Blubbering Blowhards Battered

  Janet Albrechtsen wallops weepy Voicers   Gemma Tognini mauls the McGowan ‘legacy.’
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29 Responses to Blubbering Blowhards Battered

  1. C.L. says:

    Indigenous voice to parliament: How voice of reason has been lost to emotional abuse.

    What is it about the voice debate, and indeed much of the debate about Indigenous affairs generally, that causes apparently rational people to lose all objectivity, wallow in sentimentality and engage in irrational overreach?

    In my lifetime I have not seen a more thuggish, deceptive and divisive set of claims from one side on a matter of national significance. One expects ideological overreach, for example, from extremists. But is that how we are to view the recent comments from a senior judge, a corporate bigwig, an academic and a celebrity activist?

    Prominent NSW Supreme Court judge Ian Harrison apparently took leave of his critical faculties and training to pen an almost adolescent email to Nationals MP Pat Conaghan. Sure, even judges are entitled to spend their evening hours writing overwrought emails – but only to their nearest and dearest and in their personal capacity, not to politicians they don’t know and about matters of controversial national significance that could easily come before the courts.

    The constitutional and propriety blunders committed by Harrison’s potential breach of the separation of powers were not the worst of it. How does the hard-bitten judge who presided over Christopher Dawson’s murder trial get reduced to mawkish sentimentality and an inability to recognise that reasonable people could differ about the voice?

    Harrison was certainly entitled to say that, in his view, “there are no sleeping constitutional issues here”. He was not, however, entitled to treat the contrary view as untenable.

    When the greatest Australian constitutional lawyer of recent times, the recently departed and much-lamented David Jackson KC, could express as much constitutional doubt about the proposed voice as he did in his recent submission to the parliamentary inquiry, accompanied by former High Court Justice Ian Callinan and very many other distinguished lawyers, the most any rational lawyer could say is that the proposal is hotly contested.

    To feign certainty when the whole world can clearly see there is none is not what one expects from a dispassionate, careful legal observer. To compound this failure of logic, Harrison added a dose of emotional abuse by accusing the MP of “depths of paternalism and racism that oozed from your words”. What is it about this debate that provokes such unhinged reactions?

    Michael Chaney may be a heavyweight in the corporate world, but for him to say that opposing the referendum would “betray” the Australian people was little better than juvenile abuse. He then compounded his blunder by asserting that chief executives of other big companies “universally” shared the same view. What exaggerated rubbish.

    The Australian has been told that some corporate bosses who have met Chaney to hear his views on the voice have not appreciated what they see as an effort to bludgeon corporate Australia into supporting his views. The Australian has been told that many corporate bosses prefer a measured, logical approach, and believe that taking either side in a highly contentious political debate is entirely inappropriate for companies.

    Anyone reading The Guardian last weekend (not that I recommend such folly) would have recognised the same sort of anti-intellectual overreach that marked Harrison and Chaney’s interventions. When discussing criticism of Stan Grant’s work on the ABC’s coverage of the coronation, Margaret Simons urged a new definition of objectivity in journalism on us.

    While paying lip service to the need for objectivity in reporting, especially on the ABC, which has a statutory duty of impartiality and balance, Simons says it’s all a matter of definition.

    “We have to understand the word properly,” Simons wrote. “What looks like objectivity to white, Anglo journalists such as myself – the children of the empire, the beneficiaries of colonialism – looks very different to those who are, to quote Grant, ‘on the other side of history’.”

    In short, objectivity is in fact subjective – it depends on the personal circumstances and history of the reporter. Who knew?

    As an apparent fan of what Humpty Dumpty told Alice “when I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less”, Simons needs to enlighten us as to what other categories of reporter deserve this leave pass from Anglo definitions of objectivity. Does her new definition of objectivity apply generally or just to her favoured groups?

    It seems to be a curiously Australian thing for Simons. It has never, to my knowledge, been suggested that great African-American journalists such as CNN’s lead news anchor Bernard Shaw or PBS NewsHour legend Gwen Ifill or the equally admirable Lester Holt, who was the first black person to solo anchor a nightly news program, were entitled to a different standard of objectivity in reporting. Of course, defining your way into power has a long, if despicable, history. George Orwell’s description of the work of the Ministry of Truth remains the definitive example of how even “truth” can be manipulated. Who could forget the Ministry of Truth slogans “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”?

    This brings us back to Grant. While he has achieved much in his career, he does seem to have forgotten Orwell, and to be busy redefining “truth”. Not only redefining truth but claiming personal ownership of it. Grant was quoted in The Weekend Australian as blasting the ABC for misunderstanding the concept of balance. He complained about a Q+A segment concerning the monarchy, in which Eric Abetz provided a counterpoint to the views of South African author Sisonke Msimang, Wiradjuri woman (and Grant’s cousin) Teela Reid, and Grant himself.

    Grant said Msimang and Reid “were on, talking the truth – just the truth. And yet, for balance, we have to have someone who will deny the truth or reduce the truth.”

    This is the ultimate Orwellian trick – define your views as the “truth” and then you don’t have to hear opponents of your views.

    To give Grant the benefit of the doubt, it seems he is driven by emotion, not malice. His comments, made at the Sydney Writers Festival, embody the feelings-not-logic zeitgeist one expects at writers festivals. Grant made the point that the media seemed deficient in the emotional department. “I don’t think (the media has) the language for the love, for what’s required of us.”

