Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Phelps of an Afternoon

So. My blog last Friday caused a bit of a stir.

Some people were supportive.  Some were abusive (towards me and @Nyx2701) and were promptly unfollowed and/or blocked.

@PeterPhelpsMLC certainly hasn't been turned off twitter.  He also hasn't been banned by O'Farrell, it would seem.

In any event, Phelps and I ended up sparring for a part of this afternoon.  You can make what you like of the conversation - I'm just going to post it below as best I can.  It did shoot off in a few different directions (as conversations on twitter are wont to do) but hopefully it makes sense.

I think my view is clear, as is his.

The conversation started out this story on the Sydney Morning Herald Website.
The story explained that Conroy had been answering questions at the National Press Club on investment in Australia.  It was being broadcast on the ABC at the time. He apparently said the following:
The story wasn't particularly interesting, to me at least.  He accidentally swore, he immediately realised it was inappropriate, apologised and moved on.

The fuss the Herald made about was a little ridiculous, but par for the course in a media culture where it's "all about the clicks".

In any event, @LatikaMBourke tweeted this:
Phelps replied soon after:
My response was this:
From there the conversation kinda just flowed:
For those of you not in the know, my twitter avatar is of Jules Winnfield, a character in the brilliant Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction. Jules has, to say the least, a potty mouth.
A few people chimed in along the way:

Coming back to Peter and me:
Look, no doubt you have your own opinion about this conversation.  Maybe you think I'm being a bit precious.  I don't know.

I guess my point is this.  I'm not "offended" by anything he has said.  What I am is disappointed that someone who has been elected as my representative in this State's Upper House thinks that this is an appropriate way to behave.

Yes, I can unfollow him.  But that's not the point.  Politicians have a responsibility to act like adults and treat voters with respect.

I don't care what Peter is like in private.  I've certainly heard comments about that, but it's not the point.  If you want to get out there and engage with the community (which is a fantastic thing for a politician to do, in my opinion) then you'd better bring your courtesy with you.

If being polite is a little too hard, then we'd all rather you didn't bother.


  1. Wow, Peter Phelps is a great example of the 'new' Liberal bogan..funny to see that they dont 'see' how downhill they represent their party stance.
    Let him continue - soon he will put his foot in his mouth. Bit of a 'smart alex' for me.

  2. Can I just say that my tweet quoted above responded to PP's quote from the song 'Buffalo Soldier' by Bob Marley, and ... oh, never mind.

    Peter didn't learn his politics from grassroots politicking, meeting people face to face and having to work with those who don't necessarily share his views. He learnt his politics from books and from other cave trolls who like the idea of power but don't like actual people. That's why I made the tweet about public service after your exchange: the whole public service aspect of his job, from which basic courtesy would come, is absent. I don't think he wants to engage with the community. I think he's one of those politicians who just wants to impose things, and himself, upon the community.

    Apart from going to the toilet, social media is the only activity he can do without seeking permission from David Clarke. This is why there's that naughty-boy sense of boundary-pushing with these tweets. I don't know how you teach humility to such a man: some are born humble while others have humility thrust upon them, and it looks like the latter is the only way such lessons can be learned for some people.

  3. Billy Connolly says there's no such thing as bad language, just bad use of language. There's really no comparison between what Conroy said in a rare moment of candour, and the hateful crap that spews from this Phelps person's feed - with or without swear words.

    I thought the Libs regarded tax cuts as fuckin' fantastic anyway.

    Regarding the Hawke incident he refers to, let's get some context.
    What happened was that Hawke was doing a meet & greet in a shopping centre when a man approached him and said, "Why don't you do something for the pensioners instead of lining your pockets with the taxpayers' money?" That may not be a verbatim quote, but that was the gist of it.

    Now Bob Hawke is a lot of things (and you can take that any way you like) but he is not a thief. Hawke responded to the gentleman and then, when turning away, said with a chuckle, "Silly old bugger."
    Naturally the media whipped up a big outrage about this, but the fact was the man had accused him of something he hadn't done, and without any provocation. Under the circumstances, I think a mutter of "silly old bugger," was perfectly warranted.