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Wake up, Australia, you are being conned

Conservative governments would have us judge every group in society by its worst members unless, of course, you belong to the political class or their corporate partners.

Muslims living in the Western world are facing suspicion and discrimination because of the action of a few militant fundamentalists. We are led to believe that people living in Middle Eastern and African countries are primitive savages who are constantly attacking and hurting one other, but this type of behaviour occurs to a certain degree in nearly every society.

As John Vibes writes:

“Now, imagine for a minute if someone in a foreign country who has never been to America were to judge and define the country by the crime and corruption that took place there. What type of perspective would they have? They would see a corrupt and oppressive government with militarized police forces that kill thousands per year. They would also see cities ripped apart with gang violence, also killing thousands per year. They would see extreme poverty in America’s ghettos, where children grow up with little hope or opportunity for a better life. They would see a population that is heavily sedated with pharmaceutical drugs and entirely brainwashed by fascist politicians. It would not be fair for someone to judge America this way, but this seems to be the way that many Americans and Europeans judge everyone else.”

What if Australia was judged for its asylum seeker policy where we lock up children indefinitely with no hope for the future purely because they sought our help?

Or if we were judged by how we have treated and continue to treat the Indigenous population – what of the disadvantages they face as we remove them from their ancestral lands? The low life expectancy, the deaths from treatable diseases, the failure of the education system, the substance abuse, high incarceration and suicide rates? And our response is to remove all forms of self-determination, employ more police, and impose stiffer penalties.

How would the domestic violence epidemic be viewed? The gambling? The drinking? The drugs?

Or the fact that we won’t allow homosexuals to marry?

Or that we strip people of their citizenship with no judicial process or oversight?

How would they view the obvious corruption that has seen so many politicians stood down or sacked and so many businesses engage in tax evasion? The dodgy financial dealings?

Quoting John Vines again:

“The mainstream western narrative does not pay any attention to the actual daily lives of the people who live in foreign countries. Instead, they only focus on the tragedies. Just like in the US and Europe, people in the middle east, Africa, and other areas of the world have thriving music scenes, talented artists, brilliant philosophers, exceptional athletes, and children that play games similar to those played by western children. In fact, National Geographic Traveler recently named Iran as the #1 tourist destination in the world.

People who live in other parts of the world have festivals and holidays and favorite foods, they also have sickness, traffic jams, and crime, just as we do.”

It isn’t just foreigners that our government seeks to dehumanise. They use the same strategy when it comes to people on welfare. They are labelled ‘leaners’ and ‘rorters’, with a couple of instances of fraud widely publicized. Carefully edited tv programs paint pictures of lazy people ‘living off your taxes’. They edit out the struggle to exist, the constant search for a way out of poverty, the damage of constant rejection, the shame at not being able to provide for your children. They never mention the miniscule number of people who are found to be abusing the system. As with Muslims, all are labelled because of the actions of a very few.

Likewise with unions. Dyson Heydon was employed to destroy the union movement in Australia for political reasons. The hyperbolic language used in his report allows no other conclusion. Because of the actions of a few, the entire union movement has been labelled a bunch of lying, thieving thugs and the political arm of the union movement (let’s remember that is what the Labor Party is) is, by association, guilty of corruption.

The government is demanding transparent governance and accountability for unions but refuse the same for political parties. Despite the many examples of corruption exposed by ICAC, the major parties resist any call for a Federal ICAC. They resist any reform or restrictions of political donations and advertising. They deny freedom of information requests and are removing rights of judicial appeal.

They are focused on cracking down on welfare cheats whilst they actively assist corporations in tax avoidance and provide tax concessions to the wealthy that will outstrip the age pension very shortly.

Their unrelenting push to sell off all our assets has made a few in the private sector very wealthy.

Their jobs for the boys and the odd girl have opened a career path for mediocre party apparatchiks whose unquestioning obedience is well rewarded.

