High Court will have to overturn itself to reject Pell appeal

Law scholar Russel Marks – writing at the left-of-centre The Saturday Paperexplains why.

Time and time again, the High Court has asserted this test, and it is surprising how often state appeal courts depart from it.

It’s called kicking the can down the road. If that’s accurate, it means innocent people’s lives are being ruined as they await justice because lower courts don’t want to be insensitive to alleged victims.

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59 Responses to High Court will have to overturn itself to reject Pell appeal

  1. stackja

    Not all ‘victims’ are the same.
    The ‘kids’ story never made any sense.
    Like the Lindy case never made any sense.

  2. P

    Pell’s appeal will now be heard by the High Court, most likely next year. Its consistent approach to these cases means there is a good chance Pell will succeed. If that happens, the court could acquit him of all charges, in which case his story will become a cautionary tale about the dangers of wrongful convictions. Like everything else about this case, the cultural fallout will be immense.
    This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 16, 2019 as “Pell’s appeal to the High Court”.

    Timeline set down for George Pell appeal – The Canberra Times, November 19 2019 – 6:07PM.

    George Pell’s lawyers have less than two months to tell Australia’s highest court why the sex offender’s convictions should be overturned.
    A timeline for the Catholic cardinal’s High Court case has been set down, with written submissions on his behalf due by January 8.

    However, the High Court has agreed to hear Pell’s case to plead his innocence, before deciding whether to grant special leave to hear the appeal.
    Prosecutors have until February 5 to respond to the cardinal’s arguments, with Pell then to respond by February 26.

    The High Court has previously held hearings within about a month of parties making their submissions.

  3. Wasn’t there a whole bunch of evidence that was ignored or not allowed to be submitted in Pell’s defence?

  4. notafan

    Exactly.
    One of my legal friend pointed to this important and binding on lower courts decisiona out to me a long time ago: which was one of the grounds on which the decision in Brother Tyrrell’s case was overturned iirc.

    Have read the original High Court case I was convinced the Victorian court of appeal must allow Cardinal Pell’s appeal and stunned that the majority appear to have ignored that high Court decision.

    Jeremy Gans made the same point.

    In the original case the girl claimed rope but was still ‘intact’ among many other telling inconsistencies.

    Juries and courts of appeal seem to be hoodwinked by a notion that ‘they’ wouldn’t say such revolting things happened if it wasn’t true.

    Oh yes they would

    For all sorts of reasons.

  5. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Better to wait for the HC decision that waste time with this sort of undergraduate thumbsucking.

  6. FelixKruell

    Never heard of Russel Marks…one reason my be this statement:

    What is perhaps most striking in the Victorian majority’s reasoning is that it effectively allowed no possible defence for Pell: there was nothing his lawyers could have said or done, because the judges appeared to argue it was enough to simply believe the complainant on the basis of his performance under cross-examination.

    Of course there was something they could have said or done – they could have addressed (or at least better addressed) the deficiencies in their evidence that the majority in the Court of Appeal noted. The majority didn’t just rely on whether the complainant was believable. They considered the obstacles to conviction raised by the defence.

  7. Mother Lode

    As Felix so astutely pointed out the other day, the Cardinal did not hire a sky-writer to spell out across the skies “I am innocent of anything improper” kind of shows that he knows he is guilty of something.

    Amiright?

  8. Juan

    Like the Lindy case never made any sense.

    Unfortunately, courts don’t make decisions based on ‘what makes sense’.

    And the Chamberlain case is not really instructive. Lindy Chamberlain’s appeal was rejected by the High Court in 1984. Subsequently new evidence came to light (Azaria’s clothes) and improvements in forensic science cast doubt on a key piece of evidence (claimed blood found in the Chamberlains’ car.)

