Look, there’s a reason elections only come around every few years. Actually, there’s several reasons.
- They’re annoying
- They’re full of politicians
- People feel the need to express their “opinions” on everything (yes, the hypocritical irony is intentional, why do you ask?)
- They’re expensive
- They interfere with whatever your preferred type of sportball is
So in September we had a federal election and I think it’s fair to say that it was the shittiest election in my lifetime. Basically Australia was faced with two terrible choices. Despite a successful legislative record including reasonable fiscal management during the global financial crisis, Julia Gillard was wildly unpopular. This was in no small part due to Kevin Rudd’s actively undermining her Prime Ministership at every opportunity, but was also significantly helped by the coalition’s sustained and personal vitriol directed at Ms Gillard, mostly because she happened to be a woman.
In fact, the most popular method of referring to her by the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott (now Prime Minister), was not to employ the traditional use of the title Prime Minister, but instead to simply refer to her over and over again as “that woman”. Anyone who doesn’t see that for the sexist and deliberately dehumanising effort that it is, is an idiot.
At the same time, despite being a very successful opposition leader (particularly in terms of making the government of the day unpopular, and in opposing literally everything the government sought to do), Abbott himself enjoyed no love in the electorate. In fact, polling showed that while the coalition was clearly the preferred government, Abbott often had approval ratings matching those of Gillard.
Even when he wasn’t the ostensible leader of the country, nobody liked him.
There are plenty of great reasons to dislike Abbott. For a start he was Howard’s go-to pitbull and preferred attack dog when the coalition was last in power. It’s an important political role, but it rarely ingratiates the said attack dog to the public. (Which is perhaps the only thing to be grateful for in terms of the deplorable Christopher Pyne now taking on that role – the best thing I can say about Pyne is that he’s clearly mindless enough for the job).
As opposition leader, Abbott remained largely unchanged. Still an aggressive, bullying man who believed absolutely in his entitlement and was furious at a world that refused to allow him to tell it what to do. It turns out this has been the measure of the man since his university days and so it’s understandable that these character traits would carry forward.
While in opposition Abbott also revealed himself to be morally flexible in the way that people are suspicious all politicians might be, only interested in what’s polling well with no real moral conviction. His sole measure of value was if a policy would win votes. So he changed his position on climate change, dangerously and recklessly and deliberately muddying the waters and denying science as it no longer served his political purposes. He set the country back 20 years in its movement towards the future on that one issue alone.
Investment and research in alternative power systems and technologies dwindled, the political will for tangible action on improving the health of our country dissipated and we are all going to suffer for the next decade at least as a result of this one man’s callow selfishness.
Not to mention the inhuman escalation of responses (from both major parties) to the “crisis” of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia. This is simply a cold-war style race to be the most racist party in Australia by demonising and vilifying literally the most vulnerable and desperate people in the world. At the moment the coalition is definitely winning the contest to claim the title of most racist. Hoo-fucking-ray.
Oh, I may have been unfair. There is one policy issue on which Abbott seems to maintain consistency and operate from a conscience-driven motivation. That’s on denying women access to healthcare and freedom of choice over their bodies when they’re pregnant. He’s anti-abortion (let’s not fall into the trap of saying he’s pro-life, anyone with his asylum seeker policies is most definitely not pro-life) and vehemently so. Although, he doesn’t make a fuss of it, because he knows it’s wildly unpopular and wouldn’t do him any political advantage. So, on at least one issue, Tony does have a conscience. I wonder how his wife and “hot” daughters feel about their dad wanting to tell them what to do with their bodies. Maybe they’re used to it?
And all of this shit is before the fucker got elected. It’s only worse now.
He’s scrapping taxes left and right, while simultaneously claiming that we’re carrying too much national debt (we’re not, we’re carrying about the right amount, arguably we’re slightly low as a percentage of GDP) and that we need to tighten the purse strings. Of course, tax breaks go first to those who least need them… the wealthy. On top of which, he’s signalled that he wants to sell everything off, because that’s what conservative governments love to do. Sell public goods to private companies (mates) who then run them into the ground and declare them bankrupt (while amassing personal fortunes) before the government bails them out yet again.
Now they’re trying to (again) remove funding from public schools to over-subsidise wealthy private schools, because if there’s one group of people the coalition hates almost as much as asylum seekers, it’s “poors” who believe they deserve an education.
And don’t get me started on the motherfucking NBN. Not only have they sold us down the river by refusing to upgrade the infrastructural network with the patently false argument that free-markets will update according to demand (Telstra haven’t updated shit in 30+ years despite constant demand, instead quite understandably exploiting their monopoly to fuck everyone in the country repeatedly). But they’ve also announced a confusing mixed-bag of hopelessly inadequate technologies in its place that won’t deliver even a tenth of the speed of a true network. On top of that, they’re now falling short of their own reduced targets for rollout and performance. Forget Australia becoming a knowledge economy any time in the next 20 years thanks to this fucking government’s destruction of education and networks.
But best (i.e. worst) of all, is his government’s amazing foreign policy performance. So far he’s managed to piss off Indonesia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Indonesia, Syria, Indonesia, Iran, Indonesia and Indonesia again. We’ve done everything from invade Indonesia’s sovereign territory (multiple times) to reducing the Syrian civil war to “Goodies and Baddies” (the actual quote is basically – “it looks like baddies and baddies, one of them should become the goodies, that way we’ll know who to support”). Actually, let’s add the USA to the list of countries pissed off because despite our absolute cooperation with EVERY military initiative they embark on, we’re probably making them look bad by associating with us.
In short, this government is a fucking disaster and we’re all going to hell. I’ve been in a bad mood for longer than I thought (as per previous post). Turns out it’s been since September last year and by the looks of it, I’m going to be in a progressively fouler mood for the next two and a half years or so.