On 16 June 2013 in The Australian newspaper Tony Fitzgerald QC (who chaired the 1987 Queensland Royal Commission) wrote an article The Body Politic is Rotten. He stated:

There are about 800 politicians in Australia’s parliaments. According to their assessments of each other, that quite small group includes role models for lying, cheating, deceiving, “rorting”, bullying, rumour-mongering, back-stabbing, slander, “leaking”, dog whistling, nepotism and corruption.

The major parties attract professional politicians with little or no general life experience and unscrupulous opportunists, unburdened by ethics, who obsessively pursue power, money or both. Little-known and often unimpressive factional leaders exert disproportionate influence.

That might be tolerable if the major parties acted with integrity – but they do not. Their constant battles for power are venal, vicious and vulgar. The mantra ‘whatever it takes’ is part of political folk-lore. Parties equate their interest to the national interest, which they assume is best served by their ideology and its benefits for the like-minded. Populism, paranoia and unrealistic expectations are encouraged and the naive and gullible are made envious, resentful and disdainful of fellow Australians.

Public funds and sometimes reckless and sometimes ‘non-core’ promises are used to entice voters to support vague and often opaque policies.

Financial backers are provided with special access and influence and supporters are appointed to public positions.

Information is withheld, distorted and manipulated and falsehoods and propaganda are euphemistically misdescribed as mere ‘spin’.

Opposition, dissent and criticism are discouraged by personal abuse, often protected by parliamentary privilege, and unwelcome ideas are condemned as ‘elitist’ or ‘un-Australian’.

The public interest is routinely subordinated to the pursuit of power, party objectives and personal ambitions, sometimes including the corrupt acquisition of financial benefit.

The role, authority and prestige of Parliament, the corner-stone of our democracy, are diminished as decisions made by the party leadership are publicly rubber-stamped by parliamentarians whose party membership and pre-selection are held at the whim of the party and who are bound by party rules and discipline to implement its policies and vote as directed irrespective of their consciences, opinions or responsibilities to their electorates.”

So how long are we going to tolerate being conned?

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30 comments

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  1. Lee

    Well said Kaye Lee. I would add the political class, especially from the conservative side, trade heavily on the perception of stability. You can enact all manner of unpalatable policies so long as this myth is maintainable. I would also add a large chunk of the MSM as part of the political class as their uncritical symbiotic relationship enables the ongoing construction and maintenance of this myth.

  2. mark delmege

    ripper tune KL

  3. Steve Laing

    As long as 1) the media are compliant in perpetuating this train wreck of a political system, but more importantly 2) until a viable alternative system is proposed, accepted, with a mechanism for getting from here to there. Unfortunately with the never ending focus on the policies and politics, we never get to focus on the fact that we have arrived at the logical conclusion of the party based system. And as a fair system of government, it totally sucks.

  4. billshaw2013Bill Shaw

    Having worked in Muslim countries for five years I can confirm family life is similar to ours……children playing, education responsibilities taken seriously, health issues and the standard of health care, sport,, music and family celebrations of weddings, birthdays etc. Of course there are differences starting with religion and the status of sons being elevated in Muslim families, probably my biggest criticism of their society. However they are fundamentally human as much as we are with weaknesses and strengths.

  5. johnlord2013

    I recall a few years back a family member and his wife were doing a round Australia trip and I received a telephone call. His wife took the opportunity to tell me about the very worst aspects of Aboriginal behaviour. I mentally made a note of each point. There was not one of that wasn’t duplicated in white society. When they returned I offered a personal tour of where they occurred. Thanks Kaye. You have summed up the truth of what some of us know but what most don’t try to understand.

  6. Rob

    “Conservative governments would have us judge every group in society by its worst members…”

    I agree with all the above in the article, I just hope it also applies to firearm owners. One or two NON-LICENCED maniacs with ILLEGAL guns cut loose and all law-abiding gun owners are tared with the same brush.

