2001: A Race Odyssey

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching the right resort to shrill when we of the left voice an opinion that they disagree with.  They are like seagulls at a loose chip.  Funny to watch.  How often have we thrown away a chip for the enjoyment of watching them do battle?

The name John Howard is a prized chip.  I love to drop it.  It brings the seagulls in, squawking, flapping, fighting each other.  Only one seagull wins.  The losers turn against the winner.

So typical of the right.

I’ve often wondered what this country would be like if John Howard hadn’t have turned the 2001 election battle into one of race.  Would we still be a country where xenephobia dominates the political landscape?

Malcolm Fraser opened the doors to a quarter of a million Vietnamese refugees and papers released under the 30 year rule show that Howard bitterly opposed this.  His ideals in 2001 were unchanged.  But supposing they had, and race was not entered into the 2001 political equation, would Abbott have shown the same kindness in 2011?  Is there anyone in the Liberal Party who would have?

Conversely, is there anyone in the Liberal Party who, if leader, would have abandoned the xenophobic shrillness created by Howard and perpetuated by Abbott?

More importantly, would we be a better and more racially tolerant country if John Howard hadn’t have degenerated the 2001 into a racial slog?

I believe we will be.

There are two photos below.  One is a creature who squawks a lot, bites the necks of others while fighting over the spoils, then flies off and shits on people.  The other is a seagull.

Cape Gull (Larus dominicanus vetula)

Image by Lip Kee via Flickr

John Howard in Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia in...

Image via Wikipedia

112 comments on “2001: A Race Odyssey

  1. Ease up on the frustration Mig. This is not the season to be bitter and twisted. Closer to an election each day. Many things will be put back the way they were……the way they should be.

  2. Geoff, you confuse frustration with humour. The latter of which you obviously lack.

    But on a serious note, yes it is frustrating to see this country turn into a haven for rednecks. It took decades to break down this country’s racial barriers. Howard re-erected them in one election campaign.

    This appears to have pleased you.

  3. This is such a brilliant post. I agree with the idea of Howard re-erecting the xenophobic attitudes of America. I only hope, for America’s sake, that he doesn’t come into power. Forgive me for my ignorance, but I haven’t been keeping a close track on what’s happening over there at the minute (I’m British, hold the boo’s). Ignorance is bliss, though. Keep posting!

  4. Apologies PPPolitics, your post got stuck in the spaminator.

    I agree absolutely, a brilliant post from Miglo. And I couldn’t agree more, it was Howard trailing along behind as Bush’s deputy dawg, using the same xenophobic phrases about ‘terrorists’ when the truth be known these same Iraqis who had fled were our allies. One day the truth will be known.

  5. Hello Geoff/Poh and your other names. I cannot address your argument, because you have none. And which things of this government’s achievements would you like to take back..maybe rip down the school halls.

    That was a you’beaut promise from Abbott and I paraphrase..that no more school halls would be built under his watch.

    And you know what, I believe him.

  6. Kevin Rennie,

    This is another one of my hates. The job that was done on Peter Garrett by the media. Garrett was targetted very early on by the Liberal forces in the media and did not have enough backing when the job was done on him about the non-existent pink batts ‘debacle’. Labor is lucky to still have Garrett in my opinion.

    But of course it’s not PC these days to be a leftie, just toe the Bolt party line if you want the nods from the brain-dead Julia bashers.

  7. Pia, how wonderful to see you here. Apologies for the delay in putting your comment up..a WordPress hiccup it seems. Will catch you later!

  8. Howard did a few things I disagreed with. His bullshit about interest rates in 2004 and the introduction without debate of Workchoices was another.

    The manipulation of the Tampa affair, in retrospect, was the worst.

    I fell for it and voted for him.

  9. Roswell, if Howard did a few things that you disagreed with..which might be the things that you agreed with?

    I’ve asked Howard droolers this a LOT and the best that they can come up with is the gun legislation..but after that Howard did what….

    To me the Tampa although a sign of the absolute corruption of the man is nothing compared with the way that Howard ran down hospitals and schools and universities. The latter as a personal vendetta against the “socialists” of the lower working classes who started to frequent the hallowed halls.

    Australia is still trying to recover from the subsequent brain drain.

