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Today I am supposed to feel proud – so why am I so angry?

Today I am supposed to feel proud. I am supposed to celebrate what it means to be Australian – how we treat each other, our contribution to global efforts to do what is right, our pristine environment and our unique flora and fauna.

A safe place to raise our children where all are given the opportunity to be their best selves. A rich country that offers help when people need it.

Except I can’t get the picture of the Biloela family incarcerated on Christmas Island out of my mind. We are paying tens of millions to keep this gentle family locked up.

And I am tormented by pictures of incinerated wildlife. And infuriated that the warnings were ignored. Our government would rather buy squadrons of dud jet fighter planes than boost our aerial fire-fighting capability.

I am devastated that we are killing one of the seven natural wonders of the world and that my grandchildren may never get to see the Great Barrier Reef as we knew it. We ignore the role we are playing in heating our oceans because of a few jobs in a dying industry.

I am ashamed that one in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty in this wealthy country. The Defence White Paper committed to spending $400 billion on war toys over the next twenty years but we can’t find the money to increase Newstart or provide housing for the 120,000 people who have nowhere to sleep.

I am dismayed, but not surprised, by the ongoing revelations of pork-barrelling, jobs and awards for the boys and girls, preferential treatment for political donors, and questions of corrupt conduct.

I am dumbfounded by what our government thinks are priorities – union-bashing, religious freedom, increasing erosion of privacy laws, sick asylum seekers, military spending, deregulation, industrial relations reform (read winding back of workplace protections and entitlements).

As the scientists warn us that we are at 100 seconds to midnight and that we must stop burning fossil fuels, our government approves new coal mines in the Galilee, oil-drilling in the Great Australian Bight, and pushes for moratoriums on gas exploration and extraction to be removed.

On the day commemorating the European invasion of their country, Aboriginal people still have no Voice, no treaty, no self-determination, no constitutional recognition, and, for many of them, no control over their own finances.

Little progress has been made in Closing the Gap but we do have an announcable – Scott Morrison has pledged $1.5 million towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data project, which will be used to help with decision making in order to achieve the Closing the Gap targets.

This obsession with “collecting data”, or having inquiries, or commissioning reports, or appointing new bureaucrats, is a wonderful way to avoid doing anything whilst looking like you give a fuck. The data is there. We need action, not some paltry amount, which is less than one Minister’s yearly travel bill, to gather more information to ignore.

I am astonished by politicians with no expertise, who are often pre-selected because of their fund-raising or factional connections, who then ignore or contradict expert advice.

I am appalled by the lack of transparency and accountability, and by the rank incompetence displayed by the people who make the laws that govern my life. They are using the treasury as their personal piggy bank and do not feel the need to explain to us what they are spending it on.

But most of all, I hate being lied to.

So no, I don’t feel proud today. I feel angry at how a great country is being destroyed by political hacks whose only goal is to keep their nose in the trough.

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  1. Old bloke

    I am reminded of the purchase of the French designed submarines to be partially built in Australia, so that Christopher Pyne might be safer in his HOR seat. Instead of purchasing at lower cost and quicker delivery, submarines off the shelf such as those from Japan or Germany. Or even leasing submarines from the Americans. And it was all so worthwhile especially when the proposed beneficiary of the French purpose, Christopher Pyne up and left parliament. So little duty of care from this government which is proving by the day to be utterly corrupt. And the Australian people for whatever motivations they held, put these people back in power. Jesus wept.

  2. Phil Pryor

    That’s a marvellous photo of a posing pig. You can do wonders with training. But, the article suggests we have much to worry about, sadness at injustice, a view of a corrupt and unfair nation, and reflection on possible future trends. British Imperialism relied on relentless murder, acquisition, theft, coercion, slavery, domination. We reflect all that and more. The imported orthodox stupidities have left us in a bad state, thanks to over a century of clear misuse and abuse. The environment has been near ruined, exploitation by the brainless greedy is rampant in mining, monoculture, industrial techniques applied to food production, exotic pests plagues, pestilences, abuses n pesticides, insecticides, fertilizer use, the disappearance of irreplaceable topsoil, erosion of all categories, and repetition of every poor approach continually. As people will not easily change from a steady regularity of corporate consumption and patterns of usage and abuses, we have a poor future outlook. When a little nazi, thieving, inadequate failure like C Newman can be awarded some prize by his crony matey types, it shows that injustice is king in the land of everlasting stupidity.

