Admit Australia Unfair
Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-07-13
And I thought the last federal election was about the soul of the nation…
The coming federal election is about both brain and soul.
A politician mentions the phrase "a fair go", and the bulk of voters swell with pride. This should act like a viagra for virtue, stiffening resolve to act with honor and compassion… but, when the majority are asked for a fair go, and there is an epidemic of moral detumescence.
The problem with the soul of the nation is obvious – with two-thirds of voters approving the Gillarbott policies on asylum seekers by boat.
The soulless xenophobia is made worse by the wilful ignorance of the wealth of data showing that boat people are an insignificant proportion of asylum-seekers by number, are much more likely to have their claims validated after due investigation, and that Australia accepts fewer asylum-seekers, especially on a GDP-per-capita basis, than dozens of nations.
<pThe voice of Hanson and the voice of Gillard have much in common, not only in whining intonation, but in substance and subtext. Gillard's intelligence (both inside her brain, and put before her by agencies) negates the excuses we could grant Hanson.
But can we really blame Gillard, Abbott, the right-wing factions of the ALP, the moneyed miners, and their ilk?
All the politicians are doing is accurately reflecting the wishes of the vast majority of their constituents. Those wishes are clear from vox pops in the tabloids, public polling reported in the press, or the internal polling by party machines.
It is tempting therefore to call Australians ignorant xenophobic rednecks – but that is unfair to rednecks, for the archetypal US redneck has the excuse of a poorer education system, and the lack of balanced reporting available from the ABC.
Yet, it is the same unenlightened minds and darkened hearts, the same majority, that holds Christianity in high regard. Unfortunately, the message of the Christian gospels as found in the Sermon on the Mount, or the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Widow’s Mite, seem to have been ignored, in favor of the Old Testament attitude of a chosen people who can treat other peoples with both vindictiveness and impunity.
It’s worse I suppose, because it’s not even simple self-serving hypocrisy: the watering down of the super-profits tax is so obviously against the self-interest in short, medium and long terms, of the majority.
The majority seems to think that giving billions to billionaires is justifiable and necessary, while relatively paltry millions to the destitute and endangered is unreasonable.
The only way this impression that Australians as a whole are mean-spirited, wilfully ignorant, and incapable of reason, is for both the major parties to lose at least one senate seat each, in each state, to minor parties: and not those minors that put the likes of Senator Fielding up as candidates.
We’ll see. I don’t think it will be pretty.
The faults, dread voters, aren’t lies of politicians, but in yourselves.