June 29th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY John Setka, for all his faults, is the perfect scapegoat

FIGHTING FUND NCC president Patrick J. Byrne outlines the goals for 2019

SPECIAL FEATURE Author Rod Dreher brings St Benedict to bear on our decline and fall

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS One million protest China's attack on Hong Kong's freedom

GENDER POLITICS Vatican issues document on gender ideology

POLITICS AND SOCIETY New secularist strategies to bury Christianity

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 4: Ancient Jewish view of the cosmos

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal: An account from the live streaming

BANKING FEATURE Greed works ... at least for a while and for a few

IDEOLOGY Feminist claims for equality, Part 2: What feminism should be

IDEOLOGY WARS Roger Scruton and the Tories: a sorry tale

MUSIC Melodic abundance: John, Paul, Duke and Antonio

CINEMA The End: Staging the apocalypse

BOOK REVIEW Scenes from Dante's Inferno

BOOK REVIEW Mrs Gould: she who drew the pictures



NATIONAL AFFAIRS A Q&A to clarify issues in Cardinal Pell's appeal

HUMOUR A Western flop lob-story and that

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COVER STORY John Setka, for all his faults, is the perfect scapegoat

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, June 29, 2019

The Labor Party’s breast-beating and confected outrage about union boss John Setka’s alleged slight on anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty is hard to take seriously.

A particular emphasis needs to be placed on Setka’s “alleged” comments because Setka has strenuously denied denigrating the former Australian of the Year, and no one has come forward with any evidence to show exactly what was said.

In fact, union witnesses have come forward to declare Setka did not put down Batty.

Yet senior figures in the Labor Party and the ACTU have lined up to condemn the CFMMEU union boss, with newly minted Labor leader Anthony Albanese declaring that Setka should be expelled from the party.

Setka is the Victorian secretary of the most militant branch of the most militant union in the country that has tipped in more than $1 million into the Labor Party’s coffers since he took over the branch in 2012.

For years Setka has engaged in threats, intimidation, bullying and violent behaviour, which has had the benefit of his members becoming the highest-paid construction workers in the country.

Not surprisingly, the Victorian CFMMEU members are staunch and will back Setka to the hilt. If Setka wants to stay, he will stay.

According to reports, Setka is alleged to have said that Batty’s campaigning efforts had led to fewer rights for men. Setka denies saying this.

However, he has never denied royal commission evidence that he threatened to bury a concreter’s head “alongside Ned Kelly’s”, nor that he has been mates with various Melbourne underworld figures, including Mick Gatto.

Setka’s police record includes more than 60 charges and almost 40 offences over misdemeanours including theft, assault by kicking, criminal damage and assaulting police.

Yet no one in the Labor Party said boo about this before the election.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, colum­nist Joe Hildebrand declared – correctly – that the move to expel Setka has nothing to do with what Setka did or didn’t say at a union meeting and everything to do with sending a message to the party and the nation that the days of division and revolution are over.

“This isn’t about what Setka did or didn’t say, it isn’t about Rosie Batty or men’s rights. In fact, it isn’t even about John Setka himself. It is about an Australian Labor Party that over the past decade has been gradually hijacked by extreme elements of the Victorian left to the point that it lost an unloseable election to a government that was imploding.”

Hildebrand goes on to argue that the extremities in the union movement and the feminist movement are ultimately not compatible.

“Melbourne’s hard left coalition of militant union hard men and Marxist feminist academics was always going to be destroyed by its inherent hypocrisy,” Hildebrand wrote.

“Indeed, it is telling that there are now so many hard-core men’s activist right-wingers on social media flocking to Setka’s defence while his hard-core feminist comrades attack innocent men for doing nothing yet are deafening in their silence when it’s one of their mates. So much for protecting women.”

An even more blunt take on the Setka controversy came from The Australian’s Katrina Grace Kelly, who was formerly a union official herself.

“This is not about someone making an observation about a family violence activist and the types of reform her work has produced. This is about finding an election-loss scapegoat and swinging him from the highest rafter,” Kelly wrote.

“After a humiliating defeat, Labor is desperate to repair its image in the public eye. Since election night, there has been a great big Labor Party noose swinging in the breeze, looking for a neck to tighten around. And now one has been found. And what a neck it is.

“Despite all this, we are supposed to believe that the Opposition Leader wants to kick Setka out of Labor over none of the above but over something else, something he allegedly said about Rosie Batty – which no one has a transcript of, and which Setka denies, and has witnesses to back him.”

Mr Albanese may want to rub out Mr Setka from the Labor Party, but this only masks a bigger issue, which is the party’s complete dependence on the union movement for resources, funding and campaign grunt.

Labor was happy to have CFMMEU officials fly all over the country to campaign in marginal seats before the election, but now wants to pretend it is outraged by some rough language from its best-known official.

The reality is that the hard man of the Victorian union movement is a soft target and Mr Albanese knows this.

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