Today, 5 December, 2016 marks 44 years since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule. In 2016, we saw a mark in our history where so many people are screaming for change. In 2017, It’s time to be like Gough.
A Champion of Change
Former Labor Prime Minister Edward ‘Gough’ Whitlam (11 July 1916 – 21 October 2014) is Australia’s greatest reformist Prime Minister. He led the change in Australia to establish us as a truly progressive society.
Gough Whitlam was a man of the people. He stood for workers, battlers, migrants, everyone. He wanted to shift Australia to a more inclusive and progressive society.
The crux of the what Gough Whitlam did, was to bring more people into this exclusive collective by opening up opportunities, through a hand up, a fair go for all. Gough’s vision was to propel the nation forward, through ensuring that individual Australians could achieve enormous success; even if they were in a previously ‘excluded group’ under the Liberals.
He wanted every single Australian, to be the best that they could be.
Gough Whitlam propelled this country forward, and these changes became the status-quo we all accepted and still do:
It is well known that Gough Whitlam’s legacy is very vast, therefore, I have only chosen a few for example. To read more go to: The Whitlam Government’s achievements
A Nation Under Threat
After the protest in the last week in parliament; a fence around parliament has been proposed. However, perhaps like Trump we need a wall. We need a wall to keep the conservatives, Liberals, libertarians nationalists/Hansonites and right wing policy makers out of our of parliament. It is this group of politicians, who still, 44 years later threaten the legacy of the Gough Whitlam Labor Government.
Every single progressive reform we take for granted in this country, with the exception of Howard’s Gun Reform, was delivered to Australians by Australia’s only Worker’s party – The Australian Labor Party. Imagine what life would be without many of the above reforms. Please think of that before you vote. Vote to protect that. Not to tear it down.
Almost every single one of Gough’s reforms listed above are still under attack by the Liberal/National parties to return Australia to the 1950’s and 60’s. Almost every single one of the reforms listed, have been a focus of funding cuts by the Abbott-Turnbull-(Abbott?) Government, since 2013.
Subsequent reforms from the previous Labor Government are also under constant attack by the Liberals. NDIS, Gonski and the National Broadband Network to name a few.
If the voting record of the cross bench is anything to go by, further watering down or the complete abolishment of some of Labor’s reforms by the Liberal/Nationals will have the full support of Hanson, Xenophon and Hinch.
The most significant recent attack by the Liberal-National-Hanson-Xenophon-Hinch coalition is the blatant attack on the working class with the ABCC – The Australian Building and Construction Commission.
The ABCC is a national threat to all workers. The ABCC is Turnbull using his limited skill in ‘innovation’ to re-brand John Howard’s Work Choices into a four letter acronym.
For voters, this four letter acronym more than likely triggers memories of looking through the round window, rather than the reality of looking through jail bars if you stop work for an injury or death at work.
I think the media must also be still looking through the round window, because they have outright failed in reporting what the adoption of the ABCC will mean for workers, in their day to day working life.
This legislation which passed in the Senate last week, is a national threat to the health and safety of your wife, husband, son, daughter, uncle, aunty, grandmother, grandfather, cousins and your friends. No one is left unscathed when touched by the ABCC bill. No one.
A society is no longer a fair society when workers do not have the right of protection for their labour and the right of protection for their own lives.
I Refuse to Believe It
In 2017, it’s time for everyone to be like Gough and demand more. It’s time to demand progress.
They say a week is a long time in politics, however, it appears that 20 years since Howard is like a century and 44 years since Gough is like an eternity.
Regardless of the hype about the ‘rise of the alt-right and conservatism’ I refuse to believe that the majority of voters Australia wide have true conservative ideals, where they want to see deep cuts to services and welfare which will further punish those already living in poverty.
As a people, we don’t gloat about how we should increase poverty and homelessness. We don’t have a laugh about how many more elderly pensioners we can push into not affording heating or in my case in QLD air conditioning.
We are a country full of decent and compassionate human beings and we fight against these things. Yet in a sad, twisted way, we, as a nation, also vote for these things. Why?
It only makes the fight harder when voters vote on a single issue, or out of apathy or boredom or are reeled in by populist politicians – and it certainly makes life harder for those most affected.
I refuse to believe that the majority of voters in Australia are committed to Nationalism and the divisive views espoused by Hanson, Christensen and Bernardi.
