The Nazis are back—sieg heil!


by William Weintraube 

Yes, there is an insidious Nazi influence at the very
highest levels of the Coalition and, praise be to God, we can thank the
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) for this timely
disclosure in their newsletter.

Woe betide anybody who questions a newsletter with the title
of “Hardhat Express”- obviously it
tells it the way it is. 

The Union’s latest newsletter has reminded the world that
Liberal Senator leader Eric Abetz had a great uncle Otto Abetz who was a
leading Nazi – Hitler’s Ambassador to France no less.

Connecting the dots in an thoughtful, insightful and calmly
measured article, the Union’s attack on the alleged horrors of the Coalition’s
industrial relations policy, members have been reminded that, “He (Hitler) wanted to smash the unions too.”

Well, yes Otto was Eric’s great uncle – something that has
never been denied by Eric.  Senator
Abetz has claimed that he never ever met Otto. For the record, Senator Abetz
made no response to the Union’s revelation; probably shamed into silence I
don’t doubt.

However, we only have the Senator’s word that he never met
his infamous relative. Otto Abetz died in a car crash on 5 May, 1958 in
Germany; Eric was born in Germany on 25 January, 1958. Perhaps, just perhaps,
Otto cradled baby Eric in his arms and whispered, “Go to Australia mein liebes kind and smash the unions.”

The CFMEU newsletter didn’t just reveal Senator Abetz’
sinister inspiration, it also let the world know that Coalition industry
spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella had a past relationship WITH AN OLDER MAN! Oh, the
shame, the disgrace! It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Ms Mirrabella’s former
gentleman companion was himself a Nazi. The CFMEU should do some serious
investigative reporting into this potential bombshell. And, while in such investigative mood, examine and expose the
pedigrees and benefits to mankind of their members, past and present – John Maitland as a starting point.

The US lawyer and writer Mike Godwin back in 1990 announced
his “Law of Nazi Analogies” and it
has since made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.

Basically, Godwin’s law applies especially to inappropriate,
inordinate or hyperbolic comparisons to situations or opponents as Nazis – in
other words, playing the Hitler card.

Godwin showed via many examples that the longer and more
acrimonious a debate becomes or when somebody is reduced to trying to belittle
opponents, the so-called killer argument is just to compare them to Hitler, one
of his gang, or the whole Nazi Party for good measure.

Anti-Catholic zealots had a fine old time when German
prelate Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XV1 in 2005 “revealing” his
disgraceful Nazi past.

You see, young Joseph was drafted into the Hitler Youth in
1941 on his 14th birthday – not his idea; it was the law. Later he
served in an anti-aircraft battery. And despite the fact that his family
loathed the Nazis and that a cousin his age with Down Syndrome was taken away
and murdered by the Nazis because of his disability, we had a Nazi Pope!

If you think that the CFMEU can’t be beaten on accusing
people of being a Nazi or under the influence, then you should think again.

The religious right in the USA beats them hands down.

There is a wonderful website called “nowtheendbegins” which, among other dire predictions and Bible-based
revelations blows the lid on why President Obama and Hitler are so
frighteningly similar.

There is a long list of chilling comparisons. The first four
in order – both held outdoor rallies, both had ghost-written autobiographies
prior to coming to office, both had original last names changed (from Schicklgruber  in Hitler’s case and Soetoro in Obama’s
case) and – my personal favourite – both concealed their real identities as
Hitler was Jewish and Obama is Muslim.

The list goes on and each comparison reveals more and more
of The Truth!

Commenting on the Union’s Abetz outburst, the
Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council sadly noted that this sort of
nonsense trivialised the events of World War 11 and debased politics. They
considered the Union’s comments as “false,
inappropriate and offensive.”

If the CFMEU wants to put the Jewish lobby in its place,
they could do no better than appropriate the riposte by the English tart Mandy
Rice-Davies at the centre of the Profumo scandal in the early 1960s.

It was put to her by counsel for Lord Astor that he, the
noble Lord, had claimed he hadn’t even met her let alone had intimate
relations. She replied, “He would say
that, wouldn’t he.”

Abbott’s Right-Hand Man

Abetz RathChris Rath praises the character of Senator The Hon. Eric Abetz: 

In the political world there will always be the purists and
the pragmatists, the idealists and the realists, the ideologues and the
ambitious. Nobody better straddles this divide in the Liberal Party than
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz. Libertarians and conservatives alike should feel at
ease that the next Leader of the Government in the Senate and one of the most
senior members of the Abbott Cabinet will be one of us. Senator Abetz is a fusionist
(economic liberal/social conservative) and a culture warrior for the right.
Unlike some of his colleagues he did not enter politics for personal glory; his
politics is about fighting for the cause. He leaves the limelight for others,
yet everyday he puts on his armour, travels deep into the jungle of the left,
and fights the gorillas head on, whether they be in the Labor
, the
, the
gay marriage lobby
, the
trade union bosses
, the
or any dangerous
form of 'ism' that threatens Western Civilisation
. However, Abetz is not a
firebrand nor a day dreamer, he is of the belief that it is better to get 80%
of something than 100% of nothing. He is effortlessly both Leader of the
Opposition in the Senate and one of the most conservative members of the Abbott

I was fortunate to meet Senator Abetz in his Hobart office
on the 1st February 2013 where we spent a solid hour over coffee
discussing a myriad of political issues. This was just two days after Gillard
called the election and the day after Thomson was charged with 154
fraud offences
. He was extremely busy, however Abetz has always been
generous with the time he gives to Young Liberals. Abetz came from humble
beginnings and was not born into the Liberal Party establishment or the ‘big
end of town’. He was born in Germany and migrated with his family on an assisted passage to Tasmania where his father
found employment on the Hydro Scheme. No doubt he learnt the virtues of hard
work and initiative whilst working as a part-time
taxi driver and a farm hand alongside studying his Law and Arts Degrees at the
University of Tasmania
. Abetz looks back fondly on his university days
where he took the fight to the socialist left and earned his political stripes.
After university Abetz was a practicing lawyer, however, he made a deliberate
point of telling me that it was not in the corporate sector or government but
instead working directly with individuals and their legal problems, “a good
training ground for a political career” he explained.

Whilst the ALP has strong formalised factions, the Liberal
Party does not. However, Senator Abetz gives the conservative movement within
the Party meaning and direction; he is regarded as the leader of the Federal
Right. When I met with Abet, he proudly recounted the election of Tony Abbott
as leader of the Liberal Party and the rejection of the Emission Trading
Scheme. He reported that some Liberals wanted to jettison all of the policies and
values of the Howard years. This created a “crisis in confidence” in the
Liberal Party and we became a pale imitation of the Labor Party. However, when
I asked him if this was his proudest achievement in politics he was quick to
remind me that politics is about service and not about personal achievement. He
then reminisced on the small ways in which he had helped constituents, such as
assisting an adopted lady track down her birth certificate; she had been
waiting a lifetime.

Senator Abetz’s Christian worldview is that we are all
called to serve, but not necessarily to succeed
. He also answered that his
favourite book is the bible and then explained how there is no such thing as a
neutral or unbiased worldview. At this stage I remembered the time he addressed
the Mainstream
Policy Forum in Sydney
: “that is why when the odd journalist seeks to
introduce me as someone from the religious right, I ask whether opponents will
be classified as being from the godless-Left. Have you noticed – no one ever
has been so introduced. Why? Because the thinking – deficient as it is –
presumes that godless-Left is the neutral and thus a superior position for
public policy making.” It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that Senator
Abetz is the conscience of Australian Conservatism.

Upon leaving Senator Abetz’s office he gave me the guarantee
that an Abbott Government will abolish the carbon tax and mining tax and will
adamantly support free speech, particularly through abolishing 18C of the
Racial Discrimination Act (the Andrew Bolt Clause). He also gave the commitment
that he personally would do everything in his power to protect the institution
of marriage, defend Australia’s constitutional monarchy and advocate for the
abolition of the Student Services Amenities Fee. However, when asked about his
own portfolio area and whether we can expect much needed workplace relations
reform, the pragmatic Abetz surfaces. Abetz proposes cracking down on union
militancy and reinstating the Australian
Building and Construction Commission
, however, he also understands that
radical workplace changes have negative electoral implications. There will be
more freedom and productivity in the workplace under an Abbott-Abetz Government,
but perhaps not as much freedom as us free marketeers would like.   

Overall Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz is a very inspiring and
successful fusionist politician who excels as a warrior within Australia’s
culture war. He is a man of integrity and ambition who looks up to Thatcher and
Reagan for inspiration, but ultimately to Christ before any others. The Abbott
Government will be a reformist and effective conservative Government because
Abbott’s excellent judgment will be further strengthened with the wisdom and
values of people in his cabinet like Senator the Hon Eric Abetz.

Rath has just completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney and
has commenced a Masters of Management. He is President of the Throsby Young
Liberal Branch and works as an adviser to a Liberal Parliamentarian.    

Holding on to our Christian and Democratic Values

Eric-AbetzSenator Eric Abetz, in this edited extract of a speech given at the 2012 CDP Conference, defends Christian ethical and moral values in politics: 

On the 19th April, 2012 the ABC’s new headquarters in Brisbane was opened.

The ABC moved their Brisbane headquarters because of the concern over a cancer cluster.

At the opening, the Chairman of the ABC, a former distinguished Chief Justice of your State no less, told the assembled and I quote –

‘A few weeks ago this building was cleansed in a traditional smoking ceremony and bad spirits were expelled.

As the Governor-General and the Managing Director of the ABC have highlighted in their addresses, we are here today because of the cancer cluster that was identified at our former premises. In these circumstances, the smoking ceremony could not have been more apt’.

Really – ‘could not have been more apt’.

And you heard right ‘the building was cleansed … and bad spirits were expelled’.

On being made aware of this cringing display of political correctness, I pursued the matter at Senate Estimates the following month.

I was provided with all the politically correct gibberish one regrettably expects from the ABC today. We were told this was a ‘symbolic ceremony’ and ‘there is a strong connection with the Indigenous community …’. The staff allegedly thought ‘it would be good’. You can imagine the gush of words fully devoid of any meaningful response. In fact I was told ‘it was a lovely event’.

By the way, I am still waiting to find out how much that ceremony cost the Australian taxpayer.

