Q&A: Penny Wong takes another swipe at Pauline Hanson
As a long-term Leftist apparatchik and a lesbian of East Asian extraction, she was never going to do anything else. And as usual, Amanda Vanstone spoke the most sense. Amanda is an overweight lady so does not get a lot of respect but what she says is very balanced. She is a lawyer by background
Pauline Hanson may not have featured on the Q&A panel on Monday night, but the controversial Queensland senator's name was bound to pop up at some stage.
Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong has previously accused Senator Hanson of peddling prejudice and fear, and she doubled down on that statement when questioned by an audience member.
The panel at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide also featured South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Minister for Education Simon Birmingham and former Liberal senator Amanda Vanstone.
Senator Wong, as she so often does in her Q&A appearances, produced the biggest reaction from the audience on the night.
Asked how she could argue Senator Hanson peddles prejudice and fear when she was elected by the people of Australia to represent their views, Senator Wong responded with, "because I look at what she says".
"Yes, she is elected, you know, she has her seat in the Senate. And she's entitled to speak, but those of us who have very different views are also entitled to speak.
Mr Birmingham said the figures quoted in the Essential poll stating that 49 per cent of Australians agreed with Senator Hanson's views surprised, while Mr Weatherill said the general public was receiving shaky information about Muslim immigration.
"I was surprised but not shocked," Mr Weatherill said. "The popular discourse is equated, has equated the Muslim faith with terrorism. So we see probably people being confused about those two ideas." [Rubbish! the Muslim faith has been equated with terrorism by the deeds of Muslims. When they shout "Allah Akhbar" while doing their foul deeds, you can be sure they are not Presbyterians]
Ms Vanstone said the political elite should be wary of dismissing Senator Hanson's supporters as ignorant.
"My view is to why Donald Trump, inexplicably is doing so well in the US, is typified by Hillary [Clinton]'s comment, 'the basket of deplorables'.
"If we can't have a civil debate, you have views with which I don't agree, without saying you are from a basket of deplorables, those people that think things I don't think, well, up you Jack, I'm sick of you, treating me as if I'm an ignoramus.
"I've got a vote, I've got these views and I think it's come about from a lack of respect from the political elites for people with a different view."
Pauline is the people's politician
A new survey has revealed that 60 per cent of Australians would not want a member of their family to marry a Muslim.
The research, which is part of an ongoing Deakin University study into attitudes towards Islam, also found more than one third of people thought Muslims should be more closely scrutinised at airports.
This comes just a week after a similar poll revealed half of all Australians would support a complete ban on Muslim immigration.
In the Deakin survey, a quarter of respondents said they would be comfortable if all anti-terror efforts focused solely on Muslims.
It showed that Australians have significantly more negative views towards Muslims, and while 60 per cent would be concerned if a Muslim married into their family, 33 per cent would be similarly unhappy over a Jewish fiancé.
Just 8.1 per cent of people would be upset if a relative was marrying a Christian.
The ongoing survey also revealed that when given the option, respondents did not disagree with Islamaphobic statements such as 'practicing Muslims pose a threat to Australian society'.
Co-author of the paper Dr Matteo Vergani, who is a Research Fellow at Deakin's Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, said education was the key to combating these attitudes towards Islam.
'We found that across the board – among conservative or progressive individuals, people of different age, education and country of birth – there was an association between someone's level of knowledge about Islam and their prejudice against Muslims.
'In the wake of the recent Essential poll which showed that 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration, this result is particularly heartening and important because it suggests that education and knowledge of Islam is key to overcoming Islamophobia and building a more cohesive society.'
The research comes a week after it was revealed almost half of all Australians support One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's policy of ban Muslim immigration.
Polling conducted by Essential Research found 49 per cent of Australians surveyed supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, with 40 per cent opposed to the idea.
The results surprisingly revealed more than one third of Greens voters (34 per cent) support the proposed ban, while 60 per cent of Liberal voters and 40 per cent of Labor voters agreed.
A perceived terrorist threat was the second greatest reason given (27 per cent) by those who support the ban, behind fears Muslim people 'do not integrate into Australian society' (41 per cent).
Backpacker tax: Federal Government backs down on plan
The Federal Government has responded to backbench and industry pressure and dumped the budget plan to impose a 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker workers.
Under a compromise deal, working holidaymakers will be taxed at 19 per cent from their first dollar earned instead.
Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the deal after it was signed off by Cabinet today, saying the backbench committee pushing for the changes was also satisfied.
"As one said, they were a pig in mud when it came to the changes that I'm about to announce now," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
The move comes within weeks of the Government's backtrack on superannuation, again following intense backbench pressure.
Queensland Coalition backbencher George Christensen was one of the main protagonists in pushing for both policy changes, but is not claiming total responsibility.
"I'm one of many, we all have a say, I'm having my say all the time, and other people are having their say too."
"This is not something that I'm going to go out saying that I scored a win on, it was a collective win."
