Should we give a shit about shit happens?

Here I am trying to convince myself that I should pay closer attention to political debate in Australia and I discover the big story of the day is that Tony Abbott said “shit happens” (again).
It’s gone berserk on Twitter – but as experienced Press Gallery journo Karen Middleton put it:”Summary of the day. Julia wept. Tony shook. Hello 2011. You are as weird as 2010. #shithappens”

I suppose one could reflect on how well Tony Abbott handled being questioned about the incident, but really – it’s not as if he hasn’t already repeatedly and openly displayed what sort of person & politician he is. You can either stomach him or you can’t.

When there are so many important policy issues needing scrutiny – climate change, overpriced housing, poverty inducingly low support for the unemployed, 1000+ children in detention, entrenched poverty for so many Indigenous Australians, skill & labour shortages, etc – I’m afraid I just can’t get enthused about a shitstorm (to quote Kevin Rudd) in a teacup.

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  1. Tony Abbott’s announcement that he would like to cut foreign aid to finance rebuilding that Australia can afford is the one main reprehensible thing he has done today, in my opinion.

    His “shit happens” gaffe is the least of his faults.

    Thank you for this post.

  2. Nice response. As long as we pay attention to sensationalist news, the paid media will tell us things that sell papers/ad spaces/subscriptions, rather than delivering a critical evaluation of the news. I noticed that the ABC news website (non-profit) had no mention of it – I had to go to the News Ltd website (profit-driven) to find out what the hell Twitter was on about. Basically, if it wasn’t about the pageviews I don’t think this would have ever made it.

    Personally I think that Abbott is a nutbar, but I think that this was just a case of context and clumsiness.

    By the way, your stuff is being reproduced wholesale at Gamerpond – I found this post when they dumped a slab of your text into a comment on my post on the topic.

  3. Listening to Mark Riley on Sunrise this morning makes Mr. Abbott’s action yesterday more puzzling.
    According to Mr Riley, they were given an abridged version of the videos of about eight minutes, from Mr. Abbott’s visit to Afghan last year.
    There were three army videos made. Mr. Abbott office refused to release any more of the videos.
    Mr. Riley made arrangements three hours before the interview. Mr. Riley went through a transcript of the video with his office.
    One of Mr. Abbott’s staff walked him out to the courtyard where they met up with Mr. Abbott.
    Mr. Riley said that he showed Mr. Abbott talking to the Army people and asked him what he meant by his comments. No ambush and his office fully aware of what was being discussed. Mr. Abbott office was well aware that the videos were being sought through FOI.
    The question that needs to be asked, is why Mr. Abbott appeared to be shocked when he saw the video when he knew what the interview was to be about. Nowhere are there any allegations about Mr. Abbott, just a question to why he said what he did.
    Also why did his office refuse to follow previous protocol and hand over all the videos? Why did Mr. Hockey and Mr. Abbott refuse to go on Sunrise this morning? Even Mr. Turnbull was out this morning. I can only ask, of what are they afraid?

  4. I don’t care for either side of the political fence & even less for Abbott. The following is an email I received from a recently decorated Vietnam Veteran & is echoed by most of the veteran community.

    “I am a Vietnam Veterans who sadly lost thirteen young men killed in action during one afternoon in Vietnam at the Battle of Long Tan and can publicly say that on some days in war zones shit does happen.

    Yet Channel 7 News, shown on Brisbane TV News, showed Tony Abbott uttering the very same words and he was lambasted by a journalist sensationalising an event when Tony Abbott visited and spoke with a USA General.

    Channel Seven you are, as they in Australia, a pack of mongrel bastards for trying to make mileage on a discussion between Tony Abbott, an American and Australian General.

    In the frames I saw on the news showed an Australian two star general, a Major General, nodding in agreement.

    I believe what I am about to say will be endorsed by all war veterans.

    There is no place for narrow minded and fuzzy brained journalists anywhere near a combat operational area.

    The soldier killed last August and video of that action in the news clip by Channel Seven was a report when Abbott visited the unit late last year. The soldier was from my battalion, the Sixth Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, and we feel the pain whenever an Australian warrior is killed or wounded, and warriors detest any news agency that creates sensational political journalism for its own purposes is the lowest of mongrel acts.”

  5. Why is it that some “reporters” think they are above everybody? This jerk from C7 appeared to me to be an utter twit!. “A storm in a tea cup” is aptly put. Federal Labor got back into government – Shit happens.

  6. No, we shouldn’t care about it at all. The media were just trying to boost Labor up a bit more, by taking a cheap potshot at Abbott. It annoyed me no end, and I think he gave the journalist the reply he deserved … none!

    Julia Gillard is well aware that she is being described as The Plastic Woman compared with Anna Bligh, who came across as a more caring person during the flood crisis here in Queensland – not that she is without her faults.

    I was singularly unimpressed by Julia Gillard’s attempt to deceive us all in the parliament yesterday – with her faltering voice, sniffles and a couple of crocodile tears, while she waffled on about women and children, as if she actually cared.

    Then as Tony Abbott gave a more dignified rendition of the same concerns, she sat in her chair with the muted expression of a very depressed mouse.

    I think some politicians (male and female) on both sides of the parliament were genuinely upset, but Julia Gillard did not fool me at all with her vain attempt to impress the general public.

