Friday, October 12, 2012

Abbott vs Oakes et al

IT CAN BE quite the distraction when the squawking horde touches down and all the little dogs begin to bark, very hard indeed to concentrate amidst such a racket, so things which should be obvious are sometimes overlooked.  Such was certainly the case when Act I of The Punch & Tony Show preoccupied the quality press three weeks ago and stories of assaulted walls and fearful femmes filled all the news. McTernan’s gooseherds have moved the gaggle quite a ways since then, past Alan Jones and the Opposition leader’s responsibility for everything the compere says, to Julia Gillard’s climactic histrionics and, a couple of hours ago on Lateline, to the depths of our snot drop of a treasurer’s several refusals to disagree that Abbott is a woman-hater. Let them revel in the current shrieks and cackles until the next confected study in misogyny calls all on. For quieter and more reflective sorts it is much more interesting to turn back, enjoy the quiet and pick over the cold case of the Plasterboard Pugilist. Turns out a few things were overlooked.

The first is the selective eye of Laurie Oakes, so prominent amongst those who insisted Abbott had a case to answer for what he may have done as a 19-year-old. A rough nut then could be an even rougher one today -- that thought was implicit in the many words Oakes devoted to the faux scandal, as here:

Abbott’s aggressive style worries many voters. And it is claimed he has particular problem with women. The alleged intimidation of Ramjan combined both areas of vulnerability. Abbott could not afford to leave any doubt. He had to try to kill the issue off.
Deciding the truth or otherwise of the allegation comes down in the end to who you believe. It is Ramjan’s word against Abbott’s.
Abbott argues that, if the incident really occurred, Ramjan would not have waited this long to talk about it. But Sydney barrister David Patch, also prominent in student politics back then, says a “very shaken scared and angry” Ramjan told him about Abbott’s behaviour at the time.

If what people do (or are alleged to have done) at university bears so much on their lives of three decades later, why didn’t Oakes cite his own student days? You might have thought them highly relevant, given that Abbott’s violence is at best alleged while Oakes' eagerness to go the biff is a matter of the public record. From Honi Soit’s Letters to the Editor in 1963:

I was highly amused to read that Mr P. Blake (Arts II) was highly amused by my letter concerning the now famous Honi Soit Form Guide. I was particularly amused to see that Mr Blake accuses me of hypocrisy – so amused, in fact, that I would dearly love to punch the said Mr Blake squarekt on his flaring nostrils.

In the same letter, Oakes dismisses the future Mr Justice Kirby as “a fool” and grows strident about the presence of conservative students on campus.

Memory’s light must be dimming behind Oakes’ disapproving brow, because why else would he not have judged Abbott’s record against his youthful own? It is not as if he has an anti-Abbott barrow to push. Not that, surely not.

AND here is a second passed-over nugget, one that might just have changed perceptions about another of Agro Abbott’s out-of-the-woodwork accusers, perhaps raised doubts that he made a credible corroborator. It is that fellow David Parch, cited by Oakes (above) and many others, as a supporting witness to a young conservative’s thuggery.

Funny thing, though. Even though the following information is readily available in the Silly’s electronic archive, no one thought to mention that Patch has such a habit of sooking about violent Liberals that he he has even accused Malcolm Turnbull of physically abusing him. Yes, Macho Malcolm! (Snort, snigger, chortle and all that.) From the Silly of May 9, 2004:

Mr Turnbull's invective is well known to Mr Patch. He remembers a spring night 29 years ago within the confines of Sydney University when they sat across from each other as student politicians.

Each was a candidate for president of the Students Representative Council. When Mr Patch stood to state his policies, he said Mr Turnbull heckled and interrupted him relentlessly.

"I tried to go with the flow," Mr Patch said. "When he got up to speak, I returned the favour, interrupting him. He got angrier and angrier and then suddenly he lunged at me. His left palm hit me in the upper chest. Before he could hit me with his raised right fist, I sprawled backwards."

