A Brief and Rather Satirical Look at Recent Australian Political History



Historians and other yarn spinners like to tell us our nation was built on equality, reward for hard work and seeing that everybody got a “Fair Go”. I’m sure it was but somewhere in the early 1980s, some smart bastard got the idea that if labour and capital could work in, let’s say, accord, everyone would be better off. The workers’ were sold a pup. Decades of wage restraint created increasing profits for companies and the banks, particularly the banks.

After a while, and a few post-work ales, the workers realised that capital was proportionately much better off under this system than they were, and started to make some disgruntled noises. The rumblings began to resonate in the corporations (including the banks, which had by now become corporations too for legal and taxation reasons) so they turn to the Political Leader. Now that little black duck and his mate, the candy store thief, had a very cunning plan. They took all the money they were making from folks pulling stuff out of the ground and selling it off overseas and gave it to the grumbling workers as tax breaks, and said;”Go out and buy yourself the biggest telly you can find, subscribe to cable TV and take the family on an overseas holiday.”

The workers quietened down, the corporations got richer but the money the government gave away was supposed to be used on infrastructure (stuff like rail, ports, power generation, schools, Unis and the like). It wasn’t long before the duck and the thief had gotten on everybody’s nose and the country had an election.

This was won by a bloke with a pudding bowl haircut who could speak both Mandarin and Cantonese. The country was not sure if they were the qualities they needed in a Political Leader but they’d give him a go. No sooner had his bum got used to the feel of Prime Ministerial leather than a bunch of truly low-life American bankers, who had been inflating themselves for the previous 5 to 10 years suddenly blew apart, thereby creating the GFC or Global Financial Crisis or General Financial Chaos. Pudden Head to his mate the Swan (better than a duck); “Throw all the money we’ve got at the people so we don’t go into recession.” “Alright, mate, but there’s not as much as the last buggers claimed there was”; replied the Swan. “Do it anyway” was the command.

When the dust had more or less settled, and let’s face it there is still a fair bit up in the air on a global basis, the government explained what it had done and why, and the corporations in particular weren’t happy because to redress the lack of coin in the money box they were expected to chip in more, because they had more.

These crazy folks in government saw this GFC as a chance to reshape the socio-economic landscape, and being the all-encompassing fair minded mob they were began arguing about what areas of the patchwork that makes up our Nation was more important. Pudden Head had a wee bit of a problem. You see, he was used to getting his own way on just about everything, without consultation. Well at work anyway, it was rumoured things were a bit different at home. It all came to a head when he said he’d take his bucket and spade and the contents of the sandpit and go home. Other members of what was called the Elected Gang held meetings, crossed corridors and then back again, held more meetings. Some of the smarter ones took off the shoes and socks and did what is called “The Numbers” and decided that they’d like Bluey to have the top job.

This decision was immensely popular with a section of the electorate called “Women” because Bluey was a sheila. Not all members of the section called “Women” were happy but that was largely because their husbands told them not to be.

There was another election and Bluey won, but only after doing a few deals with Kermit and his mob. If that hadn’t worked the Brawler could have won, and wasn’t he dirty about it! Talk about carry a grudge! He was like Atlas and the whole World as his grudge. From day one he started slagging her off. The rest of his Boxing Troupe joined in. The Brawler was called by his mate the Dirty Digger, who made it clear that he’d prefer the Brawler holding the reins and would use all of his resources to paint Bluey in the worst possible light.

The enthusiasm for the task became infectious and the entire boxing troop tried their hand at rubbishing Bluey; for being female, unmarried, childless, female (Did I say that already?) and, of course, for lying. Although this wasn’t exactly true, the Dirty Digger told his minions to only use the first part of Bluey’s remark so that they could say she broke a promise. This was repeated so often by the Boxing Troupe and all the Dirty Diggers tissues that Davo, Stewie and the Donk at the Seven Hills tavern figured it must be Gospel truth. So with those blokes and tens of thousands of their mates fooled, the Brawler was keen for another fight, er, election.

There was a bit of distraction when a bloke in the Troupe called Roughhead got together with a couple of babbling brooks in a large country town and wrote a menu for a fundraising sausage sizzle that was very rude about Bluey. First Roughhead apologised, and then said he didn’t know what he was apologising for, before the babbler’s put up their paws and said it was all their idea and Roughhead and the rest of the Boxing Troupe had nothing to do with it.

