I’ve been at a loss recently as to what I wanted to say or to write. It wasn’t, in this case, a matter of being too busy or there being a lack of things on which to comment [or rant about as is often the case]. In a way it was quite the opposite, so much has been happening here in Australia and so much of what has been going on is worrying at best and horrifying at worst.
As each day passed I’ve become more and more disturbed and it’s had the most paralyzing effect in that it has had me questioning things that I have taken for granted or seen as a truth for most of my life. It’s tempting to give in to the inertia and let what is happening just slide by.
After all those of us who tilt at windmills are often called crazy, conspiracy theorists, a rabble rouser a never-ending list of slurs all aimed at silencing dissent but I guess I’m just stubborn enough [crazy enough] to get back up and join the fray yet again.
So where to begin, because somehow I need to cut through this fugue like state and try to find a point from which to understand just what is happening to my country before I simply give up on trying to fight the decline of all that I believed was possible for us as a nation and a people. As many of you are no doubt aware Australia is in the midst of change and those changes are so unsettling that I think many have just stopped paying attention in the vain hope that it will somehow work out for the best. I have a great deal of sympathy for that state of mind, it’s not one I would endorse as particularly healthy or useful but I understand the desire not to see what is happening around us.
A great deal has been said about the recent changes to our countries policies on asylum seekers, the issues of the offshore detention camps and the new maritime laws regarding those attempting to reach Australia by boat.
Even more has been written about the incredible abuse and disregard for international law and human rights that those who are currently being held in mandatory detention by our government or by the Nauru government at the behest of ours. The cost of these policies to the tax payer has grown from $118 million by the previous government to $3.3 billion in slightly over 12 months, an increase of 129%.
As for the moral cost, well that is something I don’t believe possible to calculate but it’s something that should concern each and every one of us.
Even more recently there has been both National and Global condemnation against the Australian governments policy to force the closure of 150 Indigenous communities thereby creating a possible 20 000 refugees within our own borders and from amongst our own population. Protesters in the thousand have stood up to condemn this action with marches occurring in every major national city in Australia as well as numerous smaller communities around the country. Support and protests on May 1st closed down our capital cities as well as others around the globe and STILL this the government seems relatively disinterested even in the face of nearly 10 000 people in Melbourne alone coming out to protest.
Whilst all of this has been going on we are seeing a startling increase in the amount of land grants made to large mining corporations for the purpose of Fracking as well as open cut mines in nearly every state in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is being exposed to dredging in order to facilitate the expansion of coal ports along the coast of Queensland.
Environment funding and support of Renewable Energy markets has all but disappeared and massive tax cuts and subsidies to Fossil Fuel companies have been increased. All of this is done in the face of massive community protest, legal battles and intervention from the World Heritage Association. The icing on this particular cake is the recent advice given to the PM by his adviser Maurice Newman that Climate Change is a Hoax perpetrated by the UN to inflict totalitarian laws around the globe.
Funding has been stripped from services in Health, Education and Welfare. Support services for the disabled, war veterans and domestic violence victims have been gutted and funding reduced to an all time low. All of this is despite the massive rise in unemployment, increased fuel and food costs as well as the ever-growing cost of housing.
This, all of this, has happened in such a short period of time, a little more than 18 months and most of us have been helpless to do more than raise our voices in protest. It’s exhausting and more than that it’s soul-destroying. I’m being forced to ask myself is this really who we are as a nation? Is this really a representation of our communities or is it [and I hope so very much that this is true] merely the agenda of those with the power to pass legislation, those with the money and the power to push policies that benefit no one but the top 1% of our population wealth holders?
Does the average person really believe what they see on the nightly news or read in the Murdoch press? Do they swallow the carefully edited and cleverly structured production to keep us afraid of those who are different, hold in contempt for those portrayed as leaners or bludgers that take advantage of our hard-earned tax dollars and anger at those who the mainstream media class as selfish rabble?
I think what has had me frozen in place recently is that I’ve come to believe that people are just refusing to see that which would make them feel guilty, that which would make them look small and as such are prepared to accept a great deal rather than look closer at the very obvious cracks in the display given to them by the Murdoch media and the parliamentary spin doctors [which in some cases are one and the same].
So I waited, waited to see what would happen when the abuse of asylum seekers was disclosed by numerous sources, some of which belonging to the government themselves. I’ve waited to read about the effects of stripping our countries first people’s of their lands AGAIN and I’ve waited to hear about the outrage of the enormous amounts of money being spent to honor Anzac’s in the form of a museum/learning center in another country while so many of our veterans are currently homeless.
And guess what – I’m still waiting. There is a lot of talk about balancing the economy, tightening of belts, cutting of waste, lots of talk about targeting welfare cheats and tax dodgers, but not those who are in the top 1%.
From both sides of the political fence I’ve heard a great deal about greater good, balancing compassion with economic management and a rather horrible form of tough love that has our government being proud of making it so horrendous to seek asylum in Australia that it is better to risk torture and death in their own countries.
So, now I have some questions. They are questions I would like to ask those in power but even more, they are questions I would like to put to each and every member of the voting public.
- Do you condone the physical, sexual and psychological torture and abuse of men, women and children?
- Do those who are born with less, albeit it physically, mentally, socially or financially, automatically become less worthy than those who were not?
If your answer is yes then, well then I guess I’m deeply sorry for you because you are certainly lacking that which makes you human. If your answer is no then you have some thinking to do and some choices to make.
HOWEVER there are some things in this world that are simple, that are as basic as right and wrong with no middle ground open for debate. The abuse of children in particular is one of them. There is no grey in that choice, there is no extenuating circumstances nor is there any greater good in the act.
Once you KNOW that this is occurring, and it is don’t kid yourselves it’s happening as we speak, there is only one choice to make and that is to do something about it. There may be little you can do but you can reach out to your local member to voice your concern, you can join with those who protest this treatment and push for the government to change its policies to ensure that such things cannot happen.
What you CANNOT do is to vote for that government again.
You cannot say Oh I’m unhappy about this but I’ve always voted LNP/Labor and despite what people say I like their economic policies.
If you do that, if you cast your vote for either party, knowing their stance on this issue then you are saying that it is acceptable to abuse people and more than that, by casting your vote with this knowledge in mind you become equally responsible for each blow, each rape and each loss.
Sounds harsh, you’re right it is harsh, doesn’t make it any less true. Unpalatable truths are truths nonetheless and to think otherwise is denying what you know in your heart to be right. We are at a turning point in our history and the decisions made in the next years will determine the face of Australia for generations to come. What would you have us be?