It might have made some difference if those easily sourced tidbits about Abbott’s detractors had come to light at the time. But they didn’t, and all the quality journalists do have an excuse. With more counterfeit charges and smears to be laid, there are many more salient facts and perspectives forever in need of overlooking.




  1. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 12, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    Laurie is the old hypocrite there's no hypocrite like

  2. Professor. "Julia Gillard's climactic histrionics," should read as "climacteric histrionics" surely. Or are you just being too cute by half in your efforts to avoid being called a misogynist?

  3. Oakes has done more than any other journalist to destroy the credibility of the Canberra press gallery. As a subeditor who used to wave through his immaculate copy untouched at the Sun News-Pictorial, I was one of many youngsters in the business who used to look up to him as a god. Now we find he was just a player waiting for the right moment to declare his hand. Nothing he now says can be believed except as a Labor hack and Abbott hater. The school of hard knocks in journalism taught us the craft to write dispassionately and objectively on any subject. Now Oakes, the most senior journalist in the gallery, has apparently decided that, since all the children around him are barracking for the left, no-one will notice if he joins in.

  4. Oakes: the girth of his ugliness (metaphorical and otherwise) is in direct inverse proportion to the height of his ethics.

    As to "Julia Gillard's climactic/climacteric histrionics"....think of that in combination with Slipper's bottled mussels - and you have the best appetite suppressant your tax dollar can buy.

  5. I hear Laurie was also involved in a skirmish at Uni.
    Apparently there was an ugly incident in front of the bain-marie in the caff when someone bought the last dozen fried dimmies which Laurie was eyeing off from the back of the queue.
    A Arts student needs a solid breakfast to make it through two whole hours of Interpretive Dance lectures.

    1. stop it, stop it right now!

      near wet myself .. yes, not a man to get in front of when food is in short supply

    2. Lozza was President of IDAS (Iced Doughnut Appreciation Society) at Uni, a passion he pursues to this day.
      Admittedly he has slimmed down of late but he is still the size of a pocket-battleship and I am led to believe astronauts in the International Space Station can track Laurie with the naked eye.

      The Irish Lion

    3. A ripping yarn that one, Anonymous, well done!

    4. He has slimmed down a bit but when he visits the zoo the elaphants throw him peanuts.

      Real Deal

    5. Can't say too much but when Lozza goes out on the town he takes "Captain" Paul Watson with him to keep hungry Japs at bay

      The Irish Lion

  6. Strange whereby most socialists move to conservatism as they grow older, (Aristede Briand is a great example). Laurie, on the other hand, appears to be regressing to the rabid Left. Surely he is not contemplating a late political career himself?

  7. There is another interesting angle to the statements by "that fellow David Parch, cited by Oakes (above) and many others, as a supporting witness". All they amount to is evidence that after the alleged incident Ramjam told him a story about her interaction with Abbott. At common law, this evidence would not have been admissible on any trial of Abbott, at least as evidence of the truth of what Ramjam said happened. It was hearsay and self-serving. If this sort of evidence (ie, of what Patch said Ramjam said) is admissible, it opens up the door for a welter of self-serving & easy to manufacture evidence. Nor does it corroborate what Ramjam said, because in essence it is still evidence from Ramjam.

    The situation has potentially changed under the Evidence Acts, but the evidence could still be objected to as of very little probative value (in view, in particular of the length of time that has passed since Patch says he was told something). In a recent case, High Court judge Dyson Haydon, who is without doubt one of Australia's greatest scholars of the law of evidence, observed that the relaxation of the rule excluding hearsay has opened up the door to the manufacture of evidence.

  8. And while they're at it, why doesn't the CPG get stuck into Gillard's misandrist past. As past ASU president she presided over such "man-hating" polical statements as:The AUS
    •Declared that ‘All women are oppressed because they are women’.
    • Asserted that ALL men exercise the threat of rape, ranging from subtle appeals to a woman’s mistaken sense of obligation, to direct threats, blackmail and even physical force.
    • Adopted a policy on prostitution which, in part, said “Prostitution takes many forms and is not only the exchange of money for sex … Prostitution in marriage is the transaction of sex in return for love, security and housekeeping”.
    • Supported all varieties of abortion, including during late term pregnancy.

