Every so often Joadja and I escape to the old shack
at Possum Point that dad built in 1949. A couple of years later he
was killed training Bluey Crabtrees greyhounds at the old Nelligan
racetrack. The cops said it was an accident, of course, and there
wasnt much left of dad after the dogs had finished with him.
was the foreman at the Batemans Bay timber mill and dad was the Timber
Workers Union delegate. That put them at odds but according to mum
he thought Crabtree was a decent bloke at heart and helping him with
his dogs was a good way to keep the lines open with the bosses.
a silly idea. Possums should never trust redneck cretins or brainless
long after the funeral mum left Possum Gully and took me to Sydney.
She never went back, but Possum Point we returned to for holidays.
Like Batemans Bay, the little village has been changed by the huge
salaries at the top end of the federal public service. The tiny weatherboard
and fibro weekends have almost all gone now, replaced by new brick,
steel and glass houses. I dont know if it makes these people
any happier. They chop down the beautiful old spotted gums to build
huge edifices that sit empty for most of the year, then, after a few
years, they retire, rattle around the empty rooms for a few more years,
hoping the kids will visit, chop down some more gums and then they
me, I take comfort in the old verandah, the creaky old floorboards,
the old furniture, the wattlebirds in the old banksia, the old bluetongue
that lives under the old shed and the old view through the gums to
so there we were, sipping cold ciders and watching the counterglow
rising over the ocean.
my main marsupial, that bit of snooping you did on the Lindsay leaflet
operation was brilliant! said Joadja. What a coup. You
destroyed Howards last hope of an eleventh hour swing back.
one was for dad. I said. But breathe not a word to anyone
else about it. The wonderful thing is that the Liberal nasties faction
think it was one of their own who dobbed the fake pamphleteers in
to the ALP and theyre tearing the place apart looking for the
traitor. We dont want to spoil the fun by tipping them off that
I found out, shall we just say, technologically.
Howard might try to distance himself from the tawdry scam of the fake
islamist pamphlet operation it reproduced, in microcosm, the political
style of his rise and ascendancy. Prompted by Pauline Hanson and leaning
on the intellectual respectability provided by Geoffrey Blainey, the
lying little bastard came to power by exploiting an underlying fear
of east Asians that stretched back to the White Australia policy.
Once in office, the imperative of protecting relations with our Asian
trading partners dictated a shift in scapegoats. Long before 9/11
the Howard punditocracy had deftly moved to vilifying Arabs and Muslims
tiny and previously unremarkable minorities.
know it wasnt as if that was the first time Howards shock
troops used the fake Labor pamphlet trick. Remember the previous federal
election? Remember how they distributed a bogus ALP pamphlet targeting
Labor candidate Ed Husic a non-practicing Muslim on
the night before the election. That was in Greenway, the neighbouring
electorate. The similarity in technique suggests that the participants
in the Lindsay scam might have been involved in the Greenway affair.
could I forget? said Jo. That was the one that said Ed
Husic is a devout Muslim. Ed is working hard to get a better deal
for Islam. And I remember that Paul Sheehan was dog-whistling
about Husic in the Herald.
he was. Almost like it was a coordinated part of the operation.
know when I was sure Howard was going to lose? It was when Sheehan
slipped away from Fort Howard at the end of October. I always knew
that Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson, dog-loyal Howard soldiers,
would fall at their posts, but not Sheehan he snuffed defeat,
slipped over the wall and vanished into the scrub in search of a new
leader. Now hes back in the Sydney Morning Herald putting down
Bob Brown and the Greens and sucking up to the new government.
ho. But Im not sure how happy theyll be with Pauls
embrace. This is the most blatant anti-union, anti-Muslim, witch-hunter
and dog-whistler in print and the man who spruiked shamelessly for
Magic Water, Qantas, Krispy Kreme donuts and Arnotts
Tim Tams. As a shill, hes past his use-by date; on the nose;
shop soiled; of doubtful utility. After a few years, even hopelessly
naive people get to understand what you really stand for.
always reminds me of Gertrude Steins judgement on Ezra Pound:
A village explainer. Fine if one were a village, but if not,
we know where he ended up, politically speaking. I reckon, over the
next few months, therell be a clearing out of the old conservative
pundits. The big media bosses will just shoot a few of them and recruit
some new ones who arent too closely associated with Howard.
Im betting Christian Kerr, from Crikey, will be first cab off
SEE ALSO ...
Sydney Morning Herald and the dirty politics of the religious right
1 November 2004
No story about the 2004 Federal election more clearly illustrates
the reactionary role played by the religious right than the Muslim-baiting
of Ed Husic, Labors candidate for the seat of Greenway in Sydneys
good to be true
Paul Sheehan and the magic water debacle
1 February 2005
The inventor of the magic mineral water thats supposed to cure
everything from arthritis to Alzheimers plus make you live forever
and have many babies skips town causing celebrity right-wing journalist
Paul Sheehan a great deal of embarrassment.
horror! The horror!
Mistah Beckett he vanished
The truth is never pure and rarely simple, as Joseph Conrad knew and
the Sydney Morning Heralds right wing celebrity journalist,
Paul Sheehan, should have remembered. Copyright violations by GAVIN
hell with summer soldiers and sunshine patriots
30 January 2007
I was sunning myself with a cider outside the Brushtail Café
on Australia Day when a bunch of drunken Anglo yobs spilled out of
the pub on the other side of Sydney Road. For a while they waved a
big Australian flag at the traffic chanting Aussie! Aussie!
Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! They were mostly young men but I seemed
to recognise Peter Debnam and Morris Iemma among their number. Piers
Ackerman, Alan Jones, Miranda Devine, Paul Sheehan, Janet Albrechtsen
and a bunch of other shock-jocks, right-wing columnists and howardista
spin doctors lurked in the pub doorway, urging them on.