    It’s a mug’s game to presume to know what the High Court will decide. But what I will venture to say is I always thought Pell’s best shot at overturning his conviction was in the Court of Criminal Appeal. The Victorian CCA has in the past erred on the side of the accused, vacating convictions and entering acquittals in their place. Ironically it was these decisions which were overturned by the High Court, sending messages to the CCA they were being too lenient. If the High Court overturns George Pell’s conviction they will effectively be saying, in response to their earlier decisions, the CCA has gone too far in the other direction.

    In terms optics — which of course have nothing to do with how the case will be decided — some people observed a certain resemblance between Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Julia Gillard. Get ready for the next installment of ‘She looks like Julia Gillard,’ when the public sees Pell’s case pleaded before the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia!

  9. C.L.

    The defence is not required to produce “evidence” of innocence, Felix.
    You continue to struggle with this simple concept.

  10. Cassie of Sydney

    “Elderly White Man From Skipton
    #3216427, posted on November 20, 2019 at 12:40 pm
    Better to wait for the HC decision that waste time with this sort of undergraduate thumbsucking.”

    That’s a bit rich coming from you…the expert at undergraduate thumbsucking.

  11. Juan

    As Felix so astutely pointed out the other day, the Cardinal did not hire a sky-writer to spell out across the skies “I am innocent of anything improper” kind of shows that he knows he is guilty of something.

    Amiright?

    I tried to avoid this when it was ventilated in another thread; but would it help settle this issue if it was pointed out one of George Pell’s grounds for appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal — Ground 3, to be precise — was that he wasn’t arraigned ‘in the presence of the jury panel,’ meaning he was not afforded an opportunity enter a ‘not guilty’ plea in the jury’s presence?

  12. Karabar

    In the meantime, the Cardinal is in solitary confinement; a form of torture.
    There are two possibilities: the High Court will find him innocent or guilty.
    Should it be the former, who is most vulnerable to a humongous civil suit?
    The ABC? Milligan? Vic Police?

  13. Cassie of Sydney

    “Should it be the former, who is most vulnerable to a humongous civil suit?
    The ABC? Milligan? Vic Police?”

    I would hope all three.

  14. a happy little debunker

    Felix.
    The appeals court majority considered each of the 13 barriers to conviction and found on each one that is was ‘possible’ that the offending had occurred.
    If we lay that out as odds of 50:50 on each possibility then the probable chances that Pell offended is 1 in 12.5 billion.

    By comparison – the odds of winning Tattslotto is a mere 1 in 3.8 million.

  15. Leigh Lowe

    The appeals court majority considered each of the 13 barriers to conviction and found on each one that is was ‘possible’

    Quite apart from the asternomical odds, the word “possible” has no place in criminal convictions.
    FFS, the level of proof in civil cases is “balance of probabilities”, not “is it possible”.
    And criminal law is “beyond reasonable doubt”.
    Many things could be “possible” but fall miles short of satisfying a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard.

  16. Juan

    There are two possibilities: the High Court will find him innocent or guilty.

    The High Court won’t find George Pell guilty. If they dismiss his appeal it would not be a positive statement that they have considered the evidence and found him to be guilty.

    Should it be the former, who is most vulnerable to a humongous civil suit?

    This excerpt from an Australian Institute of Criminology publication may explain:

    Compensating wrongful conviction in Australia

    Individuals wrongfully convicted and imprisoned do not have a common law or statutory right to compensation in any Australian jurisdictions other than the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). However, a state or territory government may choose to make an ex gratia payment either on its own accord or as a result of a request by a party for such a payment.

    An ex gratia payment is a ‘[p]ayment of money made or given as a concession, without legal compulsion’ (Butterworth 2004). The term literally means ‘out of grace’ rather than as a debt of justice. State and territory governments are not obliged to make ex gratia payments in respect of wrongful convictions and a decision to refuse to make a payment is not reviewable in any way (Butterworth 2007). Ex gratia payments are made in a wide range of situations other than to compensate for wrongful convictions, including as a means of implementing financial aid packages to individuals after natural disasters. In some Australian jurisdictions, the relevant Attorney-General’s office may publish general guidelines detailing the factors normally assessed in awarding ex gratia payments. Sometimes, specific guidelines may be promulgated to deal with particular types of payments. There are currently no publicly available guidelines in any Australian jurisdiction specifically dealing with ex gratia payments for wrongful conviction. Beyond that a conviction was wrongful, it is difficult to identify the factors that need to be present for a wrongfully convicted person to be compensated, nor how such compensation will be quantified. A high public profile seems to be a good start in terms of background circumstances, although even this does not guarantee success (Percy 2007).

