When Andy Meddick’s child was hit in the back of the head with their own spray can (which was acting rather like a boomerang) the Victorian Aninal Justice MP cried “my worst fears have turned into reality”.
“Last night my beautiful daughter was attacked on the street,” he said in a statement released via his Twitter account at 1.42 pm Friday.
“I have reason to believe that this could be linked to my role as an MP and the positions I have taken on the pandemic response.”
But just two hours later, at 3.30 pm, the Animal Justice Party MP was telling ABC radio he had no clue whether the attack was political, or if the attacker even knew who his child, aged 25, was.
There was only an “indication” based on a “feeling” that it could perhaps have been connected to his support for Daniel Andrew’s controversial Pandemic Bill.
Then again, it might not have been.
“That’s something that can only be determined if they catch the perpetrator and ask them,” he admitted to the ABC’s Raphael Epstein. It was quite possible that his child had “put two and two together and come up with five”.
But the story of the politically motivated attack on a transgendered woman — whose only crime was to have been the child of a democratically elected MP — had already exploded across social media.
It was being presented as evidence that those protesting the Pandemic Bill were — as Meddick himself had described them earlier last week — “neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and merchants of hate”.
“Insults, intimidation and incitement can all have very real and absolutely devastating consequences,” Meddick scolded when he tweeted about the attack on his child.
The inference was that his political opponents, whom he had lately been accusing of failure to condemn extremist rhetoric in the community, were in part responsible for the attack.
At 3.13 pm, just before Mr Meddick admitted he didn’t know the reason for the attack on his child, the Prime Minister condemned it as “not just an attack on an innocent person but an attack on our very democracy”.
That our democracy was so fragile as to be imperilled by a 25-year-old person having an aerosol can tossed at them came across as, well, a little melodramatic.
But Mr Morrison, who had been criticised for not sufficiently denounce a few nutters among the Melbourne protesters, wasn’t going to give his detractors ammunition by failing to denounce this apparent example of politically motivated violence.
The PM was not alone. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese tweeted “Violence has no place anywhere – especially not in Australian political life. I call on all leaders to condemn this attack.”
Mr Albanese’s tweet was sent at 4.19 pm, making him rather slow to condemn political violence in comparison with Mr Morrison.
He should have been even slower. Mr Meddick had already gone on radio to start walking back his claims.
Victoria Police released a statement around 5.00 pm, though one might have wondered why they even bothered.
Who needed police when everyone — from the Prime Minister down — had already decided the assault on Meddick’s child was a shocking attack on democracy, a terrible episode of political violence and an example of domestic terrorism!
The police report, however, was rather less sensational.
A 25-year-old woman was spray painting over a poster on Smith Street when she was approached by an unknown man around 11 pm.
The pair had an argument before the woman threw the spray can towards the man as he attempted to leave the scene.
The man followed the woman and threw the spay can which struck her in the back of the head. The man left the scene as staff from a nearby venue rendered assistance to the woman before she attended hospital for treatment to minor injuries.
The investigation is still ongoing so who knows what might be revealed in coming days. But at this point it looks less like political violence than a simple case of two tossers – one of whom had a better aim.
Whatever aim Mr Meddick’s child lacks with his arm, she certainly makes up for with her Tweets.
Their Twitter feed, now deleted, was a continuous stream of vulgar rhetoric and threats of violence – the very kind that Mr Meddick had been demanding everyone condemn – aimed at conservatives.
“Oh man! I’ve been so busy saying f##k the cops I forgot you were alive. Go f##k yourself you racist bootlicker! Suck my girl d### you bald c##t” Meddick’s child tweeted to Defence Minister Peter Dutton on June 7 last year.
“A happy new year to everyone! Except @ScottMorrisonMP and the @LiberalAus you guys can get f###ed with a shillelagh sideways,” he tweeted on January 1.
Other tweets encouraged people to kill Catholic cardinal George Pell as “a public service”, beat political opponents “in the marketplace of ideas with a crowbar until their two brain cells leak out” and threatened a re-enactment of the Columbine school shooting.
Can you imagine the outrage if an LNP politician’s child tweeted abuse and threats of violence like that?
The entire time Mr Meddick had been complaining about threats against his family, his own child had been making vile threats against political leaders, churchmen and others.
Perhaps Mr Meddick doesn’t read his own child’s social media posts.
But if, as Mr Meddick insisted last week, the Victorian Opposition leader “must state unequivocally that you condemn” protesters’ violent rhetoric, Mr Meddick might want to do the same thing, starting a little closer to home.
Mr Meddick might also want to rethink using his child, whom he told ABC radio is struggling with mental health issues, as a political prop.
As for the rest of our politicians, this cynical game they play — demanding opponents condemn this statement and denounce that metaphor and distance themselves from those people — needs to stop.
We are not so stupid as to believe for even a moment that it has anything to do with a genuine desire to take the heat out of public debate. It is political point-scoring and virtue signalling of the lowest and most dangerous kind. It makes everyone look stupid.
You can order James Macpherson’s new book Notes from Woketopia (Laying Bare the Lunacy of Woke Culture) at jamesmacpherson.com.au.
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