Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In which Tony Abbott uses the bereaved, the unhoused and the traumatised for political gain

You've got to hand it to him though; he's 100% consistent. One relied upon him to make some response of this calilbre, and one has not been disappointed.

I have been giving some thought to Abbott's bizarre attitude to the NBN. I think it's to do with egocentricity and solipsism: with believing that if you personally don't understand something, then it can't possibly be important or true.

30 comments:

David Irving (no relation) said...

Fuck me sideways!

Abbott never ceases to amaze me with his stupidity. Wasn't he a Rhodes Scholar? Kris Kristofferson, Bill Clinton, and my mum's cousin Rob were all Rhodes Scholars, and none of them are as dim as Abbott seems to be.

I suspect that all of them (with the possible exception of Clinton, who seems to be an exploitive arsehole) are nicer people as well.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

David, I guess some brains work some ways and other brains work other ways. I understand that at the signing of the Munich Agreement, for example, the only person in the room apart from the translator who spoke all four languages and understood what everyone was saying was Mussolini, and look what happened to him.

Also, don't underestimate the Jolly Hockey Sticks and Jolly Good Show Chaps factor in the Rhodes -- I recently looked up the criteria for my de facto goddaughter and there's a great deal of emphasis on sport, and also on clubs and groups and community rah rah stuff.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Wishing I had not followed your link and intensified thereby, my loathing of him.
The troubled Mr Rhodes and his scholarship - which also went to R J Hawke - seem to attract people who become adulterers (even Kristofferson has had too many wives), and to that end I am keeping close watch on the abbott and his female milieu.
His lack of Total Empathy for the Queensland flood victims, their pets, possessions, and their grief for those swept away, makes me want to hurt his dry comfortable body.
a lot.

sue said...

This man scares me. I find his attitudes are frightening, and yet he has supporters. How? Why?

And pity help you if you are poor, homosexual or otherwise marginalised. Grr.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

If he has even bothered to say anything like 'Oh, those poor people,' or even just 'I'm sorry,' much less 'We will be working with the government to do everything we can,' I haven't seen it reported, and God knows the Opposition Organ would have been all over it like a rash.

Remember the tsunami? Mark Latham had the same job Abbott's got, and lost it for less.

Mindy said...

I did see him briefly on the news the other night, expressing his concern for the people of Qld. But I can't remember what he said and I haven't seen it again.

Talking to my Mum last night - she thinks that Anna Bligh is really coming into her own with this and handling it really well whereas Julia still seems a bit clinical (to her mind). We didn't even think about TA and I'm betting that he's feeling starved of the spotlight and needed to do something to get it back. I hope it backfires big time, like it should.

Mindy said...

I remember now - he's made that comment that there need to be more dams in Qld to stop floods like this and it's all the fault of the government that there are no dams. Of course ignoring that the Howard govt had just as much opportunity to build dams but didn't. Probably because dams wouldn't actually do much most years, except stopping water from getting south and magnifying the Murray-Darling basin problems.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Mindy, yes -- I've resisted until now the idea that Abbott is an actual fool (having preferred to think of him as just a particularly unpleasant and opportunistic human being) but I'm starting to think he really is a complete fuckwit as well.

M-H said...

I think this is a very astute observation about TA. There are people who don't know what they don't know, and then there are the people who don't even suspect there is something else to know, and finally (I think after reading this) there are people who know there is stuff to know but, as you say, discount any knowledge they don't value or have themselves.

And the door bitch says 'evidivul' - could that possibly mean an individual who can't assess evidence? :)

Fyodor said...

As Mindy notes, Abbott's been making those sorts of noises, as you'd expect. Here's one from a week or two ago:

http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2010/12/31/Floods-in-Queensland-and-New-South-Wales.aspx

Of course, this doesn't preclude the strong possibility that he is indeed a complete fuckwit, but he's also not responsible for the selective quoting of the meeja bods you're reading.

Also, although it is too soon, his point is cogent nevertheless: the NBN is a spectacular waste of money, particularly when there are more important priorities.

JahTeh said...

Possibly and I can't be sure about future events, if we already had the NBN, we'd all be able to be in touch with relatives and friends to know they were safe, if power was still in place. I'm not quite sure how the NBN will work but I have a granddaughter in Caboolture which is still cut off and I'd like to stick a rudder in Abbott's orifice and row up there to get her out.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'NBN is a spectacular waste of money'

I dunno about that. I'm sure you know more about the mechanics of the proposal itself than I do, but quite apart from JahTeh's point, which strikes me as very sound, I've been convinced by a couple of suggestions I've heard about how it could be used. Online health conferencing is a potential saver of millions, just for a start, and that's just if we're talking about expenditure. Having grown up in the country (as in Beyond the Boonies) I'm all too aware of a number of lives and a number of businesses that could have been saved by what's being proposed.