But that is an aside. Because this has the potential to cost our society a lot lot more than just some dollars.

And lest the left should try the old but discredited trick of misrepresenting my comments today, I stress this was not a welcome to country ceremony or an acknowledgment of country or elders. This was a separate cleansing ceremony to ward off evil spirits and one presumes the cancer they cause.

I did have the audacity to query whether a Christian blessing ceremony had been contemplated. I think we all know the answer to that one. Another gush of words devoid of meaning other than that it was symbolic.

So, why did ‘our ABC’ go down this path?

Because it exalts the faddish, the politically correct and the trendy.

An objective analysis of this ritualistic cleansing ceremony would see it as highly insensitive to the vast majority of Australians who identify as Christians and all those others who whilst not identifying as Christians, personally support the Judeo Christian underpinning of our culture and society…

Such as, the atheist Baroness Warnock of the United Kingdom, to whom I shall return later.

But let me make this point. It was insensitive to indigenous Australians as well.

Whilst we will have the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Census details later this month, the 2006 Census informs us that 64 per cent of our indigenous population identified as Christian. The second biggest cohort of 20 per cent was ‘no religion’.

At best, even if you added the not stated category together with Buddhism and all the others, you might rustle up an absolute maximum of 15 per cent.

So excuse me, but why was this done?  To be sensitive?  For our indigenous community? What did this actually symbolize? And for whom?

It was done for the politically correct elite who run the ABC as a symbol of their counter-culture to the mainstream of Australian society, which of course includes, lest the elite forget, our indigenous community.

This regrettable jettisoning of our culture and heritage by the taxpayer funded national broadcaster, self-described – somewhat pretentiously it would seem – as ‘our ABC’ – and its vacuous attempts at rationalisation – fail to comprehend the development in indigenous thinking.

I recall as a former Chair of the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint-Standing Committee on Native Title, and in my role as Fisheries Minister, consulting with indigenous communities, especially in the Torres Strait Islands, and commencing our consultations in Christian prayer and concluding the consultations in Christian prayer.

Indeed, Torres Strait Islanders still mark the 1st of July every year in memory of the arrival of the London Missionary Society on Erub Island on the 1st July, 1871.

This day is celebrated on the islands as well as on the mainland in Queensland especially.

And the name of this annual celebration? It’s called the ‘Coming of the Light Festival’ – pity our ABC couldn’t be sensitive to the actual beliefs of our indigenous brothers and sisters.

And the reason they call the Festival ‘The Coming of the Light’ is because they believe they were liberated from the world of evil spirits!

Indeed, I am reliably informed by the ABS that the percentage of indigenous folk identifying as Christian in Queensland is in fact higher than the national average of 64 per cent and sits at 68 per cent – which makes 'our ABC’s' rationale look even less credible, if that were possible.

More recently, this none too subtle drive to deny our cultural heritage was also witnessed in the attempt to have the national curriculum purge our language and culture of those historical milestones and identifiers known as BC and AD.  We were told that the new language would for the purposes of historic timelines become CE and BCE standing for the ‘common era’ and ‘before the common era’.

My enquiring mind made me ponder as to what would happen if Freddie were to ask his teacher – ‘Teacher, when did the common era start?’

And I then wondered whether the teacher would be allowed to say ‘at the birth of Christ’.

And what would Freddie then be told if he asked why we didn’t simply call it Before Christ or BC for short?

The intellectual vacuity and dishonesty of these attempts are so easily exposed by  simple questions.

We can move on to the people who have control of the great Girl Guides Movement in Australia who are busily dumbing it down by altering the Girl Guide promise.

The Girl Guides – but only in Australia thankfully – has removed reference to God, Queen and country from their promise. The former phrase – to do my ‘duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country’ – had about it a very wholesome flavour and embodied aspirational ideals to which all young girls could look for inspiration.

How is this for insensitivity? In the year of Her Majesty’s Jubilee reign, when support for a republic in Australia is at a quarter of a century low and support for the monarchy is rapidly gaining, we see a process of sacrificing values at the heart of our culture for elitism and valueless verbiage.

The former Girl Guide promise informed us that there are greater authorities and causes than ourselves. There is more to life than ‘me’. It informed us that the worship and serving of ‘I’ is an empty, selfish and unfulfilling life.

And that is why that now junked phrase was followed up with a promise to ‘help other people’.

Today, a life of commitment and service as an ideal aspiration is being discarded in favour of the new ideal and aspiration completely centered around oneself. The promise now reads in part ‘I promise that I will be true to myself and develop my beliefs’.

Let’s stop and think about this change.

Being true to yourself and to your beliefs is selfishness at best. It is really a recipe for social anarchy and discord.

It would be fair to observe that it is not often that this particular Leader of the Opposition in the Senate quotes President Barack Obama with approval. But President Obama did perceptively acknowledge that the biggest problem in the world today was selfishness.

And so when President Obama is recognising selfishness as the biggest evil in the world, we have the Girl Guides in this country junking selfless service for being true to oneself – whatever that actually means.

So what happens if my belief is communism? What happens if my belief is the caste system where some people are deemed to be less worthy than others? Or simply, that my belief system is self centered?

Well – I am told to be true to myself and my beliefs.

As Cardinal Pell so poignantly observed in the Spectator on 3rd April, 2010 ‘ a person who believes in nothing can only believe in himself. And self belief implies that anything is possible – what do lies, cheating, harm and swindling matter?’

Good luck to the Girl Guides thinking that this approach will somehow enhance and increase their membership, let alone develop better citizens.

Silly and sorry as these three quick examples from ‘our ABC’ to the National Curriculum to the Girl Guides are, it puts a spotlight on an unthinking and deeply corrosive trend in our society to deny our culture and heritage … a trend which needs to be challenged and arrested.

And what is so sad and silly and disappointing about this trend is that it is not only the so-called much maligned ‘religious right’ that are seeing this disturbing trend and lamenting it.

Indeed, Baroness Warnock, an atheist pillar of the small ‘l’ liberal establishment in the United Kingdom, who has had many battles with religion over a whole number of issues during her long and distinguished career, made the following observation (when she was 86 years old).

And please remember Baroness Warnock was an outspoken atheist and took on the Catholic Church and institutions of the Christian religion on many occasions.  But this is what she said in 2010 as quoted in the Spectator on the 2nd October, 2010, page 16 – ‘ I don’t think we ought to forget that the official religion of this country is Christianity’, she says. ‘Its going against a cohesive tradition if all religious festivals whether they are Hindu or Muslim or whatever they are, are given equal precedence …  .This is really a matter of tradition and culture, and there is no doubt that ours is fundamentally Christian.

So I think Christianity ought to have precedence actually. Obviously the other faiths are more than entitled to conduct funerals and so on according to their own tradition. But if there is a public statement like a school holiday or something it ought to be based on Christianity …’

Using that atheistic pillar of UK society, Baroness Warnock’s observation, could we delete the words ‘like a school holiday or something’ and insert ‘like an opening of ABC premises’, I wonder?

If an atheist like Baroness Warnock can see the importance of Christianity in our society and culture in public statements why on earth can’t ‘our ABC’?

And just in case the feisty baroness won’t do for our critics, let’s try the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Some ten years ago, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences tried to ascertain the reasons for the dominance of what we refer to as our western civilisation. At first they thought more powerful guns, and then they thought it might be the political systems, then economic systems.

Finally they concluded ‘in the past 20 years we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion; Christianity … The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this’.

If academics from communist China can come to that conclusion, one wonders why the Girl Guides, those in charge of our National Curriculum and ‘our ABC’ can’t come to a similar conclusion.

As T S Elliot, that great author wrote ‘if Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again’.

So what has Christianity brought to the table?

‘In the ancient, medieval and modern worlds, the Christian ethic elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities and relief organisations, created hospitals, established orphanages and founded schools.

In medieval times, Christianity almost single handedly kept classical culture alive through recopying manuscripts, building libraries, moderating warfare through truce days and providing dispute arbitration. It was Christians who invented colleges and universities, dignified labour as a divine vocation and extended the light of civilisation ….

In the modern era, Christian teaching advanced science, instilled concepts of political and social and economic freedom, fostered justice and provided the greatest single cause of inspiration to the magnificent achievements in art, architecture, music and literature that we treasure to the present day’.

(Reference see pages 7 and 8 of ‘How Christianity changed the World’ by Alvin Schmidt, Zondervan, Michigan, 2001)

The reality is that today’s secular morality could hardly have been possible without the Judeo Christian ethic that has influenced generation after generation

In short, no other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement whatever has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done. (Page 9 – How Christianity Changed the World).

As Tammy Bruce in her hard hitting book entitled ‘Exposing the Left’s Assault on our Culture and Values, the Death of Right and Wrong’ ,says at page 185 ‘the left elite know that if the truth of history is unleashed, if morals, values and character help make dreams come true, then their morally vacant world of victims, anger and hatred will collapse like the house of cards it really is’.

Can I draw all this together and make this further observation.  It is an observation that in fact should not be necessary.

But it is necessary and the observation is this – everyone is religious – whether they like it or not.

You see, everyone has a world view.

And, it is one’s world view that informs one’s sense of morality.

And, it is one’s sense of morality that informs one’s law making.

You see, the laws that we make are usually designed to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour. I know there are exceptions. I don’t see any moral superiority on driving on the left hand side of the road. But that is about the only concession that I’ll make to the left.

More seriously, the simple fact is that one’s law making is inextricably intertwined with one’s sense of morality.  And one’s sense of morality must as of necessity be informed as a result of one’s religion or one’s world view.

That is why it is singularly unhelpful and intellectually bankrupt for certain commentators to claim that those of the Christian faith should leave their religion outside the doors of Parliament House.

However, it seems those that have an atheistic world view or an agnostic world view are quite entitled to carry their belief system through the doors of Parliament House.

Let’s be clear there is no such thing as a neutral world view. Everyone has a world view. And the indisputable fact is one’s world view will ultimately inform and impact on the way one would legislate.

We all need from time to time to engage in the informative and persuasive exercise of stepping back and having a look at our western civilization, and see it 'warts and all'.

Then we need to cast our eyes on other countries and societies that are underpinned by other world views, or religious views, and observe them 'warts and all'.