  10. All the cards fell neatly in their places for little Johnny that year who just so happened to be in Washington 9/11. The year when the US became vulnerable, the beginning of the end for that super power. A trillion dollars and only 10 years later the US will become a basket case unless they return to their basic democratic principles.

  11. I didn’t think that at all, Min. I saw your comment being directed to the current crop of the right wing brigade.

  12. The right wingers keep on amusing me. They jump up and down when we mention Howard and remind us that he’s in the past. Yet . . . they still worship him.

    It’s OK for them to still love him to bits but it’s a crime for us to still detest him.

    They’re a strange lot.

  13. I’d be unperturbed if both the left and the right never mentioned his name again. We have his legacy, which is bad enough.

  14. @ Roswell…2004..I remember that year well…I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with Howard & especially Costello’s tightfistedness..but work choices (I was retired so it didn’t really concern me, but I thought of my fellow man) & the Tampa debacle did it for me..I walked away from them..NEVER to return..they’re right-wing ideals no longer sit well with me!

  15. Brilliant post Migs. The bigger shame is that the current LNP crop is still using the bigot card without shame and there is large number of Australians egging them on. The media and the ALP are complicit as well through the reporting of refugee arrivals and not repealing the Howard era stuffing around with the legal terminology of Australia’s boundaries. (There is another job for those that got Nauru and Malaysia ruled illegal.)

    It took 50 years to get from “wogs and dagos” after WW2 to Fraser’s humane treatment of refugees from a war that Australians interfered in (that is not meant to be derogatory to those that actually were sent there). My concern is that it will take another 50 years from the time the LNP stops the bigotry before all humans will receive fair and equitable treatment by Australian authorities regardless of how they get here.

    Anyone has a right to apply for refugee status in any country that signed the UN treaty – one of which is Australia. Don’t forget that refugees ARE NOT “illegal immigrants per se. Those that fly into Australia and overstay their visa ARE illegal immigrants. So what do the LNP bigots in Australia think is a fair deal? Imprison the refugees and allow the illegal immigrants to stay in the community until “arrangements are made” to repatriate them. It’s arse about in my opinion.

  16. 2353, one thing that struck me was the way that the media are playing down to the lowest common denominator. Are we now a nation capable of nothing better than Toddlers & Tiaras? Where the ‘average opinion’ is said to be expressed by the shock jocks?

    Many of the right now consider that Fraser has become the darling of the Left, however to my mind Fraser is but an indication of how far to the right and how bigotted as a nation we have become. That is, Fraser has remainded the same, it is we as a nation who have changed.

  17. Miglo,

    One thing that always amuses me about the right wingers is when you ask them to name Howard’s achievements that their only response is a look over there, Yeah but wa’d about Jooolia….

  18. 2353, thank you so much for that link! Unbelieveable, after all this time of Abbott escaping any scrutiny we have articles such as this.

    I think that this line says it all, as far as Abbott is concerned..

    Perhaps it’s the idea of co-operating with a government you despise that holds you back?

  19. Last night I listened to a group of people agree they had no sympathy for those hundreds of boat refugees who died last week. It was a good thing because it stopped them from coming here. These people should stay in their own country even if it means death.

    It’s hard not to feel sick at talk like that. This isn’t the Australia I grew up in, but it’s the one I live in. It was never like this. I’d challenge anyone to tell me it was.

    Howard might have demonised the boat people in 2001 to help win the election but he played his race card well before that to pick up a few more voters. Pauline Hanson provided a nice little recruiting pool that he happily tapped into.

  20. Roswell, I believe that previous xenophobia had a lot to do with our isolation, a white outpost of the Empire.

    Growing up in Hawthorn there was a lot of prejudice against ‘refos’. Violence and damage to property was always blamed on the wogs, Italian widows dressed in black would be spat upon while walking down the street. Their brightly painted houses with the vegie garden in the front yard were ridiculed and often subjected to vandalism.

    Today in a multi-cultural society it is only a click on the computer, and we can engage with people in every corner of the globe. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

  21. Min, zenophobia is allive and well. a comment from a friend about how ‘they’ have more children than we do…and “we don’t want to end up like the UK”…..

