- The coronavirus is not a wake-up call, it is much more than that
- Four presents: Bésame cosmetics, a force bringing back vintage flair
- Unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ may save jobs, but more needs to be done
- Science establishes link between us, the music and performers at concerts
- The necessity of judgement in the information age
This week, the gun issue has returned to our shores in a matter so ham-fisted, so half-cocked, that it could only come from one source.
One of the more annoying things that occasionally happens in life is when I agree with Andrew Bolt. Doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s sobering. That much I can tell you. I’d like to think it’s a case of even a stopped clock telling the right time twice a day, but then when it happens a few times, you get…uneasy. Bolt has a program on Sky News, apparently, and having never watched it I was surprised to see a clip sent out via Twitter.
Andrew Bolt: I do think it is terrible for these two One Nation men to ask for millions of dollars from foreign lobbyists to influence an Australian election. Our democracy is not for sale.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 26, 2019
Surprising in a) how does someone with absolutely zero camera presence and charisma land a job hosting a show on television (seriously, watching even a few minutes of this was like being lectured to by a suburban dentist about how important flossing is), and b) how someone who can ignore the rule of law and side with a convicted paedophile can be right about, well, anything?
“Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, sprung. Put out on a film secretly shot by Al Jazeera television plotting to get America’s National Rifle Association to donate millions of dollars to One Nation, and boasting that with that money they could control the government and help gun owners,” Bolt said.
He’s opposed to it. Because for all his many, many, many faults as a (checks notes) human being, Bolt’s not entirely stupid.
“I do think it is terrible, for these two One Nation men, Ashby and Dickson, to be there asking for millions of dollars from foreign lobbyists to influence an Australian election. Our democracy is not for sale, and certainly not to foreigners. And our gun laws are even more certainly not for foreigners to decide.”
The guilty parties did a live press conference broadcast on ABC 24 and admitted that they were, like many blokes, “on the sauce” at the time and basically just speaking hypothetically about things that one does when one has been throwing back whiskey for several hours, about how the balance of power could be given to the NRA or the Koch brothers, or whoever ponied up enough dough. “But it was just some pissed blokes talking nonsense.”
— simon holmes à court (@simonahac) March 27, 2019
As one does. Peddle influence to the highest bidder. I’m actually hugely enamoured over their gobsmacked incredulity, how it beggars belief for these two angry fascists that they could be played as effectively as they were; swindled, hoodwinked, bamboozled by someone who by all accounts was a regular bloke who liked shootin’ shit. Except he was a deep cover journalist working for Al Jazeera, going fully method to gain their trust and let them open up about what they think they could do with enough money. “How dare he earn our trust to the point where we basically let our guards down and say exactly how morally bankrupt and compromised we are! It’s unfair and sneaky!”
It’s really quite adorable, especially when Steve Dickson says that the experience was out of “a James Bond magazine”, which is a new thing in my experience.
Buuuuuuuuuuut…it becomes slightly less adorable when Ashby goes on Sky News and decries this whole experience as being a set-up by a television network from a Muslim nation (Al Jazeera was founded in Qatar), suggesting again that you can’t trust them, because Muslims.
It is fairly standard playbook methodology for these sociopaths: basically play the victim and try to paint the whole thing as being dodgy underhandedness by brown people.
Also on The Big Smoke
- No thanks, One Nation – Our gun laws work just fine
- Should One Nation now be deregistered?
- No, the NSW election wasn’t swung on the gun vote
But let’s get down to brass tacks. Despite the fact that US voters are seldom unified on any issue, background checks and tighter restrictions when it comes to firearms is surprisingly one thing red and blue state voters have in common. In a February 2018 poll from Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 66% of American voters supported stricter gun laws, the highest level of support measured since 2008. 70% of American adults supported stricter gun laws, according to a similar CNN poll. But the NRA has vast swathes of influence in US politics and, even when a classroom full of first graders is executed, can pull enough purse strings to prevent any meaningful laws from being passed. Why? The second amendment, apparently. But the fact is that tougher laws mean fewer sales, which means less money to them, and less influence. They’re pure evil, those people.
I was shocked & disgusted with the Al Jazeera hit piece. A Qatari government organisation should not be targeting Australian political parties. This has been referred to ASIO. After the full hit piece has been released I’ll make a full statement & take all appropriate action. -PH
— Pauline Hanson 🇦🇺 (@PaulineHansonOz) March 27, 2019
The NRA is a terrorist organisation at worst, just a bunch of the most evil money grubbing freaks at best. They claim to represent the interest of law-abiding gun owners, but the truth is the bulk of their money comes from gun manufacturers. John Howard bought back all of Australia’s semi-automatic weapons in the advent of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, and we’ve not had a mass shooting on the same scale since (there have been roughly 90 mass shootings in the US in the same timeframe). Jacinta Ardern’s government in New Zealand is banning semi-automatic weapons now that the white supremacist terrorist attack in Christchurch has taken place. This is bad news for the gun lobby, and for gun manufacturers. Thankfully, such organisations carry little weight in the Antipodes. But were it up to Ashby and Dickson—and one might presume Hanson as well—money buys influence, and votes, and the balance of power. With as little as $20 million, Australia would apparently alter its gun laws; we could have a host of shooting sprees and get right down to the business of victim blaming and gaslighting the way the right does in the US.
Or, they were just swindled by Arabs over a few too many Jack & Cokes and this is nothing more than the media playing games, blah blah blah.
Scratch a One Nationer and you get a Liberal—there’s little to no difference in the world view when you get down to it. Lest we forget that Pauline Hanson was preselected for the Liberal party as the candidate for Oxley in the 1996 election, and they only dis-endorsed her once they heard her speak one of the doubtlessly vile and racist diatribes she vomits on a semi-regular basis. Steve Dickson, also a former Liberal Queensland state minister in Campbell Newman’s eighteen minutes of governance. James Ashby was also a player among the Liberal Party, having unfortunately been on the receiving end of some unwanted advances of his then employer, the Speaker of the House and Liberal MP, Peter Slipper. Quite a bit of tar on that brush.
So it makes some measure of sense that the future-former Prime Minister won’t put these lunatics last in their preference deals. Because apparently the ALP and the Greens, with their leftism and whatnot, are worse for the nation than a cadre of white supremacists willing to sell out the nation so they can fire off a few rounds. ScoMo just needs to do one decent thing in his life, put these lunatics last and at least have something to hang his hat on when all this is over.
But he probably won’t out of general principle. Bra-(deep sigh)-vo.