The myth behind Morrison

OpinionThe recent hoped for Jewish vote-getter in the Wentworth by-election by P.M. Morrison, to move the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been said by some commentators to have been a ‘thought bubble’. To me it goes much further than that and is neither political, nor strategic, but a straight out theological manoeuvre and follows on from the same strategy by the current government of the United States. I would say that the USA move is driven by Vice-President Pence and all the other evangelical, born-again, fundamental, charismatic, Pentecostal Christians in the U.S. government. P.M. Morrison is of the same ilk, which many people like to call ‘happy clappers’.

These Christians believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible which I presume is why Morrison refrained from voting in last year’s same sex marriage plebiscite. If pressed, I feel Morrison would answer in the affirmative to a literal six day creation period, an Earth that is approximately 7,000 years old, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and all the other Hebrew myths and legends that make up the Judeo-Christian Old Testament. It would be a given (to Morrison) that the New Testament is inerrant.

These Christians believe wholeheartedly in the literal, imminent return of Jesus Christ as
stated many times in the New Testament – the ‘second coming’. Mind you, many of the authors of some of the books of the New Testament believed the same thing, stating then that the second coming was ‘at the very doors’. As a teenager in the late ‘50s I attended a Pentecostal church and where we were taught and warned that the second coming was imminent and that we would be ‘raptured’ (the rapture) and caught up in the air to join the hosts of heaven that will return with Jesus.

This return sees Jesus riding on a white horse, wearing a red garment and setting foot on the Mount of Olives (in Jerusalem). The Mount of Olives will ‘split in twain’ and the armies of Israel who have been fighting the invading armies of the Anti-Christ, led by the kings of the north, Gog and Magog, will flee through the gap and be saved from destruction. The invading armies will be destroyed by Jesus and his hosts and Christ will then set up his kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital. Thousands of these types of Christians visit, live in and work in Jerusalem because of this belief. Scott Morrison is such a Christian and I propose that this is the reason he has mooted the move of the Australian embassy.

John Lincolne

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Time to draw a ‘line in the sand’

OpinionIn the late 19th century, the newly formed Australian Labor Party was founded on the core values of equality, liberty, democracy and social co-operation. As the political manifestation of the union movement, the new Party’s core aim was to improve the conditions of working people everywhere. It was a clear rejection of the existing Parliamentary forces that were unable to act as an effective voice for workers and their issues.

In essence, the early pioneers of the ALP recognised that the existing, unrefined capitalist institutions were largely responsible not only for the poverty and exploitation they observed but also for the undesirable concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few. Importantly, it was clearly acknowledged that a democratically elected, representative government could, and must, play a positive role to prohibit the excesses of unbridled capitalism and reduce what they saw as blatant injustice and oppression.

Over time, however, this view was watered down, to differing degrees, by elements within the Party.

During the 1980s, the Western world rejected and dismantled the long held Keynesian narrative and instead saw the rise of ‘neo-liberal’ ideals that expounded the practice of privatisation, deregulation and a ‘retreat of government’ overall. The famous dictum of Thatcher – ‘there is no such thing as society’ echoed across the international stage and helped set up a new paradigm aimed at re-asserting control firmly in the hands of capital.

Unfortunately, this approach seeped into the Australian Labor Party by forces entirely comfortable with neo-liberalism practices. Over time, however, this approach, despite the warnings and protestations that accompanied it, has been largely discredited. The promised benefits of ‘trickle down’ economics have been exposed as a charade. The GFC itself remains a vivid testament to the failure of the market, privatisation and deregulation. There is a very important role for government and any government worth their salt cannot and must not abandon this role.

Even now, with the union movement and its emphatic call to ‘Change the Rules’, the tide is turning against hyper-capitalism and its ill-effects. The critique of capitalist excesses is strong and is growing. Even those elements within the Labor Party that once strongly championed neo-liberal policies have become increasingly silent.

However, this silence could be temporary.

Although it is encouraging to see a growing chorus within the ALP  express concern about the negative effects of the neo-liberal paradigm on the lives of everyday Australians, it is clearly time for the Labor Party to draw a line in the sand by acknowledging it was wrong to embrace the hyper-capitalist beast and by repudiating any return to such ill-fated policies. The sooner this is done, the better.

Rod Beisel