The race was on, but not before the other mob decided Bluey was too much of a risk for being female, unmarried, childless and a lot smarter than they were, and replaced her with Pudden Head again. But not until he promised to share his toys and let the other children have turns at talking and looking like they were making decisions.

Now while all this was going on, there was someone in the Brawler’s office called the “Chief” (Short for chief cook and bottle washer, no doubt) who seemed, to anyone smart enough to look, to be actually running the whole show. Any travelling Boxing troupe worth its salt has a Chief backstage, deciding which fighter to send out, who should score a king hit, who should take a dive, making sure the work like a well oiled machine. She was doing a pretty damned good job, except that the Brawler liked to sneak out on his own on occasions. It took her giving him a few thick ears before he understood that running out of the surf in red budgie smugglers, looking like Matt Shirvington on a cold morning and greeting little old ladies was not helping him win the punters over. The Chief did, however, famously lose out in the battle of the Lycra, as the Brawler had a passion for a bike ride, so much so that he promised a lolly maker on an off-shore island a lot of money if he could ride around their island.

The Chief told the Brawler and the Brawler told the Ring Master to draw up a book that the Brawler could waive about and claim it was his “Vision for the Future” or words to that effect. The Chief specified it couldn’t be too long, for the punters would get bored, it couldn’t have too much detail, for the punters would become confused, and it couldn’t contain anything except three word slogans about what the Brawler’s Troupe would Stop, Cut, Axe and Stop, again.

It worked a charm. Between not promising to do anything except reverse what Bluey and Pudden Head’s governments had done or set in place to do, and the Dirt Digger printing atrocious lies about everyone on Pudden Head’s team, the win was assured. Just to make sure though, the Chief enlisted a bunch of squawking galahs on radio to repeat the three word slogans and the atrocious comments, while, at the same time encouraging Davo’s, Stewie’s and the Donk’s wives to ring in with even more disgusting and degrading suggestions.

So, we had a change of government last year because the majority of voters were tired of the Labor Party shooting itself in the foot and changing band leaders, plus a load of deceptions, misrepresentations and some outright lies printed by the company that owns 68% of the newspapers in the nation, and is owned in turn by the Dirt Digger. The bloke that led the Opposition at the time (the Brawler) tried to appear sincerely worried about our balance of payments (3rd best in the World) or economic viability (1st in the World) and our National debt (4th smallest in the World) and with the help of his media magnate mate conned a lot of Australians about that while launching the most gut-wrenchingly awful personal attacks on the Prime Minister, Australia’s first female Prime Minister.

He won. So then he and the Chief then set about rearranging the Australian socio-economic landscape. Together they filled the land with hatred. Hatred for asylum seekers, although the previous government wasn’t much better, hatred for the disabled, for the aged who need care, for single mothers, for the homeless, for the lower paid workers, for people who get penalty rates for social dislocation caused by work, in essence, everyone who wasn’t already very bloody rich and powerful.

This latter group would be “The Entitled”. Entitled to tax rorts, subsidies for their business and the expansion thereof, subsidies for the fuel and oil needed to run these businesses, and if the business was agriculturally based, subsidies for soil enhancers and pesticides. Mind you if you were hit by drought for too long or got flooded too often, you were struck off the list of “The Entitled”.

For the rest of us it was the “End of the age of entitlement”. This meant that if you relied on the government for money, like pensions, schoolkids’ bonus, Family Tax Benefits or the dole, you can just piss off. No access without payment is the way it is now. Your child breaks their arm in a backyard accident; you take them to a PUBLIC Hospital. If they receive treatment you have to pay. “But my taxes pay for that hospital and the staff”; you cry. “Stiff shit”; says The Brawler.

If you think you’ve got it bad (and you do), just imagine you were an “illegal” on Manus island or Nauru, or the Great Barrier Reef or an old growth forest in Tasmania. Too unrealistic? How about a dairy farmer whose land is ear marked for fracking? Or any sort of primary producer relying on the Murray-Darling river system? Let’s consider, also, the First peoples of the land who have already lost sacred places to mining and other interests, who’s representative in Canberra is none other than the Brawler himself. The Brawler broke his biggest promise to the First peoples in his first week in office. Pretty hateful, wouldn’t you reckon?

