Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morrison and Abbott stay down; Hockey joins them

So today apparently Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott came out and apologised for the remarks they made yesterday. I know this because I read it in The Oz:image

Liberals seek to heal rift on boatpeople, as Morrison admits his comments were insensitive

The SMH:

Funeral fallout: 'we did go a little bit too far' says Abbott

And the ABC:

Morrison climbs down in funeral row

Well I am sorry, but that is all just complete and utter bollocks.
Morrison did not admit his comments were insensitive, he admitted the “timing” of his comment were insensitive. Abbott did not say “we went a little bit far”, what he actually said was: “I want to thank Scott for being man enough to accept that perhaps we did go a little bit too far yesterday.” So actually it was not Abbott admitting it, but praising Morrison for supposedly accepting it (which he didn’t – he only thought his comments were ill-timed, the content itself? Nothing wrong at all).

Tory Shepard at The Punch however was not fooled by any of Abbott’s or Morrison’s bulldust. She got it spot on:

Oh, wait – hold on. He’s not sorry he made the comments. Just about the timing. That timing being on the day of the funeral, when people were burying their loved ones.

He said today – a day later – he’s definitely still angry about the money being spent.

“I have to show a little more compassion than I did yesterday, I am happy to admit that,” Mr Morrison said.

Sounds like something he was told to write on the blackboard 100 times. Must show more compassion. Must show more compassion. Must show more compassion.

Saying sorry means accepting blame. But when politicians - and sportspeople, and others with something to lose - apologise, it is usually to dissipate blame. To try to regain the high ground, to get out of the headlines.


So what Mr Morrison has done here is try to ameliorate the effects of his insensitive comments, which were broadly condemned by people, including some within his own party.

But then he’s stayed aligned with the right-wing rage against asylum seekers by heavily qualifying his apology.

It comes across as forced, insincere, cynical.

Perfectly said.

Let’s have a look at what Morrison actually said in his “apology” in his interview with Ray Hadley

RAY HADLEY:
You want to clear up some confusion apparently my staff tell me?


SCOTT MORRISON:
Well look Ray I think you summarized it well. No one is ever going to accuse me I think, of not taking this matter up to the government and holding them to account but timing in terms of comments I think is very important and the timing of my comments over the last 24 hours was insensitive and was inappropriate. I know probably more than anyone how strongly people feel about this issue, how angry they get about the costs that are involved and I share that anger and I want to see that changed but there is a time and a place. I rarely leave things on the field when it comes to this issue Ray as you know, but if you step over the mark I think you have got to say so and I am prepared to do that but the government shouldn’t take that as a leave pass.


Wow, I just love the “clear up some confusion” intro by Hadley – and you see from Morrison’s opening line that Hadley has set the table for him. But as you can also see Morrison doesn't think his comments themselves were insensitive or inappropriate – just the timing. And Just in case you’re not clear on that here is how the interview ended:

RAY HADLEY:
Ok so you resile from what you, you back away from what you said yesterday…


SCOTT MORRISON:
I back away from the timing of it Ray.


RAY HADLEY:
The timing of it ok.


I guess Morrison thinks with insensitive comments, like with comedy, timing is everything. Except actually the timing only served to compound the insensitivity. Were Morrison (or Abbott) to make these comments next week or next month they would still be gutter-dwelling-shite merchants. Because regardless of when either of them were to make the comments they would still be seeking to make political hay out of the funerals of children.

The interview with Hadley demonstrated just why Morrison’s comments were so offensive – they tapped into the most xenophobic and selfish sections of our culture and milked them. Take this from Hadley:

imageRAY HADLEY:
…. I have emails here saying did they pay for the deaths of the 4 young men they killed in the insulation process? Returned servicemen who can’t afford to bury his wife and has the government intervened there? but because it is illegal boat people the government has fallen over themselves, I know people have that debate but I think it is a debate for another time, not a debate on the day they are burying their kids.


SCOTT MORRISON:
I think that debate is well made Ray and I agree with it


Hang on, what?? Morrison agrees with the debate over whether the Government should pay for the deaths of the 4 men who died putting in insulation? These deaths would I guess include that of one man whom his employer was charged and fined $100,000 for operating an unsafe business and failing to ensure his company complied with its safety obligations?

