Let’s do the Kutasi!

Bugger it.

The recent media-storm-in-a-teacup regarding the sensational revelation that NSW Young Liberals aren’t exactly backwards-about-coming-forwards inre their attitudes towards women, queers and blacks prompted some ‘neo-con’ (statist reactionary) to leave a post on my blog:

    “The ‘Racist, sexist, homophobic’ chant is a parody of the rhetoric the left use when describing Liberal students. Few actually consider themselves racist, sexist or homophobic.”

Which theme James the New Conservative elaborates on his blog, and to which the following (slightly reformulated) is a reply:

:::::::

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    ABC hatchet job

    “They [the ABC] seem to be on a bit of a crusade [against the Tories].”

I’m unconvinced: the real crusade is currently being led by George II, with HoWARd — Patron Saint of the Young Liberals, and former President (1964/1965) of the NSW Branch — content to play the role of snivelling sidekick, and the Young Liberals his dysfunctional cheer squad.

Besides, if ALP branch-stacking is deemed newsworthy, then so too is Tory Party branch-stacking. And the criticisms extend beyond assertions of ‘social conservatism’. (That is, if you regard racism, sexism and homophobia as distinct from social conservatism.)

What’s interesting, I think, is the shift in power that has been established through the use of such practices; secondly, the implications this has for the future development of the Party and NSW state politics.

As for Imre… [whom James cites as providing proof of the ABC’s nefarious activities] there are two claims in the article (‘Liberals complain of ABC threats’, The Australian, July 13, 2006) which might constitute evidence of “thuggery and intimidation”. The first is an extract from the [Tory Party’s] letter of complaint [to the ABC]:

“The standard testimony from these members is that (the reporter) has used unwarranted demands of a subpoena to try and obtain an interview,” the letter says.

Which is definitely odd behaviour for a journalist. I mean, if I read the allegation correctly. (They’re alleged to have issued / threatened to issue demands to appear in court?) If so, this would presumably be considered unethical under the semi-mythical journalists’ code of ethics that Media Watch keeps tut-tutting at infractions of… again… and again… and again. Not to mention the law?

In any case, I think it would first need to be established that the journalist’s (alleged) conduct was as a result of their carrying out instructions from a superior before a conscious campaign of disembiggening of the Tories could be attributed to the ABC as a whole.

As for the second :

A former member of the Liberal Party, Kyle Kutasi, has made a statutory declaration claiming the reporter told him: “I know more about you than you could possibl[y] know. I have files on you. I have photos of you. I have statements from women saying that you assaulted them.”

What Salusinszky fails to mention is the fact that this cat called Katusi is not just ‘a former member’ of the Tories, but:

a) a former President of the Sydney University Liberal Club (2001/2002);

b) in April 2004, received “congratulations” from the NSW Young Liberals for being one of “our very vocal hecklers” at some daft debate with Young Labor;

c) if Salusinszky read the SMH, he might have read the following (July 1, ‘Party Animals’):

The most controversial accusation made by moderates is the use of “double agents” or “sleepers” by the conservatives – people who join the party, claim to have moderate views and become friends with moderates, while secretly working for the right and trying to take over branches.

One of those who has come under attack as a sleeper is Kyle Kutasi, who is engaged to Clarke’s daughter, Anne-Marie. Kutasi is said to have taken over three Young Liberal branches, including Newtown, by posing first as a moderate and bringing in friends. He denies the accusations but will not comment further, saying he has been burnt by journalists in the past.

In an interview two years ago, [Alex] Hawke told the Herald the double agent accusations were lies. He said people who were initially interested in the left had simply decided their views were better suited to the right. But Hawke also admitted he had embarked on a recruitment campaign.

d) in his inaugural speech (27/05/03) to Parliament David Clarke said:

“The Liberal Party now has a new young generation of members of talent and dedication to carry our party forward. Nicholas Campbell of our party’s State Executive, Alex Hawke, the new President of the Young Liberals, and his three vice-presidents Natasha McLaren, Anthony Orkin and KYLE KATUSI, are all in the vanguard of our party’s organisational wing. I take great pride in being a member of a party comprised of such good young people as these.”

e) he’s one of the principal villains of the piece.

But if it’s true that ABC employees aren’t “very fond” of the Tories, one could be forgiven for thinking that it’s got something to do with Tory Party policy.

For this reason — taking Liberal Party claims seriously, but without seriously investigating them — and for many others, Imre Salusinszky merits the term ‘hack’ far more than do the award-winning journalists at Four Corners.

    “I doubt any actually consider themselves racist, sexist or homophobic, a point underscored by the fact that women, gays and people not of Anglo-Saxon background have been known to repeat the chant.”

What the young, self-declared ‘racist, sexist, homophobes’ consider themselves is surely beside the point. That is, if the students who did so say ‘sorry for the offence we acknowledge we caused through our insensitivity’, great. The point its use in the Lateline report underscores is not concerned with whether or not this chant is popular among “women, gays and people not of Anglo-Saxon background”, but the political shift in the Young Liberals to the (far) right it represents.

Finally, you’re ignoring the context of these remarks.

    “Further, the God save the Queen performance was in many cases delivered by staunch republicans.”

Again, this is beside the point.

JOHN STEWART: In 2004, Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett opened the national student conference with a speech from the land’s traditional owners. He says that throughout his speech, Liberal students sang God Save the Queen.

TED LOVETT, BALLARAT COMMUNITY ELDER: I sort of, you know, I just sort of stopped dead and I let ’em finish their song and when they finished, I said, “alright you’ve had your national anthem,” I said, “I’ll give you mine”.

JOHN STEWART: Mr Lovett says the students were later removed.

