Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Prerogative Of The Harlot, Australian Style

So: the press for a whole year pursued the wrong story, the Rudd Risorgimento, and thought they were doing their job. They solemnly predicted that a man who had soiled and junked a mandate as large as Whitlam’s — giving flash jobs not to Labor people but Costello, Nelson, Downer, Scott, Bryce; doing doorstops in front of churches; besmirching as evil a world-famed photographer; excommunicating a unionist for dirtily cursing John Howard — would be asked back, with apologies, to sack Swan and Shorten, Labor’s highest-achieving ministers, and keep Oakeshott, Wilkie, Thomson, Katter, Slipper and Gillard somehow on side and voting Confidence in him.

They believed this nonsense, every word of it, or were told by Rupert and Gina to tout it anyway.

How craven and snivelling they were; and, in the long run, how corrupt.

And now they are copping Costello’s creepy unproven robocalls as received Truth, and swearing it is Labor that is in crisis, not the tories, while Newman closes emergency services, Shaw goes on trial, Baillieu and Mills are overthrown, Torbay comes under criminal scrutiny, the ACT Liberals deselect their favourite son and South Australia waits, like a Cargo Cult, for Alexander Downer to descend from the sky.

How despicable, slimy, crawling and treacherous they are. How tawdry and wrong.

I will debate any one of them, or any three, anytime.

Christianity Thus Far (2): An Exchange

Jeremy Dixon March 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I get frustrated in discussions about Christianity, they often seem a bit shallow, and regret that Barbara Thiering’s theory of how the the Gospels should be interpreted seems to have passed into history. Few of us can independently assess the details of her argument, as a scholarly knowledge of several ancient languages is required, but what struck me about her version of events is that it made sense as history.

According to Thiering, who is a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, a group of Jewish sectarians loyal to the House of David but sponsored by the Herod family conspired to seize the Roman Empire. There was an early set-back chronicled in the Gospels as decoded but in time as history tells us the conspiracy was successful. Her account is a rattling good yarn of love and lust, loyalty and betrayal. That prejudices me to believe that her account may be true, or true in outline.

One of her claims is that the Greek word for “Jerusalem” appears both in the singular and plural in the Gospels, apparently randomly. I took the trouble to check this with a running gloss and it is so. Why would the scribes maintain such a meaningless and easily corrected error? Thiering says it is because the plural form represents the “New Jerusalem” which is to say the movement’s headquarters at Qumran. (There is precedent for this in Hebrew usage where a plural form of Jerusalem was used to mean the New Jerusalem as in heaven.)

By her account the crucifixion was at Qumran, after Judas called in the Romans over a bitter factional dispute. This explains anomalies in the gospel account such as Pilate being able to read the headboard on the Cross from his palace. Impossible in Jerusalem, the distance was only a few yards in Qumran.

Another attractive feature of her theory as it supports many non-canonical legends, such as that Joesph made the Cross in his capacity as a carpenter. Thiering remarks that to crucify Jesus and the other two (Judas and Simon Magus in her account!)the Romans probably had to improvise and used large tent-poles with a T cross bar for stability, they would have been used for setting up marquees. Joseph in his capacity as the Qumran carpenter would very likely have made them.

She wrote a few books “Jesus the Man” etc and there is a website dedicated to her work. I’d love to see a movie based on the Thiering version. Her version of the Virgin Birth is very credible too…..

Jeremy Dixon March 31, 2013 at 11:21 am

But none of this touches the actual doctrine of the church.

Leaving aside the coded history that may be there (as I hope) or not; the practice of Christianity when demythologised is a yoga similar to the Kundalini yoga.

The Kundalini yoga operates by transmuting the sexual energies while the Christian yoga operates by transmuting in addition the emotions of hatred etc. The fingerprint showing this is the insistence not on suppressing lust and rage but in actually _not feeling_ them. “He who hates his brother murders him” etc.

This is a magical esoteric practice not meant for the many, hence “narrow is the gate and few there are who find it”; which at least saved Christianity from being saddled with a 1st century law code. They adopted and modified the Roman law code when they gained power but it was never in the Holy Scriptures at the core of the religion. And Jesus himself had made clear that there was nothing untouchable or beyond criticism about the “Law of Moses”.

The importance of Islam is that it seeks salvation for all, not just an inner elite.

Doug Quixote March 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm

With the muscles of a carpenter, we are asked to believe Jesus of Nazareth died within a few hours of his crucifixion. The expectation would have been for him to last for at least 24 hours, perhaps 48 before dying. Perhaps like Shakespeare’s Juliet he had the seeming of death.

The rest falls into place: the grave opened, the stigmata, the appearances after “death”.

Jeremy Dixon March 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Yes, crucifixion took, and was meant to take, days. According to Thiering the “vinegar” he was given was in fact poison so he could be buried before the Sabbath began at sundown. By her account this was no regular execution but a hurried lynching on Jewish turf.

It was in any case not Jesus who the Romans were chiefly after but the man known to history as Simon Magus, and in the gospels known by various names, of which Simon the Leper, Simon the Zealot and Lazarus are the chief. Unlike Jesus, Simon preached rebellion against Rome. Simon and Jesus were political opponents but personal friends. The event known as the “Raising as Lazarus” was the crisis point for this conflict of loyalties, the event is literally described except that Lazarus, Simon, was not actually dead when he was put in the grave; he was being excommunicated. Jesus reluctantly chose to intervene to protect his friend the rebel and so joined the wanted list himself. But it was Simon Magus, by Thiering’s account, who not only successfully revived Jesus in the tomb but had the audacious plan of marketting this close encounter with death as the Resurrection! Jesus would in time move to Rome, it was no vision but Jesus himself who said “Quo Vadis”, except presumably in Aramaic, to Peter at the Appian Gate.

It goes on. Like I say a rattling good yarn. I;d liketo think it was true!

Doug Quixote March 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Was the “vinegar” a strong narcotic to give the seeming of death?

Jeremy Dixon March 31, 2013 at 8:39 am

Not by Thiering’s account, she holds it to have been a poison intended to bring about Jesus’ death.

Pilate withdrew from Qumran confident that the three crucified men were in the hands of their enemies, Jesus already dead and the other two buried alive and not long for the world.

But there was a lot Pilate did not understand about the complex politics of Qumran; after the Romans left Jesus’ friends were able to save him.

A good story, its very detail provokes scepticism but a damn good story. Dr Thiering’s own website is at:

Jeremy Dixon March 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Jesus himself, by Thiering’s account, was the hereditary leader of a popular movement for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy which preserved some part of the Davidic doctrine and ritual; its monastic order is known to history as the Essenes but the movement itself went far beyond this.

Potentially this movement was at odds with the Hasmonean priesthood as well as potentially with the Romans; but the Herod family had cannily allied themselves with the movement and set up a Jewish proseletysing mission uniting diverse factions around the promise of rich pickings far beyond Palestine itself. And far-fetched as this promise may seem and in fact have been, we know it came true in a fashion with the eventual conversion of the Empire. After a few set-backs such as the destruction of Jerusalem…

But the movement was heavily faction ridden inevitably; including doctrinal conservatives and liberals; a party that called for rebellion against Rome and a peace party, Jesus being a liberal and of the peace party.

Jesus was in some degree a puppet of events; unlike Simon Magus and later Paul he was born to his leadership role and was heavily influenced by these more cunning and ruthless men. But he does seem to have made his own contribution, whenever opportunity presented itself he reformed the movement in an egalitarian direction. The major miracles in Thiering’s account largely record these doctrinal reforms; changing water to wine for example records the admission of lay people to communion.

Jesus and Simon Magus eventually fell out, as had to happen, and the movement split between a western peace party and an eastern war party. The war party came to grief with Herod Agrippa’s failed conspiracy and eventually with the fall of Jerusalem; the peace party survived and eventually survived and prospered as Christianity.

A very important point is that the “Church” or its direct antecedent already existed before Jesus was born.

Jesus’ egalitarianism may have been influenced by the irregularity in his conception which underlies the “Virgin Birth” story….he was held by conservatives to have been illegitimately born and thus not the true Davidic king, conservatives preferring Jesus’ younger brother James the Just.

And it goes on. It really deserves a movie.

Peter March 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm

There was a scourging. His flesh hung like purple rags. His cross had to be carried by another because they feared that he would die before the grim spectacle could take place. He did not even appear human, scripture says.

But be of good cheer, DQ. He is risen.

Happy Easter table talk. Symbolic Easter eggs of respect and good will to you all.

Doug Quixote March 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Just fuck off. :mrgreen:

Jeremy Dixon March 31, 2013 at 10:59 am

Happy Easter eggs to you too Peter….and may the Great Goddess heal you and your religion….

johnsalmond March 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

This obsession with the details of the physical suffering of the mystic, possibly insane peasant wanderer Jesus at the hands of the far-off colonial power is alarming. The Mad Max movie about “The” Christ is another example of the same thing.

As Paul makes clear, the value of Christ’s sacrifice to his father doesn’t lie in the whipping and nailing to the cross, but in becoming one of those ghastly humans at all – a bit like a modern American fundamentalist being reborn as a fly-ridden peasant child in Afghanistan, or some such ungodly place

As to the suffering he endured, I’m sure the CIA would have made it more exquisite and extended it for longer (after all Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while being interrogated for 6 months in Gitmo and other countries was subjected 183 times to waterboarding, which has been described as having all the sensations of drowning, and CIA officers who have subjected themselves to the technique have lasted an average of 14 seconds before capitulating. The technique was used by the Spanish Inquisition)

Less than 2 hours elapsed between Pilate convicting Jesus and his nailing to the cross. After the scourging Jesus was able to drag a heavy wooden cross at least partway to Calvary. Peter appears to have deliriously dreamed up the “flesh hanging like purple rags” from several clear references to Jesus being clothed mockingly in royal purple, as “King of the Jews”.

Letter From A Friend

From an ardent young friend of mine, in response to Abbott’s End (13): The Case For The Defence.

Nothing will elect Turnbull… what CS Lewis might call a Mysterious Darkness, but you and I call Nick Minchin, will see to that.

In my fevered and depressive moments I contemplate an even worse scenario…

…Prime Minister Morrison.

Look on his works, ye mighty, and recoil.

I have read the piece; it’s not as bad (if that the word I want) as I’d feared, and I judge no harm can come to you because of it. In this I am much relieved.

And I’m reminded again that Abbott is a waste, such a fucking waste of a good man, once. From one who grew up in churches to another the Bulletin article is all so recognizable… the feminization and emasculation of its adherents by post-60s Christianity, the sclerosis of the institution itself, the weakness of the divine in failing its own exalted standards and, thus, being forced to stand naked before the Emperor having borrowed his clothes.

