David Williamson is a playwright and author and you fill in the rest

David Williamson had his own little screed in The Age yesterday on Gillard and Global Warming, “Time for Gillard to set the Bulldog on the bully boy”. Let me go to the conclusion first so you can see the where he was heading before I go back over just how out of his depth this famed Australian playwright is. This is his first option for the Labor Party as he sees it:

Tough it out with Gillard and hope the Bulldog in her starts to emerge, that the independents stick with her, and that there are no byelections, so that the government’s two great and worthwhile nation-changing initiatives, the carbon tax and the National Broadband Network, will be too far advanced to repeal.

I guess there really are people who think like that. There are, after all, around a quarter of the population who would still vote for Labor federally. Williamson just happens to be one of them, clear evidence that being able to write a play is not evidence of having much of a clue about how the world actually works.

Who’d a thought, he writes, that female that the Prime Minister is, that she would be vulnerable to such ungallantries as actually being savaged for stupid policies. Is the following a sexist comment? This is how his article begins:

WHEN he was elected Leader of the Opposition, some of our political commentators thought Tony Abbott could not afford to unleash his ultra-aggressive style on a female opponent because it would turn the electorate off. How wrong they were.

But really, it is, as Williamson seems to appreciate, about policy, writing “we know that, logically, policy should be the most important factor in deciding fitness to govern.” It never seems to occur to Williamson that there are others out here who find the policies being pursued by Labor suspect in the extreme. So when he writes

forget whether she lied or didn’t lie about the carbon tax

the fact is we are not going to forget, and it is pretty obtuse to ask us to. Since Williamson believes that “one can make a strong moral case for the tax” – certainly a moral case that will appeal to people who are millionaires many times over – it must be a wonder to him that no one actually succeeds in doing it. And while “many economists believe the actual impact on living standards will be minimal”, there are other economists who believe quite the reverse. That the front page story on The Age yesterday was how people in droves are unable to pay their utility bills, one can see why a suicidal attempt to lead the world into a carbon tax future has only limited appeal, especially in that traditional “Labor heartland” which includes Gillard’s own electorate.

In the end, he thinks the problem is with the messenger and not the message. If this is what your best friends are saying about you to your face, what is being said by your enemies behind your back:

Gillard’s no-win situation is compounded by her leadership style. To sell this electorally difficult policy one needs a leader of the same slit-eyed aggression and boundless confidence as Abbott…. An attempt to be Ms Nice and smile and simper in the face of rude public aggression just doesn’t wash. Her ‘shy girl’ admission was honest but disastrous for her politically. It’s not that she’s a woman – it’s just that she’s a woman who has no ability to project conviction and strength to the electorate. Her habit of talking to voters as if she’s a school teacher talking to a particularly dim-witted class of infants, alienates.

There really are people in this country who think that the NBN and the carbon tax are disasters and will do an extraordinary amount of harm and not an ounce of good. They will make people’s lives worse and not better. They will add to our troubles and not reduce them. There really are such people. The question for David Williamson and the rest of the arts and media pack is to tell us what we ought to do if we are not to say in public as often as we can and as loudly as we can and as stridently as we can that the Prime Minister’s policies are idiotic and destructive, should that be what we believe.

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57 Responses to David Williamson is a playwright and author and you fill in the rest

  1. daddy dave

    It never seems to occur to Williamson that there are others out here who find the policies being pursued by Labor suspect in the extreme.

    About 60 percent of voters feel that way. That’s all. A minority of ratbags.
    The pundits can’t understand why, and the only reason they can think of is that Tony Abbott and News Ltd have conspired to brainwash us with their relentless negativity.

  2. C.L.

    What does Williamson mean when he refers to the “slit-eyed aggression” of Abbott and Bishop?

  3. C.L.

    …there are others out here who find the policies being pursued by Labor suspect in the extreme.

    Support falling for Julia Gillard in her own Melbourne seat.

    VOTERS are abandoning Julia Gillard in her own seat, a new poll shows… The poll in News Ltd’s Sunday Herald Sun found primary support for the Labor leader in her west Melbourne seat of Lalor had dropped by 18.3 per cent to 46 per cent, with many voters unhappy about a carbon tax.

  4. Adrien

    Is the following a sexist comment?

    No? It’s an indictment of Australia’s supposed sexism. I haven’t seen much of a fuss made about Gillard’s not owning a dick. It’s a big ‘So what!’. Abbott’s ultra-aggressive style turns her clock. They should get a room. 🙂

    Williamson’s doing his part in the deal that guarantees public patronage. He’s also an Old School Labor boy.

    we are not going to forget

    No? It’s going to be pretty tired by next year. I love the commitment tho’. Governments lie all the time. When they’re caught lying it’s usually only good for a week or two max.

