Over the weekend just gone, we’ve seen an abject failure of the political system as we all thought we understood it.
Why a failure? Because the two major parties had nothing new, nothing refreshing, indeed nothing worthy of voting for. So the average voter – most of whom don’t have any great understanding of our body politick – gave both parties what they so richly deserved. The ‘Bird’….the finger….a great big fuck you!
The Greens didn’t increase their vote, so that tells me there’s nothing new in that direction either. But there was something new. Pauline Hanson has once again risen from her mausoleum to incite the fear and loathing of Australia’s lowest common denominator. Note: emphasis on ‘common’. The failure of the Palmer United Party, which was only destined to last long enough for Clive Palmer to get what he wanted by way of abolition of any attempt at an emissions trading scheme, left the way open for your garden variety bible thumpers, free speech activists, fishing enthusiasts, pirates…..and of course, bile retrievers. Bile Retrievers???? Oh, sorry….I meant Pauline Hanson and her camp followers.
Australia’s voting cadre has basically told the status quo to go fuck themselves, we’ll find other places for our vote, thanks very much. That the majors are still hanging on every word of the AEC’s Phil Diak (Director Media and External Communication at Australian Electoral Commission) serves to confirm the reaming the majors received on Saturday evening, and the re-bore they’ll need to undertake if/when one of them manages to convince the GG that either can form a viable government. In the fallout of the reaming, we see Hanson dragging her moldering cadaver back to the Red House where she will undoubtedly deliver more material for satirists and comedians to wallow in. Meanwhile, in a vastly more serious sense, she has become effectively the hair clogging the S-bend of Australian politics.
Hanson has an axe to grind. Why is anyone’s guess, but she seems intent on duplicating her last attempt at swaying public opinion away from the accepted multi-culturalism of today with her 20 year old reiterations of “being swamped by Asians” further enhanced in her current incarnation by “too many muslims”. She is anything but boring, this woman. She knew we’d all yawn at the Asians jibe, so this time she’s playing to the Howard strategy. Scare the frightened lowest denominator with the ‘Muslim’ tack. Hey, we all hate Muslims, don’t we??? Well…..no, we don’t. For a start, no-one in this country who isn’t a practitioner of Islam as a faith belief can honestly say they understand that faith belief. No-one. Only those who understand the Quran as it is intended to be read can properly say they understand the intent of the text. The same applies to the christian bible, which – for the record – is a much amended and edited text created firstly by pre-christian judaism and later enhanced by various authors of passages through history to provide what we understand to be the New Testament, or that time period post the death of another Jew which because the christian religion demands it, became what we today call Anno Domini. For the record, this 2,149 year old deceased Jew – if he ever existed at all – is most definitely not my lord, but to the Roman Catholic church apparently his passing was a good enough excuse to classify history into before and after. Neither religious text can be said to be true, correct, gospel or whatever other defining terminology you care to use to claim exclusivity. Both have been radically altered to suit the power plays of the various doctrines over time.
All of that said, do we have the right to hate another’s religion? Sure we do, this is a democratic country. The right to religious freedom, such as it may be, is enshrined in our Constitution. It’s the one single freedom that is. The right to practice whatever religious faith anyone so chooses. Personally, I kind of like the Pastifarian deity. It’s cute. Do I hate christianity? No, not in the least. Do I hate Islam? Why should I? What about Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Wicca, Yazidi, Eckankar, Druidry, Satanism, Noahidism, Scientology…..the list is seemingly endless. As an individual, and my own person, I hold no hatred for any religious theory because religion is just that. Theory. Unproveable, faith-driven belief. I have only one belief, that one day, I will cease to live. That I know beyond any doubt. I have no need for the supernatural to bolster my self-belief. But do I feel the need to proselytise my brand of self-belief? Not in the least. So why should someone like Hanson be granted a platform to proselytise hers? Because a minority played the political system in accordance with what they were told in order that their own personal form of deity in the here-and-now needed them to in order that she advance her own hobby horse in the cultural race. What Hanson purports is no different to what we saw play out in the so-called ‘culture wars’ during the Howardian era. Pathetic attempts to revise history to salve the consciences of the delicate few.
Australia, as I was growing up, was a wonderful, egalitarian, reasonable thinking nation. Sure, there will always be the radical elements. During the periods of WW1 and WW2 there were those who, anonymously, posted white feathers to young men who, through their own conscience, opted not to go off to fight and die. Hanson is one of those. Yet today, with the advent of 24/7 technology she cannot be anonymous, so she surrounds herself with malcontents and lesser intellects in order to appear larger than life so she can frighten as many of those not part of her flock as possible. Hanson is the puffer fish of Australian politics. The howler monkey in the Parliamentary jungle. The Australian political system, as flawed as it has been this past decade, has aided and abetted her resurrection. Our Body Politick is ill. Indeed, I often wonder if it is terminal. If we allow the likes of Hanson to ever gain an ascendancy then our political culture will most assuredly be on life support.
We who think rationally, do not ‘hate’ for hate’s sake, have tolerance for difference and accept that this country will not survive or prosper without immigration and a multi-cultural approach to the future must fight against bigotry, racism and intolerance. Hanson and her ilk must not be allowed speak without being spoken back to. We who accept that challenge will win, because we have logic, reason and rationality on our side. Hansonites cannot make that claim. They prove it daily, and will be short-lived. We simply need to gird loins over the coming short period, and hopefully, the Body Politick will rid itself of this vile infection.