And returned servicemen who can’t afford to bury his wife? Well Ray, how about you hop over to the Centrelink website and have a look at a page called “Bereavement Payments” where you find this:

You may be eligible for a Bereavement Payment if:
You also need to be an Australian resident.
And the payment is:

Members of a couple

If your partner dies you may qualify for a lump sum Bereavement Payment, usually equal to the amount you would have received jointly less your single rate for up to 14 weeks. The amount paid depends on your individual circumstances.

Now I may agree with you that the payment could be more, but that’s a different issue. No one (at least no one with any intelligence) is suggesting the Government could have raised the bereavement pension but decided instead to hold this funeral in Sydney. But let us not also talk about old diggers who can’t afford to bury their wife being left high and dry. If they were both eligible for the pension they likely get the payment.

And let’s also get away from the bullshit you are hearing on radio and blogs that the Government is giving these people special treatment, and that they were treated with more compassion than say was given to Corporal Richard Atkinson.
First off, let’s have a bit of history: the remains of Australian soldiers killed in action did not always get returned. A rather disgraceful series of events occurred during the Vietnam War, which is related in Paul Ham’s excellent history. He writes how when the first soldiers in Vietnam were killed in action the Menzies Government refused to pay for soldiers remains to be be flown home due to the policy that such dead should be interred in the nearest commonwealth cemetery which was Terendak Barracks in Malaysia.

Yep you read that right. image

When the father of the first conscript to die, Errol Noack, was told his son would be buried with full honours in Malaysia, as you can expect he took some exception to this and only through his very strong exception was he was able to get his son’s body returned.
It was only when there was such a public outcry over the same fate befalling the winner of the first VC in Vietnam, Kevin ‘Dasher’ Wheatley, that the Holt Government finally changed the policy and paid for the return of the remains and the funeral.

Things have certainly changed for the better.

When Corporal Atkinson’s remains were flown home, not only did they go to his home in Launceston, but they stopped at Darwin along the way, because that is where his unit was stationed and his fiancée lived, and where a “ramp ceremony” was held. His funeral held in Launceston was attended by 60 members of Cpl Atkinson's unit travelled from Darwin, as did two mates serving in Afghanistan.

Now on Melbourne’s MTR was heard:

Caller Ted asks if the government paid for Soldier [Corporal Richard Atkinson’s] family members to fly to the funeral? Host Martin King doubts it. He says it would not have happened if the asylum seekers did not come here in the first place.

Martin King say he “doubts it”; I say bullshit, Martin. I will bet anything that not only did the Government pay for his family members to fly from Darwin but also for the 60 members of his unit and the 2 from Afghanistan to attend.

I will happily admit I am wrong. But ask yourself – when the diggers in Afghanistan had to pay full price for a beer at Christmas there was an outcry in the media –you don’t think there might have been some word if his fiancée had been forced to pay to fly from Darwin to Launceston?

I am sure the Government paid, and I am bloody proud that they did.

Just as I am proud that the Government paid for the funeral yesterday.

But faux apology or no, the damage of Morrison’s statements were done because the talk back radios were full of hate and stupidity. Take these examples recorded on Crikey:

Caller Lenti says Asylum seekers should be sent to North Korea.

Caller Aaron says paying for the funeral for the asylum seekers is encouraging more to come.

Yes, paying for the funeral is such a big incentive for asylum seekers, because they of course all hope a family dies on the way…

There was also this:

Caller Cody thinks Federal Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey should pay for the funeral transport costs of the relatives if he supports it.

Well Caller Cody, don’t worry, Joe is back on your side.

Yesterday I praised Joe Hockey for showing decency and leadership.

Well that lasted a day.

In an example of utter jelly-back weakness, this morning (no doubt after some telephone calls with Abbott and Morrison last night) he quickly rang up Alan Jones to recant.

Jones set the interview up by talking about how Joe obviously was saying nothing much, and was sure Hockey was in full agreement with Morrison…

ALAN JONES:
Deep ideological divisions? You have slapped down Scott Morrison? What the hell is going on?

JOE HOCKEY:
I think there is a lot of commentary on this. Let me say this: we are the only party that has a strong border protection policy that will, in the end, prevent these sorts of tragedies occurring.

