I think this is a first – my friends have blogged – here, here and here – about the election before me!!!! Way cool – the blogging that is, not the result!
Welcome Tahne, btw 🙂
Well, well, well… Bitterly disappointed would be an apt description of how I feel about the election. And pretty fucking scared about what’s going to happen next. It’s going to take a lot of work to undo what is about to happen – I could have handled the Libs in the House of Reps, but now that they also control the Senate, we have lost the last remaining safeguards that we had politically from the mess that the Liberals have been trying to inflict.
I note, with a bitter sense of irony, that the Libs have not mentioned policy once in there ads during the lead-up to the election, we now are being barraged.
Goodbye Telstra. Telstra is our primary communications carrier and has been responsible for establishing the infrastructure that the other carriers rely on to provide their service. It also makes a shitload for the Government every year. Guess what folks – we are about to sell one of the most successful assets and give up control of our means of communication to the private sector. Nice one. Fuck service in the bush (which is attrocious) – this is going to affect every single one of us as prices increase, service drops and we have to pick up the bill by refilling the government’s coffers with our tax money that Telstra used to bring in.
Goodbye Medicare. The Howard government has consistently attacked Medicare and tried to reduce it’s coverage for all Australians. Their plan has always been, and can be clearly seen in policy and public statements, to create a two tiered health system – one for those that can afford private health cover (while simultaneously propping up the big-business interests of said private health care companies) and the other, minimally supported system for the poor fuckers that can’t. Having had a friend in hospital recently, and having it take 12 hours to get a single test done (while dosing my friend with morphine to ease the immense pain she was in, and a total of 15+ hours before a specialist could see her, I can only imagine how shitty it’s going to get. In the waiting room when we arrived (at 3am) there was a guy who had been sitting there for five hours waiting to have his broken elbow tended to. And it will only get worse.
Goodbye public education. Similarly, the Government has been hell bent on abolishing HECS and restructuring university research to benefit big business and corporate interests, while weakening the institutions in place to protect the interests of students – the very people that should be the focus of policy. In addition, they have been pushing a two-tiered policy within Primary and Secondary education, propping up private schools with grants while letting the public education sector financially falling into squalor. No needs-based funding in education under the Libs. Public education, in and of itself, provides a tremendous benefit to business and the economy and the gains made in this regard over the past 25 years will be largely rolled back. It is only a matter of time before the economy suffers because of this – and it will be future Governments, not Howard, not Costello, not Nelson that will be stuck with a tremendous up-hill battle to rebuild the economy as other countries like China and India continue to make massive progress.
Goodbye human rights. This Government has been party to institutional abuse of refugees and flaunting of human rights standards since before the last election. To this day there are refugees that were in detention at the last election who are still incarcerated under an inhumane and disgusting set of laws introduced by this government. This government believes it has the right to indefinitely detain a person who has not broken any law. It is a disgusting blight on us as a people, as a nation. And it will not be resolved.
Goodbye environment. From failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, to propping up big-oil interests in Australia (Shale Oil) and with our neighbours (Timor Leste), to a completely short-sighted and brain dead lack of vision on alternative fuels, this government is going to continue to exacerbate an already dire situation.
What shits me the most about this entire situation is that Howard claims to be supporting the “battler” – but when you look at his policies they are the antithesis of what is good for the battlers that have voted the muthafucka in. If only the battlers, so susceptible to the fear mongering that Howard is renouned for, could see how fucked their situation will be in four years time (even worse in eight years). I applaud Labor for not slinging mud in their advertising campaign, but I can’t help but think they should have scared the bejesus out of Liberal voters by explaining how Liberal policies will make their life more difficult.
Our politicians are so short sighted – the next election is the horizon and no further than that. The Beastie Boys have a track on their new album with the line: “It takes a second to wreck it. It takes time to build.” And the Liberals, with full control, will be doing a lot of wrecking with a lot of time to do it in. With at least three years before he has to worry about buying votes again, we are in a lot of trouble.
This whole system does not truly represent and support the people of this country. The people of Australia do not support the War on Iraq, they do not support refugee detention, they do not support the FTA. And they didn’t support the GST. And yet as a country we are stupid enough to vote the same idiots back in. Sometimes I think, well, we deserve what we get if we’re stupid enough to vote him back in. But I also think that despite the fact so many people fell for the advertising campaign so carefully crafted to be devoid of substance and maximising fear, they deserve better than what they got because they just can’t see the damage that will be done.
It all feels rather hopeless though – how do you change change the systemic problems that are going to cause this kind of crap to keep going on and on and on in perpetual motion? How do you increase awareness of the issues in people that are already too busy to keep across the things that affect them directly, let alone the things that will affect them indirectly or in the future?
I don’t know. I’m still in my “OMFG what have we done!?!?!” mode of thinking. Perhaps in time I will be able to think differently and more constructively. Ultimately that is the key. And we need to start thinking now about how we can minimise the damage that will be done because if we late until next election it will be too late.