Sunday, August 08, 2010
Human rights set to go to hell in a handbasket in Abbott's Australia
After a lengthy lay off due to travel and major surgery I have re-emerged to find Australia on the brink of electing a man who would re-introduce the 'Pacific Solution' for asylum seekers.
The dog whistle has worked again. Supported by the mainstream media, Abbott's ugly message has filtered through TV sets yet again; into the consciousness of average Australians who lack the critical skills to see through the ugliness of the strategy. Intelligent people, who would consider themselves decent and fair minded, are seriously contemplating electing a man who lost his moral compass a long time ago. He dresses his so-called conviction politics in a false religiosity, but his pitch to credulous people, who think a few people arriving by leaky boats is a threat to this country, is nasty in the extreme.
His extremist views on welfare, migration, women's rights, industrial relations will take this country backwards again. We lost valuable time in our march toward realizing a progressive and moderate body politic under Howard, evincing nothing more than lackey status to a regime now considered one of the most reactionary and incompetent in US history. Abbott is more extremist than Howard in many respects. Howard's asylum seeker policies brought shame to this country. We are now on the verge of revisiting these and worse.
The worst side of Australia has come to the fore in this election campaign. Media driven hate mongering, sexism, 'dumbing' down of political debate, the endless round of media grabs on petty nothings. We are ill-served by today's media. It is driving a 'me me' celebrity culture that enables an inadequate opportunist like Abbott to run for the highest office on a platform of unbridled entitlement politics, encouraging division, selfishness and 'get out of my way' pitches to people who think Government is about nothing more than serving their narrow interests.
The shabby state of our body politic is alarming. It is in these circumstances that extremist politics flourish. I am amazed that we have sunk so low yet again and so quickly. Public intellectuals and serious journalists need to ask themselves how this happened. It is a canker and nothing good will come of it......