17 January 2016
by Kaye Lee

Wake up Australia, you are being conned

Conservative governments would have us judge every group in society by its worst members unless, of course, you belong to the political class or their corporate partners.

Muslims living in the Western world are facing suspicion and discrimination because of the action of a few militant fundamentalists. We are led to believe that people living in Middle Eastern and African countries are primitive savages who are constantly attacking and hurting one other, but this type of behaviour occurs to a certain degree in nearly every society.

As John Vibes writes:

“Now, imagine for a minute if someone in a foreign country who has never been to America were to judge and define the country by the crime and corruption that took place there. What type of perspective would they have? They would see a corrupt and oppressive government with militarized police forces that kill thousands per year. They would also see cities ripped apart with gang violence, also killing thousands per year. They would see extreme poverty in America’s ghettos, where children grow up with little hope or opportunity for a better life. They would see a population that is heavily sedated with pharmaceutical drugs and entirely brainwashed by fascist politicians. It would not be fair for someone to judge America this way, but this seems to be the way that many Americans and Europeans judge everyone else.”

What if Australia was judged for its asylum seeker policy where we lock up children indefinitely with no hope for the future purely because they sought our help?

Or if we were judged by how we have treated and continue to treat the Indigenous population – what of the disadvantages they face as we remove them from their ancestral lands? The low life expectancy, the deaths from treatable diseases, the failure of the education system, the substance abuse, high incarceration and suicide rates? And our response is to remove all forms of self-determination, employ more police, and impose stiffer penalties.

How would the domestic violence epidemic be viewed? The gambling? The drinking? The drugs?

Or the fact that we won’t allow homosexuals to marry?

Or that we strip people of their citizenship with no judicial process or oversight?

How would they view the obvious corruption that has seen so many politicians stood down or sacked and so many businesses engage in tax evasion? The dodgy financial dealings?

Quoting John Vines again:

“The mainstream western narrative does not pay any attention to the actual daily lives of the people who live in foreign countries. Instead, they only focus on the tragedies. Just like in the US and Europe, people in the middle east, Africa, and other areas of the world have thriving music scenes, talented artists, brilliant philosophers, exceptional athletes, and children that play games similar to those played by western children. In fact, National Geographic Traveler recently named Iran as the #1 tourist destination in the world.
People who live in other parts of the world have festivals and holidays and favorite foods, they also have sickness, traffic jams, and crime, just as we do.”

It isn’t just foreigners that our government seeks to dehumanise. They use the same strategy when it comes to people on welfare. They are labelled ‘leaners’ and ‘rorters’, with a couple of instances of fraud widely publicized. Carefully edited tv programs paint pictures of lazy people ‘living off your taxes’. They edit out the struggle to exist, the constant search for a way out of poverty, the damage of constant rejection, the shame at not being able to provide for your children. They never mention the miniscule number of people who are found to be abusing the system. As with Muslims, all are labelled because of the actions of a very few.

Likewise with unions. Dyson Heydon was employed to destroy the union movement in Australia for political reasons. The hyperbolic language used in his report allows no other conclusion. Because of the actions of a few, the entire union movement has been labelled a bunch of lying, thieving thugs and the political arm of the union movement (let’s remember that is what the Labor Party is) is, by association, guilty of corruption.

The government is demanding transparent governance and accountability for unions but refuse the same for political parties. Despite the many examples of corruption exposed by ICAC, the major parties resist any call for a Federal ICAC. They resist any reform or restrictions of political donations and advertising. They deny freedom of information requests and are removing rights of judicial appeal.

They are focused on cracking down on welfare cheats whilst they actively assist corporations in tax avoidance and provide tax concessions to the wealthy that will outstrip the age pension very shortly.

Their unrelenting push to sell off all our assets has made a few in the private sector very wealthy.

Their jobs for the boys and the odd girl have opened a career path for mediocre party apparatchiks whose unquestioning obedience is well rewarded.

On 16 June 2013 in The Australian newspaper Tony Fitzgerald QC (who chaired the 1987 Queensland Royal Commission) wrote an article The Body Politic is Rotten. He stated:

There are about 800 politicians in Australia’s parliaments. According to their assessments of each other, that quite small group includes role models for lying, cheating, deceiving, “rorting”, bullying, rumour-mongering, back-stabbing, slander, “leaking”, dog whistling, nepotism and corruption.

The major parties attract professional politicians with little or no general life experience and unscrupulous opportunists, unburdened by ethics, who obsessively pursue power, money or both. Little-known and often unimpressive factional leaders exert disproportionate influence.

That might be tolerable if the major parties acted with integrity – but they do not. Their constant battles for power are venal, vicious and vulgar. The mantra ‘whatever it takes’ is part of political folk-lore. Parties equate their interest to the national interest, which they assume is best served by their ideology and its benefits for the like-minded. Populism, paranoia and unrealistic expectations are encouraged and the naive and gullible are made envious, resentful and disdainful of fellow Australians.

Public funds and sometimes reckless and sometimes ‘non-core’ promises are used to entice voters to support vague and often opaque policies.

Financial backers are provided with special access and influence and supporters are appointed to public positions.

Information is withheld, distorted and manipulated and falsehoods and propaganda are euphemistically misdescribed as mere ‘spin’.

Opposition, dissent and criticism are discouraged by personal abuse, often protected by parliamentary privilege, and unwelcome ideas are condemned as ‘elitist’ or ‘un-Australian’.

The public interest is routinely subordinated to the pursuit of power, party objectives and personal ambitions, sometimes including the corrupt acquisition of financial benefit.

The role, authority and prestige of Parliament, the corner-stone of our democracy, are diminished as decisions made by the party leadership are publicly rubber-stamped by parliamentarians whose party membership and pre-selection are held at the whim of the party and who are bound by party rules and discipline to implement its policies and vote as directed irrespective of their consciences, opinions or responsibilities to their electorates.”

So how long are we going to tolerate being conned?