Lucky country needs to take heed of America’s day of shame

Ian Bushnell 8 January 2021 59
Parliament House

People’s house: Time to value what we have. Photo: Region Media.

Today is a day for Australians to give thanks for our system of government and how easily and efficiently we exercise our vote in this country.

The morning after the events in that other national capital, supposedly the world’s bastion of democracy and freedom, it is worth reflecting the benefits compulsory voting had conferred on Australia, nurturing a culture of political involvement, if only on polling day, and inclusion.

No voter suppression and wholesale disenfranchisement, safe, plentiful polling places complete with democracy sausages, and elections run by independent agencies that maintain fair and equitable electorates.

Australia has had its crises, knife-edge elections and tough, robust campaigns. The sacking of an elected Prime Minister by the Queen’s representative could easily have erupted into violence but the nation weathered it, mainly through the ballot box.

It remains a constitutional timebomb, but one defused somewhat by an all-round acceptance that it should not happen again.

Living in Canberra so close to the places and symbols of power is a privilege, and for most they hold the nation’s respect, held together by the cultural glue that ensures our freedoms and way of life.

But in recent years the rampant partisanship that has culminated in the deadly insurrection in Washington has seeped into Australia’s body politic, an infection fed by shadowy social media, the shock jocks and commentators of the Murdoch mastheads and Sky News and the campaign sharpies taking their cues from the US Right.


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Australia has had plenty of apologists for Trump’s demagoguery, on whose coat-tails many Republican Party leaders have chosen to ride. They have now reaped what they have sown.

The message should be clear to those in Australia, from the Prime Minister down, that indulging extremism and the lies that undermine the authority and credibility of democracy is playing with fire.

The so-called clever politics of the wedge, the serial lies of the campaign and the refusal to accept the evidence, whether it’s global warming or the dangers of inequity, all come at a price.

Not only do they leave the nation exposed and ill-prepared to deal with problems, but they fray the social fabric and erode our political values.

It has been heart-breaking to see our major ally descend into extremism, culminating in the disgraceful scenes at the Capitol, especially at a time when an authoritarian China is posing such a frightening challenge to Australia and the rest of the democratic world.

Australia needs a revitalised, democratic US that once again stands for the values we share.


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In all the drama of the storming of the Capitol, the historic victory of the Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia has been almost overlooked.

It will deliver the Senate to the Democrats, with Vice-President Kamala Harris’s casting vote, but also for the first time send a Black Democratic Senator from the Deep South to Washington.

This is a tribute to the mobilisation of voters in that state and the power of the ballot box, finally burying the era of Jim Crow that excluded so many Blacks from participating in the democratic process.

Thank heavens that in Australia, getting out the vote is not such an energy-sucking exercise and we can focus on the issues at hand.


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59 Responses to Lucky country needs to take heed of America’s day of shame
Carol Christopher Carol Christopher 6:13 am 09 Jan 21

Left wing bias as usual. Did you write about the arson and looting over days and weeks in Democrat states and blame Biden for it? Or Antifa or the Marxists?

Does media outrage of the crime depend on the race or political leaning of the offender?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:50 pm 08 Jan 21

As much as this country has been Americanised, the inherent she’ll be right, no worries, land of the long weekend, ethos invariably wins out. Whether it’s the Rum Rebellion, the New Guard or Maintain the Rage after the sacking of Whitlam, normal transmission is quickly resumed and, as Malcolm Fraser aptly put it, sport gets back on the front page – something I was reminded of yesterday as I reflected on the contrast between the mayhem in Washington and the steady, civilised rhythm of events at the SCG.

It’s true that Australians (across the political and ideological spectrums, not just on the Right) typically look to the US for ideas and for language to express those ideas – particularly when they’re angry, and even if they’re not quite sure what they’re currently angry about. Happily, though, after the borrowed dialogue has been delivered (usually not all that well, and such fun when it’s done verbatim and can be traced to a movie or TV show) there’s typically not much more than a bit of rambling and dull ranting which disappears into the sands like an intermittent stream – so the risks of violent passions being stirred among the masses are not too great.

steve2020 steve2020 4:50 pm 08 Jan 21

The lessons of the USA election should be learned and noted for future elections everywhere. The faults and cracks that created doubts in election integrity should be avoided to ensure that a similar situation does not occur. It is more important than ever as there is a shift towards e-voting in ACT.