Then ask the question which do we prefer? And why?

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at


We All Need To Grow Up

Eric-AbetzSenator Eric Abetz, in this edited extract of a speech given at the 2012 Australian Liberal Students' Federation Federal Council, that we need a return to personal responsibility and end the culture of victimisation and the nanny state: 

It seems that we all need to grow up. As children, we often like to blame our siblings, the family pets or some other intervening person, thing or event to escape personal responsibility. Today, I want to celebrate taking personal responsibility. In celebrating personal responsibility, we actually oppose the nanny state. We oppose the stifling notion that others owe us a living or that we are never the architects of our own misfortune.

We also oppose the notion that we don’t bear responsibility for the needs of others. That is, why you will see the left-wing activist on the street corner with a placard demonstrating against world poverty, whilst the conservative quietly donates some of his income to the less fortunate.

In recent years, there has been an unhealthy trend to outsource our responsibilities to the euphemistic ‘they’, or ‘the government’. How often have we heard ‘they’ should do something about it? Or ‘the government’ should do something about it?

The journalists regrettably never stop to ask the usually emoting person who’s all care and concern what they are doing personally or where does individual responsibility cut in. Let’s take the scourge of gambling and especially poker machines, I don’t know how often I’ve seen people on the TV screen arguing against poker machines, ‘they should be banned’, ‘they should be limited’, they should be all sorts of things, but not once, not once have I heard him say people actually need to take control of their lives. The poker machine is static, it is the individual that walks up to it and decides to put money into it.

Do I like poker machines, do I like gambling? No, but there is also the individual responsibility aspect which is always airbrushed out of the arguments and never talked about.

It seems that we need to limit everything and everyone but the actual person responsible for his or her gambling habit. In the media reporting, I still await the journalist asking ‘what responsibility do you take?’, ‘why is the situation not your fault?’.

How can you blame the company which puts the poker machine there when the vast majority of people gamble responsibly or within their means. So, is it the machine’s fault? Or is it the person’s fault?

I’m just waiting for the defence lawyer to come up with the idea of blaming the TV series Top Gear for his client’s excessive speeding. Do we say that it was Top Gear’s fault because ‘I watched it too much, I tried to emulate it and therefore I got onto the road and started speeding’. Well, you are responsible when you get behind the wheel of the car. Similarly when you get behind or in front of a poker machine, you are similarly responsible.

Regrettably, we have this victim mentality becoming firmly entrenched within our community and it really does need to be debunked. My colleague, Joe Hockey recently gave a very good speech about the Age of Entitlement, and ending the age of entitlement and he was right. Because your entitlement is made available on the back of somebody else’s disentitlement and of course you would be aware of that in relation to Compulsory Student Unionism and that is a classic case in point. The compulsion for the so-called ‘common-good’, as determined by the elite is obtained by subjugating gating the individual’s right from his money and access to an education. Someone’s right to social security is also obtained by forcing someone else to give up some of their wealth that they have earned or created. That is why mutual obligation as introduced by the Howard Government is such an important concept to ensure that safety nets don’t turn into hammocks or lifestyles.


When the Government supplies or indeed the company supplies or guarantees something, the incentive to look after that thing supplied is seriously diminished. Take the use of company cars. If you own it, if you’re responsible, if you have to pay the excess on the insurance claims, you look after that car a bit better than if you know it’s just the boss’ or the company’s car or the government’s car.

Now in an excellent book, Dambisa Moyo’s How the West was Lost, explores how it was within the US Government guaranteeing the mortgage institutions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that meant bondholders were less robust in vetting people’s ability to absorb their mortgage payments. And of course, if you think about it, if big government guarantee’s the mortgages, then those who are doing the lending don’t feel as responsible because there’s that safety net, that soft landing in the event things go haywire. And it’s very interesting, she postulates about the possibility of  there not having been a sub-prime mortgage collapse and a GFC if there were not these government guarantees.


So even in the corporate world, government guarantees to relieve people of their individual responsibility creates problems and we are now seeing that with a former Geelong Grammar School student seeking damages from her former school after she failed to qualify for her preferred university course.

Of her time at Geelong Grammar, she said: ''I didn't ever feel I was getting the support I needed to really excel.''

Her mother is also suing the school for lost income and other expenses.

We can all understand disappointment in not getting into one’s chosen university or choice of course but surely this sort of court action is just ridiculous. The twist in this story is that the student could have studied her chosen degree at a range of other universities, not to mention that it appears she wasn’t the brightest student in any event.

In my own portfolio of Workplace Relations, I recently learnt courtesy of a Standards Australia report that gender bias could occur when employees described, analysed, evaluated and graded jobs. Indeed, some job titles imply a gender bias – like fireman or secretary. As a result, we have more potential victims, more potential people who have been discriminated against.

In the Government’s harmonisation of Occupational Health and Safety laws, the Government is currently developing codes of practice – one in particular, is the bullying code, and this entrenches this culture of victimisation.

The code countenances the following  scenario: where an employer unintentionally bullies me, I don't consider it to be bullying but another sensitive employee has observed this and he actually interprets this behaviour as bullying – albeit it was unintentional and it wasn't taken as bullying but the sensitive employee did see it as bullying, he would be entitled to compensation, counselling and all the rest.

If all that isn't bad enough, I trust that you may have heard of a recent Federal Court case about the public servant injured on her work trip whilst engaging in some vigorous horizontal activity. She engaged in this activity after hours in her free time and she injured herself in that vigorous activity.

The Judge said words to the effect that if she was sitting in her hotel room playing cards and got a paper cut she would have been entitled to workers compensation. As a result, premiums go up. As a result, you have another statistic for workers compensation and a workplace injury to show how bad Australian workplaces are and how unsafe they are.

It begs the question, if the employer is responsible, should the employer have a right to supervise the activities. The Judge never allowed the logic of his conclusions to go that much further.

But more seriously, what type of mentality is that encouraging? And to boot, the public servant was a human resources manager. So what a fine example she sets to all those she is seeking to manage. One would have thought that time off was your own time and if you were having time off at home, playing cards, and got a paper cut you shouldn’t get workers compensation. Similarly, if you are travelling and have time out, sitting in your hotel room playing cards and get a paper card, it should not be workers compensation nor should the other injury.

One of the other problems we have is that we do have less than objective journalists in the media claiming the government is the victim of a non-cooperative Opposition, I simply ask you who did the deal for Government? It was Ms Gillard and for those of us who remember after 2010, Ms Gillard was touted as this wonderful, skilled negotiator that outfoxed Tony Abbott. That she had undoubtedly honed those skills while an Industrial Lawyer at Slater and Gordon and she was marvellous at being able to negotiate her way through. The fact is, she sold her soul on a whole range of issues and those problems are coming back to haunt her and we as an opposition should have cooperated!? Where are all these wonderful negotiating skills that she allegedly had? Surely they could have been put to good use, yet an asylum seeker policy couldn’t get through the Parliament.

Similarly, the alleged poll deficit from which the Government is suffering is from the unrelenting negativity of Tony Abbott and the Opposition and a lot of the commentators say, ‘poor old Julia Gillard and the Labor Government, they’re suffering because…’, never do they ask ‘are they the architects of their own problem, namely did they lie to the electorate? Did they sell themselves out and as a result now no longer have the trust of the Australian people?’.

Now, before I get too melancholy about this trend, the great thing is that you are present here today because you are into the business of self-improvement, you are into the business of having values and ideals and willing to stand up for them. It is the ideals and values of Liberalism that says there is such a thing as individual responsibility. So what I would invite you as individuals to do is, don’t let victimhood seduce you if at first, you don’t succeed at whatever you try to achieve in life.

Similarly, don’t encourage the victim status in others, well-meaning though it may be. Often when people want somebody to hear them out, often they want you to say ‘you were hard done by’. Rather remind them difficulties occur in life, and if we allow everybody that has a misfortune in life be described as a victim, we will become a nation of victims as opposed to a nation of innovators, a nation of people who are self-reliant, who want to achieve and it is ultimately the sum-total of all self-reliance of all individual achievements that makes your nation self-reliant, that makes your nation an achieving nation. A nation that is not in debt, a nation that has a positive outlook in the world, a nation that can make a genuine contribution to the world. If I might say, the Western civilisations have done exactly that for humanity and victimhood has not been part of it until recent times and we need to fight against victimhood.

In short, outsourcing consequences inhibits the taking of responsibility.

So let’s celebrate that great Liberal virtue of self-reliance, take on individual responsibility and spread that message wherever you go because at the end of the day, that is what’s going to determine our individual success, our society’s success and our nation’s success. 

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at

The Foundations of Successful Conservative Policy


Senator The Hon Eric Abetz discusses the underlying principles that lay the foundation for conservative public policy:

‘…the wise man built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundations on the rock…
The foolish man … built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash."
In that parable given to us in the gospel of Matthew Chapter 7, we are taught a valuable lesson. We were taught that the foundations of a house are vital to its capacity to withstand storms.
The parable is equally applicable to those of us involved in politics.
A firm foundation is ultimately everything – for a home as well as for our personal lives and political pursuits.
A firm foundation as the parable tells us will not allow you to escape the storms and the floods. They will come our way no matter what.
The difference is – in the shape you are in after the storm has passed.
I hope we can be agreed that foundations are vital.
It is the strength of our foundations that has seen conservatism continue despite the on-going onslaughts.
The lack of a substantive foundation has seen the demise of national socialism, communism and all sorts of other ‘isms’. In historical terms many a political fad has come along but like with many a fad it succumbs to the letter ‘e’. The fad begins to fade.
By its very nature conservatism is not fad driven.
Conservative policy is driven by the enduring qualities of amongst other things, logic, objective truth, belief in the rule of law and the inherent value of human life from beginning to end. Well – that is how we argue our case.
But on what do our arguments, our advocacy rest?
We need to answer that question.
We need to grapple and wrestle with it. To fail to do so would in the terms of the parable put us into the ‘foolish’ category – a description from which we all would shy.
So let’s get down to what logically are the undisputed building blocks of law making.
Albeit, I will deal with them in reverse order.
Law-making is largely designed to influence behaviour in society. Laws are deigned to either encourage ‘good’ behaviour or discourage ‘bad’ behaviour.
I accept some laws are simply designed to help order our society and have no real moral element to them.
Take for example the side of the road on which we drive. I am sure there is no moral superiority in determining Australians will drive on the left hand side of the road in comparison to those countries where they drive on the right hand side.
But such examples aside, our laws are largely designed to encourage good and discourage bad behaviours.
So what determines what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? Ultimately those are value judgments which are based on our moral framework.
Our moral framework is built on our world view or religious view.
And in this context one’s religious view can be devoid of a ‘god’. But make no mistake everyone has a world or religious view on which they base their morality – to which they seek to give expression through law-making.

