I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this new government.
On one hand, there’s the hilarity of Michaelia Cash’s shiny new typo-filled title, ‘Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Woman’, proudly displayed outside her office door, as shared on Twitter by the ALP’s Craig Emerson.
Not only is Prime Minister Abbott one man to rule them all, that ‘all’ is only one of us.
What about the men? Is he not the Prime Minister of men as well?
I’m expecting all those angry blokes who claim that feminazis are suppressing them to be up in arms. Our Prime Minister isn’t there for all of us! He’s just there for women! Or one woman! Or something! Whatever!
For my part, my concern is that the PM is going to make all of us ladies get around in white tennis outfits like his daughters.
Abbott taking a maxi-taxi to his swearing-in also made me laugh. Dude, seriously, you’re not Jed Clampett, you’re the Prime Minister.
Use the Commonwealth car, mate. You’re not going to single-handedly create a budget surplus by whipping out the Cabcharge instead of using a government car.
The only thing that would have made me laugh harder was if he had turned up on his bike.
Then there’s our spectacular kick-off to international relations.
As our esteemed new government ministers stand there straight-faced and tell the rest of the world that we’re being ‘invaded’ by asylum seekers and need a three-star general to protect us from all those scary women and children, they’re simultaneously telling Indonesia we’d like to set up government outposts on their land. Honestly, it needs a laugh track behind it.
Someone needs to get out the sock puppets and explain to the Prime Minister and Scott Morrison that sovereignty is something that all countries have, not just Australia.
It might also be worth reminding them that running around the Asia Pacific region beating their chests and yelling, ‘Australia is the boss of you!’ isn’t likely to be met with dancing in the streets.
Of course, the Government’s approach to boat arrivals doesn’t make me laugh nearly as much as the whacky stuff like living in a police dorm and blaming the people of Indi for the lack of women in the cabinet: those two things really are worthy of an episode of Yes, Prime Minister.
But the current practice of withholding boat arrival numbers thoroughly creeps me out.
The ABC announced the first ‘known’ arrival of a boat since the Liberals took office. Reports and rumours say that at least eight boats filled with god-knows-how-many desperate souls have made it into our waters since the election, but no-one knows where those people are, or even how many of them we’ve taken into custody.
It should worry all of us that our own government is keeping information from us without any justifiable reason. (And they don’t have a justifiable reason – we’re not at war and our borders are not under any sort of security threat.) Governments in free societies don’t suppress information because it suits their political ends.
That is not democracy.
Secreting innocent people away, locking them up in detention centres and rendering them incommunicado isn’t how a just society should behave. I don’t care if Scott Morrison is hiding these people for two days or two weeks – it’s a thoroughly disturbing thing for any government to do, let alone one that claims to be democratic.
More sickening, it was revealed by The Age on the weekend that there is no comprehensive federal report of asylum seeker deaths in custody.
This means it’s impossible to properly ascertain ways to prevent future deaths in these remote facilities. If you want any further proof that successive governments honestly couldn’t give a flying crap about people dying at sea, this is it.
If our ALP and Liberal pollies really did care about people’s lives, they’d not only worry about them dying in international waters, they’d worry about them dying on our soil, under our watch.
And this is the bit that worries me the most: as long as the ALP continues its spineless adherence to these cruel, abusive practices, you won’t be able to rely on them to hold the government to account.
And as long as Murdoch is controlling the vast majority of mainstream news in Australia, very little pressure will be put on the Prime Minister and Morrison to tell us the truth, let alone report any protests the Greens or independents might make.
It’s not really a democracy if all the checks and balances that are supposed to be in place are not exercised.
Nothing screams ‘flat earther’ more than being scared of a word.
We’ve voted in a political party that is so suspicious of facts and figures, it has sacked all the people responsible for them and in those situations where they can’t stop the facts (such as the boats), they’re simply going to suppress the information instead.
I’m laughing. Sort of.
But it’s less of a guffaw and more of a nervous titter.
There will always be environmental activists, independent journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates who will work to get the truth out there, but how effective can they be in the face of so much unchallenged suppression?
It’s not the brave new world of an Abbott Government that’s scaring me, it’s how uncritically we’re accepting it.
MORE ARTICLES BY CORINNE GRANT
*Corinne Grant is a stand-up comedian, MC, presenter, writer and broadcaster and has performed both nationally and internationally. In addition to her years on Rove Live and The Glasshouse, she has appeared on everything from Spicks and Specks to Dancing With The Stars to Good News Week. She has co-hosted successful national radio shows, performed countless solo live shows and appeared everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre. Corinne’s first book, Lessons In Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder (Allen and Unwin) was released in September 2010 and went into reprint just months after its release. You can follow her on Twitter @corinne_grant.