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Meaning of Commonwealth lost on Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne

Date

Charles Waterstreet

Abbott's X-Men: Protecting Australia from the invisible enemy known as Debt aka Deficit.

Abbott's X-Men: Protecting Australia from the invisible enemy known as Debt aka Deficit.

The near-late Gore Vidal described America's political parties in terms of parental roles. The Democratic Party was the mother; nurturing its children, softer, gentler and administering to all family members. The Republicans were the father; administrator of admonishments, stern maker of the hard decisions, the punisher with the feather duster to keep discipline and control.

Australia has turned into one of the world’s most dysfunctional families; soon the Department of Community Services will need to intervene to take the children of the Commonwealth away from the care of the current parents (Abbott government) and place them into the care of a foster family.

Perhaps the New Zealand government, or even Indonesia, might take temporary care and control of our citizens. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Smoking Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne have joined the X-Men franchise to protect the country from unknown invisible enemies only they see, the clandestine marauding monster known as Debt aka Deficit. Abbott has morphed into Wolverine, winking, blinking and smirking as his knuckles part to eject long blades to slash, slash, slash Debt aka Deficit. His closely-shaved muscular legs built for aerodynamic speed on bikes are sprouting thick bushes of wolf hair, and the transition of his eyes to yellow causes him to wink as the Wolverine takes host in his body. The Washington Post describes his transition into “the world’s most unpopular Prime Minster”.

Pyne rises on his near-morphed hind legs, eyes flaring like nostrils, his head appearing able to spin 360 degrees at will to death-stare enemy journalists. Smoking Joe Hockey has grown uncomfortable in his own considerable skin as it transforms into Freddie from Nightmare on Elm Street, part alligator, part litigator, ready to eat everyone in his way and sue anyone too big to be eaten.

If al-Jazeera describes Abbott as Australia’s George Bush, then citizens beware. The beneficiaries of free university education, initiated by that most feared predator dinosaur Gough Whitlam – which included Abbot, Hockey and Pyne in the largesse of a unified public education, for free, as a birth right – have now turned their claws and long nails on the very institutions that made them. These X-Men have stripped the heart out of the health system and placed the patients in leg irons. Pyne has risen high on his stiletto heels to gut Gonski and turn the school system into money-making institutions instead of a cradle out of which civilisation is created, educated and sent out into the world armed with student debts and as little education as the strip-down staff can stuff into their store-purchased educations. 

People don't go to the doctor because they cop a co-payment, especially the sick, who are deterred from seeking medical assistance. At the same time, these untreated walking wounded are expected to work longer, until they are 70, if they live that long without medical assistance.

On the other hand, our young people are denied unemployment benefits for at least six months after leaving the education system, presumably in order to teach them tough love. It's something that has worked so effectively in the Abbott family with scholarships and grants withheld until the girls were in their mid or late twenties.

Young school and university leavers are to get no unemployment benefits while at their most vulnerable. They could turn to crime, or worse, stay at home and become eternally infantilised.

Hospitals will have to use double beds for the sick, like Abbott and the boys did to earn their Duke of Edinburgh awards and Rhodes scholarships.

On the other hand, the rich will have to forgo paying wealth tax, mining tax and pay less tax as corporations, but slightly more as individuals. I think it's been a long time since the bovine rich have paid a fair share of individual tax, as the tax structures of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Cook Islands and Hong Kong are low taxing for individuals, and corporations are listed as mailboxes.

Under Abbott, the rich and poor will be eligible to juggle their income and capital to attract the least amount of tax. The middle and lower classes still think Cayman Islands was the setting of Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The government’s austerity program is not a rerun of Robert Menzies’ infamous "Credit Squeeze" because the Reserve Bank has kept interest rates low, but the intended beneficiaries cannot borrow because they don’t have the credit, or credit history or assets, to borrow. The rich have boundless assets to take wads of low-interest rate money and bid millions for houses in competition with the Chinese, who are buying the country, lot by lot, tanker by tanker, shipping it back to China, leaving Australia with big holes in the landscape and empty pockets.

The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, paying for their sickness and expected to linger on working until 70. All are expected to pay for any education they want to pursue, and if HECS debtors die on the job, their estates will have to dig up their bodies and sell their organs. The merchant bankers never had it better. The rich corporations are growing exponentially while taxi drivers are working 24/7 to pay the piper. 

Australia is no longer a Commonwealth, where the wealth is shared between the common people. The colosseums are full to bursting with Origin games, state on state, mate on mate, while the business of asset stripping continues unabated. We have privatised our prisons and detention centres went offshore to Manus Island. We have even privatised the remaining search for the missing Malaysian plane MH370.

In a bold move, the government is selling the Australian Mint, no not the after-dinner one, but the currency creator, as they couldn’t be trusted with plastic money. In tribute to our fighting forces, the government is selling off Defence Housing Australia. 

The families of Australia’s fighting forces must be housed for profit not as namby pambies, singled out just because they gave their lives and sweat in foreign service mismanaged by this very same government. 

The living must be punished for living longer, if they make it to 70. Education is not a birthright but a commodity to be purchased like housing. All this austerity and pain is in the name of debt repayments and building those false constructions of infrastructure. Infrastructure is a concept as vague as the new-start corporations who are going to build it out of thin air and our money. The airport rail system, the asphalt ribbons of pay-roads through the eastern and western suburbs all went broke and were glowingly described as infrastructure. Our airports were sold off to investors, who were very keen that Australia’s gateways were money makers, not the open arms of greeters welcoming visitors that might pay this “gigantic debt burden”, as big as the Ritz, that would sink Australia like the iceberg did the Titanic. Never mind, Clive Palmer is building a new Titanic.

If only this government treated the environment as carefully as it does the so-called economy. It is far-sighted on the balancing of the books as to what is owed to international banks, but blind when looking forward to balancing the climate change that will make everyone suffer, rich or poor, sick or healthy. Thank god the government is saving all our monies for a rainy day, which they deny will ever come.

A Commonwealth means exactly what it says, the wealth is common. Ask any taxi driver at the coalface of the emerging economy, where cost-cutting and shrinking economies are first felt. In this cash-and-carry economy, where corporate cab charges were usually as free as autumn leaves, drivers report that money does not grow on trees anymore.

The free enterprise economy is working for the UnCommonwealth; the already rich, the top 1 per cent – but the real Commonwealth is held in the few chubby hands of mining and media barons and baronesses. People are no longer sharing in the Commonwealth, which is owned by smaller and smaller numbers. We should just sell Australia to China, cash in our chips and go live elsewhere.

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