Re Abbott, the real point is that now is the time, if ever there was one, for a nice hot cup of STFU about Tory talking points. It's just massively insensitive and disrespectful.

Fyodor said...

"...but quite apart from JahTeh's point, which strikes me as very sound, I've been convinced by a couple of suggestions I've heard about how it could be used. Online health conferencing is a potential saver of millions, just for a start, and that's just if we're talking about expenditure."

Not that I want to start a stousheau on the NBN, but Jahteh's communication requirement is equally served by an existing technology called the telephone.

The online medical thingy sounds marvellous, but always reminds me of a Mcguffin.

JahTeh said...

Fyodor, you have a point but I don't have a nifty new mobile and have no idea if where she is staying has a landline. The young'uns these days don't seem to know what a landline is.
A moot point as I now know both of my girls are safe.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Non, non, pas de stousheau, if you would be so agréable. But may I just say that in terms of comms, the telephone is to the intertubes what arithmetic progression is to geometric ditto.

M-H said...

Fyodor, I don't think it is a 'mcGuffin'. I used to work for a doctor's training organisation and digital connections are already being used to some extent, in diagnosis, monitoring of patients and support for medicos in training. But there are limits on what can be done at the moment because there is a lack of bandwidth in some places, and it's very expensive over all.

The NBN really does bring the possibility of cheaper medical treatments because specialist doctors will be do a lot of their work using digital communication and imaging. And that will be really good for people outside the main centres.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

M-H, the first thing I thought of was the kid in Maryborough here a while back who went for a bike ride without his helmet and ended up having some absolute hero of a country GP open up his skull with a Black and Decker under instructions from a Melbourne neurosurgeon on the phone. Imagine how much less terrifying that kind of thing would be with online guidance.

I was a severe asthmatic with multiple allergies as a small child, and we're talking well before puffers -- fortunately in those days there were doctors even in quite small towns who knew everyone's car, and when they saw ours coming at speed they knew I'd be in it turning blue in the back seat. These days there's no doctor, much less hospital, within 20 ks of there -- for people like my family and the kids I went to primary school with who are still farming there, online access to diagnosis, advice and instruction would be an absolute godsend, especially in an emergency, of which, in the country, there are many.

Fyodor, it occurs to me that you may have thought I was calling Abbott a fuckwit because of his opposition to the NBN. Actually I was calling him a fuckwit because his point-scoring in response to the floods is deeply stupid as well as mean-spirited; Mark Latham lost Abbott's job for less. Put it this way: Nick Minchin would have had his head in his hands, moaning, and I don't see how I can make the point more strongly than that.

Please tell me you don't seriously think that the Spectator or indeed any other MSM publication in this country short of the Green Left Weekly is biased against Abbott. If you are, then a stousheau may not be avoidable after all. Where is Casey when you need her?

Fine said...

I've just seen Julie bishop being interviewed in Brisbane, as the Acting Leader of the Coalition. Perhaps they've given Tone a little holiday? But speaking of tone, he has got this so wrong.

David Irving (no relation) said...

Fine, I think Tony needs about 3 years gardening leave (as we call it in the private sector). Verification is "terde" which, while misspelt, is strangely appropriate.

Fyodor said...

"Fyodor, I don't think it is a 'mcGuffin'. I used to work for a doctor's training organisation and digital connections are already being used to some extent, in diagnosis, monitoring of patients and support for medicos in training. But there are limits on what can be done at the moment because there is a lack of bandwidth in some places, and it's very expensive over all."

All sorts of activities and organisations need high bandwidth and generally pay up for it. The suggestion that all of us should have subsidised high bandwidth because a tiny minority need vaguely defined e-services over the interwebs is a Macguffin.

If telemedicine were so important we could provide it to rural and regional Australia at a fraction of the cost of providing the same infrastructure to everyone in cities who has ready access to physical physicians.

"Fyodor, it occurs to me that you may have thought I was calling Abbott a fuckwit because of his opposition to the NBN. Actually I was calling him a fuckwit because his point-scoring in response to the floods is deeply stupid as well as mean-spirited;"

Nope, your meaning was pretty clear, which is why I made the point about selective quotation. The fact that one part of what he said was quoted doesn't mean that it was the only thing he said, or even the most important thing he said. It's what the journo chose to suit his/her story. As noted, Abbott and every other pollie going has performed the necessary empathetic genuflexion. The fact that he also raised a valid point at an inopportune time doesn't negate that.

"Mark Latham lost Abbott's job for less. Put it this way: Nick Minchin would have had his head in his hands, moaning, and I don't see how I can make the point more strongly than that."

I doubt it. Old Nick probably had a chuckle at Tone boning himself again. As for Latham, he was dumped for committing the worst political fox paw of all: being a loser. Being a dickhead was a distant second to that principal failing.

"Please tell me you don't seriously think that the Spectator or indeed any other MSM publication in this country short of the Green Left Weekly is biased against Abbott. If you are, then a stousheau may not be avoidable after all."