And there is no scientific test per se to prove my world view is superior to anybody else’s world view. Dare I say it – it comes down to a matter of ‘faith’ as to whether you believe in a god – let alone the type of god or categorically reject the notion of a god, or superior being.
Depending on your answer to the most fundamental of questions – the meaning of life itself – will ultimately shape your morality and the laws you would wish for your society.
In case I need to declare I identify as a Christian. That forms the basis of my world view which in turn provides me with a moral code which in turn informs my approach to law making.
The atheist must acknowledge the same for him or herself.
As must the Muslim, the Bahai or the agnostic or those that believe in Gaia the earth spirit like Professor Flannery and Senator Brown.
The point I seek to make is that there is no such thing as a neutral world view.
That is why when the odd journalist seeks to introduce me as someone from the religious right, I ask whether opponents will be classified as being from the godless-Left. Have you noticed – no one ever has been so introduced. Why? Because the thinking – deficient as it is – presumes that godless-Left is the neutral and thus a superior position for public policy making.
Our rich Judeo-Christian heritage as a nation should be celebrated and taught as the foundation of our nation’s greatness.
Those that deliberately attack and undermine this rich heritage don’t do so from a neutral stand point but do so knowing their end game/purpose.
And let me state quite clearly that part of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage is in fact the separation of Church and State. In our thinking is the understanding that we give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We also acknowledge the two cities principles – the City of God and the City of Man.
Let’s be absolutely clear the greatness of Western Civilisation is not founded on its economic wealth, superior learning, or military powers. Those qualities all in turn are founded on our Christian heritage – as are the all important personal freedoms which we enjoy.
Our society and its well-being – the envy of the world – is firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian heritage.
As might I add is the Conservative approach to politics. And whilst a topic for another day so is the genuine liberal tradition properly understood.
As Conservatives we believe in concepts such as logic, objective truth and are more than willing to learn from history.
All of which informs us to be on the guard against self-proclaimed earthly messiahs.
Whilst we appreciate the values, leadership and attributes of great leaders like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and here in Australia Robert Menzies and John Howard, we as conservatives don’t succumb to the cult worship of the Fuhrer or Dear Leader.
But that tendency while subdued is there in the Greens and the ALP. Their capacity to acknowledge publically they were wrong is, to be kind, limited.
We acknowledged WorkChoices was wrong. Have you ever heard Ms Gillard acknowledge her Medicare Gold policy was wrong? Indeed, have you heard the media seek guarantees it won’t be re-introduced?
‘But Labor’, to quote the 7th April edition of The Spectator (pi), more so than any other political party, constantly seeks a great leader capable of inspiring the masses.  Whether it be the Light on the Hill or the Tree of Knowledge, the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’ or true believers’ Labor mythology likes to imbue events and personalities with qualities above and beyond those of mere mortals’.
Conservatives – through our foundational beliefs acknowledge that humans are fraught, humans are frail and that humans fail.  That is why we seek to limit the size of government.
That is why we seek to separate powers in our governance structures
That is why we believe in the rule of law.
The election for the ‘true believers’ was short-lived.
The Rudd phrase/slogan ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’- namely man-made climate change is now used as a joke and a phrase to highlight the silliness of hyperbole.
As conservatives we genuinely pursue evidence based policy.
We use reason, not emotion, to establish our policy positions.
We reject the notion of inevitability – remember the Republic – which now has less support that it did a decade ago.
Or remember how ANZAC day was denigrated as numbers dwindled. It was a dying institution we were told. Now some 20 plus years later the crowds are at record levels.
We should never be intimidated by the sloganeering and the assertion of ‘inevitability’ so often used by the Left to avoid rational argument.
It will only become inevitable if we give up.
Today that challenge is before us with the definition of marriage.
The Left accuse us of being anti-gay and wanting to regulate bedrooms.
In this context it is important to understand the conservative approach on social issues.
Firstly, we have no intention of making people the objects of social experimentation.
Secondly, we are opposed to same sex marriage, not because of the legal implications of marriage but the moral implications
You see, morality based upon reality teaches us that marriage is deeply rooted in the nature of the family. And the heterosexual marriage creates a possible natural child rearing and child bearing natural family.
The so-called tolerant Left requires society to deny morality a stake or even a claim in the society which in itself is in fact a new morality.
The focus of the Left is on the individuals – their feelings – after all love is love.
But if we apply logic to that assertion there is no reason why 10 people could not or should not all be married to each other at the same time. That is, if the Left’s new tests were to apply.
The logic we conservatives apply make us the adults in the room. We are the ones who apply logic, shun the leader cult and the big statements. In fact we critically test the big statements against objective standards.
So it is with abortion on demand. I know – a very sensitive issue. Abortion does not become right because the pregnancy may stifle my lifestyle. Abortion is either right or wrong irrespective of the individual or financial consequences other than in self-defence where the ongoing pregnancy may endanger the mother’s life.
In brief – humans are humans. Does the act of birth or being born make something which was not human human? If so, at what stage does the child become human? The child can sue for injuries it sustains in the womb, yet the mother can willfully abort it. No logic there. No consistency.
And if we countenance the extinguishment of human life out of convenience, then why not infanticide or euthanasia. Of course both are now accepted by Peter Singer and the Greens.
Interestingly during the early abortion debates this slippery slope argument was rejected as being extreme. Extrapolation of the logic of the morality inherent in supporting abortion on demand was dismissed as hysterical.
The so-called ‘hysterical advocates’ have now regrettably been proven to be the realists, the prophets.
The value we place on human life is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Life is unique. It is God given. Therefore any cutting short of its development from conception to death is to be condemned as playing God – a role we should never give ourselves. History also informs us as to the consequences of such behaviour.
One’s approach may well be different if one sees humans as being random creatures – of no greater value than the other species we eat. And if you believe that you might begin speeches with ‘Fellow Earthians’.
The Conservatives bases all of his views in society by appealing to pure philosophy and principles, logic, morality and the rule of law.
Just recently, we had the disturbing and regrettable case of the Federal Court ruling in favour of a female worker who whilst on a work trip in her private time after hours engaged in vigorous horizontal activity that resulted in an injury.
That according to the judge was worthy of workers compensation.
As a result we have another workers compensation statistic! Really?!
It is this victim mentality, it is this entitlement mentality, it is this mentality that nothing is ever one’s own individual fault. Somebody else has to be accountable. This thinking lies at the heart of left wing ideology seeking to make everybody dependent upon the state and the laws that the state develops, rather than taking personal responsibility for themselves.
That is also why, for example, Labor and the Greens oppose more wide spread support for private health insurance. The concept of encouraging somebody to take responsibility for their own health care is never as good as making everybody dependent on the public system, according to the Left, even if it does cost the community more both in dollar terms and provision of service.
We Conservatives welcome and salute success, hard work and self reliance in an individual because we know that that enhances personal self worth and personal happiness. We know it helps the family unit of which they may be a member and imparts good positive values. We know that it helps the community in which they live as the truly needy can therefore be looked after and other people always benefit from success and hard work. That’s why we oppose the concept of a super profits tax.
Our opponents on the other hand always welcome and salute victim hood, dependence on Government and the sense of entitlement. We know the logical and corrosive consequences of those behaviours.
It is because we are the realists that we end up being the ‘go to’ people in tough times. Regrettably conservatives have often sold themselves short by just asserting their credentials as good economic managers. Conservatives are a lot more than that. They are level headed and commonsense type people.
But why are we good economic managers, why are we level headed and commonsense people – because we believe in such concepts as objective truth, we believe in fundamental virtues such as self reliance. That is why we shun grandiose schemes and big Government and prefer thrift and keeping Governments small.
The reason we are good managers is because we are conservatives and we need to sell our philosophical roots and the logic and morality of our position in a way that we have failed to do in recent times.
You see we don’t believe Government is the answer. Indeed, often it is the problem. That is why we rejected the proposition of the Government being able to save us from the global financial crisis with huge deficit spending underpinned by borrowing.
We recognize this as simply dishonest deferred taxation. We see this as betraying the next generation. We know that big Government means big taxes. We know that less tax means smaller Government and therefore more personal freedom. We believe that an individual spending their money personally will on the whole be spending that money a lot more wisely than the Government would if it compulsorily took that money off them via taxes and then spent it on their behalf.
We believe, as Sir Robert Menzies said, that rights connote countervailing responsibilities. That is where our logical approach of balancing rights with responsibilities is so different to the jargonizing of the left who always talk about rights without developing the concept of responsibilities.
Commonsense dictates that a world simply based on rights will ultimately collapse and crash – just ask the Greeks.
As Conservatives we reject judicial activism because it denies the people the opportunity to determine policy and to have public debate surrounding the issue at stake. That is why the Left always celebrates judicial activism because it gets them out of having to win the argument in the marketplace. That is why the Left always want officials of all sorts to tell us what we are doing wrong and how we need to change our ways according to their ideology.
As Conservatives we have a difficulty with the concept of multiculturalism as expressed by some. I think many people confuse Australia’s multi-ethnic heritage as meaning multicultural.
For a society to be successful it needs to have a degree of cultural homogeneity. And by that I don’t mean banning pizzas or sauerkraut.
By culture I refer to the true meaning and root of the word culture which basically has its foundation in the word ‘religion’ or ‘world view’.
It stands to reason that a successfully functioning society cannot have at its root and at its base half a dozen different world views that are in conflict.
That is why Senator Cory Bernardi was so right when he argued against any flirtation with Sharia Law. And let’s be quite clear.
Our society either respects females as equals or it does not.
Our society either accepts arranged marriages or it does not.
Our society either accepts genital mutilation or it does not.
Our society either accepts the kidnapping of women for wives or it does not.
Our society either accepts that all children should be provided for in a will irrespective of their sex or it does not.
Our society either believes in a Caste system or it does not.
And these fundamental issues are too often ignored in the name of ‘tolerance’. But tolerance to evil itself can become a crime.
Let’s bring all this together.
It seems to me that there are some fundamental issues on which all Conservatives agree. The first is respect for the rule of law and as a result our Constitution and its unwritten Conventions. By submitting ourselves to the rule of law, we acknowledge that we are all unique individuals. The rule of law requires the separation of power because we acknowledge the inherent propensity for humans to do evil, which of course has its foundation in, dare I use the term, ‘original sin’. If we were all innately good, conflict of interests surely would not arise. There would be no need for a Register of Parliamentarians’ Interests or a Criminal Code. We would all automatically do the right thing. There would be no hindrance to being prosecutor, jury and judge all at the same time. But because we are Conservatives we have learnt from history and personal experience that that is not a good thing to do.
Secondly, Conservatives respect life as a natural inherent and inalienable right for all individuals at all stages. This informs our approach to abortion, and euthanasia. And as Conservatives, tough as it may be, it needs to inform us even in circumstances where it may not necessarily be pleasant. This is where logic and morality needs to overcome one’s own personal circumstances.
Thirdly, Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. The concept that the individual is actually accountable for all of his actions and his actions alone.
And we also have the view that Government in its most limited format should be insisted upon so it does not come into conflict with each individual’s rights and freedoms and so that it too remains subject to the scrutiny of the law.
To fully understand someone’s conclusion or policy setting one must understand the steps leading to the conclusion or policy.
For the Conservative logic, morality and history are vital ingredients based in the Judeo-Christian ethic. That approach has served us well. It is tried, true and tested.
The Conservative approach will continue to serve us well. But only if there are citizens like you and me willing to be its advocates. So let’s be the wise men and advocate the cause of Conservatism.
And remember our success will depend on our foundation.