    Occasionally, facts surrounding a wrongful conviction may also support tortious claims, such as a false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or misfeasance (New Zealand Law Reform Commission 1998; Percy 2007). These tortious causes of action are very difficult to prove. Even very compelling cases of wrongful conviction will generally not give rise to a successful claim in tort. They require specific additional facts to be present beyond simply that a conviction was wrongful. As such, the protections offered in tort law to wrongfully convicted people are more of theoretical rather than practical utility.

    The other type of award that needs to be distinguished from compensation is legal costs. Normally a successful criminal defendant will not be awarded the legal costs expended in defending criminal charges. However, where there have been malfunctions in the criminal process, courts in some Australian jurisdictions may award legal costs to a defendant (Fox 2005: 78, 307-308). Such awards relate to legal costs expended, not compensation.

  17. Mother Lode

    That’s a bit rich coming from you…the expert at undergraduate thumbsucking.

    He is having a senior’s moment perhaps.

  18. Cynic of Ayr

    Well, whether Pell is found innocent or guilty, what this does prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the Law is an ass.
    Time and time again, verdicts are made, not on the letter of the law, but the opposing teams interpretation of the letter of the law.
    Apparently, it is impossible to write laws that are black and white.
    They mostly seem to require lots and lots and lots of dollars to be interpreted and tested in court.
    It long seemed to me that laws are made, not to accord justice, but to ensure that the legal system continues to thrive on other peoples money.
    How many cases are decided, not on the law, but on the Lawyers skill in manipulating the Law.
    Is OJ guilty? No one knows except OJ. His lawyer doesn’t give a shit either way, as long as he was paid.
    One is either guilty or innocent. There does not seem to be too much sleep lost on the accuracy of that statement, more on who won, or who lost the debate. And, a debate is all a court case is. Nothing else.
    It’s insane how much the legal system costs!

  19. FelixKruell

    Mother:

    As Felix so astutely pointed out the other day, the Cardinal did not hire a sky-writer to spell out across the skies “I am innocent of anything improper” kind of shows that he knows he is guilty of something.

    Ha! No, it just means what I said it did – that he didn’t testify as to what happened that day.

  20. FelixKruell

    CL:

    The defence is not required to produce “evidence” of innocence, Felix.
    You continue to struggle with this simple concept.

    I struggle with this concept because I didn’t raise it…or comment on it in any way. Rather, I commented on the extract I quoted, from the article linked in this post. Which has nothing to do with what the defence is ‘required’ to do.

  21. FelixKruell

    Debunker:

    The appeals court majority considered each of the 13 barriers to conviction and found on each one that is was ‘possible’ that the offending had occurred.
    If we lay that out as odds of 50:50 on each possibility then the probable chances that Pell offended is 1 in 12.5 billion.

    You didn’t do statistics at uni, did you?

    But thanks for acknowledging that the Court of Appeal did in fact consider the barriers to conviction. That seems to be in dispute here for some reason.

  22. Arky

    That was a very good article.
    It set out the issue very clearly.
    Thanks for posting link to it CL.

  23. FelixKruell

    Cynic:

    Apparently, it is impossible to write laws that are black and white.

    How on earth would you re-write the laws in this case to lead to a different outcome? This case was not about whether the acts were against the law, but rather whether the acts occurred at all.

  24. struth

    Felix, you’re embarrassing yourself again.
    Settle petal.

