I haven’t written much in this tome since the September federal election, primarily because I couldn’t see myself embracing this radical conservative government as anything of an issue before the Parliament actually resumed. That, and the fact that I was/am too depressed for my country at what it and our society will be subject to over the next 3 years. That must change.Let me draw your attention to the following:
In 1770 the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke wrote about the need for good men to associate to oppose the cabals of bad men:
No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
In 1867 the British philosopher and political theorist John Stuart Mill delivered an inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews:
Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
Both passages come from this article researching the origin of the quote that for evil to triumph, good (wo)men do nothing. Clearly, throughout history, a great many philosophers and like-minded thinkers have uttered the same sentiments. Interestingly the majority of those can be termed ‘Liberal’ in their thought processes. I’ll leave that one alone and allow the reader to ponder.
As at the time of writing, the Abbott government is 63 days old. During that 63 days – at which no time at all has been spent in the People’s House – this government has embarrassed our country on the international diplomatic stage, rejected the global movement to combat climate change, enacted tit-for-tat trade diplomacy, deliberately suppressed any media access to the machinations of government and by definition, kept his government’s actions from the electors. Add to these foolish, stumbling endeavours to gain an immediate supremacy over all issues some of the things at home here which really impact on you & me.
Plans to repeal various pieces of legislation pertaining to superannuation, climate change, the so-called Carbon Tax, the equally so-called Mining Tax, and the planned repeal I find most offensive, the ‘Bolt’ provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act. Let’s look at each.
Abbott plans to repeal tax concessions applicable to 3.6 million low-middle income workers on their superannuation contributions, thereby costing each tax-paying superannuant an additional $500 per annum. That’s $500 per year that your superannuation will cost you while you’re still working and contributing. Meanwhile, 16,000 of Australia’s wealthiest superannuants who EARN more than $100,000 from superannuation will receive the equivalent of $1billion in concessions. The government response to business and superannuation industry outcries over yet more changes to superannuation legislation?
“We need cuts across the board that reflect our policy priorities and by that I mean more focus on infrastructure spending as opposed to recurrent spending,” Senator Sinodinos told ABC radio. “We’ve always been on the side of those who are aspirational”
In other words, ‘our policy priority to cost the most – paid parental leave – is unfunded, and besides, low-middle income workers don’t have the aspirations of the mega-rich anyway’ . I don’t know about you, reader, but I find that intensely, personally offensive.
Then there’s the planned repeal of the so-called Carbon Tax which as we all know never existed as such. What Labor enacted was a fixed price period emissions trading scheme. Let us also recall that Abbott himself stated, “If you want to put a price on carbon, why not do it with a simple tax?”. Some might be kind and call this pragmatism at the time. I call it bare-faced reality denial, a bald-faced lie, if you will. Of course, Abbot needs to continue to back his own rhetoric, re: the flow-on benefits of reducing power bills by the requisite 9% which all stakeholders agree would occur, but no-one, especially the electricity generators and owners of the infrastructure, can say just how said benefit can arise, how soon and whether we, the consumers, will even recognise it in the bank balance. If you really want to call a fixed price period emissions trading scheme a tax then you also have to recognise that a tax, once legislated, is rarely, if ever, repealed so that the tax-payers receive an immediate and quantifiable benefit. I challenge any conservative apologist to show me precisely how the so-called Carbon Tax can be unwound and how I will see any benefit from the unwinding in my electricity bills. This, along with all that Abbott et al have uttered prior to and since taking government, is a lie.
The Mining Tax or to give it the proper definition, Resource Super Profits Tax, was a bungled attempt by an ailing Labor government at appealing to a small sector of the Australian working class by appearing to be redistributing the massive profit wealth from those who dig up our finite mineral resources & sell them overseas. What the Henry Tax Review proposed was a Mineral Resource Rent Tax, albeit a much more complex beast, and a troublesome political animal which was fought tooth and nail by the very same miners it would have impinged upon. The political outcome was predictable, and thus we saw the instigation of the RSPT. I personally believe that some revenue is better than no revenue, and while the supposed super profits have declined due to global market conditions, profits within the purview of the RSPT are still being made. As things currently stand, if the RSPT is repealed, Australians will once again be receiving zero, zip, zilch, nada, nothing from our limited mineral resources while the massive profits to the miners will be salted away overseas. I believe Abbott called this ‘business as usual’ on election night. Do you feel cheated, reader? I know I do.
Now we come to the purely ideological drive of this overtly conservative government. This quasi-libertarian belief that one can, and should be free to offend and vilify on the basis of ethnicity because of the right of free speech should hold sway over personal feelings of affront. I refer the reader – given the passage of time – to the judgement of Justice Mordecai Bromberg attached to this article. Note also that at the time Abbott was one of those voices speaking in defence of Bolt. Justice Bromberg found that Bolt breached sections 18C and 18D of the act, that he ‘offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated ‘ the complainants, did not write in the public interest and offered up clearly erroneous content to support his bigoted views. End of story. Bolt broke the law of the land, deliberately and knowingly. So what do his ideologue mates do? Change – or propose to change – that law. In Australia, we do not have a Statutory Charter of Human Rights. If we did, the right to freedom of speech and expression would be enshrined within it. Frankly, I wish we did have such a charter. In this society, we have far too many grey areas surrounding the basic rights of human beings. Our Constitution, written almost 120 years ago, during a different sociological and political climate, is an arcane document. It does not, despite the pleadings of the like of Bob Carr, etcetera, contain sufficient protections for the right of individuals. Therefore, ideologues like Abbott and company can, and will use the Constitution as a crutch for their ongoing cultural war in a benighted pursuit of ultimate libertarian ideals. Ideals which I personally liken to anarchy. Do we really want to live in an anarchical totalitarian state, where one set of views, and ONLY one set of views are acceptable? Sure, let the fools and bigots like Bolt have their say. They’re a minority and starved of oxygen, they can only gasp among their own kind. Change the laws of the land to protect them, and you give them a lifetime supply of rich air to breathe & expound upon their own New World Order.
I could go on, and in other posts, I shall. For now, I see the above as the pertinent points of interest when the Parliament finally does resume 12 November. We get 7 days in November, and 8 days in December. Sittings which will be well worth observing either by ABC News Radio, or via the Australian Parliament House website. Question Time is, of course, televised daily by ABC News24. I strongly recommend all of you with a mind to keep in close touch with the actions of this most reprehensible of conservative cabals since the Howardian era, to pay attention as it attempts it’s program of cultural and social change. Be aware, reader, that conservatism does not act for the greater good, but for the exclusive collective which follows its own ideals. Regardless of who actually said it, the truth remains in the words.
“Evil triumphs when good men and women of conscience stand by and do nothing”