As language is a living thing, a mirror of current but ever-changing social mores, we have added two new definitions to Brown’s Political Dictionary. They are as follows:
- Tokenism: the practice of prominent businessmen taking part in the annual CEO SleepOut, where they pretend to be concerned at the plight of the homeless, bed down for a night (if in Melbourne, in the perilous badlands of the Melbourne University underground car park) with a designer sleeping bag and swag covered with virtue, ensure that the charade lasts only one night, avoid contact with any homeless person who might wander by, give interviews that promote the notion that homelessness will disappear as the result of this inspirational sacrifice, and expiate any lingering guilt by returning in the morning to Toorak and a few hours in bed before the chauffeur whisks them off to the VIP lounge to prepare for the long and arduous flight at the shareholders’ expense to Wimbledon en route to Davos.
- Hypocrisy: see: tokenism.
Speaking of hypocrisy, there was an interesting postscript this week to the refusal of the Speaker of the House of Reps to condemn the appalling conduct of MPs and visitors during the debate on same-sex marriage last year. In correspondence with me, not only would he not condemn the banners, cheering, flag waving and shrieking that was allowed in the chamber in support of the Bill, but he described that conduct as ‘the parliament at its best’. This week, he had to deal with some robust uproar in the House over the tax cuts legislation, prompting him to decree that ‘constant banging on the desks is not acceptable conduct.’ So there you have it; desk banging is not acceptable conduct from MPs; however, the same and far worse conduct is perfectly acceptable in a debate to legalise same-sex marriage and, moreover, such conduct was ‘the parliament at its best’. You would be excused for thinking that the real reason why such unruly conduct was allowed was that SSM is a progressive cause and approved by all elites, so any behaviour in its support is allowed. But if you oppose it, the special rules on acceptable conduct will shut you up. That is what is so rotten about public life and debate today and why our institutions have become so debased. It is so much worse when promoted by no less a person then the Speaker and when the result shows the parliament at its worst.
Most government inquiries are a complete waste of money. They inquire into matters that are already known, are vehicles for grandstanding, always on the search for new revelations (for they dare not find there is no problem), cost vast amounts of money and make recommendations that lead to the expansion of government and increase its cost. So the inquiry just announced into sexual harassment in the workplace is a complete waste of time and money and will benefit no-one, except the human rights mafia, professional whingers and the legal profession. We already know there is harassment in the workplace and it is there because people in the workplace are human beings; some of them behave in a bad way and engage in harassment and worse. That is why we have laws creating crimes for that sort of conduct and, when it is not serious enough to make it a crime, we make it a civil wrong and an employment matter and we make employers pay for allowing it to happen. And boy, do they pay! You only have to make a claim (as I have done many times for clients) and they are forced to cough up, rather than be blackguarded by lies in the media for a year – and then lose and have to pay even more. All this is known. And is it so bad that such allegations must be proved by evidence? Yet the government wants to overthrow all of this and is foolish enough to set up a new inquiry to inquire into the already known. It will take a year, denigrate men, propose new laws that will reverse the onus of proof, create a new agency, demand a national apology, and the government will not dare reject any of its recommendations. Class actions will be launched against employers and the only winners will be the law firms aligned with the Labor party who make a specialty of manipulating settlements and making millions of dollars from them. As if that were not enough, the ghastly Human Rights Commission will run the inquiry, twist and contort its processes, and brand people in a way to which the government must be blind if it is not aware of them, after the biased and dishonest inquiries that that discredited body has conducted. And of course the inquiry has been set up for the basest of reasons; to show how virtuous we are and how attuned to the current #MeToo hysteria; not surprisingly, reports of the inquiry were accompanied by a hideous photo of Harvey Weinstein.
The Australian Bar Association has announced its support for the so-called aboriginal advisory body to be enshrined in the constitution. Like all progressive proposals, it’s dressed up in comforting clichés: ‘the Voice’, ‘First Nations’ and ‘Uluru’. But it will be solely for aboriginals and is thus a racist proposal for a new apartheid. You would think barristers would preserve and protect the constitution. But here they are, committing themselves to intruding a new body into the constitution the only purpose of which can be to force the elected parliament and government to do its will and as part of a proposal for treaties (no longer ‘a treaty’, I notice, but ‘treaties’) which is utterly destructive of our sovereignty as a unified nation. And, of course, it will generate a lot of litigation.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free