What are Australian values? This is one of those tedious questions which governments do their best to get us to answer.
You'd like to think our responses are being canvassed in order to develop a national conversation which allows multiple viewpoints. Yeah nah.
Usually it's about trying to frame the answer so we the people learn there is only one right set of answers.
And so it is with Australian Values, a website operated by the Department of Home Affairs, now with its own social media sites to spread Australian Values everywhere.
I totally thought @aus_values was a parody account until I spoke to a nice young man at the Department of Home Affairs who assured me that no, Australian Values was a thing. A real thing.
So, looking around today at what Australian Values (as opposed to what the government claims are our values) are, I decided to conduct a quick field analysis and bring you three core values: Big swinging dicks, Black lives don't matter and Burn baby burn.
It is not what we speak, much as the government would like us to believe that. Not sure anyone genuinely believes we commemorate Anzac Day just because we landed at Gallipoli, as the Department of Home Affairs practice citizenship test claims.
We commemorate Anzac Day because of countless lives lost at the hands of incompetent British generals but we now include all the fallen of all the wars.
Anyhow, please let me know what I've left out. I've asked three top Australians to give me their considered views.
Big swinging dicks
I asked Marie Coleman, renowned relentless feminist and policy expert, what she thought the government's values on women were. "Do we go by what they say or what they do? It is my question always and I am prepared to be tiresomely frank.
"I am perturbed by the whole mess around violence. The legal system is already stacked against women and now even further since the abolition of a separate family court, the change in funding to refuges and to 1800 RESPECT."
When it comes to the Prime Minister, she says he does not believe women.
"The ordinary woman in the street can only draw from policy decisions made by the government that they are not valued. These decisions make it crystal clear there is not one whiff of gender analysis as to where stimulus payments might go. The tourism boost might fund extra waitresses but not much else," she says.
Now 88, Coleman says she has never - ever - seen Australian women so angry. The contrast in the treatment of sexual assault survivor, young Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and of alleged rapist attorney-general Christian Porter has enraged women, motivated them to demonstrate.
"There are a number of people to whom something has happened personally and now people are being brave enough to disclose. Women are really angry because there is no recourse in the law. This is a very serious time.
"There is a wide range of women who are seriously pissed off and so many women have stories."
No wonder so many women are ready to march for justice this coming Monday, she says.
Totally. As Julie Bishop revealed last week, a bunch of blokes in parliament block the progress of women. Let me tell you right here and now that it is not just in parliament. Men band together to keep patriarchy safe. Yeah yeah, not all men.
But enough to make these actions consequential. A few years back, I once told a manager of mine that a bloke he'd appointed had a reputation for sexual harassment and I was concerned.
His response? What proof have you got? This is how men keep each other in business. The BSDs, they all swing together. This has repercussions on every single facet of our lives.
Black lives don't matter
I asked Australia's leading scholar on race RMIT distinguished professor Aileen Moreton Robinson what she thought of the Government's values with respect to Black lives.
"It doesn't value Indigenous people. While they posture to Close the Gap, politicians don't fundamentally address the core issue of what is going on. Given the amount of money being spent, why are things not improving?"
Moreton-Robinson reminds me of the comments the prime minister made about women: we want women to rise but not at the expense of men.
She says the same could be said of his approach to race. She says race and gender are the two variables the prime minister wants to make invisible.
"He has to assume the pretence of being race-blind and gender blind to create the false sense of neutrality. He creates the fiction of a level playing field".
Race and gender are the two variables the prime minister wants to make invisible.
That, she says, is racism. Indigenous people are never accorded the same social value and priority as white middle class men. They are the top of the hierarchy.
There is a clear indicator of the disjuncture between the value of human life and the hierarchy. Scott Morrison is now following John Howard's logic, perpetuating a myth of a race-blind and gender-blind Australian values.
Burn baby, burn
Tim Flannery, 2007 Australian of the Year, scientist and conservationist, says our core value should be to honour Australian biodiversity and to respect the extraordinary Australian environment.
"To me the environment is the fundamental underpinning of what it means to be Australian and it demands a level of care," he says.
And is that what the government is doing?
"This government has an extractive mindset, it has the old mindset of people who came from somewhere else and are solely using an economic lens. We see that with water, we see it with fossil fuels. This is not how we make a sustainable life," says Flannery.
He says the government seems to be more concerned about whether Australians eat meat pies or bureks.
"I don't care what people eat so long as the meat is produced sustainably in the land. The rest of the discussion is just froth on the cappuccino. Does the government have any sense of what Australia is? Does it know how old is the biodiversity system which feeds us and waters us? Does the government know how it actually works? Anyone who seeks to represent Australia should know the answer and not trouble themselves with what language we speak or Don Bradman's cricket average", says Flannery.
"What the government needs to do is to engage in a very deep sense of introspection and ask itself what Australia is really about. What is essential about Australia?"
And those are questions we should ask about the nation we live in, across race, class, gender, the land we live on.
And note that if we read the Australian Values Statement as promoted on the Home Affairs website, there is barely a statement on which the government acts. There is only a fair go for some.
- Jenna Price is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular Canberra Times columnist