  3. Aortic

    Beautifully portrayed again Kaye, but did you mention the gender toilet issue which I think, after much investigation has been sorted out. We are all at fault for allowing this abysmal state of affairs to exist and if the majority of us were not doing as OK as we are, this hapless mob would have been the subject of revolt long ago. Democratically elected government my arse! If it had not been for Clive Palmer, some closeted Queenslanders and nearsighted franking creditors they would not have come within a bulls roar of government. The best country in the world hurtling towards rack and ruin. Poor fellow my country.

  4. Kaye Lee

    I also forgot the strawberries thing. Now there was leadership. I wonder will our proactive PM heed the call from the Australian of the Year for the necessity of a sugar tax to stem the rising tide of diabetes and obesity, another grave threat to our country.

    Cue outrage from the Member for Manila.

  5. wam

    What a read today, Kaye, your words emphasize the shame of the last 11 rabbottian years. (thanks boobby)

    I abhor the gifts of $400+m each to a company of 4 and to a bloke whose office was a shack on Kangaroo Island. When such money could have been so better used.
    I am ashamed of my family and friends who can ignore the thousands of immigrants using dubious methods of living in australia and accept the terrible treatment of the tamil family and those on manus. The delays in processingn under the lie of ‘illegal’ have been deliberate and reprehensible.
    I am ashamed that the workforce is rorted by 457 visas and free trade agreements that let any of the 1.5 billion chinese access to the Aust labour markets via a two year visa. Trades people like Automotive Electrician, Cabinetmaker, Carpenter and Joiner, Diesel Motor Mechanic, Electrician, Motor and Motorcycle Mechanic can be employed without any skill testing or direct qualification testing. Not much need for apprenticeships except they may be paid less than the 457ers or will they?
    But above all I am ashamed of the constant christian talk without the values, the praying without action and the acceptance of the guilty till prove yourself innocent treatment of the poor whilst giving the rich a free hand to profit where they like.

    ps spot on old bloke I could not believe labor letting the pynenut off the hook. A simple read of the french media showed why there was never going to be subs built in SA from the french.
    pps Aortic no blame for boobby?

  6. Kaye Lee

    “What we love about Australia will be taken by climate change well before other nations who emit much more greenhouse gas will feel great changes. And that should enrage us and our representatives, and it should drive their actions.

    I love Australia and so I want action on climate change. And if you love Australia, so should you”

  7. Arthur Tarry

    I totally agree with Kaye.I’m a senior citizen, a white-male of English/Scottish descent, a 5th generation Australian, someone with substantial assets, things that should profile me as social and political conservative, like so many in my demographic, and like most that I meet in my neighborhood and community. However, I am not complacent and self-satisfied (like so many) and my views are anathema to most I meet with a mention of a republic, changing the flag, a treaty with our indigenous citizens as well as a formal voice, refugees, homelessness, domestic violence, un- and under-employment, and the bereftness of conservative govts. over a long period of time, sure to provoke reactionary resentment. How can I be proud of my country when all the things that Kaye mentions exist, that Pauline gets substantial support (let alone a canopy of other fools in govt.), that incipient racism still infuses our community, that inequality is ever increasing, that corruptness is seeping through all the capillaries of our society with the Commonwealth Govt not apparently prepared to do anything serious about it, and that we continue with the ‘all the way with LBJ’ mantra. Donald Horne’s ‘The Lucky Country’ described a place that prospered despite the mediocrity and, indeed, incompetence of those in govt., an apt conclusion for his time. He might come to a different conclusion now ! Luck will no longer get us through because of the rank ineptitude, ignorance, greed, lack of vision, and corruptness of those that are currently charting the country’s course. Yes, cry the beloved country.

