Don’t end the crimes against humanity being committed on Manus and Nauru, don’t bother with a human rights charter for Australia, address the housing bubble through the housing supply rather than the money supply, propose some new (but not too dramatic) policies on inequality and reconciliation, drop a few crumbs to the complainers. Don’t even think of mentioning the highly counter-productive ‘alliance’ with a rogue super-power. Global w– … what?
There are strong echoes from 1983 in the present political situation, and not just of Bob Hawke’s displacement of Bill Hayden as Labor leader on the brink of the 1983 election. There are deeper and darker currents flowing from that coup to Australia’s present state of delusional hysteria, especially regarding refugees.
Australian society was very different in 1983. Australia was a relatively fair, tolerant and egalitarian place, even though not without blind spots. We were said, disparagingly by some, to be very easy going. We were much richer in material things, and in the time to enjoy life, than we had been at the end of World War II, and for most the memory of steady improvement was recent and clear.
When Bob Hawke and Paul Keating took over Labor, and then the government, in 1983, they also took over the free-market fundamentalist agenda of the right wing of the Liberal Party.
Australian indigenous people: a Chief of Bathurst Island, and friends, 1939. (Personal photographs of C L A Abbott during his term as Administrator of the Northern Territory. Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’ve had lies on my mind.
How our governments and politicians lie, and lie, and lie, and how we let them. How much damage that has done. How much damage it still does, day after day.
I’ve been thinking to write about it, but knowing it’s another downer, and we can’t just dwell on what’s wrong because we lose hope and become numb and cynical. It’s cynicism and numbness that creates the space for the liars.
Then a video came along, a video of a man speaking the painful truth about his country, speaking from his head and from his heart.
[This article was published by the Canberra Times 14 January, p. 19, under the title “Carbon price, wealth creation are critical issues this year”.]
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declared that 2011 will be a year of accomplishment for her Government. However many people are deeply frustrated that mainstream politics seems oblivious to new and dangerous issues, as global warming tightens its grip and the verities of old ideologies are found wanting. There is a huge chasm between politics as usual and the issues we really should be addressing.