  22. Pip, I came close to strangling a couple of people at a Lions Club meeting over their comments about Aboriginals. Ignorant TWATS!!!

  23. Geoff. I agree that i’m twelve or more years, Mr. Howard must have done something correct.

    The problem is that this was a rare occurrence, and I believe, sadly, accidental.

    Geoff we are not bitter or twisted , just realistic.

    We have the ability to see things the way they are.

  24. “I’ve asked Howard droolers this a LOT and the best that they can come up with is the gun legislation..but after that Howard did what….”

    Min. this annoys me. Mr. Abbott. due to the public outcry at the time could not have done anything different. it was the public that demanded tightening of gun laws.

    One skill that Mr. Howard had was to turn disasters and tragedies to his advantage.

    I have never seen a ,man that enjoy funerals so much.

    I believe it is a compliment to our present PM that she is not so comfotable in this role.

  25. Anthony G, Mr. Howard did really know how to turn disasters to his advantage.e milked them for all they were worth.

    Does anyone believe he really cared.

  26. Cu, the gun legislation was the one and only time that I can recall that Howard ever went against a lobby group.

    That did give me a smile about Howard and fronting up at funerals, or any other function for that matter…quite often usurping the role of the Governor General.

  27. We need to remember that Mr. Fraser’s action were not popular with many. Racism was rife, in my own family as well, sadly.

    We also need to acknowledge that none of the dire predictions eventuated. The Australia we know did not disappear. The texture has only been made richer. This has been occurring since the first fleet. Every wave of new arrivals add to out rich texture.

    Last night I attended a Christmas light display at one of the vineyards in the nearby Hunter Valley.

    What I observed was the large number of Asian families, mostly I would say second and third generations.

    If I was blind, I would not have been able to distinguish them from Australians of many generations, listening to only what and how they were speaking..

    I am sure that the latest arrivals will fit in just as well. The reason people forget is that these people want better for their kids. They know that holding on all from the past is not necessary. They have the chance to dump what does not work.

    We are indeed s Lucky country.

    PS. The display was well worth the effort of attending. One thing did worry me. Most had their children or old people in train. Not sure at seventy whether i like this or not. We did have my grand daughters.

    Maybe having the old or very young in tow was a excuse to attend. Who knows.

  28. Min, always usurping the role of the GG.

    Mr. Howard wrongly seen himself as head of state.

    Our present PM obviously does not feel the need to be top dog.

  29. Sorry, Cu, couldn’t quite understand why you didn’t like seeing the old folks in tow?

    I’ve got a few years on you, and I’m really enjoying this feeling of being collected and taken care of at that sort of show.

    I’m so self reliant in many other ways it’s good to be able to concede that driving at certain times and to certain places isn’t easy. It may be a coincidence but my grandsons are coming into their teens now and wanting more independence. It helps all round if their parents can focus their fussing on us old folk instead of them!

  30. Catching up,

    “Mr. Howard did really know how to turn disasters to his advantage.e milked them for all they were worth.

    Does anyone believe he really cared.” In a word, No.

  31. One skill that Mr. Howard had was to turn disasters and tragedies to his advantage.

    I have never seen a ,man that enjoy funerals so much.

    I believe it is a compliment to our present PM that she is not so comfotable in this role.

    CU – don’t forget the green and gold tracksuit moments!

    And on the older relative thing – we frequently take our older parents out with us, if for no other reasons that they like being with their grandkids and the parents have come to realise that their driving skills for long distances or unfamiliar places probably aren’t as good as they used to be.

  32. If those of the right deny that John Howard returned us to a xenophobic nation they are either blind, ignorant or just plain stupid. The majority are stupid.

  33. Miglo,

    I noticed that your topic has been mentioned at another location. I thought for the benefit of your readers I would quote.

    “There was a BRILLIANT blog posted here yesterday”

  34. Sorry, that was a tongue in cheek remark. I did enjoy the outing.

    I think what I was saying, there was not many without either or both in tow.

    It is more fun to go to a theme park with kids in tows, allow one to behave as kid.

    Even though it poured rain towards the end of the night, most did not seem to care.

    Getting out of the car park was another matter. We had a good laugh when one woman took off to cut in and became bogged.

    It is lovely to see families enjoying themselves.


