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Mar 8, 2011

Laurie Oaks wants us to be civil to bastard polys.

Cartoon By Nicholson.

Some time ago, I had this to say of Laurie Oaks:

“Laurie Oaks is one of the most respected and feared political journalists in Australia today. He is relatively bipartisan in his approach, and gives me the impression that he detests hypocrisy and loves exposing it. …”
Now he has turned around and written a rather lazy, mealy mouthed, diatribe on the strong opinions being expressed in the current row over the carbon tax.

Laurie, on one hand deplores what he refers to as politics with an unsavory feel with insults from both sides getting nastier and more personal, while on the other hand using the term “Teabagger” to describe Tea Party members. This expression is used by the left as a disparaging reference to these people. Laurie may be a bit too old and staid to understand the meaning of the term and has been too lazy to look it up.

It’s a little difficult to be even handed while referring to the right, or elements of it with a term that is, shall we say, somewhat ‘vulgar and biological’ in origin.

Starting off with poor old Tony Windsor getting hate mail for putting Gillard in power and supporting a carbon tax, he fails to mention Tony’s claim to have received death threats which were widely publicized until they turned out to be some guy saying, “I hope you die, you bastard.” This may be intemperate and uncalled for, even a bad thing to wish for, but it is not a threat.

Windsor really needs to harden up a bit.

His issue of Howard proposing a carbon-trading scheme is completely irrelevant as Howard is gone, and it is Gillard who is insisting on it now. Any reasonable person has a right to assume that a clear statement on the eve of the election that there would be no carbon tax means that this issue is off the agenda for the duration of the term. This includes other schemes and Gillard’s explanation is an exercise in semantics.

I am surprised that Oaks has fallen for the line about, “compensation for low-income households,” and claim it is better than Howard offered. To tax the nation on the basis of attaining lower carbon emissions by making energy prices higher, and then give a substantial proportion of the revenue to lower income earners turns it into a wealth redistribution scheme.

Political discourse has not changed to any great degree in the forty odd years I have been involved in it. Right back in the sixties the type of language that is occurring now was happening. Anyone who criticized the Nationals, Labor Party, and Liberals back then knows how vitriolic it could get. There was a rather nasty incident where a National Party supporter verbally abused the wife of our Progress Party candidate, and I copped a rather dirty whispering campaign from both sides.

The main difference these days is not the level of discourse, but is that owing to the net and better communications it is more visible.

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