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.