Barkers Vale. Monday, 3.45pm
Hello Mountain. You’re looking well. Bit of burning off in your foothills, I see. Reducing the bushfire fuel load, are we? Hell, concreting would be better…
Me? Oh, I’m okay. Heading north to see a girl. Yeah, that’s good…
Actually, old Mountain, I’m angry. The whole election thing, you know.
No, I don’t care who won – it doesn’t matter – but the charade annoys me. Nothing changes. Of course, there is some repositioning in the teams: Hanson into the scrum, Joyce for half-time entertainment – but really, who cares? Who bloody cares, Mountain, about superannuation changes, when CO2 levels have passed 400ppm and the oceans are acidifying?
Too many times, I have been sucked into believing that politics may be able to change things. Important things. I’ve been swept up into the whole trip, hoping that truth and justice will prevail. But Australian politics ain’t no Superman.
Too many times, my expectations have been unmet and my heart broken as the democratic process has proved impotent when serious action was required.
These days, I expect nothing from elections. Nothing changes except for the faces on top of those bland grey suits. I continue to vote, however because I still believe in democracy as a concept. It’s just that we are not so much democratically governed as corporately managed. And those managers are not elected.
Politics is theatre for the masses; an illusion of democracy. Eventually though, given the protagonists’ lack of charisma and their awful acting, and given that nothing actually happens apart from cast changes, we get bored, go home and turn on the telly for some proper fiction.
It’s a damn shame, me ol’ Mountain. Right now, this country would be a better place if it had democracy. Instead, what we have is a parody of democracy.
If Australian government reflected the will of the Australian majority, the health of the Great Barrier Reef would come before mining interests (it doesn’t), refugees would be humanely processed in Australia (they aren’t), we wouldn’t bomb foreign countries because we’re told to (we do), and climate change would be energetically addressed (it isn’t).
But we don’t have democracy. We have rich blokes sucking on the public teat, talking a talk so insincere that it has become a recognisable accent of deception, and, using a compliant media, creating agendas that purposefully ignore the urgent. What we have is a drama of denial.
Look, my old igneous friend, who gives a rat’s arse about the backpacker tax (which the Nationals have identified as their number one priority) when groundwater under our farms is under threat from inappropriate mining?
Australian politics is a corpse. We barely noticed it dying; we were distracted by all the sparkly things Aboriginal land and cheap foreign labour was giving us for nearly free.
But it was a trap. At some time during the great party of the last three decades, greedy government bit down on the attractive piece of gouda laid under the fridge, and its neck was broken. Sure, it still jerks around a bit, but it’s as good as gone.
For a lot of people, it doesn’t matter. Game of Thrones has more relevance than a clean water policy; Pokemon Go is more interesting than Parliament; tax bracket creep is more important than species extinction.
But, Old Plug, I’m old enough to have experienced a time when voting had an effect. I remember Gough Whitlam. Suddenly, I didn’t have to go to Vietnam and kill Vietnamese people because of some sick pollie’s hard-on for the US.
Now, that was an election. Real choice.
Anyway, Mountain, I guess you’ve seen it all.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now. Got to go…