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Find below a piece by Mishka Góra reproduced here under the terms of its creative commons licence it was originally published here
Most of you will already be aware that I am not a fan of Tony Abbott. If you raise the topic of Paid Parental Leave with me, for example, you may wish to brace yourself for a diatribe about the “calibre” of the women our Prime Minister privileges above other hard-working women who stay at home without any pay at all for years rather than months. I will probably also make liberal use of the words integrity and backbone in a less than flattering manner.
Nevertheless, I am disgusted by the plethora of groundless attacks on Tony Abbott that have increased in recent days instead of abating. In particular, a photo of Mr Abbott in his fire-fighting gear seems to have drawn a ridiculous amount of ire. I must say, as a photographer, that it’s a great portrait. No matter how his term as Prime Minister turns out, it’s a photo that he and his family should be proud of and treasure. It is no surprise that his official Facebook page has it as his profile picture.
Many, however, have used this photograph as any opportunity to attack Mr Abbott. It seems he can do no right.
If he didn’t fight fires he’d be accused of being out of touch with the ordinary Australians threatened by the bushfires. When he does, he’s accused of using it as a photo opportunity (even though he’s done this for over a decade).
When some photos turn out to be from previous fires he’s attended, thus proving it wasn’t just a photo op’, he draws criticism for allowing old photos to be circulated.
It’s symptomatic of the sort of people – more than 170,000 of them – who’ve liked the defamatory Facebook page Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History.
Not bad for someone who’s only been in office for less than two months.
And there are others, of course, such as Abbott ‘the Maggot’, the content of which is too obscene for me to repeat.
My point is that, whatever his faults, of which I am sure there are many as he’s an imperfect human being like the rest of us, very few people are giving Tony Abbott a fair go.
Even those who consider his volunteer fire fighting “laudable” have criticised him for not getting his priorities right, suggesting he should be in his office on the end of the telephone at a time of a major fire emergency. I beg to differ.
At a time of unparalleled wireless communications, there is no need for our Prime Minister to be sitting in an office on the end of a landline. A good leader knows how to delegate responsibility to those with the expertise and resources to deal with the situation. I’m glad we don’t have a micro-managing control freak in charge of our nation.
Tony Abbott, in the past few days, has demonstrated we have an Aussie battler and hero as Prime Minister. I may not be an expert on bushfires, but I do know what it’s like to hear the pagers of two work colleagues go off simultaneously and see them scamper off with hardly a backward glance… then hear my own go off sixty seconds later summoning me to the ambulance for a trip into the fire-ravaged bush.
I remember all-too-clearly the overwhelming fatigue after hours standing on burnt-out ground in unimaginable heat surrounded by smoke and ashes. Merely donning fire-fighting gear in such conditions is an accomplishment – the actual work that follows is a feat most of us will thankfully never truly comprehend.
And that’s what makes volunteer fire fighters like Tony Abbott heroes. They risk their lives in the worst of conditions to protect us.
They don’t get paid, and they drop everything they’re doing because it’s an emergency. When Tony Abbott answered his callout with his local brigade, he set an example to all of us to buckle down and get on with the job. It’s about time we did the same and gave him a fair go.
- Abbott says climate change not fire factor (sbs.com.au)
- AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT puts himself in the line of fire. “For 4 long hours over the … (pjmedia.com)
- Tony Abbott’s Fire Chief: Criticising The PM Is ‘Wearing Pretty Thin’ (businessinsider.com)
- Tony Abbott, stop fighting bushfires and start the job you were elected to do | Paula Matthewson (oddonion.com)
- She’s talking out of her hat: Abbott (smh.com.au)
I seldom call myself a fan of anything these days but I do like Annie Lennox. I like her musical ability to deliver a song with precision, style and feeling and I love her take no bullshit attitude to the Music and celebrity industries, finally I totally concur with her about the execrable talent shows that infest our TV screens.
- Blog bashing: Lennox fires up over ‘horrible’ TV talent shows (smh.com.au)
- Annie Lennox attacks ‘horrible’ TV talent shows with ‘stupid row of judges’ (donnasummerknights.wordpress.com)
As blog master here it is my duty to approve new commentators here and mostly its something that I do with out much thought, If I don’t think that comment is generated by a spam bot it usually gets an easy pass and I welcome a new player into the Sandpit. It is after all more fun for all if I encourage lively debate and lively debate needs differing points of view so I don’t usually care at all what someone believes in as long as they can be civil to others in the comment threads.
In the many years that I have been playing the blogging game there has been a rather long “conga line of suckholes” who have tried to silence me because they think that I am evil incarnate, or at least a” very naughty boy” that they wish to teach a lesson too. In the process I have had a number of individuals who have reinvented themselves many times under different pseudonyms. Usually I pick them rather quickly and either give them enough rope to hang themselves or just put them on a watching brief if I am less certain. It does not take most of them long to return to the tropes and memes that got them banned in the first place others who have been more devious have stayed under my radar for longer until their own arrogance and hubris gives them away.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this piece in the age a few days ago:
You have to love the way that the Internet makes such tools available to everyone and just how useful those tools would be to someone who has been repeatedly stalked and harassed by individuals flying different flags of convenience. Surely some of the worst offenders should be less than than sanguine about having to own the words and bile they have sprouted over the years. Now if only I could be bothered to use the software that I have downloaded…
Welcome to a brave new world Comrades
In my post the other day I was postulating a new normal where every internet user was at least known to the service provider that they used so that they could be held accountable for the things that they said and did online. Reading the opinion piece in today’s age makes me think that my predictions/expectations may be closer to fruition than I thought:
A LITTLE over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos.
Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the ”web we lost”.
The same firm in some cases now provides not just the content we consume but the devices we consume it on and a plethora of other services to help manage our digital lives, be it email, online storage or e-commerce.
Increasingly, the web kings are expanding into each other’s turf and butting heads with smaller pretenders to the throne, such as Twitter, locking competitors out of their ecosystems but, more importantly, locking us, the consumers, in.
”There’s no question that we are witnessing a clash of the titans over ‘our’ data”, says Jennifer Zanich, serial Australian entrepreneur and now co-founder of start-up Paloma Mobile.
Data is the oil of the digital age, handed over willingly by consumers seduced by the latest flashy new web service. Big data is where the big money is made on the web today, and famous US venture capitalist Mary Meeker describes it as the ”Wild West” of the internet.