The international reader – should the northern hemisphere lapse into inexplicable torpor and attention drift towards Britain’s remaining colony, Terra Australis – might need a helping hand with the goings on around this place.
Well, Throsby is here for you.
The perpetual background noise dominating our politics creates a sensation like tinnitus, but far worse. The latter can be tuned out by the brain most of the time, but too close a reading of antipodean politics produces audible headaches that, if not treated by a course of, say, POTUS Trump’s tweets, can become permanent.
Here are the crackles in this week’s noise.
The entire conscious energy of parliamentary, media, and social attention slid almost willingly into a quagmire, at the core of which is whether two humans of the same gender can form a legal partnership in the business category “Marriage.” If the household is a registered entity with a trading permit, there is no issue. If it’s a registered charity called a “church” whose adherents can take wife at the age of 12, or, say, 12 wives at any age, that’s ok too. The 99% of Australians who aren’t devotees of that wondrous American export, evangelical Christianity, are, quite frankly, flummoxed by the brouhaha engineered by those devout elite, who infiltrated this country’s Tory party some decades ago and now have it by the throat. Or nailed to the cross of ultra-conservative piety, one might say, and maybe I just did.
After a nationwide postal plebiscite and some bollocky politicking, “Marriage Equality” became law of the land. Religious minorities were not amused. You can guess what happens now. They seem to own not only the government but the gutter press, too.
What else puzzles the venerable reader – our treatment of refugees?
Your first surprise is that displaced middle easterners fleeing persecution or death even reach the southern shores of Indonesia, let alone have the courage to face the vast Timor Sea in small coastal craft. Your second surprise is that Australians punish them cruelly for this effort, unwilling to share any of our 3 million square miles. Intercepted upon the high seas, they’re shuffled off to concentration camps on tropical isles where they are hated by the locals.
Why? Our politicians and media almost universally demonize unfortunate asylees trudging or floating in search of compassion, and deceitfully call them “illegal immigrants” despite there being no such thing for people who flee for their lives. Our poliwankers and their presstitutes exploit the observation that Australia is a nation of legal immigrants who, upon arriving here, instantly become selfish locals protective of their patch against any more arrivals, and prepared to bury their selfishness in rationalising and falsehoods. As long as one is now safely aboard the Grand Vessel of Australia, any who arrive in distress seeking help are queue-jumpers.
“JJJ Hottest 100”
Embarrassment engulfs Throsby to tell internationals what this is all about.
We import manufactured goods and foodstuffs. We also import worn out ideas from fading western democracies.
One such, the neocon faith, directs a thus-possessed government to starve public services of funds till the dysfunctional rotting corpse is gifted to companies the soon-to-be-former lead-swinger will work for when turfed out of the houses of lawmakers by a great unwashed who had been taken by surprise by the quality of the new government as if they were never done over by a Tory before.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) is not only a publicly funded target of ideologists but impudently dabbles in investigative journalism. It therefore, automatically and in perpetuity, wears criticism from Tories in opposition and budget cuts from Tories in government. Eons ago a frustrated commentator sarcastically suggested that ABC journalists should hang railway double bogies over their right shoulders to counter a left-leaning bias.
Despite this decades-long hubbub, jaws found further distance to fall when Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, laid into the ABC because one of their mischievous charges, the irreverent Triple-J radio station (JJJ), declared it will move the Hottest 100 playlist from Australia Day to another day. Like all days that commemorate invasions and genocide, or all statues that iconize someone now shamed by history, controversy ensued.
Two snipes for the price of one (an Australia Day controversy and an ongoing assault of the ABC) from the minister seemed a bargain until Labor Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, responded with an official statement replete with imposing letterhead, pithily advising: “Mate, just fix your second-rate NBN” (NBN is the National Broadband Network whose smoking ruins minister Mitch is in charge of).
Further explaining is not only futile, it bores Throsby past redemption.
Reports filter in that since a security fence was erected to block plebian loiterers from the grassy knoll above their Canberra parliament, the precinct might have traded itself with one from an alternate timeline.