I refuse to believe that regardless of what agenda the media pushes for their advertising revenue; that the top priority issue for voters is not ‘what the definition of an Aboriginal is’ or ‘how much further into poverty can we push those on unemployment and pensions’.
I believe that voters are looking for some deep emotion to hang on to. They want political speak abolished, they want straight talking politicians and they want some guts and grit in their politics.
Oh Yeh…I Remember Now
What I do believe is that, just as most voters could not remember what happened in parliament in June, people soon forget the sting and hardship that the Liberal and National Parties Work Choices brought us. I believe this is simply because Labor’s Fair Work Act has redressed the unfairness of Howard’s attack on the worker.
I also believe that because Labor successfully blocked so many of Abbott’s harmful budget measures during the period of the last election, people have not felt the true wrath of what conservatism really means in a post John Howard, Abbott-Turnbull era.
I also believe that a lot of people remember Pauline Hanson for her outspoken manner, but forget the upset, harm and division she caused at dinner tables, at backyard parties and even at the corner store counter back in the 1990’s; simply because they were not a target of her overtly and very loudly spoken racist views.
I believe they forget that John Howard, a Prime Minister many still hold in high esteem on the conservative right, kicked Hanson out of the Liberal party, because her views were too racist. This is despite the fact that Hanson insists that she is not a racist. I also do not believe a conservative Prime Minister like Howard would not make that call lightly.
I believe it will be when people need to actually choose a side in the ‘attack on minorities’ that they will realise the full extent of upset and hurt that will once again be inflicted on our country. All proudly promoted by breakfast television and every media outlet in the country.
Fairfax Media chief photographer, Andrew Meare’s who took the ‘controversial’ photo of George Christensen this week said, “our role as journalists is not to judge but inform.” It is on that note, that I believe this ‘lost value in the art of journalism’ has also contributed to voters turning to other alternative parties and engaging with populist politicians; regardless how harmful their policies and rhetoric may be to society.
I believe this because regardless of how many changes to Abbott’s policies Labor insisted upon before giving support to them and regardless of the stark contrast between the value systems of both parties; the Media chose to judge and paint them as a duopoly, instead of opposing parties, rather than the media doing their job and informing.
The alt-right, apathy, dissatisfaction with politics and a belief the two major parties are the same, does lie to some extent with the major parties. However, this is also largely contributed to a Media that judges, rather than informs. It’s time the media started to report the facts and return to informing the public and reserve the judgements for their own dinner table.
It’s Time for Unity
The Internet age and the focus of user-pays individualism, the stagnation of progress in jobs and industry post the GFC by the Abbott and Turnbull Governments as well as the double dissolution election which gave us the ugly voice of Nationalism – has divided us.
It’s time to be like Gough. It’s time as a country to stand up for a mate. It’s time as a people we stood with minorities and insist they have a fair go, instead of allowing politicians to make us fearful of them. We are not a fearful people. In tough times, we always show unity and strength.
We can never let any political parties strip us of our values by dividing our communities and turning us against one another. Communities are never strengthened by division.
It’s time to rejoin workers unions, associations, political parties and other groups. It’s time to find like minded people and champion a cause. It’s time to march together in the streets.
It’s time to really feel the energy of your beliefs in solidarity with others, instead of only expressing them behind a keyboard. If you already belong to any of these, 2017 should be your year to ‘bring a friend.’
It only benefits anti-worker parties to have us stand alone and divided.
It’s Time for a True Ideological War
It’s time to bring back grit and guts to politics. It’s time in 2017 for a head to head ideological war between Liberal and Labor. We desperately need this.
To do this, it’s time for the major political parties to re-connect with voters based on their true values.
The Liberal National Coalition should fully champion their Individualism, anti-union, privatisation, small government, pared back public sector, anti-welfare, anti-job creation, free market, user pays values.
The Labor Party should fully champion their pro-worker, pro-union, mixed market, pro-welfare state, pro-job creation, large government, fully supported public sector, collective, democratic socialist values.
People are screaming for change and better choices and 2017 is the year for our Political Leaders to be just like Gough.
It’s time for Shorten and Turnbull to be just like Gough and stir the deepest emotions in every electorate and to stand up and fight – really fight for the future of the people they believe in.