Power to the People – Part II

On Q & A (ABC TV, 27/5/19) a young person skyped a question to the panel about how she is being ‘shamed’ because she voted for the LNP in the recent federal election. After some clarification, it was established that the shaming came primarily from social media, and more importantly, it was revealed that she voted LNP because their policies benefited her, personally, financially. She should have been ashamed of herself.

The panel unanimously agreed that people should not be attacked because of how they voted, fair enough. Marcia Langton stated that our rage should be directed at the right targets. Good point. It appears that in recent times we, the electorate, have become so divided, so polarised in our views, that the status quo rolls on, effectively unchallenged, as we squabble among ourselves. The divide and conquer tactic is working for the LNP.

What is this status quo?

It’s not pretty.

Australia is one of the most wealthy nations on Earth, yet, our government puts the economy ahead of climate change. Scott Morrison stated, prior to the election: “Our Government will take, and is taking, meaningful, practical, sensible, responsible action on climate change without damaging our economy or your family budget.”

Scott Morrison and his ministers still insist that we are going to smash our Paris Targets. The Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy publish data that shows that our emissions have been increasing ever since the LNP gained power in 2013. The same data also shows that during the period of the Labor Government, 2007 – 2013, greenhouse gas emissions declined every year. This has been attributed to the carbon tax, which now, thanks to the propaganda of the neo-conservatives in this country, will likely never be on the table again.


(http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/4391288e-fc2b-477d-9f0b-99a01363e534/files/nggi-quarterly-update-sept-2018.pdf )

The proof is in the pudding, if you can somehow fool the electorate into believing that their electricity bill will rise if you vote Labor, even while it continues to rise under the LNP government which lost a Prime Minister in the shit fight trying to get an energy policy happening, then you can bullshit all you want about targets and emissions and responsible approaches to climate change. Enough voters, not the majority mind you, but enough to win an election, are swayed more by their hip pocket than their concern for the environment.

Carbon is dirty. Carbon tax is even dirtier. The word tax has become so politically toxic, that you can use it in fear campaigns to win an election even after six years of internal chaos and embarrassing incompetence.

“retiree tax”

“superannuation tax”

“housing tax”

“death tax”

Labor taxes. The Liberals cut tax, especially if you are wealthy and obviously having a go.

The wealthy are getting wealthier. On the same Q & A where the young woman bemoaned being shamed for voting LNP, host, Tony Jones, badgered Mark Dreyfuss about the toxicity of the Labor party’s policy to end franking tax credits (aka the “retiree tax”).

From Kaye Lee at the Australian Independent Media (AIM), 29/5/19:

Tony Jones to the rescue, asking Mark Dreyfuss “Would you agree, at least, that it was a financial impost on many retirees?”

Dreyfuss answered “It was a removal of a benefit or a subsidy that is paid by the Australian Tax Office, using other taxpayers’ money… to about 3% of Australian taxpayers.”

Tony persisted.

Well, 3% who were on it, and how many per cent were waiting to use that system, and how many relatives and people who had the system? I mean, you’re not…you’re not seriously considering continuing with the policy, are you?”


Is Tony Jones a mouthpiece for the LNP? Are the LNP cuts to the ABC working? Will it soon be for sale? Will Murdoch buy it?

Wealth inequality is growing. Many people who voted for the LNP seem to be ignorant of this fact, or worse still, aspire to get in on the tax rorts. Scott Morrison comes from a marketing background. His campaign for Tourism Australia, “Where the bloody hell are you?”, was a failure, but his campaign to fool enough people that he and his party are the best managers of the economy has sadly been a success. The truth is, the top 10% will be better off, the bottom 90% worse off.

The same Q & A that supported the shamed LNP voter, and that tried to bury and cremate forever any policy to reverse a socially unjust tax loophole, also attempted an impartial discussion on a referendum for indigenous recognition in the constitution of Australia.

Oh dear.

