When one’s IQ is less than one’s shoe size, and we’re only talking one shoe…

By skepticlawyer

I am stealing this observation from regular commenter Nick Ferrett, because it bears repeating:

So Tony Hodges, the PM’s senior media advisor has resigned after disclosing to the tent embassy people that Abbott was at the Lobby Restaurant with Gillard. OK, you people are now officially too stupid to be in government. Leave aside the morality of it. You’re just too stupid. If you can’t boil water with your IQ, please bugger off and let someone else have a go.

This is what Tony Abbott actually said:

Look, I can understand why the tent embassy was established all those years ago. I think a lot has changed for the better since then. We had the historic apology just a few years ago, one of the genuine achievements of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. We had the proposal which is currently for national consideration to recognise indigenous people in the Constitution. I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian and yes, I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that.

Tony Abbott gives me the screaming heaves, he really does. He’s the worst sort of godbothering big government conservative. But he did not call for the tent embassy to be ‘torn down’ and he did not ‘incite a riot’. Any rioting – as is usually the case – was the responsibility of the rioters.

There is speculation in the media that Tony Hodges misquoted Abbott, making his comments more aggressive. In a perverse way, I hope that’s true, because to respond to the above with violence suggests that at least some people in Australia have made their way into political cloud-cuckoo-land.

In other news, apparently Julia Gillard’s lost shoe is now being sold on Ebay.

UPDATE: Some very pertinent observations from the Angry Exile over at his place – do take a look. This bit in particular is worth keeping in mind:

Personally I don’t agree [with Abbott]. I’m all for the right of people to protest peacefully for as long as they feel they’ve got something to protest about, and up ’til now the Tent Embassy’s been a hell of a lot better than some of the Occupod lot. In fact it’s been so unobtrusive that I’ve never even seen it myself despite visiting Canberra a few times. I don’t know, maybe they trashed the place a lot in the past and I just haven’t lived here long enough to know, but looking at Google Earth they don’t seem to be really in the way or making a mess so what’s the big deal? It’s not as if you’ll find all that many people who don’t think that they certainly had a cause to begin with – even Tony Abbott thinks that.

However, for me they lost the moral high ground when they lost their shit and decided that what he meant was that it should be torn down and the protestors kicked out, which is something absent from any direct quote of Tony Abbott that I’ve seen and which he’s explicitly denied saying. Yet they went nuts about it anyway.

17 Comments

  1. Posted January 28, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Don’t like Abbott, don’t like Gillard either. But what really annoys me is when someone does something that makes me feel any sympathy for either of them. And someone give the poor woman her shoe back, FFS. If I can get my wife to credit the UK for something it’s that women’s shoes aren’t as expensive as they are in Oz.

  2. TerjeP
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    Just to add to the earlier saga about “fair skinned” aborigines we have the following confusing situation. The guy interviewed in the following video is so fair skinned that were I to spot him in a crowd I would not pick him as an aborigine. However he is free to identify how he wants. But then he tells us on national TV that if we look at the footage of the protest in Canberra we can clearly see that many of the trouble making protesters are not even aborigines. Presumably we are meant to make that judgement by looking at their fair skin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5FWoHfUoVo

  3. Posted January 28, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The other thing which I don’t think has been noted anywhere in this debate so far is that Abbott has more runs on the board helping Aborigines than most. I don’t know if he’s kept it up since taking over the leadership, but he used to spend a couple of weeks every summer holidays in the north teaching Aboriginal kids at settlements.

  4. TerjeP
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Nick – he still does it.

  5. kvd
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Mike Carlton finally made two points in a row that I agreed with – one of which is your point acknowledging Abbott’s efforts on Indigenous issues.

  6. Adrien
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    However, for me they lost the moral high ground when they lost their shit and decided that what he meant was that it should be torn down and the protestors kicked out, which is something absent from any direct quote of Tony Abbott that I’ve seen and which he’s explicitly denied saying. Yet they went nuts about it anyway.

    Did they? Then who has it now?

  7. Posted January 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Then who has it now?

    It’s been abandoned and is now terra nullius. 😉 Kidding. I expanded a bit on this over at mine and said that by no means does it apply to all those involved with the Tent Embassy. Good example here in The Australian ($ unfortunately). As for the others, if they’d gone on telly or in the papers to explain why Tony Abbott was talking arse gravy and why the Tent Embassy should stay that’d be fair enough, but what actually happened dents my sympathies for them.

  8. Posted January 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    One point that AE did flag that I thought deserved wider repetition was the comparison between the behaviour of the tent embassy people and a lot of the occupy camps. There have been serious assaults and rapes at the latter — not by the police, but by protesters on other protesters.