For all that I liked ‘Three Cheers for the Paraclete’, my second-favourite Keneally book, as I liked Morris West’s ‘In the Shoes of the Fisherman’.

Perhaps it is a pity Francis I did not take the name Kiril… for all that, I think he would be a Labor voter. Jesus too, probably. As was Abbott once.


Yours as ever,

X (not his real initial)

Abbott’s End (19): In Forty Words

I ask Michael Duffy: What crimes do he and Tony Abbott know of, by priests and seminarians, that he and Tony Abbott are still covering up? Why did he hint at them in his book, and not reveal them?

Abbott’s End (18): In Nineteen Words

I ask Tony Abbott: What crimes does he know of, by priests and seminarians, that he is still concealing?

Newspoll and Galaxy, Abbott’s WMD

What we have lately seen is an onrush of saturation-propaganda like the many ‘proofs’ of WMD. It is a fabricated crisis built on repeated polls that are lies.

Robocalling, which has never been tried before (and thus cannot be verified before an election) shows an even greater tory tsunami than the Galaxies and Newspolls, which ring only landlines in an era when few have them, or are home to answer them. And headline after headline is thereby summoned up to enhance and boost their predictive momentum, and no talk of policy whatever. Labor’s policies are good, but you would never know. The WMD take up all the front page headlines.

Newspoll and Galaxy are paid for by Murdoch, a piper with a particular tune. In America, the Murdoch pollsters Rasmussen and Fox News Poll always favoured Romney more than other statistical surveys, again and again, sensationally, thrillingly, a coincidence which in logic must, really must, be corrupt, and these pollsters on election day, and night, still swore he would win. Newspoll, Galaxy and Nielsen here in Australia are by the same logic corrupt as well, surely; or effectively corrupt, methodologically corrupt, because they will not ring mobiles or interview door-to-door. Morgan, which partly interviews door-to-door, has Labor ahead sometimes, and the Undecideds itchy and volatile.

By Newspoll the Katter vote is disguised as ‘other’ and his preferences given to the tories. But it is probably eighteen percent in Queensland, with his preferences going, or most of them going, to Labor. Which means Labor and Katter win seats in Queensland, in a federal outcome that is then uncertain.

This is a significant difference, and its perpetual concealment a probable crime (I ask O’Shannessy to sue me for this), just as the WMD fabrication was a crime; a war crime; a telling of things that are not true as a reason to go, politically, one way and not another.

The should be an investigation. And, in the meantime, a rejection by Labor of all recent polls as unreliable.

Franklin and Eleanor And Daisy And Bertie: Michell’s And Nelson’s Hyde Park On Hudson

FDR the polio-stricken saviour of America and war leader of the Allies had a complex private life. Mother-stifled and wife-bullied (by Eleanor, the late-flowering workaholic lesbian who refused him sex for thirty years), he had several mistresses who from time to time sated him orally and manually, and he treated them with civility, levity, and a sort of gallant, exuberant, royal forgiveness.

One of them was Daisy, his shy fifth cousin who in her forties would visit, amuse and stimulate him — and, happily, keep diaries, found under her death-bed in 1991, which provide the narration of this … well … interesting, unusual film. We watch at a discreet distance as she tosses him off in a parked car in a rural setting, a cinema first, I expect, and come to admire her patience, loyalty, discretion, good manners, and …. a species of innocence, common to the time, which Laura Linney, a superb actress (and consort, lately, to the second President John Adams) is uniquely able to manage in a tender, meek, red-headed way; as did, in another era, Deborah Kerr.

As the great dissembler Bill Murray well impersons that mixture of coldness, manipulativeness, noblesse oblige and high purpose that Eleanor’s friend Gore Vidal portrayed in two novels and several essays: the man who for the greater good sacrificed many soldier’s lives at Pearl Harbour and so got the US into a War in which he cheerfully endangered half a million more. There is a rich-boy lightness to him like a Preston Sturges character, a gamesmanship, a playfulness, a kindliness not inconsistent with selfishness. Murray wisely abjures Franklin’s true voice, a rousing mix of W.C Fields and a baying beagle, and gives us something more accessible and genteel.

The film concerns itself, or pretends to, with George VI’s visit to the President’s mother’s big house at Hyde Park and the growing menace of a picnic at which the King, for the cameras, must eat a hot dog and the Queen’s upsurging horror at this imminent vulgar unEnglish duty. Roger Michel (Notting Hill) made the film and Richard Nelson (Goodnight Children Everywhere)  wrote it with perhaps too keen an eye on Jamesian — or Wodehousian — clash of culture and Woody Allenish fumbling, as in A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, for the right word. It was wrong too, perhaps, to make of the always tolerant Queen Mum (Olivia Colman) such a prattling snob (she became, soon after, the darling of the blitzed East End) or of Bertie (Sam West) such a jabbering, self-pitying dullard.

Nonetheless, it works, it teaches, it educates. It gives us a world, long lost, of aristocratic American insouciant benevolence and an up-close look at one of its heroes who like Lincoln changed history. His withered legs and Bertie’s stammer, and the bravery of both stricken public men, are subtly invoked and rightly praised.

I note with satisfaction that the film’s crew and cast are mostly English (Daisy’s mother is the just-recogniseable Elinor Bron) and how well this befits the East Coast upper-crust of those times. It is possible I suppose that Julian Fellowes or Peter Morgan or Whit Stillman would have written it better. But I commend it nonetheless, a pleasing experience, much more engaging than the clunky ho-ho trailer suggests, and it should be seen.

This Year’s Murdoch Big Lies (3): Today’s Newspoll

O’Shannessy is getting sillier and sillier. Today’s Newspoll bizarrely asserts that Campbell Newman is/was leader of the Labor Party and the LNP as well, that Bligh preceded him in the one, and Palaszczuk succeeded him in the other.

He also asks us to believe the Katter Party got 11.5 a year ago and now gets only 3, and the Others got 4.6 a year ago, and now get 15. A fool can see he is hiding the Katter vote — which may by now be 18 or 19 percent — and doing it dishonestly; asking, perhaps, the respondents, ‘Do you vote LNP, Labor, Green or Others?’ and omitting mention of Katter most of the time. If it is indeed as I say, then KAP preferences would put Labor on 49.

It is clear what he is doing. Terrified of the haemorrhage of Newman votes to Katter, he is shovelling votes in any direction Rupert wants, and hoping nobody notices.

He is also ringing only landlines in the hottest summer on record and coming up, yes, with a swing to the NLP of six percent. Of course he is. Who was home in Queensland in January, February, March? Infirm old people, mainly. The prosperous were on holidays, the students between lodgings, the able-bodied swimming, fishing or water-skiing, the parents of children at Waterworld. Almost no-one under fifty has landlines in Queensland and those are all he rings.

If the Katter preferences go Labor’s way, and Katter’s detestation of Newman will ensure they will, it’s possible Labor is already on 54 two party preferred and gaining, or Katter’s base vote is on 21 and in a position to win eleven seats and negotiate a coalition with either side.

The level of lying is criminal but not surprising. What else does a polling company CEO do? What else is a CEO for? Tweaking; what else? I urge the police to investigate O’Shannessy and see if he has committed fraud.

In the meantime I ask him calmly: Who is the leader of the Labor Party, Newman or Palaszczuk? He should get that right for a start.

And who are these half million new ‘Others’ if not KAP?

And which way will the three hundred thousand ‘Undecideds’ go, if not away from the detested Newman?

And, oh yes, when will he stop telling lies?

Christianity Thus Far: An Exchange

Gerry Dorrian March 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

Some say Jesus didn’t come specifically to die and certainly didn’t come to found the Christian church. Rather, he represented a development in thinking that’s evident from Genesis onwards, regarding the relevance of God’s message to all people. His death is probably a reflection of a self-defeating component in human nature that plays out in different ways in every generation.

Frank March 30, 2013 at 6:54 am

I think it is right and fitting to question the motives of God, especially at Easter. Yesterday, he gave Murdoch the day off, so The Australian was not printed and I spent the day in a daze, lost and unsettled, searching for answers and reading this blog for reasons why Rupert would pull the plug but nothing but Tony Abbott bashing going on here.

Today is a new dawn has broken and Murdoch has risen and a fresh Newspoll has proclaimed the second coming of Campbell Newman with a huge boost in his popularity. My soul is lifted. All Queensland rejoices.

Graham Richardson who occasionally gets things wrong said last week that God is a Liberal supporter. That anything Labor now do, God curses. That kind of puts him on the winning side as nobody can trump God. So God must be blamed for Labor’s poor showing.

At the moment, it’s not God who is on the cross, but Labor supporters. Can someone please ease their pain or put them out of their misery? Happy Crucifiction..

Canguro March 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

Sad to hear that you’re lost without your guiding light Murdoch to frame your thinking for you, Frank.

But well done, for confessing to the emptiness of your own intellectual landscape.

Happy Crucifixion.

sadness March 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

…..something for any open mind, or even seminary pete, to meditate on and question during these dying days….might it be that for a century or twenty the church has been the problem and not the solution….

- and JC….well he did give the christians a fetish twist

Aleksandr Shelepin March 30, 2013 at 7:24 am

That’s what happens when you niggle the system.
Just ask Brad Manning or Che Guevara.

P Casey March 30, 2013 at 8:10 am

What sins – torture, of any kind.
As for God’s curses. No, ask the mother about curses.
Did Mary forgive her son’s torturers?

gerard oosterman March 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

It’s not the billions that I covet from Gina, dear Father. It’s far worse, forgive me. Damnation and hell-fire. It’s, it’s the voluptuousness of her generous billowy belly and my lust for her acreage bulge that I covet. I am beyond all that’s within the limits of normal desires. I lust after the big and enormous of the flesh. Is there salvation in sight for that?

Malcolm Kukura March 30, 2013 at 9:16 am

If a knowing friend can also be an unbelieving friend I know I might qualify today as an unbelieving friend worthy of receiving and amplifying the greeting – “Merry Crucifixion”. Only for all nonbelievers – friends and foes alike but not you believers who’re exempt from the greeting out of respect for your sacred beliefs and our secular constitutional democratic tradition of religious tolerance and freedom of religious persuasion and practice.

For those here present who are free of encumbrance by burdens of belief and who instead value knowing even if the knowing is knowing how little we really know, I have this to say about the barbarity of the “vision” the broadcast TV networks are indulging in again this Easter by depicting torture and murder of religious and political dissidents by the now all too common Vatican supported street theatre troupes depicting torture and murder.

There are real professional historians who study the real evidence about the real history of Y’Shua ben Iosef of Nazareth and the spiritual and political movement that sprung up after his execution in much the same way that the global emancipation movement sprang up first in Morocco after Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him.