  7. diannaart

    Worthwhile questions Kaye lee – which need repetition until more people take notice.

    Like how come, a nation as wealthy as Australia cannot provide adequate support for it most vulnerable people but still fund military expenditure.

    Which has the higher priority? A military that could not, even in its wildest dreams, protect every single part of our coastline and still needs to make ‘nice’ with other more powerful nations, or doing the best for people in education, health, housing, liveable wages and even the environment which supports us all.

    If one needs to judge how conservative a nation is – compare defence spending to welfare.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Bill Shaw,

    Your comment reminds me of a situation my m-in-law faced. She has been very active in the Catholic church and once attended an International Women’s Conference to discuss the role of women in the church. A papal legate was duly dispatched to basically threaten them to not discuss anything that would threaten the current hierarchy. I asked her how she could remain associated with such a group and she said that change could only come from within.

    I feel that is the same for Muslim women. I have heard the head of the Muslim women’s association speak many times and she acknowledges they have to make change but also warns not to expect anything to happen overnight. We must support Muslim women in their campaign for change but do so in a respectful manner.

  9. John Lord

    I must say I find WordPress to be the most unstable, infuriating system at times. I wrote a rather lengthy comment to your piece and when I posted it, it disappeared. Anyway great stuff Kaye. Wholeheartedly agree.

  10. stephen Bowler

    I recall that someone said we the collective get the government that we deserve!

    I don’t actually believe that. Instead I believe that we have been manipulated en mass, it was a slow prosses, but it was allowed to happen bit by bit.

    My main concern now is that it is likely that we cannot get this changed. They have the power to change but will not because it is in their interest to keep the status quo.

    I have concluded late in life that our system of democracy has been corporatosed and is in the hands of an Oligarchy!

    ues I know I am a slow learner!

  11. Glenn K

    Gawd, this is so depressing. So true and so tragic. The masses are blinded by their smart-phones, flat screen TV’s and shiny cars. The consumer society ….the perfect sedative to dumb down the populace. We’ll roll along down this pathway, turning our heads away with every loss of democracy, bit by bit, just like Germany in the ’40s, choosing not to notice another person missing from the community because it’s not me and so I’m ok……

  12. Kaye Lee

    Rob,

    My concern about gun ownership is, the more guns in circulation, the more chance the wrong people have of getting hold of one. I am also concerned at the undeniable correlation with suicides which dropped dramatically after Howard’s gun laws were introduced.

    In the decade after the NFA was introduced, the firearm homicide rate fell by 59% and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65% — without increases in other types of deaths.

    http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561817dbbd86ef195c8b5a7f/image.jpg

  13. Roswell

    John, it was caught up in spam. I’ve cleared it for you and it’s now visible.

  14. margcal

    How long are we going to be conned?
    For a long time to come, I fear.
    I don’t know which group of well educated and otherwise basically intelligent group is worse, those who believe everything in the MSM, or those who are “not interested” in politics – and are presumably swayed by pre-polling advertising campaigns.

    How do you break through to the latter group? I have some success in writing Letters to the Editor but doubt any but the like minded read them. And I post relevant links on FB but suspect friends have stopped following me … as I’ve stopped following those who only post about cats and dogs. You can only go so far in face to face conversation … including backwards with the one LNP fan amongst my friends.

    So my question is, how do we get through to those who are so easily conned?

  15. kasch2014

    Unortunately our “leadershit” ooops “ship” will continue as is until they have screwed up almost terminally. Then they will blame whatever and be expecting a reward for their labours. This reflects a general attitude which is part of Australia’s culture of ethics, I find it frequently in everyday transactions with a majority of people. Semi-conscious, defeated, over-materialistic zombies living in fear are common. A spritually bankrupt nation is a good description. Immensely selfish and blindly self-destructive, we are a product of all the marketing and undermining and cheating and other manipulations via our mass media. We will give nothing up gracefully, we will demand all priviledges as owed rights. There is a minority who take risks and stand up for things they believe in which are good for the community / species / life support system. They are usually mercilessly ground down by the media, or trivialised by it, if they move a little into the limelight.