Senator The Hon Eric Abetz is Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

In Defence of Marriage

Senator Eric AbetzSenator Eric Abetz's edited address to the Young Liberal National Conference in Sydney.


Welcome to 2012: a year which promises to be even more difficult than the last.

A year in which the cost of living will increase even further due to the Carbon Tax.

A year in which the debt burden placed on the next generation will balloon to phenomenal proportions. Quite frankly, it is hard to see how Australia can endure another 12 months of Labor's seven deadly sins.

  1. Dishonesty, wholesale breaking of election promises;
  2. Reckless spending and waste;
  3. Racking up debt and deficit whilst…;
  4. Increasing and introducing new taxes;
  5. Caving into the Greens;
  6. Mismanaging the economy; and
  7. Being incompetent administrators.

As I said, welcome to 2012: a year in which all Liberals must work together to make the government fully accountable and outlining our policies which will deliver a better way for our country and deliver hope, reward and opportunity. A task to which I am sure the Young Liberal Movement will devote itself to with vim and vigour. As it has in the past under Michael's excellent leadership and will continue to do so under Trent's direction. Congratulations to the outgoing executive on a job well done and all the best to the new executive on its election.

On a brighter note, there has already been one good news story for 2012. Bob Brown has promised to stop talking to Julia Gillard. If that promise is fulfilled, and that would be a Green first, Labor will be devoid of an agenda and this will spare our nation of further destructive policies which are not only destructive and bad but are also a fundamental breach of the faith and trust that Labor got from the electorate.

On the economic front, we have the carbon tax. We had the promise 'there will be no carbon tax'. We will now have a carbon tax which will be destructive to cost of living, to jobs, to wealth and perversely to the environment. Just allow me to give you one brief example. Coogee Chemicals was going to set up in the state of Victoria a methanol plant with 150 permanent jobs, $1 billion worth of investment, $14 billion worth of potential export earnings. Now, given the carbon tax, they've stated publicly, they will not establish in Australia and as it happens it would have been in the Prime Minister's own electorate. Guess where they're going? To China…

…and in China, that same factory will have four times the carbon footprint as it would have had in a pre-carbon tax Australia. That is why we can confidently say the carbon tax is destructive of jobs, destructive of investment, destructive of the economy and also destructive of the environment.

On the social front, Labor have broken their trust with the Australian people as well. Labor promised that marriage would remain as it always has been: a heterosexual construct. But, like with the carbon tax, the Greens foisted same sex marriage onto the Labor agenda. Labor have adopted it wholesale leaving Labor nowhere to go. Hence, Labor's resolution to give their MP's a conscience vote. Make no mistake, Labor is only giving MP's a conscience vote to salve their collective conscience about breaking yet another election promise not to change the definition of marriage. So this call for a conscience vote on changing the definition of marriage is a blatant diversionary tactic one to which we have not fallen for as a Coalition and one that we should not fall for.

You see, like Labor we promised no change to the definition of marriage. Labor has broken their solemn promise to the people. If they can get us to break our solemn promise as well, by allowing a conscience vote on gay marriage, our moral authority on this issue and on the carbon tax and indeed other issues will not only be diminished but destroyed.

Also, the hard heads in Labor know the damage it is doing to their blue collar core constituency. It is no coincidence that there was a surge to the Coalition in the last opinion poll of 2011 taken immediately after Labor's adoption of the Green policy on same sex marriage.

So the party's position of retaining the definition of marriage is in line with our stated policy before the last election, retains faith with the electorate and is another indication of consistency on our part and highlights Labor's untrustworthiness and their capture by the Australian Greens.

But above all that, it is good sound public policy and that is the topic I want to address today, not workplace relations but marriage relations.

For “better or for worse” is part of the deal when entering the marriage contract. There is no doubt that marriage has its “better” and “worse” moments for the two individuals in the marriage. There is also no doubt that marriage from society's point of view is overwhelmingly, if not totally, for “the better”.

The institution of marriage and family as correctly understood is the bedrock institution of our society. Sure, it provides – all things being equal – stability, security, comfort, a haven from the rest of the world. It provides an avenue for the expression of love. I'm sure we can think of a whole lot of other wholesome characteristics.

Whilst all these characteristics are unequivocally good and necessary in pursuing a happy and fulfilling life, these are not the full essence of marriage. These characteristics are ultimately not what makes marriage unique. People can find those benefits in other relationships as well, indeed all the benefits I've just outlined are “individual” or “self” focused. Marriage is different, it's more than just “love” – with apologies to the Beatles – it's not as easy as "love is all you need".

Marriage's  key characteristics are not all those things to which I've just referred –  important though they be. Indeed, it was the recognition that marriage meant more that led to the most vicious and strident attacks on the institution of marriage while I was at university. The Left was forever condemning marriage as “paternalistic”, “chauvinistic”, “sexist”. Marriage was the 'anthesis of freedom' – especially for women. Marriage was "the subjugation of women." It was 'legalised, forced prostitution'. According to the Left, the institution was one of unmitigated oppression.

That campaign was a spectacular failure. Marriage withstood the barrage.

So, in one of the great about faces of our time these same forces now tell us that the institution of marriage has somehow transformed itself, no longer is it this oppressive, sexist construct. It's now such a wonderful institution it should be available to all. What a metamorphis.

Indeed, the Greens website trumpets "marriage for all". Whatever that may mean.

Marriage is – apart from the characteristics to which I've just referred – the pre-eminent institution for the raising of the next generation. Society's interest in the relationship is because of children. Marriage is a bedrock institution because it is the best environment in which to raise children. Marriage has been part of society for millennia. It has been the coming together of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others for thousands of years.

Marriage was important enough a subject to be referred to in our Federal Constitution. As an aside, for the Federal Parliament to have legislated in 2004 what marriage meant was not, on reflection, a necessarily smart legislative tactic. It's like a leader being given a vote of confidence – it's only called for when the confidence is actually in question. Similarly, the defining of marriage gave regrettable credibility to the suggestion marriage could mean whatever you would want it to mean.

As another aside, I believe the Commonwealth's power relating to marriage is limited to that which was actually meant, namely the joining of a man and a woman. When the Family Court was given powers to deal with defacto relationships, it was by way of referral of state powers therefore the marriage power in the Constitution was deemed not to cover heterosexual defacto relationships.

Well, if the marriage power cannot deal with defacto heterosexual relationships, how on earth can it deal with same-sex relationships?

Learned opinion[1] on this suggests the High Court should have difficulty with this proposition but hopefully it won't come to that. But the fact the current debate has progressed to the extent it has, without this constitutional consideration is indicative of the overall lack of rigour in the public debate.

But not only does our Constitution uphold the importance of marriage as an institution in which society has an interest. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 16 deems it necessary to  refer to marriage. Why? Because to quote Article 16, subclause 3 "the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state". A close examination of the Declaration reveals that every single article starts with the words 'everyone', 'none' or 'all' apart from Article 16. Article 16 specifically begins with "Men and women… have the right to marry and found a family".

The meaning and intent could not be clearer. It is a heterosexual construct and relates to the founding of families. Marrying and founding a family in the same breath, in the same sentence puts up in lights the universal importance of marriage and the family. That marriage is between a man and a woman is specifically mentioned in the Declaration should not surprise. Marriage has been a fundamental stabilising institution in civilised societies for over 6,000 years of recorded history. This long lasting tradition has stood the test of time and for good reason,- it's got some very cogent, rational arguments in its favour. A long lasting relationship in which children are nurtured, exposing them to the benefits of the unique differences of a father and a mother provides the best environment for raising children. Be it, their academic achievements, social skills, individual social stability, emotional stability, sporting prowess, you name it the kids from a married, heterosexual couple win out. Study after study has confirmed this to be the case. Yet again, hardly surprising. So to deliberately and unnecessarily deprive a child of the diversity of a mother and a father experience is not in the child's best interests.

I recall way back in the heady days when I was the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence responsible for the Defence Cadets. Right around the country, single mums in particular would confirm to me that Defence Cadets was providing a stable, male role model in their son’s life. A role they simply could not fulfil try as they might.

Put simply, two men or two women with the best will in the world can't provide the diversity and vital experience that a mother/father home provides. Obtaining a good understanding of how to interact with the opposite sex is vital for the perpetuation of society. As the progressive research institution Child Trends has found "research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children and the family structure that helps the children most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single parent relationships, children born to unmarried mothers and children in step-families or co-habiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents. It is not simply the presence of two parents but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children's development".

