Wake Me Up in 2016 – Why Bother Analysing the Federal Government?

Of course the Federal Government are becoming self parodies. Of course they are now sounding like Mad As Hell characters.

Of course Abbott will make stupid macho comments about things, like “I’m gunna shirtfront him” – it makes him popular with macho blokes.  “He tells it like he sees it”, they will say.

They don’t care what Twitterers say about it.

Of course the Federal Government’s absurd, pointless Australian Curriculum review employed Barry Spurr as a bloke to help “review” the English part of the curriculum.  Spurr is well known as being a long time critic of anything remotely accessible and relevant to the world of contemporary students in high school English.  Hence his attack on the “desire for novelty and gimmicky new technology” in the NSW HSC syllabus back in 2003.  His view of English is that it needs to be about “very good traditional texts” – which is a well known code for English teachers in NSW – novels, poetry and plays by dead white people are pretty much the only good things to study. (That didn’t stop Professor Spurr from writing 50 HSC study guide titles for Pascal Press, however).  That’s why it came as no surprise that the Government would be asking for his input into its bashing of the National Curriculum.  As we know from this week’s New Matilda articles both here and here, he would have relished the chance to bash (in a coded way, of course) the inclusion of Indigenous texts and texts from Asia.  It was an act as unsurprising as the appointment of Kevin Donnelly, also a long term critic of anything that could be considered relevant, successful and student centred in education.

Of course I woke up to watch Insiders to see Tony Abbott responding to the Spurr story by saying that “he hadn’t read” about it.  That’s the way he attempts to avoid having to comment on issues where one of his Government’s “people” might get damaged. We will see Abbott do the same thing for the next two years. He will “not read” a lot of things.

Of course Sharri Markson will lead a story about this issue with a misleading red herring – the old “I was hacked” excuse when it was clear that the emails were public property.  The whole article is a structured in the same way as any attempt to infer that the information was illegally obtained – that is, start with comments quoted from the “wronged party” then make general comments about the source of the emails.

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Of course the more experienced claque of Oz twitterers like Chris Kenny remained quiet about such a story – we know when a story is toxic for their Government when they stay silent about it.  Maybe Sharri Markson will learn from that approach, because going on the offensive on behalf of the Government against new media like the Guardian and New Matilda won’t get her very far, especially on social media. But really, she needn’t have bothered doing the defending. The main purpose of Donnelly using Spurr – to justify the winding back of the teaching of English to the “dead white people” model of the 1950s – has already been achieved in the curriculum review. Spurr’s fate will be immaterial to that goal.

Of course Joe Hockey will answer any who poses him a difficult question “I don’t accept the basis of your question”.  And of course most people asking the question, especially in Australia, will usually back off and get onto the next question.  It’s the way this Government’s people have worked out how to dodge questions and they will continue to do it for the next two years.

Of course this Government will confuse burqas for niqabs and will continue to play the racist card in “stopping the boats” from these “threats” to our national character or whatever waffle they will come out with.  There’s not all much of a step between Operations Sovereign Borders and stopping our students from reading things written by “Mussies”.

Of course Bill Shorten will attempt to be a small target and decide to oppose only some stuff, maybe, perhaps.  It’s been laughable to see the Government and their cheerleaders talk about Shorten being “too negative”.  It’s as if everyone’s goldfish.  The Federal Opposition, I mean Government, is STILL running on negativity, even after a year of “Government”.

Of course the old left wing barnacles clinging onto the Good Ship Labor cheer on Anthony Albanese for objecting to the change of anti-terror laws AFTER he and his party voted for their adoption.

Same old politics, same old act of faux concern.

Of course the Government talk about Coal as if it’s the Saviour of All Humanity – it’s one of the things powering the Liberal Nationals and the business that are Their People.  And they will continue to talk about it in the same way, even as China slows its orders, the rest of the world sees the long term economic benefits and money saving possibilities of renewables and eventually leaves our small coal centred economy withering and dying.   When even right wing governments like that of India see the benefits of solar, then we really are shown to have a government that is out of step with world trends and shifts. We see a government that has only two goals in terms of energy – to continue our reliance on coal and to expand CSG mining. In the latter, we will continue to have people from various backgrounds to spruik for it, no matter what their actual knowledge base is on the issue.  Of course we can expect more of the same.

So, over the next two years, of course we can expect more of the same, more daily shocks on Twitter, more petty arguments, more trivial nonsense. There will be many worthy, thought provoking pieces written about this ridiculous, incompetent Government and its inept opposition.

The question we need to ask though is, why bother?

Yes, it’s worthwhile opposing the actions of this Government. Yes, the fight needs to be fought on so many fronts because so many of the traditions that have made our society are getting dismantled and attacked by reactionary forces on a level that is unprecedented – even the Howard years were not as driven by an energy of old hatreds and modern ineptitude.  Not even Howard went after the ABC with the force and vigour as this Government has shown.

Yes, it’s worthwhile fighting for a future that is free of the barriers that are being built by this Government. It’s worth it for people to fight the attempt by the government to make it impossible for the working and lower middle class to attend university; it’s worth it for people to fight for renewable energy and the long term economic and environmental benefits it provides; it’s worth it to help those who want to make our nation better an opportunity to do so; it’s worthwhile fighting for industries that will operate in the future.

But is it worth it to write and read complex articles about the day to day and week to week issues that occupy both the old and new media?  The stuff that Twitter generates and spins into daily twitnados?

I don’t think it is anymore. The Government will continue as it has, and will appoint whoever to whatever it likes.  Meanwhile, people in civic society outside the news spin cycle will hopefully fight against the reactionaries and fight for the future wellbeing of society.  Maybe they will realise that it’s better to do the small things that makes lives better in that world than it is to read and / or write yet another analysis of Federal Politics.

That’s why I say, in terms of the day to day in Federal Politics – Wake Me Up in 2016 because right now, it’s all just repetitive froth and bubble. I’ll be out there, doing my bit, piece of piece, to help fix the damage that will be caused.




One thought on “Wake Me Up in 2016 – Why Bother Analysing the Federal Government?

  1. Julian Zytnik says:

    Hey Mr Towers, nice piece. Totally agree there is a tedious predictability in the way politics is covered in the media. Narrowcasting doesn’t help either – the way many journalists have given up being objective and are just pandering to a niche audience, or trying to suck you in with click-bait. I don’t necessarily agree that the answer is to tune out though. There is some good writing out there, and I’m not sure the ‘lived experience’ is enough for people to grasp what is going on in politics.

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