As Ugly As It Gets

Just Ugliness To The Bone

I don’t know how we came to this pass so quickly (or not soon enough depending on your cynicism), but as of this writing, Peter Slipper has resigned as House Speaker. This leaves the ALP government totally dependent on the support of former ALP independent Craig Thomson and now, former Liberal and renegade independent, Peter Slipper as well as the trio of Rob Oakshotte, Tony Windsor, Andrew Wilkie plus the lone Green, Adam Bandt.  That’s quite a list of people to be counting on to maintain your government.

Then again, all these people are also saying they still won’t swap sides and join Tony Abbott, so you have to wonder how bad Tony Abbot really is as a human being. Yes, adding to the ulginess was Tony Abbott, who may or may not have intentionally used this phrasing:

Mr Abbott said every day the government defended Mr Slipper would ”be another day of shame for this Parliament and another day of shame for a government which should have already died of shame”.

…and then promptly denied it had anything to do with Alan Jones’ recent crack that Julia Gillard’s father had died of shame. Would Mr. Abbott backtrack and apologise? Not on your life, and what did you expect?

Still, you do wonder at all the twists and turns tat led us all to this, the most strident horrible, nasty, and defiantly ugly sitting of Parliament. It’s enough to make you wonder, have things ever been this bad?

Peter Hartcher recently penned an article saying we have short memories and that there have been other times when politics looked bad; but I will say this for both Julia Hillard and Tony Abbott alike, I don’t think even the ugliest moments of Keating’s insults or John Howard’s xenophobia or Bob Hawke’s ocker act or Malcolm Fraser’s patrician act got quite as ugly as they have in this hung Parliament; and it wouldn’t have been a hung Parliament, had it not been Julia Gillard who led the ALP to the last polls. It wouldn’t have been a hung Parliament had the opposition put up a leader with more credibility than Tony Abbott. Whatever the swinging voters did, they squirmed and writhed as they tried not to commit to either Gillard or Abbott; and can you blame them for that?

Had it not been a hung Parliament, I don’t know how far into the closet the Coalition would have reached into Craig Thomson’s closet for skeletons or exposed Peter Slipper to be the warped human being that he is. Truth be told, as sordid as all these ‘sexts’ are, I think the exposure did little to make me think Coalition were on any kind of moral high ground in hounding these two members. I’m not a moralist enough to find their failings to be any worse than my own failings or for that matter Tony Abbott’s failings – be they his odious, obvious, rank, misogyny and sexism. People do and say all sorts of crazy stuff in their privacy. Pulling it out under the light of courtrooms and parliamentary privilege just plain sucks.

Whatever you might think of all this, well, here we are today: Hung Parliament, much ugliness by the bucketful.

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