News & Current Affairs
05 December 2014
by Lyn Bender
Abbott's Brave New World
The Abbott Government's so-called 'Year of Achievement' – otherwise known as his attempt to transform Australia into a dirtier, meaner, more unfair, dog eat dog world – continues apace.
Happily, this has not come without some significant setbacks for him and his band of merry wreckers.
This week, for instance, legislation attempting to put higher education out of reach of the poor by deregulating university fees has failed in the Senate.
Like a petulant rejected suitor – which, in some ways, he was – Education (Dismantlement) Minister Christopher Pyne has vowed on ABC 7.30 to resubmit his amended education bill. Pyne has been accused of harassing intransigent senators who refuse to do his bidding.
The “my way or the highway” Government, that vowed it would never do deals with minor parties, is now desperately seeking their favour. But it is hoist on its own petard of broken promises. Its budget and credibility lie in tatters.
The defeat of its education reforms comes as Tony Abbott’s Government begins to crash and burn.
A central pillar for the workings of democracy is an educated population. An authoritarian dystopian regime requires the masses to be kept ignorant and misinformed.
It’s timely to remember George Orwell’s totalitarian world of Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Brave New World of Aldous Huxley.
It is now almost 2015 and we are embarking on – or, preferably, soon to be disembarking from – the voyage into the strange and weird world of Abbott’s dystopian vision for the future.
It is an Australia where the legitimacy of science is being decommissioned, the population is being de-educated and the corrupt are honoured and befriended.
The persecution of refugees is now official policy and the media and body politic are in the service of big money.
Public broadcasting has been degraded and is on the way to being privatised to a media that will support the Abbott worldview.
The teaching of evolution will be balanced with the Christian worldview, shepherded by school chaplains. Similarly, climate change is seen as just a “theory” that will be “balanced” with the propaganda of climate “sceptics”.
It is a land officially founded on the principles terra nullius and on a genocide denied.
The deforested landscape is striated and scarred with roads, CSG wells, massive coal mines and their associated ports. It will be the great second coming of the age of coal, which is somehow seen as "good for humanity". Australia will be a land of heat, flames, floods and droughts.
The poor will be enslaved on low wages and educated only to the level required for their toil.
Healthcare will be degraded, privileged and privatised and the trend to a rising life expectancy reversed. The problem of welfare and aged care will thus be solved.
If you think this is apocalyptic hysteria, that is understandable. Because the vision emerging of the workings of the Abbott Government “mind” is too ridiculous to deserve anything but mockery.
It is a Gilbert and Sullivan topsy-turvy absurdist operetta. It is an image of the crazy irrationality of the man who has the top job. Our “Captain” eerily resembles Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘monarch of the sea’ — ‘the ruler of the Queen’s Navy’.
We are witnessing the way Tony Abbott thinks, through his words and actions. It is a small weird scary vision of a shrunken paradise lost. The vision of a man elevated beyond his competence, who asks not what he can do for his country, but only what his country can do for him - and his sponsors.
A politically apathetic populace is in danger of losing its democratic progressive system of government.
Democracy is not a set and forget process, but requires vigilance and the attention of the people. Democracy can be lost from within itself.
Consider the fall of 1930’s German democracy. Use it or lose it has never been more relevant. But the elegance of promoting the emergence of a dumbed down populace, is that it will hardly notice its own decline.
Like the defeat of Pyne's sinister university "reforms", the defeat of the Liberal Party in Victoria also shines in the bleakness like a beacon of hope. At least some of the people in this nation are not apathetic and propaganda saturated.
Abbott lies and denies and talks in slogans. His decisions cause harm to the vulnerable and the environment. Abbott harangued Gillard on so-called lies, ironically campaigning on trust — a twisted punch line lampooned by his words and deeds.
- Abbott calls lies truth, with fifty lies and still counting.
- Lies about lying, calling cuts to ABC and SBS ‘efficiency dividends’.
Abbott misleads the parliament and the Australian people:
- Makes savage cuts to the CSIRO with reductions of one in five jobs.
- Makes cuts to the ABC and SBS amongst many others.
Abbott dumbs down populace:
- Under terror laws, journalist truth tellers could be jailed for ten years on grounds defined by the government of the day.
- Due to cuts, the ABC is ditching or reducing some investigative and regional news programs. Ten per cent of ABC workers are to lose their jobs.
- Review of school curriculum – co-chaired by arch “old school” Dr Kevin Donnelly – calls for an emphasis on western literature and the Judeo-Christian heritage.
- Anti-terror laws and surveillance powers supress freedom of speech.
- Metadata retention laws come a step closer to the spy state of Anna Funder’s Stasiland in post-war East Germany.
- Increased targeting and surveillance of the Muslim community.
Scapegoating and racism:
- Asylum seekers vilified, persecuted, imprisoned and returned to danger.
- Refugee Convention trashed.
- Indigenous reconciliation turned back to a thinly disguised assimilation policy.
- Abbott declares the land, inhabited and managed by indigenous people for 60,000 years, was "nothing but bush".
- Genocide? What genocide?
- Stolen generations?
Trashing Australia and the planet:
- Abandoned having a science minister.
- Waved through huge coal mining approvals.
- Trashed Barrier Reef.
- Exports coal emissions.
- Undermines renewable industry.
- Bizarrely opposes global action on climate change.
Parochial global citizen:
- Foreign aid slashed.
- Reluctant and dismissive about Ebola aid.
- Tries to form an alliance against global action on climate change.
And the bizarre:
- Funds Christian chaplains in schools, instead of mental health trained workers.
- Anoints himself Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
- Appoints only one woman to cabinet so makes himself Minister for Women.
- Declares coal to be ‘humanitarian’ and the way of the future.
- Pushes for absence of climate change talk at the G20.
- Rants about his petty domestic legislative woes in his address to world leaders at the G20.
- Threatens to shirtfront – that is tackle – Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Tries to bully the newly elected Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, into breaking a signature promise regarding the East West road link.
This is merely a sample of the “world according to Tony Abbott” — the enunciated antithesis of a progressive effective sustainable and caring society.
It is the vision of a dull, frightened, abusive, cowardly 1984-style New World and a projection of Abbott’s inner world.
We have a mad buffoon as our leader, who expects to bully an “inconvenient” parliament. As his grip on power declines, he is the wounded narcissist at his most desperate and, perhaps, his most dangerous.
Welcome to Australia's Brave New World.