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Herald Sun

Mar 5, 2011

Herald Sun adopts socialism

The Herald Sun editorialises:


The Herald Sun editorialises:

AS a community we must ask ourselves a deeply disturbing question: If we cannot look after the most vulnerable people in our society, who can we look after?

The evidence is that we have failed those who cannot defend themselves. That is why Victorians must demand more of their politicians. They carry the ultimate responsibility of looking after the disabled and the mentally handicapped, many of them helpless and preyed-upon children.

I look forward to News Ltd suddenly starting to campaign for government support of the vulnerable and disadvantaged, even if it costs taxpayers money. This is a fantastic development for Victoria – the state’s biggest tabloid declaring itself a champion of the unfortunate instead of, say, a relentless promoter of the interests of the privileged and powerful. Let’s hope they keep it up.

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61 thoughts on “Herald Sun adopts socialism

  1. returnedman

    Angra that Caldwell “Two Wongs” quote is often misunderstood and given well out of context.


  2. Angra

    Poor old Curtin died in harness. I mean no disrespect to him, as he was probably Australia’s greatest PM – an Oz equivalent to Churchill during the war years. And who probably saved Australia due to his pragmatic espousal of the US as the only conceivable saviour of the Pacific theatre. Succeeded briefly by Forde, then by Chifley – who was all wind and piss. Although Holt said he was ‘lovable’. (Wow – maybe there’s something there!). Chifley was also a steam engine driver, so can’t be all bad in my books. Great name for a steam engine! (Thomas and Chifley go Off the Tracks!)

  3. Angra

    I stand corrected – the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ seem to have originated with the French, not the English. But it’s still more a description of where politicians chose to sit, rather than representing any pre-ordained political position.

    “The terms “left” and “right” appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president’s right and supporters of the revolution to his left. (The seating may have been influenced by the tradition of the United Kingdom Parliament, where the monarch’s ministers sit to the speaker’s right, while the opposition sit to his or her left.)

    One deputy, the Baron de Gauville explained, “We began to recognize each other: those who were loyal to religion and the king took up positions to the right of the chair so as to avoid the shouts, oaths, and indecencies that enjoyed free rein in the opposing camp”. However the Right opposed the seating arrangement because they believed that deputies should support private or general interests but should not form factions or political parties. The contemporary press occasionally used the terms “left” and “right” to refer to the opposing sides”

  4. Dave C

    Fran, you seem have very strong, precise notions of what “left” and “right” mean. I’m a bit sceptical though. If the labels “leftist” and “rightist” do have hard, objective criteria, why are the words so generically-derived?

    The words don’t appear to make reference to any actual ideas. They appear, as Angra says, to be extremely nebulous categories that only have meaning in a given political context (and not much meaning even then).

    When you say that person X is or isn’t a leftist/rightist, you might well be working from a set of strict, consistent definitions. However, I wonder if those definitions agree with the common usage of those words.

  5. Terry Murphy

    Angra @ 55

    Deakin, Fisher and Curtin weren’t expressing ideas out of sync with then-prevailing community attitudes. They were fairly mainstream ideas at the time. The same can’t be said for Bernardi and Morrison. We may now consider that the White Australia policy, for instance, was obnoxious, but we’re making that judgement using a quite different societal context.

  6. Fran Barlow

    [So if you allow that there are ‘rightists’ in the ALP, it follows that there are ‘leftists’ in the Lib/Nats.]

    Err no … The ALP probably contains some people who continue to believe in the empowerment of working people through resort to communitarian structures. Those who have given up on at least one of these are rightists, like their LNP counterparts even if they are also socially liberal. Why leftists would remain in the ALP is hard to see, but certainly no leftist would join the LNP because they’d need to immediately hide their ideas and endorse things fundamentally antithetic to being a leftist.

    Curtin certainly started off as a leftist — but by the late 1930s he was clearly on the right and was respected by the anti-communist Menzies in the early 1940s.

  7. Angra

    JT – I don’t know enough (or have enough respect to give attention to) contemporary politicians and their stances to give a decent reply. So I admit abject failure.

    All I am saying is that such terms as ‘left’ and ‘right’ are relative to time and circumstance. And I also plead with people to read up on political history, which is always bloody interesting. (I studied 19th century politics, so I’m a bit of a tragic)

    I hear Bernardi and Morrison and I am reminded of Curtin, Deakin and Fisher. I hear Turnbull and I am reminded of Al Grassby.

