In fairly recent Australian news, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared Australia “Open for business”. By this he means Australia is no longer for Australians, whatever being Australian means these days. This proclamation has openly (no pun intended) redefined Australia as a corporate nation. A nation of monied bullies, and blunt state interventions.
We are no longer living in the nation of the “fair go“. We are a nation, just like many of our more powerful allies to whom we all too often play lap dog, of oligarchs and money-men. A perfect example of this was that very recently, I mean in the last week or two our government was ready to use public funds to fly, feed and shelter several hundred police men and women to the Northern Rivers of NSW. Why? Because they were to be watching over, and arresting protesters – protesters which have the overwhelming majority of the surrounding communities on their side, (a mayor included) and at a few thousand strong it’s a large portion of this community – These police have been flown in because large corporations, metgasco and santos, have managed to convince one poorly educated farmer that it is a good idea to drill for gas on his property. Who wins out more often than not in these situations is not the vast majority but the corporate entity. Open for business indeed.
Our social well-being as a nation is being under-rug swept and replaced with a sick pecuniary fervor. This started back in the 80s when our governments towed the line and began implementing the Reagan-Thatcher model of privatisation and austerity. And those not in the top few percentiles know all too well what that has lead too and exacerbated. Fat Joe Hockey, Australia’s Treasurer has also recently told all Australian’s that they need to do some “heavy lifting” in regards to our budgetary requirements, all the while he’s slashing and burning social services and pension entitlements. Thankfully to this there has been quite the uproar, not just from the usually vocal left, or from those directly affected by these cuts but by the traditionally conservative who may actually be beginning to wake up to this nonsense. All this conducted in the stunning and relative silence in regards to our expenditure of over $12.4 billion on a handful of fighter jets purchased from the US . We’re reassured that we ‘need’ these things if we are to uphold our position as the “Great -now elitie- Southern Land”.
So now the good news. This morning as I awoke, and stumbled to check my emails re. work etc. I received an email that made me so happy I could cry. I found an email from the Lock the Gate Alliance, it read: “NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has announced that Metgasco’s approval to drill at Bentley [a little inland from where I grew up] has been suspended, and the company has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.” What a morning! I was singing dancing, and understandably happy. So much so I donated my days wage to the cause.
This of course is only possible because of the work of a number of very dedicated and hard working people. Remember:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. In fact it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Tonight I drink to Lock the Gate.