After Malcom Turnbull shamefully dismissed the Uluru Statement from the Heart, we now are wondering what Scott Morrison will do about this. It seems clear that the prime minister will market an ‘in-principle support’ and then kick the issue down the street with some bullshit that more talk is needed. What an insult to the indigenous people of this nation. Tim Wilson, once a human rights commissioner, now an aspirant for the PM position, made it clear that he can’t accept the indigenous people’s eloquent and articulate expression of how a voice in parliament would work, and so did Paul Kelly, conservative extraordinaire and employee of Murdoch’s press. They feel it needs a white man’s reworking. Marcia Langton, Mark Dreyfus and Rachael Jacobs, the other three panellists all agreed that the referendum could and should take place in this current term.

Unfortunately, just today, Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous Minister for Aboriginal Australians has toed the party line and dismissed the possibility of a referendum in this term of government.

Shame on us.

We must maintain the rage. The conservative narrative that all us left wing progressives should shut up and let the Morrison government do, or not do, whatever it wants, is a sham. There is no mandate. The reality is that the Labor Party got more votes that any other political party.

Lest we forget

And even after you add up the votes for the three parties that form the coalition, The Liberal Party, The Liberal National Party, and the Nationals of Australia, they still have less votes than the Labor Party and the Greens combined.


Let it be noted:

More people voted for left wing progressive political parties than voted for the right wing neo-conservative LNP coalition.

It could be argued that there is something wrong with the system. With reform to the electoral system, we could easily have a parliament that is truly more representational of the people of the nation.

Imagine that. Imagine a truly representational democracy that would deliver policy that the majority of Australians are yearning for.

The majority of Australians do not want neo-conservative policies. Australians want real action on climate change. Australians want justice for indigenous people. Australians want a fairer distribution of wealth.

After the recent election result, we are going to have to fight harder and louder to get what we truly deserve. Just like we had to fight tooth and nail for marriage equality against an LNP government and a minority of religious conservatives who used free speech to vilify people and divide the nation.

Shaming people who voted for self interest and inequality, is nothing compared to the damage being done to Australia by the LNP.


Power to the People

Australia has a federal election this Saturday, 18th May. Like elsewhere in the world, people are disillusioned with their governments and the whole political process. There is distrust in the politicians, and unfortunately, in many cases this is justified. There is also apathy and cynicism when wealthy corporations and individuals, and biased media, appear to have the power to influence the outcome of elections.

But, the only way democracy can be hijacked, is if we let it. In Australia, voting is compulsory, many other countries are envious of this aspect of our democracy. Every vote counts, even donkey votes count. We get the government we deserve. I implore all Australians to get informed about the policies on offer and vote accordingly.

Don’t be swayed by the apathy, and the cynicism, and the bullshit, that is epitomised by the often heard remark, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same.”

I love election day. And below is the playlist I’ll have booming on my back deck as I wait for Antony Green on the ABC to call the result.

Bring a plate


Not sure what to take to the Federal Election Party you’ve been invited to on May 18?

These might work:

Mini Pork Barrels – great treat for those in marginal seats

Don Chips – an all-time favourite to keep the bastards honest

Some Greens – you know they’re good for you

Raw onions – popular in Warringah

Cold Democracy Sausage – pork, lamb, beef, chicken, kangaroo and tofu all minced together with so much garlic and chili you won’t have clue what your eating.

Free Trade Gluten Free Locovarian Vegan Nibblies – don’t worry if no one eats them, the chooks might give ‘em a shot the next morning

Halal Raspberry Tart – available exclusively from the fish and chip shop in Ipswich, just ask for Pauline

Bowl of Mixed Nuts – pick up some at Fraser Anning’s next rally.

Mashed Potato Head – Skin Dutton, Boil Dutton, Mash Dutton, hopefully this dish will be gone by 7pm AEST election night.

Cheese and Frackers – they’re a gas, gas, gas, all proceeds go to buying back puddle water from the Cayman Islands

Pigs in Blankets – Michaelia Cash is screaming about these

Little Boys – favourites of Family First and the Christian Democrats

Chicken Wings – left and right wings on separate plates please.

Frankingfurters – absolutely super!

Joshy Boy’s New Clothes

Three days ago there was a Treasurer so exceedingly fond of a surplus that he backed his whole career on a shiny new budget. He cared nothing about the impending climate catastrophe, the unemployed, or the expensive and empty detention centre on the tropical island named after the holy one’s day of birth. He only cared about the optics of a surplus. He had a graph for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other person in charge of the budget, “The Treasurer’s consulting with the poor and needy,” here in the land of continuous economic growth they say, “Joshy’s in the fitting room with Scotty, the boss.”

In the capital where he counted all the money, life was an allowance fuelled rort. Every day hungry corporate overlords came to Canberra, and among them one day came two swindlers, one from the IPA, the other from the Minerals Council. They let it be known they could fashion a budget from the most magnificent lies imaginable. Not only were their lies made from the finest white patriarchal fibre, but a budget woven of this mendacious fabric had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was deemed unfit for financial assistance. These leaners would be far too uncouth and undeserving to appreciate the wonders of an invisible budget, the swindlers boasted.

You know the rest of the story.

Bring on the election Scomo. We see right through you and your naked neo-liberal chummy boys.

The Problem with Writing Advice

Sometimes, I fantasise about becoming a world famous author and being interviewed on television, or radio, or, more likely these days, on a podcast! Woopty-do, eh? Of course, in the interview I would be asked if I had any advice for writers. It would be a great opportunity to debunk the stock standard rules for writing such as:

write everyday,

read everything,

show don’t tell,


write what you know.

I would especially like to rapaciously ravage and eternally eradicate the slavish scorn for adverbs. I have no issues with abundant alliteration.

How smug I could be – arrogantly suggesting there are no rules for writing fiction. So, I thought about it a bit. What advice would I give?

Here’s one shot at it:

  1. Have fun – you’re alone, you’re free to write whatever you like, why suffer?

  2. Be bold – it’s not called creative writing for a joke.

  3. Be prolific – most of your stories will be crap, a few will be gems, do the maths.

Now, here’s the problem. Since formulating these rules, they have become a mantra that swims around in my early morning writing head.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.


Consequently, writing has become a gloomy chore, my sentences are pastel, and the output is drier than the mouth of the Murray.

I ditch my three rules.

Advice to self:

Don’t fantasise about becoming famous and being interviewed and thinking that you have anything wise to say to anyone about writing – just write.

Here is a picture of my bedside table. These books have to be returned to the library tomorrow – proof you can’t read everything!

Bedside table

My Random Short Story Generator

Aldi have been discounting their leftover Christmas stock, have you noticed? It’s almost impossible now to walk past all those unusual treats that you wanted to buy last December but didn’t because your trolley was already full of stock standard Yuletide fare. I’ve been caught by the Specially Selected Marzipan Rounds. It’s been hard work but I have now purchased and eaten all three varieties on offer; plum, orange and cherry.

marzipan rounds

On special at Aldi.

At night, while struggling to stay awake for season eight-episode seventy seven, I conjure up a second wind by asking Linda if she’d like a glass of milk and some chocolate. She invariably declines, and I trot out to the kitchen to treat myself with the impunity that comes from offering to share and the fact that these marzipan rounds are cheap as chips. Please note: I have already eaten chips before dinner with a beer.

You may be wondering if I am as big as the side of a bus?

Answer: not yet.

Anyway, the point of this small rant is that I used the box from my last pack of night time choccy treats to create a Random Short Story Generator. 

How does it work?

I have a file in my computer called “Story Ideas.doc”. In the main, it’s a list of story titles that I have compiled over several years. [I must acknowledge Ray Bradbury, as he wrote about something like this in his book, “Zen in the Art of Writing”.] I trimmed the list down a bit, printed it out and cut out each title. These were then folded up and placed inside the box.

When I get up in the morning, I lucky dip a title, and off I go.


The Random Short Story Generator ready for action on my desk.

Just a few of the titles available for selection:

Op Shopping Across the Universe

I Think It’s Bush Week

Onions Frying at Sunset

Little Lunch at Oxymoron High

Junkies Love Dolphins and Red Indians

Meet Me at the Charcoal Chicken Shop

Two Goon Bay

Milton Rowe

Dog Martin

True Fiction – the Podcast

Do Not Reply to This Text

What a Good Year for the Nectarines

Grandma Rhetorical

Look at Those Idiots

Wonder what I’ll pick tomorrow?