Today’s passing of Gough Whitlam has left me today with a heavy heart, along with so many other people in this country. To simply reflect on how one man has progressed this country like no other, is overwhelming. I believe as a collective, we don’t really stop and appreciate what we have. We do take our wonderful country, our people and our existing social support systems for granted. So many things we would not have without Gough Whitlam. Thank you, to a great man.
Like many others, I spend my days and nights thinking about the Abbott Government and worrying about their next plan or policy that could harm us now and for generations to come. I worry about the deals in the Senate and what destructive policy may slip through for approval. I worry about the vulnerable, the disadvantaged. I worry about families, teenagers, the elderly and young children. I worry about our nation’s first people. I worry about our environment, entire communities, particularly in rural and regional areas.
I have realised, that I am part of a collective, that in reality is taking part in a war; but we use our voices, not guns.
I know this, as I know there are many like me, who stay informed and are active and do everything we can to prevent Abbott’s destructive policies and plans for our communities and country. (and to these people I say thank you.)
Last night, I was researching the IPA’s influence on our Prime Minister. For those of you who are not aware of the IPA., they class themselves as the “independent, non-profit public policy think tank, dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of economic and political freedom.” In a nutshell, they are a union. Not the type of union that fights for rights and equality, but one that aims to demolish rights and equality through their right-wing ideological view of what Australia should look like.
On the 4 April, 2013, Tony Abbott promised the IPA that he would adopt their ideas. Some of the IPA’s ideas adopted or flagged as intended by our Prime Minister so far are:
- Repeal the Carbon Tax
- Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
- Repeal Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act
- Introduce fee competition to Australian Universities
- Cease subsidising the Australian Car Industry
- Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:
a) Lower personal income tax for residents
b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers
c) Encourage the construction of dams
- Repeal the Mining Tax
- Privatise Medibank
- Privatise Australia Post
- Cease Funding the Australia Network
For those of you who may have thought that the Abbott Government thinks up their own ideas, sorry to break it to you, but…no…as you can see above, an un-elected party – IPA runs Australia.
The above list is from a more extensive list titled “Be Like Gough – 75 Radical Ideas to transform Australia.” The title is not admiration of the left, but the right’s intrigue of how Gough Whitlam radically transformed this country, with such a lasting legacy in such a small space of time.
With Gough’s passing, it is time to take a look at ourselves as a country and how we want to progress and what are we prepared to lose.
What struck me as I was completing this research was a quote from the IPA’s John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg’s article:
Only radical change that shifts the entire political spectrum
And the public’s bias towards the status quo has a habit of making even the most radical policy (like Medicare, or restrictions on freedom of speech) seem normal over time.
How will we be shaped by the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm to adopt and enforce policy under the direction of the IPA? So many people at the moment are up in arms about freedom in the current climate of war and ISAS; but so many of us calmly sit at home and not realise what terror is upon is on the domestic front.
The reason why it is so important to stop and really take in what is happening here is, what does this IPA list really mean and what should we take from Abbott’s eagerness to adopt this list?
Essentially, the IPA has requested Abbott push the country as far right as possible, so it then becomes adopted by the public as the status quo and becomes normal over time.
As we sit around complacent and taking for granted our University system, our health system, our industrial relations protections, our right to live peacefully and not be racially vilified, a social welfare safety net and a basic minimum wage; we need to stop and think that with the wrong Government it could all be gone.
Everything mentioned above, that we enjoy, take for granted and cannot simply imagine not being there are also on the list of the IPA to attack, destroy and disintegrate. A list that Abbott is so keen to ratify.
Stop and think for a moment. If Abbott & the IPA’s agenda pans out; right-wing, neo-liberal ideology will become the norm. Can you imagine one day for it to be normal to scoff at the idea of a Government wanting to introduce bulk billing doctors and free medical treatment? Stop and think about that.
Gough’s “It’s Time” campaign was central to motivating the people of the country to recognise it was time for change. Time to move beyond the selfish, stagnant, egoist policies of a Liberal Government and progress. Malcolm Fraser said today that the Liberal Party has jumped leagues to the right and the ALP has jumped leagues to the right from Whitlam.
It is time to speak up about progress, to want it, to desire it so much it hurts. It is time for the opposition to lead the country back to the left. To set a solid platform for strong change and progress. Real respect for Gough starts with respect and commitment to the legacy he left for us. It’s time for change.
Gough’s policies changed Australia forever, in a very good way. The best way and the way forward. It only takes one election to have us put our guard down. To be complacent, to donkey vote, or to take slogans as something meaningful and promising for our nation, rather than seeing them for the vapid, empty, soul-destroying agenda’s that they really are.
Gough Whitlam’s passing today really highlights how destructive the Abbott Government is. It is heartbreaking our country has come to this.
Originally published on Polyfeministix