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The state of citizenship in our sunburnt country

By Barddylbach

There are first-, second- and third-class citizens in our sunburnt country and none of them have done any wrong per se that we don’t already know about, but two of them are apparently class herbivore non-marsupial and actively discriminated against, and many are milked and shamed.

So chewing the cud we have 1) Single citizen; (2) Dual citizen; (3) Ned Kelly … just joking, he never made Australian citizenship, bushranging sunburnt refugee with a bit of a sore reputation, so let’s settle for the underclasses, the unemployed, citizen three. There are a fourth and fifth who have been here for 60,000 years but only recognised on paper, bit like God really but strangely unlike God are allowed to vote, they don’t require a proxy and there is no approved lobby group for this class of virtual citizen. Whatever you do, don’t mention the cashless welfare card or High Court of Australia, Ned would not like it.

Only the first incarnation, single citizen guarantees full participation in our democracy with an implied trustworthy badge of honour and full civil rights and freedoms, providing you remain employed at all times, vote Liberal, kiss their arses (each and every one of them) and don’t disagree with them, at least in public. If you are white, get elected to Parliament, still vote Liberal, have plenty of money, lie like a desert storm trooper, sizzle a steak on a barbie without killing it you too can live with fame and fortune, and the High Court can’t touch you, stand down.

The second incarnation, dual citizen can vote but bugger all else … oh, you do get a certificate which you can sew onto your lapel if you like, and you have the right to pay taxes, be fined if you don’t pay them or fail to turn up and vote. But if you are feeling insecure, I wouldn’t be flashing your certificate around or armour in public, as an expiry date might suddenly magically appear written in invisible ink, courtesy of Dutton and Pezzullo’s Borderline Ministry of Inhuman Affairs. The High Court of Australia will deny your existence.

The third incarnation, citizen three, the unemployed, the new Ned Kelly caste or bi-product of institutional damnation. You can vote – Yes, you can vote still, but be prepared to be publicly shamed and humiliated, have your rights taken away and be socially and financially controlled on a bronze age cashless welfare card or receive no help at all; otherwise you may be eligible for inadequate assistance from Newstart, a newly corporatised Centrelink and a range of private job agencies whose only job and interests guaranteed are their own. There’s always Dutton’s cops, they are always interested in you. Be prepared to be told what to do with your life by a 22-year-old or a 70-year-old, even if you are 70 yourself, and if over the age of 70 it looks like you will end up with a golden plastic membership cashless welfare card. Don’t complain because platinum is reserved for dementing ex-federal politicians, which comes with a regular allowance of private nursing home frequent flyer points, which you can trade on Gumtree for a kick up the arse back home and a lump of anthracite. The High Court of Australia will wash their hands, present you with a bill you can’t pay in a million years for your theatre seat and send you back to Dutton for final hosing down and waterboarding before summary deportation to an offshore remote island for the remainder of your unnatural life. If you are lucky the locals and captive refugees might take pity but don’t count on it, why should they? Or… you can keep your mouth shut, vote Liberal and be thankful for the option of forced community service and a little dole money for your secondhand street tent and antidepressants, that is if the semi-precious plastic cashless welfare card will stretch that far digitally (viz. NBN), commercially or financially, stand down.

Then there are permanent residents and everyone else, who fall somewhere between 2 and 3, at least you don’t get fined if you fail to turn up and vote. Just don’t leave the country because you probably won’t be able to get back in, assuming you still want to, but whatever you do don’t come by boat. There are a few citizens and non-citizens who have heaps more rights than anyone but the Constitution doesn’t mention them at all. In fact, they may not even live in our sunburnt Australia but they get heaps of government grants and tax refunds for tax they’ve never paid. They only have to open their mouths and coal comes spewing out of the ground, information and entertainment channels come flying out of the sky and everywhere you look there are security car parks and surveillance units on red alert. You could be forgiven for imagining they were on the corporation payroll. Who is the corporation? Heaven knows but the big four banks worship them and they will spend your savings without consent or compunction to keep the bells ringing in la la land.

According to our sunburnt Constitution it will take a two thirds majority referendum to change all this, unless you publicly declare your allegiance on Dutton’s favourite 2GB radio show, disavow the ABC while taking a selfie with Turnbull standing on your head or become a drinking partner of Barnaby Joyce at the local Tamworth drinking hole, but hands off his Sheila if indeed she is a Sheila at all, just ask Tony. Can’t be sure Turnbull will be allowed out from behind the twenty-foot wall of his Point Piper mansion to keep Australians out, but you can hire plenty of cardboard cut outs from an NBN approved kerbside node at the front of Kirribilli House for a fee of course.

All citizens must swear WTF to uphold Australian values but ignorance of these is indeed your only defence, because no one knows what they are and you can be sure no one agrees on them. Ned Kelly didn’t.

Shame the Australian citizenship certificate doesn’t contain this information in the small print. If nothing else it might be entertaining.

Authorised posthumously by Governor William Bligh and the Australian Federal Government in association with the High Court of Australia, signed seal of approval by Governor General Peter Cosgrove on behalf of the Queen who found her Commonwealth pension under the Golden Goose somewhere far, far away on the other side of the planet. Section 44b Australian Constitution; All rights reserved since 1901.

You think I’m joking? Stand down.


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  1. mikisdad

    Nicely put.

  2. wam

    “verrry interesting but stupid”?

    As were the gutless judges who decided that a foreign country could pass a law that negated the right of being born in Australia.

    A recalcitrant, like mahathir, a desperate pom, like teresa, or a larrikin like winston could pass a law declaring all Australians who visited britain, malaysia or new zealand were citizens and everyone except pauline would be out.

  3. Keitha Granville

    Brilliant – a good laugh for the end of the night.

    Except I am not sure why I am laughing – I think I fall between the cracks of 2 and 3 !

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