Defending the (Bottom) Line

27/06/2019

I have written before about the revolving door between politics and the private sector, as have many others with a much wider breadth of knowledge regarding specific cases. One, at the time of writing my piece, was former NSW Premier Mike Baird, working comfortably at NAB during the RC into the finance sectors. (Notably, I wrote at the time that NSW was feeling buyer’s remorse for having re-elected Baird and being given Berejiklian – boy was I wrong, the media narrative shifted drastically). This week’s contender? Former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.

Even without touching the issue of lobbyists or, in Pyne’s case, consultancy positions, the business of war is one that I (rhetorically, of course) violently oppose. Words do not exist to describe the utter disgust I have for those who make profit off of the death and suffering of other human beings, and the privatisation of war (see Academi, formerly Blackwater) only triggers a vicious cycle. The war drums nearing Iran is about many things, and one of those is the billions in weapon’s contracts crashing through the Middle East.

If one is unaware of Australia’s own involvement in the growing arms industry, then THIS video by the Juice Media explains it well, and THIS video by [Angry]jordies covers the insane military spending the Coalition has locked our nation into. It is a shame that those two brilliant satirist channels do not have a broader reach. While the Juice Media can, at times, rely too much on profanity, and Friendlyjordies is slowly morphing into an ironic and overly self-aware (but still infinitely more intelligent) Buzzfeed, they are still worth checking out.

But it shouldn’t take a couple of satirists or a piece by me to convince people that war is a tragedy and that money made off of it is drowned in innocent blood. So it is doubly concerning when our politicians not only promote arms deals to countries like Saudi Arabia or wherever else, but then quit politics after doing so to join a company as a consultant or lobbyist on defence.

Christopher Pyne, who managed to shed a few tears while resigning but probably not for those who might die because of his work, has picked up a job at EY as a consultant. Numerous concerns have been brought up regarding his inside knowledge as an MP and the fact that it possibly breaches the 18-month restriction on working in the industry one was the Minister for. Sadly, most politicians enter politics out of self-interest, and again and again this is proven to us.

When a politician is so quickly and keenly selected for a job in an industry that they oversaw on a government level, it raises serious questions about the power the private sector has over said politician. This is no secret, and yet lobbying, obscene donations, and close relationships between our government and private companies continues as just a part of the machine.

In the case of the arms industry, it isn’t ‘defence’ they are interested in, simply profits. The genocides and terror inflicted upon the less fortunate elsewhere in the world are merely acceptable collateral that they do not have to deal with. In all forms, the increasing role of corporate power should be stymied, but the arms industry (on par with banks and fossil fuels) tops the list.

Your taxpayer dollars fund the horrors of war – it’s a shame our nation didn’t have the conscience to vote the bastards in government out.

 

Liked this? Read the previous piece about ‘revolving doors’ HERE

Previous piece: The Wrong Propaganda Message

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