The controversial broadcaster Alan Jones thought he was amongst friends last Saturday at the Sydney University Liberal Club’s fundraiser. And he was. Jones is, after all, a hero to many of them.
So understandably, he thought he would be able to get away with, well, the usual.
Jones knew perfectly well what he was doing when he told his audience of young political hopefuls and supporters that Julia Gillard’s father ‘died of shame’.
That’s why his comment drew laughter from the crowd. That’s why his speech contained the requisite bagging of the Prime Minister. That’s why he expressed his disappointment over the Opposition’s apparent winding down of their relentless attacks on Gillard because “they’ve been brainwashed by the media to ‘oh back off, she’s a woman, go easy’.”
His speech and the response went according to plan. The only part that didn’t was that some pesky News Ltd journalist had recorded every minute of it.
No doubt most members of the young liberals are confused as to what all the fuss is about. Jones’ comments are probably stock standard stuff coming from the men who have helped shape their political views over the last decade or so.
Alan Jones along with Tony Abbott, John Howard and Corey Bernardi are the heroes of an emerging generation of young liberals. These men are some of the key influencers of a movement that has recently gained strength and numbers through hate speech and extreme and irrational views.
The young people there last Saturday night were no doubt hanging off Jones’ every word. Just like they no doubt cheered and slapped each other on the back when Jones said on his programme last year:
“The woman [Gillard] is off her tree – and quite frankly they should shove her and Bob Brown in a chaff bag and take them as far out to sea as they can – and tell her to swim home.”
Unfortunately it is those political and thought leaders who make the most extreme and outrageous statements like Jones and Bernardi who are the ones most praised and admired by the next generation of Liberal Party MPs.
And admire it they do. At the Liberal Party fundraiser making the news a chaff bag jacket was auctioned off to the highest bidder. The highest bidders was Jones.
“Brilliant speech by Alan Jones last night. It’s no wonder he is the nation’s most influential broadcaster. #presidentsdinner”
They loved it.
It was only after a backlash in the twittersphere, including by conservative commentators like Andrew Bolt and 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, that the congratulatory tweet was removed. It probably killed them to do it.
Now congratulations has been replaced by this:
This particularly thoughtful contribution is from Sydney University Liberal Club president and 2010 candidate for Grayndler, Alex Dore. No doubt it killed him to do this as well.
How Jones’ comments have been taken out of context is anybody’s guess, but I digress.
When initially confronted Dore told The Sunday Telegraph that Jones had not made them.
In other words Alex Dore lied.
Then when told there was a recording of the speech, he said: “it was a very long speech and I did not hear it. I have always found Alan to be respectful”.
Dores went on telling The Sunday Telegraph there was “no need” to “pick apart Alan’s speech. All you are doing is reducing it to a very small thing which distracts from the issues facing Australia”.
Yes, let’s get back to the real issues facing Australia like the Prime Minister lying about the carbon tax shall we?
Perhaps the most telling part of Jones’ contribution is this one, where immediately following his comment on the Prime Minister’s father, he says:
‘No, no look, hang on, this is where we are weak. This is where we are weak. Can you believe that they have gone, the federal party, because they’ve been brainwashed by the media to ‘oh back off, she’s a woman, go easy’.”
I have been to many forums and events with speakers or MCs who are journalists and commentators but I have never heard any of them use a collective ‘we’.
That’s because this wasn’t any journalist speaking to any random audience at any random event.
This was Alan Jones rallying his Liberal Party troops to continue his misogynistic, hate-filled crusade to bring down this country’s first female Prime Minister.
And his hate crusade is being adopted by young Liberals everywhere, most of them men, who are loyally flying the flag of extremism on everything from their views on women to refugees to climate change.
The Young Liberals executive page lists fourteen people, thirteen of them men, with the sole woman being their International Officer. There are no doubt young conservatives reading this now who don’t see what the problem with that is. No doubt old ones too.
The only thing young Liberals like Dore would be regretting this morning is that they didn’t fleece everybody on arrival and remove all recording devices.
Of course that would too impractical and would hardly go down well with a bunch of social media-savvy young things passionate about individual freedom and liberty.
In this day and age when any smartphone can record a conversation with the push of a button, we can expect to hear plenty more outrageous statements like these made within what were once trusted walls.
Particularly when you have the next generation of Liberal Party MP wannabes hanging off every hate-filled word, urging their heroes on. It’s just a pity about those pesky journalists.