    The tent embassy has seen argy-bargy with the police in the past, but — so far as I am aware — there has never been criminality there. I’m sure one of the reasons it’s been able to remain so long has been the excellent behaviour over time of the people who live there.

    Also, as someone who has visited Canberra in both winter and summer, the tent embassy doesn’t smell. The occupy camp here in Edinburgh did; so does the one at St Paul’s and my New Yorker friends say the same thing about the original Wall St version.

    This, I suspect, is a clue as to who actually gives a crap about the land they’re sitting on.

  9. Adrien
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    There have been serious assaults and rapes at the latter — not by the police, but by protesters on other protesters.

    Not in Melbourne, thank Providence. The tent city was quite pleasant. And there were some stroppy Aboriginals (young, male) about but the annual Treasury gardens went ahead. Perhaps this city hasn’t lost its civic virtue after all.

    Given that Aborigines have a real reason to be angry and given the extremes of violence that have resulted elsewhere as a consequence of such rage — the Irish come to mind — we are fortunate that we have so little to contend with. That all said they’ll never get anywhere if the best they can do to express such rage is chase the PM down the stairs.

  10. Adrien
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    That’s annual Treasury Gardens Aboriginal Australia Day festival. Apologies.

  11. Adrien
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am a great skeptic of that left wing ideal that violent protest brings change

    I am skeptical of the ideal as well. I am much less skeptical of the notion that violence is the ultimate recourse of people who face an obtuse wall of well-crafted lies from the mainstream when their lives are in crisis consequence of past and persistent injustice.

    I don’t endorse the riot as a favoured, much less ideal, mode of social progress, I do believe however that if all else fails that’s what happens and that, despite the unpleasantness of the fact, it does work – eventually. But often only after decades of bloodshed and animosity.

    I’m not waving my fist in the air and cheering the Australia Day ‘riot’ from a couch. I found it funny pretty much because no-one was really hurt. And I find it sadly ordinary that neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition has yet made any address to these people. It’s well for us to expect everybody to live by the rules, and there’s no excusing political violence, but we should remember that this lot’s beef is that the rules haven’t played by them.

    Being accused of betraying a country that has habitually betrayed you isn’t something that will convince you of the error of the violent mode of political action. The use of the justice system against people is, we should remember, a use of violence. And if the State does not respect and protect your rights there’s no arguing that you owe it loyalty, quite the reverse.

  12. kvd
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I’d just like to record this link to a piece by Mike Stutchbery for two reasons:

    1) I think he makes some valid observations, and 2) at the end is an update – an eyewitness account from his brother who in part says

    “It was at this point that Em and John (wife and uncle) were walking around and having a look at what was going on. Now… as emphasised yesterday, Em is pregnant with twins… if there protests were in any way violent, I would have got all paternal and walked Em away. There was almost no prospect of violence”

    This seems to gel with my own impression that PM Gillard was more being herded through a press throng, rather than protestors – until both she and Mr Abbott were in the car.

    Anyway, just a bit more perspective, with maybe a bit less ‘filtering’ by the press.

  13. frankhunt
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s not often I agree with Mel, but as far as I can see he is one of the few people to comment on these pages with any degree of sense.
    Adrien;

    Given that Aborigines have a real reason to be angry and given the extremes of violence that have resulted elsewhere as a consequence of such rage — the Irish come to mind — we are fortunate that we have so little to contend with. That all said they’ll never get anywhere if the best they can do to express such rage is chase the PM down the stairs.

    I am really surprised at your comment here. To my mind you are inciting violence of a greater and more physical nature. You say ‘Aborigines have a real reason to be angry’ What reason?

  14. Adrien
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You say ‘Aborigines have a real reason to be angry’ What reason?

    Methinks that is so self evident it requires no elucidation.

    I am not inciting violence or even excusing it. I’m attempting to understand it. I said, you quoted:

    That all said they’ll never get anywhere if the best they can do to express such rage is chase the PM down the stairs.

    Still, history is full of nasty incidents consequence of the rage of the dispossessed. It’s not like Australia hasn’t made attempts at conciliation with her indigenous citizens, it’s just that the attempts have either been cosmetic or harmful.

  15. Posted February 5, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Adrien,
    The history of Australia in the last 250 years could have been written in many different ways, none of which would have left the many varied and dispirate tribal/national groups of Aboriginal folk in peace and loving harmony. Given the options left on the table, I believe that Aboriginal people in todays Australia could be reasonably thankful that fate chose the path it did.

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  5. By Skepticlawyer » The Notpology on February 23, 2012 at 2:19 am

    […] clear from his public statements that Tony Abbott agrees with Kevin Rudd’s apology, despite the rest of his comments contributing to much angst on Australia Day. As far as I’m aware, the only people who care […]

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