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“But Gough Whitlam I will never be!”

In the many tributes that flowed to Gough Whitlam, we were reminded of his impact on the geo-cultural-political map of Australia. As Cate Blanchett put it:

“I am the beneficiary of free, tertiary education. When I went to university I could explore different courses and engage with the student union in extracurricular activity. It was through that that I discovered acting.

I am the product of an Australia that wanted, and was encouraged, to explore its voice culturally.

I am the beneficiary of good, free healthcare, and that meant the little I earned after tax and rent could go towards seeing shows, bands, and living inside my generation’s expression. I am a product of the Australia Council.

I am the beneficiary of a foreign policy that put us on the world stage and on the front foot in our region. I am the product of an Australia that engages with the globe and engages honestly with its history and its indigenous peoples.”

The contrast between that optimistic era when Australia stood up and took its place on the world stage, and the pessimism and fear the nation feels now, could not be more stark.

We have Christopher Pyne fighting tooth and nail to make university education a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder. Private colleges are rubbing their hands in glee as they line up to reap the rewards of privatising tertiary education while the universities meekly fall in line under threats of having their research funding cut if they don’t.

The budget also slashed $110 million in funding from the cultural sector. Screen Australia was cut by $25.1 million, while the Australia Council lost $28.2 million.

However, George Brandis was happy to give a $1 million grant to the Australian Ballet School, to help with its purchase of a new boarding residence. Armed with that taxpayer money, the school spent more than $4.7 million on a mansion.

On the board of the Australian Ballet School is Daniele Kemp, the high-profile wife of former Liberal arts minister Rod Kemp, a predecessor of George Brandis as arts minister. Mr Kemp is now the chairman of the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing lobby group.

Despite the obvious productivity benefits of having a healthy population, and the oft repeated promise not to cut health funding, we saw $368 million cut from preventative health measures, the closure of Medicare locals, tens of billions cut from hospital funding to the states, and the closure of groups like the Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council.

Sending a “price signal” to stop people from seeing a GP has been condemned by all health experts as being counter-productive yet, once again, the short term budget bottom line is all this government cares about.

Not content with attacking health, education, welfare, and the arts on the domestic scene, this government is systematically drawing away from our obligations as a global citizen.

Foreign Aid has been slashed by $7.6 billion with speculation that it will be further cut to pay for Tony’s war on terror both here and abroad.

We have refused to contribute to the United Nations Green Climate Fund to assist developing nations cope with global warming, cut $4 million from the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which provides advice on environmental policies and climate change negotiations, and declared coal the saviour of humanity which will lift the world from poverty.

In response to the urgent Ebola crisis, we donated a miniscule amount of money while refusing to send health workers. Excuses abounded but as they were stripped away, we still saw our government unwilling to send any physical help, outsourcing the job to one of their donors who will no doubt employ local Africans to maximise their profits.

Joe Hockey has been making noise about joining a global effort to crack down on tax avoidance while announcing an amnesty for offshore tax cheats, delaying signing the information-sharing deal signed by 40 countries while they consult with business, and slashing thousands of jobs from the ATO leaving them without the staff or expertise to pursue evaders.

Scott Morrison continues to pursue border security and immigration policies that do nothing to help the tens of millions of refugees that other countries are coping with. Instead, we are bribing officials in the world’s poorest countries to take the problem off our hands and refusing to work with the transit countries clogged with people seeking our help.

And as for our Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, they have been some of the hardest hit. The budget cut $534 million from Indigenous programs. Changing the pension age to 70, charging a GP co-payment, cuts to Family Benefits and changes to Newstart – all of these measures will have a huge impact on the Indigenous community.

Tony Abbott has made so many disrespectful remarks about Australia being “unsettled” before the European invasion when Australian history began and has been constantly negative about Aboriginal communities.

“Whenever I’m asked about what we’re trying to do in Indigenous policy, I say it’s really quite simple; get the kids to school, get the adults to work and keep communities safe,” Abbott said.

Former Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson, responded to this by saying it perpetuated negativity about Indigenous people.

“It’s a three-piece mantra, as if we don’t have social and cultural needs, as if we don’t have linguistic needs, as if we don’t exist as a people,” Professor Dodson said. “It’s a three-trick pony – and a very small pony at that. I mean, all of those three things are about our failure, supposedly, because we’re Aboriginal. I mean the negativity actually makes people sick. The reality is many, many of us are very successful. We never hear about them from you guys [the media]. You’re too busy on the entertainment of black failure and that’s where the government’s mind seems to be and where the public discourse seems to be.”

So frustrated are the Indigenous people, they recently held a Freedom Summit in Alice Springs to elect leaders to speak for them.

Amy McQuire writes:

The summit comes a few months after NT Chief Minister Adam Giles made calls to water down the NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the first land rights law in Australia, in the name of “economic development”.