    1. I'm reminded of the fine song from 'Wonderful Town" -- 100 Ways to Lose A Man. It seems that Miss Gillard, spinster, has studied this number and learned the lessons..

      You've found your perfect mate
      and it's been love from the start
      He whispers,"You're the one to who I give my heart"
      Don't say, "I love you too, my dear, let's never, never part"

      Just say,"I'm afraid you've made a grammatical error
      Isn't 'to' who I give my heart', it's 'to whom I give my heart'
      You see with the preposition 'to,' 'who' becomes the indirect object
      Making the use of 'whom' imperative which I can prove to you
      With this very simple chart.
      That's a fine way to lose a man

      Just tell him where his grammar errs
      Then mark your towels 'hers' and 'hers'
      Yes, girls, you too can lose your man
      If you will use Ruth Sherwood's plan
      One hundred easy ways to lose a man."

  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.October 12, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Yes, on a recent ALPBC Q & A there were aghast gasps from the young women when Piers Ackerman mentioned her student view of 'marriage as prostitution'. They saw it as Piers being insulting, as a complete mistruth. They just don't know about this historical baggage Gillard carries. With her unreconstructed leftoid man-hating 1970's 'feminism' she is an anachronism and should be called out as such.

    1. The difficulty is, Lizzie, that their history lesson is limited to 12 word bits on dimwits' Twitter.

      They have no understanding of the Labor Party which went before, or of the many splendid members it had at the forefront who did fine work for their constituents - a long time ago I know, but it did exist. When I was a teenager in the '60s Kevin & Frank Stewart were enormously contributive people in our community more than they were Party disciples. They saw their work as important and took it seriously.

      The whole thing went the way Beasley Senior spoke of, echoed by Rod Cavalier, Peter Walsh and John Button.

      The omniscient young have nothing against which to draw a comparison; and they are hoisted on the petard of their lazy ignorance and absent inquisitiveness.

      Similarly they know only a little of Snarling Greer and fail to recognise that roughly half of any group now - at uni, at work, on the road, in Olympic teams - are female. The equal opportunity battle was fought and won decades ago.

      I think they struggle with the imperative now to perform consistently on even terms, and for extended periods.

      The feminists are as tiresome and irrelevant to me as the blokes who want to marry blokes, and rugby backline players.

  10. I was a student delegate to the January 1983 Australian Union of Students annual conference in Canberra and then again in Melbourne in January 1984, and one who helped Dr Nitschke style in helping euthanase a decrepit and dying AUS in 1984. I bet Julia does not put that on her CV. She has got form in presiding over dying and decaying institutions.

    Julia Gillard, then very young and even more naive (as were we all) was Vice President at the first and President at the second. I remember a young Athony Albanese doing his hard left stuff at the time also. Those few of us non-left delegates had a great time winding up the comrades for a week during summer. We solemnly debated whether 1983 should be International Year of the Lesbian (resolved in the affirmative), and with glee saw our motion condemning all acts of terrorism voted down. That proved useful later in the AUS secession campaigns. Yes, we also did resolve the marriage was a form of prostitution and pontificated on vast numbers of international issues.

    Men were not meant to speak during the women's sessions, but under the standing orders could not be prevented from speaking, so those of us with the wrong chromosones took great delight in having our say. I remember the left having no answer to our motion supporting deregulation of shopping hours as a feminist issue for working women. If only I had kept all the conference papers which I foolishly discarded some years later.

    I think any of us who 'did' student politics in those days would have to recognise how unfair it is to judge any of today's leaders by the things they said and did (or in Tony's case did not do) at age 19.

    Gillard, Albanese et all stand condemned for what they do today. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to rake over their student pasts as supporting evidence for the prosecution. 10 years later may be another thing altogether in Julia's case.

  11. I doubt Oakes has ever said anything relevant unless it's to do with food.