This 2002 research has been replicated many, many times in other studies and it is because of these reasons that governments have positively discriminated in favour of the married family unit for the benefit of society and its next generation. In recent times, we have regrettably diluted this positive discrimination in favour of marriage in the name of equality.

In doing so, we have reduced the importance of marriage and the consequences are there for all to see with the greater rates of delinquency and other negative social scores. We deprive the next generation and thus society if we diminish the role of marriage.

Let me briefly turn to the issue of discrimination. Marriage by its definition and purpose is highly specific. It always has been heterosexual specific. That does not make it unequal or discriminatory. To try and make it into something else will change its very definition. The sex of the spouses is determinative of marriage just as the sex of the person is determinative of discussing motherhood.

Us blokes can assert discrimination all we like but guess what? Blokes aren't mothers. Never have been, never will be.

We can change the definition of motherhood but then motherhood won't mean and be motherhood anymore. And for the record the same of course applies to fatherhood. It would then of course be diminished to something nondescript such as parenthood and the important role of motherhood and fatherhood and their distinct yet complementary roles will simply be diminished in a sea of meaningless political correctness to the great detriment to the next generation.

There are many restrictions on marriage:

  • You can't marry under a certain age;
  • You can't marry a close relative;
  • You can't marry a married person;
  • You can't marry more than one person at a time; and
  • Yes, you cannot marry a person of the same sex.

If the same sex disqualification is to be addressed as 'discrimination', it begs the question: Can it be asserted that the other qualifications are also inherently discriminatory and indicative of ageism, family-phobia or polyamorous-phobia? Interestingly, the polyamorous cohort in our community are celebrating the ALP conference's vote on homosexual marriage as they see the breaking of marriage as an exclusive heterosexual monogamous institution as their opening to recognition.

Allow me to paraphrase and quote Terri Kelleher. Who has written extensively. She says:

Resisting the push for same sex marriage does not rely on religious grounds, it does not rely on fundamentalism, it does not rely on bigotry, it does not rely on hatred. The argument rests on the proposition that, regardless of what we may wish it to mean, marriage is a reality with certain indispensable elements; that the legal institution of marriage only makes sense in relation to that unique human relationship which is characterised by the comprehensive joining of two bodies as one in a common biological purpose; that this common purpose requires both a male and a female element in order to be complete, and therefore must be heterosexual in nature, and that as distinct from any other kind of interpersonal human relationship, the comprehensive heterosexual union alone is oriented to childbearing and rearing children and is consequently oriented to permanence and exclusivity.

Redefining marriage would remove it from the only context in which its essential features make sense. However popular such a move might be, this would be contrary to the common good and the antithesis of good public policy. For although public policy should not disregard the desires or needs of individuals, it must primarily serve the common good. Marriage law currently does so by fortifying the unique relationship which is naturally oriented towards bringing forth children.

Redefining marriage would undermine the very significance of the indelible biological bond between man, woman and child. At a time when family dislocation weighs with increasing severity on families we need public policy which reinforces, rather than undermines, the importance of mums and dads sticking together in a spirit of service to one another, to their children, and to the communities in which they live. Marriage, as it stands makes a lot of sense. Let's keep it that way.


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[1] NG Rochow SC, FC Brohier, M Mudri & PJ Geyer

Nothing Could Be Clearer

Senator Eric AbetzLabor sought and obtained a mandate from the Australian people not to impose a Carbon Tax says Senator Abetz.

“The Clean Energy Bill 2011 and related bills, if they are turned into Acts, should they pass in the Senate will be 19 separate acts of deceit, 19 separate acts of betrayal, 19 separate acts signifying the contempt in which Labor holds the Australian people,” Senator Abetz said today.

“Rather than debating the clean energy package, we should in fact be renaming it the 'dirty deal package' because it was struck with a dirty deal with the Australian Greens, a party, incidentally, led by a person who once advocated for coal-fired power stations in his opposition to renewable, environmentally friendly hydro generation.”

Labor’s ‘light on the hill’ is no longer powered by reliable, base load, traditional Labor thought but powered instead by faltering and flickering transitory trendy fads changing it from a once-strong, clear beam to a pale, intermittent, slowly dying ember.”

“The Australian Labor Party has not only lost its moral compass, it has lost its policy map as well,” Senator Abetz said.

“As the Greens-Labor Government foolishly and recklessly rushes to create this toxic tax, they tell us that countries all around the world are moving just as quickly. I have to concede that they are right. Countries are moving just as quickly, but in the opposite direction.”

“Canada – No to a Carbon Tax – France – No, Europe – reconsidering its position, Japan – indefinitely postponed, United Kingdom – reducing green energy subsidies, New Zealand – winding back its scheme, Russia – taking no further action, South Korea – delaying and The United States – not proceeding.”

 “It will be a $9 billion per annum tax. It will increase power bills by 10 percent. It will increase gas bills by nine percent, and that is on Labor's own assessments.

“There will be higher marginal tax rates, there will be a huge impact on single-income families and two hundred and eighty thousand self-funded retirees will be worse off.”

“The Prime Minister may have been right when she said, 'There will be no carbon tax under a Government I lead,' because it is Senator Bob Brown and the Australian Greens that are actually leading this Government,” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at

Must Read: Green Light for Senate Chaos

Senator Eric AbetzSenator Eric Abetz, in this speech to the Sydney Institute, lays out the dangers ahead with the radical extremist ideologues in the Australian Greens holding the Senate balance of power:

As of the 1st of July Australians will be relying on the House of Representatives to block the excesses of the Senate … Who would ever have thought?

I am sure our Founding Fathers never envisaged such an outcome. Nevertheless it is a good reminder how a bicameral system provides vital safeguards.

With a Labor-Green alliance running the Senate, it will fall to the House of Representatives and, in particular, the four independents to determine our fate.

It is a worrying time for our nation and for our Federation.  The uncertainty alone will impact on our economy if the Tasmanian experience is any guide.

That is why it is opportune to have an occasion such as this (kindly provided by the Sydney Institute) to expose, examine and explore the ramifications.

On the 1st of September 2010 Australians witnessed the spectacle of Ms Gillard and Senator Brown seated at a table signing a document with wattle sprigs in their lapels and an adoring ‘bridal party’ behind them witnessing the occasion.  The scene was suggestive of a civil marriage – albeit one of convenience.

The published photograph of the event did hold my fascination … On studying it I could not help but note its orchestration. The bowed heads and folded hands of the witnesses. Some smirking. But also the wary faces of the leaders.  And the uncertainty suggested by the large doors behind, as if everyone could somehow go back inside and have another configuration emerge.

I believe that picture tells us a lot about the alliance itself.  And for this reason it has been so commented on and reproduced. 

But away from the photo – the deal itself has implications for our nation that are extremely worrying.

So tonight I want to pose two questions.

  1. With whom are we dealing?
  2. With what are we dealing?      

With whom are we dealing?

Hailing from Tasmania and having served in the Senate for slightly longer than Senator Brown, I have been in a unique position to observe the Greens and their Leader for over three decades.

Until now, their simplistic 15 second grabs, extreme policies and personal hypocrisies have been treated at best with indifference, or at worst with gushing endorsement.

Here are a few examples which together build a picture of the Greens:

Whilst in themselves, individually, they may be overlooked, together they paint a picture of inconsistent behaviour, and a misplaced sense of moral superiority.

Here are some that I have recalled. It seems:

  • Gagging Parliamentary debates is to be condemned as a fundamental abrogation of the Parliamentary process…that is unless the Greens want to gag the Coalition.
  • Missing votes in the Senate is indicative of a Party that is a rabble and a matter deserving media exposure…that is, unless it is the Greens leader who misses a vote.
  • Bad behaviour and verbal insults in the Parliament are to be condemned…unless they are in furtherance of a “justifiable” (Green) cause.
  • All Parliamentarians should be transparent and accountable…that is unless you want to receive donations to a personal bank account, then file late returns and identify many donors simply as “anonymous” in furtherance of the cause.
  • Receiving large donations taints political Parties…that is unless you are the beneficiary.
  • Receiving donations from a particular source with an agenda prejudices a party’s policy making….that is unless you receive even larger donations from the CFMEU.
  • Senators need to have a dress code determined by the Senate…that is unless you lose the motion and ignore the will of the Senate anyway.
  • The use of timber for energy and biomass should be condemned…that is unless you want a log fire for your personal use.
  • Championing “National Go Home On Time Day” is such an important principle that it demands a motion in the Senate…but later that very same day your Party moves an extension of Senate sitting hours to try to ram something through!.    

These are just a smattering of the inconsistencies, minor in themselves, but very illuminating in that their frequency establishes a pattern of behaviour.

Any other party and its leader would have been hounded for such double standards…as they should have been.  Not so the Greens. That is until very recently.

I am gratified that the Greens are at last being given the scrutiny they deserve. 

For too long the Greens have flown under the radar.  The major parties, community leaders, business leaders and the media have, with a few exceptions, allowed this to happen. 

Until now, simplistic and extremist policies and double standards have been overshadowed by the Greens’ image of being well meaning ‘tree huggers’.

This “new paradigm” of scrutiny appears to come as a shock to the Greens.

First we had Senator Brown labelling News Ltd the “hate media”. Next was the disclosure that he repeatedly complained to ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott, about the ABC’s 2010 election coverage – something I found astounding, given that only 5 out of 982 complaints about theABC’s election coverage related to anti-Green bias and all had to do with inadequate coverage.

Most recently Senator Brown threateningly declared that he will take on the media which has“crossed the line”.

The truth is that the Greens have crossed the line – from the political margin into the mainstream – and after 30 years of largely uncritical media coverage they are finding it difficult to adjust to the scrutiny some of us have had to deal with from day one.

The illusion we are dealing with a benign group of people, naïve in the ways of the world, needs to be debunked, and the quicker the better.

No, the Greens are not a group of benign environmentalists.  Nor are Koalas, threatened species and habitat top of their agenda.   That is their cuddly facade.

Too many of the organisers and activists within the Greens are simply unreconstructed, old guard lefties.

That is why the description ‘watermelons’ is still so apt – a green layer covering a substantial red core.