Remember that USA elections did not have any major voting integrity issues and lack of trust in the voting process until their recent presidential election. Obama from US Democrats was voted in some years ago without too much fuss.

chewy14 chewy14 1:02 pm 08 Jan 21

I’m glad that this is all the fault of those evil Trump, Murdoch righties.

I mean there were no left wing violent protests in 2020 at all and no widespread calls that civil disobedience is perfectly acceptable for years prior…….

Oh, I forgot. Violence is OK as long as I subjectively think it’s for a worthy cause.

    astro2 astro2 5:01 pm 08 Jan 21

    Oh dear, no one likes a sore loser Chewy. Best to take this one on the chin, even staunch Republicans are horrified at this incident. No one (not even Trump) has supported this action by extremists.

    chewy14 chewy14 9:38 pm 08 Jan 21

    Oh dear Astro,
    What is it exactly you think ive lost?

    a. I’m not American so can’t vote in their elections.
    b. I’m not a Trump supporter
    c. I’m not a Republican
    d. I’m not right wing.
    e. I don’t support political violence like what happened yesterday.

    What i am however is a great opponent of blatant and gross hypocrisy.

    So whilst I can say that I oppose using violence to achieve your political agenda in an free and democratic country no matter your political persuasion, there are numerous people both here and abroad that can’t.

    Those who for months and years who have promoted civil disobedience and excused violence as long as the people committing the crimes aligned with their political beliefs.

    I’m just as against this poltical violence as the other political violence we’ve seen in Australia and elsewhere.

    How about you?

    astro2 astro2 9:16 am 09 Jan 21

    It’s clear you’re trying to distract from the issue of the storming of the Capitol and violent acts therein by saying Oh well, there’s other types of political violence all over the place. It’s a very weak point. It doesn’t distract from what has happened and, despite your protestations to the contrary, tends to reveal a right wing bias.

    chewy14 chewy14 10:56 am 09 Jan 21

    Astro,
    No it’s clear that I’m doing exactly what I said I was.

    Pointing out the gross hypocrisy on this issue.

    Although it is interesting that you didnt answer my question either. Try again.

    “I’m just as against this poltical violence as the other political violence we’ve seen in Australia and elsewhere.

    How about you?”

    And I’m not sure what you think is “right wing” about disliking hypocrisy and having a deep respect for the rule of law? Strange indeed.

    astro2 astro2 3:30 pm 09 Jan 21

    The article, like may other recent articles and news items, is about the recent storming of the Capitol building by an angry mob of Trump supporters. For some reason you are trying to say this is hypocritical. It just isn’t. If you are upset about the Black Lives Matter movement perhaps you should find an article about that (there are plenty out there) and write a post about it. Demanding people answer questions you’ve made up to suit your line of thinking isn’t an effective way of commenting on the article and misses the point.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:33 pm 09 Jan 21

    Astro,
    Hmmm, once again you refuse to answer the question. Hardly surprising though.

    One might almost think you’re deliberately avoiding having to oppose violence, which is exactly what my original post was about.

    And if you think this article is solely representive of recent events, Perhaps you can link me to the authors previous articles decrying the riots, looting and violence that occurred in the USA throughout 2020.

    I won’t hold breath becaise they don’t exist.

    So let’s go to the article:

    “But in recent years the rampant partisanship that has culminated in the deadly insurrection in Washington has seeped into Australia’s body politic, an infection fed by shadowy social media, the shock jocks and commentators of the Murdoch mastheads and Sky News and the campaign sharpies taking their cues from the US Right.”

    If you honestly can’t see the deliberate misrepresentation of what’s happened in the USA and the riots and violence that have been fomented by both sides of politics then I can’t help you.

    ssek ssek 9:32 pm 09 Jan 21

    LOL
    More dishonesty, astro?
    Why pretend the double standard doesn’t exist? What chewy posted was absolutely on topic.
    One side burns down buildings and riots for months and gets headlines like “Fiery, but mostly peaceful protests”. The other side breaks into a building once, and are called terrorists.
    I don’t expect an obvious left wing extremist to acknowledge the truth though.

    astro2 astro2 8:20 am 10 Jan 21

    ssek: “the other side breaks into a building once”…..ahh that building happened to be the Capitol, America’s parliamentary seat of democracy, perhaps you could examine when this has previously occurred from “the other side”. Overwhelmingly the reaction to this incident has been worldwide horror and condemnation so there isn’t much point blaming the author of this piece.

