Some of my more recent writing and art installations have taken a very negative view of Australia. A place in my personal opinion that I love perhaps too much. A nation of striking contrasts from lush productive land one minute to dry and dusty wastelands the next. It is a shame that its benefits tend to produce a population not willing to think big on important issues.
That isn’t to say that Australia doesn’t have a vibrant intellectual, spiritual and cultural heart (it does!) it’s that that heart is ignored for the value that can be extracted from this mysterious ancient island continent.
I believe I am a part of that modern culture as an artist and a writer, but also outside of it mostly due to my bipolar. That’s not to place the blame on anyone else (as some of my writing does, because hey, that’s how bipolar can make you feel) but to say that I too have a legitimate voice on how Australia could be. Especially having experienced some of its most negative aspects.
The collapse of trust in government and the justice system
I have more than a passing interest in Australian politics and can put that down to my Dad always watching political programs on the ABC. With that in mind, those familiar with some of my other writing and art know that I sometimes touch on the prophetic, the art of divining the future I guess.
I created this art series in June 2020 – a long time before any news of Australia’s attorney general Christian Porter being accused of any rape – let alone that additional nasty detail. I don’t need to write it here, but I embedded it in that art series (not so subtly) so that I could, I guess, prove some of my own gifts I guess.
That, of course, refers to the type of brutal, sadistic rape that was alleged to occur. Despite that, the Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) sees no problems with Australia’s highest law officer continuing in his role while accused of such heinous crimes. He also sees no need for any independent inquiry whatsoever. He expects the family and friends of the deceased to just move on. He expects Australians to just move on.
So what does this do to people’s already low trust in politicians and politics in general in Australia? It puts it on a roller coaster ride towards Trump’s America, where everything is questioned. Politics would no longer enjoy much in the way of bipartisanship and Australians would continue to disengage with politics permanently except for the most devout adherents of the parties. This in turn means politicians can get away with worse and worse behaviour, especially if there is no federal corruption oversight in place (which there is not).
That’s bloody negative, what’s the upside?
The big upside is that Australia is not the Australia it was. Demographics are changing and despite an ageing population we enjoy a vibrant mix of cultures with relatively high education. What is really missing in Australia is living up to our own idea of being a place where everyone get’s a “fair go”.
With the divide between rich and poor increasing at a rapid rate in Australia and a national obsession with housing making living unaffordable to many and home ownership completely out of the question, Australia needs to embrace bold actions. The reality is Australia doesn’t want to take any action, as the recent paltry increase in welfare payments by $25 a week shows. This does not bring people out of poverty and it most certainly does not help the economy.
Instead, Australia could be looking at bold policies of providing a ‘living wage’ which would not only drag people out of poverty, it would also supercharge the domestic economy. Instead, Australians get what they vote for – safe policies that upset nobody and fix nothing.
A Christian Prime Minister with no moral compass
The two separate rape accusations that have removed what was left of a ‘stable’ government will at least be the end of the media-friendly image the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, likes to portray. Now we see an outwardly Christian man living in a most unchristian way.
This was always the case with his role in offshore detention of asylum seekers, to attacks on Australia’s poorest and most vulnerable, to now siding with an alleged rapist while discounting a woman’s testimony. So while Scott Morrison has tried his best to remove himself from any form of responsibility (as he did in the 2019-20 bushfire season “I don’t hold a hose” comments) he cannot deny that he is the Prime Minister, yet it really seems like nobody is in charge of this country anymore – unless you count and gas and mining companies. They seem firmly in charge of Scott Morrison.
So please Australia, be yourself, but be your best self. You could have a much brighter future if you took bold action on poverty as well as climate change. You’re no longer a world-leading nation, you’re just another place to purchase investment properties and to dig up for minerals. Is that really anything special? Just remember where you are standing (and on whose land).
If I didn’t love Australia, I never would have warned you about covid-19 before it happened…