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Shane Elson


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February 2007 # 1

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Back to Editorials 2007

Young Liberals go to Town

It must be the end of Summer. The tennis is over, the cricket … well did it ever really begin. The beaches are almost deserted at noon on Wednesdays and the streets are full of tired looking mums looking for parking spaces near schools. Ahh! That is Australia in late January.

So while we boguns, trogs and dropkicks get back into the world of work and weekends without football, what is it the ruling class wannabes have been up to over summer? Could I suggest plotting more of the same? 

Tucked away on page ten, last Sunday’s Age newspaper had a little story about the Young Liberal Convention held in Melbourne. That evening Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, was featured on the news bulletins spruiking his version of Jesus at the convention. He gave Kevin Rudd a serve who immediately responded with the usual smugness he manages to convey despite the homely visage presented on his TV ads recently. However, back to the story. 

The nightly news carried Abbott’s little interpretation of Jesus and Rudd’s response and that was about it. The Sunday Age carried the story at the top of the page and it was eight columns wide. However the real story from the convention, which was not covered at all in any media I have seen, heard or read since, did not begin until the bottom of column five. 

The Young Liberals are the breeding place for the future leadership of the Liberal party (unless you’re a former merchant banker who can afford to buy your way in). This earnest gathering of wannabe rulers had some interesting things to say and some very disturbing motions to pass. 

When it comes to blatant racialism the current crop of Federal Liberal and coalition party members is hard to surpass. However, the Young Libs seem to be giving their mentors a bit of a run for their money. This is not the first time their racist, sexist anti-Australian views have been exposed. Back in July 2006 the ABC’s Lateline program provided documentary evidence of their racist, sexist and homophobic ideology. 

In truly ignorant fashion the President of the Young Libs, Alexander Lew, has this to say about Aboriginal culture and history. “Aboriginal history is important and should be taught at our schools, but you can squeeze 40,000 years into one lesson.” Not be outdone by this rubbish, the overly hyphenated Miranda Airey-Branson added insult to ignorance by claiming, “You go to Rome you see the Colosseum … if you come to Australia, we have got really old rubbish.” 

It seems that this convention has revealed a little more of the workings of the Liberals and how they talent scout for our future rulers. First, gather a small group of bigoted and ignorant young people together (who hopefully come from the wealthy elites) then set them loose on issues they have no insight into or respect for. The talent scouts will be on the lookout for those who can say things, like Mr. Lew and Ms. Airey-Branson, and sound sincere at the same time. 

Not content to demonstrate their utter contempt for the First Australians and the legacy they have left us, they upped the ante and in a not too veiled attack on the poorest within our communities passed a motion that calls for the withholding of welfare support to parents if their children don’t go to school. 

Failing to notice that with little hope of secure, long-term income producing work at the end of their school lives, the Young Libs, secure in the knowledge that daddy, daddy’s mate or the party will provide for them no matter how stupid they are, overlook the key issue for school kids today. That is, “what’s the point?” Unlike the wannabe rulers, the average school leaver can no longer plan a long-term career path. Unlike the dickheads who passed this motion, the families “out there on struggle street” know they are being screwed but feel totally powerless to change the system which represses them. 

Finally, with a wink and nudge to the Victorian Tobacco growers, some of whose sons or daughters were no doubt in attendance, passed a motion calling for the reintroduction of tobacco advertising. Now, that sucks, if you’ll excuse the pun. 

However, it was not all doom and gloom. In what must have been a shot from outside the right-wing, the convention did pass a motion to reject the teaching of intelligent design. However after I thought about this I realised that the probable reason they passed the motion was that, given the amount of intelligence displayed in the earlier motions and discussion, they found little evidence to support the notion of intelligent design so had no other choice than to pass the motion. 

The Sunday Age article ends with an abridged list of Young Lib alumni. These include Peter Costello, Peter Reith, Andrew Peacock and Victorian Liberal Louise Asher. The question remains, what are we to make of this group of history deniers and racist, sexist homophobes? 

I guess the contemporary political milieu gives us the answer. While the summer news headlines were dominated by sports stars on and off their respective playing fields, bushfires (which were almost as destructive as the political climate) stories of petty crime and salacious stories of ego and wealth, we didn’t hear too much about the suffering of the poor among us. Nor did we hear too much empathy for those who can’t afford the usual Christmas cheer or those whose lives are held at the mercy of the racist, sexist and homophobic religious right-wing nutters who rule us. 

The fact that our media failed to elevate the story of the Young Liberal Convention and the ideology that drives them to the font page, also highlights the failures of our corporate and mainstream media to do the jobs entrusted to them. While they choose to take the soft options of regurgitating press releases, they repeatedly fail to deliver to us the truths so often hidden behind closed doors or buried at the back of the dailies. 

Summer is almost over and while some have made hay while the sun shone, others, like the Young Libs have been sharpening their knives in readiness to carve more pounds from our flesh. Their ignorance is unforgivable. Our complacency that allows their ignorance to fester is inexcusable. So, while there is a short window of opportunity, we need to ‘out’ the Young Libs before the long days end and cold hard reality of winter hits us.

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