivelled and dried up carrot.

    It was another of Howard’s tactics to bring in what appeared to be reasonable welfare but with such onerous conditions underpinning obtaining that welfare it was almost impossible to obtain but a small part if any of the payments. It was another reason he had such large surpluses as many of his welfare policies were inevitably well underspent.

    Remember the prominent attacks on so called welfare cheats that featured during Howard’s tenure with both Bromwyn Bishop and Amanda Vanstone being at the vanguard of this attacks. The crack down on this supposed rampant welfare cheating and getting the disabled to work was going to save hundreds of millions, only it didn’t and the crack down cost more to enforce than the money it saved as it turned out that welfare cheating was but a tiny fraction of the total welfare budget. This was already known and flagged to the Howard government at the time but of course the crack down was not about saving money on welfare cheating but all about politics and demonising disadvantaged groups to achieve those politics.

    The proof was in the failure of his getting the disabled to work by using a big stick approach and under threat of losing vital payments again putting in extreme onerous conditions the disabled had to meet. Problem was Howard had not put in place the support networks and employment infrastructure to enable the disabled to meet the onerous obligations required so the policy failed.

    So you can chalk up another two big Howard failures in my post above. The list of major failures is certainly growing large.

  36. “Do I think that Howard encouraged and utilized the greed is good mentality for his own political advantage. Yes I do.”

    You know Min I just got back from holidays and had a look here and it was the usual “John Howard is evil” thread. Furthermore he made us all more evil. So I guess I lost it a bit.

    It just gets so tiresome. The guy has been out of office for over 2 terms. Furthermore I think you have invented a human being that does not exist.

    I mentioned the way the Hawke/keating treated their wives to show what sort of people they are. Hawke has stated that the only reason he stayed married to Hazel was that it gave him an extra 3% of the vote. You cannot get much lower than that.

    As for derailing the thread, Patricia made some comments about refugees that I did not agree with and commented on her comments.

  37. Neil, if you try to look beyond your obsession with Howard you will see that the discussion is about society and not about Howard the person who his mistress might have been or anything else completely irrelevent to the topic.

    I think that it’s a fair enough comment that every era brings with it different emphases, for example the 70s and 80s saw a re-emergence of strong national pride.

    The policies that Howard brought in likewise reflected societies’ attitudes at the time.

  38. If you people found out who i was I am sure someone would like to kill me.

    Then it is in your best interest to remain anonymous.

    But really, why would anybody want to kill you? Though at times I do feel like beating you to within an inch of your life with a baseball bat; at times I do feel like banging your head repeatedly against a brick wall until you are senseless; at times I do feel like stabbing your non-vital organs with a pitchfork and at times I do feel like putting your head in a vice and twist it just enough to hear the skull crack.

    At other times I wish you and I could go fishing together – way out in deep water – off Kangaroo Island. I’ll let you hop in the boat if you can keep up with me. People learn to swim very fast in those waters (though sadly it’s never fast enough).

    But change your attitude before I change my mind.

  39. You could pretend he was the duck from the Hot Chili Neil with Crab Meat and Cashew Nut Sauce (Bhed Sune Khan) recipe Migs 😆

    To portion the Neil into manageable pieces, first remove the legs. Separate the thighs from the drumsticks and chop each thigh and drumstick into 2 pieces. Trim away the lower half of the Neil with kitchen scissors. Cut the breast piece in half down the middle, then chop each half into 4 pieces.

    👿 😈

  40. Bacchus, but can Neil be portioned into manageable pieces??? A problem is that you might end up discovering that all portions are unmanageable.

  41. I’m wondering what Neil’ doing here in the first place. Afterall, Min’s thread does start with “Valued contributors at the Cafe . . . ” 😆

  42. I have a strong hunch that Neil also blogs across the blogosphere under another persona. But who? I have my suspicions.

  43. Greetings and a happy new year to all you cafe dwellers,
    Min what a fantasic start to a new year social inequality as a subject. I remember once living in Canberra I shared a house with a couple of economic rationalists from treasury during the Howard govt., and they told me that the poor were a blight on Australia’s economic future and were to be eradicated, I said don’t you me poverty?, No! the poor!, it was unwritten government policy. So I asked them how were they going to achieve it, no response.

    I found this article, it is a long read 29 pages but from what I have read well worth the effort

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/apsa/docs_papers/Others/Conley.pdf

    “Globalisation and Rising Inequality in Australia
    Is Increasing Inequality Inevitable in Australia?”

  44. I bet you didn’t know that Neil R used to be in a band 20 years ago with other Young Liberals:

  45. The stories I could tell you about Howard’s treatment of people on the Disability Support Pension will sicken and disgust you. My professionalism as a public servant means I never will tell you. Tempting though. But I am guided by a code of ethics that I intend adhering to.

  46. Migs, that is one thing that used to irritate me A LOT..the endless stories about disabled people who weren’t really disabled, that somehow people could just waltz up and ask to be put on the Disability Pension. Or were those who said this meaning that people who successfully applied for the DP had doctors and specialists who would be prepared to lie for them for a Centrelink application.