  35. The jogging may have been a little better than those of a back side bobbing up and down in the early morning dawn on a cycle.

  36. Talking about the little man in his trackies is there a similarly banal image of the Mad Monk in his budgies smugglers somewhere I can use for my Christmas Carol pome. http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/mrabbotts-christmas-card-and-song/)

    I’ ve done the usual searches and don’t really want to put more time into it, but I do want in twenty years time to look back and smile to myself over his Christmas card. My URL address had established itself before I realized I wasn’t going to have a card to illustrate it! Can anyone enlighten me on how to change an address in those circumstances?

  37. My detesting of Howard is well known across several blogs and by those who personally know me. It comes about well before his infamy as a terrible national leader. I have mostly kept out of this topic because I’ve said it all before about this phony man and phony leader, and the facts and history back me up on my criticisms of him and his government.

    What I will repeat is something that has already been mentioned here. Howard’s greatest con job, or to put it another way, success in selling failings, has been the exploitation of disasters, either those that came his way by happenstance or those he manufactured by plan or by planned omission.

    One of Howard’s most exploited tricks, and the skills shortage is an example of this, was to over a long period ignore all advice or warnings on looming shortfalls or national failings in one area or another, then when they became headline news or even whipped up into a frenzy of fear by himself, he would come riding in and throw buckets of money at the problem he was warned about for years and buckets of money at advertisers telling Australians what a great job he was doing at fixing the problem. He would then rewrite history, fully aided and abetted by the MSM, on the problem and paint himself as the saviour.

    That most of last minute fix-it policies were failures was swept under the carpet or glossed over as successes.

    The NTER is another example of this tactic.

    That was Howard’s greatest success as a politician, concocting national disasters and then using millions of tax payers money in advertising taking the credit for fixing them.

    But even with that he should not have lasted more than two terms but luck, and nobody can convince me that they were anything but lucky circumstances, fell into his lap at times he was on a path to losing elections. That and having the easiest media run of any national leader in our history. Any scrutiny of the media reporting of his stewardship over the decade plus would show this to be the case. You only need compare the media’s reporting, or more accurately, non-reporting/playing down of Howard’s litany of failures as compared to the moment Rudd got into power, where even his pets were lambasted, and now Gillard to see the stark differences in media reporting of Howard’s time.

    But everything of Howard’s time comes back to that one ability to manufacture success out of disaster and even more so, to manufacture the disasters that became his successes whilst glossing over the source of the disaster and embellishing the outcome. Part of this was his ability to state he would take responsibility for government failures but never do so. Even more than that, shove off responsibility for the failures elsewhere, often rewarding those who he stated failed him.

    His best con was to sell the people a persona that did not exist.

    Howard was a nasty piece of work, and that was understood by those in his party, which is why he was shoved to the darkest back bench. He was not liked by most in his own party. Even the powerbroker who orchestrated Howard’s rise to the leadership stated Howard was one of the most devious men he had worked with. Howard had no problems with using anyone, even those close to him, and then spitting on them if it meant he gained or kept power. In the early days of Howard his nasty personality came through to the public and was difficult to hide, so they went about hiring the largest cadre of PR assistances and personal advisers any leader has ever had in this country. They did a complete makeover of the man, but more than physically, they taught him how to project a phony persona and hide the rebarbative one that was there and still is to this day.

    So if I were to sum at Howard in one word it would be “phony”. Problem is that though that describes what he is perfectly it does not depict the truly negative personality behind that phoniness, the horrible negative traits the phoniness are meant to hide.

  38. Another example, the Murray River Valley. On the back of a serviette, I believe. A few figures out of the air and one has a policy.

    The broadband policy had similar effort applied. Ignore the fact that none would work until the ownership of the copper wire was sorted out. (Mr. Howard’s caused the problem when he sold off Telstra).

    Labor attempted to put a similar scheme into operation but realise quickly that much more had to be done and there were no simple solution. The result is NBNCO which will deliver a up to date system that will serve us well into the future.

    I seem to think there was over a dozen schemes announced, that came to noting..

    One must not forget, that policies need to be released every few weeks.

    Be announced but never see implementation or completion.

    Mr. Bough or Mr. Howard has still not explained why the army was necessary in the NTER in the Territory.

