Leading article Australia

Death cults and dole bludgers

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

Twelve months ago, it all seemed a little too easy. Fix up Labor’s mess, stop the boats, scrap the pointless carbon tax, get the fiscal house back in order and while you’re at it have a crack at indigenous welfare. What could go wrong? Those who had despaired of the juvenile shenanigans and Pythonesque bumblings of the Rudd and Gillard teams – for which the phrases ‘pink batts’, ‘surplus’ and ‘MRRT’ were sufficient shorthand – assumed that the major problems facing the nation would soon be rectified, now that the grown ups were back from their six year sejourn on the wrong side of the lower house.

This week, we look at what went well and what didn’t for the Abbott government during Year One, as four of Australia’s top writers tackle our Anniversary Special; looking both forwards and backwards with a tantalizing mixture of optimism and criticism.

Meanwhile, the challenges facing the Abbott government as they embark upon their critical second year pile up by the hour; as unpredictable and as diabolical as any faced by an Australian government in recent history.

Unwittingly, we carefree, knockabout Aussies have been drawn into what  a year ago was unthinkable – a threatened  war between Russia and Europe on the one hand and an Islamic apocalyptic cult seizing control of a large swathe of the Middle East on the other. Indeed, it was only as recently as 2012 that President Obama mocked his presidential rival Mitt Romney for raising concerns about Russian aggression, whilst his ideological bedfellow Julia Gillard giddily prattled on about the ‘end of the 9/11 decade’.

In all likelihood, such lackadaisical leaders, by so comprehensively taking their eye off the ball at the wrong time, helped contribute to the rapid unfolding of subsequent events.


Yet even as Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop have stepped up and impressed the world with strong, single-minded leadership and moral clarity, our own national debate descends into ever-greater levels of buffoonery and self-interest.

It is hard to think of a greater, or more grotesque, contrast between the challenges facing Abbott (and Bishop) on the world stage and what they have to contend with back home.

The terror now stalking the sands of Syria and Iraq has finally brought home to many the incompatibility between many strands of Islam and our precious Western democratic values. Yet it would appear in Australia we are more worried about the rights of dole bludgers than the threat of death cults, more concerned about expanding our Super than the expansionary goals of the former Soviet Union. The tough decisions Abbott, Bishop and their counterparts in Europe and the United States take over the next twelve months on two different fronts are of crucial importance to longterm global peace, prosperity and security.

Perhaps it is time our politicians at home started to think of the bigger issues our Prime Minister must face.

iCloudius

Excited teenage boys, lonely divorced men and perhaps even a few love-struck lesbians would no doubt have been delighted to learn that many explicit nude photographs of the hot Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence have found their way onto the internet. Accompanying them are a pervert’s digital treasure trove of steamy poses featuring numerous other popular actresses and female celebrities.

The images, it appears, were hacked from the “cloud”, that fluffy, harmless-sounding noun used to describe the vast server-farm infrastructure of the Internet, where squillions of hard-drives churn away day and night in warehouses across the third world and elsewhere.

The hacker arguably had good taste to go along with his or her digital piracy skills, also selecting, among others, the online accounts of models Kate Upton and Cara Delevingne, singer Rihanna and actress Kirsten Dunst to prey upon.

In an exciting development, a suspect has been breathlessly named via the “deep web”, and he is now “on the run.”

Perhaps he’ll end up crawling under the doona with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, or maybe Edward Snowden will let him bunk down at his dacha in the woods.

Readers of this magazine will no doubt share our bewilderment at the failure of those on the Left to leap forward and heap praise and accolades upon this noble fellow. Or is it only a “good thing” when the embarrassing files you expose to the world are the security measures of the US or Australian governments?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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Show comments
  • Al

    Sorry not this reader…I think your grouping of Assange and Snowden , with the hacker of personal intimate photos, that were hacked in all likelyhood, for selatious or greedy motives makes for a quite feeble article.
    It is hard to come to the conclusion that the motivation of Assange or Snowden in taking their actions, was self serving, They have both paid a very high personal cost, that is almost certainly going to escalate further for them.
    Whatever your personal view of Assange and Snowden actions, they both undeniably have got a “pair”.

  • AnneG82

    Equating those who risked their lives to reveal the mass indiscriminate, illegal surveillance of whole innocent populations with some hacker leaking ‘n00dz’?
    How low does this writer have to sink and what moral gymnastics he must take to make his point. Weak.

  • reggie

    Does the Spectator actually pay you to write this dribble. i would have given it the title Fantasy based on facts.

  • Ren

    “Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop have stepped up and impressed the world” – You have, in fact, been paying attention to the rest of the world, yes? They haven’t been impressed. They’ve been laughing. Our government has literally become the punchline on numerous overseas talk shows. Our country hasn’t been taken less seriously since the release of ‘Crocodile Dundee’. Even as we speak, the UN is preparing to take serious action against our current government. I am not a labor supporter by any means, but Christ, they never botched it up this bad – regardless as to what spin you’d like to put on it. We need a true leader in charge – I don’t care what party he/she comes from. Just give us the leader we deserve.