  47. Agree, Min, and didn’t the shows like Today Tonight and A Current Affair do their best to run stories about a person on DSP caught surfing etc etc.

  48. While on the topic on ethics and morality, I don’t think that shock jock Alan Jones has an ounce of either.

    I listened to his recent interview with a lady whose son was one of the four lads who died installing insulation.

    It was identified that his employer broke the law yet this in no way stopped Jones in his slander of Rudd et al. Bolt was rightfully criticesed when suggesting that Gillard had blood on her hands over the Christmad Island deaths, but his accusations were lame I’m comparison to Jones’s claims. He was within an inch of calling Rudd a murderer. Jones used the whole interview to advantage in promoting his political allegiance. It was gutter journalism and in my opinion he took advantage of the lad’s death to push his point.

    And not once did he lay any blame on the employer. No, the employer was after money that Rudd was throwing around. Rudd was encouraging the illegal activities.

    Jones should be taken off the air.

  49. The problem with Jones and other s/jocks is that they can defend themselves by saying they are ‘entertainment’ not journalism.

    The same applies to the ‘current’ raft of commercial ‘current affairs’ programs. When a friend took issue with them regarding certain ‘facts’ they presented their retort was ‘we’re entertainment TV… not journalism’.

    Of course they don’t promote themselves as such.

  50. Min, have just interrupted FS and her TPS banking thread with this which I somehow remember seeing commented on by you somewhere here. But I couldn’t find it and then I saw it again at LP. It seems’s our disastrous play in this latest test is Julia’s fault. Well, that’s according to cheeky John Birmingham in his Fairfax column read via LP’s link. to http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/…/20110103-19dmc.html

    I had some fun with my response to Fairfax, but they take hours to vet comments. Thought you might enjoy it here too. Glancingly relevant to the national soul, as it were?

    Stress and Strine For Orstraylia In These Testing Times!

    Some say our Julia is to blame.
    She’s why Oz has lost the Ashes.
    You commentators! You’re all the same.
    Looking for those headline splashes.

    Surely there’s a more obvious name,
    Why doesn’t someone grab it?
    The cause of all our national shame
    Is that rotten Mr. Rabbit.

    He says he loves our national game,
    But John Howard’s former magic
    Won’t strengthen this, his new heir’s claim,
    That he too’s a cricket tragic.

    They know he finds it all too tame,
    On a field of grass or clover,
    He thinks the play is pretty lame
    Till someone bowls a maiden over.

    That wakes him up. Back in the frame,
    He hears the words, ‘a wicket maiden’
    And he’ll applaud. Then he’ll exclaim
    To Oz batsmen, “Great! that slayed ‘em!”

    Truly, his one and only aim,
    Employing tools like ‘spin’ and ‘sledge’
    Is trying to run out that dame.
    For that he’d look for any edge.

    No wonder that our national game
    Isn’t going well for Aussies.
    ‘Rabbit?’ That’s a hopeless player’s name!
    Where are his whites? What’s with the cossies?

    The PM though, red hair aflame
    Really does look great in white.
    The public greet her with acclaim.
    Wearing those pants, she’s quite a sight.

    Mr. Rabbit’s just not worth the time.
    Send him off! Back into his hutch.
    Let’s hear “Howzat!” and “Play the gayme!”
    Called by Julia. She’s got the winning touch

  51. On the topic of inequality, I’m pleased that someone in MSM is again tackling the inequality in our public vs private education system.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/why-should-the-public-fund-private-schools-20110106-19hhn.html

    SES funding was meant to make elite schools more affordable for ordinary families….A University of Sydney research paper by Dr Jim McMorrow reveals that by 2012-13, private schools will have received $47 billion in funding, compared with $35 billion for public schools.

    It is beyond my comprehension as to why people think that giving yet more money to money making organisations would make them more generous.

    As author Chris Middendorp states: Excellence in education should be available to all, not just the prerogative of the rich.

  52. So true joni. The article included that at some public schools parents have to purchase library books and toilet paper for the school.

    During my time as both a teacher in Victoria and as a parent in both Victoria & NSW, fundraising for library books was just par for the course, but I’ve also known for parents to fundraise for &/or provide: basic sports equipment, musical instruments, supplies for the Art room, spare school uniforms, a pie warmer for the tuck shop, boxes of tissues for the kindy classes and basic equipment for special needs kids.

    Maybe the private schools with the shooting ranges and indoor pools could help out by doing fundraisers to help their impoverished neighboring schools.

  53. The best it was expressed, equated with happiness.

    And how expensive it was, Min.

    But, but, ME, don’t the Smuggles Set and every right minded individual regard debt with the same kind of horror at seeing your entire family murdered before your eyes.

    It is O.K. to stay married to your wife for political purposes (get an extra 3% of the vote) but to rid of them when you are no longer in govt.

