Andrew Bolt

Nov 10, 2011

Who’s responsible for Alan Joyce?

Are News Ltd columnists having second thoughts

Pure Poison IconAre News Ltd columnists having second thoughts about Alan Joyce? You might think so reading Andrew Bolt and David Penberthy this week.

Yesterday Bolt suddenly started making a big deal about the sexuality of the Qantas CEO in his Herald Sun column, “Joyce doesn’t fit the hiss-boo script“:

This tough, cool union-buster is also gay, sharing his life with a New Zealand man.

What a fine challenge to the notion of gays as effete, flighty and soft – a straitjacketing that limited the media careers of gay friends, keener to talk politics than showbiz.

And, again, what a rejection of the role Labor wrote for Joyce as a Liberal zealot, conspiring with Tony Abbott.

Wait, if someone’s a “tough… union-buster” they can’t be a “Liberal zealot conspiring with Tony Abbott” if they’re gay? Says who? Why? What’s the relevance of this to anything?

Frankly, the only time I – and I suspect I’m not alone in this – care about who Alan Joyce is screwing is when it’s Qantas workers and the airline Australian taxpayers spent almost a century supporting. And then he very much does “fit the hiss-boo script”.

(That said, I’m glad Andrew’s noticed the inaccuracy of the camp gay stereotype – at last. Maybe one day he’ll stop supporting the existing discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Marriage Act.)

It gets weirder.

I’m not sure what to make of this sudden attempt to allocate Joyce to the actual political left:

Joyce would have impressed many with his calm dignity, logic and command of the facts. Bastard bosses should rant, shouldn’t they? They should also not turn out to be life-long Leftists.

As Joyce said last weekend, “I’ve always been a progressive in terms of my politics. I’m very passionate about reconciliation, social awareness … in terms of how I’ve voted, it would have always been on the left of politics.”

Just not on economic matters, which are the ones that really count to corporate Australia, and which are the only reasons anyone is talking about Joyce anyway. Joyce may be a huge supporter of indigenous issues in his personal life, or equality or civil liberties or public dental care or whatever – but the critical aspect of his contribution to the nation has been his determination to cut costs at Qantas by offshoring pilots and engineers, and to crush the Australian unions that want to save Australian jobs by shafting passengers and destroying Qantas’ reputation. And on that issue, by his actions, he’s as far from a “leftist” as you can get.

And actually, if you think about it (hint: don’t do this if you want to comment on Andrew’s comment threads, who do you think you are, you elitist), condemnation by “leftists” of Joyce’s actions actually demonstrates that they’re tackling the issue, not the person behind it – he may well in other areas be a sympathetic character for them, but that doesn’t justify what he’s done, and it doesn’t make him immune from their criticism. So, yes, I suppose I see what Andrew must be trying to say – this is just one further example of the Left being highly principled and refusing to cover for someone who has a terrible, destructive effect on the nation just because he claims to be a gay leftist. It’s his right-wing actions that have caused the damage, and his leftist personal beliefs won’t save him from the appropriate criticism.

Or is Joyce a socialist double-agent? In today’s Punch, David Penberthy – half tongue-in-cheek – suggests that maybe the gay leftist had a cunning plan to make Labor relevant again:

Here’s an elaborate conspiracy theory. In a dark corner of a scungy pub in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, socialist double agent Alan Joyce is downing schooners of Tooheys New with Transport Minister and Left faction operative Anthony Albanese as they toast their collective success in making Labor relevant again.

The Qantas chief executive may have unwittingly done more than anyone to get the Labor Party off the mat by bringing on a massive, nation-stopping industrial brawl which let the ALP remind the voters exactly what it stood for.

Mwoohahaha. It’s true that industrial relations is about the last ground on which the Coalition wants the national debate to focus – since it is torn between what business (and retired Liberals) want it to do, which is even further screw over working Australians, and the fact that it wants those working Australians to vote for it. And that by trying to crush the Qantas unions so dramatically – and contemptuously of the general public – Joyce has firmly redirected the national debate onto that issue.

