Carlo Sands

In the strange furore surrounding right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt demanding an apology from the ABC over a guest on Q&A suggesting he was racist, it is Bolt's long-time readers and fans for whom I feel the most.

It must be something of a shock to see the strident opponent of “illegal boat people” and “fair-skinned” Aboriginal people, a man who refuses to even acknowledge the existence of the Stolen Generations, insist that he is not actually racist after all.

These are dark times for would-be political satirists. We've now got a self-proclaimed “government of adults” headed by Tony Abbott and featuring the likes of Christopher Pyne and Cory Bernardi. These jokes are just impossible to top.

Well the fun just never stops, does it, when it comes to the Abbott government’s asylum seeker policies, or as they call it, “border protection”. Because when it comes to needing protection, fleeing war, torture and genocide is one thing, but won’t someone think of all the poor, downtrodden borders?

How many more times must our vulnerable borders be subject to assaults by desperate people using their international right under a convention Australia has signed to sail right over them in their boats without so much as a “Sorry Australian maritime borders! Didn’t see you there!”

You know, unless asylum seekers somehow managed to sneak into this country and made it all the way to Geelong to pose as Alcoa executives to announce yet another plant closure at the cost of nearly a thousand more jobs, then I really think this nation has some bigger goddamn problems than boats carrying refugees asking for help.

There are some cynics who argue that Tony Abbott is a lying scumbag who wouldn't know the truth if it was tattooed on Rupert Murdoch's arse. Or, to put it another way, if it was right in front of his face.

But this is demonstratively false, because Abbott told us in his February 1 YouTube video “Delivering on Our Promises” that “not a single illegal boat has arrived since mid-December”.

“The age of entitlement is over,” Treasurer Joe Hockey has bluntly told the Australian people. Hockey, entitled to a six-figure pension every year when he retires, suggests we must learn to get on with less.

So now reporting the news is Un-Australian.

This is the line from prime minister and proud Australian Tony Abbott, strongly backed by media owned by proud Australian and American-citizen-for-tax-purposes Rupert Murdoch, whose Daily Telegraph screamed on its January 30 front page, “PM brands ABC un-Australian: THE ABC OF TREACHERY.”

The day before, Abbott told Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley: “A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's.”

I am clearly a pretty tough guy. I mean I must be, seeing as I've been going out and getting drunk quite frequently in Sydney for years now and have never once been assaulted.

True, I don't exactly “work out”, and I look more like a deflated beanbag than a Mr Universe contender, but as anyone who reads the Daily Telegraph will tell you, the city is in the grip of an out-of-control tidal wave of drunken violence.

Samuel Johnson famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” and so it was that Attorney-General George Brandis insisted ASIO's raid against a former spy who exposed Australia's spying operation against East Timor in the interests of Woodside Petroleum was in “the national interest”.

The raid targeted a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer who exposed the spying program Australia ran against the East Timorese government in 2004 during negotiations for the $40 billion Timor Sea oil and gas fields to which Woodside held the rights to develop.

Finally, Aussie pride is back after a dominant display in a crucial international contest. Sure, our side came in for criticism for aggressive bullying and disrespectful behaviour towards the opposition, but you can't argue with results.

True, this was nothing so crucial to the fate of humanity as an Ashes Test. It was merely the United Nations Warsaw climate talks that ended on November 23 with no agreement for rich nations to severely cut the greenhouse emissions fuelling climate change or offer compensation to poor nations bearing the brunt of its increasingly devastating effects.

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