Hello beloved, yet shamefully neglected reader! How have you been? Well, I hope.
Yes, it is I! Returned from the void to comment on the depressing state of this nation of mine. I hope none of you were holding your breath, I’d hate to be responsible for any deaths.
Well, where does one start with such a dismal year in politics since my last post?
Let’s start with the 2015 budget.
The primary goal of this year’s budget appears to be “try not to be controversial”. So they’ve brought in a bunch of measures to “help” small business to help the economy and lower unemployment, basically by magic. There’s no actual mechanism here to lower unemployment, apparently the estimated $3000 per year in savings is supposed to be enough to employ new people, presumably to operate the new toys bought with the tax write offs offered to small business in the budget. As some commentators have already pointed out, if the goal is to reduce unemployment, which has been for the most part rising steadily under this government, then they’ve targeted the wrong area for stimulus, as these are not businesses that tend to explode into large employers after a little boost, they’re the sorts of companies that rise and fall and the net change to the economy is about zero.
It’s pretty clear that, as usual, this is because the ideology of the Liberal party is not that there are not jobs for the unemployed, but that unemployed people are lazy and not “having a go”. That’s the new slogan for this budget, given “age of entitlement” crashed and burned so spectacularly, given that the most entitled people in the country are the people declaring the age of entitlement over. At least when Gina Rinehart does something exorbitant and vulgar, she does it with her own paycheck. Messieurs Abbott, Hockey, Brandis and Cormann prefer to use the public purse, rather than their own considerable paychecks. “Live within our means” indeed!
Then we have those other scumbag burdens on society, who wish only to steal from the hardworking, noble citizens of the glorious nation, those double-dipping delinquents, parents of new borns taking parental leave entitlements. What makes this particular policy interesting is that it is a complete backflip from new mother worship (as long as they’re wealthy) in Abbott’s signature policy for women, the paid parental leave scheme, which was scrapped because of the pure and obvious absurdity of it to every other member of the government except the glorious leader himself, to the new policy of ripping entitlements from new parents and accusing them of being greedy double dippers. It is perhaps one of the most aggressive narrative backflips in recent history.
But then, this government is not known for having a coherent or even rational narrative. Contradictions abound! Apparently, according to the most offensive wind turbine of them all, Treasurer Joe Hockey, the government is on track to credible surplus in something like 2020 and the situation has not changed from last year. This is after decrying the lowest terms of trade in the nation’s history and dramatic loss of revenue from that (and the scrapping of the mining and carbon taxes, while cutting no actual expenditure by any meaningful amount). So apparently the amount of money coming in has no impact on how quickly you can pay off your debts. Why more people do not question the economic credibility of this sentient wind turbine, and indeed, his sanity, I’m not sure.
If you don’t get the wind turbine reference, I’ll explain it: Mr Hockey called wind turbines “utterly offensive”, yet his own contributions to discourse are merely a great deal of blustering wind and a lot of spinning. This reminded me of a wind turbine, made me internally giggle, so I used it. I’m sorry (I’m not sorry).
On top of that, everything that former Treasurer Wayne Swan had to deal with was a sign of his incompetence. When mr Hockey contends with the same issue, introduces the same policy, or generally doesn’t change something that he criticised his predecessor for, it is the height of virtue and an omen from the free market gods or something of good times ahead. Simultaneously, it’s very bad, rough challenging times. But also the best. It depends which way the wind is blowing that day and which way he’s spinning I suppose. (Ok, I’ll stop with the wind turbine thing).
Then we have the whole Bjorn Lomborg thing.
The Glorious Leader decrees that his favourite free market climate change downplayer (technically he’s not a denier, but let’s be real, if you’re denying the impact of climate change, you’re denying that it’s happening. Unless he’s simply declaring himself to be the world’s biggest imbecile that thinks increasing temperature had no impact on anything. Don’t trust such a person near hot surfaces, he probably still believes in suing.) The University that has been decreed the host to such an esteemed scientific illiterate decides that it would not be good for their image as a reputable institution of education and learning to associate with such a think tank, which uses methods that would make all scientist, most economists and statisticians raise their eyebrows in scepticism and confusion.
The Minister for Indoctrination and Ignorance (under the pseudonym “Education”), Christopher Pyne (who I believe to actually be a slimy tentacled creature with noses on the ends of his many invertebrate appendages from some polluted swamp somewhere, disguising himself in human-ish form) Sobs loudly about academic freedom and how much academics hate academic freedom for not accepting the Glorious Leader’s decree and partial funding of an individual who does not have the academic record to warrant such a position in the first place.
I note that Mr Pyne has not been offering any money to any other political or economic groups to form think tanks at universities, such as communists, or even vaguely socialist groups. Nor slavery advocates, animal rights activists or any other groups. Well, there is the whole stripping funding from many of these groups, but many of those aren’t actually his department. So apparently “Academic Freedom” only applies to the ideology of the Glorious Leader. Funny that. It’s almost like they have an agenda they’re trying to push on academia.