    We seem to be able to cope without the over the top security efforts of Mr. Howard.

  39. Kevin, I believe it was Mr. Rudd’s biggest mistake was not to back Mr. Garrett and to scuttle the Installation scheme, causing many of the installers loss of money.

    This was the beginning of his downfall. Mr. Rudd caved into the media and created more trouble.

    It appear the Federal Police have visited many financial companies today in the their ongoing investigation into fraud, arising from the scheme. (Sky News)

    We need some big names before the courts, and I feel we may have in NSW.

  40. Cu, re bringing in the army. I believe that it’s exactly as Mobius has described, it’s Howard’s tactic of manufacturing a disaster. And don’t the troops riding into town make such wonderful front page headlines.

  41. Cu, unfortunately the insulation scheme had to be scuttled as the rorting was rampant. However I agree that it was a huge mistake for Rudd to not have backed his Minister and laid the blame where it should have been laid..the responsibility of the rorters.

    This is the only scheme that I can think of where a government minister has had to take the blame for the unlawful activities of private individuals.

  42. Mobius, you’ve covered that well, and still he’s there, in the public eye, swanning around the globe, [at ‘taxpayer expense’,] making Very Important Speeches for a fee I presume, and, just as obviously enjoying playing the role of ‘elder stateman’.

    He’s stil Bonsai to me !

  43. Min, after a disastrous and lengthy crossing of the channel to Italy. We landed on the edge of the tarmac at Venice airport.

    Leaving the plane by steps to the tarmac, we were confronted with a army under canvas a few feet away.

    One wit commented that there must have been a revolution during the time it tool to arrive. (about 8 hours)

    It was not a nice experience walking between the soldiers and their dogs to the buildings. I felt uncomfortable. I did not enjoy the experience.

    (There was no revolution, that was the norm, along with locked doors and armed guards on their banks.)

    I can just imagination what the indigenous people felt in the Territory, especially. I suspect, the majority, who are doing the right thing in caring for their families.

    It was unnecessary for people to be treated in such a way.

    Yes as Min said, it was all about politics.

  44. Pip, he appears to be making more than speeches. He seems to still be involved in the Liberal party, putting his own people into seats.

    We still have not heard why he abandoned that prestigious speech at Oxford Uni, citing a emergency and returning to Australia.

    The next we hear he was supporting Mr. Bough in Mr. Slipper’s electorate. He was also behind getting Mr. Sindonis into the Senate.

    The little man has been very busy.

  45. I think it’s improper of any former PM being jetted around the world courtesy of the tax payers and then pocketing large sums of money for giving a talk. Is it not a rort?

  46. We all seem to have a beef with Howard. While a number of his policies have been thrown in the bin, where they belong, his method of garnishing hatred among people for the sake of a vote still lives with us. Howard is dead and buried. His nastiness lives on.

  47. Heaven help us if Abbott gets in..an Abbott government would be a rerun of JW Howard but with fundamentalist Catholicism thrown in for good measure.

  48. Why are we seeing so many shows about Mr. Howard at this time.

    One gets the feeling that some are attempting to rewrite history and set the ground work for the re-introduction of WorkChoices, which I believe the Liberals think they can win the next election on.

    They must believe workers are stupid. I do hope they are wrong.

  49. Min, maybe we can live with the religion.

    What is more fightening is his understanding of economics.

    The man studied economic and the fact that he claims to have little interest does not ring true.

    Why does he not tell us what his belief is.

  50. Cu, without a doubt. So many of Tony Abbott’s current promises to wind back the clock for example the NBN are never going to happen, but one thing is for certain and this is that we will see a return to WorkChoices and back to the previous (non) rules about 457 visas. The latter being a big thank from him to the mega miners.

  51. Cu, no thanks..remember what Abbott attempted to do while in government..refused the use of the abortion pill RU-486, tried to restrict women’s access to contraception and in his book was suggesting a return to ‘faults based’ divorce.

  52. Catching Up at 8.29
    You say that neither Howard nor Brough explained why the Army was necessary for the N.T. Intervention, but I can.
    In his last great Year of the Wedge, Howard looked to what had served him before, & something that had always stood him in good stead was our national infatuation with the slouch hat. This had of course previously involved sending troops to foreign lands, but with the Americans all invaded out, & unable to find a country willing to be invaded by Australia alone, if he wanted to use the armed forces in a wedge Howard had no choice but to invade Australia itself.