As I understand it the early anarchic Christian movement was soon taken over by the usual control freak parasites who always infiltrate movements. The Christian movement soon separated into two factions. One faction emphasized the whole life of the martyred man summed up in the civilizing 11th commandment to care for other humans – love – the golden rule. The other faction was emphatic that only Jewish Christians would be bonafide members and that they must uphold all Jewish traditions including the Mosaic decad. The orthodox Jewish faction did not agree with the emphasis on love or an 11th commandment for civilizing of human communities and instead emphasized the crucifixion as the core dogma in the familiar form about the atonement for our wrong doings. There is of course a civilized alternative to surrogate punishment and that is forgiveness.

It only took four centuries of savage and brutal oppression by the Roman imperialists before they gave up fighting the Christians and set up their own state religion to control Christians by nationalising and centralizing the Christian movement in a state controlled institution under imperialist control.

The newly merged Roman imperialist Christian institution savagely eliminated all who were not true believers including Graeco-Roman philosophers in the ancient Greek tradition. They closed the Platonic Academy in Greece and put an end to the ancient rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries. They decided what a Christian would be and we can see today that after more than two thousand years the celebration of murder and torture at Easter time gets much better coverage than the civilizing message of love and forgiveness. Where is the street theatre depicting loving civilizing actions?

What are the justifications of the control freaks and parasites who sit in the apex of the pyramid of the hierarchy of religious institutions? What have they to say about what sins of humanity justify the brutal torture and murder of the young political and religious dissident non-conformist in Roman Palestine during the reign of Caesar Augustus the mass murderer?

Pretty weak justification really. The innocent young man paid the price so that we can commit crimes against our fellow humans. How can that possibly civilize humanity. Only actions that are a disincentive for barbarous behaviours are likely to discourage them. Encouraging them by paying the price by torture and murder of surrogates human bovine and sheepish is not an effective disincentive, otherwise the Aztecs would have survived and become the most civilized of all people.

Figuring out suitable disincentives to protect and defend civilized communities from predators like Rupert Murdoch, Tony Abbott and their plutocrat and fellow travelling ilk of the 1% and their human shields and secular priesthoods of culture managers like those agents of entropy who hunt here on Table Talk is a major political policy issue on the agenda in the process of carrying out the new electronic Reformation that has already begun here on Table Talk and in the fifth estate around the planet.

Where will we put the barbarians like the war criminal Howard? Do we need new institutions for quarantining them and educating them to heal their diseased alienated hateful greedy minds or can they be supervised on parole and psycho-therapy in the community? A whole new complex of mental health and therapy facilities will be needed for either residents or outpatients.

Merry Crucifixion.

Canguro March 30, 2013 at 9:49 am

MK, you’ve tantalised the reader more than once with references to your American jailers and their opinions.

More details, please.

Why were you locked away? What was the experience like? How did it feel to be freed?

Write a message for the reader this Easter, a moral fable for these difficult times.

Bob Ellis March 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

This is excellent, and I will put it up as a column when my wife, who knows how to do these things, comes home from shopping.

M Ryutin March 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

“Do we need new institutions for quarantining them and educating them to heal their diseased alienated hateful greedy minds..”

Don’t know, but it has been tried with not too much success in keeping them alive:-

Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot for three.

johnsalmond March 30, 2013 at 9:28 am

at this biblical time of year, we have a reminder that bad reporting was not invented, only fashioned to new perfection, by the likes of Murdoch. The four gospels and Paul (the earliest of them all) present extraordinarily different pictures of Jesus, from the pure-tabloid multitudes of angels singing the birth, to poorly researched touches of apparent hard fact about impossible imperial censuses, to the smattering of incomprehensible grand-sounding Greek philosophy of the Logos in the beginning being with God and being God.

And one of them invented anti-Semitism by making Jews the killers, quite an achievement in a story of a Jewish boy made go(o)d — but no problem to please the men in power in Rome, the actual criminals

Peter March 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

He undid the pride and disobedience of the garden of Eden, through his humility and obedience in the garden of Gethsemane.

The eloquence of God is the silent witness of Christ, in the face of our evil.

Canguro March 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

I should have kept my mouth shut. After arguing with DQ for the right for reasoned comment to be admitted from previously banned posters, you then come up with this piece of voodoo fantasy.

The eloquence of God!! wtf?

The silent witness of Christ!

There is no end to the utterers of mumbo-jumbo… pretenders who claim to speak that language.

Peter March 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

Lol thanks for that defence C-GU. But ask a Christian a silly question…

The flat denial of sin seems to be one of the major corruptions to our ‘civilization’.

Though social sins still get a run… the sins of parties, newspapers, pollsters etc. But individuals? Oh perish the thought. How dare we even suggest it – how dare you drive so and so to ‘suicide’ by suggesting it. Lol what a world.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that one of our most difficult doctrines to explain has now become the easiest, because almost everyone believes it about him/herself; the immaculate conception


johnsalmond March 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

but Christianity as practiced is about *other* people’s sins, that’s the whole problem with it.

People on the left are well aware of sin, by whatever name, and try to make amends by giving a hand up to the victims and by trying to prevent, eg the coming agonies of climate change, caused indeed by the human sins of greed and thoughtlessness (and by the Pope’s rejection of birth control); or the sale of sugary booze to kids. It is the religious and the Right who prefer to go to church and cosy up to the warmth from the burning sinners outside

Canguro March 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

Peter, for the benefit of the reader, what’s your definition of sin? Or the church’s? Or both?

Think carefully before you reply; the answer is not as simple as many believe.

Put your analytical cap on, and don’t confine yourself to the dogmatic interpretations offered by scripture.

Peter March 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

Sin is an offence against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the eternal law of God. In judging the gravity of sin, it is customary to distinguish between moral and venial sins.
-Catechism of the CC, p899

(no one’s interested in my ‘personal interpretation’ of an objective reality, friend ;/)

allthumbs March 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

There is no spark, not a glint from a striking flint of metal against rock to get this hackneyed conversation off to a smoking much less flaming start. PID generated more heat than light than I expect from this post.

I mean if there was a god and if I was that God, and there were certain stages in my youth when I would not answer to any other name, I would be looking for a few back slaps and congrats on being able to imagine all of this. Sure there are some short falls and rough edges, but considering what else I had on my plate at the time, all in all it has worked out OK.

I would have probably expected an employee buyout by now, some new blood, re-branding a new impetus, but there seems to be such a dire lack of imagination, such repetition of the most banal arguments, that really I would have lost interest in the whole thing.

This guy seems to be giving it a red hot go. You have to admire his patience for answering the most pedestrian of question from the BBC interviewer. Very scary though, all of that self-reliance, self-belief, taking of responsibility. It will not be allowed to stand, will it? Best rely on the old models, if we get rid of Abbott everything will be fine, if we get rid of Murdoch everything will be just hunky dory.

North Korea, all eyes turn towards North Korea. It will be something just like this, something so expected/unexpected, stupid and perfect that will do for us.

A fat grinning boy king, perfect absolutely perfect. Maybe he saw “Team America” and has decided to revenge his father for the ills done to his family name, it was a good enough reason for Hamlet, it was good enough reason for Bush.

Robertto March 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

I think he’s having us on.

johnsalmond March 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

having us on? hope so; pride and disobedience in a fairy story undone by a colonial power’s execution of some possibly insane mystic – how does that work again?

M Ryutin March 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

I normally leave the Easter period/northern spring alone to whichever of the pagans, then Jews then Christians who celebrate it in whatever way they like.

But it always provides me with a great analogy as a reminder every year when I see the connection of the self-loathers and defeatists mentally hating themselves by the images that come in from around the world of people self-flagellating, self- crucifying and so on at Easter.

Why do they do it to themselves? Is it the last spark of an internalised tradition of the lapsed Catholics, the damaged, playing out?

Peter March 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

People sense that the suffering and death of God demands some real act of reparation from ourselves. We cant be insensitive to the cross; it’s not external to us, but it’s something that beckons us as well. The logic of redemptive suffering, the only path to happiness and eternal life, is carved onto our souls…

But obviously we should be sensible. Yesterday, for instance, was a fast day; Catholics didn’t eat.

johnsalmond March 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

boy, are there going to be great opportunities for redemptive suffering (I feel fouled even writing those insane words) as the climate crashes

James Hansen’s latest paper summarises: “Humanity is doubling down on its Faustian climate bargain by pumping up fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution. The more the Faustian debt grows, the more unmanageable the eventual consequences will be. Yet there are plans to build more than 1000 coal-fired power plants and plans to develop some of the dirtiest oil sources on the planet. These plans should be vigorously resisted. We are already in a deep hole–it is time to stop digging.”

Abbott’s End (18): In Thirty-Seven Words

It is no longer a question of whether the Leader of the Opposition is a defender of pederasts. It is only a question of how many crimes he is covering up, and how serious they were.

Saddam Dreaming

Peter Hartcher has written a very fine piece on the Iraq War and Howard’s idiocy in getting into it. Abbott should be asked if he still thinks it was a good idea.

He, and Bush, and Howard, and Blair, should be asked, as well: ‘If there were weapons of mass destruction, why weren’t they used?’

That, Also, Is The Question

It is my custom to say ‘Merry Crucifixion’ on Good Friday and afterwards to my unbelieving friends.

Any actual Christians I encounter this time of year I am inclined to ask what sins Jesus died for.

Judging by the lenience now accorded sexual matters they come down to shoplifting, I guess, and covetting Gina’s billions.

If someone would enlighten me on this I would be most thankful.

It is, after all, the cornerstone of our civilisation.

What sins was it worth torturing and slaughtering God’s only son for?

Just asking.

Abbott’s End (17): The Case For The Prosecution

Abbott’s criticisms of Gillard go to her character, her loyalty, her past relationship with a convicted criminal, and her trustworthiness with promises.

On all these counts he is more culpable than she. He deserted a pregnant woman and ruined her life. He made sure she did not see her son for twenty-six years. He defended a pederast, Nestor, and a defender of pederasts, Hollingworth. He became Leader by one vote, Slipper’s, and later sought to drive him to suicide or resignation. He swore by Brough and later deserted him. He said Thomson, who had done no wrong and was unconvicted yet of breaking any law, should be stripped of his vote in the House, in the first such action in a thousand years of representative democracy.

He overthrew his Leader, Turnbull, and cancelled his Climate Change policies, which he had earlier signed up to. He denied his sister, like his girlfriend, the right to marry.

He showed himself, in this way, to be a man of bad character.