    The Howard government spun Tampa in a way quite discordant with the truth. They repudiated election promises broken as ‘non-core promises’.

    The ALP found out the Tampa thing too late and didn’t make much of a fuss when they did. Didn’t want to alienate the bogans I ‘s’pose. So full marks for for sticking with it.

  5. rodney

    How much of David Williamson’s success as a playwright has depended on Govt handouts? Almost all I would have thought.

  6. So, arts community maven writes an opinion piece to like-minded rich people in favour of lavish government spending and moronic self-harming ‘style over substance’ policy, dismissing Tony Abbott as ‘aggressive’ in the process.

    Novelty value = zero.

    Care factor = zero.

    ‘NEXT!’

  7. Viva

    Governments lie all the time. When they’re caught lying it’s usually only good for a week or two max.

    But this time it isn’t a lie but The Lie.

    This time The Lie was a blatant one days out from an election that the government would have lost without The Lie. And The Lie was about a policy that will, in the government’s own words, transform the economy in ways that the majority do not want.

    So Australians are stuck with a government that is incompetant, wasteful and acting in a way that is perceived as damaging to their interests – all because of The Lie.

    That’s why The Lie has legs and that’s why the electorate will maintain the rage until polling day.

  8. nic

    I raised this yesterday on the open forum. I’m curious that a group so sensitive about Gillard’s gender and any insult that may be perceived as being gender based, that the article talks about Abbott’s ‘bully boy’ tactics. Can’t have it both ways.

  9. Septimus

    Ms Nice? shy girl?

    Hogwash!

    The Crone with the Drone is a feral attack dog in parliament. Williamson should watch Question Time and get out of his fantasy world.

  10. Viva

    Williamson would no doubt think that opponents of such worthwhile initiatives are materialistic morons. Remember he has form in sneering at his fellow Australians, witness his musings about fellow diners on his Pacific cruise.

    “It seems that the worst thing that can happen to an aspirational Australian is to hear that another aspirational Australian got a better price deal on their plasma TV.”

    http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/16245.htm

  11. “…too far advanced to repeal.”
    lol. Like hunting and gathering? The Spanish Inquisition? Wife-beating?

  12. manalive

    I’m enchanted by his liberal use of furry zoomorphic metaphors as if he’s “a school teacher talking to a particularly dim-witted class of infants”.
    I want to put up my hand and ask Mr David: wouldn’t the lion also eat the bulldog?

  13. How much of David Williamson’s success as a playwright has depended on Govt handouts? Almost all I would have thought.

    Interesting question. I saw Sons of Cain when I was a high school student, out of school. Good, not great. Galipolli’s a good movie, the script serves but it’s the camera and the cast that make it. Over-rated?

  14. Williamson would no doubt think that opponents of such worthwhile initiatives are materialistic morons.

    Like Mr Murdoch, he understand this country well. 🙂

  15. Viva – The Lie, The Lie?. Will there be deluxe DVD box edition?

  16. Viva

    Like Mr Murdoch, he understand this country well.

    Yes, he no doubt understands that, until recently, enlightened self-interest usually won the day.

    The Lie?. Will there be deluxe DVD box edition?

    For sure Adrien – it might even outsell The Dismissal.

  17. wreckage

    Gallipoli’s script is utter tripe.

  18. Ivan Denisovich

    Ocassionally – very ocassionally – Williamson departs from the usual leftist memes:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/david_williamson_slinks_back_to_his_conservative_home/

    but then the fears overwhelm:

    David Williamson has several times in his plays touched on a criticism of the Left but then quickly retreated before their outrage.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2009/7-8/david-williamson-by-mrs-williamson

    He’s to Australian playwriting what Rudd is to Australian politics (language skills excepted). A major player, generally of the left but without any firm convictions and thus, unsurprisingly, places popularity ahead of courage. It follows that both also share this characteristic:

    David Williamson has never forgotten an insult, or a good grievance.

  19. Infidel Tiger

    How much of David Williamson’s success as a playwright has depended on Govt handouts? Almost all I would have thought.

    Actually he’s one of the few Australian arty types who has been commercially successful off his own bat. No doubt he’s still had his snout in the trough, too.

