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28 August 2014
by Damian Smith

An open letter to Tony Abbott

Independent journalists are finding it difficult to keep up with the supply of stupidity this government has been feeding us. If Tony Abbott could only keep himself and his Ministers away from a microphone – even for only a day or two – we could all draw breath.

To The Member for Warringah,

Mr Abbott I wish to invoke the rite of parlay.

I am a writer, comedian, satirist and social commentator. I am an environmentalist, a socialist, an intellectual and a free thinker. In short I am as diametrically opposed to your regime as you can possibly get. And oppose you I do, regularly, loudly and sometimes vehemently. But I write this missive under a banner of peace.

I wish to propose a ceasefire. I would like a period of calm – a month, a week, even a day would be something – where I don’t have to devote my spare time to applying logic and reason in the opposition of your quote/unquote “policies” and you don’t have to spend every waking moment trying to destroy human civilisation. A time where neither of us appears in public espousing our ideologies, where we can spend that time on other projects. A brief recess for us to catch our breath.

Because frankly Mr Abbott, I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I simply cannot keep up. I’m one of the most prolific comedy writers on the scene and even I’m struggling to swim.

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to write an article on one of your obscene, disastrous and destructive policies and I have not accomplished anything. Because as soon as I get two paragraphs in, you or someone else in your cabinet does something so remarkably stupid or obscene that it takes precedence over the issue I was originally trying to address. Then I begin writing about that and something even worse happens. It’s like trying to be a triage medic on Juno beach.

A few days ago I was going to be writing a piece on the racial discrimination act. Then George Brandeis piloted your Big Brother agenda on to national television like Randy Quaid in Independence Day and I suddenly had to do something about that, because it was more urgent. I had half written that article when the news broke that Russia had imposed sanctions on Australian imports, for an estimated $750m hit to our economy, simply because of you being a bombastic idiot with a John Wayne approach to international diplomacy. In the time I was writing that Eric Abetz donned his tinfoil hat and went the full misogynist, proselytizing, flat-earther and used a discredited 1950’s study to link abortion and breast cancer. No sooner do I try to jump on that does the news break that Australia’s unemployment is the highest it’s been since you were the Minister for Employment and consumer confidence hits a record low in response to you and your party being unable to manage an economy, a government and, apparently, your own mouths.

I’m exhausted, Mr Abbott.

It used to be when you were (thankfully) in opposition that we’d have something to take you to task on about once or twice a week. Ample time to cover every issue if you were diligent in your work ethic, even if sometimes you couldn’t devote all your resources to a particular subject because you were waiting for the other shoe to drop. But now we’re getting a national, and increasingly more common an international, scandal roughly every eight hours.

Since you own the mainstream media, or more to the point the mainstream media owns you, it’s up to us – the comedians and bloggers and independent journalists – to hold you accountable and we simply do not have the manpower to cope with this avalanche of stupidity and gormless cupidity.

The entirety of the sins of the previous government during the hung parliament of last term you and your cohorts are outdoing in less than a week. And it shows no signs of letting up. Indeed the embarrassments and evils appear to be snowballing to the point where society is about to collapse.

So please, Mr Abbott, I implore you, take a break. Have a week off where you don’t do anything or say anything. Where your entire ministry just doesn’t appear in public. And I promise to do the same, because I need it. We all do, those of us with a social conscience and a platform to be heard. We’re exhausted and we deserve a break.


Damian Smith