From your local senator elect, Lee Rhiannon, or the Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, the Greens stand for uncompromising old style, left-wing politics.     

The Father of the Senate, Senator Ron Boswell, recently provided the following perceptive insight:

Australia needs to work out very quickly that the Greens are the One Nation of the Left.  Bob Brown is the socialist Pauline Hanson. The big and alarming difference between them lies in the public’s perception. The danger represented by the extreme Right position of Hanson and One Nation was clear from the very beginning; the flip side, the left-wing extremism of the Greens, is still largely under the radar.  The Greens are still far too widely perceived as a benign political force.

Indeed, in Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s intolerance of controls on illegal immigration we see the flip side of her namesake’s view that boat people should be turned away.  

Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon is the epitome of the Red Green – an uncompromising, inner-city, Left-wing, activist who as a member of the Socialist Party of Australia towed the Moscow line after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. 

The communists are said to be the dominant faction in the NSW Greens.  Adam Bandt is a former industrial lawyer and partner at Slater & Gordon, who as a student communist at Murdoch University opined that the only way to influence the Government’s agenda was to support the Greens.

(One should note that Ms Gillard, who came to politics via the Socialist Forum and Slater & Gordon has a not dissimilar political pedigree to Lee Rhiannon and, in particular, Adam Bandt. This undoubtedly assisted in cobbling together the Alliance).

But now it is no longer just conservatives labelling the Greens “extremists”.  Ms Gillard has found it necessary to do so as well.   Six months into their relationship she is claiming that:

…the Greens will never embrace Labor's delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.

My colleague, Senator Barnaby Joyce, hit the nail on the head when he said“It’s like walking down the street holding your lover’s hand and yelling out, ‘this relationship is a farce’”

Be this as it may, the Greens-Labor Agreement is clearly already shaky. It was driven, from the Labor side, by the fact that after the 1st of July 2011 the Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate.  And from the Greens side, by the knowledge that the Labor Party was the best vehicle for implementing their left-wing agenda.

From the 1st of July the numbers in the Senate will be 34 Coalition, 31 Labor, 9 Greens, 1 DLP (after an absence of 36 years) and Senator Xenophon – giving Labor and the Greens a majority of 40 out of 76 seats, and giving the Greens a veto over any Labor legislation opposed by the Coalition.

Given this power the Greens do need to be held to account. Prior inconsistent statements need to be probed. Their policy programme needs to be understood.

So, with what are we dealing?

The three areas Ms Gillard nominated as priorities in her first week as Prime Minister – illegal immigration, the mining tax and climate change – are all still a mess.  Her Citizens’ Assembly and East Timor processing centre were simply chimeras.

By October 2010 an Ipsos Mackay Report found that many people surveyed felt Ms Gillard stood for nothing, or very little other than holding onto power.

New heights of vacuity were reached when she outlined her 3 year, 5 point plan to a Special end of year Caucus meeting.   Her plan (1) a stronger economy (2) a more sustainable environment (3) a fairer society (4) governing for all Australians and (5) keeping Australians safe at home and strong in the world – all motherhood statements absolutely confirming that her Government was bereft of any agenda.

They tell me vacuums aren’t a natural state. They tend to get filled –especially in politics. The Greens have observed this and are busily filling the agenda vacuum with their own.

The first product of the Greens-Labor Agreement was the breaking of the vow made to the Australian people, in full prospect of a hung Parliament – that there would be no carbon tax under a government led by Ms Gillard. And recall the media conference.  No Treasurer – despite it being sold as a vital economic reform. Instead, 2 Labor, 2 Greens, and 2 Independents.  All three groupings represented as equal partners.

And who dominated the Conference – the Greens. There they were telling us how they got this policy position. And there have been others:

Other Government cave-ins to the Greens’ redistributive and social agendas have included decisions:

  • to introduce a progressive flood levy;
  • to re-ignite the debate on gay marriage;
  • to have a week long debate on Afghanistan;
  • to give the Territories the right to make their own laws on gay unions and euthanasia;
  • to means test the private health insurance rebate;
  • to quietly dissolve the Work for the Dole scheme;
  • to restore $100m in funding for solar and rental assistance schemes
  • to restrict FBT concessions on company cars;
  • to apply $20 million to an implementation study of a high speed rail network; and
  • to pursue independent contractors

The recent Budget exemplified Labor’s paralysis.  Despite Labor claiming its Budget was “tough”, Departmental officials confirmed at Senate Estimates that the Government was saving less than half a cent in every dollar over the forward estimates. 

Meanwhile the Government has surreptitiously introduced legislation to raise the debt ceiling from $200 billion to $250 billion.

And despite Labor dancing to the Greens’ tune, Bob Brown had the chutzpah to telephone Ms Gillard on budget day to complain that the relationship between the parties was too one-sided.

The Greens are now on a mission to “improve” the Budget in the parliament.

The main issues at stake are now – the price on carbon – along with the income ‘cut-off’ level for carbon tax compensation.  Both issues give the Greens the opportunity to press their redistributive agenda.

Ominously, on June 29 Senator Brown intends to outline the Greens’ balance of power agenda at the National Press Club.  According to Brown, the Greens will deliver stability in government, while backing, a whole range of issues that might be on the agenda now that otherwise would have been buried.

So post 1 July, we can expect plenty of Greens exhumations in the Senate.

Bob Brown, who has spent his life lying in front of bulldozers, will now be able to drive one through the Australian economy.   This is what the Greens’ carbon tax and mining tax policies will do.  Meanwhile Senator Milne gives every indication she would go even further.

Policies the Greens will push include:

  • higher, punitive mining taxes;
  • bringing in death taxes and expanding the capital gains tax;
  • increasingly progressive personal taxes;
  • cutting funding to independent schools;
  • increasing company taxes and introducing “ecological taxes”;
  • a complete ban on all live exports;
  • pulling Australia out of ANZUS; and
  • establishing tough restrictions in vast new marine parks.

Let me turn to my portfolio area.

The Greens’ Workplace Relations policies

Recently Adam Bandt noted that the Greens views on employment and industrial relations would receive greater prominence.. . after 1July

The Greens have already led the charge to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which sought to restore the rule of law in the construction industry. 

Apart from that gem the Greens’ workplace relations settings include:

  • a 35 hour working week;
  • a mandatory minimum of five weeks paid annual leave for all employees;
  • ‘Green bargaining’ between workers and employers;
  • enshrining unions’ right to prosecute employers in national OH&S law;
  • repealing the secondary boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act;
  • protecting unions and workers from common law actions;
  • abolishing the requirement for secret ballots;
  • introducing national industrial manslaughter laws; and
  • allowing casual workers the right to challenge their termination.

In recent years unions like the CFMEU, ETU and AMWU have given the Greens over $600,000 in donations.  Usually this money would have been destined for Labor’s coffers. This in itself provides another front for disharmony between the Alliance partners. 

A Tasmanian precedent

As a Tasmanian I trust you will forgive me for harking back to Tasmania’s Labor–Green Accord.  After the 1989 general election resulted in a hung parliament, Liberal Premier Robin Gray had 17 seats.  Michael Field’s Labor had 13.  The Greens won 5 seats, giving them the balance of power.  Two of these five Green MPs were Bob Brown, their unofficial leader, and Christine Milne.  

But, when state cabinet announced its adoption of the Federal Government’s Forest Industry Strategy in 1990, the Greens terminated the Accord.  It had lasted only 409 days.

The memory of this instability still casts a shadow over Tasmania and its capacity to attract much needed investment.

Field later compared the relationship between Labor and the Greens to a “forced marriage” which ended in a “very acrimonious divorce”.

The similarities between the Labor-Greens Accord in Tasmania 20 years ago and the current Greens-Labor Agreement should not go un-noted. Especially given the presence of Senators Brown and Milne.

Under the present Agreement, in return for support, Labor has given the Greens a commitment to a Carbon Tax, a pipeline into Government policy formulation and the prospect of achieving advantage through electoral reform.

And while the Agreement states, as a Goal, that the parties will work together to “agree that this Parliament should serve its full term”, at the same time it states that the Parties agree to work together to pursue policies which promote the national interest and allows the Greens to move no-confidence motions.

While Labor may from time to time be humiliated by the Greens and Liberals siding together, as recently happened to establish an inquiry into our mandatory detention policy and to condemn Labor’s Malaysian solution, what will occur if the Coalition sides with Labor against the Greens on an issue the Greens consider is in the ‘national interest’?

Earlier this year Bob Brown was piqued when Labor and the Coalition wrote to the President of the Senate, to harmlessly recall the Senate an hour or so earlier than scheduled, so as to mark the Christchurch earthquake at the same time as in New Zealand. Even though efforts had been made to contact Brown it wasn’t good enough.

This behaviour must be worrying for Labor. What would the Greens do if Labor and the Coalition voted in the Senate to thwart something the Greens really wanted?

Already the Labor Right has split on a Senate report on the Territories legislation which would have advanced the Greens social agenda on gay marriage and euthanasia and there are similar strains within the Labor Left on its Malaysian solution.

All this suggests there could be plenty of brinkmanship in the Senate post 1 July.

Despite Senator Brown telling Australians that they won’t have an early election, it should not be forgotten that Senators Brown and Milne have already brought down one government.

Already strains between the Parties are showing. The Greens have already moved the first motion to condemn the Government’s Malaysian solution.

It is not a huge step in political terms to see the Greens deeming the Malaysian solution, counter to the ‘national interest’ – a key principle of the Greens-Labor Agreement. 

Now let’s remember that the Greens rejected the Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009, because it didn’t go far enough. So, it is even possible the Carbon Tax could still prompt such a move.

Policy differences will deliver Government stagnation.

Age, ambition, direction and control in an enlarged Greens Party room

While Labor is tearing itself in two on the policy front internal stability is also faltering with open talk about another coup.

Internal stability is also a problem for the Greens.   

Despite claiming he would be around for decades Senator Brown has said he hopes there will be a bit of “jostling” for the leadership when his parliamentary party numbers increase in July – thereby making a virtue of the unavoidable.

Senator Brown will turn 67 this year. Although he is not too old to be Leader, the drums are beating it’s time to go.