    Things will only change through considerable pain and sacrifice – we are not likely to choose that, so it will be imposed by fate and necessity. I believe the only action we can take as an act of will, to bring changes that will actually reduce the impact of what is coming our way no matter what, is to somehow eliminate the power base of the “anti-social” cartels and their servants in a huge mass up-rising. We can’t organise or plan without being branded criminals by the criminals, and we are too poor to buy our way with money. If we were rich we would become a part of the problem.

    We need a new start for this country – look at my short and sweet web. Sorry about the presentation, it’s very dated and not so easy to see, but do focus on the content. I took it to Federal Parliament on the last day of 2014 question time, but only two of my message planes made it to the floor of the house before I was evicted. A letdown after cycling 400km to Canberra on a solar powered eBike. Her’s the link:
    http://www.lifesupportinternational.org

  16. Felicitas

    Hi Kaye,

    The gun law correllation is not as simple as the graph purports. If you have to lock your guns away and keep your ammunition in a separate locked area, then the act of gun-suicide becomes something more akin to a pre-meditated death than an impulse which is what many of the previous statistics would have represented. If you have to go to all that bother you also have time to reconsider. Yes, gun deaths have decreased, but it’s not just due to restriction of ownership.

  17. Matthew Oborne

    Politicians Lying went into overdrive under Abbott. The Liberals practically invented a parallel universe of emergencies and lost control and terror. They went way too far, How can reality creep back in when it is tightly shut out?

    Turnbull has himself an image that conflicts with the legislation they are trying to pass yet somehow people dont see it.

    He even manages to come off as left leaning as he guts healthcare.

    He is the cheshire cat.

  18. billshaw2013Bill Shaw

    Kaye…..the graph figures of gun related deaths in Australia are even more impressive if the population increase is factored in. I presume it’s not.

  19. mars08

    … how long are we going to tolerate being conned?

    As long as we can be diverted and distracted. As long as our fear and hatred can be focused on a vulnerable, powerless, isolated minority.

  20. Kaye Lee

    As far as I know, you can still buy guns under certain conditions. Haven’t they just banned the semi-automatic ones?

  21. Sen Nearly Ile

    Are those observations true?
    So why is the conclusion about Australians not fair?
    Dyson was no more anti-unions than the rabbott, little johnnie and millions of Australians.
    So why is his conclusions not fair?

  22. Rob

    If we look at that graph (and remove anomalies like the high in ’96 and the low in ’98) the death rate is in steady decline from ’91 until ’03 at which point it levels off. Although as mentioned if adjusted for population there would be more decline.

    In fact if you look at the graphs produced by GCA (Gun Control Australia, the most rabidly anti-gun mob around) the decline has been in effect since the mid 80s, ten years before the NFA.

    So I think it’s hard to argue that the NFA caused that decline given that it started many years before the new laws.

    I think that in general it’s just a safer world now and has been getting safer for many decades, here on Oz at least.

    “As far as I know, you can still buy guns under certain conditions. Haven’t they just banned the semi-automatic ones?”

    Technically I don’t think any guns were “banned” as such, some (such as semi-autos) were moved to categories that are just about impossible to qualify for, such as Category D for professional hunters. The end result was the same though.

    Yes you can still buy guns, nearly 1 million people have done so. The approval process is rigorous (as it should be) but in general if you are seen to be a fit and proper person you can buy most types of gun, certainly those appropriate for hunting and the many sports-shooting disciplines.

    “My concern about gun ownership is, the more guns in circulation, the more chance the wrong people have of getting hold of one.”

    According to the recent senate inquiry the number of guns stolen from LAFOs was so small as to be insignificant. The number of them subsequently used in a crime was so small that you would need to be familiar with techniques used in quantum physics to measure it 🙂

    If by “the wrong people” you mean those not emotionally suitable, have you seen the number of knife attacks in the last week? In fact you are more likely to survive being shot than stabbed according to figures I saw recently.