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Christensen’s influence was broader than he was letting on.
“We've just seen this latest backflip from the government on this backpacker tax, there's no doubt that George Christensen and the right wing of that party are spelling out the song that Mr Turnbull has to sing,” Mr Shorten said.
Road to tyranny is paved with Leftie assumptions
When your news and views come from a tightly controlled, left-wing media echo chamber, it may come as a bit of a shock to learn that in the July election almost 600,000 voters gave their first preference to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. You may also be surprised to know that still deluded conservatives remain disenchanted with the media’s favourite Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull, for his epic fail as Prime Minister, especially when compared with the increasingly respected leader he deposed.
Perhaps when media outlets saturate us with “appropriate” thoughts and “acceptable” speech, and nonconformists are banished from television, radio and print, it’s easy to miss what is happening on the uneducated side of the tracks. After all, members of the better educated and morally superior political class use a compliant media to shelter us from the dangerous, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, welfare-reforming, climate-change denying bigots who inhabit the outer suburbs and countryside — the people whom Hillary Clinton calls “the deplorables”.
They must be vilified without debate, lest too many of us waver on the virtues of bigger governments, central planning, more bloated bureaucracies, higher taxes, unaffordable welfare, a “carbon-free” economy, more regulations, open borders, gender-free and values-free schools and same-sex marriage; the sort of agenda that finds favour at the UN.
Yet history is solid with evidence that this agenda will never deliver the promised human dignity, prosperity and liberty. Only free and open societies with small governments can do that.
Gradually, the masses are realising something is wrong. Their wealth and income growth is stagnating and their living standards are threatened. They see their taxes wasted on expensive, ill-conceived social programs. They live with migrants who refuse to integrate. They resent having government in their lives on everything from home renovations to recreational fishing, from penalty rates to free speech.
Thomas Jefferson’s warning that “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground” is now a stark reality.
The terms “people’s representative” and “public servant” have become a parody. In today’s world we are the servants and, if it suits, we are brushed aside with callous indifference. Like the Labor government’s disregard for the enormous emotional and financial hurt suffered when, overnight, it shut down live cattle exports on the strength of a television show.
Or like the NSW parliament passing laws banning greyhound racing in the state. There was no remorse for the ruined lives of thousands of innocent people, many of whom won’t recover. Talk of compensation is a travesty.
Or like the victims neighbouring Williamtown and Oakey air force bases, made ill from toxic contamination of groundwater. Around the world it’s known chemical agents used in airport fire drills cause cancer, neurological disease and reproductive disorders, yet the Australian Department of Defence simply denies responsibility. The powerless are hopelessly trapped between health risks and valueless properties.
Similar disdain is shown for those living near coal-seam gas fields and wind turbines. The authorities know of the health and financial impacts but defend operators by bending rules and ignoring guidelines.
If governments believe the ends justify the means, people don’t matter.
When Ernst & Young research finds one in eight Australians can’t meet their electricity bills, rather than show compassion for the poor and the elderly, governments push ruthlessly ahead with inefficient and expensive renewable energy projects.
This newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell reveals in his book, Making Headlines, how Kevin Rudd, when prime minister, brazenly attempted to use state power to investigate “the relationship between my paper and him”. Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard, wanted to establish a media watchdog to effectively gag journalists.
None of this is fantasy and it explains why people are losing confidence in the democratic system. Australians feel increasingly marginalised and unrepresented. They are tired of spin and being lied to. They know that data is often withheld or manipulated.
As they struggle to make ends meet, they watch helplessly as the established political class shamelessly abuses its many privileges. It appears its sole purpose in life is to rule, not to govern. This adds weight to the insightful contention by the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott that Australia is in desperate need of a national purpose.
It’s no wonder, to paraphrase American author Don Fredrick, that a growing number of Australians no longer want a tune-up at the same old garage. They want a new engine installed by experts — and they are increasingly of the view that the current crop of state and federal mechanics lacks the skills and experience to do the job.
One Nation may not be the answer, but its garage does offer a new engine.
This is Australia’s version of the Trump phenomenon. Like Donald Trump, Hanson is a non-establishment political disrupter. However, unlike Trump, who may soon occupy the White House, Hanson won’t inhabit the Lodge.
This leaves Australia’s establishment and the central planners very much in control. It means we will remain firmly on our current bigger-government path, financed by higher taxes and creative accounting.
Nobel laureate economist FA Hayek observes in his book The Road to Serfdom: “The more planners improvise, the greater the disturbance to normal business. Everyone suffers. People feel rightly that ‘planners’ can’t get things done.”
But he argues that, ironically, in a crisis the risk is that rather than wind back the role of government, people automatically turn to someone strong who demands obedience and uses coercion to achieve objectives.
Australia is now on that road to tyranny and, with another global recession in prospect and nearly 50 per cent of voters already dependent on government, the incentive is to vote for more government, not less.
The left-wing media echo-chamber will be an enthusiastic cheerleader.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here