Political Commentary: The Spill

I always try to keep politics out of my blog – considering religion and sex are there, a bit pointless really – but considering the current circus in both Stare and Federal politics in Australia, it is impossible to remain indifferent. Also, as a writer, it frustrates me to have articles in my head that are not being committed to hard-copy.

So a run-down on current events. The conservative right-wing LNP(Liberal National Party) have been ousted in both Victoria and Queensland recently, and are pretty well on the nose in other stares, and likely to be voted out at the next elections held. The Federal LNP government is in total disarray at the moment. It is a mess that is slowly being cleaned up, and the lessons learned are many!

Australia tends to be a bit of a laconic country, the people easy-going, not tending towards great political experiments, but rather politicians who will just do what they are supposed to do…run the country without corruption or ridicule, with fairness and equity for all. The era of “the fair go for all” is not over yet! In my own state of Queensland, this hope of fair, equitable government was destroyed by the recently ousted Newman government, headed by Premier Campbell “Can Do” Newman, who swept into power three years ago on a massive swing against the Labor government that effectively left us without an opposition party, opening the doors to excess and self-indulgent government in the LNP almost unparalleled. One of their first actions – granting themselves massive pay increases, while regaling us with tales of what an economic mess the state was in. This was followed up – not in order – by destroying both health and education systems, trying to force doctors onto contracts, the disassembling of sexual health clinics, disability services, cuts to arts funding, withdrawal of funding to support services, the instigation of new laws without consultation, the dismantling of the state corruption watchdog, increasing police powers, proposed legislation to allow mining near our protected Great Barrier Reef, proposed dredging in the reefs to allow ships to cross the reef, and the promised drop in our electricity bills that never happened etc etc.The list goes on and on! However, the sale (jokingly referred to as renting out) of our public assets was the straw that broke the camels back! The Premier himself was an arrogant, bullying man, full of his own self-importance. Three years was enough. We gave them a hammering two weeks ago that it will take them a long time to forget. His party not only lost power, he lost his own seat of Ashgrove. An instance if kharma at work! The second one-term government to be flushed down the toilet!

The political landscape has changed. Once upon a time we gave a governing party – irrespective of what doubts we may have had – two, even three, terms to get it right. Not any more! We are all so aware of the bullshit now, that all politicians are tarred with the same brush, they never keep their promises, and they are not to be trusted! But then, we have the two-party-preferred model here, and it is rapidly proving ineffective!

So the current circus with our Federal LNP government in Canberra comes as no shock to us! Also coming into power – by a VERY small majority – after a backlash against our Rudd/Guillard/Rudd Prime Ministerial fiasco (whereby our OM changed three times in six years due to party infighting and power-mongering, and as the result of some badly to instituted policies early on after their election, due to a rush to fulfill their electoral promises. Kevin Rudd himself, though popular, was a bad choice as PM, as he loved to micro-manage, and took more portfolios upon himself than he could manage. He also liked to spend a lot of time outside the country! Julia Guillard was a hard, pragmatic woman who stood up for herself against misogyny, and an unbreakable glass ceiling) has proven himself the class clown – though on an international stage! Being leader of the opposition for a long time, he has always been hungry for the position, and having been handed it on a silver platter, he is not willing to let it go. An ultra-conservative right-winger, a Roman Catholic, a climate change denier, anti-social justice, misogynist, a follower and idoliser of the philosophies of the (nut case) B.A. Santamaria, inept, stumbling and mumbling his Speedo-clad torso from one – embarrassing disaster to another on the world stage, disliked and alienated by other world leaders (who else could have a G20 Conference for world leaders in his own country, and in his opening address complain about local policy issues that are just that…local!) he has managed to lead his Cabinet (consisting of one woman, while making himself Minister For Women) and backbench almost back to the 1950s, an era he feels very comfortable in.

So far they have managed to disassemble our Carbon Tax policy (despite the fact it worked), our Mining Tax policy (pleasing no one except mining companies), we have no Minister for Science, no Minister for ageing or Disabilities. Funding has been slashed to the CSIRO (our internationally recognised science and research institute), our public broadcasters the ABC & SBS, funding to arts and cultural groups, medical and educational funding etc etc. in their first budget, they tried to dismantle Medicare (our “free” health care system that is actually funded through an income tax levy) by introducing a $7 GP co-payment, increasing costs of PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which gives us subsidised medicines), decreasing pensions (thus leaving many in dire poverty), changing how Centrelink and the dole works, the proposed deregulation of university fees (opening the doors to students loading themselves with $100,000 degrees and huge, unpayable HECS debts), a Paid Parental Leave Scheme tagged as welfare for the wealthy, unsustainable child-care costs, the supposed Stop-the-Boats…Operation Sovereign Borders policies, which has seen us treat asylum seekers like third world “illegal immigrants” and again the list goes on and on. Most of this stupidity has been stopped by a strong opposition and cross-bench. Their pandering to mining and big business has been truly out of control! Of most recent repute are Abbott’s reintroduction of knighthoods (the cause of much hilarity online), and his ludicrous, humiliating granting of an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh! Talk about breaking the camels back! In the face of a neverending string of farces that have reflected badly on all of us, there has finally been a backbench revolt. In recent polls, the Labor party lead (in two-party preferred) 57 to 43. As preferred PM, Bill Shorten (the Labor leader) leads by 44/27. This could not be worst for the LNP government, so a change of PM and Cabinet is strongly on the cards!

Though that it will make any difference in the polls…I doubt it! Even if he wins the spill, his name is still mud, and it is highly unlikely he will go into the next election as PM. And whether they like to admit it or not, they are highly likely to be our next one-term government. I have never seen a worst performing PM, or government, in all my 43 years as a voter! I have never seen Australia more abused or humiliated, our reputation for equality and fairness in tatters, our belief in looking after those less able – low-income, homeless, disabled, elderly, indigenous – badly eroded, our cost-of-living rising while all the time – 18-months into their election – the LNP still like to bleat on about it all being Labor’s fault, that the national deficit is all Labor’s fault despite the LNP having more than doubled it. There us one thing they have taught us for sure – when it comes to fixing budgets, you make the elderly, disabled and low-incomed pay your way out of it, as the upper and of town – banking, big corporations – and mining companies get richer and richer. A car industry…we no longer have one! Whatever they choose to do, it is never going to put money in my pocket!

So bring on the spill, though what we really need is not a change of PM, but a change of government!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2015

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