It was inevitable that sooner or later the sexual harassment scandal would change tack and ensnare some of those who are usually pointing the finger. Like the Greens. After all, they love being progressive and progressive means taking up every fad and fashion of political correctness, calling out harassment and bullying, inventing new human rights to protect the hopeless and exaggerating every little fall from the high moral standards they like imposing on others. But being professional and unrelenting busybodies, it was inevitable that sooner or later one of their acolytes would fall foul of the same shortcomings of which they accuse others. And, of course, with the Greens involved, there has to be at least one hilarious piece of nonsense that shows how ludicrous the campaign against sexual harassment has become. And so, it has now come to pass. It grieves me to have to tell you that Greg Barber, the leader of the Greens in Victoria and occupant of the magisterial position of ‘Green’s spokesperson on integrity’, has decided to quit politics, resign from the upper house in the state parliament and spend more time with his family. And as if this historic event were not enough by itself, it was dropped on the political world at the same time as Mr Barber was accused by a former staff member of being a lounge lizard and made the subject of a sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation charge. His accuser is a woman, which raises the first important issue. We have heard a lot recently about how the Greens are slipping and losing their punch. And I must say that if the best that their parliamentary leader can do is have himself accused of harassing a woman, what hope is there for this once great progressive and diverse party. Then, with the Greens involved, there will usually be a charge on the taxpayer and so it is in the present case. The lady concerned brought a claim against Barber that was settled out of court upon her being paid the nice round sum of $56,000, by agreement with the government, as staffers are public servants. Mr Barber had to contribute $9,000 of that sum, which of course raises the question who will pay the remaining $47,000? You will, thank you very much, although you may never have thought your social compact with the government made you responsible for the philanderings of politicians. But you can take it from me; with the Greens, you pay. As to what exactly the damages were for, and who did what to whom, don’t ask; it is confidential, like everything that politicians want to keep a secret and we blithely go along with it. Finally, with the Greens involved there would have to be a ludicrously Alice-in-Wonderland touch somewhere and in this case it comes from the extra penalty imposed on the wandering honourable member. You see, as well as his $9,000 contribution, Mr Barber is obliged by the terms of settlement to undergo ‘sex discrimination and unconscious bias training.’ They really have a way with words, don’t they? If you ask me, the last thing Mr Barber needs is training in sex discrimination, of which he seems to know quite enough already. But it is the second tranche of training that really worries me: ‘unconscious bias training’? How could your psychologist or analyst find that you had an unconscious bias when by definition you do not know it yourself and hotly deny that you have one? Conversely, how could you claim to have one if it has taken hold of you unconsciously? And what of the moral dimension so loved by the Greens, where the analyst discovers that the patient has lots of unconscious biases, but they are all biases in favour of love, hope, charity, kale salad, refugees, whales and banning the evil coal? And how could any self respecting institution, apart from Sydney Uni, issue a certificate that it had successfully removed an unconscious bias, if the patients claim they have never had one? Come to think of it, their debating society seems an ideal place for unconscious bias removal. They know a lot about righting fantasy wrongs that no normal person would complain about and banning conduct that does not do any harm to anyone.
Speaking of keeping things a secret, there seems to be no end to our willingness to let governments keep us in the dark, as they fumble their way from one appalling disaster to another. The latest one is the report of the Australian Federal Police into the scarcely believable public sale of two filing cabinets containing a treasure trove of government files, those responsible having first taken the precaution of locking the cabinets and losing the keys. The AFP, in a masterpiece of brevity, has now announced there will be no charges; with no reasons and not a word of explanation of who was responsible for this gross incompetence. Worse still, Turnbull has now gone to water. He originally outdid me in superlatives in describing the enormity of this bungle and how heads would roll. But now, the whole thing is ‘an internal matter’. So much for keeping government under control. Forget it.
And speaking of the size of government, if you listen to and watch commercial media as I do, (what a relief to be free of the ABC) you will be gobsmacked by the quantity of federal government advertising. All of it wasted, of course, as no-one could be influenced by such self-serving nonsense. The ludicrous claims being made at your expense are currently that Turnbull & Co have solved the energy crisis, made home-buying a reality for the young and introduced reforms in education that are epoch-making in their breadth, depth and brilliance. Not much said, though, about the virtues of small government and cutting back on spending.
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