EVERY Saturday Laura Tingle writes a boilerplate culture wars column for the ABC slamming Scott Morrison, the LNP, the “Canberra bubble” (the one she has personally inhabited for decades) and pondering why – why? – Australia can’t be more like some other political idyll elsewhere in the world where reason, virtue and civility reign. By reason, virtue and civility, of course, she means a doctrinaire, revenge-driven left-wing government. Now that you’re up to speed, you can easily pick up Tingle’s story-line any Saturday – even if you haven’t been following the series. Today she more or less hails Jacinda Ardern as the greatest leader in the world – if not, the greatest since Queen Boudica – because she ruthlessly shut down New Zealand’s ‘border’ (its tiny coastline) and its entire economy while other world leaders (like Australia’s) made more necessarily measured or diversified policy choices. She doesn’t mention that New Zealand’s economy is about the same size as Kentucky’s or that being so small, geographically isolated and administratively unitary, New Zealand’s coronavirus battle was the breeziest no brainer on earth. Comparing Ardern’s alleged role in containing the virus with more sadly mixed results in bigger, more porous and federated polities like Australia or the United States is utterly fatuous. As for Ardern, she is adept at unctuously seizing teary moments for the cameras but beneath the ham acting, she is a philosophical blank and a dogmatically cruel extremist.
Tingle may be the first person in history to praise how New Zealanders talk:
Ah, there he is. Rupert Murdoch. Obviously getting the memos from Anthony Albanese and Kevin Rudd, Tingle means that in New Zealand the media universally genuflects before and lionises the Dear Leader. That’s how it was supposed to be for Julia and Malcolm. For the left, the surest route to ‘civility’ is compliance and devotion. If you’ve ever seen Tingle adoringly ‘interview’ Beijing-backed forelock tugger Paul Keating – the most viciously uncivilised thug to stink up a parliament since 1901 – you’ll take this entreaty for manners with a punch of salt. There are few, if any, public media conglomerates in the Western world that so unceasingly and maliciously sow cultural division as the ABC. Hatemongering is the national broadcaster’s only real specialty.
Finally, I give credit to Tingle for a solid comparison of New Zealand’s relationship to the Maori and Australia’s with Aborigines. But these two peoples are not conceptually interchangeable natives in dialogue with markedly different suzerains – Australia being inept and the Kiwis adept. It would be more true – though less politic – to say that the same Britishers encountered two very different indigenous cultures down under and found more in the Polynesian to admire and relate to than they did in the Aboriginal. Perhaps this is the foundational hurt that continues to undermine a rapprochement. Aborigines see themselves as outsiders and are encouraged to think in separatist terms by white leftists. The same might have been true in New Zealand over the years but Maori and non-Maori have been able to discern in one another strengths worth assimilating.