Political refugees seeking asylum

Political refugees seeking asylum, by Mark Powell.

For someone claiming that he has an exclusive hold on the high moral ground regarding ‘love,’ Peter Van Onselen certainly is a good hater. For everyone who dared to vote “No,” — all 4.8 million of them — Van Onselen wrote in the Weekend Australian that they are nothing more than “loudmouthed reactionaries” and “dinosaurs”. How’s that for respect for readers from a senior columnist of The Australian?

In his Saturday opinion piece, which is best described as a paroxysm of loathing and insult, he lashed individuals and institutions alike, making deeply disparaging comments of all who voted “No.” He slammed the churches as “thoroughly out of touch” and mocked former prime minister Tony Abbott’s misfortunes. …

However, what amazed me most of all was that Van Onselen, the self-styled current affairs commentator, missed the most significant political aspect[s] of the situation in the post-plebiscite period: the need for reconciliation after such a divisive issue, … the ongoing survival of the Liberal Party in general, the Labor Party in Western Sydney in particular, and the burning question of religious freedom, which the vast majority of Australians want protected.

Van Onselen might never ever venture past George Street but in this part of Western Sydney, which is only about 25 kilometres from Vaucluse, clustered all together there were eight of the 10 electorates that returned the highest “No” vote …

I wonder how many candidates Cory Bernardi is preparing to stand in Western Sydney? Because here’s the thing. The people of Western Sydney are ready to jump ship. And not just in those Labor electorates. There are some, like my own electorate of Reid, where there are many Muslim and church going voters who feel thoroughly disillusioned with the Liberals. After generations of voting for either of the major parties, there are significant rumblings that indicate there are quite a few of them who are now considering a change.

If neither the Labor not the Liberal Parties get their act together in protecting religious and civil freedoms, then you can bet that people will be turning away from them. …

Increasingly, I’m hearing from friends who have been life-long Liberal voters, that they’ve had enough. And they’re switching over to The Australian Conservatives because they want to support a party that truly supports them. …

Virtue signaler unleashed, creating further divisions with gratuitous insults of the less “virtuous”:

Van Onselen neither acknowledges, let alone addresses, any of this. Instead, he gloats that for the past fourteen years now he has been consistently berating the Australian public about the issue of same-sex marriage. And then he proceeds to lecture all and sundry on how socially enlightened his own upbringing was compared to that of everyone else.

The cold, hard statistical reality though is that there are 4.8 million people in Australia — or approximately 40 per cent — who don’t think that the institution of marriage should be re-defined. Van Onselen believes that this will make our country a “more inclusive society,” but the real concern is that it will only make us further more divided.

If the writings of Van Onselen himself are anything to go by, then that’s definitely the direction we are heading in. For those who voted “No,” already being labelled and dismissed by people like him as ‘loudmouthed reactionaries’ and ‘dinosaurs,’ the divide is only getting wider. Van Onselen’s divide-and-conquer policy will backfire as many people see it as politically irresponsible and the exact opposite of what is required.

hat-tip Stephen Neil