The Vine | 18 December 2013
An off centre perspective on the state of the polity
This commentary is by someone we haven’t actually noticed before – Andrew P Street of The Vine, which is a lifestyle blog targetting young people (18 to 35 years old). Street’s forthright lack of “even handedness” is disarmingly fresh – you can have no doubts where he stands in the political spectrum.
Back before the election I wrote a piece explaining the looming Abbott victory was possibly the best thing for the Left in Australia.
Part of my argument was that if Labor had pulled off a skin-of-the-teeth victory they’d have been forced further to the Right, there’d have been even more desperate finagling of independent support and virulent in-fighting as the party imploded, and the only thing that could possibly give the party a short, sharp reminder of its origins as the party of the people would be a kick back to opposition.
Since then, things have been, let’s be honest, ghastly.
We’ve seen more reports of human rights abuses and outright deaths as the result of our appalling asylum seeker policies, and the asinine, secretive, high-security Operation Sovereign Borders. We’ve seen the National Broadband Network all but destroyed under the Coalition’s new plan, which will neither get the speeds or coverage promised, will not hit the deadlines and will cost around 40% more than initially budgeted.
We’ve seen Joe Hockey slash funding to essential services and bleat that we’re in a budget crisis, even as he removes taxes on the wealthy and multinational corporations that would raise three billions of (supposedly) desperately-needed tax dollars.
We’ve seen Holden lost and Qantas under threat, the government tell manufacturing workers it’s their own fault they’re losing their jobs and the child care industry be told that they’re not deserving of a wage rise. We’ve seen expert panels disbanded without warning, including the Climate Change Commission and the Immigration Health Advisory Group.
We’ve seen the government blithely sail through expenses rorts paying for visiting each other’s weddings, the sorts of expense claims that they were so het up about in opposition, and the elimination of restrictions on holding shares in public companies despite the obvious conflict of interest.
Womens’ reproductive rights are under attack again. Marriage equality was thumped down in the ACT. The Great Barrier Reef – already in a fragile situation thanks to coral bleaching – will now have to put up with a major dredging operation nearby despite well-founded environmental fears.
So what’s the upside?