Andrew Douglas Andrew Douglas 10:16 am 08 Jan 21

The comments. 😆

Linda Thompson Linda Thompson 10:15 am 08 Jan 21

For years now, USA business and political have been networking with likeminded Aussies. We see our dodgy PM at it with shady operations too often.

Matt Dougherty Matt Dougherty 9:53 am 08 Jan 21

Ian displays his astounding ignorance more with each article.

Acton Acton 9:30 am 08 Jan 21

Whatever you think of Trump, he was never given a fair go from the day he was elected. There was an unrelenting and vitriolic campaign against him by opponents who would not accept the majority democratic vote to make him President. His supporters were vilified and mocked and their concerns dismissed, which just made them more angry. Both sides contributed to the disgraceful debacle now unfolding. In Australia we accept when we’ve lost.

    Tempestas Tempestas 12:46 pm 08 Jan 21

    Absolutely not true. He was given plenty of free access to his preferred media, and the rest kept dutifully doing the ‘both sides’ rubbish horse-race that passes for political commentary. The concerns of many of his supporters were never addressed by Trump, he just said he would change things, but mostly he lined his pockets. There are massive systemic equality issues in the US, but Trump had no interest in re-balancing them.

    To claim that this is a ‘both sides’ problem is simply wrong. There has been much in US politics that has moved away from fairness and equality but only one President claims “fake news” and uses language supporting violent anti-democratic means of achieving his goals.

    ssek ssek 3:30 pm 08 Jan 21

    LOL
    Nice of you to make his point for him Tempestas. Now head back over to plebbit to get updoots for chanting Orange man bad!” with the rest of the dishonest sheep.

    chewy14 chewy14 3:33 pm 08 Jan 21

    Tempestas,
    To say this isn’t a “both sides” issue is what is completely wrong and it defies any form of rational objectivity not to see it.

    I have no doubt that Trump is an egotistical nutter but he exists and gained power because his political opponents lost all ability to try to compromise on issues or rationally debate with their opponents.

    If everyone who disagrees with you is a “Nazi” or “sexist” or “racist”, then no one is.

MERC600 MERC600 9:23 am 08 Jan 21

@Daniel Duncan .. something similar has happened here.
Back in August 96 a trade union mob stormed our Federal Parliament House. They broke down the external doors, then broke through the next internal huge doors . They were eventually repelled by the Police and security..

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:26 pm 08 Jan 21

    Aw, come on! Someone holding up a “Ditch the Witch” sign behind Alan Jones on the Parliament House lawns a few years ago was far more threatening and violent than a few mild-mannered trade union activists making a point at the House.

    Funny how we see regular reminders of the Jones incident but never any footage of the trade union one.

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 9:06 am 08 Jan 21

I would not be surprised if it happens here.

    Paul Evans Paul Evans 1:57 pm 08 Jan 21

    Daniel Duncan just the opposite I would be surprised, as we are sheep.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 3:42 pm 08 Jan 21

    Paul dose the Eureka stockade ring a bell?

    Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell 1:40 pm 15 Jan 21

    It has happened here - at least a mini-version. Remember the storming of Parliament House in the 1990's by unionist members.

ssek ssek 9:01 am 08 Jan 21

Extremism is caused by people like you, Ian. Demanding people see the world your way or else, and then working to suppress any dissenting opinion, or even evidence and research that contradicts the narrative. Painting opposition as terrorists and extremists pushes people further to the other side.

The media painting anybody that isn’t on board with woke garbage, hating white people, and accepting of all forms of perversion and degeneracy as the next Hitler makes for a lot of extremists.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:33 pm 08 Jan 21

    Thank God we can still watch The Outsiders on Sky TV to have the generally left bias in MSM reporting and opinion balanced by facts and other stuff that doesn’t follow the woke narrative.