ALAN JONES:
That is the humanity of it, is it not? image

JOE HOCKEY:
That is the humanity of it. Somehow people are suggesting that if you have a conservative view that you are without heart, and that is just dead wrong. That is the point I am making, obviously as Scott Morrison said, and was right to do, he was right to question why the funerals were not held on Christmas Island, and that is what he did. It is right for an opposition spokesperson to ask the question. It is also the case that we as a nation - and no one has suggested this – we are not so inhumane as a nation that we would prevent an eight year old newly orphaned child from attending the funeral of their father, no one suggested that, no one suggested that that child should have to pay. The issue is have the government got border protection policies right? The answer is no, emphatically no. They have got it wrong and that is why these sorts of tragedies are occurring.

That sound you hear is that of Joe Hockey’s credibility being trampled under his own boot (yeah I know, it’s not a loud sound; not much to crunch).

Yesterday he was the man who wanted to show compassion and be above politics. Today he was neck deep in backtracking, political vomit.
He then brings out the big canard:

JOE HOCKEY:
I think the issue here is Alan, firstly why are the funerals being held in Sydney?

ALAN JONES:
Correct, an unanswered question

JOE HOCKEY:
And that is unanswered. I think the Minister for Immigration cannot hide behind yesterday’s events without explaining why the funerals were held in Sydney.

Unanswered??!! Err boys, maybe you should have listened to the radio yesterday as you would have heard Chris Bowen say this:

Speaking on ABC Local Radio in Sydney this morning, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen defended the Government's decision to accede to relatives' wishes for the funerals to be held in Sydney.

"The situation is the Australian Federal Police has responsibility for the bodies and the Department of Immigration has responsibility for the survivors obviously as people who are detainees in our system," he said.

"Now the Federal Police consulted with the families I think appropriately about where they would like the victims buried, whether that be in their homeland or in Australia and which part of Australia.

"It's appropriate then that the Department of Immigration took the decision that close and direct family members - not everybody who expressed an interest in coming to the funeral by the way, because there were more people who wanted to come to the funerals - but a decision that direct and close family members be able to attend those funerals, which I think, in these tragic circumstances, is appropriate."

So the reason the funerals were held in Sydney is because that is where the families wanted them to be.

Now as to this argument that they could have been buried on Christmas Island. Geez, how bloody heartless can you get? Does Morrison or Abbott or Hockey or Alan Jones or Ray Hadley or anyone else think that perhaps a father may actually wish to visit his three month old child’s grave occasionally? Now does anyone think that any of these asylum seekers are going to set up home on Christmas Island? No, of course not. They will most likely settle in Sydney because that is where they have either friends, relatives or at least a sense of community.

“The humanity” as Joe would have it, is not just about the cost of the burial it is about the place. Imagine the outcry if the Army had said it would only pay to bury Corporal Atkinson in Darwin because that’s where his home base was, and that’s where his fiancée lived? My God, there would have been a riot (and rightly so).
Anyone who thinks they should have been buried in Christmas Island, has to ask themselves who will tend to that grave; who will visit it; who will weep there?

You want to think of the tragedy of a dead three month old? How about we put on top of that pain the grave of a three month old that is never visited because it is on an island thousands of miles away from where the dead child’s father is. And that the reason for that is because the Government decided that is the way it should be – you know to save on costs.

Sorry, but you can have that society if you want; for mine, I am quite glad I live in the one now.

***
Barrie Cassidy on The Drum swallowed Morrison’s and Abbott’s apologies completely (even if he needed to do some nice use of ellipses to make it seem Abbott was sorry) and then decided the real bad guy was Chris Bowen for not allowing the nine year old orphan Seena to stay in Sydney with his uncle. Cassidy related the transcript of an interview Bowen gave with the ABC’s Jon Faine in which every other statement Bowen makes ends with Faine cutting him off.

Now I have to say I agree with Faine and Cassidy that common sense would suggest Seena should stay with his family in Sydney. But life is not always that easy.

For a start Seena’s aunt and cousin are also on Christmas Island – in fact as a report in The Australian yesterday noted, the aunt has been taking care of Seena. So while it would seem good to let Seena go with his relatives in Sydney I can understand why the Department of Immigration and Citizenship would think keeping him with his aunt is the right thing to do for the time being. The other point is that while it would seem common sense to let Seena go with his uncle, the fact remains the Government can’t just let a 9 year old under its care go off and live with an adult just because the adult says they’re willing to do so.

