What a farce looks like

Saturday, 28 January 2012 


What I utterly condemn is when protests turn violent, the way we saw the violence yesterday.

J Gillard Press conference 27 January

How annoying. This blog took quite a while going through the debate around the Constitution to set out the position of indigenous people in relation to the state. It needn’t have bothered. All we needed was a Canberra farce and we have all we need to know.

Personally, this blog blames the meeja. Not only did it have a hand in setting up the demo, but then deliberately edited out of its coverage the violence of the demonstrators that justified both the Prime Minister’s condemnation of it and the extraordinary actions of the AFP to protect her from it.

Surely it must have been edited out. Because none of the footage seen by this blogger showed any violence. Sure, there was that cop dude looking cool in his sunnies smacking that guy around. But other than that, the rest of the footage must have been edited to wickedly make it look as though our Prime Minister and her security had grossly over-reacted.

Violent demonstrator with spear.
Violent demonstrator with spear.

It’s been fortunate that there are still journalists around with long enough memories to recall times when the Prime Minister faced real violent demonstrators and that the job of the AFP is not only to protect the Prime Minister but also the dignity of the office. They spectacularly failed to do that on Thursday against a demo that wasn’t even aimed at the Prime Minister.

In fact the demonstration was so much not against the Prime Minister that a member of her staff has had to resign for his part in helping to bring it about. Since he was part of her media unit, he definitely should have gone, since he let his boss go out to face the press and escalate it by making an issue of the violence of demonstrators, for which, curiously, no arrests were made. Now having hyped up the demonstration as a major security issue, Gillard’s unit is being accused of having drawn Abbott into it. Good grief.

Gillard in the capable hands of the AFP.

In reality, both Hodges and Gillard were doing much the same thing, both using the indigenous protestors to cover up problems elsewhere. Hodges was trying to stir up the Tent Embassy to go for Abbott, following in what is now a well-worn tactic of a government incapable of offending anyone with an advertising budget, of making Abbott the issue. Gillard was making claims of violent demonstrators to justify a security fiasco from which she came off not that well.

Meanwhile indigenous demonstrators must no doubt be thinking this is all about them – rather than, as usual, merely in the way of a state out of control.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Saturday, 28 January 2012.

Filed under The Australian state

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13 responses to “What a farce looks like”

  1. Dr_Tad on 28th January 2012 11:03 am

    “Meanwhile indigenous demonstrators must no doubt be thinking this is all about them – rather than, as usual, merely in the way of a state out of control.”

    This is right, and the Socialist Alternative mania to beat up the power of the protest is the extreme wing of such thinking. But I think we still disagree about how the crisis of the political class and state allows even relatively inchoate resistance to have a much bigger ideological effect than it would otherwise.

    This probably rests on differing readings of some obscure pamphlet by Lenin from 1902, or whatever. 😛

  2. Cipi on 28th January 2012 3:29 pm

    As a proud member of socialist alternative Im fascinated by how little sense the above comment made! Were you there Mr Tad? Im so proud my organisation was there in force to support aboriginal resistance! Always was, always will be aboriginal land!

  3. Dr_Tad on 28th January 2012 5:35 pm

    I didn’t say there was anything bad about the protest, just that the hysteria unleashed in the last two days doesn’t really have much to do with the protest or the issue (except as a generic mode of deflecting from the crisis of the political class). I’ve spent the last two days defending the protest to anyone who will listen/read.

    It’s just that SAlt has overplayed the impact of the protest by not asking how such a small and trivial protest could break through to get so much attention. It’s all a bit voluntarist if you ask me.

    The Indigenous rights movement remains very weak in Australia — as was revealed when high profile activists sought redress against Bolt through the courts. That’s just a fact.

  4. The Piping Shrike on 29th January 2012 1:17 pm

    Absolutely agree Dr T. It was just a noisy small demo that has been beaten up to be a “violent riot” mainly by Gillard to justify the over-the-top reaction of the AFP.

    The problem that would have to be explained is why if it was such a security threat, then not only was there no footage of violence (unless banging on a window is “violence”) but also the police didn’t feel the need to make a single arrest or charge on the day.

    As the stuff ups worsen on Gillard’s side she again has to talk up the “violence” of Thursday as she did yesterday. No wonder the AFP are reported to be looking at the footage again to see if they can find something.

    Talking up the demo and “resistance” is not only missing the point and tactically stupid but, even worse, not true.