On top of this, it can be argued, his policies will hasten the end of the world, and disable Australia’s economy. He regards Global Warming as a minor matter compared with hellfire and the coming of Christ, and his Budget cuts would put out of work a quarter of a million breadwinners.

It is odd the media have not noticed any of this.

But then they are his craven cheer-squad. Gina and Rupert have made them so.

Colvin: Behold, He Is Risen

Mark Colvin got a new kidney last week and is doing well. I caught his Andrew Olle Memorial Lecture an hour ago, by coincidence, and found it as witty, insightful and disturbing as I had been told.

He is a great and sorely tested human being and we nearly lost him; and here he is back, thank heavens, for another twenty years or so. Behold, he is risen. I ask all who care about our freedoms and our civilisation to watch and absorb his oration on the available machinery, and to hear him on hampress read The Wasteland. It is the best performance of it I know.

Costello’s Push-Pollsters

I have not heard back from JWS Research, the Costello-funded robocolling people, on whether the questions they asked on Monday constituted push-polling.

I ask them to call me soon. It is possible what they have done is unlawful.

Let them say, in these columns, what their questions were.

Let them do it soon.

Abbott’s End (15): Forgiving Hollingworth

From Solusnauta:

After Governor-General Hollingworth defended on Australian Story his friend Bishop Shearman, who seduced a thirteen year old girl and began a long relationship with her, declaring it was the girl’s fault, this story appeared in The Age.


Phillip Hudson, The Age, 07 March 2003

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott said last night that Peter Hollingworth should not be forced to quit as Governor-General over a “simple error of judgement”.

In the strongest show of support for the embattled head of state from a senior cabinet minister, Mr Abbott said Dr Hollingworth should not be hounded from office for his decision when he was Anglican archbishop of Brisbane to allow a known pedophile to remain a priest.

“I don’t believe that he’s done anything to disqualify him from office,” Mr Abbott told ABC TV’s 7.30 Report. “Should the office of governor-general be cheapened by hounding someone from office on the basis of a simple error of judgement made in good faith?

“Which of us can withstand total scrutiny of every aspect of our private life? Which of us can have every decision we’ve ever made raked over by the light, not of the standards then, but of the standards now?”

Tony Abbott tried to hound Craig Thomson out of office (Solusnauta went on), he tried to hound Peter Slipper out of office and he hounded the PM over the AWU affair, saying she should step down.

Hypocrisy at its best.

PS. The link was posted on IA.

Abbott’s End (14): The Case For The Defence

It is hard not to like Tony Abbott, as I did for a long while, even more so now that I have read (at last) his famous piece on leaving the priesthood in the Bulletin of August 18, 1987.

He starts with this quote from Brideshead Revisited:

‘I was aghast to realise that something within me, long sickening, had quietly died and felt as a husband might feel who, in the fourth year of his marriage, suddenly knew that he no longer had any desire, or tenderness, or esteem for a once beloved wife; no pleasure in her company; no wish to please; no curiosity about anything she might ever do or say or think; no hope of setting things right, no self-reproach for the disaster… I had played every scene in the domestic tragedy, had found the early tiffs become more frequent, the tears less affecting, the reconciliations less sweet, till they engendered a mood of aloofness and cool criticism and the growing conviction it was the loved one who was at fault.’

It is a remarkable opening; and, in a style not too far from his favourite Catholic novelist, he goes on:

‘Since schooldays I had wrestled with the idea of becoming a priest. Casually suggested by a Jesuit mentor the appalling thought was not to be denied, despite degrees in Economics and Law from Sydney University, tumultuous involvement in student politics and a Rhodes scholarship which encompassed studies in politics and philosophy, playing for Oxford against the 1981 Wallabies and two blues as a heavyweight boxer. I shared fully in the ordinary foibles of youth. But why should personal ambivalence, parental misgivings and peer incomprehension hinder God’s plan?’

So he goes at age 26 to St Patrick’s, the biggest Catholic seminary in Australia. But they don’t like him there. ‘What are we going to do with you?’ they ask.

He is not sure either, but he has some theories. He invokes Three Cheers For The Paraclete, a novel inspired by St Patrick’s, where Tom Keneally, the author, Fred Schepisi, Brian Johns and Ed Campion did time in their teen years and after. ‘Thomas Keneally,’ he says, ‘sensationalised seminary life of the 1950s in a lurid tale of sexual maladjustment, mindless rules and exalted mediocrity. In 1967, twenty-nine Sydney priests – many of them Keneally contemporaries – signed a statement which declared that seminary life destroyed “the flexibility and toughness needed to cope with the outside environment” and that many left the institution “mentally ill”.’

‘What was it that generated such loathing?’ he asks; and he tries, with caveats, to answer, at least for himself, this question.

‘I missed the glittering company of Oxford and the student hurly-burly. But mostly I felt “had” by a seminary that so stressed “empathy” with sinners and “dialogue” with the Church’s enemies that the priesthood seemed to have lost its point.

‘At St Patrick’s, academic “formation” involved gradual immersion in contemporary Catholic theology. On questions such as the meaning and significance of Christ, sexual ethics and social justice issues, most major theologians seemed to be at war with the Vatican. Some said that modern theology was a courageous attempt to drag the Church into the 20th century; others that it was a cover for theologians’ lack of faith.

‘It is the view, for instance, of Reverend Dr David Coffey — St Patrick’s best-known theologian — that the very fullness and perfection of Christ’s humanity constitutes his divinity. For Coffey, it is a helpful attempt to grasp the incomprehensible. But, for me, these ideas tended to inflame the allure of a world I had never wholeheartedly wanted to leave.

‘If the Vatican was correct, I reasoned, this was a dagger aimed at the heart of the faith. But what if the modernists were right? The attractive notion that splendid humanity constituted the imitation of Christ (a perversion, perhaps, of Coffey’s teaching) steadily undermined my less-than-enthusiastic acceptance of poverty, chastity, obedience and the predominantly sacramental character of priestly ministry.

‘The result of theological revisionism — however necessary — and of consequent role changes has been a great deal of religious navel-gazing. After debating the meaning of “ministry” long into the night, it was difficult next morning to be enthusiastic about actually visiting schools and hospitals.’

There follows a puzzling discourse on what was wrong. The college head, Grove Johnson, favoured, he says,the ‘softer’ kind of Catholicism, the ‘effete’ kind, ‘based on the well-meaning but debilitating deliberation of committees’, a ‘paralysing merry-go-round of consultations with their superiors.’

What, actually, if anything, is he getting at? This paragraph affords a clue.

‘A more benign nature would have concluded at this point that he was in the presence of the ineluctable tragedy of the human condition, of men of good will raging impotently against each other. But I thought that there was something odious about a system in which each individual was treated like a child by his superiors and, in turn, treated his subordinates – if any – in the manner of a well-meaning but devious and manipulative parent. There was something sapping in a system which shrouded itself in flaccid jargon: “… maturing vision of our life together here… deeper awareness of our giftedness … enriching the whole canvas of seminary formation … deep optimism and joy which is the immediate fruit of our saying ‘yes’ to the God who calls”… etc. There was something disturbing, for all the real ambiguity of male sexuality under celibacy, in the ready acceptance of homosexual orientation. In a God-governed world, I thought – let alone in the Church – there had to be a better way. The system had to be changed.’

The words ‘impotently’, ‘devious’, ‘manipulative’, ‘odious’, ‘sapping’, ‘flaccid’, ‘saying “yes”’ and ‘homosexual orientation’ show plainly there was a good deal of attempted sex going on, and what he elsewhere calls ‘exposing untried boys to the vagueness of “formation”’.

It is a fascinating, not-too-encoded howl of pain, published five months after he left, or was asked to go. It was not he, he said, ‘but the seminary staff who needed psychological investigation.’

When he left, he said, ‘no-one seemed surprised.’

‘Looking back,’ he concludes, ‘it seems that I was seeking a spiritual and human excellence to which the Church is no longer sure she aspires. My feeble attempts to recall her to her duty – as I saw it – betrayed a fathomless disappointment at the collapse of a cherished ideal. The same sense of boundless human potential, of man soaring to God’s right hand, which led me toward the priesthood led me away in the end.

‘Perhaps it was a vainglorious and impossible dream – certainly one mocked too often by reality. But I remain deeply convinced that without some sense of bravura, of being larger than life, no amount of theological radicalism or conservatism can sustain the priesthood and the Church.

‘If this were simply the story of how one man discovered his unsuitability for the priesthood, it would be something of an indulgence – a curiosity to some, perhaps, a warning to others. But if it truly raises questions of the nature and value of seminary training, then it must concern all who love the Church or the spiritual values of which she is the champion.

‘This is not a story which reflects much credit on its protagonists.

‘On my part, it is a tale of impatience and a rather hubristic yearning for something bolder and braver than the life of the parochial Church. The seminary, for its part, lacked imagination and virility. But, if I discovered much to regret in myself as I grew to detest St Patrick’s, I never entirely lost faith in the Church. It is because I desire that her mission be more successful that I want her to face the truth.

‘If I have seriously misunderstood the reality of St Patrick’s, let that be explained. If St Patrick’s does represent the coming Church, let that be plainly stated. But if St Patrick’s is simply the best that the Church can provide at the moment let that be squarely faced so that something better may promptly take its place.’

Those who like to think of Tony as an inarticulate lip-smacking thug will be surprise by much of this, and the lucid mandarin prose in which his troubled soul’s journey is here unfolded.

But it bespeaks, of course, what he has kept long hidden, illegal Godless practises after dark which pushed him out of the priesthood and into spiritual desolation, then professional writing, then marriage, then politics, and, now, the shadow of the Lodge.

He would be a better man there, I suspect, than many think.

But first of course, of course he has some questions to answer.

Would I have done what he did in those last fine rapturous pre-AIDS years of experiment, sharing and self-discovery? Of course I would. Would I have ratted on friends for their sexual practises and ruined them for life? Of course I would not.

But history has connived to put him, in these Catholic-scrutinising Pope-suspicious years, in its tightening vise and he must deal with it, somehow, if he can.

None of it is fair; but he has, now, questions to answer. Had he not, in the Tea Party-Karl Rove way, raised the question of ‘character’ in his fervid pursuit of Slipper and Thomson, and his dangerous crusading hatred of Oldfield, Ettridge and Hanson, and, of course, his destruction of the ill-used Cheryl Kernot, he would not now be caught in the cross-hairs of moral enquiry and asked, as in the Confessional, to make a full account of himself, and what he knows, and when he knew, of certain horrors he may have witnessed and must now divulge.

And so it goes.

The Alcorn Intervention: The Media We Had To Have

Gay Alcorn in a good piece in the smh online said it was not Gillard the public had stopped listening to, it was the Canberra press.

