A blog of endless curiosity
The Liberal National Party in this country has gone from being scary to being TERRIFYING POWER HUNGRY CONTROL FREAKS HELL BENT ON GOING BACKWARDS.
It’s not that they’ve yet gone full Tea Party, but that the potential is there for them to do so. So in the name of democracy, which is legitimised by all the little voices out there telling our leaders what we think, let me lay out all of the points about our new government which are scaring the shit out of me. Let me tell you about Queensland’s shiny new Premier, Campbell Newman.
He is a man who has said he will ‘try’ to protect Queensland’s environment (in this case the Great Barrier Reef which UNESCO is warning is under threat) but not at the risk of our coal industries.
“We will protect the environment but we are not going to see the economic future of Queensland shut down,” Mr Newman said. ” … We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that.” (REF)
Wow! Did you know societies without a coal industry don’t have hospitals, schools and policemens? Because coal industries are not around to make a profit, just to fund public services, duh? And why worry about diversifying our economy so we can have a more secure and reliable economic future, when we have COAL?
Newman seems keen on setting Queensland on a race to the bottom in terms of environment, community, health and welfare in pursuit of investors. “What we are saying is that we want Queensland, we want every state to have the right to have more competitive taxes and, particularly, less regulation,” he said (REF). This kind of ideology – the idea that big (often international) businesses and their mobile capital can be attracted only by low taxes, and little to no environmental standards regulations – is an erroneous one, and one which has set the earth on its current trajectory towards a tipping point (more about this on Grist). It’s an idea that has arisen with globalisation, and Colin Hay remarks that it is an assumption that has become normative with repetition, and that:
“Though the liberalisation of the markets [eg. low taxes for big business, less regulation] has certainly increased the speed, severity, and significance of big investors’ reactions to government policy, capital market participants appear far less discriminating or well-informed in their political risk assessment than is conventionally assumed…” and furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, “There is no inverse relationship, as might be expected, between the volume of inward foreign direct investment and levels of corporate taxation, environmental and labour market regulations, generosity of welfare benefits or state expenditure as a share of gross domestic product…” (2)
But while you were looking over there, Newman snuck out the back door to get busy poking holes into same sex reforms like it was Swiss Cheese. First health funding was pulled from ‘Healthy Communities’, a government funded NGO involved in health in gay communities. (REF)
Today there are proposed changes ruling out altruistic surrogacy for same sex couples. Understandably a lot of people are pissed about it. The Greens’ Adam Stone makes a good point:
“This is not a liberal agenda – which would dictate that government should stay out of these private interpersonal arrangements – it is pure conservative moralising that will exacerbate the marginalisation of the gay community without serving the broader public interest one iota. “This is shameful, and well outside Mr Newman’s mandate.” (Ref)
Though same sex couples in Queensland can still have a civil union, they now won’t be allowed a state sanctioned ceremony any more because the Christian right wing didn’t like the way they emulated marriages, and Newman thought that was worth listening to. Seriously.
Gena Corea, the author of a chapter called ‘Junk Liberty’ in the feminist literature I’m reading at the moment points out that “It is a fundamental postulate of international law that human rights must be based on human dignity” (1).
“We don’t just want to register ourselves like we’re a cat or a dog or a car,” …said Brisbane documentary filmmaker Heather Corkhill in an article in The Australian (REF).
I would say that by removing the right to a state sanctioned ceremony, which Anna Bligh managed to get through parliament only months ago, our darling new Premier Campbell Newman is, as well as reinforcing inequality, removing a human dignity. But hey, don’t worry about it because Campbell will fix that big gaping hole with this bandaid “For those who rallied recently and said don’t take away our civil rights, they lose nothing from this change, they lose nothing whatsoever.” (REF) Don’t they? Oh. What a silly waste of time a rally was then.
What is really wrong about these changes is that this isn’t a moral change. A just, moral move would be to foster equality, dignity and legitimacy for what is a large group of the population, and to encourage diversity. No, this is not a moral move. It’s a capitulation to another part of the population, the right wing Christian part, which has come to believe that it is okay for them to have power over which rights and liberties the rest of us get to have. And any relationship in which one person has the power to force action or inaction on another, against their will, to me is immoral. Hands up if you agree and are still with me.
In his short time in office, Newman has also killed off the Premier’s Literary Award in the name of saving (a small amount) of money, pulled funding from a state solar program (REF), tried to inhibit unions making donations to political parties (Labor), told the Education sector they can’t buy new furniture or have plants (WTF?), and cut IT jobs in Education.
Meanwhile, other LNP members do stuff too. Including Michael O’Dwyer, former Liberal National Party State Director who says there aren’t many females in Queensland politics because they’re too busy talking about how people look and their footwear to understand policies (Read the story Here), and that there ain’t many ladies in the LNP because they pick candidates on merit, not gender. I think perhaps the correct reason would be because women don’t feel comfortable working with bigoted sexists like O’Dwyer, no?
And that, my friends is your introduction to the Australian Liberal National Party of yesternow. They’re called the Happy Clappers, people, and they’ll have your rights for breakfast unless you conform, conform, conform. The warning in my story is never to smile at a crocodile, and to always check the tag on your local Liberal to see if they are religious and cold wash only, sexist and tumble dry, and or homophobic and non-dry cleanable.
So that’s what’s been happening in my state, how’s yours going? Do comment.
Consanguineous Offline References
1) Corea, G. 1991. ‘Junk Liberty’.Reconstructing Babylon, Essays on Women and Technology. Ed. Patricia Hynes. Indiana University Press.
2) Hay, C. 2011. ‘Globalisation’s Impact on States’. Global Political Economy. Ed. John Ravenhill. Oxford University Press.