  25. Iampeter

    The defence is not required to produce “evidence” of innocence, Felix.
    You continue to struggle with this simple concept.

    Then what’s the point of having a defense? I think you’ve confused this with assuming someone’s innocence until proven guilty. But this still requires you to defend against accusations.

    This case in super summary form:
    Firstly, Pell’s accuser was compelling.
    Secondly, Pell’s defense fell apart. I.e. it was said the robes were impossible to move aside, but the jury upon trying them on found that it was very easy. It was impossible for Pell to have done this because he was at the entrance at the time, yet his own witnesses confirm he was away from the entrance for periods of time the offending could’ve occurred. And so on…
    Thirdly, an accusers testimony in these trials is alone treated as evidence, which taken together with everything else, means the jury brought back a guilty verdict.

    I don’t personally agree with it, but this is not a case of guilty until proven innocent, which is what I think you’re trying to imply.

    Although many seem to think the whole thing is a stitch-up merely because they disagree with the verdict, so I’m not sure anyone at the Cat is capable of discussing this rationally and objectively.

  26. struth

    But this still requires you to defend against accusations.

    No it doesn’t.

    The defence is not required to produce “evidence” of innocence, Felix.
    You continue to struggle with this simple concept.

    Read it again.
    The defence does not have to supply evidence, the prosecution does.
    You can proclaim not guilty and produce no evidence.
    That is a difference between defending yourself and producing evidence.
    The presentation of evidence is the prosecution’s job in an innocent until proven guilty court.

  27. JC

    Then what’s the point of having a defense?

    Plodes, a defense by definition is to defend against accusations/evidence brought against a person charged criminally. You really are an idiot.

    I think you’ve confused this with assuming someone’s innocence until proven guilty. But this still requires you to defend against accusations.

    Eggsactly, which makes your first point redundant as you in fact answered your own question, you hyper “rational” doofus.

    This case in super summary form:
    Firstly, Pell’s accuser was compelling.

    Ummm, no . Compelling would mean the accusation wouldn’t have had to withstand a locked jury, a majority verdict and then possibly the ablest jurist in the land writing a finding against the other two meatheads on the appeals bench.

    Secondly, Pell’s defense fell apart. I.e. it was said the robes were impossible to move aside, but the jury upon trying them on found that it was very easy. It was impossible for Pell to have done this because he was at the entrance at the time, yet his own witnesses confirm he was away from the entrance for periods of time the offending could’ve occurred. And so on…

    “Impossible” is the word you’re using, dickface. Pell’s defense didn’t use that word at all.

    Thirdly, an accusers testimony in these trials is alone treated as evidence, which taken together with everything else, means the jury brought back a guilty verdict.

    There’s no way I can untangle that mess of sentence, you hyper rationalist. Try again.

    I don’t personally agree with it, but this is not a case of guilty until proven innocent, which is what I think you’re trying to imply.

    Who cares if you agree with it or not. However, having suggested earlier that it was compelling, why are you now suggesting you disagree with the finding? It makes zero sense, you pixels wasting moronic loon.

    Although many seem to think the whole thing is a stitch-up merely because they disagree with the verdict, so I’m not sure anyone at the Cat is capable of discussing this rationally and objectively.

    We know, you’re so far above everyone else. However, I’m sure that’s what the orderly wouldn’t say about you. Seriously plodes, WTF are you doing here? You’re a complete waste of space and ought to be booted.

  28. Fencesitter

    Felix, can you answer these two simple questions?

    Ignoring anybody else’s opinion and simply given all the facts you *know* to be true about the case, do you think it is likely that Pell did what he was accused of doing?

    And once you have answered that, explain why a jury or judges (ie other people) saying “yes he did” or “no he didn’t” should alter your view in any way whatsoever?

    And while you’re at it, you can apply the exact same chain of reasoning to everything else you believe and see how you go.

  29. FelixKruell

    JC:

    “Impossible” is the word you’re using, dickface. Pell’s defense didn’t use that word at all.