‘The worst political reporting Australians have endured in history,’ she suggests. ‘Dysfunctional, with lousy judgment, fixated with polls, feigning concern about the toxicity of political discourse. And the public? They’ve stopped listening.’

Labor’s ‘schemozzle’ last week, she says, was ‘the culmination of more than a year of “sources say” speculating or predicting (or even advocating) the imminent demise of Gillard. As it turned out, they were wrong.’ The media, she adds, ‘has lost the public’s trust.’

It’s a good piece and I agree with it. Was Labor ever going to restore to office a petulant self-absorbed slave-driving wowser famed for his incompetence who on the eve of a Budget would sack his Treasurer and Minister For Industrial Relations and risk a rush of members resigning their seats and ending his majority in the House? Of course not. Yet even Richo said Rudd had the numbers and was ‘storming back’.

It was always fantastical and never going to happen. But, worse than that, it chewed up the headlines Labor deserved for good policy (Broadband, money for the disabled, money for schoolkids) and was therefore close to treason.

As I mention below, I was right, and they always, always, with the exception sometimes of Barrie Cassidy, were wrong.

Classic Ellis: Unearthing Saddam, 2003

Saddam was captured on Saturday night and on Sunday night, after hours of suspense, displayed by Bremer (‘We got ‘im!’) in Iraq on videotape. He had a full curly brown-and-grey beard, big brown canine eyes and an old creased face, both godlike and doglike, that seemed in turn heroic and bewildered. His emergence like a hobbit from a hole in the ground beside a tiny, filthy adjacent cottage a few yards from the unmarked graves of his sons and grandson, and the pink, vulval parting of his hairy mouth when it was probed with what looked like a shoehorn, drew sympathy for him which was quickly turned round by the spinmen. He had not fought his captives to the death, it was said, nor even reached for his gun but came out saying in English, ‘I am Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, can we negotiate?’ It was not the story first told, that his guards at gunpoint said, as the Americans told them to say, ‘Master! Quickly! The Americans are near! We must leave immediately!’, and he came scrambling out and was seized from behind.

And so it went. Worldwide approval. Uncrowded shots of – wait for it – rejoicing Communists on Baghdad streets. Demonstrations in favour of him in Samara (no, said Death, our appointment was in Samara) fired upon by panicky teenage grunts, not many deaths. Bush saying ‘Good riddance to you, Mr Saddam Hussein.’ Howard Dean up against it, thankful for the capture but saying it left the world no safer from terrorists. Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman calling him ‘soft on Saddam’ in sound grabs Bush will use later. Pundits agreed it made Bush now more likely to win if the economic recovery (deficit-funded, illusory) continued.

In the gloomy days and nights that followed I became convinced the world had gone down a wrong fork of the road on 9/11 and it was not coming back, and the dark, lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key side of human response was on the upswing. Bush, Howard and Latham said, or implied, that Saddam should hang; I suppose the courtly Christian moderate Tariq Aziz will hang beside him. How, condemned worldwide like this, can he, or they, get a fair trial? It seems pretty petulant to ask. Should he suffer sleep deprivation, truth serum, other gruesome forms of physical torture? Should Tariq Aziz? Do they have rights? Don’t even bother to raise these matters, we got ‘im.

In his last months before his March war the old man was writing, in Hemingway style, or near it, a new novel. Be Gone, Demons! it was called and, or so The Spectator tells me. It was about a man called Ibrahim ‘and his three grandchildren, Ezekiel, Aissa and Youssef, who symbolised Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, the prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ezekiel was portrayed as evil, obsessed with money and sexually deficient. Ezekiel becomes a moneylender and arms dealer whose machinations pit tribes against each other. He falls in love with a woman who resists him. He tries to rape her but she escapes. In the novel’s climax, Ezekiel is killed by “just men” in a battle on the plains of Mesopotamia. The demon is gone and Iraq can flourish.’

He wrote out of boredom, his translator Saman Abdul Majid explained, and his love of the two Iraqi genres, warrior epic and romance. ‘He wanted a pulsating, moody narrative and believable characters. “Saddam wanted to write like this,” says Saman, pointing at a passage in his book. “At dawn, the unit commander woke very early. He had to get to the front lines. He was shaving when he heard the American bombs start to fall.”‘

Why do I find this so beguiling, and this battleworn thug so much more interesting as a man than the dumb lucky well-born cheating lush George Bush? ‘He saw himself as a great defender of the arts,’ Saman asserted, ‘a poet warrior like the Abbasid caliphs.’

He was amazed, Saman went on, by his fastidiousness. ‘He was a huge man. Always extremely clean, as if he had just stepped out of the sauna. He was obsessed with his clothes. For me, all this reflects his double personality. One half of him was a simple Bedouin, a practising Muslim who wanted to be a good man. He had no need to be repressive or fierce. This was the side of him I saw…a kind, patient man, sometimes humorous, ready to be contradicted. When foreign journalists came in and asked him if he was like Hitler, he did not get angry, he just laughed. He was demonised by the United States.

‘We all heard the stories. But whenever I met him, I found it unbelievable that he could be so cruel and also so nice. Also, people consciously didn’t speak about the worst things…About the woman who wanted to divorce her husband, but he refused. So she recorded him ranting against Saddam and took the tape to the police. The husband was thrown into prison and she got her divorce. Or the little boy of eight or nine at primary school who tells his teacher his parents have criticised Saddam and they are put in prison. You hear these things, but you choose not to talk about them. You chose your friends carefully and information did not get spread easily.’ He had ‘delusions of grandeur,’ he said, ‘which led us to despair.’

I should be careful. In his seventies G.B.Shaw found admirable qualities in Hitler and Stalin; I suppose as your sperm count ebbs and your beard grows white you come to admire the brute decisiveness, the unremitting ardour of the mighty of the earth. And you come to think, like Americans, that killing Arabs is not as bad as killing people.

Did Saddam kill innocent people? Oh yes. Did he have ‘rape rooms’? I doubt it. We look at so many interwoven truths and lies it’s hard to know what happened or if it’s forgivable.

Is it forgivable, for instance, to ‘kill hundreds of thousands of your own people?’


Well, let’s ask the question. What world figure killed seven hundred thousand of his own people and is now universally admired?

Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, yes, I know I’ve said it before but you can’t get around it. They were his own people, and he caused the war, and he continued it when he might have stopped it, and seven hundred thousand soldiers died, more than all the American soldiers that have died in battle since. And he’s up on Mount Rushmore now. ‘And my client, your honour,’ we can imagine Geoffrey Robertson proclaiming, bewigged, in Saddam’s defence, ‘killed no more than forty thousand of his own people in what he also regarded – rightly or wrongly, m’lud – as another civil war: against Kurds and religious dingbats and unlike honest Abe now faces the gallows. And, oh yes, my learned friend does well to remind me, four hundred thousand Iranians in a war with the Ayatollah Khoumeini, with massively destructive and profoundly chemical weapons supplied by the US who rightly judged this bearded cleric an evil barbarous fanatic and his followers demented. Should we have cheered Saddam, or Khoumeini, in this war, your honour? If Saddam, why curse him now?

Annie’s prophetic dream was right in every particular. For he was indeed in the north of his country, dirty and bearded and wild-haired, like Blake’s engraving of Nebuchadnezzar gone mad; on all fours, she saw him, under tree roots in a kind of earthen cave. Not in Uzbekistan with a big-breasted woman reading Raymond Chandler by hurricane lamplight at all. And so it proved to be.

How does she know these things? How does she see them so clearly so long before they happen? What is the process? How can I find it out?

Track Record

It is worth noting I was right about Rudd’s chances of a second coming — zilch, I said in successive columns entitled Rudd Redux No Way — and all the Press Gallery, apart from the always sceptical Barrie Cassidy, always wrong. They denied Gillard legitimacy saying, each week, she had only weeks to go. I was also right when I said Abbott not Hockey, Bracks not Kennett, Obama not Romney, Keating not Hewson, Hawke not Hayden.

It is because I think about things, and do not belong, like Michelle Grattan, to a Howardist Cargo Cult. I think things through. It was always impossible for a former Prime Minister famed for his incompetent craziness to keep a Hung Parliament voting his way, and a child could see it, even a Gerard Henderson. But they chose to print the legend, it was a better story, and it kept Labor’s good deeds off the front page, and so it went.

Prove that I lie.

The Dodgy Costello Push Poll

No denial has yet come in that the latest Costello robocall involved push-polling, and I ask it be denied. No other explanation suggests itself for its bizarre conclusion, that 59 percent would vote Liberal, but 53 percent hoped Labor would win.

Was this illegal method used? We need to know.

An explanation is also needed for why Queensland swung to Labor in January and massively away from it in March. Had the sado-Thatcherist Campbell Newman done something nice? What was it? Or was it a simple sampling error of oldies rung on landlines only on Cheap Movie Night?

Why were no mobiles rung? Why? Why?

Was it fear of a fair result? Why?

Abbott’s End (13): A Question of Character

(First published by Independent Australia)

Nine years after I first read them, I quoted at last in my blog some sentences from Michael Duffy’s cool Plutarchian book Latham and Abbott. They were these:

‘The homosexual culture at St Patrick’s from the 1970s to the early 1990s was quite extraordinary. A few who were there have told me stories of behaviour ranging from the sharing of pornography to the seduction — and worse — of younger seminarians. At the 1988 Christmas party (after Abbott had left) two men discovered that each had been having an affair with the same third man and a public fight ensued, during which the chapel door was smashed. The lovers were within a year of being ordained — and the three were expelled.

‘In the light of all this, the most interesting thing about Abbott’s time there is that he persisted.’

Nine, ten, twenty years ago, these sentences would have seemed unremarkable. Fred Schepsi’s film The Devil’s Playground is in part about homosexual priests and their interest in young seminarians. Lustful priests are as old as Boccaccio, Chaucer, Rabelais. The great French historian Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou, the researched portrait of a medieval village, has a priest with a harem in it; in 1325. But this was different.

It was in a book about Tony Abbott, universally thought our next prime minister. It was about his years as a trainee priest; when he knew of what seems, on the face of it, homosexual rapes he covered up, and continues to cover up, now.

One of his fellow seminarians was John Gerard Nestor, whom he vouched for after he was convicted of tampering with an altar boy. After Abbott, a federal minister, testified to his character, he was let off, and spent no time in gaol. Of their earlier relationship, Abbott said:

‘He was a man with high expectations of himself and others, and I can recall on occasions being more than a little annoyed with him, because, you know, he would want to bring me up to the mark, bring me back to the path of virtue from time to time, and this didn’t always go over too well with me. And I guess it could annoy others as well.’

