Australian of the Year’s Empty Vessel

pink panzersWhat’s wrong with Australia?  After 228 years, the only thing we can think of to celebrate this nation’s great achievements, and the liberation of its native inhabitants from the Stone Age, is the appointment of a tin soldier who excoriates us for sexism, family violence and lack of patriotism. Does an ever-upward but otherwise unremarkable military career (until he delivered a speech written for him by a transsexual Twitter troll and  fellow AOTY nominee) really fall within the category of “outstanding achievement” envisaged by the National Australia Day Council for an Australian of the Year?

Yet it seems David Morrison is now to be turned loose on the country, licensed to lecture and hector all and sundry for their failure to conform to his barrack-room discipline on social standards. As a lietenant-general, Morrison might have passed unnoticed onto the retired list but for his 2013 outburst in a video clip applauded by the usual coterie of feminists, left-wing ideologues and the campaigning broadcasters of the ABC.

What we don’t hear often are the voices saying that Morrison demoralised the army with his “feminisation” of the service, which scandalously included taxpayer-funded sex-change operations. Or that his concerns about gender-bashing came very late in his career. The enthusiasm for his YouTube clip effectively snuffed out any analysis of the Morrison style: the fierce, almost jihadist fanaticism in his eyes, the tightened facial muscles, what might be taken by some to be a self-righteous vindictiveness lurking in his delivery.

Those who puzzled as to why the Chief of Army needed to deal so publicly with an internal disciplinary matter involving spotty cadets and a hidden video camera might just have glimpsed the unleashing of a political ambition fettered for four decades by military discipline.

On Monday night, as the rain came down in Canberra, Morrison did it again, let it all out. Since when is the Australian of the Year, an unelected citizen, empowered to undertake a self-appointed role as a social and political activist? Listen:

“Too many Australians are denied the opportunity to reach their potential. It happens because of their gender, the god they believe in, because of their racial heritage, because they’re not able-bodied, because of their sexual orientation.”

Diversity and equality are to be his watch-words. And with a flat criticism of the alleged but easily explainable 17.8%  “gender wage gap” he signaled an intemperate foray into the equal-pay issue. That should earn him little thanks from the government.

Then there was his declaration of support for the republic movement, with this fatuous contribution:

It is time at least to revisit the question so we can stand both free and fully independent among the community of nations.”

At least he stopped short of calling Australia a pariah state! Throughout its history, the Australian of the Year award has been controversial. Since 1979 it has zig-zagged, from recognising international achievement, to eminent Australians, to popular sportsmen and entertainers, then to promotion of multiculturalism and reconciliation, more recently to what might be termed social reconstruction.

In 2010, Professor Patrick McGorry’s campaign for youth mental health reform.

Simon McKeon in 2011 promoted World Vision, ending global poverty and MS research.

In 2013 Ita Buttrose spent an active year on behalf of Alzheimer’s victims, arthritis, breast cancer and HIV/AIDs.

Two years ago, 2014 saw Aboriginal footballer Adam Goodes kick along Indigenous issues, but ended with an own goal by way of his uncontrolled outbursts.

Who decides the tone and character of the award? Nominally, it falls to the board of the National Australia Day Council which constitutes the judging panel. Since 1990, the Board chairmen have been: John Newcombe, Phillip Adams, Kevan Gosper, Lisa Curry Kenny, Adam Gilchrist, and now Ben Roberts-Smith.

The current board of the Council is widely drawn, but hardly outstanding:

Ms Robbie Sefton, Tamworth, Director of a rural public relations company.

Ms Janet Whiting, Melbourne lawyer, President of National Gallery of Victoria

Prof. Samina Yasmeen, Centre for Muslim States & Societies, University of W.A.

Ms Elizabeth Kelly, Dept Prime Minister & Cabinet

Jason Glanville, Wiradjuri member

Norman Schueler,  company director, S.A.; V-P Council of Australian Jewry

Dr Susan Alberti, businesswoman, Alberti Medical Research Foundation

The board is constrained by the nominations received from the states, and it seems that these have been determined by interests with specific agendas. There were 34 nominations for 2016 AOTY, including 7 doctors or medical specialists; 6 humanitarians; 5 human rights activists/lawyers; 4 artists/journalist (P. Gresche)/actors; 3 diversity/equality people; 3 aborigines; 1 scientist; 1 cultural leader (Brendan Nelson AWM). These largely smack of people out to change the world, not achievers to be recognised for their contribution to Australia. No industrialist, no business leader, no inventor or innovator, nobody from the rural communities.

The time has come to ask: who is skewing this game? Is government subtly using the appointment to do some of its social reforming on the sly? The award has always been seen as a non-event by the vast bulk of the population, interesting only when it generated controversy. It has abandoned the achiever and role-model categories. Now it’s in danger of crippling itself in political activism.

