I was in the middle of writing a piece about the sports rorts disgrace, when this, from Catherine Marriot came across my Twitter feed: “The Nationals have a real opportunity to add some class and integrity into their leadership ranks and to significantly improve on recent rural representation. It is critical they don’t bugger this up internally.”1 I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.
I could not help myself, so I replied: “I didn’t know you were into comedy! The Nationals haven’t represented rural people for decades. They’ve denied Climate Change, and get money from big coal, big gas and big irrigators. Who do you think is facing the worst of [Climate Change] this year, and will in future? It isn’t city people.”2
You may have heard of Catherine Marriott. She was the woman who made a claim of sexual harassment against the Beetrooter (Barnaby Joyce), the former Deputy Prime Minister. She lodged a complaint with the Western Australian branch of the National Party and, within days, it was leaked by the National Party. Cannot let a woman ruin the boys club! Of course, Barnaby Joyce denied the allegation, and as he was a member of the New South Wales branch of the National Party, it was investigated by that branch. This investigation took eight months and it was decided that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to come to a conclusion. Plus ça change…
Presumably, Marriot’s wish that the Nationals could “add some class and integrity” into their leadership, is in part because, today, the Beetrooter missed out on his run for the leadership of the National Party. However, what I find hard to understand is that Marriott believes anything will change. The same vacant buffoons are still in charge and they are still at the beck and call of their major donors, and they will do anything to make sure those donations continue, even to the extent of allowing the desertification of large parts of previously arable or pastoral land in this nation. Nationals leader Michael McCormack doesn’t believe that these fires are due at all to climate change, and deputy leader David Littleproud wants to build a coal-fired power station. Tell Marriott she’s dreamin’.
I have often wondered what the reason is for the current batch of Lib/Nats in power to be such dumb assholes in regards to climate change and the nations electricity supply, and what is in the best interests of Australia.
I often wondered if it was just plain old venality.
I didn’t realise the huge extent of the root cause for such bribery to exist.
I think I may have the answer in the article below about “Dark Money”:
“On Monday the Australian Electoral Commission revealed the Liberals had collected a total of $165m in the financial year ending June 2018, of which $22.6m was donations above the threshold. Labor received $126m, of which $18.2m was donations above the threshold.”
At base, the criminality is essentially being bribed by the fossil fuel companies, and the major political parties being perfectly OK with that. That is why the Labor Party provides not much of an alternative. They are beholden the same way to pretty much the same people. This has to stop.
In the seventies and eighties I was a member of the ALP. I used to be one those people who put stuff in letterboxes at each election and stood there handing out how to vote cards at polling booths. I bumped into quite a few Country Party people, doing the same things that I was, over the years. I had many a cordial discussion with them about, of course, politics and ideology. I have to say that, in general, I found them to be a much nicer, more reasonable bunch, than I did Liberals. There was also, strangely, quite a lot of common ground even though I was regarded, and am still regarded, as being pretty left of centre. I will say that there were also quite a few very nice people who volunteered for the Liberals as well as other parties like the Greens (towards the end of my membership) and the Democrats. I do not understand what has happened to these reasonable, nice, and often quite intelligent seeming people. How they have turned into such a bitter, closed minded, self serving mob of conspiracy theorists and nutters in a few decades is disturbing, and possibly a reflection on what is happening to Australian society. My take on it is, as you have suggested, that they, like to some extent both the Liberals and even the ALP, have become a party sponsored by, and beholden to, big business. Agricultural and mining interests in particular. Their supporters, like so many Australians, have always voted for the Country/National Party and find it almost impossible to change their vote. So, like the big three parties, they have this rusted on base of people who really take no notice of the fact that they are now voting for nasty, corporate owned nutters, and against their own best interests. Our democracy is a bit of a sham because so many people do not make a considered informed vote. I do not know what the percentage would be but I would suggest that it is probably well over 50 %, and perhaps as much as 90% of people over 60. Sorry rambled on a bit here I know. My point is that I agree with you. The decency that had existed in most political parties has diminished, and it has almost completely disappeared in the Nationals and Liberals.
I have never been a member of a political party, although I have donated money to GetUp, and like you, I find it staggering what has happened to Australian society and its political landscape in recent decades. I think part of it can be sheeted home to neooliberal economics, which early on was embraced enthusiastically by both major parties. It is still embraced by them, but only because they are largely funded by big business and the wealthy whose interests lie in the continuation of such an economic model. With the enthusiastic embrace of this model by Murdoch’s media by way of foaming-at-the-mouth support for the Coalition parties, the vacant and the thick can be manipulated into voting against their best interests quite easily. This can only last so long until enough people twig that they are being had, they they will be voted out of office. Unfortunately, we cannot wait that long. If the wealthy do not relinquish control in the near future, then there will be insurrection, and many people will die. I hear from an acquaintance (a spook) that such an insurrection is being ‘factored in’ to the future of the US by its intelligence agencies. We will not be far behind.
Whoops, sorry admin I left out a little but important word. “Not”. So many people do “not” make a considered informed vote. My apologies to any confused readers.