Particularly after we have lived through the dishonesty and Orwellian double-speak of the Abbott-Turnbull governments, it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming all politicians lie and being largely unaffected by demonstrated examples of this. But that is a mistake. We should expect them to be held to account or we should vote them out at the next election.
“Did you hear about the terrorist who drove a vehicle into a crowd of people?”
“The one in Barcelona? Yeah it was all over the news all weekend. Couldn’t miss it.”
“No, the one in Charlottesville.”
“Oh I heard something about that, but was that terrorism?”
“Let’s see. A guy used lethal violence against civilians he perceived as political enemies. That fits most definitions of terrorism.”
“Why isn’t it being talked about the same way as London or Barcelona?”
“Do I even need to answer that?”
“Sadly, you don’t.”
From this side of the Pacific, Trump’s inadequacy seems incredibly self-evident and when they are not worrying about the spectre of nuclear war, many Australians laugh condescendingly about how any Americans could still vote for Trump. It is hard to overstate the role of Fox News and its even more malignant cousin, Breitbart, in explaining this phenomenon. They push a narrative so far from reality you can scarcely understand how people believe them. But obviously they do.
But before we congratulate ourselves for not making the same mistakes, let’s make sure such praise is deserved.
I’ve voted in more elections that I can remember, but even so, today I took a few minutes to ensure my electoral details were correct. If Brexit taught us anything, it’s that when you don’t take part in voluntary voting processes you leave yourself open to awful results.
So my message to anyone reading this is please do the same and check your enrolment at www.aec.gov.au. Actually it is more than this. Make sure you are enrolled to take part in the plebiscite AND make sure you vote YES!
I don’t think there is anything new to write criticising Trump (at least until his next set of tweets). That is all being covered pretty well from many angles, so I‘ll just make a couple of comments here about what might happen in the future.
While I always leave open the possibility for him to surprise me- rarely a week goes by that he doesn’t surprise me to some extent- I believe there is a very real likelihood that Donald Trump will not see out the full term of his presidency.
Whether he is impeached for his connections to Russia or resigns amidst staggering public disapproval, increasing bipartisan hostility from Congress and an inability to enact legislation, the likelihood of a Pence administration taking over before the next election seems to strengthen with each passing week- especially ones where Trump refuses to condemn Neo-Nazis.
The federal Liberal Party is truly pathetic, but never let it be said they won't explore all options to avoid doing the right thing.
So now we are spending 120 million on a national opinion poll (calling it a plebiscite is a little generous). I’m not going into the idiocy of such economic vandalism, as that is pretty self-explanatory.
I wrote last week that the Coalition's marriage equality circus could somehow be the end of Turnbull as our Prime Minister. The released transcript of his conversation with Donald Trump shows it will not be a sad day when he does go (although none of his likely replacements are any reason to cheer).
If you haven't read the appalling transcripts, published by The Washington Post, here is a link.
It is hard to fully comprehend this lack of humanity towards vulnerable people. Turnbull's words make crystal clear the fact that the victims of our illegal offshore detention facilities have been thoroughly checked and are no threat to the country. The only reason they continue to be held in cruel and unsafe offshore detention is for appearances.
The contrast couldn’t be more obvious. Two politicians discover they have dual citizenship and resign apologetically. Two more discover the same thing, but take no responsibility and employ any means of desperate sophistry they can come up with to cling to their jobs.
It is often commented that you never really know what politicians stand for because you can’t trust their word anyway. Certainly the Abbott and Turnbull governments have sunk to a new low in this regard and I appreciate why people find it difficult to judge politicians on their policy promises these days.
But you can also judge people and the parties they represent on their character. And in this regard you couldn’t find a more stark difference than over the recent dual-citizenship debacles.
Two years ago one of my first articles on this site considered the arguments for and against marriage equality. Since then, nothing has happened to change the fact that there is no reasonable argument for denying same sex individuals the right to marriage equality.
In that time a large number of countries around the world have actually realised this and changed their laws accordingly- with little reported consequences other than a number of people were happier. Who would have thought?
And yet it is being reported this week that this could be the issue that finally detonates the Turnbull government.