Gough Medicine

THERE is no point getting angry with anyone about the death of morally responsive democracy in Victoria or anywhere else in the Western world. Pretty much everyone is to blame. A Uniparty now reigns over the ashes and rubble of what used to be a civilisation. Seen this way, Daniel Andrews’ comfortable win in Saturday’s state election – and the nonchalant forgiveness it constitutes for his government’s innumerable crimes – makes a lot of sense. Only three things are really necessary for electoral success against a lukewarm opposition: nihilism, profligacy and calumny. Don’t espouse anything that backs you into a principled corner, bribe every tractable constituency and demonise the frugal along with the religious. “We will govern for all Victorians,” Andrews declared Saturday night, registering the first lie of his third term. He will, of course, go on masterfully prevaricating, spending and hate-mongering for another four years. Most Victorian voters know exactly who he is and regard him – with justification – as a virtuoso in the dark arts of saleable unreality. While he’s there, they won’t be personally responsible for anything.

In will be 50 years this Friday since the election that brought Gough Whitlam to power as Prime Minister after 23 years of Coalition rule. The golden milestone also marks the end of the old Labor Party and the beginning of an infamous fiasco. Whitlam noted the polling day was also the anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz at which another “ramshackle, reactionary coalition” had suffered a “crushing defeat.” A more apt coincidence in a discussion of Whitlam is that Napoleon crowned himself Emperor at Notre Dame on the same date in 1804, snatching the headwear from the hands of Pope Pius VII. If Daniel Andrews is an extrapolation of what a third-term, scandal-immune King Gough would have looked like in the later 1970s, Peter Dutton is a throwback to what Whitlam actually was in the 1960s: a leader obliged to reform, modernise and unify a party habituated to losing and wounded by the Industrial Groups.

The Liberal side of the Victorian story is more complex and nuanced on this Monday morning than many prognosticators on the right realise. If it is true that the psephological sweet spot in politics today is the demographic that wants affirmation for its virtuous hobbies (like the climate) and free money on tap, the hostility to the Liberals could be read as a compliment. An undeserved one, alas, because the ascendant Guy-Kean iteration of Bob Menzies’ party represents no threat to anybody’s carbon capture grant, teen mastectomy startup or Seán na Sagart side hustle. The more orthodox Sky Right exegesis is that an election-winning cohort is just waiting for a red meat repudiation of woke in all of its lunatic manifestations. Either way – and accepting as proven that the public is no longer sure whether Liberals are secretive wreckers or open imitators – the choice for the Liberals is obvious. Either stay the course until enough swing voters believe they’re not ultra-conservative conquistadors after all (dumb); or return to – and revivify – their foundational purpose and fight a longer, nobler fight. The former has never succeeded. The latter has – for Ming himself, for John Howard, for Tony Abbott. And, as it happens, for E.G. Whitlam.

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60 Responses to Gough Medicine

  1. Yank says:

    Cassie: I have nothing but contempt for those who mindlessly parrot his propaganda. Especially when it comes with family values rhetoric.

  2. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “CL: in case you missed it my point on your political preferences is that you folk have succeeded in driving the GOP into Trumpland and in Australia the coalition into the Abbott-ScoMo religious warp. In both cases the outcome is to enable the Democrats and Alp to get a free run. My concern is that conservatism has been subverted by people who are more like 1960s lefties with rigid, narrow views than the middle ground folk that used to be the core.”

    Yank once again showing his ignorance.

    And yet, you’re obsessed with Putin. You need help.

  3. Buccaneer says:

    Yank the other one, an Aussie blog with anonymous commenters pushed the gop to trump. How many voting Americans did we influence? My bet is none. Both the dems and the alp had lower primary votes at the last elections, the dems lost by about 5% in the house. You’re totally full of shit.

  4. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “I have nothing but contempt for those who mindlessly parrot his propaganda. “

    But you’re here everyday obsessing about Putin.

    You secretly like him.

    My God you’re pathetic.

  5. Yank says:

    Bucc: much if this site is US obsession fed directly from the swamp media in the US.
    Cassie: family values.

  6. Buccaneer says:

    Still full of it, is that an admission or a back down. Which is is, this site influencing the gop or the gop influencing this site. Make your mind up and stop being a flog.

  7. Lee says:

    I notice that alleged old time GOP supporter Yank never has a word of criticism of Dementia Joe, the worst U.S. president by far for very many years (since the 1880s at least), and who has done a terrific job of destroying the U.S. economically, socially, and culturally.

  8. Boambee John says:


    there have been ample cases in the US. Zip evidence. I’m not aware of a single case in Australia. Have you filed one with your apparent knowledge? I can give you absolute assurance that so far there has only been howling at the moon on the issue. As for your Putin talking points I thought it was your job to keep up.

    So, no absolute assurance that there has been no significant electoral rorting in the US, just some weasel words.

    You are the one obsessed with Putin, to the extent of claiming absolute familiarity with his talking points, something I lack. I note still no links to me directly quoting Putin talking points.

  9. Tel says:

    Cassie: I have nothing but contempt for those who mindlessly parrot his propaganda. Especially when it comes with family values rhetoric.

    Yank you got caught out mindlessly parrotting the “battle for democracy” talking point which is right out of the Democrat propaganda playbook … I quoted it to you at the time. No real Republican would start quoting the exact thing that their opponents are using. Hate to spell it out to you buddy but that one was rather a bit too obvious.

    Now you are trying on a bit of concern trolling? Too funny … you do realize that not one person is fooled by your act. Just in case there was a moment of confusion where you thought you non-argument might be gaining traction. We have seen way more convincing actors than you.

  10. C.L. says:

    Yank, I’ve been following politics at least long enough to know that whenever one ‘side’ is having a good little era, its cheerleaders always concern-troll the other side with claims of being fatally and permanently out of touch; of being forever un-electable. If only they would become exactly like us, democracy would be the winner. This is self-evidently both insincere and irrational. People on the right did the same thing in the Bush years. What goes around comes around; your side will lose and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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