My apologies for going on so much about Australia’s Lieberal-led Coal-ition lately, but I really need to vent my revulsion at the fact that these con-servatives are, entirely contrary to the spirit of our national anthem, rapidly ‘advancing’ the country in reverse.
In every possible way, but most obviously this week by means of the protection racket they’ve been running on behalf of their supporters and cronies on the big or rather pig end of town.
But in any case you can avoid my ranting by simply ignoring it. Like me, you’ve probably had more than a belly-full by now of the evidence of systematic malpractices, corruptions and crimes emerging from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
And now, to add insult to the injury done to many if not most of us by the CBA, ANZ, NAB, Westpac, AMP and their predatory subsidiaries, we’re being confronted with the sickening spectacle of Treasurer Scott Morrison and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer striving to deny that they’ve spent the past two years dismissing, ridiculing and voting against moves by Labor and the Greens for a royal commission into this mess.
Plus pretending to forget that it was only a threatened revolt over the issue by some of their own Coal-ition back-benchers that finally dragged them, ‘kicking and screaming’, as so many commentators have observed, to relent.
But not, with the exception of former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, to repent, but rather to embark on an offensive – extremely offensive – campaign of lies, spin and evasion.
In short, rather than advancing the cause of financial reform, these retards have set it back as far as possible, even to the extent of some years ago slashing the budget of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the alleged financial ‘watchdog’ that has since clearly been sleeping on the job.
At least, despite their scramble to deny that they’ve been responsible for years of foot-dragging on financial-services reform, and thus arguably open to the accusation of having been accessories to the crimes currently being exposed by the royal commission, the Coal-ition parties look likely to pay a heavy political price for the protection racket they’ve been running on behalf of the predatory banks.
Turnbull, Morrison, O’Dwyer and all their accomplices in retarding rather than advancing Australia are now faced with more determined opposition than ever to their plot to slash the corporate tax rate, in light of the fact that a fat slice of the benefits would go to the very banks that the voters have such good, and still growing, reasons to revile.
And the same voters aren’t so stupid as to be unaware of the fact that financial services is just the latest in a long list of the Coal-ition’s failures to advance Australia.
Long-overdue root-and-branch reform of the tax system still remains completely undone, despite the government’s assurance some years ago that, following prolonged inaction on recommendations by the Henry Report ‘everything was on the table’.
And in another massive failure to make the slightest advance, as signified by my continually calling it the ‘Coal-ition’, this gang of fossils and fools still persists in pandering to its supporters and cronies in the fossil-fuel industries, thus costing Australians a fortune in inflated power bills and the nation the opportunity of playing a leading role in the global renewable-energy revolution.
Just as they wasted years opposing same-sex marriage and then squandered $100 million or so on a plebiscite so that they could pacify their ultra-right, or in other words ultra-wrong colleagues by blaming the populace for the decision rather than taking responsibility for it themselves.
Advance? You must be joking. In every sphere it gets its grubby hands on, the Coal-ition, in its desperation to cling to power by conning its con-servative constituency that the path to progress lies in fosterinbg feral levels of financial greed and fear amounting to panic at the prospect of change, is capable of nothing but retreat.
And then there’s the question of Australia itself. I have to confess that this issue is far too complex for a legal ignoramus like me, but I’m dimly aware of some sleazy legal fiction by which some islands and perhaps even the mainland of the continent have been ‘excised’ for the purpose of denying asylum-seekers landfall within our borders and keeping many if them in prison camps for years. An act that, as long as we’re employing the name of our national anthem here to examine where we’re collectively heading, to me casts doubt on not only the advancement of Australia, but its very identity.
All of which finally brings me to the confusion I’m in about the apparently innocent but on further thought tricky little four-letter word ‘fair’.
According to my true-blue Macquarie Dictionary, this innocent little word has at least five meanings, leading me to wonder every time I hear ‘Advance Australia Fair’ which meaning, if any, comes to most peoples’ minds.
The meaning the lyricist presumably intended, given that ours, like most national anthems, is a jingoistic jingle or, if you prefer, patriotic to the point of self-parody, was ‘fair’ as in ‘beautiful’. And indeed it’s true that Australia, like almost any other nation you or I could name, undoubtedly boasts a great deal of breathtaking beauty, both natural and man-made, while admittedly some of its sites are a sight less attractive than others, or outright blots on the landscape.
But besides ‘beautiful’, of course another meaning of ‘fair’ is ‘blonde-haired, pale-skinned’. This connotation of ‘fair’ takes us into dangerous territory, evoking as it does the bad old days of the pernicious ‘white-Australia’ policy, when caucasians were the only permitted migrants. And additionally reminds me of the apparent intention of our unlovely immigration and security super-cop Peter ‘Dead to Me’ Dutton to preference white South-African farmers over other potential newcomers to the country.
But I doubt he’ll get away with this, any more than he will achieve his stated intention of requiring candidates for citizenship to demonstrate university-level proficiency in English, as by far the majority of Australians seem welcoming of migrants from anywhere and everywhere, without discrimination.
So if ‘fair’ as in skin and hair colour isn’t what most of us understand our anthem to mean, what about ‘fair’ in its meterological sense, as in ‘fine, not rainy’?
Certainly a good deal of the Australian continent, especially the so-called Red Centre and sundry other deserts is fair as in fine, not rainy, though I doubt that the drought-stricken nature of our continent is what our anthem’s librettist intended to evoke.
Though come to think of it, if the Coal-ition’s record of water management gets any worse than its woeful performance in the Murray-Darling basin, our anthemic ‘fair’ could come to achieve a very dry meaning indeed.
The next and fourth of all the possible implications of ‘fair’, of course, is ‘mediocre’, which I grant you is an apt description of our current government’s record of achievement in office, and indeed the quality and credibility of most of its members.
But frankly the ‘fair’ that I like to think Australia should be advancing towards, instead of, as at present, apparently backing away from due to the Coal-ition’s bloody-minded determination to steadily widen the social, cultural and above all economic divisions between its citizens, is the ‘fair that my dictionary defines as ‘free from bias, dishonesty or injustice’.
Or, in other words, ‘fair’ as in such common expressions as ‘fair play’, ‘fair go’, fair share, ‘fair crack of the whip’ and ‘fair suck of the saveloy’.
There’s apparently no way that my kind of Advance Australia Fair is going to come true under the current Lieberal-led Coal-ition government, however, so, as you see here, I’m fair busting to help in whatever small way I can to throw it fair out of office.