Although there’s always been some slight undercurrent of drugs, I remember thinking at the outset of the 1970s when Richard Nixon launched his “war on drugs” that the drug culture would never spread in Australia to the extent it had in America. I was wrong. We seemed to be only ten years behind the US in achieving that particular distinction.
I’ve since observed Australia hasn’t bothered waiting anything like ten years to follow the pattern of US social and political fashion. Perhaps aided and abetted by the internet, the timing seems to have telescoped down into a matter of days.
But I hadn’t learnt my lesson. Foolishly, I still believed Australian politics would never descend to the level of America, where those with the money dictated the direction of public policy. Sure, we’d pop along to each and every theatre of war under whatever pretext if the US wanted us there, because they are our great and powerful ally: but no Australian government would ever be bought out by the 1%.
That all changed last Tuesday night, the night of the Australian budget.
As he pilloried Australian pensioners, the ill, unemployed and middle class, Treasurer Joe Hockey nakedly revelled in declaring that he would remove what was left of the mining tax. “The miners having been doing all the heavy lifting”, he stated. Wrong. His unstated eyewash seemed to be that the mining companies pay company tax, and mining workers pay income tax, so why should they pay a minerals resource rent tax, too?
Hypocrite. You know full well, Joe, that those minerals are ours and the mining companies, not all of them Australian, are making what some call “super profits” additional to their normal profits out of something that can never be replaced as it is mined. Those super profits are actually the rents owed equally to all Australians which ought therefore be captured to the public purse.
But that’s just for starters. Though the banks continue to make record profits out of bubble-inflated mortgages to which many Australians have been shackled, there is no suggestion they should now pay their way, having shanghaied our rents into their profits via these mortgages. Quite the reverse: “The states will have to agree to increase the GST” has become the spiel of the 1% and their acolytes. Consumers will have to pay – again. Obeisance to the 1% is now official Liberal Party policy.
Nevertheless, for all his rhetoric, I rather suspect Opposition Leader Bill Shorten would act no differently if he were in government, such has become the control on funding the big boys now exercise over both parties. And billionaire Clive Palmer’s party is also clearly in favour of the big rent-seekers.
Australian governments have become the US’ “Mini Me”, having sold out to the rent-seeking 1%. Considering this to be line of least resistance, they’re all quite prepared to sell out the Australian people.
Australians need to get back up onto their hind legs and tell them differently.
Michael West has it pretty right in THE AGE today: “Big donors relax while mug punters do heavy lifting”, whilst Nathan Tinkler has it entirely wrong: “Nothing wrong with donating to parties”.
And former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has released a book “Dangerous Allies”, saying we need a foreign policy that is independent of the US. Good on you, Malcolm!
Hey, Americans, I love you, but you’ve reduced yourselves to sucker-bait for the 1% – and we’ve started following suit!