Already there are signs that David Morrison’s campaign speeches on diversity and equality will drip nicely into the maudlin puddle of the elite’s loathing for all things they associate with Australians of less worth and intellect than themselves. Morrison will have the microphone and podium for the next twelve months. Best ignore him.

17 thoughts on “Australian of the Year’s Empty Vessel

  • Mr Johnson says:

    As soon as our new Australian of the Year started with his hectoring diatribe I smelt something quite odious, but recognisable – it was that of a soul looking for new meaning, and of course, a new role, post-army.

    Mr Morrison perhaps has had someone whisper in his little pink ear “politics, for you, dear sir.” and then “The Left media will transport you all the way there, if only you sing from their book.”

    And then did he ever.

  • Tony Thomas says:

    Best was Flannery, by Howard1

  • prsmith14@gmail.com says:

    I recall Morrison telling Leigh sales last May in the most cringe-worthy of interviews that “I don’t think there’s a military solution to anything.” Tell that to the French occupied by Nazis, to Abe Lincoln, to the Israelis fighting off the Arabs in numbers of wars, etc., etc., etc. Mind you if the very worst happens and we can’t talky talk our way out of it, he evidently reckons that a bunch of petticoated transsexuals will be able to fight off the ‘hairy-arsed’ Taliban. Where in the world do these people come from and exactly how do they reach the highest levels in the armed forces without firing a shot? Peter Smith

  • Jody says:

    Peter, couldn’t agree more with your comments!! Morrison is the product of a careerist defense department which has never had to face an existential threat to Australia. The result is navel gazing, political correctness and a focus on the career paths of the military. I certainly hope that our deployed soldiers toughing it out in Afghanistan and other absolute hell holes won’t be firing a single shot if they are unwilling to check their white privilege or pay heed to the glass ceiling for women. I suggest that the personnel in the military would have been glad to be rid of the likes of Morrison and I further suggest that he would have been widely loathed whilst in that job.

  • Jody says:

    And I wonder what the excellent Sir Peter Cosgrove would make of this fiasco!!!

  • en passant says:

    Since Stuart Robert made his Orwellian speech about ‘Capability through Diversity’ – thought-bubble I cannot even contemplate discombobulating) this was almost an inevitable progression. However, I am sure that some good will come of this now that Captain Mona ‘Hijab’ Shindy can be put in charge of leading the Navy Gay Pride Parade in the Mardis Gras and ‘Man for All Seasons’ McGregor can be put in charge of the Islamic recruiting program. That should make for an interesting Chaplains Conference Agenda item for the services imam to consider.
    The results of these initiatives will make us the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.

  • btola says:

    The left needs to be understood theologically. It is a religion, with its adherents set upon expansion. It needs to create or appropriate awards, literary prizes and the like in order to propose its saints as models for the faithful and as tools for its propaganda.

  • dsh2@bigpond.com says:

    Thanks to Geoffrey Luck and Roger Franklin for their perceptive and sensible articles about the AOTY. It is reassuring to know that there are sane commentators still prepared to speak frankly.

  • Rob Brighton says:

    The AOTY has the effect of clearly identifying those that Yuri Bezmenov spoke of way back in 1984. He described them as schmucks, I cannot imagine a more accurate description.

  • Egil Nordang says:

    Excellent summary by G. Luck of why The Australia Council has ended up as a sad comedy club with laughter for all the wrong reasons.
    Seems they have a competition with The Nobel Peace Price committee about who can make the most cringeworthy and ridiculous choice.
    Obama would have been a lock for AOTY, but for the fact he is ….American?
    Compliments to Peter Smith for his comment.
    The ADF with all it’s inclusions/restrictions and PC could well be very competitive in a moral debate.
    Anything beyond that does not bear contemplating.

    • Jody says:

      There’s a picture on the front page of today’s Oz with Morrison and MacGregor sitting beside each other! I observed to my husband, over our breakfast, “Look; our modern Australian fighting force”!!!

  • Jody says:

    PLEASE read this; it’s very important and 100% accurate. From the New York Times:


  • gardner.peter.d says:

    Vice Admiral Barrett will probably be candidate next time. I love this from the Navy’s celebration of Ramadan: ‘Navy is committed to cultural diversity and inclusion due to the capability enhancement that they bring, ‘. (http://news.navy.gov.au/en/Jul2015/Community/2143/Navy-breaks-fast-to-celebrate-diversity.htm#.VqlNill1HTo)

    And what, prey, are precisely the Naval capability enhancements that can be gained only from non-White, Muslims?.

    This, perhaps:

    Or this:


    I suspect the only capability gained from this policy is taqiyya and kitman (lying and misdirection to achieve sacred ends). Trouble is it is directed not at Australia’s enemies but at Australia itself.

  • btola says:

    Surely McGregor has a point. Since the award seems to have nothing to do with merit but rather with making leftie statements, McGregor should have received it: Morrisson only makes statements whereas McGregor embodies them.

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