As most people know things in Australian politics have been in a state of flux for some time and it appears that, short of a miracle, it will continue to remain as such for the foreseeable future. Under normal circumstances this would create a little bad feeling, irritation and a certain smug condescension on the part of the populace as we contemplate all the various ways that politicians seem to use at avoiding doing anything too different or anything at all really.
However these are not normal circumstances and the changes occurring over that past 18 months in particular have been at such contradiction to the election promises made federally and by the states that they have created such a groundswell of anger that it has burnt right through the general apathy most feel when it comes to politics or social justice, or at least the apathy they feel when it comes to DOING SOMETHING in regards to those areas.
Over that past year and a half I’ve come to truly appreciate the idea of laughing until you cry or crying until you laugh [probably known as hysteria but lets not be picky about the semantics of my mental health] as I, along with the rest of Australia, have watched the progress of our politicians and their policies.
Politics has been in an unsettled state for a number of years, at least federally, in Australia but recent events have drop kicked unsettled out of the park to leave the area clear for the circus that has become our political arena. Enter the ringmaster, Rupert Murdoch from Fairfax news who has provided the playbills for this ongoing performance. Although it is obvious that some of his circus stars have recently gone off script leaving a rather red faced puppet master who has only just realised that the clowns he had dancing to his tune were real and could cut the strings [if not the ties] that bind. The circus naturally had backers who expected to receive top billing despite the fact that the audience was looking for a different way to light up their lives [so to speak] and it was here that the crunch came.
The show bills leading up to the circus and its long run in town promised a variety of delights to meet the needs of all and sundry. As the populace had been disappointed with an interrupted production filled with changes in the cast as well as script from the previous show in town people flocked to the circus eager and hopeful. Caught up in the noise and bright lights they forgot that like candy floss most things at the circus and spun from mostly air and sugar, won’t last and WILL leave you feeling ill.
I do have to say however that the current lead clown – oops I meant our PM has been a boon to at least one industry without even trying. Comedy writers, cartoonists and satirists have been living in a world akin that of Willy Wonkas’ Chocolate Factory with a seemingly unending river or material to choose from. In fact so rich have been the pickings here in Oz that comics and satirists from around the globe have stopped to partake of the vast riches that drop from the lips of our PM sometimes more than once per day.
Gems such as ‘no-one is the suppository of all wisdom‘ , ‘Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.’, and right through to ‘coal is good for humanity‘ have kept our political satirists, not to mention the PM’s clean-up crew otherwise known as Public Relations department hopping from one sparkling offering to another. However none of that has managed to distract from the fact that this is the most aggressively conservative government we have seen in Australia in a long time and its message of economic gain at all cost has not gone down well.
It has been especially hard to swallow when coupled with environmental policies designed to gut Renewable Energy Targets [for being to successful], remove Environmental legislation to make it easier for business to develop areas without seeking impact studies and of course the big one the removal of the Carbon Tax [which their own figure showed was working]. Protests against changes to education, pensions and environmental legislation sprung up around Australia and kept on growing and underneath it all a growing horror at what Australia is doing in regards to Asylum seekers has been taking hold of the population. Even those who are threatened by the idea of ‘outsiders’ or ‘immigrants’ are horrified at what has been happening.
What seems to be most interesting is that the our beloved PM is really behaving like the great Diva of a show, cut off from reality, determined to be heard and uncaring about what others suggest if it does not appeal to him. The sulks and storms have not impressed the audience however and being berated for expecting him to perform the act he advertised is grating on even the most ardent of fans.
Stooping to tricks and illusions- look over there ‘a terrorist’ now lets not hear anymore criticism from the peanut gallery shall we – has not diverted attention from the wavering performance of the shows star player [Team Captain??] nor the mumbling from the chorus and certainly not the interest of those who see themselves as the star. Abbott found himself losing ground in the electorate and within his own party.
The loss of the LNP in Victoria was seen as a direct result of the population unhappiness with the federal LNP despite the desperate spin doctoring done to hang the entire mess on the outgoing Victorian Government. However come election time in Queensland it was obvious that despite public speeches to the contrary Tony Abbott was considered Toxic and made no appearance during the campaign.
That’s not to say he didn’t have an impact – not one to be left out of the lime light Abbott managed to usurp the media from the contest in Qld by Knighting a Prince on Australia Day. Media around the world reeled with shock/laughter [probably both] and his cabinet and party looked on in dismay. Abbott had informed no one of this impromptu performance, calling it a captains pick when what it turned into was a death knell for the LNP in Qld and for Abbott’s leadership. His ringmaster Rupert was not pleased with this off script performance and made his feelings known in the playbills and the electronic media.
Despite the shocking loss in Qld and the resultant mutterings and sharpening of knives our brave PM/Lead Clown survived this time by promising to be a good boy, listen more, talk less and and be more available to the party members. Needless to say this lasted all of a day before he next offended someone but by now Australia was prepared to wait it out and just watched with amusement. That was right up until the Australia Human Rights Commission into Children in Detention was read into parliament. The government had the report back in November but waited until the final day possible to release it.
During that time the PM and Attorney General approached Gillian Triggs, wanting her to resign as head of the Australian Human Rights Commission and becoming combative when this offer was ignored. The Forgotten Children – National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, is a hard look at the price others are paying for our governments stance on asylum seekers and on the previous governments equally ‘hear no, see no, speak no’ approach to the issue. Rather than thank the Commission for the work and address the problem, self harm and child suicide being just the tip of the ice-berg, Abbott attacked Triggs personally and accused her of a partisan attack on his government and using her office for political bias. I’m not sure just how he got there because this report deals with policies begun under Labor and then those with the LNP and is equally scathing about the effects these policies have had on those in detention.
All laughter came to an abrupt halt as we watched our PM attempt to divert attention from his failing leadership, the horrific nightmare that has evolved in Nauru and on Manus Island by calling on Australia to stand firm against terrorists who have ‘played us for mugs‘ and come in under refugee status. When asked in parliament and in the press whether he felt any responsibility for his governments part in the serious patterns of abuse and declining mental health amongst the children of asylum seekers who are kept in detention. [Australia is the only country to feel it necessary to enforce the mandatory detain children if they are asylum seekers] Abbot was more than happy to answer:
Asked if he felt any guilt about the remaining kids still in detention, Mr Abbott was blunt: “None whatsoever.” “The most compassionate thing you can do is stop the boats,” he said. He said the only way to ensure there were no children in detention was to ensure there were no boats arriving……“I reckon the human rights commission ought to be sending a note of congratulations to Scott Morrison saying well done, mate,” Mr Abbott said, referring to the former immigration minister. [courtesy of news.com]
So no more laughs, no more amused snorts at the ongoing gaffes this man seems incapable of getting through a day without because after reading that report I don’t find myself feeling much like laughter and am leaning heavily toward lamentation. I don’t know about the rest of you but I think it’s time to run this circus out of town and when we do we need to make sure that whoever replaces them on the playbills understands that the torture of men, women and children in the name of ‘stopping the boats‘ will end. Hundreds of children have been damaged, some beyond repair and this was done IN OUR NAME and I for one refuse to let it be just one more atrocity added to the pile of political gaming in this country.
However I will leave this post on a lighter note, even if the clip is a little dark. While this video I created is tongue in cheek it is also a condemnation of this government and it’s policies and I hope you enjoy Les Miz Oz Style. Leaving you with Abbott as Master of the House: