Contemptible political and corporate forces impact heavily on our lives, but most Australians don’t care. It’s crazy but true.
Sure, the broader society views the establishment with disgust and disdain. And yes, trust is at an all time low. And lack of confidence in the system is understandable.
But these cannot be excuses for not caring – quite the opposite.
Collective disengagement – apathy on a grand scale – has become a national cancer, and the prognosis is not good. Continued inaction will invite the Grim Reaper to remove the Australian soul.
To quote John F. Kennedy: “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
Society can be divided into two categories – the minority, which actively advocates action, and the rest whose apathetic silence is deafening. For them, comfortable inaction must feel safe.
Meanwhile, the resolute minority soldiers on, driven by social, political and environmental conscience. It cries out for progressive, radical change. It must surely be bewildered at the task of overcoming public apathy as well as confronting the issues that bedevil Australia.
What is one human life worth? What is more important, human life or economics? Scott Morrison and world leaders face these and more dilemmas. They are required to ‘play God’ in matters of life or death.
THIS CARTOON, DRAWN AT THE END OF JULIA GILLARD’S TENURE AS PRIME MINISTER, WAS ON DISPLAY IN THE MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY AT THE OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN CANBERRA.
THE EXHIBITION, KNOWN AS ‘WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT’, COMMENCED IN LATE AUGUST 2018 AND RAN FOR 12 MONTHS.
It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.
A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.
SHOCK JOCK: Tony Abbott, great to have you on
the show again, mate.
ABBOTT: Thanks mate, always a pleasure to
do interviews with intelligent, like-minded people of the right, like your good
SHOCK JOCK: I see you had a party room stoush with
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg over the National Energy Guarantee.
ABBOTT: Josh is cranky because I am
leading an internal party revolt against his plan. My pro-coal Monash Forum is
a faction that opposes action on climate change and wants new coal power
stations. Craig Kelly and I have flagged we will cross the floor to oppose the
SHOCK JOCK: I believe Frydenberg reminded you
of your commitment as PM three years ago that Australia, as a party to the
Paris Climate Agreement, would reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per
cent from 2005 levels, by 2030.
ABBOTT: And I replied by informing the
party room that bureaucrats had misled me.
SHOCK JOCK: What a great reply! Blaming
bureaucrats is always the best way out of embarrassing backflip predicaments.
ABBOTT: What embarrassing backflip predicament?
SHOCK JOCK: Now, you say that the Paris agreement
was only ever “aspirational”. I would call that a backflip.
Significantly, Julie Bishop has questioned your U-turn on climate change since
you were Prime Minister.
ABBOTT: I duly pay homage to Julie for
exposing my hypocrisy. As a devout Catholic who once trained for the
priesthood, I know that God was the creator who gave mankind fossil fuels as an
infinite source of power.
SHOCK JOCK: So God said, Let there be coal power stations
until Planet Earth is destroyed?
ABBOTT: I didn’t know that, but I agree.
Australia is rich in coal. It is cheap and reliable. And it creates jobs. Jobs
always matter more than the environment. That’s a given for political survival
— and my own job.
SHOCK JOCK: I would say your job is on shaky
ground. You are very unpopular in your own electorate of Warringah.
ABBOTT: Yes, Malcolm Turnbull did bail me
out of a tight spot in the last election. I think it was an attempt to stop me
from behaving like a bitter and twisted spoilt brat after he stole the prime
ministership from me. I bet he regrets it now!
SHOCK JOCK: Do you ever consider the impacts
of your pro-coal behaviour on your grandchildren? I certainly worry about
ABBOTT: I think you have become a greenie!
SHOCK JOCK: The world trend is now away from
coal. Financiers are increasingly refusing to back investment in coal because
it is becoming an economic dead duck. Investment in renewables is the future.
ABBOTT: You must be confusing the crap out of
your listeners. You are supposed to be a right-wing jock.
SHOCK JOCK: Many of my listeners – the poor –
are going hungry and cold because power bills have doubled in the last decade.
ABBOTT: That’s not my fault.
SHOCK JOCK: As a matter of fact, we have Josh
Frydenberg on the line now.
ABBOTT: Are you joshing me?
SHOCK JOCK: Mr Frydenberg.
FRYDENBERG: Thanks for taking my call. I am
doing one hell of a high wire balancing act here. Sometimes, I think I should
have joined the circus rather than Parliament.
SHOCK JOCK: Is there a difference?
FRYDENBERG: Funny! I am trying to end decades
of policy and investment uncertainty that has led to high prices and unreliable
power. I want retailers to meet reliability and emissions reduction targets.
Let me explain this point by point:
I am dealing with the likes of Mr Abbott and his mates, destabilising the Coalition with a zero emissions target agenda, threatening to cross the floor.
I am trying to adhere to our international obligation undertaken in the Paris Agreement.
I need the support of Labor, which agrees in principle to the National Energy Guarantee but wants the target to be 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2050.
I face opposition from The Greens, who claim the NEG will be more detrimental to the renewables sector than if the Coalition did nothing.
I have to deal with the irascible Lower House crossbench and a volatile Senate.
Then, I have to get the states and territories to come on board.
Plus, business, energy and welfare groups are desperate for a resolution of the energy policy stand-off.
ABBOTT: Diddums, Josh!
FRYDENBERG: I am not saying the NEG is a
silver bullet. There is none, but this is my best compromise in order to move
forward. You, Tony, don’t know what compromise means — except when it comes to
compromising your own party. You are making the Coalition look like a disunited
SHOCK JOCK: What do you say to that, Tony?
ABBOTT: I agree.
SHOCK JOCK: You agree?
ABBOTT: Yes, we are a disunited rabble. If
everybody agreed with me, we would be one big happy family.
JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, your old familiar smile has returned after your recent tearful meltdown on Sky News. You were upset, claiming your One Nation Senator Brian Burston had stabbed you “in the back” for supporting the Coalition Government’s company tax cut policy.
HANSON: Yes, I am ecstatic over that performance. It was cameo Hollywood material wasn’t it? Brian had betrayed me despite his claims to the contrary. He maintains I had been contrary on the issue. Contrariness is my prerogative.
JOURNALIST: You are ecstatic. Why?
HANSON: Since that appearance, my staff phones have been running hot in sympathy and support of me.
JOURNALIST: And contrariness is your prerogative?
HANSON: I love to keep my opponents on their toes. It keeps them second-guessing on what I will do next. It destabilises them and I love that. I especially love the power of blackmailing the major parties on my preference flow decisions.
JOURNALIST: So, your Sky News meltdown was a charade masquerading as tears of betrayal?
HANSON: No, it was not. I have built my career on betrayal and I am so passionate about it. Betrayal is my mantra. I get very emotional about it sometimes.
JOURNALIST: Mr Turnbull, you are now staring at 33 consecutive Coalition Newspoll losses in a row. This surpasses Abbott’s 30 losses you used as a benchmark trigger for your successful leadership coup in 2015, does it not?
TURNBULL: Yes that’s true, but I recently expressed regret for leveraging that number 30. I won the spill and got to be Prime Minister — that’s all I care about. If you in the media think the number 30 is to be my nemesis, you are sadly delusional. I, on the other hand, am happily delusional.
JOURNALIST: Oh my God!
TURNBULL: Indeed. God willing, the Coalition would win the next Newspoll if only the public would start listening to me. Maybe they get distracted by my charisma and tune out in stunned awe of me?
JOURNALIST: Maybe your credibility is already ruined?
TURNBULL: I have apologised. For a prime minister to be so humbly apologetic is so refreshing in the public eye. So, my credibility has benefited from my brilliant bleeding-heart expression of remorse.
JOURNALIST: Are you surprised at your poor performance?
TURNBULL: Worse than surprised, I would say shocked. I did not expect to lose even one poll. By the way, how dare you call my performance “poor”?
Outrage was palpable on the steps of Parliament House on 11 November 1975 as Gough Whitlam supporters flanked the media scrum to witness the sacked Prime Minister’s famous speech:
“Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’, because nothing will save the Governor-General. The Proclamation which you have just heard read by the Governor-General’s Official Secretary was countersigned by Malcolm Fraser, who will undoubtedly go down in Australian history from Remembrance Day 1975 as Kerr’s cur.”
The man Whitlam appointed as the Queen’s representative in Australia, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, had axed his benefactor. The Dismissal of Whitlam and his Labor Government was always shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The real truth of the machinations leading up to this unprecedented coup remain cloaked in secrecy and that is because Australia is not yet a republic.
Displacement looms for our wombat population as countless Australians seek out their holes to crawl into.
It is so hopeless that extrication from society seems the only option for anyone with a social conscience. Trust has bitten the dust and politicians are the major culprits.
One could have wistfully hoped that with the start of a new year, 2018 would bring just a modicum of improvement in the standard of federal government. Senator Michaelia Cash put an end to that and now we pessimistically await the next exercise in trashing our Parliamentary system.
The shenanigans surrounding Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and his pregnant ex-staffer were dreadful and the nation cringed in disbelief on many levels — betrayal of family, hypocrisy and appalling judgement. Behaviour behind closed doors was the root cause of Barnaby’s undoing.
Conversely, doors were wide open when Cash shamelessly launched her vitriolic attack in response to Labor Senator Doug Cameron, who had questioned the appointment of Cash’s new chief of staff.
Yes, it is a given, but the scandal surrounding Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and his pregnant extramarital partner Vikki Campion is about far more than trust. It encapsulates what is so wrong with our political and media modus operandi.
It is a minefield of personal failings on the part of the Nationals leader. It is a mainstream media disgrace.
Terms that have been bandied about in relation to Joyce’s conduct include inflated ego, betrayal, hypocrisy, deception, disingenuousness, cynicism, self-interest and poor self-control. We would expect that with high office comes a heightened cognisance of personal accountability. We might as well expect fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Australian Federal Police have raided the parliament house gift shop. The raid followed a call to 2UE’s whisper line by an anonymous tipster citing inside knowledge and details of a plan by a group of “face-covered Moslems” to disrupt parliament. The call was heard by Channel 9, whose film crew promptly notified the AFP, then made a beeline for Capital Hill. Sound familiar? Deja vu?
Shop manager Flossie Fairweather politely informed the heavily armed anti-terrorist squad that she had sold out of the offending face coverings. “I sold the last 60 to that charming group of young people barely 30 minutes ago. They said they were Moslem but they did not look like terrorists to me. I think they were heading for the public gallery in that big green room.”
The squad then stormed the House of Representatives gallery with the order, “Remove all face coverings immediately.”
Childish laughter erupted as the group of primary school children removed their Julie Bishop clown face masks. A spokeschild piped up, “We just wanted to have a bit of fun at your expense. We didn’t think you would have learnt any lessons from the Burqa ban debacle last October. You idiots. And by the way, we are not Moslem, not that it should matter one iota. And yes, it was me who phoned 2UE. It has been a pleasure to make a laughing stock of the AFP, the media and parliament. Kids rule! We are the future and don’t you forget it.”
Tony Abbott reacted angrily to the incident, “There will be no more benefit of the doubt for children seeking to harm Australia. We are a free and fair nation, but that doesn’t mean we should let bad children play us for mugs. Let me be quite clear about this. All children, I repeat, all children will now be treated as terror suspects.”
According to Flossie Fairweather, “Sales of the Julie Bishop clown face masks have soared. For fun-loving visitors to parliament house, to notwear a mask in the public galleries is as un-Australian as banning the burqa.”
Rumour has it that an outraged Julie Bishop approached Ms Fairweather, demanding that she withdraw all masks from sale. “Why don’t you wear one of these love. It will be a much better look for you.” came Flossie’s response. A gun-shy, red-faced and highly nervous AFP has kowtowed to Bishop’s demand that the incriminating CCTV footage be seized, archived and marked “Never to be released.”