  5. Philby Ramone on 29th January 2012 3:30 pm

    An angry mob shouting, surrounding a premises, banging on glass windows and jostling with Police constitutes a violent demonstration. I note that the protestor that was hit by a Police officer was brandishing a spear. The protest was violent by Australian standards and abhorrent in that it posed a threat to the elected leaders of our country. That is an attack on all of us and cannot be tolerated.

  6. Avalon Dave on 30th January 2012 11:18 am

    I’m a 46 year old male, with my first real memory of politics being the Whitlam dismissal.

    Is there anyone reading this excellent blog, who is significantly older than me?

    I only ask, because I want to know if there was a time when both the Goverment and the Opposition, were as farcical as what occupies Parliament House today?

  7. charles on 30th January 2012 4:06 pm

    Piper Shrike I have been coming to this blog defending our political class for years.

    Been arguing left and right mean very little, but they are doing an OK job. I give up. You win. It’s hard to decide who to give the biggest wanker award to.

    The press: For calling a noisy demonstration a riot.

    The press: For reporting that Tony Abbott said he wants the embassy down. Come on, Tony is smart enough to run s good dog whistle, that is not how you do it. Subtle, “we have move on”.

    AFP: Standing all over the PM’s shoes as they run down the stares.

    AFP: For almost pushing over the old geezer as they run down the stares.

    AFP: For treating the PM like an overgrown barby doll.

    AFP: A couple of people bang on the window and you run?

    The Liberal party: For trying to get the AFP to investigate something they are already probable trying to forget (there has to be somebody with an IQ greater than 100 [if you an AFP police office reading this, 100 is average mate, sorry to have to let you know but less than that is below average]).

    The Labor party: For filling there press offices with 20 years old kids.

    The labor party: For allowing their press officers to watch west wing.

    Me: For ever defending these clowns.

  8. The Piping Shrike on 30th January 2012 8:33 pm

    Got to admit, even I was knocked out by this one.

    Now all we need is the AFP to make a couple of retrospective arrests to cover their arses as well.

  9. Alex White on 30th January 2012 8:45 pm

    The un-self-critical nature of the media is what astounds me the most. The 7:30 Report was moralising tonight that “this is a story that people just won’t let go… the Opposition, the media…” as though they aren’t the fricken’ media! Incredible!

  10. Avalon Dave on 31st January 2012 10:33 am

    @Charles – LMAO !

    Ludicrous – it’s just ludicrous

    I can’t remember a time, when Fed Politics and the associated Circus (media, AFP etc) were so incompetent.

    Who was it that said, “It’s like watching a bad Punch & Judy show – over and over again.”

  11. Riccardo on 31st January 2012 1:50 pm

    We have too much ‘behind the curtain’ commentary.

    And the media fall for the same trap we see in my transport blogs “you’re aren’t stuck in traffic, you are the traffic!” – the analog being the media can’t deplore the poor quality of reporting, they are the poor quality.

    As for the incident – where is the Menzies or Whitlam or Keating who might have stood up, made a grand speech and looked the protestors in the eye and dared them to argue the issue.

    Thankfully Australia isn’t involved in a war for its own territory coz I’m hard pressed to see a “leader” among the current crop who would fight such a war from the front.

  12. Wood Duck on 1st February 2012 2:41 pm

    The issue of violence here is an interesting one, as is the issue of the number of demonstators present. I saw a few people banging on some plate glass. Gerard Henderson witnessed a riot. The number present was intially about 50, but quickly grew to 200(rioters). It has now, according to Andrew Landeryou at Vexnews, reached 500. With this number of people “rioting”, the AFP should not have much trouble finding some targets for retrospective arrests.

    Further to this, I’ll be interested to see whether or not “Kevin Costner” is by Gillard’s side next time she steps out after images of him dragging her up the path in a headlock were beamed around the world.

  13. The Piping Shrike on 1st February 2012 4:31 pm

    The charge of violence has come largely from those trying to justify the AFP’s extraordinarily inept and panicked treatment of the Prime Minister on the day. Most notably this has come from the Prime Minister herself, understandably – something I notice many Labor supporters are choosing to ignore, also understandably.

    The charge of violence was especially made at the press conference she gave on Friday after the bad coverage it got in the press that morning. This was the one where she was asked for the first time about 2GB’s claim that her media staff was involved in it. She claimed not to know, which is extraordinary given that her media staff had apparently known for a full 24 hours – but probably true as no one would be dumb enough to talk up the risks of a demo that one’s office helped to bring about.

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