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Thursday, 17 July 2014

In the Dark Shadow of Conservative Rule - » The Australian Independent Media Network

In the Dark Shadow of Conservative Rule - » The Australian Independent Media Network





In the Dark Shadow of Conservative Rule














ChifleyAs a senior Australian
and one who has witnessed a variety of social reforms over the past 60
years, today I feel profoundly sad. This is the first such occasion
where, instead of being proud that we are a middle world power with the
vision and foresight to lead the world to a better place, I feel a sense
of betrayal that we have, in fact, now gone in the opposite direction.
While I can remember occasions where we have been at the forefront of
innovation and cutting edge technology, I can’t recall a previous time
where we have chosen to go against all the scientific advice and taken
such a backward step as to reverse a progressive climate change policy
using a market based mechanism.



As I reviewed the period that spans my life it became patently
obvious that our progress, economically and environmentally over that
time, has come predominantly from Labor governments. Over that period we
have criss-crossed from conservative government to reformist on seven
occasions. From Ben Chifley’s post war reconstruction of the Australian
economy including our first locally produced car and the beginning of
the politically divisive Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, we
then sat through 23 years of conservative rule where the baby boomer
generation essentially grew up parallel to a trajectory driven by an
influx of European immigrants and the augmentation of manufacturing,
construction and overseas commerce.



WhitlamIn
short, our economy, like most western economies of the time, was on
auto pilot; a development not driven by any major reforms of the Menzies
government, just a natural growth pattern born of a determination to
give baby boomers something better. At the end of the sixties, sick and
tired of a mistake-ridden, boring conservative ruling class, we looked
to Gough Whitlam’s refreshing and progressive approach. It was here we
saw the end of our involvement in the Vietnam War, the end of
conscription and the introduction of social reforms based on compassion
for an underclass and included a world class Medibank/Medicare social
health system. The people, however, thought that the rate of change was
too fast; it frightened them. The previous government had lulled them
into a half sleep.



Hawke keatingThen
after a seven year period of economic turmoil under Malcolm Fraser
where the cash rate peaked at 22% under the management of the then
treasurer, John Howard, we turned once more to Labor for relief and
witnessed the great economic reforms of the Hawke and Keating
governments.



Thirteen years later the conservatives returned and rode fortuitously
on the back of a mining boom they thought would never end. It took a
while to see through them but we finally got sick of the blatant
hypocrisy of a conservative government that said one thing and did
another. Kevin Rudd looked like the light on the hill with his, “great
moral challenge” but it was Julia Gillard’s introduction of a carbon
pricing mechanism, that confirmed Labor as the only party capable of
showing the way forward.



GillardLabor’s
demise in 2013 had nothing to do with the carbon tax or the influx of
asylum seekers; they governed the country well under difficult
circumstances but couldn’t govern themselves. Internal disunity is one
thing Australians will not tolerate; nor should we. But the long
standing tradition of reform begun by Chifley continued under Gillard’s
watch.



Today we live once again under the dark shadow of conservative rule
where the ideology of protecting the strong continues. Any agenda that
smells of social equality is anathema to these proxies for big business
and the free flow of capital and deregulation.



Now, with the carbon tax legislation repealed we are back in that
vacuum of denial driven not by science but a theology so false and so
evil at its source that it contradicts everything that has previously
generated pride in our achievements. In time, the people will once again
tire of seeing their living standards fall; they will be wiser to the
broken promises, the pious rhetoric of dishonest men, the incessant
greed that drives their masters so relentlessly. They will witness the
rest of the world adopting some form of carbon price mechanism and
eventually be forced to play catch-up. Then, they will long for the
great reformers of the past. Frankly, it can’t come soon enough



AbbottTo echo the words of Lenore Taylor of The Guardian: “It is a sad and sorry place for Australia to be after such a long and rugged process.”








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