    From Pell’s appeal submission:

    The timing of the alleged assaults was impossible:

    It was not possible for Pell to be alone in the sacristies only a few minutes after
    the end of Mass

    It was not possible for Pell to be robed and alone in the priests’ sacristy after
    Mass:

    d. It was not possible for two choir boys to be sexually assaulted in the priests’
    sacristy after Mass by Pell undetected:

    You get the picture…’impossibility’ was a key part of the defence’s submissions to the Court of Appeal.

  30. Dr Fred Lenin

    Do they still haveREAL LAWYERS in the High Court ,? or is it stacked with alp clones like a lot of other courts ? Hope its not like theUK ,where the High Court has Real lawyers and the Supreme Labour Court is stacked with political hacks who over rule their decisions to suit the unelected EU,probably for personal gain ..

  31. a happy little debunker

    but the jury upon trying them on found that it was very easy

    How do you know what the jury thought, whilst deliberating?
    Or are you speculating that because he was found guilty, they must have thought ‘it was very easy’?

  32. Cynic of Ayr

    FelixKruell
    By writing law that stipulates the required accuracy of the evidence.
    In this case, there was such stipulation in law, except the “reasonable doubt” which is administered on the Judges whim.
    That is why Judges can disagree so wildly, because each thinks a different interpretation of “reasonable doubt.” In Pell’s last appearance, the opinions varied immensely.
    The High Court makes judgement based on a simple majority. http://www.hcourt.gov.au/about/operation-of-the-high-court
    Ask yourself, “How can Law be administered justly, when it comes down to a majority of Judges opinions?” Obviously because the Law, as written, is vague and open to interpretation.
    In High court cases, it can come down to Three out of Five (60%), or Four out of Seven (57%) Repeat, 57%.
    Consider the injustice of a conviction made on the opinion and feelings of 57% of the Judges! This alone is worthy of review.
    Pell’s case comes down to a simple he said/he said. The accuser was not required to prove his version was true. But Pell was required to prove the accuser’s version was false. Now, you can guess if Pell’s proof was adequate or not. But, it should not have been ignored as it was in this case.
    The judgment, despite a lot of pages of waffle, and based on “feelings”, merely said, “The accuser is truthful, the accused is a liar.”

  33. notafan

    The vestments were ‘impossible to move aside” the accuser made the error that there was a side split

    There wasn’t.

    Full stop.

    Of course they could be lifted.

    Archbishops don’t wear them 24/7

  34. FelixKruell

    Cynic:

    In this case, there was such stipulation in law, except the “reasonable doubt” which is administered on the Judges whim.

    More so the jury’s whim.

    In Pell’s last appearance, the opinions varied immensely.

    That’s because it was an appeal. The dispute was largely around the test to be applied in hearing an appeal of a jury decision that relies so heavily on contentious facts. Most of which is case law, rather than legislation.

    But Pell was required to prove the accuser’s version was false

    No he wasn’t. Every judge involved specifically said this was not the case.

  35. Juan

    Do they still haveREAL LAWYERS in the High Court ,? or is it stacked with alp clones like a lot of other courts ?

    For what it’s worth: four judges were nominated by Liberal Prime Ministers; and three judges were nominated by Labor Prime Ministers.

    Gordon and Edelman JJ, who considered Pell’s application for special leave to appeal in the first instance and referred the question to the Full Court, were appointed by Liberals.

    And what’s it worth? Nothing. No one seriously alleges any political bias on the part of any members of the High Court.

    Lastly, I hope I’m proven wrong but I expect sometime during or in the immediate aftermath of the hearing someone will make the utterly irrelevant observation Chief Justice Susan Kiefel ‘looks like Julia Gillard’.

  36. C.L.

    Her husband looks like debt collector who once worked for the Krays.

  37. P

    Troubling questions remain
    By Monica Doumit – The Catholic Weekly, November 20, 2019.