O noes! Cabers at dawn! Can I duck the meeja bias canard? It's was fucking tedious when the Right whinged about it, and it's equally tiresome now the Left are at it. It's infotainment, and politics is more fun when it's negative.

"Where is Casey when you need her?"

Dunno. Clutch your pendant three times and see what happens.

Mitzi G Burger said...

There is no reason why emergency funding for victims of natural disasters should prevent Australia's technological progress by way of an NBN. Many kids I taught in the country did not have internet at home and something like an NBN could make the web more accessible, even for the most unco-luddite of parents. As that strangely named charity whines, as I do, "save the children!"

M-H said...

Fyodor says:

"All sorts of activities and organisations need high bandwidth and generally pay up for it. The suggestion that all of us should have subsidised high bandwidth because a tiny minority need vaguely defined e-services over the interwebs is a Macguffin.

If telemedicine were so important we could provide it to rural and regional Australia at a fraction of the cost of providing the same infrastructure to everyone in cities who has ready access to physical physicians."

First, it's not 'vaguely defined'. Some services that could be offered (and that are being offered in other countries) are already well-defined, and more defined will be defined in the future as connectivity improves. We are talking about a lot of people being able to have specialist post-surgical consultations in their homes, for example, without having to wait for the surgeon to pay a monthly visit to their region (and that visit can be correspondingly shorter and focused on the surgery). X-rays, MRI images etc can be seen in detail and discussed by doctors who have never met each other. If we believe, as a nation, in a national health service, these services should be developed at community expense. They will in fact save money for individuals (who presently have to travel for a lot of services that they shouldn't have to), and for taxpayers, who are paying consultants to travel more often and for longer than they need to.

There are many other applications that the NBN will support, just in health: the supply of experienced practitioners in many specialities is presently very 'lumpy' - they are concentrated a a few places. Inexperienced doctors will be able to be mentored by more experienced people they have never met, for example, in a face-to-face situation, and they can discuss test results, MRI images, X-rays etc, easily, exactly as if the trainee was int he same building.

And don't even get me started on how the NBN will support better educational and training opportunities both out of and within the main centres. I could write a whole other essay on that!

Zarquon said...

The NBN is being financed through infrastructure bonds, its not spending more than a few million of government cash. So TA's point is complete nonsense anyway.

As for the NBN being unnecessary, it is needed to replace the copper phone lines which are beyond their use-by date.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Yes, that too.

Fyodor said...

test

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Fyodor -- I deleted the comments of yours that had been duplicated. What happens to a too-long comment is that the Blogger comment thingy tells you when you try to publish it that it's too long, and then prints it anyway. Presumably this is because it's trying to mess with your mind. Anything longer than about four or five standard paragraphs is better off being split into Parts 1 and 2 from the get-go. I hate that expression, I have no idea why I use it. I think alliteration is addictive.

Fyodor said...

Ah - thanks. Should prolly be less prolix, though I'm going to tempt fate here...

I had begun to think the doorbitch [or perhaps even mine gracious hostess...] was taking exception to the following post-script:

WV doorbitch says: "laberd". Double-heh. In the words of Graham & the Colonel, "she's done it again!"

After several attempts at posting this, it occurred to me the joke was wearing thin, not least because the WV had changed several times since. However, it now seems eerily à propos of Atropos to call troppo on Polytropos. She is _that_ good: cunning in her cruelty.

Fyodor said...

M-H, by post-surgical consultation I take it you mean with video over the Internet? If so, that's readily accommodated by existing broadband infrastructure. As is medical data transmission and online education.

Now, it's true that a small minority of the population don't have access to broadband, but that doesn't justify subsidising everyone in the country into fast broadband whether they're willing to pay for it or not. If the medical requirements of remote communities aren't being met there are much better and cheaper ways to subsidise those needs. Beside which, it's almost certain that the bulk of all those extra bits downloaded over Conroy's Congaline won't be for worthy activities like medicine and education.

"The NBN is being financed through infrastructure bonds, its not spending more than a few million of government cash."

Phew! That's a relief - I was afear'd the gubmint might have to borrow the money or summit. Oh, wait...

"As for the NBN being unnecessary, it is needed to replace the copper phone lines which are beyond their use-by date."

Beyond their use-by date?

The lines we're using right now?

You mean they could fail at any ti---

Zarquon said...

Now, it's true that a small minority of the population don't have access to broadband, but that doesn't justify subsidising everyone in the country into fast broadband whether they're willing to pay for it or not.

Well in fact subsidising infrastructure is what government is for in civilized countries.

Fyodor said...

"Well in fact subsidising infrastructure is what government is for in civilized countries."

So the bigger the subsidy the more "civilised" we is? Do we get a gold star, certificate or something for being more "civilised", or is it one of those warm-inner-glow-type things?