Beauty is in the eye of the Attorney General
Then we have his imperial highness, Sir Lord George –insert as many middle names as you want just to sound more important– Brandis, then add a bunch of letters to the end just to make him sound exceptionally important and that he would be a welcome guest at any royal court in Europe.
Mr Brandis is, still, waging war on the arts. By that, I mean he’s trying to get rid of the actual artists that decide what should be funded and what it worthwhile and replace it with, presumably, himself. This is because Mr Brandis is a very important aristocratic personage. He has the expensive bookcases full of law books (that he obviously hasn’t actually read, because his understanding of any law or policy he’s ever made an utterance about has been worryingly poor for an Attorney General, remember, it’s literally his job.) And the thousands of dollars in dinner parties for tiny numbers of people, just to ensure everyone know’s he a very important aristocrat. All of this is, of course, paid for by the taxpayer, not his own magnificent aristocratic estate with the fountains and the statues and the maids in the black skirts and frilly aprons that he CLEARLY HAS BECAUSE LOOK AT HIS IMPORTANCE!
What was I talking about again? Art. Yes, Mr Brandis only wants art that he would like to buy with taxpayer money for his office to be funded. So remember all you artists out there! If Lord Brandis doesn’t like it, then it’s not art and you legally can’t call yourself an artist anymore. Because he’s important, you mustn’t ever forget that.
But enough about the government. They have declared that they’re changed after last years spill, they’re much BETTER now, nothing has actually changed, but they’re tell you that everything that was bad is changed and everything good is the same. Which is which is never actually said in case they decide it’s important to whatever straw they’re grasping at this hour.
In a surprising turn of events, yesterday there was a man in parliament who claimed to be “the leader of the opposition” who goes by the name of Bill Shorten, who did something very clever. When the glorious leader and minister for small business heckled this fellow and urged him to “pass this legislation immediately for the good of the country!” He said “alright, let’s do it now!” And the Glorious Leader, straightened his imaginary Hitler moustache, put on his imaginary fuhrer hat and said “no. We will not pass it now. Stop being childish Bill Shorten. Now is not the time for passing this legislation that I told you to pass immediately. By immediately I meant later. After everyone on both sides of this room have praised this legislation and the Glorious Leader for his brilliant brain for business.”
And everyone outside the room laughed at the silly Glorious Leader and his silly comedy sketch show called “Parliament”. Christopher Pyne raised his tentacles and waved them about angrily, telling the mysterious interloper “the Leader of the Opposition” that he was a stupidhead and there was no point passing laws because the Senate was not sitting. Unidentified fluids probably flew off those tentacles in all directions and many people were slimed and upset by it. Probably.
It is still unclear what the role of this “Leader of the Opposition” is, it appears to be to agree with the Glorious Leader on anything that is important to running a fascist dictatorship, but disagreeing about things that sound like mean words and to say nicer words to do mean things to people instead. Because Mr Shorten has “Labor Values”. This appears to be some sort of ancient incantation that makes members of the house of Whitlam nod and cheer excitedly. They also appear to be secret occult business, as no one is allowed to determine what these “values” actually are.
The other role of this mysterious organisation known as “The Opposition” but also goes by the name “Labor” is to oppose the great evil monster intent on destroying the Glorious Leader’s totalitarian vision, the Greens. A new leader rose in this “Green” party, attempting to usurp the title of “Opposition” from the Labor clan. These two factions fight a bloody civil war over “the progressive vote”.
There was an amusing joke told by Mr Shorten about the Greens Leadership change. He criticised the Greens for their secretive and undemocratic Leadership system. A system that the Greens came to through a membership vote about Leadership systems. Mr Shorten, on the other hand, was a conspirator in the overthrowing of two sitting Labor Prime Ministers and now smugly cites democratic leadership, when the general membership of the Labor Party voted against him and in favour of the other contender, Anthony Albanese. A man whose competence in the role of infrastructure minister surpasses the entire front bench of the current government.
The Greens seem to have many reasonable evidence based policies. Except on a few issues. My personal gripe with the Greens is their GMO policy, which wobbles between “cautious, evidence based” to “frothing at the mouth terror at the prospect of GMOs”. When I asked in a Q&A with the leader, Dr Di Natale, he said that “it was not about the science”. I subsequently saw him talking at the “March against Monsanto” rally, standing with fear mongering anti science signs. Still. If the worst I can say about him is his dishonest GMO policy position annoys me, it still puts him leagues ahead of the other leaders and parties that make up the current parliament.
So in Conclusion: Australian politics is in a dismal state. The leaders are mostly rubbish, their policies indistinguishable, their competence questionable and their values mostly incoherent. It seems none of the current political class know what they’re doing, or even why, they just make decisions based on how much it will annoy their opponents. It’s like they’ve forgotten that they’re jointly responsible for the country and that it’s not a game.
So I joined a new political party that hasn’t run in an election yet. I won’t say what it is here because this wasn’t a recruitment drive. If anyone wants to actually know, I’ll reply in the comments section if you ask.
Maybe I’ll write more blogs! Anything’s possible! PS. I also have been learning more word press stuff, so I’ve been playing with more settings.