  8. Sam

    Me Too Comrade.

  9. Kronomex

    I stopped having any belief in Australia Day after it was hijacked by the RWNJ’s years ago. Now it’s just another public holiday that has no meaning to me.

  10. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. Please note my return to the correct use of the comma. After my BTW yesterday (collossal cheek, speck/plank), I have decided to address myself to my own slap-happy attitude to language – in this case, the humble comma. I blame it on typing texts on my phone, even though I know that’s just an excuse.
    Anyhow, I’m angry, too, and ashamed.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Not cheek Kate, you were correct. I like to learn from my mistakes. It grates when people use wrong words. I appreciate and thank you for your input.

  12. Kaye Lee

    We may not have action on climate change or emissions reduction or fire-fighting capability or habitat protection or water theft but hey, we’ve got a new medal.

    I wonder if it was J Edgar Tuber’s idea? From four years ago….

    “The Department of Immigration is spending more than $1.3 million on medals for its staff, outspending the Department of Defence and prompting new concerns about the militarisation of the portfolio.”

    Are we concerned yet?

  13. Geoff Andrews

    Ah! We are all guilty of the sin of despair.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Oh my goodness, what an embarrassing day this is.

    I had to check my calendar to see if it was April 1.

  15. Kaye Lee


    My father was big on quotes. I have embraced the same quirk. I find inspiration and determination in others’ words.

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    “The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”
    ― Marion Zimmer Bradley

    “It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien

  16. Matt

    From the very first paragraph it was clear this was a beat up. The new trend of shitting on Australia Day instead of celebrating what is good is well and truly growing each year. So much hatred for our own country, no wonder we are screwed.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Ahhh yes. What’s the script? A hoax? A witchhunt? Fake news?

    It would be enlightening to hear what you think we should be celebrating and what you think is incorrect about the article.

    I don’t hate our country. Far from it. I am fighting for it.

  18. pierre wilkinson

    hear hear Kaye Lee
    and on the upside, we now will have a medal to go with our fridge magnets
    and Matt? please explain just how good Australia is under our current mismanagement

  19. Deb

    Matt, I’ve taken onboard Kaye’s quotes about despair, and I’m also keen to see your list of what is good and truly growing that we should be celebrating. Being critical of the state of affairs of things is not equivalent to hatred. Had we more critical thinkers (particularly at election times) we may not be where we are.

  20. roma guerin

    You have all encaptured my feelings today (except one person). I read only this morning that Priya and Nades and their two little girls have to share a queen-sized bed, are not allowed to meet local people, the littlies not even allowed to go to play with other children. Surrounded by 159 guards, the place is a prison, nothing more, nothing less. And at enormous cost to the public purse. No. I don’t feel proud.

  21. Kronomex

    Matt, everything you wrote makes me think you are LNP to the core. It’s nothing to do with “So much hatred for our own country…” it’s more about what the RWNJ’s in power and Murdoch and their paymasters and rusted-on followers have done to us. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  22. Michael Taylor

    I’m still looking for the alleged hate.

    Be damned if I can find any.

  23. Kaye Lee

    From the AIMN facebook page….

    Stephen Rolfe “A whole lotta self hate and flagellation going on here guys, gals and whatever you are.”

    Kaye Lee “Not at all Stephen. A whole lot of expecting better.”

  24. Sharon

    Kaye, I agree with you. I am not proud today or any day – basically since Mr Abbott became PM, and the treatment of asylum seekers seemed to get worse…….. so much over the past years has not improved how I feel, actually made it worse. Maybe one day it all will change and somehow feelings of pride might happen.

  25. John

    So a whole bunch of people on here (including myself) are angry, frustrated and in despair about the state of things. We are mostly all pretty good at writing about it, but what else are we going to do? Where are we going to direct that anger, and intellect, and to what purpose?