  53. Yes Bob, Mr. Howard did regularly politicise the Arm Forces for his own benefit. He made many attempts with the alleged invasion of our country by refugees.

    A case in point was the children overboard affair. The navy was left in a embarrassing situation with the utterance of Mr. Reith and Mr. Howard.

    As far as I know, none broke our borders or sneaked into the country undetected.

    Our borders have always been very safe.

  54. Bob and Cu, I agree most definitely about Howard and his politicisation of the armed services. And of course the suggestion that the armed services all love little Johnny so much (sarcasm alert). I remember ’04 election that service personnel were being brow beaten into saying that they intended to vote Liberal and not Labor (son is in the Navy).

    Amazing how sending in the troops works so well when it’s to do with brown people. Perhaps the troops could invade Potts Point or Camberwell and round up all the hard drugs users.

  55. Wouldn’t take much of the army to do that. Just send in a couple of recruits from Kapooka. All of Abbott’s army mates are in Afghanistan.

  56. Möbius, I share your dislike of Howard. For whatever he is like as a person, the purpose of this post has been to point out the destruction he caused to racial acceptance and tolerance in this country, and how it still echoes today. I firmly believe, in that regard, this would now be a better country if he hadn’t played the racial card in the Hanson era and again in the 2001 election.

    He used 9/11 and the Tampa affair to telling affect.

    Under his watch, until the Tampa sailed to his aid, 221 refugee boats had made it to Australia. It was only until an election was in the wind that he grabbed the Tampa as a political tool.

    Now we have Abbott. We’re sure to see the same tactic on the eve of the next election. If it’s not refugees, it’ll be Aborigines. The Liberals are very good at fostering hate against minority groups.

  57. Migs, true enough. On thinking about what you have written, it seems strangely quiet on the race-hate scene. Where are all the pics of African migrant/refugees rioting these day? What don’t tell me, it’s because there is no election in the wind.

  58. Hi All

    I hope everyone had a relaxing and happy Christmas. I am unable to post blogs because for some reason WordPress will not accept my password. I have tried o chnage it and it will not accept the email passwords from WordPress either.

    Frustration all around at the moment because no matter how many times I try I just get a temporary password from WordPress that wont work.

    I did have a surprise visit from a sister and this took up some of the expected free time.

  59. Hello Shane. I hope your Xmas went well.

    Your WordPress problem seems to be fixed as your gravatar came up OK, which is always a good sign.

  60. Roswell, gee you’re cheekie. Sometimes I don’t know who is cheekiest, you or the duck. Of course I said hello to Shane, plus put xx on the bottom of the email. Does that meet your satisfaction. 😉

  61. I see that the OO has trotted little Johnny out – again – for his opinion:

    AN expert panel has ignored warnings from John Howard and recommended a referendum be held in 2013 canvassing recognition of local governments in the Constitution to ensure they can receive direct commonwealth funding.

    Thereby, bypassing the States and turning each local Council into a petty fifedom.

    However, little Johnny doesn’t want any changes to the Constitution and I’m certain that he will oppose all others as well.

  62. Bacchus, to add. I have Mozilla Thunderbird on my laptop. It hasn’t skipped a beat. I really dislike Windows Live Mail and why Microsoft couldn’t come up with a better program for Windows 7……

  63. Migs

    It was a password problem to get behind the scences in wordpress to post a blog. I have had the trouble for a number of weeks, but blow me down it worked first thing this morning so have posted a blog.

  64. Min, that is exciting news. Well I do not know why, but it must be exciting.

    Did anyone watch the programme on ABC about Mr. Howard’s 1996 campaign. I was wondering why it was promoted all the week and on last night. Maybe they were aware of his promotion.

    If there were no viewers, it could no have due to lack of promoting.

    I was lucky, my son and grandson arrived to take me to see the fireworks at the Entrance.

    How any other previous PM’s get a similar award. I noticed it is the British awards, not the Australian later this month.

  65. Pingback: 2001: A Race Odyssey « anti-discrimination

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