Senator Brandis has featured in many government fiascos with more than his share of missteps, dubious remarks, decisions, and (to be polite) gaffes. Derisively mocked by government opponents, the good senator seemed terminal at several recent stages of his career.
George “Soapy” Brandis (per Rumpole) is more fondly called “Bookshelves Brandis” from reports AU$15,000 was spent building “taxpayer-funded bookshelves in his parliamentary office to support his collection of “taxpayer-funded books,” with a repeat performance when he moved to a new office.
Fuelling the swapped timeline hypothesis is Bookshelves’ uncharacteristic outbursts of statesmanship. Such behaviour is not only unlike George, it hasn’t been seen in this country’s corridors of power for a decade – PM Kevin Rudd’s moving apology to indigenous folk – or earlier in mists of last century with Silver Tongue Menzies’ polished utterances.
Bookshelves’ first outburst stunned the entire nation when he devastatingly roasted celebrity xenophobe senator Pauline Hanson for wearing a burqa into the Aussie upper chudurbudur a while back.
This week he waxed positively and emotionally eloquent to nationwide praise as he nailed Tory religious extremists to their very own cross of vile during the senate’s debate on Australia’s marriage equality legislation.
Throsby and his fellow citizens are both impressed and terribly confused.
It’s a funny old place. Each time the banks become unruly a federal or state government creates a state-owned bank to give them a reality check. Inevitably a successor sells it orf. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank once boasted the populace as shareholders but is now a privatised behemoth and one of the four dominant retail banks.
Years of sacked whistleblowers and scandals have seen banks reputations sink and profits rise.
The Tory #LNP government slipped yet another vertebral disk during a breathtaking backflip when it announced a royal commission into the finance sector. Throsby understands the banks not only ordered PM “Truffles” Turnbull to reverse his opposition to such enquiry but, as a bonus, bear the indignity of backing down to public demand. Except, it seems, the banks wrote the terms of reference of the proposed year long investigation in five minutes on the rear of an uncashed cheque and handed it to him as fait accompli.
While the government did not consult the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, it did, however, proudly boast the royal commission would obsess over sinister union “connections” with immensely successful industry superannuation funds, to determine whatever surreptitious conniving allowed these funds to dramatically outperform those operated by the Big Four Banks, and to cripple these not-for-profit upstarts to the advantage of government’s sponsoring overlords – the Big Four Banks.
Throsby reminds the good reader that a rent-seeking elite cannot comprehend the idea of a mutual society. Why would a non-profit organisation operate for the benefit of its clients?
They just don’t get it.
Bush Turkey Elect
Not a smear, not an insult, Throsby hastily assures the increased majority of New England voters who resoundingly re-approved their rowdy of choice and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce.
A charming yarn from a Crikey.com Whale Beach reader reports a local bush turkey reclaimed its heritage that apparently includes their house and yard. The brusque creature struts about scratching, upturning things, banging on glass doors, and demanding services. So they named it, playfully, not maliciously, “Barnaby Joyce.”
The question of the day, however, is why the electorate of New England returned their favourite son to the employ of the people with a record majority and a swing of +10% or so. Despite his government being rather tattered, despite his “illegal” decades on the public purse, and despite his opponents listing quite a few pointed reasons why voters should, just this once, put aside their welded-on loyalty and reprimand the lad.
Throsby propounds perchance that 75% of New England voters are indignant dual citizens too, incensed that their bumptious larrikin envoy was turfed off his polished arse by the high court for some piffling oversight of the Australian Constitution.
Despite money, time, staff, privilege, experience, and legal and party resources, DPM Joyce was ignorant of section 44’s dual citizenship restriction. In his CPA days, were he to overlook a similar detail of tax legislation with such grave consequence to his client, a lawsuit would ensue.
Furthermore, Throsby theorises, New England is the traditional home for escaped convicts, hence their enthusiasm for a folk hero so contemptuous of some colonial governor ensconced at Botany Bay and his fancy laws.
Furtherfurthermore, Throsby reminds you, New England is one of those renegade provinces that covert independence of statehood, secession, or autarky yet!
Never trust a bushranger’s cousins.