Liberal Party’s bloody history forgotten as Morrison cried for freedom

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Scott Morrison’s slogan “People want their lives back” reminded us of the 200 or so youths recruited in Vietnam by the Liberals, their political party, whose lives they could not get back.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on 18 November – accusing opposition parties of wanting to “control the people”:

[People] getting back together and wanting their lives back and asking governments to stop telling them what to do and take a step forward in their own future.”

Neoliberal rhetoric about how bad even having responsible government and laws has become claims to put “freedom” above all else.

Even in the early 1970s, when the Australian Army was still in Vietnam, neoliberalism was fast becoming the main policy of zealous Liberals and their National Party partners – the “white shoe brigade” wheeled merchants in places like the Gold Coast.

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Dispute with Grandpa Bob Menzies

Still, Scott Morrison, who became Prime Minister in 2021, will be at odds with his political grandfather, sir. Robert Menzies, if he really puts freedoms in the foreground.

The Prime Minister of the time, Menzies, said:national service”, secured an electoral victory for his successor, harold holtBy 1966 – the idea of ​​supporting the military, curbing communism, and pleasing the Americans won over popular discontent with conscription.

The call itself was made cunning. For Vietnam, it made it possible to make a cheap commitment by forming nine light infantry battalions with National Service troops, each nearly 50% diluted.

There was no freedom in this matter. Men had to register at age 19, about two years ago, before they could vote. For the quick thinkers and the lucky ones, there were some exits that could quench potential opposition.

It was only men, so over 50% of youth were automatically exempted. The election was by vote, so if your date of birth has not arrived, you are exempted. Some may obtain exemptions to help manage Mom and Dad’s business or farm. Students and apprentices can delay and extend this further, for example, by taking extra courses and then adding a trial period to their work.

The Liberal Government telling them what to do, actually pulling them out of their lives to be sent to war, was disproportionately distributed to many of the most vulnerable. The results will be evident: 200 lives suddenly ended; Many lives, once prevented from making their own choices (who can’t “drink a cup of coffee as they please”), have been systematically ruined.

Comprehensive, Australian losses 3,000 of them were wounded, of which more than 1,200 were drafted, and 521 were killed, of which 202 were drafted. Sixty thousand of them served in Vietnam, 15,381 were sent to the army.

Another Estimates of these losses come out slightly above or belowmostly due to differences in methodology.

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All justified as national defense

Well, wasn’t he right in the name of national defense, to be in a society and to make sacrifices for everyone? A little bit like getting vaccinated in an epidemic, even if it scares you a little?

Other than that, at war in Vietnam, Australia was never united as in the national emergencies of the First World War (no conscription) or the Second World War (conscription limited to service on Australian soil, including New Guinea). The country was severely divided, with a very large minority opposing the Vietnamese commitment – after 1966 it was constantly growing.

The main opposition Labor Party categorically opposed the commitment and campaigned for the election in the vain hope that the public’s reaction to conscription would garner more votes than support for the war. Liberal splinter groups, called liberal reform and then Australian Party, also lined up against conscription and war. This weakened moral support for conscription from the start and turned hard numbers against it.

Yet the Liberals’ blockbuster victory “khaki selectionThe year 1966 had paved the way for Menzies’ successors, down to his current political grandson. It took six years for the workmanship to wear him out. Then a global recession (“stagflation”); The world had become a different place, characterized by a new and persuasive cult powered by the financial ideology of neo-liberalism (under the slogan “greed is good”) without being battered for money.

to use freedom

Scott Morrison certainly felt the freedom to use his freedom of speech whenever he wanted, without actually caring about saying the same thing from one day to the next or messing with the facts too much, no matter what.

Paradoxically, under the Morrison Liberal Government, over 30,000 Australians have been barred from re-entering the country to date during the pandemic in violation of their normal constitutional rights – no government arrangements have been made to repatriate them.

Could this be less important than the right to go out and drink coffee for someone with a terminal illness who can do nothing about it?

Maybe he could strike a chord with Grandpa Bob, who was inclined to it himself. stop visas and even passports to keep out communists and their “travellers”.

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Citations for the record

On Thursday 18 November, the Australian Prime Minister was asked to express his sympathy for the cause behind the far-right demonstrations, answering:

“I have no sympathy for this agenda, but for a broader view of Australians who are doing the right thing and have been vaccinated and want to get back together and get their lives back, and they want governments to stop telling them what to do and have governments. take a step back and then step into their own future. That’s why I sympathize.”

In its full neoliberal form, big work before the small government:

“We are not in favor of mandatory vaccinations imposed by the government. Businesses can make their own choices by law, but we are not about telling them what to do or telling Australians what to do.”

Friday, November 19, referring to vaccine levels:

“The fact that we’re above 80% what the scientific advice has shown us and the research has shown us means that Australians can get their lives back. Regardless of whether you’re vaccinated, they should be able to go out and have a cup of coffee in Brisbane when you’re over 80%.”

If it didn’t come from the head of government, it could be dismissed as a confused, maybe not very smart guy who doesn’t read summaries but is skilled at spinning, finding something to say to get him out of trouble. for a while.

Reasonable observers might disagree if he says the demonstrators themselves are motivated only by quarantine fatigue and a longing for the simple freedoms of a previous time – the mob looks too angry, organized and menacing for that. If they are themselves marginal to society, they can disrupt democratic life if senior mainstream political leaders encourage them to say they are “understood”.

Scotty, the school captain is incompetent.

Liberal Party’s fringe of violence

Is this a violent part of the Liberal Party?

Are they copying Americans, and is Morrison copying another father figure, Donald Trump, who was released after a brutal night of bigotry on the streets as President of the United States? good people on both sides?

Clearly, his impulse was to retain the right-wing vote, that impulse attack on the US Congress On January 6 – The violent wing of the Republican Party is masquerading as an uprising.

If Grandpa Robert Menzies is watching, he might have advice for a dogged successor: “Don’t talk about understanding them; they cannot accept counselling; they might want your head instead.”

The full version of this article was published on:

Dr. Lee Duffield is a former ABC foreign correspondent, political journalist and academic.

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