  38. David Brewer

    one of George Pell’s grounds for appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal — Ground 3, to be precise — was that he wasn’t arraigned ‘in the presence of the jury panel,’ meaning he was not afforded an opportunity enter a ‘not guilty’ plea in the jury’s presence

    Thanks Juan for this and other sensible contributions.

    It raises one of the issues around process in this case. From what I gathered, the second trial jury more or less just watched a video of the first trial, at least as far as evidence was concerned, and the C0urt of Appeal the same. Pell lost those trials, but apparently he was 10-2 up on the first trial where the jury saw all the witnesses in person. Seems the accuser was more plausible on TV.

  39. Old Lefty

    Walker’s appeal documents also draw attention to the severe restrictions placed on defence counsel in such cases – ‘why have a defence’s is a real question – and argue that the concepts of the burden of proof and reasonable doubt must therefore be applied strictly.

    Indeed, it’s the ideal charge if you wanted to mount a political stitchup.

    And the High Court is not an ALP mates’ club. Even theeh Labor appointees are pretty straight down the line, unlike (too) many of those made by Hulls, Pakula and Hennessy in Victoria.

  40. a happy little debunker
    #3216483, posted on November 20, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Felix.
    The appeals court majority considered each of the 13 barriers to conviction and found on each one that is was ‘possible’ that the offending had occurred.
    If we lay that out as odds of 50:50 on each possibility then the probable chances that Pell offended is 1 in 12.5 billion.

    By comparison – the odds of winning Tattslotto is a mere 1 in 3.8 million.
    Leigh Lowe
    #3216486, posted on November 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    The appeals court majority considered each of the 13 barriers to conviction and found on each one that is was ‘possible’

    Quite apart from the asternomical odds, the word “possible” has no place in criminal convictions.
    FFS, the level of proof in civil cases is “balance of probabilities”, not “is it possible”.
    And criminal law is “beyond reasonable doubt”.
    Many things could be “possible” but fall miles short of satisfying a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard.

    Well said lads. Let the bigots have their tantrums.

  41. pbw

    David,

    apparently he was 10-2 up on the first trial

    No-one (who is allowed to tell us) knows whether this is the case. When the jury told the judge that they could not come to a verdict, they were invited to return a majority verdict, which they were also unable to do. AIUI, majority verdicts in Victoria can be 10-2, but perhaps they were asked for an 11-1 verdict.

    In any case, at least two jurors opposed the majority, and possibly more. However, we don’t know which way the majority leaned.

    Yes, you’re partly right about the video evidence. The degradation of the criminal law with respect to cases involving sexual offences has proceeded to the extent that “complainant” is treated in all respects like a “victim.” So, in the first trial, the complainant did not have to appear in court. His evidence, and his cross-examination, was conducted by video link. What the second jury and the appeal court saw was the recording of the first trial video link. Of course, one cannot subject a victim – sorry, a complainant – to the the trauma of actually proving an accusation; or – horror of horrors – having to try it again if it is knocked back the first time.

    If you think this stinks, you’re right, and you’re not alone. Reading Weinberg’s dissent, one gets the distinct impression that he leans to that opinion.

  42. pbw

    It’s worth noting that the unspeakable David Marr, apparently expecting a just result from the Victorian Appellate Court, waxed poisonous before the judgement about the failures of said court, pointing out how many of their decisions had been challenged successfully before the High Court. So, he assured Pell with his predictable sneer, this will go to the High Court.
    Oops.

  43. Yohan

    I would not want to be in Pell’s shoes relying on the High Court.

    This is not a normal case, where the court can follow standard rules of evidence and throw it out as a wrongful conviction… no, Pell was a huge catch for the left, a cultural touchstone, with everyone including the ABC is all in on his guilt.

    There is going to be large pressure on the leftist judges (which is the majority of them in the Oz High Court) to keep the conviction.

  44. Yohan

    At least our High Court is not like the US Supreme Court, where leftist judges (including John Roberts) will come up with the most contorted reasoning to give favored results to the political left.