So maybe those executives (the ones other than from Virgin) Joyce said were congratulating him on his efforts might want to rethink some of their enthusiasm. I suspect there’ll be more in the conservative media who will be, very soon.

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12 thoughts on “Who’s responsible for Alan Joyce?

  1. Mercurial

    And just what’s wrong with some people being effete, flighty and soft? Don’t they have a right to that sort of personailty? Maybe Blot thinks it’s OK if they’re straight, but if they’re gay, that’s adhering to some notion and must be challenged?

  2. mondo rock

    It’s his right-wing actions that have caused the damage, and his leftist personal beliefs won’t save him from the appropriate criticism.

    Bang on the money Jeremy. Bolt’s column is simply more evidence of his completely simplistic and tribal view of politics – he sees the left attacking one of its own when reality is that the Left is attacking policy.

  3. Aliar Jones

    [News Ltd are positioning themselves for that argument.]

    At a quick guess it will be something like their phony climate stance :

    ‘We claim to believe in it, but we too busy profiteering and politicking from lies about it to actually support it’

  4. Brizben

    [Here’s an elaborate conspiracy theory.]
    Yep it certainly is.

    How about this simpler theory:
    One of the next issues on the national agenda is the conscience vote on the gay marriage issue and News Ltd are positioning themselves for that argument.

  5. Ruprecht

    It’s all quite simple if you judge Joyce based on what he does as CEO of Qantas and not on his beliefs, voting preference or any other preference.

    “Sheer Carelessness” Boltington is trying to muddy the waters by throwing in extraneous details.

    How many more times will he shove this sow’s ear through the Janome before he realises the futility of it?

  6. Sancho

    Well, the left generally stands up for gay rights, so gays generally support the left. Therefore, at Newsland, all gay men are strident socialist environmentalist pacifists who dance on mardi gras floats in hotpants.

    Andrew Bolt represents the people who do not at any time suspect that that’s a wildly inaccurate stereotype, so if a gay man is a business leader, OMFG he’s a rebel.

    I don’t give Bolt page-hits. Have his commenters started claiming that the gay mafia or whatever will now be out to get….sorry, destroy Joyce (I speak a little Boltish) because, you know, he’s the only non-hippy right-wing gay?

    Sometimes I think the News Ltd headquarters should have a giant straw man standing on top of it.

    1. Notice how Alan Jones’ sexuality is never, ever mentioned in News rags?

    2. While Bolt is cheering because a gay man isn’t a weak-willed hippie, the American right has convinced itself that homosexuals are inherently vicious, violent dominators who relish destruction. Check out the Pink Swastika if you have a generous sense of humour.

  7. both kinds of politics

    […] Posted by Chris, on November 10th, 2011 Continuing drek on Qantas and Joyce […]

  8. Matthew of Canberra


    Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. I can’t hear the word “superstar” and not start hearing jamelia in my head. And that used to be a very pleasant association for me. But not anymore. “You just make me wanna play” … oh, my god, I want to scrub my internal voice with caustic soda now.

    What next – you going to try and ruin ms. dynamite as well?

  9. podrick

    Personally I could not care less about Alan Joyce’s sexual preferences, what I really object to is Bolt’s other description of him.
    [tough, cool union-buster]
    In my expereince, there is never anything tough or cool about “Union Busting” executives, in general they are nothing more than arrogant bullies and well versed liars. They also tend to be neo-liberal zealots in their economic views. While some, and it appears Mr Joyce is one, may support various social justice issues, it is always very easy to picture them getting hours of pleasure pulling the wings off flies as a child.

  10. Aliar Jones

    [Or maybe we can all just take this as a reminder that pigeonholing people with diverse and nuanced views and opinions into “left” and “right” (and conflating those definitions with “progressive” and “conservative”) is just bloody stupid.]

    But then how would Andy be a right wing superstar?

  11. Bondles

    Or maybe we can all just take this as a reminder that pigeonholing people with diverse and nuanced views and opinions into “left” and “right” (and conflating those definitions with “progressive” and “conservative”) is just bloody stupid.

  12. Mercurial

    but, but… Blot, black and white, left and right. Don’t you get it?

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