What can this mean? It may mean Abbott was having heterosexual relationships in breach of his vows and Nestor, perhaps for complex reasons, didn’t like this, and commanded him back to celibacy, to which he returned with a heavy heart.

‘Not as celibate as I should have been,’ Abbott famously said of the years when, at 26, 27, 28 and 29 he tested himself thus for the priesthood. It is to be wondered who the girls were, and what ages they were, and if it was in clerical garb they met him, or in another disguise.

The timing, too, of this spiritual quest is to be wondered at. He had already, at nineteen, refused to marry a pregnant girl, and put her son up for adoption. He had already been at Oxford, unchaste and rowdy, a boxing blue. He had a law degree, and a lot of kudos as a footballer. What was he doing for so long among active hypocritical homosexuals at Manly?

At thirty, he was journalist, and soon after a married man and a father; at thirty-seven, he was an MP, at forty a Minister — and his career makes easy logical sense after that. But what did this episode, this adventure in pained chastity, mean? He has written very little about it, in his memoir Battlelines devoting a page and a half to it. What did it portend? What is he keeping from us?

One thing, surely, is the name of the rapist and his victim, and the fate, years after, of his victim. Did he suicide? Did he tumble into spiritual despair? Was there only one victim? Was there only one assailant? Will he tell the police these things at last, or will he continue to cover them up?

It is possible these matters would never have been raised, by me at any rate, if Abbott himself had not used the ‘character issue’ against his friend Slipper and his foe Thomson. The latter, he declared, was by his vile deed so ‘stained’ that his right to vote in the House should be revoked, the very first instance of such a ban in a thousand years of elective democracy, because he used whores, or was said to, and paid for them irregularly.

One wonders, too, if the covering up of crimes that once in this country were capital crimes is an equal reason to revoke Abbott’s right to vote in the House. By his own measure, it should be.

I say these things with some difficulty, because I had a friendship for a while with Tony. We dined a few times, launched each other’s books, agreed on a good few things, abortion, the monarchy, a green army, B.A Santamaria, Evelyn Waugh. We enjoyed each other’s wary, joshing, conversation for a total of maybe nine hours in a couple of years. But when he proposed to ‘turn back the boats’, even if it meant the drowning or beating or enslaving or orphaning of children, and when he did such things as might drive his friend Slipper to suicide, it occurred to me that he was greatly at fault in his morality and should be given no quarter.

And that it was on the word of Duffy – whose two books Ellis Unplugged and Ellis Unpulped, with hundreds of factual errors in them, obscenely defamed me – that he was thereby so accused, gave me some additional relish when I brought it up.

Abbott has probably obstructed the course of justice, letting known predators work their will long years after he knew what they were like and could have impeded their dark fumblings with a phone call, and he should be questioned by police.

And he should not, of course, become Prime Minister.

His record is too stained for that.

Abbott’s End (12): The Ettridge Strikes Back

David Ettridge is next week suing Abbott for those false accusations that imprisoned, bankrupted and ruined him in 2003 and now makes it impossible for him, though rapidly proven innocent and clumsily released from gaol, to earn any more an honest living, ten years later.

It would be nice if on the same day Slipper and Thomson sued him also. He has likewise ruined them with allegations that are false, in my view, and he should, in my view, pay dearly for them.

LDIS And LIDS, The Labor Diseases

Call it LDIS, the Lindy Did It Syndrome. Though it was impossible for her to do in the time what they said she did, and she had no motive to do it, she is guilty, guilty, guilty and we will consider no other scenario.

This time it is the LIDS, the Labor Is Doomed Syndrome. Though the tories have beheaded two state leaders in a fortnight, and another is charged today with corruption, and a favourite son, Torbay, deselected for corruption from a winnable seat, though Newman is on the nose for brazen sado-Thatcherism in a jumpy fickle state converting rapidly to Katterism, though Morrison’s recalcitrance is drowning children off Christmas Island and Hockey’s figures too bizarre to reveal, though Abbott has provenly protected paedophiles and Brough and Pyne and Ashby provenly perverted (good word) the course of justice in framing Slipper, no, no, no, it is Labor that is in trouble and Labor that is bound to lose, though fifty-four percent of us want them to win. Doomed. Of course they are. Doomed. And unredeemable.

And Rupert and Gina’s craven media work hard to befog, each day, Labor’s good-news policies. Every week there are two more brazenly fabricated polls and two days of discussing what they forebode. They cannot let the good news get out. Lindy did it, Lindy did it, that is all we want to hear. The dingo is the good guy.

And a lot of Labor people believe it. I was with some last night. It is as though they enjoy, like the flagellants in the dust in The Seventh Seal, lashing their own backs as they move on moaning and bleeding.

No; no; no; no. Labor is close in the vote, it is, it’s on 47 or 48 and Abbott cannot survive the St Patrick’s Pederasty Scandal (SPPS), and all may be well.

I ask for this whimpering masochism to cease. We can get there. If we can’t, the last five seats are worth a fucking fight.

Tingle And Coorey, Innumerate Abbott Foot-Soldiers, Marching Toward The Cliff Edge Singing Proudly

It is not good Laura Tingle and Phillip Coorey, who once had some smatch of honour in them, have so zealously embraced the latest Costello Big Lie, robocalling. A machine calls landlines on Cheap Movie Night and comes up, unsurprisingly, with a swing to the Liberals. Though this one shows a slight swing TOWARDS Labor in NSW and Victoria since January, Tingle swears blissfully the swing is the other way. Of course she does. She has not looked at the figures. She has her riding instructions from Gina’s craven yapping pekineses, Labor is doomed, pass it on. Though the sampling is ‘too small’ in South Australia and the Northern Territory, the South Australia figures are put up anyway, and added to the total.

Not to be too tedious about this, but no-one young has landlines any more so these figures are not just worthless but mischievous. Ringing mobile phones is not too hard — I do it all the time — but Costello prefers this method (of course he does) of ringing the old at home at seven and claiming they are the nation.

Not that many of the old either. Only seventy-six per seat, which makes it doubly nonsense, seven hundred being the minimum statistical sample. In commuter suburbs like Penrith, for instance, those few breadwinners that have landlines are still coming home.

… And then there is the bizarre finding that fifty-three percent of the respondents want Labor to win, but can’t bear to vote for that party in its present condition, wanting nameless change.

This makes no sense all; unless push-polling were tried on them. Was push-polling tried on them? You bet your sweet bippy it was; in my view. What was the question asked? I’d say it was something like, ‘After the disaster of last week, dare you vote, madam, for Labor now? Who, however, would you like to win?’

The cumulative criminality in this excercise is breathtaking. Costello, of all people, pays a machine to ring the landlines of only seventy-six voters in a swinging seat, and predicts on the basis of this botched minuscule sample a wipe-out of forty seats including those of the World’s Best Treasurer, the Minister for Defence, the Minister For Resources, the one-time rock-star Minister for Education, and the handsome, boat-stopping Minister for Home Affairs but not, happily, Kevin Rudd, sitting like a buzzard over the desolation where Abbott and Costello (who’s in first?) would, hugging themselves and giggling, prefer to see him forever placed.

This is a crime, and those base dim wriggling number-jugglers JWS Reseach and their sponsor Costello should be, I think, I sincerely think, in gaol.

I invite them to sue me for saying this.

For Costello, it will be the second time.

Abbott’s End (11): The Summing Up

Those wishing to know how Abbott, coverer-up of Catholic depravity, probably, is doing this morning should read my piece in The Independent Australian, which I will put up here when I find the means to subdue the mutinous technology. It is hard to see how he has not obstructed the course of justice and should not now be on a charge, though I may be wrong about this. If I am wrong it is strange Michael Duffy, author of the principal charge, has not contacted me privately or publicly, or warned me in a lawyer’s letter.

It is now clear anyway that Abbott should not have denied Craig Thomson his vote in Parliament when he, on the face of it, has done much, much worse things in his time and should by his own measure be thrown out of Parliament altogether.

The Ghost Of Greiner At The Feast Of Reason Fag In Hand And Coughing

O’Farrell should sack his old friend Greiner on character grounds. He not only acted with an appearance of corruption this time, and twenty years ago according to ICAC’s initial finding, later contradicted, but he also, after that, sat on  the board of a company marketing cigarettes to teenagers.

And also urged cigarettes, I hear tell, on his children.

Should this swarthy tout of addictive poisons be getting all that money, half a million a year is it, for ruining New South Wales?

Let O’Farrell say, and say here, in these columns, why he deserves any more than prison.

Abbott’s End (10): The Duffy Deadline

Michael Duffy has not replied. I assume from his silence that what I fear is correct: that Abbott knew of some incident, or several incidents, in St Patrick’s he did not report to police, and the phrase ‘and worse’ implies some sort of rape.

I invite him to contradict this, in these columns, or in a conversation with me or Abbott or both of us on Counterpoint.

Fixing America’s Gun Laws

The head of a pro-gun lobby based, amazingly, in Newtown, Connecticut said on CBS a few hours ago that no legislation deciding what gun you could buy would ever get through Congress, but legislation denying access to any gun at all to this or that citizen probably would.

I am inclined to agree with this. And I proffer, once again, my reasonable gun plan. It is to arrest any male under twenty-six caught with a gun of any kind outside of his dwelling or his gun club and put him in gaol for six months. Any woman of any age could carry a gun of any kind anywhere, but not young males.

This if diligently enforced would cut gun deaths in the US by half, would save twelve to fifteen thousand lives a year and be well worth doing, I think.


Abbott’s End (9): Abbott At St Patrick’s, An Exchange

Peter, March 27, 2013 at 1:27 am

Having been a seminarian myself, I can tell you that a major seminary (indeed, national) like St Pats would only take those who had finished school. I don’t think that there would be any question of 14 year olds studying there. They are undergoing tertiary education.

Also, homosexual rumours obviously thrive in a confined, all-male environment, like the Navy. There is sensitivity, even paranoia, about this in the seminary, because the men are called to a chaste life and are aware that homosexual activities (grave moral sin) effectively disqualify them from putting themselves forward for ordination.

As you can imagine, young Catholic men enter the seminary for various reasons. Some, especially in the 70s-80s seemed to be there just because they knew they couldn’t get married due to homosexual attraction. And no doubt some of these men did engage in homosexual activities with like-minded seminarians.

But this dynamic exists in virtually every seminary- it’s hardly a good reason to smear any priest or ex-seminarian as a potential rapist of minors.

