Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tony Abbott's views: insincere, repellent - and just wrong?!

Yesterday saw a disgraceful flurry of comments from assorted 'conservative' politicians in favour of IVF, including the news that another allegedly Catholic politician, SA's Christopher Pyne, not only supported IVF but that he and his wife had used it themselves.

But I have to admit I'd missed the article by Mr Abbott himself in this disgraceful campaign (thanks to the reader who pointed it out) in which he attempts to offer, as reader PM notes, the JFK defense that it isn't up to Government to make moral decisions for people!

The only problem is that this defense, which effectively sees an absolute divide between Church and State, rather than our faith informing what we do in the public square, is that it is completely counter to the teachings of the Catholic faith.

As Archbishop Chaput put it, the principles articulated in President Kennedy's famous Houston speech were “sincere, compelling, articulate—and wrong.”  Like many others I suspect, I'm rather less convinced of the first three descriptors in the current case.  But for those who want to give him the benefit of the doubt, consider what Mr Abbott actually said.

The JFK defense

Mr Abbott seems to think that governing is some morally neutral technocratic process that doesn't actually involve making moral choices - like say making laws that prohibit murder, and refuse to support it through taxpayer funding.  He claims that:

"A minister's job is to implement the policy of the government and to administer departmental programs. It is not to make moral decisions for people. Governments should do what's best based on expert advice and keep prudent control over expenditure, as taxpayer dollars are not inexhaustible, but otherwise leave people to decide what's right for them

And he then rejects any credit for his record when in Government:

"Contrary to myth, as health minister I never sought to restrict access to the morning-after pill, never sought to prevent the importation of RU486 and never sought to limit access to abortion."

In fact Mr Abbott then goes on to note that he even defended the use of taxpayer funding for IVF for older women!  So how is directing my hard earned contributions to indulging the consumerist attitude to children not a moral decision exactly?

IVF is an attack on women as well as murder

One of the saddest aspects of this shameless campaign for power is Mr Abbott's failure to recognise that IVF is actually an assault on women.  He comments in relation to his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin's experience:

"I had some inkling of what IVF involved but hadn't really grasped the multitude of appointments, tests and, above all, injections: big needles, small needles, this drug, that drug. Then there was the roller coaster of raised and dashed hopes, month after month."

So why go through all of this?

Well, because many have this secularist notion that we can control every aspect of our bodies, even down to fertility.

We live in a society where people feel they are 'entitled' to a child, and for the Government to help them obtain one, no matter the circumstances.  Yet a society that is also prepared to murder its unborn rather than allow infertile couples to adopt.

And where most of the true cost of all this pressure to be 'perfect', even down to the shape of our genitals, is borne by women.

Which is worst, the Liberals or Labor?

A few people yesterday suggested that Abbott's comments may be disappointing but Labor are, on balance worse on this front, because they are led by an atheist.

I'm not a Gillard/Labor fan any longer (I can't forgive them for reopening Nauru inter alia) but I can't say that this argument seems to hold much water on the face of it.

For all their failings (most of which can be attributed to the legacy of Rudd), at least Labor do actually recognise that funding and other decisions actually do reflect our moral choices, and at least occasionally try to do the right thing, for example in moving forward on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and reform of welfare to discourage the rort that was the Sole Parent Pension.  Moreover, they've actually done a good job in managing the economy (thank goodness they've finally ditched that silly no deficit ever rhetoric) in a difficult international environment.

By contrast, the Opposition have consistently shown over the last two years that they reject the very foundations of our Constitution, through their rejection of the idea that legitimacy of Government depends on controlling the House of Representatives.

A judge found that assorted Queensland Liberals, led by the inimitable Mal Brough have actually attempted to pervert the justice system in a bid to oust the Speaker of the House.

They've adopted a 'just say no' attitude to all proposals, good and bad.

And they've made clear that their only moral compass is what will get them votes.

It is now absolutely clear that neither side is going to do anything positive on life issues unless we, the people, and can pressure them into doing so.

And since most of the time these issues are the subject of 'conscience' votes, we probably have to give a lot of weight to individual candidate views rather than worrying about which party we vote for.

Because at the party level, it's pretty much Hobson's choice as far as I can see...

PS A reader tells me that Mr Abbott is resident in the diocese of Broken Bay rather than Sydney, so no chance of his own bishop speaking up I guess (only nine months to go, though, before Bishop Walker turns 75!).

Still, that wouldn't normally stop the Cardinal speaking out on a matter of politics...


A Canberra Observer said...

