It would be easy to see significance in the No Carbon Tax sideshow rally, where Anglo-Celtic people, largely in their 50s and above, finally got a chance to air their fear and loathing of anything new that may disadvantage them for the sake of the future. However, it is just another episode in (to borrow Keating’s phrase) the permanent switch to vaudeville that is current Australian politics. To me, this picture summarises exactly why Tony Abbott’s definition of populism does him no favours for the possibility for the long term leading of Australia…
It’s one of the most unseemly juxtapositions I can recall for the leader of a major political party. It makes politics less about running a country and more a pantomime, with “Juliar” as the villain. But it’s also telling that next to the member for Warringah is the member of Mackellar, Bronwyn Bishop (I won’t comment on Mirabella). They represent seats that are insular and largely Anglo-Celtic, filled with mostly wealthy voters. Curiously, the sort of people who wouldn’t be seen dead at this type of rally. It is telling because those two politicians from the Insular Peninsula are being cynical opportunists, using the No Carbon Tax people for their own ends.
The irony is, neither would never want a single one of the ralliers to come around for dinner. Imagine, for a minute, the man dressed as Gillard, attempting an imitation of her, eating dinner from the fine china at the Bishop residence. No? Then picture the “ditch the witch” sign plonked on Bronwyn’s front lawn. They might have to paint the sign with red paint to successfully communicate their message.
No, the people at this type of rally aren’t wealthy and seem to be from the outer suburbs of major centres. They would have voted Labor once, or for a local Independent, One Nation, even the Democrats (pre-Stott Despoja) – because they don’t trust new things and they don’t trust governments. Except John Howard, because he didn’t like new things, especially Muslim asylum seekers and this “political correctness”. To a large part, these people who like to think of themselves as the “silent majority” don’t trust university educated people – that is, people who are scientists telling us that climate change is real and something needs to be done about it. Another point – they would never have voted Green. They are for new things and foreigners. It would have been easy enough to do a poll of the protestors in Canberra today, to see how many support gay marriage, solar energy, euthanasia, allowing onshore asylum seeker processing and other progressive policies promoted by the Greens.
Because zero is an easy number to count.
Abbott does himself no favours associating with people who have been writing furious letters to governments, ringing Alan Jones and contributing to Andrew Bolt’s blog. They are rusted on voters for his maverick anti-government on everything tactics. Pictures like that should appall any swinging voters because it smacks of extremism – something Abbott has spent over a year working to eliminate from his public profile.