The erosion of our democratic system


This is essential reading for those who fail to understand the dissent that lead in a large part to the March in March movement.

Originally posted on The Australian Independent Media Network:

Brick by brick Unless you own a newspaper or a mining company, or are happy to turn a blind eye to the erosion of our democratic values then it would be difficult to get an argument from you that the Abbott Government continues to go from bad to worse.

But one of worse characteristics of this government, and one that receives little attention, is its determination to silence any dissent. It is this silencing of dissent and the erosion of our democratic values that prompted ‘Joe W’ to write this letter to The AIMN:

I’m sick of being called anti-democratic, or a ‘sore loser’ (among other insults) over the election result and told to swallow this government’s lies whole. My response to this incorrect assertion and attempt to silence me is as follows: My complaint is not over the election result, rather how the election was won and that the Abbott Coalition is…

View original 695 more words

Why do we need a Budget Surplus?

It really grates on my nerves. Our Queensland politicians receiving obscene salary increases. Our Federal Treasurer and his “Little Sir Echoes” in Treasury and big business bleating that we need to return to a surplus and it’s the low wage earners, the old and the disabled that must pay for it.

It is serious dog whistling to those punters who only ever have to balance the household budget or who run small to medium size business. They know if they don’t make more than they spend, or at least as much as, they go broke.

A nation can carry a budget deficit if the deficit is paying for nation-building project and infrastructure for a growing population. If it is being used for hospitals and GP super surgeries, for schools and before and after school care,  for improved secondary and tertiary education, for fast train networks (not more roads for fossil fuelled behemoths to generate excessive CO2) and ecological power generation. Why? Because these thing will bring a return to the nation. Just like a dividend to the share holders. We are the shareholders of Australia. We need to see a return in our investment. An investment we make through the ballot box. We don’t need to see a return in dollars, we need to see it in investment to generate industry, education, health and long-term sustainability of Australia.
What we are having shoved down our throats is short-term profiteering of our, OUR, natural resources and a decrease in the standard of living for the worst off in our society.

This is not the way forward, it is the way down.

We’ve said we don’t like it, but what next?

Essentially the rejection of social liberalism by the conservative side of Australian politics, for the adoption and promotion of classical liberal ideology, has left those financially worse off with nowhere to go.
Abbott appears to want to return to a 1950′s Australia, where the slow but steady growth in a post-war nation saw the building of economic edifices the drove the economy and employed people.
As the world outside Australia also grew, international trade expanded and our wealth grew with it.
At it’s height, when the minerals boom saw buckets of money flow into the Australian economy, Howard pulled the Great Shonky. He told all Australians they should aspire to great wealth and being the “Boss”. Somehow through hard work and sacrifice, we all could be the Manager, the CEO, the Boss. Oh, and by the way, here’s a huge tax cut we can afford because we sell so much precious dirt. Go out and buy the biggest TV you can find. Don’t worry about where it’s made. You deserve it.
They’re still out there, the “aspirationals”, putting themselves first, striving for personal wealth and to hell with social responsibilities.
This is why the neo-con Government we have say it is the end of the age of entitlement. They no longer accept that a government has responsibilities for the homeless, the disabled, working mothers, the working poor and the old. All “our” resources (which they believe they actually own) are for exploitation for profit.

The Left/ALP shows no signs of leadership. The offerings of Bill Shorten are too little, too infrequent and ineffectual.

Last week-end showed that a lot of ordinary Australian citizens are not happy with how they are being governed, with what is being done in their name, but they have no one person to rally behind. They have no champion, as yet anyway.


To where do we turn.

“This island nation”

I live on an island, Bribie Island, but I am fully aware that the other island at the opposite end of the bridge, Australia, has enormous effect on what goes on here.

The problem, as I see it , is that far too many people on the big island have forgotten that what goes on in the rest of the world has significant impact on how things happen in Australia.

I believe they are being led that way by the main stream media and particularly the Murdoch media.  Sure there is some reportage of international events but it is generally about strife, violence and pestilence. All very scary and, for most Australians, hard to imagine enduring it.

There was little mainstream reporting on the Davos meeting and our PM’s performance there. More importantly, there was even less reporting on what the other G20 members saw as the way forward for the major economies of the world. This highlights our problem, because the average Australian voter neither knows or cares about what other world economies are doing. What’s worse is hat they’ve been convinced that it doesn’t matter.

