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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Liberal-Nationals are the Tea Party Down Under

Nothing's more Australian than boiling the billy around the campfire after a hard day's work. A nice cup of tea for the assembled folk. A true Australian Tea Party, which is not far off reality when you look down the track at how things will eventuate after a Liberal-National victory in September. Tony Abbott has been at pains (when he's said anything at all; are you there, Tony?) to stress that his coalition will be pursuing a purely Australian agenda, but to read Paul Kelly's op-ed piece in todays' Australian about George Brandis' plans for the Australian Human Rights Commission you would think that the Minutemen were about to land at Sydney Cove with drums and pipes sounding. In Kelly's article the words "freedom"
and "freedoms" appear 13 times in what is accurately described as a sustained attack on Australian institutions. Brandis shows himself to be a true culture warrior, so what other plans does the L/NP have for Australia's institutions? What about the ABC? Are we going to get commercial advertising on Aunty? What else, George? Where are your policies?

Australians should be worried. The middle class in the US is poorer today than it was 30 years ago. The US has slipped low in quality-of-life rankings, and the number of poor is increasing. At the same time, the plutocracy is doing fine, as wealth moves away from employees into the bank accounts of the richest few. These people manage to pay lower taxes than regular folk, so federal revenues shrink, putting pressure on governments to cut essential services. As this happens there are calls for more privatisation of public services, with the result that more of the money available goes into the pockets of big business. It's a vicious cycle. Do we want to Thatcherise Australia, and go down the path toward an unsustainable future? Do we want to Reaganise Australia and push more and more people into poverty?

It's worthwhile keeping US realities in mind in the run-up to September, because it's pretty clear that the L/NP has aspirations that align it with the Tea Party: the part of the Republican Party that ensured a loss for the GOP last November. Americans are sick of the lies and the bluster. In Australia, we're about to find out what they're talking about.

That article is the possibly the worst thing I have ever had the misfortune of reading. - Richard Clark, Young Liberal and "lover of freedom".

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