The hypocrisy and intolerance in our public life is getting worse. A week after telling us that migrants should share Australian values, government ministers are doing hand-stands because someone said something of questionable taste that offended part of our secular faith. Nor are our leaders in the slightest put out that those complaining the loudest about this allegedly offensive behaviour are also the ones that cry the loudest when the law is invoked against offensive words. You can apparently be as offensive as you like – until you offend a true blue Aussie. Why don’t we go for the full Monty and set up a House of UnAustralian Affairs Committee? I can think of a number of thick thugs who would be ripe to emulate the U S model.
Well, here is my go at some real Australian values where we could well be world leaders.
- Holding without trial a person fleeing from persecution in a nation ruined by a war that your nation entered under false pretences.
- Imprisoning young aboriginal offenders for stealing bread, under laws of mandatory sentencing passed to deal with aboriginals by legislators who do not know as much as the judges and who do not trust them, while their rich mates crookedly deprive people of millions of dollars and routinely go uncharged.
- Refusing to change taxation laws in an effort to enable young people who are not so well off to buy their first home – not just an Australian value but what we used to call ‘the Australian dream’ – for fear that such a law might be against the interests of those who are well off, in particular those members of parliament who invest in land and use the tax laws for that purpose – what used to be called ‘the ruling class’ or ‘the landed gentry’.
- Supporting bodies that claim to be in sport but which are in truth trading corporations in the entertainment industry that at least in part live off the earnings of gambling, another form of business that has brought hardship and misery to countless Australians, commonly those who are not so well off or who are not so good at looking after themselves.
- Having legislatures refuse to limit the gambling business that does so much harm to their voters, because their governments are now hooked on the easy money coming in as revenue derived in large part from human misery.
- Refusing, for reasons of pure self-interest, to make laws to contain the spread of this evil, and to ban advertising of products that bring as much misery as cigarettes.
- Refusing to investigate or prosecute people who in public offend aboriginal footballers on the basis of their race on the ground that such action would impede the freedom of speech of the abuser, or on the ground that a single instance of abuse does not constitute harassment – or professing inane political theories that leave them open to this silly suggestion.
- Maintaining a system of government that blatantly prefers one religion to all others by requiring its head of state to be in communion with one sect of one religion – by the law of a foreign nation that we hapless and timid Australians have no power to alter.
- Forbidding members of a government from voting in parliament on an issue of social equality apparently favoured by a clear majority – on the reasoning like that of a spoiled brat who is a bad sport and who just picks up his bat and ball to spite the winner.
- Acquiescing in a body of laws on taxation that are at best incomprehensible, but which offer the wealthy more avenues of evasion than poor people.
- Coming too late to the conclusion that allowing a bank manager to be paid one hundred times what a bank teller gets paid is as bad for the rest of Australia as is their practice of encouraging their managers to boost their incomes by engaging in bad and illegal banking practises that hurt those who are less able to look after themselves.
- Refusing to sanction a decent inquiry into these evils because it might be bad for business! (This is the bell ringer of all bell ringers.)
- Failing to see that it is blindingly obvious that the widening gap in incomes and housing wealth is undermining the fabric of the nation in the same manner that has produced such ghastly political disruption elsewhere.
- Having politicians who generally behave in such an appalling fashion that at any given election, a majority of voters will be clearly against the party that has the misfortune to be elected to govern.
- Habitually going off to wars and losing them as a payment of protection money to Uncle Sam, and not only refusing to acknowledge that fact, but positively lying and denying it.
- Allowing blockheads – seismically stupid people – to favour a warped ideology of fanatics against the evidence of science to endanger our hold on the planet and to rob our children of their heritage.
- Having a political system that is so decrepit that a rational literate liberal leader is soon reduced to a crass scared vote-chasing follower.
- Living in philistine cities of the plain where more people will go to watch a single match of football, in a code that has not been and never will be exported beyond our sunlit plains extended, than go to see all the operas and plays put on in those cities over the whole year.
- Being in a nation that likes to see itself as ‘sporting,’ and having a major sporting body aligned with one of the most corrupt entities on the planet, whose head has a tenure exceeding that of most African dictators, whose income has blue sky (more than $200,000) between it and that of the Chief Justice of the High Court, and who when challenged descends to the gutter in a manner that should have got him sacked on the spot.
- After more than two centuries of white settlement, not having found the means to stop such jerks worming their way into positions of trust and reducing the rest of us to illness or tears.
- Having politicians who are so low and unprincipled that they will go out and spruik bullshit about Australian values in an effort to get a transitory lift in the polls, and who either do not see or do not care that we see them for what they are.
You do wonder how our values might be different to those of the English, French, Americans, Chinese, Kenyans, Chileans, Indonesians, or North Koreans, or what school of diplomacy you should attend before pointing out their deficiencies to their face.
But, on reflection, I think there may be one real Australian value – anyone who uses that term with a straight face is a no good bullshit-artist and, worse, probably a politician to boot.
I am not so impertinent as to practise flattery. It is just that I so detest inflexibility.