    Zuckerberg will probably take over Sky and close it down to the delight of all his Facebook sheeples.

    astro2 astro2 4:56 pm 08 Jan 21

    Hmmm…had to read the article again to find any evidence of what you’re trying to say. Still couldn’t see anything in the text about “demanding people see the world your way or else and then working to suppress any dissenting opinion.” Perhaps you could enlighten us to the passages in the opinion piece supporting your point of view? You are probably upset that someone you supported lost the election (your last sentence, in particular, expresses quite a lot of irrational anger). However it’s best to avoid coming across as ‘sour grapes’ – it generally doesn’t sway anyone’s opinion.

    chewy14 chewy14 9:43 pm 08 Jan 21

    Astro,
    We’re you trying to be ironic?

    Perhaps you could point out any evidence whatsoever in ssek’s comment about supporting someone who lost an election?

    Oh dear…..

    astro2 astro2 9:20 am 09 Jan 21

    Hi, I think you need to read SSEK’s post which started with the sentence “Extremism is caused by people like you, Ian….” There was no supporting evidence in the following sentences of this. Pretty clear really and nothing “ironic” about it.

    chewy14 chewy14 10:51 am 09 Jan 21

    Astro,
    I’m thinking you’re the one that really needs to read your own comments.

    You said that Ssek was claiming something without evidence and then proceed to do exactly the same thing.

    “You are probably upset that someone you supported lost the election (your last sentence, in particular, expresses quite a lot of irrational anger). However it’s best to avoid coming across as ‘sour grapes’ – it generally doesn’t sway anyone’s opinion.”

    Evidence?

    *crickets*

    astro2 astro2 8:21 am 10 Jan 21

    Read the last sentence.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:05 pm 10 Jan 21

    Astro,
    Evidence. You have none.

    Although the double standards you apply here are quite humorous considering my entire commentary is around the massive hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance certain people are struggling with over this issue.

    LOL, astro2. Exhibit A.

    astro2 astro2 3:46 pm 15 Jan 21

    I cited the sentence in the previous post and referred to it again when you didn’t seem to pick up on it so there’s no point in repeating this. In regards to your claims of “massive” and “gross” hypocrisy, just a piece of advice: adding hyperbolic adjectives doesn’t assist in supporting a point, it only makes the writer sound as if they’re clutching at straws. In relation to your feelings about hypocrisy perhaps you could write to all the world leaders who commented on the insurgency in America telling them they’re all “hypocrites”. I’m sure they will appreciate your opinion.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:16 pm 15 Jan 21

    Astro,
    What on earth are you talking about now?

    The evidence you need to provide is to support your own claim that Ssek is upset because he supports someone who lost an election. Did you even read my original comment?

    Let’s spell it out slowly.

    1. Astro claims Ssek has no evidence for his comments.
    2. Astro then claims Ssek is probably upset because he’s a Trump supporter.
    3. Astro forgets to provide a shred of evidence to support his own claims, thus making his original statement quite ironic.

    Honestly, no wonder you can’t see blatant hypocrisy in the article or on this issue when you can’t even recognise it in your own comments. Logical and rational thinking is clearly not a strong point for you.

    Oh, and i’m still waiting for you to answer my previous questions. Seems strange that you don’t want to oppose all political violence. One might even begin to think it’s because you only dislike it when you don’t support the cause that led to it. But that couldn’t be right, surely……….

    astro2 astro2 12:17 pm 16 Jan 21

    Hey, another adjective added to the word ‘hypocrisy’. )”it’s ‘blatant” apparently this time as well as massive and gross. How about humongous – that might help in the flailing hyperbole substituted for reasoned analysis. To make this clear, the original comment was about a lack of evidence supporting a claim that the writer of the original article that ”extremism’ was caused by people like the writer. There was no evidence backing up this claim. Pretty easy to understand and the point still stands.
    Trying to come up with imaginary interrogation (“hey you still haven’t answered MY question”) doesn’t make for a reasoned argument.

    chewy14 chewy14 11:28 am 17 Jan 21

    Astro,
    that’s a lot of words to still produce no evidence nor answer any of the questions that have been asked to clarify your position.

jwinston jwinston 8:43 am 08 Jan 21

We really are living in the lucky country. The only change I’d make to our political system is changing the electoral term from 3 years to 5 years – with the PM only being able to call an early election after 4 years.

At the moment the Libs and Labor are only looking to stay in power without actually doing or achieving much. They’re all about sound bites and click bait. And already there’s talk of an early election sometime this year after the last one in 2019.