The fact, accessible from a reasonably good internet search engine, that the largest American automobile manufacturers made decisions at the highest corporate level to return most car manufacturing to Detroit, so as to boost their local and national economies is ignored by the media and hence their readers. The whole argument becomes one about what the Government of the day could have done to save the car manufacturing industry in Australia. A pointless and futile argument but a great distraction from global economic realities.

That is just one example. The effect of “free trade agreements” which has seen local fruit producers hit hard and having to move out of traditional crops into new, even experimental ones is not recognised as an international effect but rather something their local member could and should have done something about.

Australia is not disconnected from the rest of the world and decisions made in, for example, China, have major ramification on our businesses. The slow down in China’s economic growth means smaller quantities of coal, iron ore and other minerals are required. So, our mining companies have to reduce their production or find other markets. That is not to say that the requirements of a big economy such as China do not still represent a healthy marketplace.

The truth of the matter is Australians have to develop a greater sense of our interaction with the other world economies. Our economic decisions can’t be solely ideologically driven from Canberra. The decisions made have to be in response to global factors. Our future industrial development has to be in markets where we can grow and export. To assist with this progress, the average Australian voter has to be educated and engaged, in fairly simple terms. The majority of Australians have a reasonable grip on microeconomic concepts; mortgages; household budgets and so on. Yes, detailed macroeconomics is more complex, but understanding that when a major economic player decides it is going to go solar, for instance, it’s demand for coal will drop dramatically over time, and the time to start looking at either other clients of other industries is now, not when the rot has set in, is not difficult.

Don’t get your knickers in a knot, I’m trying to save the language.

There are quite a few examples of  American verbal colonisation in the Australian vocabulary but some of them irk me more  than others.

Who gave the Yanks the right to change the fundamental meaning of “underwear”?

When I was growing up the term referred to a vast array of garments worn by women and men under their outer garments. For the chaps there were singlets and undershirts, underpants of various kinds and socks. Yes, socks are considered undergarments.

Longjohns and thermals were available to members of either gender.

The women had access to a panoply of garments: slips, half-slips, petticoats, girdles, panty girdles, corsets, bustiers, camisoles, stockings (and with them garter belts), pantihose, socks, knicker bockers, pantiloons and lastly and basically brassieres and… well this is where it all falls apart, isn’t it. In my family they were called knickers, in others it was girls’ undies and in America, apparently, they were panties.

Now at some point during the much needed feminist shake up of society, the Americans decided that “panties” had some kind of chauvinistic connotation and it had to be changed. So they opted for “underwear”. That’s right, those silly seppos decided that a worthy word that covered a huge range of garments worn under the outer garb should be strangled and beaten until it just referred to an article of clothing worn solely by women (in the regular course of events) to cover their vulva and bottom. I do recognise that in some instances it covers more than that, such as parts of the stomach and legs.

Now the garment industry has added their two-bobs worth to the discussion as well. Venture into any of the range of stores that sell such items and you will discover that the rag trade calls most of them briefs. There are full briefs, semi briefs, hi-cut (sic) briefs, bikini briefs, boy-leg briefs and quite probably others I’ve missed. There are also others not referred to as briefs per se, but rather by a letter followed by the word string.

The point is that the term “brief” has never caught on in the Australian vernacular, and I doubt it ever will. On the other hand I urge Australians not to accept the example of American Cultural Imperialism that is their use of the word “underwear”. in such a limited form.

It is my view that as a reflection of our egalitarian style, all Australians should refer to the garment covering the nether regions of both women and men as “undies”. That is my contribution to Australia Day 2014.

A New Parliament or the same old show.

What has two rings and features clowns, wild animals and the odd freak or two? A circus? Well, apparently it is our shiny new parliament.

Days before the opening of the new parliament, the Prime Minister assured the West Australian Liberal Party that the new parliament would be a different beast and that the memories of the embarrassing, divisive and plain old rude one would soon be a fading and bad memory.

It seems that a leopard can’t change it’s spots, no matter what it promises. In spite of Mr Abbott’s promise that it would be a parliament that “discusses the issues, rather than abuse individuals” the Manager of Government Business, The Hon. Christopher Pyne could not wait the start the name-calling by referring to the Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Bill Shorten as “Electricity Bill Shorten”. This brought an immediate response from the Manager of Opposition Business, The Hon. Tony Burke. He rose to point out the on the previous day there had been much said about the use of proper titles in parliament, and that Mr. Pyne’s labelling of the LOTO in this way was inappropriate and should be with drawn.