How would it be if it turns out the uncle really doesn’t have the space to house Seena, and so he’s sleeping on the floor, or that he’s not getting enough clothing, or food? And what about education? On Christmas Island he’s attending school – can his uncle get Seena to school? As a parent I know that dropping kids off and picking them up is not easy to do with work, so can someone do that with Seena?

Now I am actually pretty sure that all of these concerns can be allayed or overcome, but I see nothing wrong with the Government doing the checks first.
My issue is that these checks surely would not take too long and it would be much, much better were Seena to be kept in Sydney under the care of say a community organisation while they are being carried out.

To my mind that would be the Government showing both due care of the child’s welfare, and also compassion for the unusual circumstances Seena must face. Flying him back to Christmas Island, only to fly him back to Sydney in a week’s time certainly does seem to be a waste, and also pretty lacking in compassion and sense.

36 comments:

Lily Mulholland said...

Hypocrisy in politics is never a shock, sadly. Neither is backtracking, upstaging and 'taking it up to the government'. A big puh-lease to the Opposition. Boy did they judge this one wrong, but they are still not prepared to say so, for fear of hacking off important voters such as 'Lenti'. Pfft to them.

(Great post, Grog)

thirdborn said...

Grog, I am deeply disturbed by what I have seen over the last couple of days. The rednecks are screaming louder and I fear they will become the majority. Some of the bile I have read on Bolt's blog is astonishing - am I sharing this country with people I could genuinely hate? My whole life I felt I am in a country with like minded people but at the moment I am being exposed to a very ugly side, one I have not seen before - and those bloody coalition leaders are urging it on. It is depressing.

paddy said...

Nice post Greg. It's a real change, from the hysterical bile that's been spewed forth over the last 2 days, to actually having the facts laid out in plain English.
I can't recall a more repugnant piece of political opportunism from Morrison and co, since the "children overboard" tragedy was vomited over us by Howard via Peter Reith.
I can only hope that the stench sticks to Morrison in the same way.

Gordicans said...

The reaction I read and hear from some Australians to this issue is no less extreme than the Nazis reaction to the Jews in the 1930's . It is a reaction of hate and racism. This hate is being whipped up by Allan Jones and his ilk, and encouraged and farmed by the coalition. It needs to be confronted head on and called for what it is. Well done Grog.

lapuntadelfin said...

As someone who used to chair meetings I would always say I don't want to hear people agreeing and citing previous offerings. Offer something different.

Now that I don't have to adhere to my previous rulings can I say that "thirdborn's" motion is seconded. Well said.

And then I add the ABC articles and the comments. It was excruciatingly similar to those that followed Bolt's article.

What is to be done?

Bushfire Bill said...

The interesting thing here is that Abbott praised Morrison for his statement yesterday and equally praised him for his statement today.

True grit in making it and courage in apologizing for it.

Cassidy swallowed both.

tredlgt said...

This is who the liberals and their supporters are ,in an election next week these troglodytes would be back in government according to the polls .
The liberal party supporters are just as low a pack of bastards as abbott ,morrison and hockey .To a person they back this shit they revel in it ,these low life grubs . I know it is bad form to speak like this but bugger it the coalition voters accept these statements by their leaders and cheer them on ,or at least do not object.You would not think there could be so many heartless pricks in one group of people.

vp said...

Grog,

You have joined so many dots. Why has no one else in the msm?

thirdborn said...

What annoys me is that coalition folk are saying they are only passing this on because they are representing the people - the same argument as that ridiculous petition going to parliament calling for muslim immigration to halt. Leaders have a responsibility to shape the environment and change attitudes, for the better. This hate mongering is not Australian, it is not how I was raised.

Anonymous said...

Notice how the cowards Abbott and Morrison don't face the mainstream media but go instead to their Liberal radio stations.

RodH said...

I can see it all now. In some village in the Afghan mountains a granny is dying. The family can't afford a decent funeral. "Hey Bahualdin! What can we do!"

"I know, Haidar! Let's sign her up with the people smugglers! Only $10,000 US! If the boat sinks on the way to Australia the Australian Government will bury her for free!"