  26. Michael Taylor

    Fortunately, Stephen Rolfe found himself in a minority of 1.

  27. whatever

    I imagine the “guys, gals and whatever you are” remark to be the current Conservitard smart-arse remark, meant to indicate that all those on the Left are queer to some degree.
    This level of discourse doesn’t even rate as undergraduate humour, it is coarse High School rudeness that only deserves to be scribbled on toilet walls.

  28. Luke Daglish

    A promise made 43 years ago, ” No Australian child will be living in poverty by 1990 “. Today I believe 1.1 million Australian children are living in poverty. Great job the Australian Government.

  29. Patricia

    “poor fella, my country.”

    Well said Kaye Lee. Agree on all counts.

    This is what it comes to when human beings stop being social animals and start being individualistic, greedy, cretins.

  30. Kaye Lee

    • The wealthiest 10% of Australians with an average net wealth of over $2 million (up by $749k from 2007), hold 47.9% of net wealth. The poorest 50% of Australians with an average of $31k (up by $7k), who despite gains have seen their total share of net wealth fall from 4.5% to 3.7%.

    • Growing personal net wealth is highly correlated with age. The 65 and over segment have the highest average net wealth of $759k (up 91% since 2007), well ahead of the 25-34 group with an average of only $111k (up 3%).

    • NSW has the highest average net wealth with $503k (up 83%), followed by Victoria with $465k (up 83%). Both are well ahead of all other state in amount and growth rate, mainly due to increased housing values.

  31. Brad Black

    I’m shitting on Australia day, Matt.
    Not because I’m not passionate about the country, but because of the people running it. The country is under the control of the bigoted, the liars, slick bullshit merchants, dangerous ideologies and an aging, extreme right wing climate science denying American paper boy.
    The country is an international laughing stock and no longer represents my morals nor values.
    I’ll fly the flag again when the idiots are under control.

  32. Florence Howarth

    Has there ever been such a depressing so called Australia Day. From lasts night’s sobering Australians of the year awards where we seen no smiles except for our honorable PM and the two women he sat between. The blonde was seen laughing with him today. I fail to see what the trio have to be so happy about. How much is the useless medal he intends to distribute going to cost. Up grading every fire station in the nation might have been better received.

  33. DrakeN

    Nicely put, Kaye.

    I too cry for my country, the one which adopted me 55 years ago.

    Post 1975 all I have observed of the anglophone world is a steady decline in social responsibility by all those with their hands on the levers of wealth and power.

    Greed, individualism in the face of a greater need for community cohesion, and elective ignorance of the forces which control the world in combination with belligerent attitudes of: “You can’t tell me anything that I don’t know already.” and “Who do you think you are telling me what to do.”
    Calling “Nanny State!” when anything that they don’t want or even understand is brought into Legislation, then crying “Foul!” when the police don’t appear immediately to quell the noise from the chooks next door.

    We, as a society, have been successfully ‘conned’ for eons and are likely to be incessantly subjected to every possible means of deflecting our attention from the actual forces undermining both our individual and collective wellbeing.

  34. Geoff Andrews

    My comment on “despair” was a slight reworking of the final line in Clive James’ poem “Will Those Responsible Come Forward”, in which he pleads with every deity to stop their adherents from killing each other or their enemies. It’s worth a read.

    As Sir Francis Bacon wrote:
    “Speaking maketh a ready man;
    Writing maketh an exact man;
    Reading maketh a full man”

  35. corvusboreus

    The reason aortic did not mention ‘boobby’ (tee hee hee) is because not everyone shares your myopic fixation on a single anti-Adani protest action by a few hundred people, nor your view that the Greens are more toxic than One Nation.
    You brag of being banned from other blogs for being persistently rude and disruptive, and continue to show blatant disrespect to both authors and other contributors with your constant hectoring that they should conform to your obsessively narrow and grammatically incoherent narrative focus.
    Your trolling conduct deters people from constructively engaging on this site, myself included.