    Neil, I give you LiEberal PMs Harold Holt, John Grey Gorton, Billy McMahon and Billy Sneddon, none of whom could keep it in their pants. And that’s why politicians on both sides lay off the extra-marital indiscretions of their counterparts.

    Oh and what about Meg Lees and the Rodent-a f#ck in exchange for passing the GST legislation in the Senate? Tacky enough for you?

    And Anita Keating discarded her husband, fyi.

    By process of elimination this means That Hawke/keating were good people ( and the ALP supporters are good people).

    Finally, you’ve acknowledged the truth, Neil! Hallelujah! Neil has seen the light and abandoned the dark side. He has forsaken Emperor Palpatine and slung out his I heart The Rodent badges. A miracle, I tell ‘ee!

    Tell us when the scales dropped from your eyes, Neil? Is there a book, TV series, movie in it? How I Stopped Worshipping Rodents and Learned to Love the Left. I suggest a competition to choose who plays Neil.

    ME, the poor will always be with us, but as you so rightly say, that doesn’t give w@nkers like Smuggles the right to kick them to death. That is the ugly attitude of people who’ve always had it easy, I’m afraid-instead of thanking their lucky stars it’s not their lot in life.

    I have a strong hunch that Neil also blogs across the blogosphere under another persona. But who? I have my suspicions.

    Migs, he’s not……..Andrew Dolt?

    Alan Jones makes maggots look like charming erudite dinner guests.

  54. A little more information on that moral vacuum, the Rodent. Guess which newly elected member outed Jim Cairns and Junie Morosi under parliamentary privilege?

    Beneath contempt; the affair had nothing to do with anyone but the people involved and can only have caused tremendous hurt to Cairns’ and Morosi’s families, which I don’t doubt was the purpose of the gutless revelation using parliament to shield his reprehensible hide.

    The more I discover about Mr & Mrs Rodent the more I think they either modelled themselves on the the Urquarts in the House of Cards series, or they were the models for the main characters.

  55. You’re in form, jane, great stuff.

    I didn’t know it was little johnnie rotten that spilt the beans on Cairns and Morosi. He ruined a lot of lives by doing that, which was a prelude of what was to become his forte.

  56. Migs, I discovered it in the new Phillip Adams tome “Backstage Politics” which I received for Christmas. Very interesting with some hilarious anecdotes.

    He dropped a tantalising hint that something perhaps scandalous happened on the Rodent wedding day, but wouldn’t say more than that and vowed he would take it to the grave, bugger him!

  57. Tell you another Howard snitch story that is around if you search hard enough for it.

    Have you ever wondered why Keating hates Howard so much, well beyond the ideological norm for in many ways, especially in economics, they were alike?

    During the years leading up to 1996 and during the recession, in a bipartisan move, Howard as opposition leader worked with Keating on some economic reforms. During the times Howard worked with Keating he found out Keating’s marriage was on shaky ground, something that was not known to the general public.

    If you look back during the year of the election you will find it was Howard who made public that Keating’s marriage was on the rocks. You must remember this in the context that Howard went into that election with no policy platforms except for a debt truck and negative attacks against Keating.

    The senior Liberal power broker who got a then thoroughly rejected and despised back bench Howard the Liberal leadership said Howard was one of the most devious men he had ever worked with.

    Howard had no compunction about using friendships and loyalties against those he worked with or against his perceived enemies. He was a nasty piece of work, and someone who always got others to do his dirty work so he could remain relatively clean in the public eye. A thorough shit through and through.

  58. Howard had no compunction about using friendships and loyalties against those he worked with or against his perceived enemies.

    Reminds me of another Lieberal politician who’s name starts with an H who used friendships for political gain.

  59. I have vague memories of that, Mobius. The man was intent on destroying anyone for his political and personal gain.

  60. He was a nasty piece of work,……..

    I dispute your use of the past tense, ME. 🙂

    He is a first class slug, ME and as you say had no compunction about making disloyalty an artform, while demanding it of his colleagues.

    It doesn’t surprise me that this prize creep would have no hesitation betraying confidences and making public information which was no business of his and was not germane to political discourse.

    I won’t say he has any friends; apparently he has none, no doubt because he shat on all of them from a great height.

    He has no honour and I hope Adams does spill the marriage beans before the little git pops his clogs.

    Hyacinth doesn’t exactly smell of roses, either. She most definitely rules that roost, it seems. Another anecdote has it that a Lieberal colleague arrived to pick up the Rodent to be greeted by the sound of Hyacinth screeching abuse at him. A common event, apparently.

  61. jane, tabot makes the perfect little love child then, cos only somebody that low would be using a national disaster to try and attack the government. Why can he not just show some compassion and move on without trying to score points?

  62. …..tabot makes the perfect little love child….

    Yes, confirmed by the rest of your comment; he and the RWDB commentariat. They can’t stoop low enough, first Dolt on the asylum seekers, now Pies lying about the amount of flood relief.

    If that lot were (hopefully) on fire in the gutter (their usual residence), I wouldn’t spit on them to put them out!

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