How Kim Beazley Saved Australia


Just when he was starting to sound like a credible alternative Prime Minister, in a flash, Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley has reverted to form.



Launching his mad ‘Australian Values’ loyalty test has upset the troops, alarmed visiting backpackers and is bound to rekindle murmurs about his aptitude for the top job.

This policy has put Beazley back in the silly stocks. And being pilloried is not a good career move for a politician. Here’s Matt Price in today’s The Australian:

What fun it will be if Kim Beazley’s brainwave demanding tourists and visitors sign up to good old-fashioned Aussie values catches on elsewhere. Will we need to endorse the proud Kiwi custom of sleeping 14 to a room to save money before holidaying in New Zealad? Commit to gorging on whale meat in Japan, executing criminals in Singapore?

Simply put, becoming an object of ridicule is like getting angry “ you always lose.

This policy is so bad that a normally competent frontbencher Tony Burke, has been floundering in his attempts to sell it. The ALP’s Shadow Immigration spokesman’s bumbling performance with Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program on Tuesday was dispiriting, to say the least.

And he followed up by telling the ALP Caucus yesterday that he thought up the idea in a column entitled ‘Declare Your Loyalty and Keep this Nation Great‘ for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on 28 February.

Policy by tabloid newspaper? It’s Mark Latham lite. It didn’t wash with the Caucus, and it’s hardly likely to wash with the electorate because, if voters want to side with the xenophobic nationalists, they’ll go with the current incumbents, not their goofy imitators. (Apparently, Alan Jones loved the idea and snookered the PM into saying that he’d look into it.)

Beazley should have learned his lesson five years ago with Tampa. Or when Latham tried to hoover up Howard’s wrinklies with Medicare Gold in 2004. But at least universal health care for the over-70s held some policy ballast. Beazley wants your potential terrorist or general ne’er-do-well to look at the application form for an Aussie Values Visa that would say something like:

These are Australian values (and nothing like motherhood statements held by every civilised person in the world): commitment to freedom, commitment to democracy, commitment to respect for each other’s views, commitment to a sense of tolerance about people having diverse beliefs … respect for women. Please indicate, by ticking the appropriate box, whether you agree with these as a condition of you being granted a visa.

And, of course, they’d ‘fess up, wouldn’t they Kim? ‘No, to hell with them,’ they’d yell, ‘I don’t agree with those values!’

Thanks to Sharyn Raggett

The Dutch show incoming travellers pictures of women in bikinis and tell them that if they don’t like women in bikinis, maybe Holland ain’t the right country for them. Getting tourists to swear to uphold ‘Australian values’ is about as meaningful. The whole exercise is reminiscent of those stupid questions on the US immigration forms:

Are you a terrorist?

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party or any organisation that advocates the overthow of the US Government?

Have you taken any prohibited substance?

Good thing Kim thinks those damn commos and druggies are, at least, truthful and will honestly complete the visa paperwork even if we know, in our hearts, that they’re out to destroy Western civilisation.

Or does Kim think that we think they’re dumb and of a lower order, just as propagandists have always painted their enemies?

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.