It would seem Tony Windsor was right all along.

SPWang said...

Labor might be lead by an atheist but at least she is true to her values.
I'm stunned by TA and CP attitudes, but then again, after 40 odd years of nothingness, what would we expect?

R J said...

It becomes more obvious with every passing week that when Menzies resigned in 1966, the federal Liberal Party should just have dissolved itself, much as the UAP did in the 1940s. There has not been a single federal Liberal leader since 1966 whose so-called conservatism has been anything more than diluted leftism. Bob Santamaria felt greatly ashamed near the end of his life, as well he might have done, at his own role keeping those clowns in power for so long.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

Maybe we should have a look at the party platform of both major parties to see who we should vote for:
Simply put the ALP explicitly supports same sex so called "marriage" and abortion, while the Liberal party support man-woman marriage and do not have a pro-abortion policy. I encourage all readers to look at conscience votes and note the percentage of Liberal party members on the side of truth as opposed to the those on the Labor side.

Labor/Green Pro-Abortion policies

Kate Edwards said...

I think you are being a bit disingenuous HCA - in particular, Labor allows a conscience vote on same sex marriage rather than having a binding platform.

And if you look at the record, anti-life policies have been introduced at times under both the conservatives and Labor.

Nor did the Howard Government make the faintest effort to wind back medicare coverage of abortion for example.

That is not altogether surprising given Mr Abbott's now public views. Indeed, he has made it clear that their platform is utterly irrelevant in the chase for votes.

What history and their public statements show, I would suggest, is that neither party can be trusted blindly. The faithful might do better, in my view, to look at independents and third parties in order to pressure the mainstream parties to change, unless the candidates in their particular seat have clearly stated views on these issues.

Martin S. said...

Even the DLP is loath to announce themselves as pro-human child.

I wonder how much a publicly funded ABC, and $AUD.25 billion to commercial TV stations recently, aids the principalities and powers.

Why do we labour to fund those who work to undermine our society?

The most grievous issue is the ABC which is resourced in order to defend the common good against super political powers which today is $ . Instead it has sided with market facet of our 'market-state'.

Give us a true forum and politicians like Tony Abbott would be less pressured to sell their souls.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

Kate, I reject the idea that Labor and Coalition governments are just as bad as each other (it is true that you can't blindly accept one party) but please consider voting records of members of both of the parties.
I will give some examples to illustrate my point that the Coalition is generally more pro-life/family than Labor (and its government partners, Federally and in Tasmania, The Greens), however, I agree that it is essential that the voter must contact each candidate individually to gauge their view irrespective of party.

Same Sex Marriage Bill 2012 (Tas):
Voted For: Labor [90.9 %] (10/11 MPs )
Greens [100%] (5/5 MPs)
Liberal [0%] (0/11)

Civil Unions 2012 (ACT)
Voted For: Labor [100%] (7/7)
Greens [100%] (4/4)
Liberal [0%] (0/6)

Civil Unions 2011 (Qld)
Voted For: Labor [100%] (7/7)
Greens [100%] (4/4)
Liberal [0%] (0/6)

I also point to the Surrogacy Bill 2012 (Tas) where Liberal members voted as a block against this legislation, however all Labor members voted for it (with the exception of one nominally pro-life member (Speaker Michael Polley) who abstained (as no conscience vote was granted to Labor members)).
Also consider the prostitution reform bill in SA that was brought forward by Labor MP Steph Key, as well as the numerous euthanasia bills that she brought forward also.

I could go on, however it is easier for me to direct you to Family Life Internationals Pro-Life Voting Guides which contain Life/Family voting records of recent years.

Also Martin S, could you please name another politician who has mentioned abortion in their maiden speech, DLP senator John Madigan did. The DLP is one of the few pro-life parties in the nation, in fact their slogan is "For families, For Workers, For Life"

PM said...

I note, by the way, an interesting recent development in 'Labor for Life' advertising discreetly for support. Anything that counters the noxious influence of Emily's List (bourgeois pseudo-radicalism at its most obnoxious) is welcome. And as I've said before, it is important that the pro-life cause not be hijacked by the political right. The so-called sexual revolution, after all, is just the extension to human sexuality of acquisitive capitalist individualism.

That said, I still find it hard to summon up the enthusiasm to rejoin what passes for a Labor party today.

Martin S. said...


I'm privy to certain internal branch deliberations and the risk of being misunderstood or categorised was taken seriously enough to affect pro-life expression in their promotional material.

Mr Madigan is a fine principled pro-life leader.