Simultaneously the switch to Canberra by Lee Rhiannon, who herself turns 60 this year, has led to speculation of a confrontation.  My colleague, Senator Michael Ronaldson has noted that Rhiannon wants the leadership and no one will stop the ‘Lee for Leader’ train.

Brown’s putative successor is Christine Milne. But the four incoming senators appear to owe no allegiance to Milne.

Last September Senator Hanson-Young challenged Milne for the Deputy’s position.

Lee Rhiannon is the embodiment of the old guard leftie Green that Bob Brown has sought to harness and hide at the same time. 

It is not hard to envisage a scenario where the extreme left-wing Senators – might test Brown or Milne.

Small party dynamics in the Senate are volatile. The Democrats imploded amidst fighting between the young and the old; the Party room and the party organisation; and over the Party’s direction, centrist or leftist – the very same factors latent in the new Greens Party room.

These internal divisions evident in the Greens’ party room do not suggest political stability for our country.

BDS will be an internal fault line

An obvious fault line in the Greens Party Room will be the NSW branch’s support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. 

Lee Rhiannon’s reaction was to simply argue that more time should have been spent building support for BDS.

For this she was publicly slapped down the same day by Senator Brown.

Then on the 4th of April Senator Brown emphatically told Lateline that the NSW Greens support for BDS had been rejected by the Australian Greens National Council in 2010 and said that he also rejected this policy.

However, on the 14th of April Rhiannon told Sky’s The Nation program that she continued to support the BDS campaign against Israel, saying, “…we have that position in NSW and I support the NSW position. But it’s not something we’re taking to the Federal Parliament.”

Two days later at a meeting at the ANU, staged by the Green Institute, Senator Brown argued passionately for a move from a federalist to a national Party structure – the spur being the NSW branch’s BDS policy.  According to one source quoted by the Canberra Times:

…mismanagement of the Israel boycott issue had spooked some inside the Greens because it made the party look like a bunch of radicals who were happy to fight with each other…Bob is genuinely concerned about Lee Rhiannon going into the Senate… He doesn’t want to see everything he’s worked for collapse and he knows there is one or two of his federal team that could be vulnerable to people like Lee.

Now, in a hitherto unnoticed blog on the 16th of May, titled “Greens NSW and the campaign for Palestinian rights”, Lee Rhiannon has delivered her riposte: 

She noted remarks by Bob Brown about tolerating diverse opinions and then, pointedly, stated that, “as a confederation of parties that make up the Australian Greens sometimes our work on national policies will vary”. (emphasis added)

She then threw down the gauntlet to Brown, saying:

It is not accurate to say that the Greens National Council rejected a BDS proposal:

The Australian Greens did not reject BDS; there was no vote to reject it. A less stringent boycott was supported…

While the Greens NSW support for BDS is an expansion of the Australian Greens 2006 position it does not contravene the national position…

…Despite the intimidation, misinformation and abuse in recent months directed towards the Greens NSW… I will not step away from speaking out for Palestinian human rights….

Supporting human rights for Palestinians will be part of my work as a Senator.

This is not Bob Brown’s so-called ‘hate media’ inventing this.  It’s his very own new colleague’s work.

The above clearly shows there is a power struggle between Rhiannon and Brown.

Senator-elect Rhiannon has nailed her colours to the mast, and she would likely be backed by Senators Hanson-Young and Ludlam in her anti-Israel efforts.

I should observe that BDS is also splitting the Labor Party in two, with Mr Rudd unable to back Coalition motions condemning this anti-Israel campaign – something which would never have happened under Bob Hawke.

The future of the Greens

With their rise in influence the Greens are now finally attracting critical attention.

Nationally the public is rejecting the Greens’ prescriptions for climate change and wising up to how Greens policies have driven up their water and power bills. 

To quote Paul Kelly:

The green agenda has corrupted Labor values. It has seen Labor governments embrace fiscal irresponsibility, regressive income re-distribution and treat their supporters as too dumb to understand they were being played for mugs. For too long the idea that any green scheme was a good scheme was sanctified as a compliant media cheered such initiatives… Climate change, once Labor’s dream issue, has become the nightmare issue on which Labor has wedged itself.

These issues and the political environment are allowing for a more robust approach to the Greens. 

The ACT, which recorded the lowest swing to the Greens in 2010, saw the Liberals run an aggressive anti-Greens campaign, targeting the Greens’ policies on independent schools.  The Greens buckled, inventing new policy and contradicting themselves. 

Since then in state elections in Victoria and NSW the Greens haven’t performed as well as expected.  In both instances cases of hypocrisy by Greens’ candidates has been exposed but, more importantly, Greens policies have been exposed.

In Victoria it was the Greens policies on private health insurance and death taxes.  In NSW the Greens’ policy on boycotting Israel overshadowed their campaign and counted against them.

In Victoria, the ‘put the Greens last’ preference strategy was very successful – moreso than NSW’s open ticket strategy.

It seems the public are beginning to focus on what the Greens really stand for.  As a result their relentless march has been slowed.

Conclusion – The Future

Now, as far as the Parliament is concerned, Labor will not be able to rely on the Coalition to protect them.

The suggestion that the Coalition should support legislation we oppose, to stop even worse legislation that the Greens might demand, is to misunderstand our principles and resolve.

We will for example neither support Labor’s attempt to neuter the Australian Building and Construction Commission, nor the Greens’ attempt to abolish it.

Labor will be judged and held accountable each time they break an election promise or introduce bad legislation.  The “new paradigm” excuse won’t wash. 

Labor willingly signed up with the Greens in a grab for power and can’t expect the Coalition to protect them from their own alliance partner.

So, one scenario may be that Labor ‘hard heads’ call an early election, so as to stem the damage being caused to their base by their alliance with the Greens.

Federal Labor might just think it is better to lose now, than in 2 years with a complete wipe out.

Given all the factors at play – the instability, the uncertainty, the policy stagnation and extremism is it too much to ask for the Coalition and Labor, at the next federal election, in the ‘national interest’, to put the Greens last?

In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts as we are about to hit some political turbulence.

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at


Senate Condemns Labor, Greens and Unions over BDS Campaign

Senator Eric Abetz “Yesterday the Senate condemned those in the Labor Party, the Greens and unions who are supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel,” Senator Abetz said.

“The Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, who today dictated Labor’s position, and who was happy to call Marrickville Council’s BDS policy “nuts”, wilted when it came to opposing those in his own Party and the unions who are also supporting this vile campaign.”

“Likewise Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, did not have the spine to reject the NSW Greens’ BDS policy – despite previously claiming that both he and the Greens’ national council opposed to this BDS policy.”

Today’s motion in the Senate – passed by the Coalition and the independents, 32 to 30, noted with concern:

•       the resolution carried at the 2010 Regional Conference of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to support the BDS campaign;

•       initial support for the support for the BDS campaign against Israel by four Labor councillors on Marrickville Council;

•       the decision by the NSW ALP to preference Greens candidate and Marrickville Mayor, Fiona Byrne, in the seat of Marrickville at the NSW state election; and

•       reports that David Forde, Convenor of Labor 4A Just Palestine, who supports the BDS campaign, is a frontrunner for ALP preselection for the Queensland state seat of Stretton;

Today’s Senate motion also denounced support lent to the BDS campaign against Israel by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, Geelong Trades Hall Council, Newcastle Trades Hall Council, South Coast Labour Council, Queensland Council of Unions, Unions ACT and branches of the ASU, Teachers’ Union, LHMWU, CFMEU, MUA, AMWU, CEPU, ETU, FSU, HACSU and RTBU.

Further, it called upon the ACTU to oppose the BDS campaign. 

Senator Abetz said that parts of the Labor Party and union movement had been infected by the anti-Israel BDS campaign, and that the Greens were totally compromised.

“The first step in ridding the labour movement of this extremism is acknowledging its presence.  Kevin Rudd, Labor and the Greens today failed this test,” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at

“It’s Not Easy Being Green”

Eric-AbetzSenator Eric Abetz on Prime Minister Gillard's disowning of Bob Brown:


Just like Kermit, Julia Gillard has finally worked it out, “it’s not easy being green.”

Julia Gillard’s attempt to distance herself from the ‘Extreme Greens’ doesn’t wash with the Australian people. We all know that Julia Gillard and Labor have done a secret deal with the Greens supporting their extreme policies in order to maintain Labor’s tenuous hold on power.

Julia Gillard lied to the Australian people before the election when she said "There will be no Carbon Tax under the Government I lead."

Under pressure from the ‘Extreme Greens’, who told her, support us and our extreme policies or we will destroy you, the Prime Minister was forced to comply, going back on her solemn promise to the Australian people.

The Prime Minister can try all she likes to distance herself from the deal she has done with Senator Brown but nothing can hide the fact that the minority ‘Extreme Greens’ are calling the shots and are in control of Labor’s policies. If you needed any convincing that the Greens are extreme then have a look at their extreme policies.

The Greens support a job destroying Carbon Tax, but this is not the only crippling tax the ‘Extreme Greens’ want to impose.

Not content with taxing the life out of working Australians, the Greens also want to tax us when we die by introducing death duties, taxing the frail and the elderly who wish to leave something behind for their descendants when they die.

Death duties were abolished in Australia in 1984, but the ‘Extreme Greens’ have expressed a long standing support for its reintroduction.

One wonders if this and many of the other ‘Extreme Green’ policies listed below are also on the list of things that the Greens are demanding that Julia Gillard and Labor support?

  • Hike up the Company Tax rate to 33%;
  • Introduce road congestion charges;
  • Force family trusts to be taxed as companies;
  • Increase the cost of many imported cars;
  • Give unions more power in the workplace;
  • Abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission;
  • Scrap the ANZUS treaty;
  • Cut our Defence budget;
  • Close joint military bases and put an end to joint training exercises;
  • Close down Australia’s coal mining industry;
  • Stop mining exploration;
  • End the detention of illegal boat people arriving in Australia;
  • Allow illegal immigrants free and unfettered access to come and go as they please in the Australian community; and
  • Relax anti-terrorism laws in Australia.

The Australian people have every right to feel betrayed by the Labor Party which has been hijacked by an‘Extreme Green’ agenda.

The Prime Minister can protest all she likes, attempting to distance herself from Senator Brown, but there is no hiding from the fact that it’s Julia Gillard who created this mess in the first place.

Senator Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. His website can be found at