How do I begin this post? I typed introduction after introduction and each left me feeling at a loss. It wasn’t until I took a step back that I realized that the issue wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to say it was that I didn’t know how to say it without resorting to some fairly inappropriate language, which while satisfying would not do my argument any favors. So I decided to start with what I find so reprehensible that it has kept me at a loss for words for over a week.
The Abbott Government is destroying Australia and by that I do not mean wood chipping, dredging, logging and the variety of other issues that I will be laying at their door as I go on. What I mean by destroying Australia is that our country is supposed to be more than its resources, borders and laws it’s an idea and they are crushing it. All that makes this country great, all that gives us pride and they don’t care, in fact I’m not sure they even understand what it is they are killing.
We are not perfect, we’ve had issues with racism, discrimination and the lack of equality between people and some of those we are still fighting. I’m not trying to paint a rosy hands around the world image here but we have been fighting it, working to create a country where a person can have choices in life and opportunities not found elsewhere.
The origin of these changes of the past decades have sprung from the idea of what Australia is meant to be. A country that cares for its people when they cannot care for themselves, a country that respects those who sacrifice and a country determined that each generation has the chance to learn and to grow regardless of their economic, religious or ethnic backgrounds. Australia is supposed to be a place where those who have more help those who have less and do so because it is the right thing to do, the fair thing to do, the Australian thing to do. It’s such a little thing, so fragile and yet we should hold carefully as it is our greatest treasure.
The release of the budget last week makes a mockery of all that we have been, all that we are and all that we could still become. It is so strange that I never understood how much I took for granted the Australian ideal until it was shredded with every word that Joe Hockey spoke. We’ve all come to expect some level of disingenuous behavior from politicians during elections but in this case there is no grey area left for this government to fade into.
By breaking specific promises in regards to health, education and the pension [along with many others] Abbott and his cabinet has crossed a line that has their own members outraged. There has also been a meeting or war council [according to the Sydney Morning Herald] of premiers in Sydney, incensed by the budget’s projected withdrawal of $80 billion over the decade for health and education, and by a series of “bust the budget” rallies around the country. At one in particular, Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt revealed his party would try to force a new election, arguing Mr Abbott has breached his mandate. [ Petition to force a new election ]
Mr Abbott has tried to ‘dance a little side-step‘ by saying last Sunday on the ABC’s Insiders program, that he had let voters know what was coming, even before the election, saying:
You might remember the mantra – it was stop the boats, repeal the carbon tax, build the roads of the 21st century, and get the budget back under control
That however does not cover the main election platform which he placed on billboards in every city in Australia declaring his promises regarding the other issues, as you can see by the image here. As for the issue regarding Asylum seekers or Stopping the Boats as he prefers to say it, more money has been spent on this issue [including the 8 new Poseidon jets from the US and our brand new Australian Border Force] than is reasonable especially considering the fact that seeking asylum in Australia is NOT ILLEGAL, not since 1958 when it signed the Refugee Convention.
His plans for higher education leave me feeling worried about the future of tertiary learning here in Australia. In actual fact considering his own background it reeks or hypocrisy as Abbott, not even an Australian citizen at this stage, received a FREE education. He only took up citizenship at the age of 24 so that he could receive a passport to take up his Rhodes Scholarship [honestly a man who earned that level of qualification should be able to see what a mess he is making of this country].
His attack of the provision of care for those who need it most is unconscionable especially set beside billions of dollars being spent on planes to keep asylum seekers from our shores along with the enormous cost both economically and morally for the illegal detention of these people for indeterminate periods of time.
The lack of respect given to the pensioners in this budget makes my skin crawl as they now have to bear future increase in medical, energy and fuel bills on a more restricted budget and risk being forced to sell their homes to eke out their income so as not to be one of Joe Hockey’s leaners. Coming from a man who is the richest Treasure since Edward Theodore in the 1930’s [Hockey worth over $10 million] I find this type of attitude deplorable. Our seniors have been the back bone of this country for the past decades and while Tony Abbott spends 4.4 million dollars renovating Kirribilli House [residence of the Prime Minister] he has the audacity to suggest lowering the means test so that more and more pensioners will be forced to sell their homes or not receive an income.
As for this governments attitude toward the environment I think a sentence from the Prime Minister himself in March 2014 says more than enough about their plans for the protection of Australia’s environment:
Why should we lock up, as some kind of world heritage sanctuary, country which has been logged, degraded or planted for timber? Why should we do that
The governments ongoing steadfast denial regarding alternate energy sources, funding for the environment and upholding our World Heritage listings are beginning to make us look much more than foolish on the world stage. Australia will still be pursing a bid to strip areas of Tasmanian forestry of their world heritage listings despite a report released on Saturday by they IUCN [who advise UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee] stating the it should be rejected outright. [Sydney Morning Herald] Greens Senator Christine Milne spoke about the report findings with the Herald saying:
The expert bodies that advise the World Heritage Committee have condemned the Australian government for failing to provide any evidence of their claim that large parts of the forest are degraded. Instead, they’ve ordered the Australian government to get on with giving the world heritage area a high standard of management and cultural interpretation.
I think Australia is facing a very important crossroads. How we respond to this budget and the other ongoing issues in regards to Asylum seekers, Social Welfare, Indigenous Affairs and the Environment [to name just a few] will shape the future of this country for years to come. However for the first time in history the average person has access to information usually carefully selected by mainstream media and the government of the day and this access has changed the rules of the game.
True pressure can be bought to bear and social media has proven that it offers more than just personal interaction it can also be a tool to refute, protest and drive public opinion of those in power. In previous times of flux throughout history the populace was hampered by the difficulties of amassing enough support on a regular basis to make a difference. Now that is not the case and the cliché of information is power is truer than ever before. It can be as an effective, if not more so, weapon than money, in the hands of the public, should we choose to utilize it as such. We have a choice to make and dice to roll with the future of the next few generations as the stakes in this gamble. But you know what – I think Abbott might just have thrown Snake Eyes.
Well would you look at that, after being unable to start it seems I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum and need to wind things up before this piece can be divided into chapters. After watching the incredible ducking and weaving, interlaced with smirking, from our Prime Minister and his cabinet this week I can think of no better way to end this post by providing the most concise picture of Tony Abbott and his cohorts that has ever been put to song.
The funny thing is that this piece came out in the seventies and is a wonderful parody of the side-stepping politician in the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Charles Durning as the slippery Governor in Texas. But for those who haven’t seen this fancy piece of footwork enjoy the song because it was the mold from which Abbott was cast.