  7. what alot of rubbish, will shit does happen.
    We watch Julia and others crying over the sad story of the boy drowned in the floods, yet we send troops over seas, we train them to kill, which they have, in some cases innocent children, and adults, remember the enemy is also trained to kill, we are on there land, and every now and then one of our soldiers is going to get killed. These warriors, as they called are not there to do knitting classes, so lets cry for all the innocent victims of this never to be won war, bring them home Julia, Rebuild there country post the Russian invasion, with kindness, medicine and food, not guns, and we might get some where. Tony was quite within his rights, to what he said, I guess the media has to cause some sensation to get the ratings?

  8. I think your inclination towards policy over politicians is very revealing- and all too rare. I cannot imagine a single party boss, minister, shadow minister would share your view. To them, politics is just a power game, and policy just one of the means for winning it. How warped is that?

  9. Bartlett wrote ‘it’s not as if he hasn’t already repeatedly and openly displayed what sort of person & politician he is’.

    At least Abbott never got drunk and grabbed a bottle of wine from a female politician, knocking her around.

  10. No I don’t expect he has Jack. Neither have I, although I don’t imagine you’d bothered about things like facts getting in the way of your comments.

    (although it is somewhat apt, given this is a post about overblown media stories and misrepresentations of reality)

  11. Jack:

    I heard that Tony Abbott was instrumental in having a female politician (Pauline Hanson) thrown into the slammer.

    Despite the fact he is a practising Catholic, he had no problem telling us that Jesus Christ would never have led the Liberal Party. Then he laughed.

    This man is a hypocrite and clearly needs to practise his particular brand of religion quite a lot more, but on the current issue involving warfare, I cannot see that he is to blame.

    However, only an idiot (Abbott) would suggest paying a woman on $150,000 annual income a huge sum of money to stay home and look after her baby. As Andrew quite rightly points out, our society has a lot of very pressing issues to address that affect the average and the poor.

    Here in Queensland, food banks were feeding 70,000 people every week, some of whom had absolutely no place to live, BEFORE massive flooding made housing uninhabitable and food crops were wiped out.

    I can’t imagine Andrew Bartlett ever hurting anyone. To my knowledge, he gave up drinking quite a long time ago.

    If you and I had to serve in the parliament alongside some of the scumbags who sit there, or put up with skulduggerous journalists driving us nuts all the time, we might end up hitting the bottle quite often ourselves.

  12. Okay.
    On the strength of that – here goes –
    Mr. Abbott, were he not a raffle winner, would be an absolute caution down the pub, Friday night.
    A bit of a pug who likes his way, what?

    Analyse the news reports carefully.
    Tony made that comment at question talking to some brass.
    He’s read the Tom Clancy novels so he’s jam packed with alpha male, jingoistic, crapola out of which he selected what he hoped would be an appropriately macho one liner.

    Regardez, though – the response which allegedly went something like – “certainly does.”

    Call me hypersensitive, but were I in Mr. Abbott’s shoes I’d be scanning the eyes of whoever said that for the hint of sarcasm and contempt that undoubtedly would have been burning there.
    Australian star rankers ain’t stupid and to be there with all their responsibility they have to have assimilated a fair deal of historical precedent.
    They are perfectly aware that Afghanistan is an incredibly fraught scenario offering all too many ways to end up dead.

    Shit doesn’t happen there as often as it does back home – ‘cos sometimes it is too bloody dangerous to wander behind a bit of cover to take a crap.

    Death happens in Afghanistan – if you make yourself unwelcome and stay there too long.

    Maybe if Tony had stayed just another day things might have turned out all right?

  13. As I said elsewhere, I think the realists in the opposition want Abbott tossed for something a bit less hard-assed and excluding. A lazy “shit happens” is not really adequate, state of the art leadership when serious issues are being considered.
    Bishop is taking into account Howard’s shrewd contention that the coalition has to be a “broad church”, more inclusive and what’s more, looking and sounding more conciliatory. It can’t gain government by just holding the converted, it has to win back the centre, which abandoned it for Labor after 2007.

  14. I was rung on the weekend, to take part in a survey. The firm mentioned as running the thing did ring a bell as reputable, thouugh subsequent events have erased it from the memory bank. Among other, similar questions, I was asked if I strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed … something like … the government ought to take more action to solve the problem of … illegal migrants.

    I asked for the definition of “illegal” that the question was assuming. The women on the other end had no idea.

    What worries me is that a lot of people asked this question are being led into appearing to have an opinion they might not hold: I imagine all the readers here would know the definition of “illegal” as per our own Immigration Act specifically excludes those covered by the UN Declaration of a refugee, or on other words, if you are a refugge, you are not illegal.

    Next time some says that such and such a percentage of hte AUstralian people think this that or the other about so-called “illegal” migrants, ask them what that actually means.

    I fear this sort of possibly sloppy, possibly malicious information gathering is part of a campaign. I know this is a cliche, but there is a reason things become cliches. I smell the 1930s in Germany.

  15. Wondering:

    I know what you mean about telephone surveys. It’s hard to know what answers to give to questions, because we’re not made aware of what aspect of an issue the questioner is alluding to.

    I have done one from the Lowy Institute, in which I was asked difficult questions about various overseas countries which I found almost impossible to answer.

    Then I did another survey in which I was asked questions about various Australian issues, including mining. How can we answer the questions accurately, or to the best of our ability, without asking 3 or 4 of our own?

  16. it happens alright

    did anyone actually know what was sead in the conversation mabe the person who was speeking sead i burnt the snags on the barby last night . know one will know because it was cut out .
    dam shit dose happen
    havent watched tvw7 since i didnt think they could get that low but i was wrong againe

    but it did get all the accademics buzzing didnt it .

    some ppl cant hear or see .

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