"Every week Tony Abbott makes another comment that reveals very concerning social views. Commentators blow them off as 'gaffes', but this isn't about gaffes. It's about values. It's about our national character if our Prime Minister labels refugees who seek our help as 'illegal', even as they exercise their legal, human right to flee danger. It's about the message we send to young gay and lesbian Australians, if our Prime Minister talks about their equality as a 'passing fashion,' and what that does to their self-esteem. It's about our values if a Prime Minister talks to 'the housewives of Australia as they're doing their ironing,' says his colleagues are 'not just a pretty face' and have 'sex appeal' and calls on his opponent to 'make an honest woman of herself'. Prime Ministers reflect our national values, and have the power to change them radically. Does what Tony Abbott says matter? Well, in 17 days he wants to be speaking for all of us. That's why GetUp members are launching this ad. Will you be part of it?"
CNNNN is an Australian television programme. It takes delight in parodying some of the conservative aspects of recent Australian life. This includes the increasing popularity of ''newstainment'' (as it threatens to undermine the priority of investigative journalism) and the efforts of the Liberal (social-conservative) Party (before their 2007 Federal election defeat) to undermine some of the fundamental rights and values of Australian society.
[Yes Prime Minister is an interactive parody of Australia's ex-Prime Minister John Winston Howard. The interactive toy works as a kind of digital 'fridge magnet poetry' through allowing users to re-mix Little Johnny's speeches for humorous effect. The toy was created by the Australian communications agency 'Thought By Them'.]
"The word terror activates your fear, and fear activates the strict father model, which is what conservatives want. The 'war on terror' is not about stopping you from being afraid, it's about making you afraid."
(George Lakoff, 2004)
George Lakoff (2004). "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate", Chelsea Green Publishing.
[George Lakoff uses the metaphor of the family to explain contemporary American conservative politics. He draws a distinction between a strict father model and a nurturing parents model. He believes that George Bush and his conservative cronies evoke the strict father model as a mechanism for enforcing control and reframing debate around issues of security and self-interest. The conservatives in Australia appear to be following a similar line - evident in their anti-terrorism campaign, played-out through television advertisements and train station billboards.]
"This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. You are in Darwin, Northern Territory. There is chaos all around you caused by a cyclone with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions. You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury. Suddenly you see a man floundering in the water. He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer - somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realise who it is. It's John Howard. At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to pull him under. You have two options, you can save the life of 'Little Johnny' or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of the Australian Prime Minister. So here's the question, and please give an honest answer: Would you select colour film, or would you go with the high contrast black and white?"
[This email has likely circulated the Internet for a while. While the specifics of the story may have been altered, its general thrust will likely be the same. Witty emails like this one provide an avenue for public commentary (in this case about the former Australian Prime Minister John Winston Howard).]