    • blackers666

      Wow,,,, when you grow up and reflect on the crap you have written and seriousness of the current situation, and the leadership shown by Bishop on the stage, I hope you cringe. The leader you deserved was Rudd/Gillard. Abbott is far from perfect – Bishop is close and I would be happy to see her in the top job, but don’t down play how complex and serious the current situation is for our safety and financial future – both are important.

      • Ceci Pipe

        That’s not drivel. We fought hard to get onto the Security Council and now refuse to back anything it does. We’re violating international law on asylum seekers, on human rights, and we really could end up in the International Criminal Court which is just insane when you think about it.

        Try to keep in mind that our international appearance does matter. It’s how we get trade concessions from other countries, it’s how we get technology loans from places like the USA (they helped us outfit our subs after Switzerland screwed us), it’s how we get to stay in the Five Eyes. Abbott basically spent it. All of it.

        Now we’re running a deficit on that and he’s giving us a budget deficit _on top_ which is mind boggling. Budget emergency was how he was elected, in return he buys more useless planes, takes us into a war, subsidises more mining, takes counsellors out of school and forces the states to fund chaplains, then cuts education, healthcare, and welfare, which is what we so desperately need in order to create new employment areas so our unemployment goes down and stays down.

        As an aside, Rudd/Gillard were both very intelligent and capable people and steered us through the global recession with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any developed country. It’s just that Shorten/Arbib/Feeney/Farrell/etc ganged up on them to axe one for the other in the name of political power.

        • blackers666

          Wow – I love how people can live in a parallel universe and create an illusion to suit their fantasies. Just keep taking the medication !
          We’re kee our borders secure and letting in people who are genuine refugees WITH papers !!!
          Rudd and Gillard spent the entire war chest surplus and some unnecessarily. If your not clear read Paul Kelly’s book on the subject for some FACTS !!!
          We now have to spend within our means – simple.

          • Mark the economist

            Forget the borders its a 10th order issue. There was no ‘war chest surplus’. Howard and Costello left a structural deficit. Read George Megalogenis’ (an economist) book for some FACTS

          • blackers666

            And this is why you and Labor stalwarts will remain in the wilderness for the next 10 years. Borders matter – control over the population mix as we grow matters – compassion for those in queues who cannot afford to queue-jump matters.
            There was no ware-chest surplus – there was just a surplus. Structural deficit ? Purist economics may say that is the case so how do we excuse Rudd/Gillard for making it exponentially worse ???

          • Mark the economist

            The headline figure budget deficit got worse due to the GFC. A very good excuse. Ross Gittens says when the tide goes out fully you discover who has been swimming naked – Costello was starkers.

  • Tom Woodward

    Mate, you have a gift… had me on the floor laughing. Do you do stand-up as well? I’d pay to see it… hilarious.

  • Amanda

    Tell me this is satire. Please tell me this is satire.

  • Garen Truscott

    I’m sorry I appear to have wandered here from a parallel dimension. The Abbott government in your dimension must be very different from the one in mine.

  • Ceci Pipe

    The problem with the term “dole bludgers” is that we have around a million more people than jobs according to the _government’s own figures_. That’s not left wing drivel, that’s “We backed minimal employment areas like mining to the hilt and now have no large scale employers like manufacturing to back us up”, at which point the personal welfare measures by Abbott to “incentivise” people to find a job will cost us more money for less results.

    And throwing people off the already sub poverty level payments for six months won’t result in a million jobs all of a sudden springing up out of nowhere, it will result in even more crime as starving people realise that jail is a better alternative to starvation.

    As for security measures, we fought hard to get onto the Security Council and have basically just told them to get stuffed.

    If security meant anything to the Abbott government then they would have given up the job shortly after realising they won.

    • GraveDave

      And throwing people off the already sub poverty level payments for six months won’t result in a million jobs all of a sudden springing up out of nowhere, it will result in even more crime as starving people realise that jail is a better alternative to starvation.

      they never get it do they. It’s always about appearing tough and doing the ‘right’ thing. And everything else will fall into its s rightful place. But it never does. It just falls further and further apart.

  • Mark the economist

    “In all likelihood, such lackadaisical leaders, by so comprehensively taking their eye off the ball at the wrong time, helped contribute to the rapid unfolding of subsequent events.” These events being “threatened war between Russia and Europe on the one hand and an Islamic apocalyptic cult seizing control of a large swathe of the Middle East on the other”
    How do you figure Rohan, for these events, which incidentally occurred on Abbott and Bishop’s watch, whathow the ALP may have stopped this? Please, tell us what a less lackadaisical leader would have done to stop them?

  • RobatNewy

    “The terror now stalking the sands of Syria and Iraq…” are you writing an article, or pulp fiction?

  • Mark Micallef

    Typical right-wing bullshit rag. I’ll get my news from fact-based sources thanks.

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