In the 18th century, Marie Antoinette uttered the immortal words ". . . let them eat cake". Clearly royalty was so detached from reality that the French citizens revolted.
A growing number of Australians are of the opinion that Australia’s politicians in the major parties reflect the same understanding of, and interest in, their plight as Marie Antoinette. The party room, to many, has become the equivalent of the royal chamber where privileged courtiers represented by big business and the media barons curry
favour to the exclusion of the general population.
It was under this emerging scenario that the Hanson factor, born out of Graeme Campbell’s initial stand, took hold. At this time several factors, assisted by the general population's ability to bypass the mainstream media through the Internet, gave rise to a new age of enlightenment, discussion and understanding.
Hanson, despite being labelled by the media as a racist and ignorant, had clearly tapped into a mood of disillusionment that the rural sector now felt even with the National Party. The media’s self-interested and biased reporting on the Hanson-bandwagon between 1996 to 1998 was
succinctly summarised by Margo Kingston, a political reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald. Kingston said on Channel 9’s Sunday Programme on 12 the June 1998:
"As distinct from finding the chink and making that the story. For example
The Courier-Mail followed her after they (first) tried to ignore her. They followed her up to north Queensland where every single small town came out to see her. There were mob scenes, interesting, weird, mind-blowing phenomenon.
The Courier-Mail ran four pars on how she nearly got killed on the road when her driver tried to overtake. That was it."
Right or wrong the general and growing view of millions of Australian voters is that the Labor Party and the Coalition today represent the tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee of politics, or to put it more crassly "same girl different panties". The Beasleys, Howards and Costellos are seen as nothing
more than career politicians beholden to the media and to faceless senior bureaucrats who run key departments like Treasury.
The GST is a classic case in point – a tax that Howard said he would never introduce. There is a well-supported theory that this new tax was implemented to directly benefit foreign-owned big business to the detriment of our own home-spun small businesses. As our small business sector is by far the major employer in Australia such a policy
seems self-defeating. Yet, while many multinationals (like News Limited) continue to enjoy a major financial advantage by paying little or no tax, small business is buckling under the imposition of the GST. It is fact that both Labor and the Coalition have supported the GST at one time or another. Now we have Beasley and his supporting cast
loudly and hypocritically proclaiming that it should never have been introduced and flagging a vaguely defined "roll-back" which is aimed more at gaining crucial votes than really assisting a savaged small-business sector.
It is quite clear that the two-party system is supported by the chief courtiers in the modern political court – the polarised media who play one party off against the other for favours. In fact it is my belief that PM does not stand for Prime Minister but rather Packer/Murdoch.
Is it any wonder that the average Australian voter is looking for a new option outside the two-party system? Pinch yourself and understand that the depth of their desperation is such that the widely despised Hanson is now their best alternative. Hanson herself verbalised exactly what I mean when she said that the only reason she had
political clout was because the politicians had failed to do their job – ie listening to the voters. What she failed to say was that the alternative Internet media had now impacted on the cosy, protected status that politicians had through the powerbrokers in the traditional mainstream media.
An interesting example of the hands-on censorship role played by the Australian media and the role of the Internet can be seen in the media’s reporting on that onerous international treaty, big business’ Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). It should be said that both the Labor
Party, through Beasley, and the Coalition, through Downer, expressed support for the international treaty in January 1998 just days after Hanson used her media pull to demand that Australia pull out from discussions taking place with the OECD.
While the MAI had been widely debated on the Internet the mainstream media ignored the potential impacts of this treaty on our Australian community. The storm that Hanson created resulted in the formation of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCT) just weeks later after the Democrats supported her concerns. The JSCT was to find a
year later that the MAI had been conducted in secrecy and that if implemented would impact badly on small business. Incredibly, while the JSCT was busy compiling its findings senior representatives from Australia’s Treasury were in Paris supporting its implementation – it was only because of the rejection of the treaty by the French
that the MAI failed to become law in this country. Our elected politicians, clearly, had less understanding about the impact of the big business/bureaucracy-driven MAI than many of Hanson’s "red neck and ill-informed" supporters who depended on the "fruit-loop" Internet for the truth.
This point is highlighted if we wind back the clock to just days after the formation of the JSCT. We find the following extraordinary statement by the Liberal Party MP who headed the JSCT, Bill Taylor. In his letter to The Courier-Mail on March 14, 1998 he says:
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