On Saturday, September 7th, 2013, Australia voted to be governed by the Liberal Party, with Tony Abbott at the helm as our nation’s Prime Minister.
I didn’t expect much from a conservative government. At all. What has occurred in the weeks since the new government was sworn in, however, exceeded anything I could have imagined.
In no particular order, here’s some of the disgraceful acts of our current “leaders”:
- One of the first acts of our new government was to scrap the following ministries: Ministry for Science, Ministry for Climate Change, Ministry for Disabilities, Ministry for Aged Care, Ministry for Higher Education, Ministry for Youth, Ministry for Early Childhood, Ministry for Workplace Relations, Ministry for Mental Health, and the Ministry for Water.
- The new government’s cabinet has just one woman on the frontbench, down from six under the previous government.
- On the day following his cabinet announcement, Prime Minister Abbott announced that he would be the “Minister for Women” (because we all need a man to look after those policies and programs that affect us, amirite ladies?).
- On Friday, September 27th, a boat holding up to 90 asylum seekers sunk between Indonesia and Australia with all on board believed to have drowned. When questioned about the tragic incident the following day, Prime Minister Abbott is alleged to have run away from the media.
- Cutting funding to the key body that works to minimise the harm caused by drugs and alcohol, forcing it into administration and destroying the progress of decades of research in the area.
- Slashing 14,000 public sector jobs, including snatching away graduate jobs from those who had already been accepted into programs.
- Performing a series of backflips on school funding and the Gonski reforms, that seems to have left everyone completely confused about the entire situation.
- The removal of a large chunk of some of Tony Abbott’s most controversial speeches from his website, including one’s where he denies the man-made impacts on climate change, one where he promised to increase Australia’s foreign aid budget, and one in which he described abortion as “a question of the mother’s convenience”.
- The entire clusterfuck that has resulted from the silence, inhumane treatment, and sheer mean-spirited treatment of asylum seekers.
- Prime Minister Abbott’s words of support for Indonesian President Yudhoyono, a man who stands accused of war crimes in West Papua, and supporting crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste.
- Slashed funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis to just $200 million over three years – well short of the $300 million promised by the previous government.
- Gifting military hardware to the government of Sri Lanka, despite it being accused of war crimes and of continuing human rights abuses including torture and forced disappearances. When questioned about accusations of torture being levelled at the Sri Lankan government, Prime Minister Abbott said: “we accept that in difficult circumstances difficult things happen”. Because what’s a little torture between friendly nations, right?
- And, of course, there’s the Timor-Leste spying scandal. You know, that incident where Timor has accused Australia of spying on it during negotiations on the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMAT) treaty and has taken Australia to the Hague for arbitration? And then Australia raided the offices of Timor’s lawyer and cancelled the passport of Timor’s key witness, who just happens to be a former senior Australian Security Intelligence Service who was allegedly involved in the bugging of the Timor cabinet room, a few days before arbitration is due to kick off? Yeah, that one.
They say that you get the government we deserve, but we don’t deserve this. The rest of the world doesn’t deserve this.
This a government that doesn’t care about women, asylum seekers, victims of torture, the sick, the dying, the young, the elderly, the disabled, workers, those with mental health, the environment, international laws, or human rights.
A government is supposed to be representative of the people. Members of Parliament and the Senate are meant to speak for the people. I don’t think they speak for most fair-minded Australians.
They certainly don’t speak for me.