  20. Ivan Denisovich

    Another thing in common with Rudd:

    Kristin is blind to the fact that even as she rages about conservatives, the “new Right” and John Howard, many of her husband’s detractors and enemies were and are firmly on the Left.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2009/7-8/david-williamson-by-mrs-williamson

  21. Adrien

    Viva – Yes, he no doubt understands that, until recently, enlightened self-interest usually won the day.

    I totally agree almost.

    Yes, he no doubt understands that self-interest usually wins.

    it might even outsell The Dismissal.

    Yeah! Cate Blanchett to play Joo-lia?

  22. Adrien

    Gallipoli’s script is utter tripe.

    The architecture’s sound. The character’s are okay but lines like the ‘fast as a leopard’ needed work they didn’t seem to get. Clunky.

    Like the humour: Thoise Gyppos are a pack of theives.

  23. Jim Rose

    is the treatment of Gillard any less polite than that directed at Thatcher and Palin?

  24. Rococo Liberal

    Williamson is a talentless hack

  25. rodney

    Gallipoli was at least a commercial release.
    Most of Williamson’s work was in (subsidised) live theatre.

  26. derp

    Maybe one of those non-threatening inquiries into Yarts funding is in order.

  27. Jc

    What’s his claim to fame, bringing back don for another party?

  28. Infidel Tiger

    He’s Australia’s greatest playwright. Which is like being Australia’s greatest bouzuki player.

  29. Jim Rose

    I wonder what would be made of a weekly saturday night live style mocking of Gillard similar to that of Palin? nominated for awards was the palin take-off?

  30. Viva

    Yes, he no doubt understands that self-interest usually wins.

    I talked about enlightened self-interest – a word you conveniently left out,

  31. daddy dave

    He’s Australia’s greatest playwright.
    He’s Australia’ most famous playwright, for sure. No-one else is even close. That doesn’t make him the best, though.

  32. Boy on a bike

    I’d pay money to see this.

    Abbott goes on TV before the next election and says Arts funding won’t be reduced.

    After he’s elected, he cuts all Arts funding to zero.

    What would Williamson think of that “lie”?

  33. He’s Australia’s greatest playwright. Which is like being Australia’s greatest bouzuki player.

    You’re bastard IT. What are ya?

  34. ken n

    “How much of David Williamson’s success as a playwright has depended on Govt handouts? Almost all I would have thought.”

    Very little, if any. The theatre – the commercial end of it anyway – does not need or get subsidies. The Ensemble where his last few plays have opened has never had a government subsidy.
    This is just one of those cases where someone with ability and fame in one field is offered as if he is an expert in another.

  35. manalive

    The Ensemble where his last few plays have opened has never had a government subsidy…

    Maybe not, but most of his paying audience do.

  36. m0nty

    clear evidence that being able to write a play is not evidence of having much of a clue about how the world actually works.

    Whereas Steve Kates’ blog posts are clear evidence that being able to read an economic graph is not evidence of having much of a clue about how the world actually works.

    That the front page story on The Age yesterday was how people in droves are unable to pay their utility bills

    Whoa, a whole 916 people, up from 587 two years ago! Massive! That’s, ooh, how many, about 0.0074% of the Australian electorate! What a beat up.

  37. Michael Sutcliffe

    Whoa, a whole 916 people, up from 587 two years ago! Massive! That’s, ooh, how many, about 0.0074% of the Australian electorate! What a beat up.

    Imagine the boot was on the other foot, and the free market types tried to declare a health policy a success by saying Whoa, a whole 916 people, up from 587 two years ago! Massive! that’s just nothing. The policy is clearly a success!

    The lefties would appear like hungry zombies.

  38. daddy dave

    The Ensemble where his last few plays have opened has never had a government subsidy

    Ken, I’ll bet you a David Williamson front-row seat that you’re wrong about that.
    Live theatre would have to be very profitable indeed for them to afford that lovely waterfront venue in Kirribili.

  39. daddy dave

    That’s, ooh, how many, about 0.0074% of the Australian electorate! What a beat up.

    Do you even pay electricity bills? They’re going up.

  40. wreckage

    Yes, yes, nearly a thousand people can’t pay energy bills. Nothing to see here.

    mOnty, do you ever think maybe you’d do your side a solid by shutting up?

  41. m0nty

    Imagine the boot was on the other foot, and the free market types tried to declare a health policy a success by saying Whoa, a whole 916 people, up from 587 two years ago! Massive! that’s just nothing. The policy is clearly a success!

    The lefties would appear like hungry zombies.

    Having your power cut off is nowhere near as drastic as losing your life due to underfunded hospitals, Michael. Not equivalent in the least.

    Do you even pay electricity bills? They’re going up.