The fact that Abbott stayed for 2yrs or so, with a pastoral ‘time-out’, is not extraordinary. Ordination takes 7 yrs. He would likely have been aware of homosexuals in there, but as a fellow seminarian it’s not his job to judge their suitability; that’s for the seminary formators, the church and ultimately the man’s own conscience. The fact that unworthy men tested a vocation at the same time as Abbott is no reflection on Abbott. INdeed, his explaination of his decision to leave, given in Battlelines, is perfectly reasonable; aside from the question of whether he really felt called by God to priestly service, he clearly saw that the culture was rotten at the time – all feminized fluff, rather than the muscular Christianity he, reasonably, expected. A whole generation of men left seminaries all over the West for similar reasons, leaving us light on numbers and intellectual weight today.

Anyway, I know i’m in exile, but it’s important that you get some straight facts about seminary life. This is a rather reprehensible smear, even for you Mr Ellis, tho your intentions are no doubt aimed at creating a loyal distraction for spluttering ALP.

Carry on.

Bob Ellis, March 27, 2013 at 7:02 am

So … the rape of a sixteen-year-old in an institution that covers it up is all right then? And covering it up if you know of it and are Abbott is all right also? And the gang-bang of that sixteen-year-old? And the subsequent anguish and thoughts of suicide of that sixteen-year-old? In an era when even consensual homosexual contact was against the law in some Australian states, and was said to attract eternal hellfire by Pope Paul VI, you think it was all right, do you?

Please state your reasons.

All the space you want.

M Ryutin, March 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

Thanks Peter. Some common sense at last and some of the people on here are on the spot. I wasn’t going to comment any more on this tedious, no-legs Abbott story and leave it to the psychologically damaged victims and the political automatons to go at it, but your comment has made me change my mind this time. It is important because it shows up the hypocritical ‘damned if you do… ‘ stuff thrown at the RC’s, Scouts and a lot of other organisations. The gay lobby/Gay Rights people are the rock on which they break.

Doug Quixote March 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

The Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse might have some interest in goings on at a certain Seminary School.

Whilst Abbott was not a figure of authority in the 1980s, he may well have evidence to give.

He may also be called upon to say why he disclosed none of this information to the authorities, or only to the Church hierarchy. In other words was he part of the cover up?

And subsequently his character evidence for the paedophile priest might be in issue.

The Way We Were: Nick Enright’s and Terence Clarke’s Variations

On Monday I went to a matinee performance, script in hand, of an Enright-Clarke musical, Variations, about suburban tendencies in the seventies and eighties that was done only once, in 1981, though it won a Premier’s Award, played to full houses and was raved about at the time.

It was very, very fine; more so for having had only one day’s rehearsal and, with Amanda Bishop, Martin Crewes, Tyler Burness, James Millar, Belinda Wollaston, Margie Di Franti, Maggie Blinco and (especially) Kate Parry in the cast, it had the impact of a full dress rehearsal of an early Sondheim with, however, sweeter, more memorable music.

Let us now praise Terence Clarke: a mathematician, schoolteacher, NIDA instructor, director of excellence (Backyards), provincial theatre manager (The Hunter Valley Theatre Company, The Hole In The Wall), actor of excellence (he played a wonderful Noel Coward in Intimate Strangers by me and Denny Lawrence), electrifying piano-man at Playwrights’ Conferences, and, of course, composer.

With Nick our best playwright he made Summer Rain, Servant Of Two Masters and this; and with Ron Blair Flash Jim Vaux; songs as good as Broadway show-stoppers came out of him almost insouciantly. He is a Man of the Theatre in a very English way and well deserved his Order of Australia, though a knighthood would I think have more suited him.

There were nine people on the stage, and how wonderful that was. They impersonated a whole society and a time, the seventies and eighties, of irremediable change. Marriages rose and fell, girls grew up and went to university, a Greek tradesman wooed a divorcee, a wedding was cancelled, an old European cellist shyly snuffled round a septuagenarian cello teacher impelled, like him, by great music. Though Amanda Bishop was in it, and shone like Streisand, she was not the only excellence, there were seven or eight others. It had the fresh oxygen which only live performance gives, in a space that is magic, and soon coming down.

It was part of a series called Neglected Musicals, and shows what damage the Great Williamson Takeover did to a theatrical tradition (loose, tap-dancing, historical-pastoral-tragical-comical) that had more genius in it, more bounty, variety, fullness, elan.

Christopher Hurrell directed it, Andrew Worboys and Isaac Hayward arranged and performed the music. It was on only twice, it was very, very fine and may never be seen again.

And so it goes.

Abbott’s End (8): Duffy In Denial

I await the word of Michael Duffy. If he is not in Kazakhstan he will know of this by now.

I ask him again: What did he mean by ‘the seduction — and worse — of younger seminarians’?

He published two biographies of me that were, by his standards, ‘full and frank’. Why not be frank about this one?

Why not interview me on Counterpoint? Or Abbott?

He published three books on the two of us. Why stop now?

Abbott’s End (7): The Lengthening Silence Of Michael Duffy

No word from Duffy on what ‘and worse’ meant.

I begin to imagine it was the gang rape of a fourteen-year-old who subsequently suicided that he and Abbott are covering up.

But I have that sort of an imagination.

He should answer my question.

What did ‘and worse’ mean?

Why not say what it meant?

He certainly knows, and is not telling.

Abbott’s End (6): Abbott In The Dock

From chris murphy @chrismurphys

Before Tony Abbott MHR gave his evidence that helped the priest, the young complainant told the court that John Gerard Nestor grabbed his hand and pulled his hand backwards so that his hand was touching his erect penis, which was sticking out of the fly of his boxer shorts. He said that Nestor reached across over his body whilst he was still laying on his side and placed his hand inside the fly of his pyjamas and fondled his penis.

Asked ‘Do you know of any reasons why (complainant) would make up these allegations?’, Nestor said: ‘Well, there’s any number of reasons why people would think things happened, particularly at night I suppose.’

This is the actual transcript of Tony Abbott’s evidence during Nestor’s appeal against the judgement.

Q. You are Anthony John Abbott?

A. I am.

Q. You live at XXX, Forestville?

A. I do.

Q. Since 1994 you’ve been a member of the House of Representatives, representing the seat of Warringah?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Prior to that, you were the Executive Director of
Australian’s for Constitutional Monarchy?

A. I was.

Q. And prior to that you were the press secretary and legal adviser to the then Leader of the Opposition, Dr Hewson?

A. Political adviser and press secretary.

Q. You first met the defendant in February 1984?

A. That’s correct.

Q. When both of you were at St Patrick’s College at Manly?

A. Yes.

Q. It was your intention to become a priest?

A. At that time.

Q. And you were/there during 1984 and 1985?

A. That’s right.

Q. As was the defendant?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And in 1986 you did pastoral work in the Emu Plains area?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And in 1987 you discontinued your training from the priesthood?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You kept up your friendship with the defendant?

A. From time to time, yes.

Q. And you saw him?

A. From time to time, perhaps once or twice every twelve

Q. And you’ve kept up that friendship until this day?

A. That’s correct.

Q. First of all, how would you describe him as a man?

A. An extremely upright and virtuous man. I guess one of things that I liked very much about John when I first him, was his maturity, intellectual, social, emotional he was, to that extent I guess, a beacon of humanity at the Seminary

Q. How did he appear to get on with his peers at Manly?

A. Obviously we have different relations with different people. John got on extremely well with some, less well with others. I guess one of the things that marked John out
from his peers at the seminary was he was a man with high expectations of himself and others and I can recall on occasions being more than a little annoyed with him, because, you know, he would want to bring me up to the mark, bring me back to the path of virtue from time to time and this didn’t always go over too well with me. And I guess it could annoy others as well.

Q. But as far as his own conduct was concerned, did you ever become aware of anything which would in any way question his beliefs and his dedication as a priest?

A. Never.

Q. And you’ve come all the way from Sydney today to give this evidence?

A. I have indeed.

Q. You do have other duties to perform?

A. I have an electorate to represent and a ministry to assist.

Abbott’s End (5): Duffy In The Dock

Michael Duffy has a day to reply in these columns to what I have written of what he said of ‘the homosexual culture of St Patrick’s’ and what Abbott knew of what went on there and has since, perhaps, for twenty-nine years covered up.

If he does not reply I will deploy the legal maxim of Sir Thomas More, ‘silence gives consent’, and assume I am right, and say so.

Abbott’s End (4): The Duffy Scud Augmented

I ask any graduate of St Patrick’s to write in and say, anonymously if they wish, what the ‘homosexual culture’ that so offended Abbott in 1984 was like, and whether any law was broken there that he knew of and is still covering up.

Any mischievous untrue assertion or defamatory fabrication, and I am good at sniffing them out, and so is my wife, will be rapidly erased.

Abbott’s End (3): The Duffy Scud Contextualised

I invite Michael Duffy to say in these pages what he meant on page 68 by ‘the seduction — and worse — of younger seminarians’.

If he does not reply I will assume my interpretation, the unasked penetration of fourteen-year-olds, known to Abbott, by older seminarians also known to Abbott, is the correct one.

I remind him of his two books Ellis Unplugged and Ellis Unpulped in which there were more than four hundred factual errors.

Perhaps this is one too.

Otherwise, will he please clarify what he wrote of his friend’s late twenties when he was a trainee priest and, in his own words, ‘not as celibate as I should have been’.

In the present Catholic context, it looks and smells like dynamite.

Abbott’s End (2): The Duffy Scud After Nine Years Returning

I found on my wife’s computer the passage from page 68 of Duffy’s book Latham and Abbott, published by Random House in 2004. It reads, in full:

‘The homosexual culture at St Patrick’s from the 1970s to the early 1990s was quite extraordinary. A few who were there have told me stories of behaviour ranging from the sharing of pornography to the seduction – and worse – of younger seminarians. At the 1988 Christmas party (after Abbott had left) two men discovered that each had been having an affair with the same third man and a public fight ensued, during which the chapel door was smashed. The lovers were within a year of being ordained – and the three were expelled.

‘In the light of all this, the most interesting thing about Abbott’s time there is that he persisted.’

There’s a suggestion here that Abbott may have witnessed, or heard of, acts of sexual coercion like those in Duntroon that he has for twenty-nine or thirty years covered up. If it is so, he should be thought as culpable as any cardinal who has covered up acts of priestly abuse. He should I think be questioned by police about it, and asked how young the victims were, and why he did not contact the authorities when he knew what was going on, and why he stayed there in spite of it. If one of the perpetrators was John Gerard Nestor whom Abbott vouched for fifteen years later when his esteemed old friend was up on a charge of pederastic tampering with an altar boy, it is all the worse.

The critical words in the passage are, I think, ‘the seduction — and worse — of younger seminarians’; and the critical question, ‘how young were they?’