  45. It’s like Yohan wanted a concise factual post then wanted a very droll and cutting comment as well.

  46. notafan

    I believe the source is people who attended the first trial.

    Reliable people.

  47. “conservative” Prime Ministers

    I fixed that for you.

  48. Juan

    I believe the source is people who attended the first trial.

    Reliable people.

    The only people who attended the trial who would know exactly how the jury was deadlocked were those in the jury room. The numbers for a conviction and for an acquittal are not announced, only that the jury could not come to a decision. In fact, the legal process goes to great lengths to ensure what happens in the jury room stays there — if found in breach, jurors face up to five years imprisonment.

    Do you have reason to believe the “multiple sources” came from the jury room?

  49. Juan

    “conservative” Prime Ministers

    I fixed that for you.

    Why thank you. 🙂 I guess that would make John Howard and Tony Abbott — who between them nominated three of the judges to the High Court — faux conservatives in your eyes?

  50. Yes, they were bloody terrible.

    Read this blog more.

    Australian conservatives belong in the US Democrats.

    I’m not joking either.

  51. Juan

    Yes, they were bloody terrible.

    Read this blog more.

    Australian conservatives belong in the US Democrats.

    I’m not joking either.

    Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t know we were debating whether John Howard and Tony Abbott were good or bad Prime Ministers.

    I thought the question at hand was whether they are conservatives, or not.

    Happy to hear your reasons for your belief they aren’t but I’d also suggest it’s worth bearing in mind political ‘tags’ vary from country to country, and from one people to another.

    For instance, the environmental policies of the (UK) Conservatives would find a home somewhere between the Labor Left and the Greens; and a ‘fiscal hawk’ in the US [an endangered species!] would never try to balance the budget, unlike their Australian equivalents for whom balanced budgets are an article of fiscal faith.

    If you’re suggesting John Howard isn’t a US conservative, I would have to agree with you. Howard’s position on guns would practically disqualify him from running as a Republican in just about anywhere in the United States. David Leyonhjelm’s position on guns would more welcome among Republican-registered voters, but his support for same-sex marriage and the legalisation of drugs would see him chased out of the GOP — except maybe in Colorado! — even before he had a chance to mention he supports abortion rights.

    So, in conclusion, I think there is little to be gained by measuring any Australian’s conservatism against what ‘conservative’ means to an American.

  52. Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t know we were debating whether John Howard and Tony Abbott were good or bad Prime Ministers.

    If you’re suggesting John Howard isn’t a US conservative, I would have to agree with you.

    You’re not being forthright with yourself. The Liberal party is neither liberal nor conservative anymore.

    Letting go of your feelings is hard, but the Liberal party is an undead corpse possessed by evil careerists.

    It needs to be destroyed.

  53. Juan

    You’re not being forthright with yourself. The Liberal party is neither liberal nor conservative anymore.

    Letting go of your feelings is hard, but the Liberal party is an undead corpse possessed by evil careerists.

    It needs to be destroyed.

    That may very well all be true, but it still doesn’t explain why you think John Howard and Tony Abbott aren’t conservatives.

    Nor does it explain if they are not conservatives, what exactly qualifies one as a conservative?

    And lastly, if the common Australian (and even British) understanding of ‘conservative’ is to be discarded in favour of the US version, I’m still curious to know which Australian political figures would meet the standard of a US-style conservative, especially if someone like David Leyonhjelm wouldn’t?

  54. Jesus christ Juan, give it up.

    Howard did something in America which would have seen him crucified, even by cuckservatives.

  55. Juan

    Howard did something in America which would have seen him crucified, even by cuckservatives.

    Which is my point, isn’t it?

    Anyhoo, I guess I’ll just have to accept I’ll never get to know why believe John Howard and Tony Abbott aren’t conservatives.

    Not quite the Eleusinian Mysteries, but a mystery nonetheless.

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