The Coalition's crazy pronouncements about double-dipping mothers and weird attacks on foreign movie star's pets make Abbott's post-Budget objective of an early election impossible, says Bob Ellis.
MORRISON'S war on breastfeeding and Barnaby's war on Depp's dogs have made impossible an early election, I would now think, or any arrangement that will get more than half the current Budget through the Senate. It is likely, now, that Abbott and Hockey will not survive past August; and it is worth, at this stage, asking why.
Morrison's hatred of nursing mothers may derive, or not, from his own wife's many miscarriages and his deranged and poignant assertion that the deceased unborn would meet him in heaven, and know who he was.
To me it seems wrong of him, though, to have cursed as "rorters" nurses who have negotiated a lower wage plus 26 weeks of lactated baby-bonding and idiotic of Abbott to have extended this libel to female soldiers headed back into mortal danger in Iraq. It bespeaks in both of them an instinctive contempt for the normal processes of womanhood and motherhood (best instanced when Abbott abandoned his pregnant bride-to-be and sent her child to Perth), and it is likely, not certain, that many, many conservative-leaning women will not like this very much, and the female gender in this country vote six to four against the Liberals next year and erase, perhaps, that party from our history.
Barnaby's weird war on Depp's dogs, however – "turn back the dogs"; the "war on terrier" – looks to some of us even more interesting and even more calamitous for the Coalition than any other thick-witted act of theirs, because it has made us look, to the rest of the world, like shrieking Dogpatch peasants, bearing pitchforks and red noses, in a lynch mob unlike any since the redneck Bible-bashing boofheads of Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, during the Scopes Monkey Trial.
I ask you to look carefully, if you will, at what Barnaby might have done, and said.
He could have – yes – let it be known that Depp had breached the law, but he could have negotiated before then a deal by which the glamorous miscreant paid a $5,000 fine and put his dogs in a sterile facility near his Gold Coast house where he could have visited them. Or he could have arranged that the dogs be examined and cleared of disease, and Depp apologise for what he had done – unknowingly, probably, not having brought dogs here before – which caused at any rate no harm to any Australian, man or beast, and to say he would not do it again.
Instead, he has let it be known that billions of Hollywood investment is unwelcome here — and Somalia, perhaps, or the Maldives, or Fiji, will be a better place to film Pirates of the Caribbean VIII, IX and X. He has made us, unlike any other previous Australian figure, ridiculous and contemptible. His choice of the phrase "bugger off back to California" will affirm, for hundreds of millions, the provincial drongo image of Australia in The Simpsons.
Clive Palmer slams Barnaby Joyce for making 'Australia the laughing stock of the world' over Johnny Depp dogs http://t.co/KEf4HvV1Zc— News, Views, People. (@TheCampaignPage) May 14, 2015
And it's worse than that, I fear.
For if Depp chooses not to comply and he is arrested and his dogs put down, it will end all American investment in Australian movie facilities, all British, and all European, Canadian and Chinese. It will cost us, literally, hundreds of billions.
It is to be hoped, I suppose, that Depp complies meekly and flies home.
It is impossible to imagine he will come back.
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