    This takes us back to where we started. I’m all for love, peace and emotional intelligence – at poetry corners, writers festivals, a Simon & Garfunkel revival concert and self-help weekends. But can we please keep it away from policymaking and especially away from our Constitution? Cool heads, calm logic and robust debate will serve us much better there.

  2. NFA says:

    Thanks C.L.

    That last paragraph from Albrechsten’s article really sums it all up.

  3. NFA says:

    And good for Tognini.

    In a just world McGowan would be confined to “barracks” for the next 2 years so he doesn’t leave the country.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Janet is pulling her punches for the obvious reason: she knows exactly why the “voice of reason has been lost to emotional abuse.”

    It’s abundantly clear that (a) Albo wants to give no detail so that he can do as Labor wants, which is (b) to institute a veto by hard-left urban Aboriginals to anything that isn’t something the Left likes. Being enshrined in the Constitution plus enabling legislation absolutely anything a hypothetical LNP government attempts can and will be vetoed stone cold dead. That way Australia will be an effective one-party state, since only the Left will be able to wield legislative power and regulation. A Trot’s wet dream.

    She can’t say that though without serious risk of Tucker-like action from her masters.

    I suspect there will also be a republic referendum, this time asking “do you want a republic? [yes/no]” No detail so they can legislate the model they want, ie. the model rejected last time. Then there will be the same emotional blackmail.

  5. C.L. says:

    Yes, Bruce – the plan is to win the referendum, then try to force the republic.

    I predicted a while ago that an attempt would then be made to transfer gubernatorial roles (federally and in the states) to the Voice – thus completing what would, in effect, be the ceding of sovereignty to “first nations.”

  6. a reader says:

    In a normal world I’d have said the Vice-Regal roles would be untouchable but with this government I fear you may be right

  7. rosie says:

    Great to see articulate intelligent women on the side of truth and logic.

  8. Winston says:

    I remain at a loss to understand how dividing Australian society on ancestral lines and affording different political privileges on that basis can ever be presented as a positive thing.

  9. Hugh says:

    If Dr Nathaniel Jeanson is right, on the basis of secular genetics, we are all related to abos and they are all related to us. We’re something like 35th cousins. You just have to do the maths on the male Y chromosome.

    So we ALL will have a “Voice”!

    As W.S. Gilbert said: “When everybody’s somebodee … then no-one’s anybodee!”

    Dr Nathaniel Jeanson, geneticist, Harvard University: “Traced”

    Popcorn time: Here’s a link to the first of more than 20 episodes.

    Btw, he’s a creationist, young earther. So obviously a vicious Nazi? Judge for yourself.

  10. Petros says:

    Wouldn’t it be hard to disprove if you claimed that your ancestor born in Australia in the 1800s was an Aborigine? What records are likely to be extant and who would be able to find them?

  11. Morsie says:

    New Catallaxy has vanished

  12. Entropy says:

    Petros, perhaps you could consult with Bruce Pascoe about that.

  13. Rabz says:

    New Catallaxy has vanished

    At a very inopportune time as well.

  14. John says:

    On my Computer as well. They’ve closed down New Catallaxy!

  15. Ed Case says:

    In Queensland the Eidsvold Police Letterbooks 1935-1956 contain much useful information.
    E.g., names such as Saltner and Bayles originated from White men in the District who started families with H/C [half caste] Aboriginal women.
    Detailed information from the 19th Century is also available, including many accounts of Native Police “dispersing” Aborigines with death tolls recorded.

  16. JMH says:

    Re, New Cat down.

    Yes. Error 404 since around 3 pm

  17. JMH says:

    Interrupting this blog, apologies to C.L. re my intervention here re. Dover’s problem. I wonder if he was engaged in some updates or whatever and the thing went pear-shaped?

  18. C.L. says:

    No problem, JMH.

    I think it was maintenance-related, yes.

  19. JMH says:

    Thank you C.L. This is what I’m getting:- Apache2 Default Page. Is anyone else getting this?

  20. Petros says:

    Chapman, Little, Collins, Perkins. Pretty common names so seems quite easy to make a connection.

  21. C.L. says:

    JMH, several of the Cat’s open forum commenters were mentioning that, yes.

  22. Entropy says:

    Seems to be working for me.

  23. Morsie says:

    Amazing that the guy having a go at Tognini thinks that all he has to do is mention News Ltd and he thinks its game over ,he wins.

  24. Ed Case says:

    Chapman, Little, Collins, Perkins. Pretty common names so seems quite easy to make a connection.

    The pattern from the Eidsvold Police Letterbooks over 30 years appears to be that Aboriginal women, whether Half Caste, Full Blood, Three Quarter Caste all seem to reproduce with men of the same Caste or fairer.
    As the children move out of the district and have families of their own, the knowledge of Aboriginality is lost over the generations.

  25. Boambee John says:


    Same for me as at around 1800. Will try again once I catch up here.

  26. Boambee John says:

    Still the same message for me on NewCat.

  27. C.L. says:

    Try clearing your cache.

  28. Boambee John says:


    Thanks, that worked.

  29. C.L. says:

    Glad to hear it, BJ.

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