Dec 142006
 

Bannerman’s Federal member in the House of Reps happens to be Andrew Laming. A one term incumbent, Mr.Laming can sometimes be seen on Old Cleveland Road waving at cars in the peak hour rush. Why elected or wanna-be elected persons do that escapes the Bannerman, but many things about the political animal do.

In the Bannerman’s letterbox today was an envelope, bulk posted throughout the Redlands Shire, simply vanilla addressed as you’ll see in the attached text. Said text is an email Bannerman has shot off to Mr Laming after he – Bannerman, not Laming – read through some of the contents of the aforesaid envelope. Readers will soon ascertain the general demeanour of Bannerman. He was NOT impressed!

Andrew,
 
Today in our letter box we received from your electorate office an envelope containing party political propaganda for the Liberal Party, addressed “LOVE Redlands, find out how Red-e-vol” containing eight coloured, glossy brochures and pronouncements.
 
Each one contained references to the Howard governments supposed advancements in regard to social reform programs. I thought I’d take issue with you on the falsehoods contained within this propaganda.
  1. Healthy Active Families – a stout aim, were it not for the lies contained therein. Medicare is no longer universal, thanks to the Howard government. If it were, I’d be able to attend a bulk-billing doctor of my choice, knowing the bill would be completely covered by Medicare and the levy I’m forced to pay. I used to be able to bulk-bill all of my GP expenses, but of course, now I can’t because the Howard government drove so many GP’s away from practice, and made so many existing practices unviable on the amended bulk-billing arrangements, that practically none do it in the Redlands any longer, unless you’re a pensioner. That’s not universality, Andrew. Medicare has become a blame-game pawn, Andrew, in the federal government duck-shoving exercise on health with the Labor states. On the issue of the PBS, one wonders how much longer Australia’s PBS will remain inviolate under the Howardian regime, given the concessions available to Big Pharma in the United States as a result of the so-called ‘Free Trade Agreement’ with that country.
  2. The Howard government’s ‘Tough on Drugs’ program is not unique to the Liberal-National coalition, and existed before the current crop came to power. Perhaps a different name, undoubtedly the same recycled funding, which as we all know, or should know, goes around and around from one time-limited initiative to another, each time being renamed and relaunched as something different. There’s nothing uniquely Liberal Party in that.
  3. Family Safety – Perhaps you’ve forgotten about Scott Rush and his family, not to mention others held in foreign prisons as a direct result of Australian Federal Police complicity. The Howard Government ‘Community Crime Prevention Programme’ didn’t function very well for them, did it. Oh, nice mention that policing, per se, is a state responsibility. One sincerely hopes it remains that way. Were it a federal responsibility, we’d all have records, undoubtedly.
  4. Protecting Families Online – Well, it’s not all brickbats to Andrew Laming in this tirade, Andrew. I’m pleasantly surprised to realise that the Howard government has actually given some passing consideration to the internet, even if it is how to restrict access, rather than speed it up. Still, giving the electorate free filter software is better than demanding or even legislating that ISP’s do the filtering and then penalising them when they inevitably fail. Such was Beazley’s idea, as I’m sure you’re aware. Doomed to failure and a foolish, ham-fisted interjection into a subject he knew nothing about in the first place. Lords know what his God-bothering replacement will dream up. Just don’t expect that handing out free filter software is going to make the issue of that demon pornography, much less SPAM, go away. It won’t. Anyway, as an adult, I reserve the right – yes, R I G H T – to look at whatever I wish, whenever I wish and download whatever I wish, whenever I wish. I pay for the connection, ergo, I have carte blanche. Such issues are parental issues, and as such are most definitely NOT the purview of governments. I thought Liberals stood for less government anyway? Talk to Helen Coonan about broadband speeds will you? That’s more productive than worrying about porn channels.
  5. Supporting Local Families – Well, here’s a corker. Disciplined economic management. You’ve not mentioned anywhere in your blurb the grounding the Hawke-Keating government gave the Australian economy in the eighties and early nineties. Have you any idea why Australia had to have the recession it incurred in the nineties? Brief as it was, we came out of it surprisingly quickly and on a footing to shrug off the Asian debt crisis as if it never happened. Lets be honest for a moment, shall we, and admit that Howard and Costello have surfed the Keating wave since 1996. That wave has just about reached the shore. Two quarters of negative growth in NSW to date. All that’s keeping Queensland & W.A. from showing the same are mineral exports. As for abolishing government debt, hey, Andrew……..I could do that too, if I started selling off everything I owned. Think about it. QANTAS will be next, even though we were originally assured it would always remain in Australian hands, I see Mark Vaile now doing a Pontius Pilot by claiming the market would decide. Nice one. No, tax cuts and give-aways to new Mums is not economic management. This country needs tax reform. I wonder which political flavour will be brave enough to attempt it?
  6. Literacy & Numeracy – with a times table chart on the back, how sweet! Grammatical protocols declare that an ampersand is not a generally acceptable part of written english. Literacy and numeracy would have been better, but hey, it’s meant to be light-hearted I suppose. Best the people not realise they’re being proselytised to. I’ll be brief on this one, as there are bigger fish frying. It is not a federal government responsibility to ensure the intellect of the nations latest crop of loin-fruit. That responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the progenitors of said loin-fruit. The government is responsible for providing the resources and funding for education, not for testing to see who’s a dummy & who isn’t. That smacks of 1930’s Germany to this writer. Australia has not been and hopefully never will be a nation of intellectual elites on one level with a class or classes of worker drones below them. Oh and by the way, an ideological bent towards finding out who’s better than whom at what, has nothing whatever to do with responsible economic management, as your brochure intimates. That, my erstwhile member, is a downright lie.
  7. Red-E-Vol – Petition Centrelink, my friend. I’m sure the mutual obligation/work-for-the-dole provisions of Newstart could well do with the help. Don’t waste the taxpayers monies telling all and sundry about what you may think is a good idea. Don’t back it with whatever Parliamentary allowance you haven’t quite used up yet, and above all, don’t plaster “Andrew Laming – Federal member for Bowman” all over the thing as if it’s an initiative of the political party you’re a member of. I realise you may not have intended that – although I believe you did – but it will be construed that way. If this is an initiative you really believe in, do it as a person, not a politician, then back it as a person and NOT a party political hack.
  8. Finally, and this one pops my cork well and truly, your covering letter:
Dear Local Resident,
The Redlands community has never been stronger, with the Coalition Government’s disciplined economic management generating thousands of new local jobs, thriving local business and just 3.8% unemployment.
 