A 4 or 5 year term is a reasonable amount of time to implement promises made on the hustings. Then at election time the electorate would actually see if promises were being kept and that the nations goals were being achieved. And if they fail to deliver on those goals and promises in that 4 or 5 year period, then the people would be able to make more educated decisions on election day.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:33 pm 08 Jan 21

    Before we address the much needed longer term in office issue we must put integrity into the voting system to at least have photo ID verifying the person on the electoral roll and ensure that when that vote is cast it electronically registers so a second (or more) person can’t vote twice at a different polling booth as is the case now.

    ssek ssek 9:34 pm 09 Jan 21

    Apparently asking for ID to vote is racist. Asking for ID to claim welfare is not.

Andrew Fernance Andrew Fernance 8:34 am 08 Jan 21

It is great to live in country where the government can change and no protests or guns fired

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 9:49 am 08 Jan 21

    Andrew Fernance Surprisingly we haven't changed PM's for a while either.

    Andrew Fernance Andrew Fernance 9:51 am 08 Jan 21

    Justin Watson we have elections yeah ?

    Matt Duncan Matt Duncan 10:41 am 08 Jan 21

    Sadly the government in our country doesn't really change. They're all the same.

    Steve Frame Steve Frame 9:09 am 09 Jan 21

    Matt Duncan attitudes like that don't help anything. While you may think that all politicians are out for themselves their policies most definitely do not align. Only one party is giving tax cuts to large multinationals.

    Matt Duncan Matt Duncan 11:46 am 09 Jan 21

    Steve Frame but all major parties are taxing the rest of us to pay for their stupid ideas and also taking more and more control over our lives.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 5:11 pm 09 Jan 21

    Andrew Fernance i was joking about the fact there was a time we had a new PM every year :-) To outsiders though it looked crazy.

Stephen Matthews Stephen Matthews 8:25 am 08 Jan 21

All this aided and abetted by the murdoch media.

    Andrew Duncan Andrew Duncan 12:37 pm 08 Jan 21

    Don’t like it, don’t read it

    Steve Frame Steve Frame 9:07 am 09 Jan 21

    Andrew Turnbull Nobody should read it. People who know of its bias and manipulative ideals already do not.

Natalie Grey Natalie Grey 8:12 am 08 Jan 21

Want to remind us again how many people were murdered during the BLM riots last year?

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 9:11 am 08 Jan 21

    Natalie Grey niave to think that in any protest that there are not people in there just to cause problems. Every single protest that turns bad, the organisers say they don't know the perpetrators.

    There are always going to be those who just want to cause trouble for troubles sake, regardless of the cause.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 9:48 am 08 Jan 21

    Do you think more people would have been murdered yesterday if law enforcement started shooting? Can't really compare the two events as they get treated differently due to race. Also its the way the media treats these events. Young white woman yesterday killed and she was a hero, a veteran, a kind person. Black person killed and they dig up all the bad stuff they can find. Bit like the white guy who got 1 yr in jail for rape because he came from a good family and captain of the swim team. If you can't see the double standards here then thats why BLM are protesting.

    Tracy Gorman Tracy Gorman 10:16 am 08 Jan 21

    Justin Watson she was a hero for her service. She was a veteran, and she may have been very kind.

    That does not change the fact that she joined a riot in order to disrupt her country’s process of election. She willing joined a mob of fanatics, stormed a building where she should not have been, and for the ideals that trump has been falsely spouting, she died.

    The scenes in America yesterday were insane. I had someone who lives there ask me how our media is reporting on the situation there, so I shared the links. She was gobsmacked, and embarrassed by what unfolded there. The average everyday American, regardless of race, religion or creed does not support what has been happening in their country the past few years. These “protesters” are fanatics, following a man hell bent on changing his country to what HE wants it to be. They’re getting the media coverage, because the average American is staying home and watching with disbelief.

Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 8:00 am 08 Jan 21

Yeah, there are a worrying number of right wing terrorists in Australia with enablers in Parliament

    Corey Karl Corey Karl 8:22 am 08 Jan 21

    Boweavil Kat any left wing ones by any chance ??

    Nathan Rowley Nathan Rowley 8:34 am 08 Jan 21

    Corey Karl dont be silly the left just educate people 😂

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 8:53 am 08 Jan 21

    Corey Karl spoken like a true member of the radical right. Give yourself a pat on the back

    Steve Hambridge Steve Hambridge 9:19 am 08 Jan 21

    Corey Karl you know of any?

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