Beware the Teaparty Down Under: Abbott is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

No, not the villain from the Matrix. This is Australian Head of the Center Right Liberal Party Tony Abbott

We’ve heard this garbage before, but we’re used to hearing it from right wing crazy people here in America. But when a prominent politician and possible PM hopeful in Australia echoes Freedomworks‘ anti-Science stance on global climate change, it is cause for alarm. Tony Abbott pictured here, has gone on the record saying: ‘‘I don’t think we can say that the science is settled here’’ He went on to question whether ‘‘emissions are quite the problem that some people say they are’’, and argued, ‘‘whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.” This is contrary to the findings of roughly 97% of climate scientists who study the effects of man-made pollutants on our global ecosphere. Unfortunately, Australian politics is not laden with stars in the Labor party (which is akin to our Democratic Party in the U.S.) and no one candidate is poised to take the reins of government like Tony Abbott in the September 14 elections later this year.

There are code words the conservatives in the U.S. often use to indicate they are anti-science and pro-big business, with little regard for the environment and health of their people and wildlife. Mr. Abbott takes a page out of the GOP playbook and uses the catchphrase, “the climate change-science is far from settled” here:

Not only is this man, who likely will win in a divided political climate, a danger to those who will be impacted by the rising tides and weather catastrophes in store for all of us if we don’t lower emissions, but Mr. Abbott is a highly religious “family” man, reminiscent of the U.S. pro-life crowd. A poll of 100 voters across Sydney found that Labor and Green voters despise the way Abbott injects religion into his political campaign and policy. On the other hand, Liberal voters respect Abbott as a ‘conviction politician’ who is firm on his beliefs. Liberals, mind you, are like the GOP in America, except a bit more logical. You’d actually be hard pressed to find a party like the Teaparty-laden GOP in a Western Democracy. Abbott has been called “Mad Monk” and “Captain Catholic” by some who believe, as many of us do here in the USA, that religion has no place in politics.

In order to appear as equally sexist, misogynistic and bigoted as his American Teaparty counterparts, Tony Abbott has a rich history of chauvinistic bullying in his C.V. His attempt at mirroring candidates like “legitimate rape” failed Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin are evident in this quote: “When it comes from Julia (Gillard, the unmarried, current PM) , ‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘No’,” his choice of that charged term was completely intentional, and part of a nasty, subterranean agenda. He often refers to the current PM, Ms. Gillard, as unqualified on matters of family as she has no children. He appeals to the farthest right wing elements of his country and to think a man of Abbott’s transparent motives has a such great odds at winning in September is quite disturbing to many Australians.

The last thing a world in turmoil from unchecked corporate hegemony needs is another puppet leader like George W. Bush in a hemisphere that has been wrought with climate change disasters as of late. In a world where the most educated and civilized are moving away from religious dogma dictating social policy, it is anachronistic to have a man like Abbott as head of any state. Generally, Australians are only given one month’s notice of an upcoming election. Hopefully PM Gillard, with this unusual time frame, has given the Labor Party enough notice to try to best a dreadful candidate who will only depress a fairly strong world economy who has averted a recession. The Progressives of America are with you Australia. I hope we can help keep another Mitt Romney from a “Down Under” victory.

19 thoughts on “Beware the Teaparty Down Under: Abbott is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

  1. Why the focus on “Down-Under”?

    No thoughtful person would expect TeaPartyItis to be limited to the USA.

    That it appears elsewhere only gives it “Legs”.

    Winston Churchill was never in combat (although he did, as under secretary of the Navy, fight many battles). I guess the British population (which created the “Down-Under” as a penal colony, meaning most of the current population are descendants of criminals) made a big mistake putting him in effective charge of Britain’s war effort. silly brits!

    1. Henry, I’m not sure I understand what you were getting at in that post but let’s clear up a few things. Yes some parts of Australia were founded as a penal colony but not all. Most of the “crimes” were so petty as to be irrelevant in todays world. (stealing a loaf of bread as an example) If you study our history you will find we were and are, a peaceful, successful, multicultural society with great respect for the rule of law, and more than half of our 23,000,000 inhabitants are of cultures other than English. Perversely of course 🙂 there is now great pride in being a descendent of a convict. As for Churchill??? As the son of English parents, I heard many war stories and Churchill certainlay had his faults, but in my mind and of many others, he was without doubt, “The man for the times”.It seems to me you lack some perspective and need to do a bit more reading!

    2. I would like to add that the convicts only came to Australia when America was no longer available to them. America had convicts from 1600-1780, 150 years, Australia only had them 60 years, 1788 -1840, before they said enough is enough.

      Australia is a modern society with a high standard of living, not religiously influenced, laid back and democratic.

