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Australians Love A Hypocrite

By Pearl Bullivant on February 3, 2012 in Other

Australians love a hypocrite. We embrace them, we excuse their behaviour and we even promote them to positions of power. Our media is controlled by one, hypocritical shock jocks dominate our airwaves and we seem content to be ruled by hypocrites in all tiers of government.

2011 was a watershed year for public hypocrisy, with Pearl’s favourite woman at large, Gina Rinehart, crying poormouth despite her status as the wealthiest woman in Australia (where’s Rose Hancock-Porteous when you need her?). Australian banks continued on their usual path of hypocrisy, having the audacity to warn of doom and gloom and staff cuts despite earning record profits. And Qantas CEO Alan Joyce should be awarded a medal for hypocrisy, scoring himself a $2million bonus while refusing Qantas staff pay rises, some of which amounted to a measly increase of a one dollar an hour.

But for Pearl the most memorable moment in hypocrisy (and the moment most ignored by the media) for 2011 was Jeff Kennett’s spray against the proposed poker machine reform. Where does this man get off? On one hand he is loudly bemoaning the reform, doing the Chicken Little act and claiming the sky will fall down because the survival of AFL is (apparently) linked to poker machine takings. All the while Mr Kennett has the gumption to chair BeyondBlue, a depression initiative, which launched a responsible gambling campaign in 2008. In his role he also claimed that “the best environment in which to raise a child is a stable loving marriage between a man and a woman”, despite the fact that his own marriage has been plagued with controversy. Of course Mr Kennett’s blatant hypocrisy is ignored by the media, and worse still, it gets laughed off and excused: Jeff Kennett is ‘just a loose cannon’; he’s a ‘character’; and (my favourite excuse for hypocrisy) he is a ‘contradiction’.

I don’t know why Australian’s willingly accept hypocrisy. Does hypocrisy render public figures as fallible and real? Or are we so gullible and apathetic that we are just willing to swallow a constant stream of spin?

We put up with a hypocritical media – a media that jumps on the ABC regarding ‘balanced reporting’ (it’s balanced as long as it’s right wing!), yet openly does its best to bring down the Gillard and Obama governments, whilst endorsing the US Republican Party.

‘Balanced’? We put up with John Howard’s government for eleven years and his reign over Australia was plagued by hypocrisy: middle class welfare at the expense of those in need; his appalling treatment of refugees despite allowing international students free reign so that they could keep Australian universities afloat. He was the champion of the stay-at-home mum, but forced single mothers back into the workforce. He was all for ‘working Australian families’ but insisted that Australians abandon the Monday-to-Friday working week mentality so that he could remove weekend penalty rates for the benefit of big business. And now Australia is prepared to vote in another hypocrite, Phoney Tony, who has openly admitted we shouldn’t believe everything he says.

Why do we accept the lies, the spin? Because Australia lives the hypocritical dream: we whinge about the cost of living but have the latest technology; we complain about doing it tough with a $2million mortgage; our kiddies eat junk food but we extol organics and non-pasteurised milk; we loudly advocate bare foot running yet routinely wear stilettos; we attempt to ‘find ourselves’ in luxury retreats in third world Bali; we drive our SUVs, consume conspicuously and pretend to be bohemian.

Remember though, it’s not hypocrisy – it’s CONTRADICTION!