And so it goes.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (23): The Coming Duffy Scud

The half page in Duffy’s book on Abbott that will destroy him is on its way and I will quote it some time tomorrow.

Tune in.

The Big Murdoch Lies This Election Year (1): Today’s Newspoll

The Newspoll today as I predicted showed Labor on four hundred thousand votes less than Galaxy did and Julia losing eight hundred thousand voters in a week some say she did pretty well in, when she put away her spectral stalking assassin Rudd forever. Do you know any of these eight hundred thousand people? Of course not. You should know twenty.

It has been the business of Newspoll these last three years, perhaps no longer, to publish plausible untruths between elections that hurt Labor and a poll on the day that is very near the mark. They do this by ringing only landlines and ignoring the fact that nobody young has a landline or is home very much on Friday nights and Saturday nights and Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. I invite O’Shannessy to sue me for saying this: What he does is wicked and crooked and interferes with democracy.

The figures he has up today are crooked also. They once again do not mention the Katter Party which is scoring sixteen percent, probably, in Queensland and 3.5 percent, probably, nationwide. Nor does it give the majority of its preferences, as its voters would, to Labor. This adjustment alone would put Labor on 45, where Galaxy put it on Sunday.

And there is more.

Eight hundred thousand people are ‘uncommitted’, which means, pretty much, wary of Abbott personally and mistrustful of Hockey’s figures. If seventy percent of them come to Labor, and they might, for they voted that way last time, Labor is then on 47.5.

And then you adjust for the total absence of mobiles rung, anywhere in Australia. A minimum difference would be 1.8 percent which puts Labor on 49.2. And they can win from there.

I repeat, O’Shannessy lied today deliberately, turning a 49.2 vote for Labor to a 42.

And he should go to gaol for it.

The Captain’s Pick

The Ministry is a shrewd one, with room enough in its dispositions for Crean and Ferguson to come back if they wish to. Gray will pacify not just the big miners but those WA voters who defected from Labor a month ago. Clare will give more policy presence to Sydney’s western suburbs. Albo is affirmed, and trusted. Leigh is talented and articulate.

The big disappointment for me is Mike Kelly. At Defence this war hero would have managed the retreat from Afghanistan skilfully and calmly. Smith, a Gillard loyalist, did not wish I guess to be demoted, as he did not wish a year ago to be replaced by Bob Carr.

We will see…

Tears On Pyne’s Pillow, Multiplying

The caravan moves on, the dogs bark and Christopher Pyne can’t stand it. No, no, he says, it’s all about the civil war, the Labor civil war, it’s ongoing, it’s happening in secret, it’s really happening, why, they even write to ME about it, I won’t say who they are, it’s NEVER going to stop.

But … Jason Clare the future PM is the story this morning, and Mike Kelly, the fearless war hero, and Warren Rodwell rowing out of terrorist torture emaciated after his family paid one twentieth of what they were asked, and Ben Krygier’s execution for double-dealing with Israel and Hizbollah, and Netanyahu’s forced apology to Turkey, and … well … Tony Abbott having to apologize pretty soon, I guess, for aiding and comforting a pederast, as Hollingworth, GG, did a while back, losing his job for it. And Slipper being found guilty of nothing much this morning, and suing him, and Ashby, and Brough, and Pyne for defaming him as a sort of office rapist, unfairly, unless they also apologised for this.

There can be no more dishonest exercise in our recent history than our media’s fraudulent prolongation of the legend of Rudd, the Ghostly Challenger, for a whole year after he had plainly become a dud bash, a spent rocket, a used contraceptive hanging over a fence no longer esteemed by his penetrators. The reasons why he was shafted from office the first time remained, and on Thursday proved to be the way he always was. Indecisive. Shallow. Careless. Ungrateful. Capricious. Mendacious. And cruel.

There are other stories now, like Abbott’s relationship to the ‘homosexual culture’ of St Patrick’s, see page 68 of the Duffy bio, and whose Budget figures add up.

For a whole year the media abandoned their duty of saying what happened, and instead talked about what might happen. And, of course, it did not.

What a pack of schmendricks they are. They thought Hockey was a shoo-in too, and Abbott certain to win the Independents and form government, and Costello for five years about to knock off Howard, and the WMD real, and W the Winston Churchill of our time.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

The narrative has moved on, and left them far behind.

Lines For Wayne Swan (1)

Australia is aware of the clear and present danger to the European economy, and is therefore lending ten billion dollars to Cyprus and asking it be paid back, without interest, in ten years’ time. Australia can afford to do this because we did the right thing in the GFC and nearly everyone else did not. The money will come from a payment of three dollars a week, the price of a cappucino, by each Australian taxpayer, for the next four years.

It is a small price, we think, for saving the world economy.

That, Also, Is The Question

What is the more attractive prospect — Jason Clare, future Prime Minister, or Christopher Pyne, future Prime Minister?

In Twenty-One Words

Albo is gutless, we are told, for not resigning from the service of someone he finds unworthy.

Why not Malcolm Turnbull?

How To Fix Cyprus

The trouble with austerity is it loses people their jobs and every lost job worsens the economy’s problems. So you must have a way of inventing money, like forgery, to pay everyone to stay in work. You have no other choice.

Cyprus is small; and therefore, like the Galapagos, a good place to experiment on.

Forgery sounds like a good idea. Let’s call it something else.

The thing to do is ban Cyprus from the Eurozone for eighteen months. Outlaw the use of the euro there, and ask them to work out a system of promissory notes — call it, perhaps, the drachma — in which everyone in a government job is paid, and with which the government funds big public works and visiting tourists pay restaurant bills having exchanged them for dollars or pounds.

And it would be the way it was for a while in the Soviet Union — dollars, and, at varying rates of exchange, roubles, (and, to be frank, forged roubles). Some places valued a dollar at forty roubles, some at eight hundred roubles. So let it be with the drachma.

As FDR found in 1933, if people are still willing to work, and their workplaces are not demolished, and food can still be grown and eaten, and beds are still available to sleep in, and roofs to sleep under, arrangements can be made between consenting participants to pay, or barter for these advantages. What you need to do is print money, and start, as a government, spending it.

If Cyprus declared its own currency, what would the EU do? Invade?

Eighteen months without the euro, with all debt payment delayed. And then see.


Certain Housekeeping Matters (23)

I am adding a good deal to my Friday diary and some to my Thursday and Thursday night for those that care about these things. When Julia’s new ministry is announced, tonight I guess, I will respond to it.

Abbott’s End (1): The Priest Whose Charge Was Quashed

4.10 pm

Unless I dreamed it, there was a story in The Age online for a few hours today that said Tony Abbott had in 1997 vouched for the good character of a priest on a charge of molesting a boy and the priest was found guilty and later released on appeal for want of ‘corroborating evidence’. It was a priest he met in the Manly college whose ‘homosexual culture’, his biographer Duffy asserts in Latham And Abbott, page 68, so appalled him that he considered leaving the order.

What has happened to this story?

4.23 pm

No, it’s there, under ‘Abbott Criticised’ in a column about Anthony Albanese.

It, and its context, and what Duffy says, uncontradicted by Abbott these eleven years, is enough, I assess, to bring him down.

9.30 pm

It’s no longer in The Age but it’s in The National Times.

11.10 pm

Gone from the National Times now. Loughnane has been clearly on the phone.

Galaxy Sunrise

It is worth noting the Galaxy Poll this morning shows Labor near winning.

It is 45-55 on landlines on a Friday and Saturday night when few people under fifty were at home or answering landlines on a day of Labor debacle and the day after. If you add one percent for the bad sampling, two percent for the misplaced Katter preferences, one percent for those who will come soon to think Rudd an indecisive unleaderly mendacious twerp and move their vote to the more courageous Julia and one percent for those women who on the day will not at the last minute vote out a woman leader and put in a priest-garbed punch-drunk baby-deserting ourang-outan, the Labor Party is then on fifty and can win from there.

Is this the first Friday-Saturday poll in history? It might be. Why was it taken? Why not on a couple of nights when people were home? When will this crooked sampling cease? Or when will it put its manipulators in gaol, for four or five or seven years? When will the Senate move to investigate it?

Just asking.

RDS: The Rudd Symptoms

Reality Displacement Syndrome is the name I just made up for what happened to me when my sister was killed and I refused to go to the funeral and I became thereafter, at ten, the class comedian. And Rudd when his father was killed, and he lived for a while with his mum in a car and then, at eleven, in a boarding school he hated, probably had it too.

It is a belief that your life is happening to someone else. You are amused by it, detached from it, immune to it, a commentator not a participator, far above it, a cool observer. Many stand-up comedians are like this, and not a few bereaved businessmen and politicians, and Rudd is too.

Rudd refused to seek the leadership in 2003 believing the numbers would shame him. A face to face conversation I had with him at the time, in which he called Swan Crean’s ‘mini-me’, and said ‘the shaving mirror test’ would require him to vote for Beazley, suggests that this was so. ‘Mankind cannot bear too much reality,’ TS Eliot said, and Rudd I believe doesn’t much like reality, any reality, at all.

Thus it was he destroyed his allies Crean, Ferguson, Bowen, Fitzgibbon, Saffin, Marles and Husic without a shimmer of regret. They were not people to him, just dolls, muppets, puppets, pawns in his great fond fantasy of resurrection by national acclamation. Thus it was he vacillated while Prime Minister over everything, rewriting subclauses till dawn and exhausting his young staffers and then firing them; they were expendable, they were not real. Nothing was real, nothing. Nothing was real, and each day’s crisis was a movie, or a miniseries. It was happening to someone else.

It is important to realise, I think, that this condition is triggered in childhood. An event like the shipwreck off Christmas Island deprives you of your mother and sister and you sit on a hill for a week and look at the water believing they will come soon swimming out of it, or you throw yourself into your father’s grave. I had dreams where my sister rang me up and talked to me, asking how I was doing, doing at school, and saying, ‘They’re keeping me here, they won’t let me out,’ and she would escape soon, and come back to us. Rudd never got over his father’s death, though he took a month to die after the crash, or from what then seemed the theft of the beloved farm that was his all-consuming reality, and the horse, his horse, he had to leave behind. The little girl in the film No Worries is like this, after the shooting of her dog. Tad Lincoln is like this in the film, after his brother Willy dies and his dad Abe says he can’t see him again. So, after the death by TB of two of his beloved brothers, was Richard Milhous Nixon.

Crean, Carr, Bannon, Button, Unsworth lost a sibling or son in adulthood and do not seem to have become so detached, so amused, so loftily dismissive of the lives of others. If it happens, it happens earlier.

But Rudd has the symptoms. He has them, and he should be concerned. They may be treatable. But till they are he should not be trusted or talked to about the nation’s future, ever again.