    Labels don’t fit when it comes to racism and politics.

    Maybe I’m just confused. ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are fundamentally meaningless labels. I prefer Conservative and Socialist in political discourse. At least we can henceforth agree on a few fundamentals.

    (BTW – I think I am a reformed Communist – but I’m in two minds about this)

  8. JT


    Sorry I had forgotten all about that.

    ‘Fran and JT – you are defining ‘leftist’ to suit contemporary political parlance.’

    Not really in my case.

    Yes, positions that are now mainstream were once thought of as radical left-wing, and positions once thought of as mainstream are now at the fringes. But that doesn’t mean that as the Liberal Party may have been left of the Tories were necessarily in themselves left-wing. For instance, Gladstone himself was a former Tory (like many Liberals were) and in the words of Lloyd-George “had no real sympathy with the working-classes”.

    ‘So if you allow that there are ‘rightists’ in the ALP, it follows that there are ‘leftists’ in the Lib/Nats.’

    The Lib/Nats do have a (dwindling) moderate wing and its members can be socially liberal in issues such as refugees and gay marriage, but economically they are as right-wing as their more socially conservative colleagues. For an example off the top of my head, did any of the moderates speak out about Workchoices?

  9. quantize

    All that is completely clear is that the Coalition and their supporters (we have a couple of the dopes posting here) are so hard right that bothering to label anyone else is almost pointless..

    btw Col use of the ‘nobody has answered my point’ thing is growing old real fast. He has his ass handed to him regularly then pretends it never happened for the rest of the thread.

  10. Angra

    Up until the late ’50’s just about all Australians were racist, particularly politicians. This had nothing to do with ‘letf’ or ‘right’ ideological positions. Probably the only half-decent socialist Prime Minister Australia has ever had was Andrew Fisher – a Scotsman.

    He wasn’t a great orator by all accounts, but did once declare – “We are all Socialists now and indeed the only qualification you hear from anybody is probably that he is “not an extreme socialist”. I do not think that the ideas of the originators have altered one jot.”

    Amongst his achievements were-

    Conciliation and Arbitration Act
    Land Tax
    The Commonwealth Bank
    Maternity allowances
    Workers’ Compensation
    Invalid and old-age pensions
    Trans-Australian railway
    First Australian paper currency
    Uniform postal charges
    Free medical treatment for kids in state schools
    He vigorously promoted the election of women members of parliament

    He also introduced the Immigration Restriction Bill, to stop the flow of Melanasian workers to North Queensland sugar plantations. This was not done (as is widely thought) for the best interests of the Melanasians being blackbirded, but to protect white labour in Australia and promote a white Australia immigration policy.

    Fisher in the debate on this bill – “We have told the world by means of the Immigration Restriction Bill that we do not desire the presence of coloured aliens here, I hope that we shall tell the world just as emphatically by means of this Bill, not only that do we not need coloured labour to develop our States, but that we deem it inadvisable to have it in our midst. I desire that we shall be able to proclaim to the world that the whole of Australia, and not a part of it, has been reserved for the use of white man.”

    He also to his shame and due to considerable pressure from King O’Malley (a yank) changed the L in ALP from ‘labour’ to ‘labor.

  11. Angra

    Fran and JT – you are defining ‘leftist’ to suit contemporary political parlance. In a spectrum of political views it is relative the the beliefs and policies of the main parties. In the 19th century, Gladstone was considerably to the ‘left’ of Disreali. Traditionally it merely meant on which side of the speaker certain groups chose to sit in Parliament. So if you allow that there are ‘rightists’ in the ALP, it follows that there are ‘leftists’ in the Lib/Nats. It is a comparative term with no hard-and-fast definitions.

    It also depends on which particular policies you are referring to. Was Holt a ‘leftist’ when in 1949 as Immigration Minister he allowed 800 non-European refugees to remain in Australia and Japanese war brides to enter Australia, whereas Curtin thoroughly supported a whites-only immigration policy? (Curtin – “it is our determination that this country shall remain forever the home of those people who came here…to establish an outpost of the British race”. )

    And Cocky Caldwell, that bastion of the labour left, is infamous for his ‘two wongs don’t make a white’ comment in Parliament in opposing granting citizenship to Chinese people. In today’s political landscape this would be regarded as extreme right-wing bigotry worthy of Hanson or Pasquarelli.

    And JT, I gave a similar reply to your earlier post, but you never responded.