You are here

Diversionary tactics, smokescreens and the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Bill 2017

To me the “Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017” is more of the same – putting out a spot fire/diversionary tactic. The bill may be aimed at so-called charities that provide political advocacy while at the same time accommodating such advocacy through the back door, the bill may claim some smaller fry that are, to the government, collateral damage. Instead of addressing political donations head-on, we pathetically tinker around at the edges. As the dust settles the sharks that were dominating the pond are still there while the sardines have been thinned out!

Understanding the political gravy train

My first glimpse of the political gravy train (game of mates) in Australia was back in 1992 prior to Jeff sacking Victoria’s councils. As a bastard from the bush in the State seat of Rodney I’d joined the National Party who at the time was doing some good work for the farming community. The local branch had called an open meeting for all members and prospective members to attend to hear from speakers Noel Maughan (MLA for Rodney) and Bill Baxter (MLC for North East Province) regarding the forthcoming election.

The spectre of Council Amalgamations was in the wind and at the meeting we were informed by Bill Baxter with great emphasis that the National Party would not tolerate Council Amalgamations in any shape or form whatsoever. Within 2 years Council Amalgamations were rammed through parliament with the National Party’s blessing. At a subsequent meeting of the local branch of the Nashos when it was put to Bill Baxter regarding the obvious about-face, flip, sell-out, he refuted (lied) that he had ever given the aforesaid commitment. The meeting degenerated into a farce with Bill being ushered out the back door and many members including yours truly resigning their membership in disgust!

Political parties and political baggage

I came to realise over the ensuing years that all of the major political parties carried political baggage similar to that of the National Party. The (once) Liberal Party had morphed into a conservative organisation taking the nashos with them (or Vicky Verca), the Labour Party sold out the workers, both parties adopted neoliberal principles and the Democrats were on a hiding to nothing trying to keep the bastards honest. The neoliberal mantra under the Hawke/Keating Federal Government and the Kennett State Government redefined the political landscape dramatically during this time.

Today the landscape has only changed in the fact that the Demos have gone and have been replaced by the “Greens” who are also neoliberal despite somewhat honourable beginnings. Politically Australia has become a backwater of neoliberalism similar to North America and most of Europe and is suffering under the yoke of American hegemony, Chinese influence, neo-classical economics, overpopulation driven climate change and political indecision on all facets of the home front.

Legislating against spot-fires

Much of what passes for legislation at federal level today is aimed at putting out spot fires or shoring-up community/electoral support for the Turnbull Government. Similar to the State Governments of both Baillieu and Napthine, the Abbott and Turnbull Federal Governments have been do nothing ministries. There has been no significant legislation that these Premiers/Prime Ministers could or can hang their hats on, nothing, nought, zip, zilch!!

They have gone from proposing the ludicrous to the unworkable, shoring-up their support as they go! As spot fires break out around them their time and energy is consumed putting them out. In an effort to achieve this, diversionary tactics or smoke screens are often employed to take the community’s/electorate’s eye off the ball. The classic here was the “Same Sex Marriage” bill which was always going to get up, being taken to a (“referendum”) postal vote. This took some of the heat off the Feds for 6 months wasting time and money. In the meantime, Australia, as a nation, just drifted along with the Yanks pulling us one direction and the Chinese the other.

I read with interest the excepts from Clive Hamilton’s book “Silent Invasion” in Saturday’s Age and am currently reading Robert Macklin’s “Dragon & Kangaroo” and I’m beginning to understand an aspect of Australia’s history they I hadn’t grasped previously. Unfortunately, there is not much to like in what I’ve read so far and combined with our colonial sycophancy and our current obsequiousness to the good old USofA, we are sadly lacking especially when it comes to leadership of the nation.

Electoral Funding and Disclosure Bill 2017

To me the “Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017” is more of the same – putting out a spot fire/diversionary tactic. The bill may be aimed at so-called charities that provide political advocacy while at the same time accommodating such advocacy through the back door, the bill may claim some smaller fry that are, to the government, collateral damage. Instead of addressing political donations head-on, we pathetically tinker around at the edges. As the dust settles the sharks that were dominating the pond are still there while the sardines have been thinned out!

However, I do believe that any bid to curb the right of individuals to collectively provide alms and benevolence or to protest by either the Federal or State Governments to be an infringement of our civil liberties. This where the Australian constitution is an absolute dodo. Similar to the constitution not recognising First Australians, it doesn’t recognise the civil liberties of all Australians. As the constitution continues to fail all Australians and it will increasingly do so in the future, the more ordinary Australians and groups of Ozzies including charities will come under the spotlight. These individuals and groups will then be put under the microscope while those with money, power and political clout will able to evade this bandaid legislation and carry on as if nothing has happened.

Meanwhile the yawning gap between the haves and the have nots widens appreciably. As the middle class become trapped by the zombie neo-classical economics, climate change tightens its noose, environmental degradation continues unabated, resources become depleted, civil unrest mounts as people go hungry, fresh water diminishes and spills over into war and mass migration. This is the leaderless society that is being thrust upon us. Overpopulation is a killer!!

John Bentley

AttachmentSize
Image icon school-of-fish4.jpg64.85 KB
Image icon shark-fin-smiliea.jpg3.01 KB