I often use humor and sarcasm to soften the sting of bad news or bring some levity to a situation that appears bleak. However when it comes to what is happening at a political and governmental level here in Australia I am beginning to feel that such tactics are beyond even my affinity with snark to lighten the weight of the blows that just keep coming.
Growing up in a political household taught me a great deal about the variety of people who enter into that field. There are those who genuinely seek to offer service, those who have an agenda [climate, feminism, economic reform etc], those who seek attention, others who are looking to enhance their image and pocket book and then finally the ones who are there purely for ambition.
Now ambition would have to play a large part for any entering the public arena but there is a special breed of politician, the political animals, as I call them, who have no axes to grind, no beliefs other that what assists them in their climb and whose concept of loyalty begins and ends with themselves.
We’ve seen a few here in Australia, John Howard who had more political comebacks than Lazarus, is the one that comes to mind first but there have been others. Kevin Rudd for example is an example of a ‘failed’ political animal‘, due to his inability to keep control over the factions he could not hold on to the power ambition and political machinations had delivered to him. He lacked genuine strength and had little or no charisma. For a political animal you need both to survive or at least a great deal of one.
There have been rare combinations of political animals and ideologically driven politicians and from them we have seen some of the greatest changes here in Australia.
Some may not agree but I consider, Fraser and Keating to be examples of this and although they came from opposite ends of the political spectrum in their approach to their career and in their work ethic both were men who gave little thought to the fickle opinion of polls and merely did what they felt needed to be done.
So why do I have such fear now that we appear to have another ambition/ideological motivated Prime-minister in the person of Tony Abbott.
After all he is relentlessly ignoring popular opinion and forging ahead with a grim determination to see Australia shed spending in areas he believes to be weights preventing Australia’s economic boom. Keating did much the same thing with ‘the recession we had to have’ but the difference there I think was he wasn’t placing the financial responsibility on the shoulders of the least fortunate he was going after the perks of the wealthy [fringe benefits etc] and big business.
Abbott scares me because despite his educational credentials, which I must admit are reasonably impressive, he seems to be a man who cannot think outside of certain parameters and becomes belligerent and aggressive when those boundaries are pushed. On one hand he seems to embrace the idea of a conservative ideal from the 1950’s but his image is only that an image not the reality of our past.
After all Australia was one of the first countries in the world to address the issues of sickness benefits as far back as the 1940’s and here he is doing his level best to undermine and abolish what was begun all those years ago.
His attitude has worried leaders, political, economic and social from all walk of life. In fact Australia’s most famous conservative Prime-minister Sir Robert Menzies was recently quoted by another retired Liberal politician, Malcolm Fraser who was speaking out against the push by the LNP in regards to the work for the dole and cuts to benefits or as Hockey and Abbott put it, on the topic of ‘a return to values and work ethic’.
Menzies [supposedly a conservative icon] was quite obviously in support of unemployment benefits as well as a sickness allowance as far back as 1944 and Fraser has been speaking out against this budget [from his own party] and numerous other issues, most notably that of asylum seekers. So where is Abbott coming from and what is it that truly drives him?
I’ve been forced to step back and reassess [not something I’m fond of doing by the way], have I misjudged what sort of political creature Abbott is and you know what I think that I might have. I don’t think his attitude toward women, climate change and asylum seekers is about clinging to a 1950’s ideal I thinks it’s more about fear of what he cannot control, fear of change not driven by himself and fear of exposing his cowardice and ignorance which makes him appear even more dogmatic.
But the big issue that I think I missed is I now believe Abbott is driven by greed and the belief that everyone else really is too and that is a problem. A man driven by greed with no real ideal behind it only sees the money. In fact I have to agree with a recent picture put up on Facebook, the most dangerous debt Australia now owes is what Abbott owes Murdoch and other such people for his rise to power.
His ties to big business are his political ideals, his support of multinational investment in Australia at any cost is his concept of economic policy and his approach to logging and mining is his version of environmental policy. I also think that his ineptness with people, especially women is simply that, a man who is a terrible public speaker, someone with little or no social skills and someone though a strange confluence of events has ended up with more power in his hands than he should have and he’s like a kid in a candy store with no adult to rein him in. He appears to have no issues with lying and even more unsettling in the getting caught lying which to my mind is the greater concern. He has an agenda, just not the one I thought, at least not only that but I have a sinking feeling that things will get progressively worse for the average person here in the land of Oz and that fact doesn’t seem to bother this government one little bit.
I don’t see a happy ending any time soon, as I think things have deteriorated in all spectrum’s of the political world. There is some hope that another significant party will rise but what that could mean for Australia will depend on who is driving that rise and who is backing the drivers.
Money is still the dominant power in this world, money and information and the ability to wield both to gain desired outcomes. Yes, I fear a great deal will depend on who holds the purse strings now and in the future and I’m pretty sure it is no longer our elected officials.
Well the one thing that is certain is that we will find out, since the future has that nasty habit of arriving and time also displays bad manners in that it keeps passing regardless of our wishes. In keeping with that I have noticed that it is now time to day adieu this Wednesday, keep well, dream big and smile often. I will be back with more from Oz as well as my own musings.