To paraphrase Mister Creosote…..get me a bucket I’m gunna frow up!
 
Does the Redlands Shire have 3.8% unemployment? The ABS says 4.7% nationally for November (http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0) and a participation rate of 64.8%, and that from a quick & dirty ‘Google’. Surely with all the resources of the Parliamentary Library behind you, something more accurate could be achieved? I’d really like to know what the Redlands Shire unemployed percentage of population was at the end of November, Andrew. If you can provide a URL for me as well, so that I verify, I’d be much obliged. I’ll warrant it’s NOT 3.8%. Record numbers of new jobs, eh? If that is so, tell me, Andrew, why a person such as myself with (more than twenty-five) years experience in (deleted) can’t get full time employment in the greater Brisbane area, after lodging applications with Lords know how many recruitment agencies, attending an equally uncountable number of interviews over the past six months, only to wind up working part-time as an (deleted) when I’m eminently capable of much, much more? Skills shortage? Pardon the vernacular, but Pig’s Arse, my friend! Please, don’t give me the workchoices speech either, because I simply do not believe that stripping away workers rights and protections magically creates jobs. That workchoices palaver of 260,000 some jobs being created since the legislation was passed is simply so disingenuous as to be an insult to voters, not to mention demeaning of the government’s stance. Tell Kevin Andrews to come up with something a little more believable, will you? I spend my days listening to Parliament and his rhetoric is so mind-numbing I’m dozing off instead of working, albeit part-time.
In short, Andrew, I am offended…..grossly offended, that you should have the temerity to write to me on the public purse to push a barrowful of party political rotten fruit. I have no love for the Howard government or your flavour of ideology, that much surely shines through this rant, however I have even less of a liking for party politics and those who adhere to it’s precepts. Don’t waste my money on this type of puerile propaganda and please, don’t have it shoved into my letterbox. I know full well you’ll keep on doing it because that’s what political parties do, but at least have the conscience and awareness to not have it fill my letterbox as so much junk mail – despite the NO JUNK MAIL signage thereon – when that’s all it is. A load of political faecal matter on glossy, ecologically damaging paper which I would normally throw out without opening. In your case, I opened it because you are my local member, whether I like it or not, and I don’t. My address is appended to the bottom of this email. Kindly favour me by ensuring that like material does not fill my letterbox slot again.
 
See you at the Tilley Rd – Old Cleveland Rd intersection some time.
 
Politically not yours,
And with that, Bannerman shot off his bolt neither expecting it will be read by Mr. Laming or replied to. Still….these things have to be said….or written, as the case may be.