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May 10th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

Labor’s Bearded Ladies

According to Bill Shorten, both major parties are as one on turning back boats and offshore detention. But just listen to Tanya Plibersek and Sophie Ismail, the Latte Belt contender seeking to oust The Greens' Adam Bandt.  They aren't anywhere near so definite

52 daysIt’s strange. I live in the inner city. I even own a bike. And yet I have never a felt a compulsion to wear brogues without socks, eat a deconstructed hamburger off what looks like my mum’s chopping block or sport a beard that would beat W. G. Grace’s by an innings and half.

Others, alas, are not so fortunate. They succumb to the Stockholm Syndrome of the soul. One of these is Sophie Ismail, the Labor candidate for Adam Bandt’s seat of Melbourne. “I look like a Greens candidate,” she said last year when she was preselected – and, as a gay former migrant and human rights lawyer, she certainly ticked the right boxes. “All of my friends vote Green,” she rather plaintively added.

Given all this it should have come as no surprise that on the very first full day of the election campaign Ms Ismail completely disavowed her party’s asylum seeker strategy. “I have concerns about turn-backs,” she bleated. “I don’t think they should be on the table,” adding, for good measure, “it’s time to review the Pacific solution.”

Bill Shorten was quick to repudiate her remarks, but they only prompted delight among the Furry Friends. Leader Richard Di Natale declared the Greens would be happy to support a Labor government in a hung parliament. “If the Labor Party is interested in taking this country into a more progressive, more sustainable direction, then obviously we would be happy to have those negotiations,” he said, even as he campaigned to tip Anthony Albanese out of his seat of Grayndler on Monday.

Bandt himself was even keener when he appeared on the chattering classes’ favourite Punch and Judy show, Q&A, that evening. “I would like to see Greens working with Labor,” he said. Labor has acted swiftly to disavow the suggestion. “He’s dreaming,” Bill Shorten said of Bandt, doing his best everyman impersonation.

His deputy, Tanya Plibersek, was even more emphatic when she appeared on ABC radio on Tuesday morning. “Australians would be horrified by the idea of another hung parliament,” she said. “We legislated well when we had a hung parliament but it was extraordinarily difficult. Some of the compromises that we made cost us quite dearly.”

Yet oddly enough, last July, less than 10 months ago at the Labor National Conference, Plibersek voted, via proxy, in support of an asylum seeker policy not too dissimilar to that backed by her party’s candidate in Melbourne – or for an end to turn-backs, anyway.

With the Greens threatening to force a fresh election if they hold the balance of power in a hung parliament and Labor won’t play ball, it’s hard to imagine the likes of Plibersek being unwilling to make one or two concessions in order to govern – particularly given the circumstances would give them a whole new degree of leverage over their supposed colleagues from the right.

That is, of course, unless you’re dreaming.

Comments [8]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Should it ever come to that, and it might well happen, that all theses strident progressive types have to square gay rights and same sex marriage with minority rights, such as those of Muslims, observing their painful contortions would be fun to observe. Even more so for the fact that a high proportion of those they wish to welcome with open arms belong to that particular minority.

  2. Bran Dee says:

    Of the 50,000 boat people let in by Labor only about half have been processed and the remainder are on temporary visas. They are difficult to check because they disposed of their papers when nearing the goal.
    Since Labor is opposed to temporary visa one can be fairly certain that Bill and Tanya and Sophie Ismail if successful would in short time make them all permanent and able to bring in the extended family whatever language they speak and whatever skills if any they might have acquired.

  3. Simon says:

    “We legislated well when we had a hung parliament” – Pardon?

    Oh, I get it. She is confusing passing hundreds of bills with passing hundreds of bills that actually do some good.

  4. Lo says:

    You’re right of course. What about the lack of Vitamin D?

  5. Lo says:

    Sorry, wrong article.

  6. Jody says:

    Here’s what somebody wrote on “Spiked” within the last couple of days, and it’s very relative to progressives. BTW, ‘The Conversation’ is discussing an article which says studies have shown Conservatives are less intelligent that people who are ‘true liberals’. These kinds of ‘studies’ would have been a centrepiece in the Nazi regime. Anyway, I couldn’t help posting this:

    “ISIS is only an enemy of Western regimes because it uses physical force to achieve its aims, not for its ideas and its aims. The West is engaged in exactly the same process of deculturation and intellectual hooliganism as the Islamic barbarians. A war against meaning, order and knowledge. The vandalism in academia. The war on families and tradition. All in all, a comprehensive attempt to eliminate any sign of spontaneous humanity and replace it with a fanatical vision of perfection. ISIS uses violence and the West uses the mental cruelty of PC, otherwise there is no major conceptual difference”.

    Amen.

  7. It is the sanctimonious hypocrisy of their attitudes that grates with me more than anything else. It is very easy to be ‘compassionate with somebody else’s money. If and when Gillian Triggs or Sarah HY or any other of the ‘compassionistas’ ever advertise where they live and volunteer to take in and house and feed some of the genuinely homeless Australians, at their own expense, then that will be the time I will take some notice of what they say. Until then I will ignore [and actively oppose] what they do.

  8. Jody says:

    I agree with Mark Latham. Talking on “Bolt” the other night he questioned the IQs of Greens candidates, saying that they lacked basic empathy and understanding and that they ought to be so ashamed of presiding over the deaths of 1200 people that they shouldn’t rear their heads. Latham described them as “sub human”. It’s hard to disagree with Latham these days – he’s on fire!