MP’S HYPOCRISY THRIVES AS WOMEN, CHILDREN TERRORISED

Another helpless victim of Rajapaksa, a 'man of courage' according to Victorian MPs

Another helpless victim of Rajapaksa, a ‘man of courage’ according to Victorian MPs

OPINION BY TREVOR GRANT

 Hypocrisy, seasoned with heaped spoonfuls of duplicity and a splash of fake humility, has long been the chosen staple of the majority of politicians who enjoy the comfortable seats in our parliaments.

With few exceptions, these hollow, self-serving, conniving hypocrites play at amateur theatrics as they deceive, lie, conceal and misrepresent their way through a working day.

This week, the Federal government minister for elite and middle class women, Michaelia Cash, said in a television interview she was appalled at Cardinal George Pell’s lack of empathy for victims of child abuse during his grilling at the royal commission.

Firstly, we have here, of course, the hypocrisy of running a royal commission into child abuse while the government deliberately inflicts all kinds of abuse upon hundreds of child hostages it has captured on the high seas and imprisoned on Nauru in order to deter, illegally, other asylum-seekers from exercising their legal right to seek safety from persecution.

Then, there’s the double dose of hypocrisy in the words of Cash, who, as a one-time assistant Immigration Minister, showed not one ounce of empathy towards these kids, and in fact, like some sort of evil grandmother, was totally unmoved by constant reports of children being raped and abused and trying to hang themselves, swallow sleeping pills, and slice their little bodies with razors or knives.

“Let them suffer so I, and my government, can prosper in the polls”, was the unstated message from her callous disregard for the lives of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

Indeed, in any fair judgement, she would be deemed an active participant in the abuse of children and adults.

Yet, such is the extent of the hubris that has infected the political culture, Cash and her ilk, actually take umbrage when they are confronted with the factual outcomes of their actions.

They go home to their own children, of course, and rejoice in the joys of parenting, but they have no trouble in abusing and terrorising other peoples’ children, especially those who have no voice. To them, the abuse and suffering they inflict is nothing more than politics, and it’s the kind of politics we see at every level, in every party.

This week the political scene was crawling with hypocrites, past and present, as international women’s day was widely acknowledged and celebrated in the Australian community.

There was former Federal Labor cabinet minister Nicola Roxon making speeches as a champion of women’s rights urging women to keep fighting for equality… the same woman – and mother — who as attorney-general oversaw the UN-condemned indefinite detention of more than 50 refugees because of negative ASIO assessments, most of which were later rescinded, but not before many of these innocents, including women and little children, were locked away for up to six years.

It mattered not to Roxon that many of the women detained by this political misuse of the intelligence services were Tamils who had fled the terror of war, rape and abuse in Sri Lanka, and now she was compounding their suffering. Some champion for women…

Roxon is not a lone female hypocrite here. Two years ago, two Victorian state Labor parliamentarians, Liz Beattie and Marsha Thomson, along with male colleague John Pandazopolous, travelled to Sri Lanka on official business, which included meeting with the-then president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Parts of the excursion was paid by Rajapaksa’s government and they came away from the meeting, full of praise for him, with Beattie being quoted by the Sri Lankan government as describing him as “a man of courage”.

He’s the same man who has long been accused of war crimes in UN reports for ordering the full-scale bombing and shelling of 300,000 Tamil civilians trapped on a sliver of beach in 2009 in the closing days of the country’s civil war. Up to 70,000 died in these attacks.

Post-war Rajapaksa oversaw a vicious military occupation that continues today and has seen thousands of women left destitute and facing the everyday threat of rape and sexual abuse by soldiers and sailors who act with total impunity.

The raping of two Tamil girls, one 9 and the other 11, on their way home from school for several days straight by a group of navy sailors — and the refusal of a court to prosecute these men –was just another example of what was happening under the rule of Beattie’s man of courage. And, sadly, what is still happening under Rajapaksa’s successor and former ally, Maithripala Sirisena.

The hypocrisy of her support for a man who was responsible for the murder and rape of untold numbers of innocent women was compounded by the fact that she was one of the founding members of the Australian-version of Emily’s List, a group of politicians who canvas for the rights of women. (She left parliament in 2014, along with Pandazopolous, not long after the trip, but is still on Emily’s List. Thomson remains in the Victorian parliament.)

It seems that for the likes of Beattie, Thomson, Roxon and a whole list of middle-class female politicians, there are only certain women who qualify for their attention and support.

Then again we already knew that through the actions of another prominent Emily’s lister, the former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

She is perhaps most remembered for her famous misogyny speech, in which she attacked her opposition counterpart Tony Abbott for his attitude towards women.

What people forget is that a few hours later, as the media was already heaping praise upon Gillard for her magnificent support for women, she was back in parliament overseeing legislation that drastically cut the incomes of some of the most vulnerable women in our community – single mothers.

Hypocrites ? They’re all hypocrites.