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives, The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop.

The new Speaker, The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, sorry, Madame Speaker, as she requires to be called, cracked her metaphorical whip and ruled that the Manager of Government Business’ name calling was not unparliamentary.

What then ensued was farcical, coupled with some slow motion slapstick comedy. A motion of dissent was raised followed by a series of votes, for which division was called on every one. The call for division required all members of the house to align themselves either for or against the motion. For most it meant moving from one side of the chamber to the other. This was not done with any sense of haste. Perhaps it was to maintain the dignity of the house, but it looked more like a race to be the slowest.

Had the new speaker of this shiny new parliament showed leadership, without fear or failure? Not in my view. What we saw was blatant favouritism of “her” side in parliament, an inability to maintain order and a complete disregard of her leader’s pledges regarding a more decorous house of meaningful debate on issues and of respect for individuals.

Allowing Christopher Pyne to continue in the same feral, hysterical style he used while in Opposition clearly demonstrates that there is no “new” parliament to be seen. If you thought the previous parliament sunk to unplumbed depths, and it did, you could hold little hope of improvement from what was on show in this one’s first week.

I am a former public servant and industrial officer for a public sector union. I have had a persistent interest in politics for many years. I also enjoy the theatre, having participated in my younger days.


The Rise of a Fascist State

Queensland, under Campbell Newman and his cronies, is rapidly becoming a State run by Fascist-like methods.

As the Newman Government enters the second half of its first term, there is an increasingly sinister demeanour being displayed in the way it is governing the State.

The introduction of legislation covering “Vicious Lawless Associations”is a clear example of the Government attacking the right of individuals to associate, because it allows people to be treated outside the regular operation of laws in Queensland.

The new Act was recently used to break up drumming circles on North Stradbroke Island. A group of peaceful people, who express their feelings and there solidarity by ritual drum beating, were approached by the Queensland Police Service, who sought to break the group up under the provisions of the new law. It is beyond my understanding as to how this group qualified as “vicious” and/or “lawless”

The Premier claims the new anti-bikie laws are what the people want, and he’s listening to them. The judiciary certainly has objected to being told what to do by the Government, and believe that bikies are entitled to the same courtesies under the law as anyone else. a stand which has enraged the Premier. Some in the public are saying that is is back to the Joh years with Newman. a view not shared by the leader of the opposition in Queensland.

“The only comparison I can see between Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Campbell Newman is that neither of them understand the separation of powers,” Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

The Premier also attacked the judiciary, and members of civil liberties groups, who held that paedophiles also deserved the same right before the law as other offenders. he claimed the were “apologists for paedophiles”. This, also, he claimed was what the people wanted. How he assesses this is beyond my comprehension.

There has been further distracting window dressing associated with the new laws such as 23 hour per day solitary confinement, separate jails for bikies and, of course. the ludicrous suggestion that they should wear hot pink jump suits while in prison.

What is it distracting from? Well, the Premier jumped at the chance to seize power of environmental approvals offered by the Commonwealth so that his government could legislate to allow dredging of the Great Barrier Reef to allow more coal terminals to be built. What a shame that fell over due to a decreasing world demand for coal! On the more local level, the Newman government has allowed sand mining to recommence on North Stradbroke Island, against the wishes of the residents.

The Premier is also keen to explore what fortune can be made by exploiting Coal Seam Gas mining in Queensland. An act of such monstrous ecological vandalism that would drain most if not all the water from the Galilee Basin and reduce it to a virtual desert. The land currently supports a great many cattle, which is an important export commodity for both Queensland and Australia. There is more money to be gained by the Government from CSG mining, so to hell with the quality and usefulness of the land.

It  is well documented what the government has done to schools and health, and only in the strongest communities have they been forced to back down. It is also well documented that the financial rating of the State has been hit hard since Campbell Newman became Premier. Still he continues to rule according to the whim of his biggest supporters and dog-whistles to the extreme right wing element in Queensland, which is considerable.

From what I have read, overriding the judiciary and using the police as a “personal” army against the citizenry are both keen hall marks of Fascist rule.

He’s been in power just over 18 months, but Abbott has only been there about two months. Things will only get worse.


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