Who is your hero? Who deserves the credit for your success? Who is your role model? Who do you admire the most?
“You can tell a lot about someone by whom they admire”, says Kaye Lee, “It shows their priorities in life”. She asks, “Who does our new Prime Minister admire? Who does he go to for advice?”
Here Kaye examines the possible contenders.
An early influence was founder of the DLP party, Bob Santamaria. A staunch Catholic, who believed the Church had a role to play in governing the State, Santamaria was vigorously opposed to birth control and abortion and decried what he described as contemporary sexual decadence. He wanted to turn us into a nation of farmers and cottage industries, with women permanently barefoot and pregnant. He was convinced that Australia was under threat from Communism, warning people that communists in Australia were buying up arsenals and guns in preparation for the revolution, and likening the Vietnam War to a crusade.
In a speech in 1998 Tony Abbott described Santamaria as “a philosophical star by which you could always steer” and “the greatest living Australian”. Abbott has said that what impressed him about Santamaria was “the courage that kept him going as an advocate for unfashionable truths”.
And then we have Cardinal George Pell, the man who has been complicit in the cover-up of child sexual abuse for decades, actively assisting pedophile priests in avoiding prosecution. Pell told a World Youth Conference that “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”. Like his spiritual advisor, Tony Abbott also assisted a pedophile priest to avoid punishment by writing him a reference.
In recent days, Tony Abbott again defended Pell’s actions saying “Cardinal Pell is a fine man . . . Cardinal Pell is one of the greatest churchmen that Australia has seen”.
In April this year, Tony Abbott expressed his admiration for Rupert Murdoch, the man whose media empire illegally hacks phones and bribes officials as standard practice. Murdoch has said power is his aphrodisiac and he revels in manipulation of public perception and his role in bringing down governments.
Abbott described Murdoch as Australia’s most influential businessman going on to say “Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming”.
Tony also greatly admires Gina Rinehart, the woman who sponsored that fruitcake, Lord Monckton, to do a speaking tour on climate change denial. This is a woman who makes a million dollars every half hour but cannot afford to pay the mining tax, and who wants a special tax zone in the North so she can pay even less. At least nine Coalition MPs have declared in their register of interests that Ms Rinehart has supplied free travel, hospitality and accommodation and she donated $50,000 directly (and up to $700,000 indirectly) to Barnaby Joyce’s campaign to win New England.
As Tony Abbott said, “Mates help each other; they don’t tax each other”, and Gina must be well pleased with the fruits of her investment so far, with the mining and carbon taxes about to be repealed and the biggest coal mine in Australia getting fast-track approval already.
And let’s not forget John Howard. Tony considers himself Howard’s protégé and longs for us to return to those halcyon days. This despite the fact that Howard’s government has been identified by the IMF as the most wasteful ever, whose middle class welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy have saddled us with a structural deficit, and whose sale of assets cost us billions in future revenue. Howard lied to take us into a war that cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. He lied to us about the children overboard affair. Eleven of Howard’s Ministers either resigned or were sacked for indiscretions and many more were forgiven for their conflicts of interest and rorting of entitlements, a practice which this government seems to also enjoy.
Tony Abbott told his former leader and mentor John Howard on election night that he was the only person he could turn to for real advice in his new role as Prime Minister. That may explain Tony’s view that climate change is crap and that we should spend whatever it takes to stop the boats.
On the international stage, Tony has expressed his admiration for Japan (don’t mention the whales), and Indonesia (doing a great job there in West Papua), and Sri Lanka (hey shit happens . . . what’s the odd kidnapping and torture between friends . . . need some gun boats?). He loves America and China so much that he wants their corporations to be able to sue us if we hurt their profits with health, safety, competition or environmental laws.
Add to that the fact that Tony’s Chief of Staff not only makes policy decisions, she now also dictates who the public will have access to and what they may reveal. I call it pleading the Morrison Amendment – say nothing that may incriminate you. And we have Tony’s chief strategist and PR guru entering the world of foreign affairs and diplomacy by comparing Indonesia’s Foreign Minister to an aging porn star. These are the people who run and advise our government – the Star Chamber.
So, in summary, our PM admires staunch Catholics, power, wealth, big business, climate change deniers and all world leaders with whom he can have a photo taken. He prefers the advice of advertising spin merchants and power brokers to that of experts.
“If you care about other people, that’s now a very dangerous idea. If you care about other people, you might try to organize to undermine power and authority. That’s not going to happen if you care only about yourself. Maybe you can become rich, but you don’t care whether other people’s kids can go to school, or can afford food to eat, or things like that. In the United States, that’s called “libertarian” for some wild reason. I mean, it’s actually highly authoritarian, but that doctrine is extremely important for power systems as a way of atomizing and undermining the public.”
– Noam Chomsky “Business Elites Are Waging a Brutal Class War in America”Follow @MigloMT