Having elected the Coalition in for another three years really helps solidify who I am as a person; that is, a contradiction. Visions of an ideal society collide with the cynical prediction of the destruction of organised human life (to borrow Chomsky’s phrase). The non-confrontational pacifist who is ever ready to vehemently argue their point with anyone who challenges it. The student who understands they know very little, yet denounces the unaware masses for their ignorance. The line between these two sides only continues to blur the more our leaders sink the world lower and lower into their pit of corruption and negligence. Buckle up, Australia.
Many people I know who voted for the Coalition or populist parties (like One Nation or United Australia Party) did so not because of any particular allegiance or acceptance of those groups, but because they were simply voting against the Labor Party. When people laugh at Clive Palmer for going on a campaign blitz, spending millions of dollars in advertising and not winning a single seat, the joke is on them. Up to $55M was spent on a campaign that was never supposed to win him a seat – it was to keep Labor out of power by slamming Bill Shorten.
The “humble meme merchant” and Tim Tam connoisseur was ecstatic about a Coalition victory, saying that his efforts in saving the country from “shifty” (his nickname for Bill Shorten) was better for the community than donating a comparable sum to charity organisations. The irony of a Trumpesque businessman who just splurged tens of millions of dollars on a smear campaign calling a former union leader ‘shifty’ would be hilarious if it weren’t so damning for our tattered democracy.
But when you ask the anti-Labor voters why they voted the way they did, they are intellectually and politically stunted. They voted that way because they didn’t want to vote for Labor, or those commie Greens with their Earth-saving hippie shit. The moment you try and get any solid response about what Coalition policies they agree with you are left with a vacuum, or some really substandard response about a throwaway issue (in some cases you just get pure ignorance or misplaced self-interest).
It has not taken long for things to become tedious as the Coalition begins to “burn themselves” for the “promise of Australia for all Australians” (how excitingly vague). For example, as if there were not enough reasons to refuse ‘free’ wi-fi services in public, the government and ASIO will be targeting users of this service with surveillance programs. The alluring prospect of a private and encrypted online presence is not welcome in the 1984-based wonderland our invasive government and security agencies have concocted, so now not only will your information be sold to the highest corporate bidder, but it will now also be monitored by the state. To borrow the Juice Media’s phrase: cool and normal.
In much the same way that the Coalition now takes credit for bringing in marriage equality for the LGBT+ community, they now make history by introducing the first Indigenous person to a Cabinet position. Notably, Ken Wyatt has been made the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, but this is still a party that, until he was voted out, had Tony Abbott as Indigenous Envoy. While an Indigenous voice for the affairs of our native peoples is brilliant, there is a lot of work that needs to be done that the Coalition has delayed or outright refused to consider. Wyatt will either need to drastically depart from his party’s overall views or his office is merely shallow and symbolic.
With hopes that I am wrong, I find myself thinking it will turn out to be the latter. While Wyatt touts his “deep respect for and connection to this country and to Mother Earth”, a quick look at his voting record shows that his take on environmental policy is very much in line with Coalition ideals – that is, screw the environment. His stances on a number of other issues also leaves much to be desired – let us hope the government does not accuse legitimate criticisms as racist, because that would be wrong and hypocritical now, wouldn’t it? I’ll still hold out until we have a treaty, a decrease in institutionalised racism, and an increase in Indigenous representation in Parliament on Indigenous issues.
And on the note of the environment, we have another three years of dodgy and evasive remarks regarding our carbon emissions. Matt Canavan is downplaying our increasing emissions (I thought Morrison said we’d reach our reduction targets?) by saying that the gas we are exporting (the cause of ours’ rising) is lowering emission in other parts of the world. I don’t believe that is how it works. Both the Coalition and Labor fall short when it comes to tackling climate change – the single most important issue we are facing today – and after losing the election, it looks like Labor is drifting more towards the Coalition’s pathetic targets than the Green’s ambitious but achievable plans for increased renewable energy.
The articles linked above are merely from today, and there is much more to be found so don’t stop there. When someone tells you they voted for the Coalition, or against Labor and the Greens, ask them why and tell them why they’re wrong. Tell them that they contributed to the next three years of corruption and regression that will come at the hands of a wretched government. Tell them that when they complain that things are tough for them, or that the government is awful, that they have no right to complain and that they’ll just have to shut up and deal with it.
We have a lot to look forward to as a nation, and none of it is pretty.
Liked this? Read Miracles Won’t Change the World: What Next?
Previous piece: Double Standards: Attacks on Jeremy Corbyn