Tauto Sansbury is one of the organisers of the summit, and has a long history in Aboriginal affairs, including working with commissioners for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

He told New Matilda the current political climate had forced Aboriginal Australia to act.

“The political climate for Aboriginal people across Australia is not good. The Abbott government has cut $543 million and is looking to cut more out of the federal budget…

“The Barnett government in WA is planning to move up to 12 000 Aboriginal people off their traditional lands and South Australia is talking about the same thing.

“We have high incarceration rates, high suicide rates, Aboriginal kids being taken off their parents and placed in out-of-home care.

“We have major issues and no one in government is listening. We don’t have people to speak on behalf of their own communities. We’ve got a problem of a very selective representation that has been picked by the federal government and that’s not acceptable to us. That’s not the outcome we’re seeking.

“Tony Abbott is supposed to be the Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs but he’s not listening to us.”

Tony is listening to Peta Credlin, Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Maurice Newman, Tony Shepherd, Dick Warburton, Jim Molan, Warren Mundine, Kevin Donnelly, Christopher Monckton, George Pell, and the combined mining companies and armaments manufacturers of the world. He is listening to James Packer and Phillip Morris and the AHA. He is listening to big pharmaceutical firms and private hospital providers.

But he is deaf to the pleas for help from those who really need it.

When Tony Abbott said in his speech to the IPA “but Gough Whitlam I will never be!” he could not have been more accurate.

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  1. DanDark

    And from start of this week he is apparently listening to Mr Thawley a new strategy but can he move ” the immovable” time will tell but I reckon he will fail….According to Louie the fly/Textor we have ” economic anxiety” it’s all the publics fault now because we won’t gobble up the lies and sheer deception the Libs have used to return us to the dark ages,
    but did say ” they were trying to do to much in their first budget” he talked about hard medicine and lollies, he said the gov arnt using the arms of the gov, the other ministers and departments to get out the message and successes of the gov
    he said “they havnt talked their success up enough” now that all depends on what you call a success putting asylum seekers on little orange boats and waving bon voyage to vulnerable people as you push them back into the sea to face an unknown fate, yep Textor has a real problem if he thinks anything Tony and co have done is a success, he reminds me of a famous fly spreading his fascist disease around,

  2. johnlord2013

    Seven words in a headline that say all and everything about our PM.

  3. donwreford

    Once upon a time, namely the sixties, that education was encouraged and the culture had a dynamic spirit of finding the wonder in existence, this would be London, as in Australia, towards the latter part of the sixties, the establishment became aware the few or the becoming of the many was a threat to the establishment, by establishment I mean the controlling elite that required conformity and servility of the individual were getting out of hand, the prospect of war and the creation of a internal war of the Western Alliance was not a convincing possibility, as the masses were not going to get in to a major conflict within their culture, although, Russia, was a possibility this could be a problem with nuclear war that could get out of hand as to the result, re Bay of Pigs, the second possibility was to turn the clock back, this plan would entail economic war of the politicians taking a cue from think tanks of government and the control of people’s mind, the so called free education ended, as Pyne instigating you pay for what you get, noted Pyne is not repaying his educational cost of his education? the Rothschilds and Rockefellers, needed to know they can and will control governments, the funding and money to get these people in for election, had to come from this source, as you can see Blair and people like that who were right wing or we call them Liberals, had to be of a certain mindset at University to get the job and remuneration, as individuals posturing for your hope that if you voted them in you will be better off, as you can see with Abbott, he is prime material for the Rothschilds plan, also the Rothschilds, wanted to create fear and despondency, and also dog eat dog, these same people controlled police and demonstrations by the application of violence or the threat of violence, this culture I write about is to create stress by financial hardship.
    Part of this plan is to create food that is diminished in nutrients and create fast food, hence you see the effects of people that have become fat, this is all part of the plan to hospitalize people to create a sub class of humans, consequentially those in power become more powerful.
    People like Pol Pot, after attending education in France you note that on his return he became a tyrant, the seduction of modern cities for many become exhilarated by the culture and it does not take much to turn these people in to something that their mummies never expected.
    I recently saw a TV, program on Swedish politics, their priority is the health of the nation, here as you can see by the world leaders that attended this conference, Abbotts concern is finance, the Liberals here in Australia, are condescending, they talk down to people as if they are stupid, and have a air of self righteous superiority, their commentaries are riddled with cliques of learnt lines reflecting the poor quality of those who are supposed to be leaders.

  4. Kaye Lee

    “JULIE Bishop has delivered a blunt message to Labor — pass the government’s budget measures or watch as it looks elsewhere for cuts.

    The Foreign Minister this morning told reporters if the government has to find further savings in her department — including foreign aid — she will point the finger at her Opposition counterpart.

    “If savings are found from my department, I will hang that around the neck of Tanya Plibersek each and every day until the next election,” Ms Bishop said.

