A few weeks on from the small drama in Canberra on Australia day that some called a “Race Riot”, we still have a political class who can’t understand why it happened. A class of politicians, businessman and media who simply don’t care about any vulnerable group in Australia.
The spark as we all know was Tony Abbott’s comments that it was time the Embassy move on. His reasoning being that so much progress had been made that… you know… Move on. But while it is true that some progress has been made it is insulting to suggest that we have come so far we don’t need a daily reminder in the form of the Tent Embassy that there is still a long way to go. The issue of land rights has “progressed” but is still very much a work in its infancy and we haven’t even got to the issue of Aboriginal Sovereignty. These were the issues that drove the opening of the Embassy so to suggest the fight is over is absurd. But how about a figure we can all understand. A child born today in Australia has a life expectancy of over 80 years & if you factor in standards of living there really is no better place to be born. However what might hint to the most block headed of individuals that their would be anger in the Aboriginal community comes from the FACT that an Indigenous boy born today in the NT has a life expectancy of just over 60 years. That is a ranking of 150 worldwide, placing alongside strife torn Haiti, Yemen & Burma… not exactly a ringing endorsement of Mr Abbott’s words that the job is done.
At the National Press Club Abbott tried to “end suspicion that the Coalition has a good head but cold heart” when tackling Indigenous issues. It is strange that he would assume anyone believes he has a good head but that cold heart, that I understand. Because it is not just Indigenous issues that seem to harden the hearts of just about every Coalition member about anything to do with anyone in a vulnerable position. Refugees; Razor wire is to kind, “tow the boats back”. Marriage Equality; No! Plus no conscience vote. Victims of violence in Marriage; How does an at-fault divorce sound… you have to prove your fella is doing something wrong!
In that same NPC address Abbott flagged his plan that any National Disability Insurance Scheme under his Government would have to wait until the budget was back in surplus before he could talk turkey. Because nothing says you have a warm heart than telling those with a disability that their care will need to wait till after the global financial crisis has finished. But don’t think it ends there, low-income earner with a bad tooth? Any plans to lift the Commonwealth’s contribution to dental care, let alone a national scheme would again wait till big business is swimming in folding stuff. These things were “aspirational” but nothing he could promise or deliver a promise on. You see we as a country just can’t afford such things in these tough economic times, the purse strings are closed shut and “hand outs” to people not mining is not something that he thinks could or should be entertained.
Speaking of mining, one thing Abbott did promise prospective voters… tax cuts. Especially tax cuts for rich people like those who own mining companies. Because nothing says I care in tough economic times like telling the richest of the rich they don’t have to contribute. Welfare for the vulnerable, the sick, the poor and those with a disability; No can do! Welfare for rich fat cats like Twiggy Forrest, Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer; Urgent! And why would we want more money for people like Gina Rinehart, the woman behind Andrew Bolt’s TV show? So she can make moves on media companies like Fairfax whose views she doesn’t like and who unlike their News Ltd counterparts sometimes dare question the policies of the Coalition.
If I sound a little cynical to you I’m not. I’m angry, there is a very big difference!
I’m angry because social inequality in Australia is growing and Australia day provided the perfect chance to ask “Why are they angry?”. Instead the usual parrots from all sides came out swinging not for the vulnerable but for the status quo. It prompted calls for an AFP investigation, an explosion of racism on social media and one NT politician to call the Aboriginal children at the protest “little pricks”.
This is what happens when a debate flips the switch on just who is and isn’t the oppressed. Suddenly children with a third world life expectancy are “little pricks” and poor Tony Abbott who got a fright when confronted by a handful of rightfully angry people needs a police escort and a quiet place to cry. This is what happens when the media who is supposed to ask the tough questions have become so close to the political class that they rage against those who simply have no platform from which to defend themselves and prop up the fat cats. This is what happens when Twiggy Forrest can fly into Canberra on a private jet and complain to politicians about paying a little more tax on his billions while his company attempts to rip off and steal from an Indigenous community.
This is why people get angry, this is why people burn flags, this is why people bang on the glass of a restaurant. Nobody is asking for an easy hand out nor wants to be on welfare. We all have different needs, some Australians are out of work and require financial assistance, some Australians have a disability, some Australians just want their marriage to be legal, some Australians need a hospital bed and we expect our Government to provide it. You might call it welfare, suggest the Government should be smaller and don’t want your taxes used for any of these programs.
But I don’t see you complaining about welfare when you drive your Porsche, down your tax payer built street, to your tax payer funded corporate welfare company, receiving tax payer funded grants, before toasting your success at a tax payer funded Government booze up, admiring the tax payer funded artwork, in a tax payer built parliament house. No, I’d simply ask that you say thank you and shut the fuck up! I don’t want to see your television networks, your radio stations or your media corporations demonising those less fortunate and promoting policies that would make their lives harder and yours even easier. Because we live in a democracy where the majority decides and we the majority are not rich and we want a “fair go”, that trait you tell us we have to possess to be Australian.
You might claim to believe in a small Government that shouldn’t have to fund any social programs, especially not those that benefit folks who should just “move on”. But here’s the thing, you know what else is Government funded? The police! And when you climb into that Porsche I’m pretty sure you are happy that we have them. Especially when you drive past this 6 foot something, under paid community worker, who needs a trip to the dentist.