    3. re: this moronic, ignorant, insulting comment: “I guess the British population (which created the “Down-Under” as a penal colony, meaning most of the current population are descendants of criminals)…”

      It was not the British population but the small ruling class of merchant elites (bankers and corporations like the Crown) who ruled in a fascistic brutal manner, stealing land, homes and other assets from people across the British isles, who set up several distinct colonies on the Australian continent. They sent those whom they had oppressed, stolen from, framed and kidnapped to be their slave labor in (Crown) business ventures.

      Just like they had done for centuries prior in the Americas. Google “the forgotten white slaves” – hundreds of thousands of people kidnapped (most particularly from Eire) and sent all over the world, mostly to the Americas, prior to Australia’s discovery.

      Regards today’s population in Australia around 1 in 4 are born overseas and 1 in 2 have parent’s born overseas. Not that many here go back several generations as Australians.

      In any case, we are generally proud of our heritage and history of progressing to become a beacon of relative peace, prosperity and diversity in a largely hostile world.

      1. My generalization comes from the perspective given by American textbooks. My apologies. I should have phrased it differently and will research your nation’s history more thoroughly. Regards

  2. Spot on. This IS Tony Abbott’s mindset and brain hardwiring. He has surrounded himself with similar and likeminded cabinet as well, his backroom strategists have been working very hard to frame the sell: aka as George Lakoff has studied: High-Level, Moral Frames Matter More

    Higher-level frames, deeper in the system, have a disproportionate effect.

    The more the language of frame is repeated, the stronger the frame gets, along with the system the frame is in. And the weaker the frames of the contradictory system gets. The stronger high-level frames are, the more effective frames that fit them will be. And the less effective frames that contradict them will be.

    In politics, the high-level frames are the moral systems that define what is “right” for a conservative or progressive.

    Most Framing is Unconscious

    Frames are conceptual; they are the elements of thought. Most thought is unconscious. Words activate frames. We are rarely conscious of the frames that are activated by the words we hear. Yet those frames are there in our brain circuitry, and more we hear the words, the stronger the frames get, even though we aren’t aware of it.

    Framing is Long-term

    Framing is the establishment of permanent (or long-term) high-level frames and systems of frames with the brains of voters. Framing can be done by long-term careful political messaging, or through education (say, by controlling school textbooks).//

  3. They (the conservatives) are adept at the framing, it has entrenched itself here, running it’s course, akin to a form of propaganda, even subtle brain washing. But it works. Progressive, visionary, labor politics do not adopt this skill to full advantage, use. You need not compromise political values, just learn to speak the universal language of how to frame it. See more of George Lakoff’s talks to have it explained better. It isn’t even that Aussies even really ‘like’ Tony Abbott, it is that the framing, the shaping has been repetitive and reinforced, it’s working, especially on those that may not have critical thinking skill developed like some of us have and do.

  4. Thanks for noticing Australia.

    While Abbott-style conservatism and Tea Party ideology do not map perfectly, nevertheless it is true to say that they are both examples of conservative populism that take pride in dismissing scientific opinion as “elitist”. Such movements pander to and encourage the ignorance of downwardly mobile members of socially dominant groups. It is the politics of resentment larded with the folklore of nostalgia. And the punters swallow it with relish.

    As a wise man once said, if something is unsustainable, eventually it will stop. Eventually, more and more adherents of the Tea Party and like groups will be forced to concede that their nostrums will solve nothing. But much damage will be done before enough of them come to their senses.

    Many people will become sadder but wiser during the epoch of right wing populism.

    1. We are still waiting for your considered response. As an Australian it scares me that Abbott might become Prime Minister. He has yet to mouth anything more than platitudes and three word slogans in between running a vicious and nasty campaign because he didn’t get his way last time.

  5. No comment on the Aussie political scene can go without mentioning the completely biased pro conservative media. Rupert Murdoch owns 70%of Australia’s media and the anti Government, pro Conservative agenda here is relentless. Commentators here talk about the unprecedented bias of all forms of media, print, radio and television. Even our publicly funded broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has lost any semblance of balance and follows the Murdoch driven regime change agenda. Australians are almost in complete ignorance of our governments achievements and even though we are one of the best performing economies in the world they will tell you the government is in total disarray with no achievements whatsoever, despite passing over 200 pieces of reforming legislation. Australians in effect have no truth in media, holding both parties to account, only a Conservative propaganda machine…..yes, it really is that bad

  6. Take a mild exception to your statement that Labor’s a bit short of stars. It has them but their lustre’s dimmed by a relentlessly negative press. Largely Murdoch owned & almost entirely Murdoch influenced, our mainstream media’s set its sights on this government.
    But the gist of your piece about Abbott is spot on. Possibly the only thing you missed is his bullying of those he can coupled with utter sycophancy to those he perceives as his superiors.

      1. 🙂 To paraphrase The Dixie Chicks, I’m ashamed that Murdoch comes from Australia and now spreads his brand of unthinking dumbness around the world!

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