P.M.Newton said...

More fool me.

Yesterday I emailed Hockey to congratulate him on taking a "Stand".

This is the one I have just sent him after reading the transcript of this interview with Jones.


"Yesterday I wrote to say I admired your decency and humanity and courage in taking a stand at odds with your party.

Having just read a transcript of the craven interview you took part in with Alan Jones, I realise I was mistaken."

Victoria said...

'Notice how the cowards Abbott and Morrison don't face the mainstream media but go instead to their Liberal radio stations?'
These political parasites, Abbott and Morrison, are just adapting the Republican Political Playbook, Sarah Palin Edition, 2011, to the Australian environment. They are learning how to only use the media which is favourable to them, plus incorporating social networking tools to their advantage, such as the use of Hate e-mail Chain letter campaigns, You Tube videos mocking the ALP and other targets, distorting online polls and then quoting the results back at us as if they are valid; getting their self-funded retiree army to flood the radio stations with their orchestrated ire; and generally clogging the facebook and blog sites for the media outlets with their bile. It's a rancid stew that they don't mind stirring up in order to manipulate the electorate, and, to use a Biblical metaphor, seeing as how we're talking about the faux Christians Abbott and Morrison, they say that the AntiChrist will come among us with a silver tongue and lead us to damnation.

Paul C said...

Greg, you're in the wrong line of work. You've done more background research into the facts behind all this than most papers would put into one edition. Thanks so much for continuing on with this.

Paul C said...

"Notice how the cowards Abbott and Morrison don't face the mainstream media but go instead to their Liberal radio stations." - Anonymous, above

I cannot believe the claims made by the Liberal Party (and many of their lackeys in the mainstream media) that there's a left-wing bias in the mainstream media. What blinding hypocrisy!

When will pollies stop using "Yes, Minsiter" as an instructional video?

Anonymous said...

There was an article published last night on a conservative website Menzies House criticising Joe Hockey, the article was written by an anonymous Liberal staffer. It was an interesting read: http://www.petermartin.com.au/2011/02/that-tirade-against-joe-hockey-at.htm
Looks like some Liberals have very low opinions about Joe, more interestingly the article was subsequently removed this morning but Peter Martin managed to get a copy of it.

Sam said...

With Victoria on this one. I see striking similarities between the Liberals in Aus and the Republicans in USA. It is an absolute disgrace and drags the nation down

Anonymous said...

There was an article by Philip Coorey on SMH today saying that Joe Hockey has more guts to speak up than the PM on the funeral issue. Well I guess he spoke too early, and I hope he will write something tomorrow that he has give Hockey too much credit.

Doug said...

To Jaded (comments, 15 Feb) and PM Newton today:
You were right, I was wrong. I thought Hockey might have been genuine. Now I see why Robb wants to replace him - Hockey is an empty suit.
You know, I'd like to think I could do better than to resort to hackneyed cliches, especially about the Nazis. But what Morrison has been doing, with his party's blessing (and that means all of them until we hear otherwise and without cowardly qualification), plumbs the depths of public morality along similar lines to that of Hitler and Goebbels. Morrison (and Abbott) recanting his most recent comment partially or fully is irrelevant because the whistle had already been blown and the dogs were howling, whipped up by the shock jocks this morning.

Note to Mr Abbott - a real leader sets an example for the better, he/she does not appeal to the darker side of humanity. While it is fair in politics to fan the flames of discontent against ideology or ideas, it is an obscenity and a crime against everything that Jesus represented for the flames to be fanned against people because of their race, creed or colour. You are no Samaritan.
Whether or not you ever win in politics, your life is a failure because you have lost your humanity. Whatever principles you think you might still cling to are no longer yours to hold. You have decided to align yourself and your life with the darker side of human nature. Your sins are beyond God's forgiveness and you are beyond redemption. Obviously hell is no deterrent, so may you rot in obscurity.

Casablanca said...

The unedifying response by Scott Morrison put me in mind of the resentful response to the full naval honours accorded to the four Japanese sub-mariners who perished in Sydney Harbour in 1942. All I knew about the earlier event was what I have read at the midget-submarine exhibit at the Australian War Memorial but not surprisingly I found more detail on the web. Rear Admiral Muirhead Gould, the then officer in charge of Sydney's defences seemed to cop most of the flak. One of his responses was that

"It must take courage of the very highest order to go out in a thing like that steel coffin …
How many of us are really prepared to make one-thousandth of the sacrifice that these men made?"