  36. Max Gross

    Kaye, I have read many of your pieces. They are always energising. This must be your finest yet. If it’s of any consolation you are not alone in your righteous anger. Stay angry! And keep writing.

  37. corvusboreus

    Hope everyone is having a reflective Waterloo Creek massacre commemoration day.

  38. Lambchop Simcard

    Unfortunately Australians are just full of front.Our second longest serving Prime Minister Mr John Howard did the most damage; culturally and socially and in the end economically as well. And Paul Keating did a few good things.Though what is common to them both is they never admit to what they got wrong.

  39. corvusboreus

    Accept no imitation lambchop!!!

  40. johno

    Well said Kaye. So much for Scottfrommarketing’s how good is Australia.

  41. P. Morgan

    Thank you Kaye. My sentiments exactly.

  42. Aortic

    As a ten pound Scottish migrant to this wonderful land in 1963 transported under the White Australia Policy, I am totally ashamed that I came under such a racist disgusting policy. Trouble is when you are young ( I was 18) the last things on your mind are the research and history of the indigenous peoples of the land. You come wide eyed and with the discovery of schooners and sheilas it never entered my mind that horrific harm had been done to the first inhabitants. This country has been more than good for me and my family and we have been fortunate to see a great deal of the world. Have not stubbed my toe on anywhere I would rather live, but the more I see and read and hear of the disgusting colonial treatment of Aboriginal peoples the more I am ashamed to call myself Australian. Religion of course was behind a great deal of the thief of children from their families and the extent of crimes perpetrated on those poor kids I don’t think will ever be fully known. Their so called God supposedly created everyone equal so what possible excuse could their robed and fancy hatted proponents and the so called Boards have for their treatment of these poor souls. Are they to be happy the big white bwana brought them their ” true religion” disease drugs and the travails of alcoholism. I will always remember a wonderful quote when asked about their laws. ” white mans law written on paper, can be changed. Our law written in the sky and the stars, can’t be changed. Treaty Yeah.

  43. DrakeN

    I can only change three points in your message for it to refer to myself – I’m of Welsh origins, it was 1965 and the Commonwealth of Australia paid for me to bring my manifest talents to these shores.
    On a chartered aircraft, no less!

  44. New England Cocky

    So many appropriate comments …..

    “This obsession with “collecting data”, or having inquiries, or commissioning reports, or appointing new bureaucrats, is a wonderful way to avoid doing anything whilst looking like you give a f#ck. The data is there. We need action …”

    And there you have the reason, “to avoid doing anything” because it is in the best interests of those who are organised, in this case, the foreign owned multinational corporations prepared to buy their way into political favour to gain access to Australia’s natural resources then exploit the too generous tax minimisation provisions established by successive governments to escape with the resources without paying any net benefit to Australia. Talk about doing an African walk-over!!!

    Now add to this the present subservience to the USA (United States of Apartheid) in Middle East military matters. The Middle East has not been important to Australia since Scullen (ALP) pulled the ANZACs out in 1942 to fight the Japanese in the Pacific Theatre. Yet this apparently never ending commitment of young Australian military lives to the US imperialist was for control of Middle East oil reserves in Iraq and Iran continues at a too enormous expense to the Australian taxpayer. How many BILLIONS has Australia paid to date????

    As for Australia Day ….. it is also the Rum Rebellion Day when John Macarthur and George Johnston led the Rum Corps against Governor William Bligh in 1808. So as Jack Ryder suggests, perhaps we should rename 27 January as Rum Rebellion Day, with everybody going out and getting full of rum then trotting down to Parliament House and tossing out all the politicians!! Would make a nice change from the election of turkeys pre-selected by unelected party political hacks perpetuating their own self-interests.

  45. Clipbord

    The British came to Australia to colonise the country.
    Colonise (verb) derived from colon, aka the large intestine which has as its function the removal of all water and turning what is left to sh*t.
    Mission accomplished.

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