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22 AUGUST 2013

How would it feel to be represented by someone like Tony Abbott?

"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?"

(GetUp!)

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TAGS

2013 • abortion rights • Australia • Australian Federal Government • Australian GovernmentAustralian Liberal Partycasual homophobiacivil libertiesconservativeconservative attitudesconservative catchphrasesequality • gaffes • gayGetUp!governancehousewifehuman rightsIndigenous Australiansintoleranceironinglesbianmisogyny • national character • national values • personal valuespoliticsPrime Ministerquoterefugeeself-esteemsexist languagesocial conservatismsocial responsibility • social views • Tony Abbott • values

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 OCTOBER 2008

The Political Compass

"The old one–dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right–wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher?

On the standard left–right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right–wingers', yet that leaves left–wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook."

[Despite the usefulness of the ''Political Compass'' questionnaire the results clearly illustrate the problem with attempting to make such direct correlations.]

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1789 • belief systemsconservative • French National Assembly • ideologyideology quiz • left-wing • neoliberalismpolitical compass • political landscape • politicsprogressive political perspectiveright-wingsocial conservatism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 MAY 2007

Yes Prime Minister: parodying Australian Prime Minister

[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'.]

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AustraliaAustralian Liberal Partyconservativeculture jamming • fridge magnet poetry • humourinteractiveJohn HowardLittle Johnnyparodypoliticianpolitician caricaturePrime Ministerright-wing • SameSame • satiresocial conservatismspeech • Thought By Them • toy
30 NOVEMBER 2004

Sutherland's notoriously disliked painting of Winston Churchill

"Sutherland was commissioned by both Houses of Parliament to paint a full–length portrait of Churchill in 1954, for which this is a study. The finished painting was presented to Churchill. It was destroyed by his wife Clementine.

...The destruction of Sutherland's painting is one of the most notorious cases of a subject disliking their portrait. This painted sketch of Churchill's head, a study for the lost, full–length painting, suggests why. It's not simply that Sutherland's modernist tendencies irked the conservative tastes of the Sunday painter prime minister. This is a very unhappy painting. Old, grumpy, with an anger that no longer seems leavened by the humour and verbal creativity of the Churchill of legend, this is a reactionary curmudgeon surrounded by the shades of night.

The painting is black and rough, as if burnt, as if Churchill were emerging from the ruins of Europe, from a world not saved but shattered. The man himself still has a stoic authority; he might be the ancient Roman Cicero waiting to be murdered. There's a sculpted quality to his sturdy bald head that reminds you of Roman busts. There's also a sadness and sense of defeat, rather than the assertion of indomitability in the Churchill statue outside the Houses of Parliament. This is a man alone, in the real wilderness years."

(Jonathan Jones, 3 November 2001, The Guardian)

Fig.1 Winston Churchill, by Graham Vivian Sutherland, pencil and wash, circa 1954, 22 1/2 in. x 17 3/8 in. (570 mm x 440 mm), Purchased, 1990, NPG 6096, National Portrait Gallery, London.
Fig.2 Churchill in 1954 – portrait by Graham Sutherland (imperfect reproduction).

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TAGS

1874 • 1954196520th century • also-ran • Boer warBritish art • Clementine Churchill • cold warcommissionconservativedestruction • dwindling health • emerging from the ruins • extraordinary achievements • figuration • finest hour • Francis Bacon • Graham Sutherland • home secretary • Houses of Parliament • indomitability • iron curtain • legendliberal • man alone • National Portrait Gallery • neo-romantic painter • Nobel Prizenotorious • painted sketch • paintingpopularityportraitportraiturePrime Minister • reactionary curmudgeon • Roman Cicero • romanticismsadnessSecond World War • sense of defeat • shattered • Sir Winston Spencer Churchill • stoic • striking miners • sunday painter • The Guardian • The Second World War • warwar correspondent • war leader • wartime prime minister • wilderness years • Winston ChurchillWorld War II
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