    Yes, and the vast majority of users can still pay, because inflation overall is very low.

    Yes, yes, nearly a thousand people can’t pay energy bills. Nothing to see here.

    mOnty, do you ever think maybe you’d do your side a solid by shutting up?

    Are you so naive to think that those 916 households are all still without power, huddling around their fireplace in the middle of the living room burning News Ltd papers? Here’s an alternative explanation for some of these cases: credit is harder to get these days, so people are finding it harder to live their lives on credit cards. I’d be interested to see what the figures are for such people getting their power reconnected soon after because the reason wasn’t their ability to pay, but their money management skills.

  42. Boy on a bike

    Had some friends over last night. They have a combined income close to $200k. They were asking me how big our bill was, and then spent an hour complaining about the escalating cost of power. If they’re feeling the pinch (big mortgage to pay off), imagine how those on median incomes ate doing.

  43. m0nty

    Had some friends over last night. They have a combined income close to $200k. They were asking me how big our bill was, and then spent an hour complaining about the escalating cost of power. If they’re feeling the pinch (big mortgage to pay off), imagine how those on median incomes ate doing.

    This is exactly what I mean. If you’re on a combined $200k, you’re in the top echelons of money earners, given that $150k+ puts you in the top 15%. It’s not a matter of capacity to pay. These friends of yours are selfish whingers, plain and simple. They have enjoyed tax breaks of over $3000 in the past three years of Labor. If you’re still struggling to pay bills on that coin, it’s the fault of poor money management by the rich citizen, not the government.

  44. ken n

    dd – No profitable, but theatre by and large is more able to attract enough paying customers to pay their way.
    manalive – I don’t know what you mean. Theatre attracts mostly an upper middle class audience.

    There is a tendency here and at the leftward leaning blogs (Monckton has poppy eyes and isn’t a lord) to tear down those saying things people don’t agree with. Williamson has given a lot of people a lot of pleasure with his plays. That does not give him any standing to speak on AGW but he can say what he thinks, I guess. If what he says is dopey that does not affect his reputation as a playwright. Same does for Cate Blanchett.

  45. south

    I would expect David Williamson to defend Labor to the hilt. If the writer of Don’s Party decided to support the Liberals, that would be conversion news of Mamet-like proportions.

    He’s of a generation that knew nothing but the Coalition as government until adulthood; to them the ALP and Gough will always be anti-establishment, arts-supporting saviors. Just like my arty friends who are quite thoughtful about policy, but incapable of even considering the Libs might have a good one.

  46. dover_beach

    Shorter monty: Shut up and pay, bitches!

  47. m0nty

    Shorter monty: Shut up and pay, bitches!

    Yep, pretty much. I have no sympathy with rich, entitled rentseekers whining about how terrible they have it.

  48. wreckage

    Having your power cut off is nowhere near as drastic as losing your life due to underfunded hospitals, Michael. Not equivalent in the least.

    Lack of heating kills. In the inland the nights get down to -4.

  49. m0nty

    Lack of heating kills. In the inland the nights get down to -4.

    Could you flail more, wreckage? Very entertaining. Try to show me the bodies, I beg you.

  50. derp

    Yep, pretty much. I have no sympathy with rich, entitled rentseekers whining about how terrible they have it.

    Hahaha. Own goal.

    Monts sums up black turtle necked vampires that feed on arts grants quite perfectly.

  51. Peter Patton

    Williamson is/was both perfect expression of, and model for, a particular class of a particular generation whose cultural contribution to Australia was dire.

  52. He’s Australia’s greatest playwright. Which is like being Australia’s greatest bouzuki player.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 🙂

    Williamson is/was both perfect expression of, and model for, a particular class of a particular generation whose cultural contribution to Australia was dire.

    Interesting. What defines this class? Who else is a member?

  53. Having your power cut off is nowhere near as drastic as losing your life due to underfunded hospitals

    It is if you’re cold and frail.

  54. wreckage

    Uh, mOnty, what? People can’t die of exposure in your universe? It’s a data point. If I’d intended for it to be a conclusive argument I’d have said this right afterwards:

    MUAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

    It’s how evil people celebrate victory.

    Perhaps you could tell me which modern medical procedures don’t require electricity?

  55. wreckage

    Is mOnty aware that hospitals already compromise hygiene to keep power bills low? Yeah, they wash linen at lower temperatures than would be ideal.

    So, electricity rises will be concurrent with worsening hospital care.

    Which brings me to the question, how did we start arguing about “hospital care versus electricity” as though it was a dichotomy, let alone a valid one?

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