How many of us would have the courage and fortitude to escape from a war-torn country and undertake a hazardous journey to seek a better life in another country at the other end of the world?

The manner of the arrival of these asylum seekers in our country should not negate decency and compassion. As we know, the majority will be accepted as refugees. What a tragedy that their horrible experiences are further exacerbated by a lack of humanity and common decency as championed by Morrison and the shock jocks.

Doug said...

According to Scott Morrison's website, he is an active member of the ShireLive Church. This link will take you to the "What We Believe" part of their website - http://www.shirelive.com/what-we-believe/
Interestingly, nowhere on the website do they mention what Christianity actually means to them in their relationship with the rest of the world. It is a church for narcissists.

megpie71 said...

I grew up in a country where "boat people" were given a welcome and a fair go (this was the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s). As a second-generation Australian myself (three out of my four grandparents were migrants who arrived in Australia by boat... in each of their cases the boat was from England, but the point still stands), I can see the hypocrisy inherent in telling others to stay away. Indeed, my long-standing position is the only people who have a real right to tell immigrants to get out of the country are people who are of Indigenous Australian heritage - and given the way we've been listening and paying attention to the Indigenous Australian peoples to for the past two centuries, I really don't think those of us with paler skins have much of a leg to stand on in the matter.

I grew up learning of my immigrant heritage. I grew up hearing stories of my grandmother doing her best to help welcome the "Displaced Persons" from the end of world war II (and of the inevitable mistakes which occurred, such as her using "coffee and chicory essence" to make coffee for them - at the time it was a real disappointment, but it became a bit of an in-joke for the lot of them later). I grew up in a household where my mother was willing to add two Asian children to the daily school pick up and drop off run (along with the rest of us Euro types). I grew up in a household where having black South African friends wasn't even regarded as unusual. I grew up in a household where having a Vietnamese single mother and her baby living in the spare room was regarded as an opportunity to learn a new cuisine (and I can still remember my Dad helping to explain the ins and outs of a housing contract to Kim's sister, and her partner). I grew up in this household, and the thing which I remember is those attitudes being regarded as perfectly normal - of course we'd do our best to help people who were new to the country. Of course we'd open our doors. Of course we'd help out. That's what we did. We were Aussies, after all.

I don't want to live in the Australia Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison are trying to shape, where the cost of a funeral service for people who died attempting to reach our shores is something to be begrudged and resented. Where the doors are shut and locked, and anyone who wants our help has to wait patiently in an internment camp somewhere in the middle of a war zone. I want the Australia I grew up in back again.

(word verification: resie - as in "resies want to help too!"

wizman said...

I read that tripe Barry Cassidy "wrote", and the interviewer kept saying to the Immigration Minister "can't you just use your discretion here", or "you have the power", or "isn't it just common sense". And then Cassidy complains about how terrible it is sticking to some process and tick all the boxes.

Can't imagine what would happen if the minister used his discretion to just say "all Afghan asylum seekers get automatic entry because we are fighting a war in that theatre."

"Where is the process?" I can hear them scream!

Notus said...

Well done Grog in exposing the coalition's well organised hate strategy (proposed by Scott Morrison last December).
Why does the mainstream media support this right wing extremism.

Sir Ian Crisp said...

We have been sold the impression that compassion is in the DNA of both major political parties yet Tracey Lake miscarried in the toilet of the Frankston Hospital in spite of the commitment to adequately fund hospitals expressed in the Health Care (Appropriation) Act 1998. Would a compassionate government find money to fly non citizens across Australia to attend the funerals of non citizens yet that same government is prepared to snip the health budget so much that people like Tracey Lake can’t get appropriate health care?

han said...

Yesterday I was ready to give the moderate Liberals my protest vote after Hockey's statement. Today I take that back. I would not even preference Liberal in the NSW state election despite the disaster that is state Labor. I like Malcolm Turnbull but considering the companies he keeps at the Liberal Party the only way he gets my vote is to form a third party.

