In the land of the so-called ‘fair go’ it comes as no surprise that the words ‘fair’ and ‘fairer’ seemed to be on every left-wing politician’s lips in the lead-up to the recent election although for me, at least, Australia’s greatest source of apparent fairness lies largely in what our wonderful womenfolk do to their hair.
In political terms, however, the words fair and fairer lurk always in the Australian rhetorical undergrowth ready to be used as a political stick to beat anyone perceived as being a degree or two to the right of Karl Marx. Yet the largely unacknowledged truth is that fairness really is a moral rather than merely a political virtue – a word wholly suitable to be used in a biblical parable perhaps.
I preface what I have to say about my adopted country in post-election mode in the foregoing way because I cannot see a suitable hiding place for our present ALP/Green opposition which tried to sell itself recently more or less completely via rhetoric rather than substance. I have to give some talks shortly in Brisbane and cannot easily overstate my admiration for what Queensland achieved in the recent election. One could almost imagine a latter-day John Kennedy firing up Queensland rather than Berlin: ‘Ich bin ein Queenslander’.
When I first came to Australia I spent many happy hours teaching members of local art societies to paint at somewhat remote places such as Yeppoon, Jowalbinna (near Laura), Cooktown and Einasleigh. Wherever I travelled I tried to pick up a local newspaper and remember especially a headline from Cooktown where a local pensioner with his walking stick beat off a crocodile which was attacking his dog. (Yes a proper ‘salty rather than a ‘freshie’). This truly notable event happened on the lawn of the local RSL which adjoins the Endeavour river.
Why is it that so much of what people think and do in Queensland has a sense of reality about it e.g. that jobs are vitally necessary for economic wellbeing as well as personal fulfillment? The contrast with Victoria could hardly be greater where Green ideology depends very heavily indeed on so many utterly unproven ‘facts’. As Declan Mansfield wrote in these pages only a few weeks ago: ‘like all extremists, environmentalists have a veneer of rationalism, which makes them appear sensible, but their core ideas cover for a philosophy similar to a millenarian cult’.
Whatever my opinion of the ambitious and sharp-witted Bill Shorten he was obliged to play doubles with the Greens as a partner to have any real hope of electoral success. The fit, however, was a manufactured and imperfect one and the kind of members of our electorate I respect could see through it probably from day one.
If I were forced to adopt a form of apocalyptic environmentalism – which thankfully I am not – my instincts would incline me to be more fearful of the long-term environmental effects of 5G than so-called global warming. Yes you will shortly be able to unload a full-length film in 4 minutes – so the advertisements say – but why won’t Israel, say, which helped develop 5G have a bar of it? I will not comment on China’s present social ‘point’ system of electronic control but note the dead eyes of the umpteen Chinese holidaymakers I see every week. We need national and global politics which are genuinely for the benefit of all rather than only a tiny minority. What, then, is the position of the ALP as I write? I am probably the last person in Australia they would consult yet I offer them this advice: forget endless factionalism and try to find causes which can genuinely benefit us all. Yes, they exist. I would offer the same advice to Scott Morrison. Anthony Albanese is a thoroughly decent bloke I am told but comes from a background steeped in class warfare. Australia has had an awful recent electoral fright and needs to put class warfare where it belongs back in an antediluvian hole somewhere out in our central deserts.
Mr Albanese’s grasp of the intellectual side of politics is also uneasy: I think here of the mindless rhetorical rant he penned in the pages of the Australian not long before the national vote on gay marriage. Gay marriage is not from a ‘when Harry met Larry’ bible but straight from the standard Marxist/neo-Marxist playbook the aim of which is ultimately to destroy the conventional family which forms the bedrock of Western Christian democracies. Did nobody ever tell you that? For sure nobody will have done so at any level of Australia’s national education system. Clean up education in Australia and we could become an admirable and truly positive nation once more. Sense of community here still lags behind that commonly encountered in Europe by a light year or two. Yes we are isolated but no we have no excuse. Wartime Britain featured a coalition government which put the needs of everyone in the country first not last. I see the antics of some of our inner-city elites here as an equivalent to utter decadence in wartime. Both major political parties here need to start considering the national good rather than solely their own. I began life in war-time Britain and come from a family on my mother’s side which never shirked its national obligations. I have recounted in these pages some of the sorrows of my mother’s early life: two elder brothers and a fiancé killed in the first world war while a third brother lost a lung at Pozieres. That particular uncle Reg and his son Richard emigrated to New Zealand after my maternal grandfather lost control of his timber business.
Both are gone now but Reg, a senior officer in the second world war, volunteered to be on board one of the first landing craft to cross the channel on D-Day.
He hoped to hearten the young troops ‘a bit’ by his calming presence.
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