    Anyway maybe we’ve derailed this thread enough, I simply wanted to ensure that the all-shouldn’t-be- painted-with-the-same-brush rule is applied equally, not conveniently forgotten for one particular section of society.

  23. jim

    Spot on, but really have we ever been Not conned ?. I would also like to point out that if the big corporations paid only their fair share of tax like everyone else does it would end poverty world wide. well at least in Africa only???.

  24. RosemaryJ36

    I believe legislation and/or regulation concerning media ownership are up for amendment. If this means that the LNP’s staunchest supported aka Rupert Murdoch, will have even greater influence on public opinion then it should be opposed, tooth and nail!

  25. RosemaryJ36

    kasch2014 I do so agree with your sentiments. We need a total re-write of the Constitution, we need a drastic revision of the tax laws, we need to ban donations to political parties, we need an ICAC and we need KPIs for politicians – not based upon their (useless, made to be broken) promises but on what is needed for people yo live not barely survive or even go under. The wealth gap is obscene and philanthropists are few and far between. You do not need to be religious to care about other people’s welfare, you just need to be humane. And as to our situation as regards refugees – I totally detest the policies of both major parties.
    As a parent I made a rule for myself that if I made a promise or threatened a certain outcome, I kept my word.
    If this was true in our politicians homes when they were growing up, it certainly did not leave a strong impression on them as to ethical behaviour!

  26. Kaye Lee

    Rosemary,

    I also felt it part of the responsibility of parenting to keep my word or, when I had to break it which at times has happened, I would give an honest explanation as to why things had changed. If only our politicians treated us with the respect, consistency and honesty with which we treat our children (or should – some households just can’t make any promises about anything when day to day survival is an insurmountable question itself).

    It is an absolute disgrace that so many people in Australia live in poverty. To tell these people that innovation and agility and support for entrepreneurs will make their lives better while asking them to pay more for health (and possibly GST) is sinful.

    One parenting technique that I used and would love to employ with politicians was not listening to squabbling. I remember my 4 year old son telling his two year old sister as they stood outside my closed bedroom door, if you stop crying she will come out. They knew if they fought over a toy I would confiscate it, if they fought over tv I would turn it off, if they argued at the park I would take them home. They learned negotiation skills young.

  27. Random

    It’s only a dramatic change or ‘disruption’ that will wake a person up and shake them out of their insulated rut. I once led an life insulated from the daily political to’s and fro’s, and that was mainly due to my life being full of other things (4 kids & a mundane job), and the belief that as a mere grunt, I had zero chance of understanding what was involved in running the country by those superior university educated human beings – not sure where that came from, subliminal conditioning possibly! Anyhoo, the snippets of commercial news stories I might catch at the end of the day, did little to disrupt my thinking.

    The antics in politics over the last several years were enough of a disrupter for me to investigate, the discrepancies and deception fuelling a need to know more about what was really going on. But, had I not been in a position where I now have more time on my hands, and access to information that wasn’t readily available to me previously, (save sitting in a library for several hours), I doubt I would have gotten far.

    There’s a whole generation that have been insulated by misinformation and another insulated by self obsession, however I think that the LNP are creating enough disrupters at both ends of the spectrum for them to take note, and they know it or why try to hide them over Christmas? And, although we are still fed by corrupt media, there is a plethora of information alternatives, like this site now at our fingertips, with the ability to share beyond our immediate community. I think the power of this fluid information sharing is immense and will have a significant impact on the election. Well articulated articles like this one and the conversations they provoke definitely help combat social inertia, so thank you Kaye, John, Rosswell, Rossleigh and other contributors.

  28. Pingback: Wake up Australia, you are being conned – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  29. Rais

    “Or if we were judged by how we have treated and continue to treat the Indigenous population…” We should be.

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