Let's be clear. I am no fan of Tony Abbott or his Coalition government. I didn't vote for him, I have never voted Liberal or National in my life, nor will I.
Nor did I vote Labor, and I am not a big fan of recent Labor administrations either. And no, I didn't vote Green.
I don't follow the daily news cycle closely; I rarely watch TV news programmes, and the same goes for the newspapers. I find their biased and partial representation of what's going on in the world dishonest at best and, in the case of the Murdoch tabloids, disgusting at worst.
So I have deliberately not sought out news regarding Australia's new government. Yet inevitably, news filters through all the same. And Tony Abbott, and his new government, have not disappointed me.
Abbott revealed his mysogynistic traits in Opposition and earlier in his political life. So it is no surprise that he has appointed an all-male Cabinet, bar the token woman, Julie Bishop.
Abbott and his team built much of their political capital by appealing to the worst base instinct in Australians: racism. He and the-then government sought to outdo each other in a Dutch auction as to who might pose as the 'toughest' party on asylum seekers and refugees. So it's only to be expected that the treatment meted out to those who would seek shelter here is now even worse than it was under Gillard or Rudd.
Abbott and several members of his team are known to be sceptical about the increasingly obvious reality commonly called 'climate change'. (For a no-holds barred look at the phenomenon by reference to observed data, I suggest interested readers visit Professor Guy MacPherson's blog.) So it was no surpise that the Department of Climate Change was abolished along with the Climate Commission. This is of a piece with the more generalised 'anti-science' bias of the new administration, being only the second in living memory to have no dedicated Minister for Science.
Abbott poses as a macho, nationalistic figure. You could see him wrapping himself and his budgy smugglers in the flag after a dip at Cronulla beach. He and his team don't care much about 'the starving poor' in Africa or Asia. So it's no surprise either that AusAid has been abolished.
And there are many more cuts to come, as the chill winds of austerity that have entrenched themselves in much of Europe and North America now reach these shores. As new Treasurer Joe Hockey travelled to Washington DC and New York in mid-October to attend the meeting of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the G20 Finance Ministers, one Australian commentator remarked astutely that:
Hockey's visit had the character of a loyal servant of finance capital reporting for duty and receiving orders.
And herin lies a fundamental continuity between, not just Abbott's administration and Rudd-Gillard's, but with every Australian government since Whitlam. The really big, important decisions are taken elsewhere. And they serve other interests, not those of most working Australians.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
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