What a dark year!
The seeds were sown back in the day by John Howard. Tax cuts and the Tampa. He lost an election- but not before these policies became bi-partisan. From 2005 to 2012 we bled $169 billion on tax cuts we didn’t need…Money that should have been invested in health, education and public transport. And to cap it off, 42% of this money went to the top 10% of income earners. How do they keep getting away with it?
Many of us cringed as asylum seekers baked in the sun on the deck of the Tampa. And now we routinely incarcerate innocent men, women and children in conditions that would trouble the RSPCA.
John Howard certainly tapped into the dark side of the Australian psyche. Manning Clark famously described two strands of the Australian character; the enlargers, and the punishers and straiteners. These dark times have thrown up plenty of leaders who seem to take real pleasure in punishing and straitening. Joe Hockey has inherited the mantle of Peter Costello, and Scott Morrison has taken the baton from Philip Ruddock. Encouraged, these kinds of leaders are popping up in all our institutions, large and small. Bring on the KPI’s and efficiency dividends.
The seeds of Tampa and tax cuts have now grown to a full toxic bloom. Universal Medicare hangs by a thread, the unemployed have had their dignity stolen from them, and higher education waits for a straitening dose of free market medicine. And by the way…climate change is some other countries problem. We just need to sell our coal while it is still worth something. The fair go is being hollowed out.
We will end up being defined, not by our common collective humanity, but by our individual spending power.
Nevertheless we refuse to give up or give in. Trade unions, churches and many other progressive organisations keep standing up for human dignity, a fair go, and a genuinely civil society. See for example the Sydney Alliance.
And-“If we all light up we can scare away the dark.” These are not my words- they come from the song Scare Away the Dark, by singer-song writer Michael Rosenberg. (Passenger) My favorite lines…..
We want something more not just nasty and bitter We want something real not just hash tags and Twitter.
We’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters But we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers.
So sing, sing at the top of your voice, Oh, love without fear in your heart. Can you feel, feel like you still have a choice.
If we all light up we can scare away the dark.
You can see and hear it here on you tube.
To all my readers- Thank you for all your encouragement. I hope you have a festive season full of love and kindness.