TED LOVETT: You know how they humiliated me, they not only humiliated me, but they humiliated all elders right across Australia and all Aboriginal people.

JOHN STEWART: The Aboriginal elder wants an apology and a guarantee that it won’t happen again at this year’s conference.

James again :

    “It’s all about taking the piss out of the left, and seeing how angry we can make them. The Michael Moore-like editing doesn’t help the representation of ‘young liberals.'”

I’d have to watch it again before I compare the work of Vanessa Hughes and Jessica Tyrrell to Michael Moore (I expect they’d be flattered — he is kinda popular, after all!).

What it’s “about” you seem to think is the Young Liberals’ sole right to declare, which is, basically, ‘taking the piss out of lefties’. How does shouting at a conference that you’re racist, sexist and homophobic, or disrespecting Aboriginal elders achieve that? And why do you so easily allow the ‘left’ to be identified with opposition to bigotry? Do you really believe that opposition to racism, sexism and homophobia, and showing a modicum of respect for invited guests — who are simply being generous with their time — is confined to ‘leftists’?

All such antics demonstrate is that the Young Liberals are rude prats, with a stunning lack of imagination when it comes to taking the piss, and a really bad sense of humour.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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5 Responses to Let’s do the Kutasi!

  1. I’ve been to more than one NUS National Conference and I was with the NBL. Not overly proud about it, but you could do worse I suppose. Anyway, I have seen the way the Young Liberals act first-hand.

    While James is right in that the Libs in question were parodying the unholy trinity (racism, sexism and homophobia) often used to shut their faction down (when they are being racist, sexist and homophobic). When James puts it down to a few drunken yobs, he’s either lying outright or ignorant of how the Liberals operate within NUS. This behaviour by that faction is rife and constant throughout the whole conference – and alcohol is not an excuse. It is designed to tie up proceedings and (this is me guessing) to intimidate the Wets into leaving – I’ve seen that happen, even if it’s not the intended effect. It also explains why Unity, NOLS and the Libs conspire at every conference to have the Young Libs sit behind the NBL and mutter their bigotted shit, intimidate and whatever, allegedly out of earshot of the chair.

    I have also seen, first-hand, far worse behaviour by them and their mates in Unity than what was captured on video. And who can forget the “rape club” at a certain Qld campus used to intimidate the “trot” women? Or the trashings of women’s and queer rooms around the country? I think I see a picture forming.

    Most of the Liberals I’ve seen seem to have no idea why using sexism, racism and homophobia might be counter-productive, they just know it makes people want to leave when they’re being threatened. I don’t doubt they are genuinely shocked that people see them as bigots when they think they are just playing politics. Most have probably never thought about what racism, sexism or homophobia actually mean, beyond the aphorism over-employed by NUS.

    I wish that, instead of being shocked, I made that fat Liberal shit who called me a poofter eat his fucking oversized novelty hat (for some reason they were wearing sombreros at one conference). Maybe it was enough to have caused a large fistfight between the Libs and the trots through a well-placed comment. I regret nothing about that. It was hilarious.

  2. @ndy says:

    highly,

    why don’t the kids apply a little pressure to the young libs? tell them to shut the fuck up? or take it outside? silly chants may be ‘fun’ — tee hee! we’re so naughty! — but being asked to demonstrate their commitment to racism/sexism/homophobia in a more direct fashion may turn out to be less ‘fun’.

    “Most of the Liberals I’ve seen seem to have no idea why using sexism, racism and homophobia might be counter-productive, they just know it makes people want to leave when they’re being threatened. I don’t doubt they are genuinely shocked that people see them as bigots when they think they are just playing politics. Most have probably never thought about what racism, sexism or homophobia actually mean, beyond the aphorism over-employed by NUS.”

    it’s only ‘counter-productive’ if it ends up being a painful experience for them. if it intimidates ‘minorities’ and women from talking up, it’s productive. that’s the aim — ‘shut the fuck up, you whinging bastards’.

    i dunno, i guess it really depends on how seriously you take them. on the one hand, they’re young, stupid, ignorant and naive. on the other hand, they’re organised and, to the extent their behaviour prevents other students from stating their opinion and participating in decision-making, they can and should be stopped — an educational experience for all concerned!

    “I wish that, instead of being shocked, I made that fat Liberal shit who called me a poofter eat his fucking oversized novelty hat (for some reason they were wearing sombreros at one conference). Maybe it was enough to have caused a large fistfight between the Libs and the trots through a well-placed comment. I regret nothing about that. It was hilarious.”

    yeah, maybe give the young libs and the young trots a room, sell tickets, and then go grab the popcorn!

  3. Nadia says:

    I was at this NUS conference and the behaviour of the Young Liberals was abhorrent. Young women dressing as 1950\’s housewives; observers booing speakers during queer sessions; one Young Liberal assaulting a young Labor Right woman. [There] was [also] an attempt to publically humiliate NUS by [Young Liberals] on Ballarat grounds pretending to be socialist or left students; [for example] graffiti on footpaths reading \”socialists alternative\” [sic].

    Most of these students are from Townsville JCU. NUS delegates should provide information [for example, photos] to their universities showing the behaviour of the YL to illuminate who [the universities] are sending to these conferences.

  4. Din says:

    Regarding the quote from Imre Salusinszky, “I doubt any actually consider themselves racist, sexist or homophobic, a point underscored by the fact that women, gays and people not of Anglo-Saxon background have been known to repeat the chant.”

    Since when were it not possible for women to be sexist, gays to be homophobic and “people not of Anglo-Saxon background” to be racist?

  5. @ndy says:

    Hi Nadia!

    Hi Din!

    Point of clarification: the quote which you attribute to Salusinszky was in fact stated by James Paterson. Sorry. Perhaps I should’ve been clearer on that point.

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