Friday, April 6, 2018
What will it take to make Australia great again?
Or are we great enough already?
The power of Trumpian vulgarity was weighed up against the ability of conventional politicians to solve our nation’s problems at the MRC’s second Thought Network event for 2018 this week, when we hosted the debate, Does Australia Need a Donald Trump?
News Corp columnist Miranda Devine, debating for the affirmative alongside Daily Telegraph opinion editor James Morrow, said Australia needed a politician who was “not afraid to give the middle finger” to the politically correct establishment. "We need someone who can stand up to identity politics, who stands up for free speech and for Australia Day and all the things that make our country and western civilisation great instead of virtue signalling or wilting like a cuckservative.”
That last word caused Crikey’s reporter, Margot Saville, who bought a ticket to cover the event, to detect sinister undertones in the debate. “Miranda was using the term, which first appeared on websites such as 4chan in 2015, to describe moderates like Malcolm Turnbull,” Saville wrote on the Crikey website the following day. “It’s also very popular with white supremacists, who use it to describe white politicians who promote the interests of Jews and people of colour. Just using it has probably earned me a lifetime membership of Reclaim Australia.”
All photos by Mckenzi Scott
Foreign policy analyst and CIS executive director Tom Switzer and Thought Broker managing director Parnell McGuinness argued valiantly for the negative, saying Australia's political and social stability precluded a disruptor like Trump, and that we had already tried electing a narcissist - Kevin Rudd - which didn't work out very well. But the audience was always going to be a tough crowd for their case.
The ensuing Q&A revealed the complexity of the proposition, with Switzer arguing as passionately against the Paris Climate Agreement as Devine argued for renewed unity in the Liberal party. For a sample of the debate, see the video above. The full-length video will be on our site next week.
And don’t miss our next event: Beyond a Joke: Politics and the Demise of Aussie Larrikinism. Book here.