Anonymous said...

we are not doing a comparison of the two political streams here sir ian,we are expressing our dismay and disgust at the damage that the coalitions policies are doing to fabric of our community and the obscene depths that they are prepared to sink to for short term political advantage.

Susan said...

Reading the comments reported in crikey yesterday, I felt physically sick with disgust. I can't conceive of what it would feel like to be so utterly devoid of compassion. In validating and amplifying these views, the opposition are beyond contempt, but neither has the Government covered itself with glory. Instead of condemning these people for their inhumanity in the strongest possible terms, they seem to have seen the issue as primarily one where there might be the opportunity to wedge the opposition. I despair.

Rhiannon Saxon said...

Thanks again Grog for an illuminating and expressive post - I admire your writing so very much and look forward to having issues brought to my attention in a non-sensational, critical, insightful and enlightening way!

Sonia said...

Really should we be that surprised. Scott Morrison is from the electorate that bought us the Cronulla riots. He is a real shire boy. Bruce Baird must be very proud

Anonymous said...

Sir Ian Crisp, the asylum seeker deaths are down to this country.

The Howard government, in which Toner Abbott was a minister, chose to brown nose Dubya, illegally invade Iraq and Afghanistan and are directly responsible for the turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan and the refugee crisis.

They should beg forgiveness from the bereaved, not make political capital out of the tragic deaths of their family members.

The worst aspect of this affair is that they have tapped into and are happily exploiting a dark and disgusting part of the Australian psyche, while at the same time parading their so-called mealy mouthed "Christian" credentials.

I can only assume that the church they attend is Westboro Methodist Church-they espouse the same hate-filled, vicious and vile doctrines.

Can this mob sink any lower?

Chris Grealy said...

One Notion is alive and well, and it is the Liberal Party.

rhwombat said...

Ian Crisp.
Well played, that straw man!
If anyone is to blame for the toilet miscarriage at Frankston, it was Howard's Heros (starring Phony Rabbot as Health Minister) who pursued their stated policy of "benign" neglect of the public hospital system for more than a decade. It takes time and a lot of negotiating skill to undo Howard's legacy, something the current venomous zealots of the right have no idea how to even contemplate. You Tories are still morally bankrupt, no matter how hard you scream fire in the burning theatre.

Michael S said...

Heather Ewart on the 7.30 Report just treated the minister with contempt; constantly interrupting him and finishing up by saying that his actions in how he dealt with the 9-year boy were shameful.
This is also deeply disturbing if the ABC sinks to this level

Dr Con Georgakas, President, Victorian Emergency Physicians' Association said...

Doctors at the frontline of Victoria’s Emergency Departments are all distressed that a mother miscarried in the toilets of the Emergency Department at Frankston Hospital...

But this very unfortunate incident just underlines the crisis that occurs across our state every day

Incidents like this have happened before and if resourcing is not addressed will unfortunately happen again.

It is distressing, but not surprising, that human life and dignity is compromised by the lack of adequate resources to give the care that our doctors and nurses strive to provide.

For too long our members, the Emergency Doctors of this state have observed patient care compromised due to overcrowding in our Emergency Departments, and inadequate numbers of trained doctors, nurses and allied health staff.

Beds must be available in Emergency Departments to treat arriving patients in a timely and dignified fashion, but so often we find we are unable to deliver this level of care as patients who need to be admitted to hospital wards are still occupying Emergency Department beds many hours after their initial care has been completed.

Emergency staff are under extreme stress working under these conditions – they just cannot provide the care they wish to give to their patients. How can such conditions possibly provide safe and timely care to the people of Victoria?”

VEPA calls on governments and hospital administrators to urgently prioritise the adequate staffing of their Emergency Departments, and to put in place systems that make ED beds available for patients when they arrive.

We urge them to move on from discussions about funding and address the real distress which is felt by our fellow Victorians every day.

Anonymous said...

By calling people "gutter-dwelling-shite merchants" you've just stooped to their level.
The comparison to returning dead servicemen is disingenuous. Most people in Australia in fact were complaining that they are expected to cover their own funeral travel costs.

I still regard the whole commentary on this issue as tasteless and didn't have any issue with flying these bereaved people to Sydney, but you're selective comparisons and name calling don't add to the debate - rather they pick on minor sideline issues to confirm you're view of Australians as racist hicks. So...yet another pointless rant on a blog.