Chewin' the Gristle


Hello Gristlers! and welcome to Chewin’ the Gristle, the week’s political bits that we found hard to swallow.


In a week that marked the first anniversary of the Cronulla Riots, the poster child for White trash everywhere was back tilting at windmills and another shot on the podium. Yes, xenophobic Pauline ‘The Oxleymoron’ Hanson the political genius who brought you the flat 2 per cent tax was back on the hustings. The good news is that Pauline is no longer race-baiting Asians and Aborigines. No, in keeping with the times, Pauline has matured and moved on she’s now race-baiting Black Africans and Muslims.

And thank God she’s out there! Pauline spent the week lifting the lid on the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) plot whereby White South African immigrants are stringently tested for diseases, while Black South Africans escape these tests and are allowed to bring their AIDS and TB straight onto our dole-queues. Now, while DIMIA has been known to be a little lax about whom it locks up and whom it deports, it’s not known for going easy on non-White applicants on their way into the country, and so it stringently denied Pauline’s claims. But who are you going to believe?

Pauline was also fighting for our rights to sing Christmas carols in schools regardless of how many Muslims we offend, citing the many examples of schools that have banned caroling just to pacify the Muslim hordes. Well, truth be told, she didn’t mention any specific examples of schools where carols had been banned but I was walking past a school the other day and I couldn’t hear any carols being sung, at all you join the dots!!

By the way, The Gristle is offering a free, year’s subscription to Quadrant to anyone who can tell us the school where Christmas carols are banned.

Thanks to Sean Leahy

Not to be outdone, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal ‘Rough and Tough’ Brough was taking the long handle to his portfolio and, seemingly, going back to the future. Mal was out this week talking up ‘practical reconciliation’ measures, including educating Aboriginal kids from remote communities in boarding schools. Great to see that the Government is not afraid to steal policies from the past and make no apologies for it!

Further afield, this week saw James Baker and Lee Hamilton’s bipartisan report into the situation in Iraq released to much expectation.  You wouldn’t know it from listening to our Federal Government, but apparently things aren’t going so well over in the recently liberated Iraq. The report called for a withdrawal of combat troops by early 2008, though the term ‘cut and run’ is unlikely to be used to describe this innovative strategy.

The most interesting recommendation from the Baker-Hamilton Report was that the US engage Syria and Iran to help sort out the schmozzle in Iraq. Now, call us whacky, but The Gristle seems to recall the speech that started this whole debacle (remember back when we still believed in WMDs and Santa?) something about an ‘Axis of Evil.’ It may be the booze talking, but wasn’t Iran a member of that Axis? And if we get Iran to try to fix Iraq, where does that leave North Korea? Why isn’t anyone asking Kim Jong Il for his help, huh? Axes just ain’t what they used to be, evil or otherwise.

The last word goes to George Dubya himself. After Robert Gates, the President’s nominee for US Secretary of Defense, said that we weren’t winning the Iraq War but we weren’t losing it either (can a war be a draw?) Dubya was unequivocal with this gem: ‘We’re winning and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done,’ which roughly translates to: we will win, unless we lose!! Nice one.

And finally, and still overseas, this week was the week of the semi-annual ‘Festival of the Military Coup’ in Fiji. This is a colourful, traditional festival where whoever is Head of the Army takes over the government for a while. The highlights of this year’s festival were the footage of the army driving around heavily armed in white Budget Rent-a-Car Camrys (well, it wasn’t like there were any tourists to drive them!) and playing impromptu games of touch footy on the lawn of Parliament House.

But the true festival highlight was the quote from Commodore (a title possibly stolen from the rent-a-car he was allocated) Frank ‘Bananarama’ Bainimarama equating the coup with the 1975 dismissal of Gough Whitlam by Sir John Kerr. Commodore Bainimarama explained that the Fijian president has the constitutional power to dismiss a government in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ He then went on to explain how, when the current president failed to exercise these powers, Frank named himself president and sacked the government. The Commodore is nothing if not a go-getter.

As a result of the coup, Fiji has apparently been suspended from the Commonwealth as a punitive action which should really start to bite in four years’ time when the Commonwealth Games is on and they’re banned from playing touch footy!!

You can catch The Gristle on Radio 2SER 107.3 in Sydney or on the web at every Friday evening from 6:00 to 6:30.

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.