    “She has a choice pass the Budget proposals that we took to the Budget and have been arguing for, otherwise if there are savings from my department she as the Shadow Foreign Minister will be accountable for them.

    “She will be responsible.” ”

    Yeah, a no excuses government alright!

  5. Lee

    Gee Julie Bishop really has developed a hard on for Tanya Plibersek lately. Regardless of what Labor does, the Liberals will blame Labor for everything anyway. The grown ups just cannot take responsibility for their own actions. It’s probably Labor’s fault that an extremely airbrushed Julie Bishop turned herself into a hypocrite by her appearance on the cover of Harpie’s Bizarre. After all, if Julia hadn’t done it then Julie would not have had the opportunity to be nasty about something so trivial in the first place. One of Murdoch’s hacks on Adelaide Now was rather annoyed about the Labor sisterhood remaining silent about Julie’s dubious award of Woman of the Year. It was delicious reading. Labor isn’t stooping to their level and it’s just eating away at them.

  6. DanDark

    Yea Kaye and didn’t she spit it out, she is a nasty piece of work, how many times did The smiling assassin call Tanya “she” or start sentence with she, She has got a name Bishop, but she Bishop is a nasty pastie, it looks like They are going to bombard what they see as the weak link being Tanya,
    SHE is such a Ning nong J Bishop…….
    yes no excuses, no surprises pffffft they are making them up as they go as usual and with a bit more spite…

  7. Lee

    Tanya is no weak link and I’m betting she is too intelligent to stoop to Bishop’s level.

  8. DanDark

    Bishop is all arse, Tanya is all class 🙂

  9. Kyran

    As always, Ms Lee, a great read. Unfortunately, I think your last sentence has revealed the only truth ever uttered from that miserable cavity. As for Bishop, why bother. Take care

  10. DanDark

  11. Kaye Lee

    Australia has dropped to 11th place in a global corruption ranking, two places lower than in 2013 and four places down from 2012.

    “The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,”

  12. Lee

    If you needed any more evidence that Julie Bishop is an idiot, here it is.

    “JULIE Bishop has threatened deeper cuts to the foreign affairs and overseas aid spending, warning Labor will “wear the consequences” of blocking government savings in the Senate.”

    “I hope the message is loud and clear. If there are cuts to my department, if there are cuts to the foreign aid budget, it will be Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, their responsibility.

    “I will hang that around the neck of Tanya Plibersek each and every day until the next election.”

    Mmmm… what do Australians care more about – foreign aid or cuts to the majority of Australians (which is being blocked by Labor)? Liberal voters only care about themselves so they definitely won’t care about Julie’s cuts to foreign aid.

  13. Lee

    I’m told this is the unsanitised version of Karl Stefanovic tearing Tony Abbott a new one on the Today show. The video has been removed from online media.

    Karl Rips Into Abbott “I Wouldn’t Fucking Trust You With My Wife At My Wedding”

    In a video that has since been removed from all forms of online media, Karl Stefanovic took it up to Mr Abbott, after he said he wished “the Labor Party wasn’t in such a feral mood” over helping repair the budget.

    “With respect you were fairly feral in Opposition weren’t you, I mean the greatest respect by that, and … why would [Bill Shorten] do anything different when it worked for you?” Stefanovic asked.

    “The reality is here that the budget position is in a shambles and every day it does get worse,” the Channel Nine host went on.

    “It’s not in a shambles Karl,” Mr Abbott hit back.

    “No one is buying what you are selling, what you are laying down. That is the problem,” Stefanovic replied.

    The Prime Minister insisted that the “budget started to come under control the day the government changed”.

    “Now, I don’t pretend that this parliament has been easy for us, not for a second do I pretend this parliament is easy for us, but we have already made substantial changes.”

    But it didn’t end there, with Mr Abbott asked whether he was “worried” that he might be a “one-term wonder”.

    Karl Stefanovic venomously dug in the boot with a verbal spray that showed a far more political-charged side to the television personality.

    “Mate, you’ve got rocks in your head if you think we are buying your shit. I spend each day of my life answering to the greasiest media executives you’ve ever met… I would still take their word over yours. I wouldn’t f**king trust you with my wife at my wedding!”

    Abbott responded quite sternly to Stefanovic’s outburst
    “Just remember who you are talking to, Karl”

    Karl returned fire once again
    “I know exactly who I’m talking to. A backward, bank worshipping, concrete cowboy. You are nothing more than a former amateur boxer… But you act like you’ve taken as many hits to the head as Fenech. I’m sorry Tony, but I don’t like being lied to.”
    Karl Stefanovic then removed himself from the set while the Prime Minister was still on the air. He is yet to comment publicly on the outburst.

  14. mars08

    @Lee… you know that “” is a satirical news site, right?

    The Today Show is one of their staples…

  15. corvus boreus

    Ah wood-knee guest-it.

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