Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Flood #Levy and Passing the National Hat : #OneNation influence : #Coal seam #gas #fracking


As 2010 drew to a close, I found myself mentally exhausted. So many battles. The irrigators taking over the Murray Darling Basin debate as if no other Australians mattered. A change of government in Victoria leading to feelings of where-to-from-here; Victorian water policy being handed over to the National Party as their fiefdom and giving them first dibs on revenge and pay-back.

Then along came real life, changed circumstances, and a change of habitat...all involving real time.

How then to find my way back to the blog?  So much has happened: floods, cyclones, more floods, bushfires, Arab revolts.  Life seems to go on like one long soap...nothing to get into a lather over.  My blog has to come out of a certain passion.  There has to be something to ignite the flame.  I have been watching and waiting. I have been in a receptive state awaiting the spark of ignition and recognition...

and to-day Ross Gittins has done it. 

Part 1 - The Levy

If you go here you will find a brief video comment from Ross on the furore over the flood levy.  The response to this passing around of the national hat stuns me.  Where do Australians think they are? Who do they think they are? Fortunately, there appears to be a small majority of us supporting the levy

John Howard, when Prime Minister, wanted people to know about Don Bradman's batting average as a key to citizenship.  I'd suggest a crash course in the nationalist period of literature and art for native-born and immigrants as well..  

In the first and current instance, could Abbott, One Nation, Barnaby Joyce et al please sit in a corner with their dunces' hats on to learn from and reflect upon Henry Lawson's poem, Send Round the Hat.

Now this is the creed from the Book of the Bush –
Should be simple and plain to a dunce:
"If a man’s in a hole you must pass round the hat –
Were he jail-bird or gentleman once." 

Now we can volunteer with spades and shovels. We can give to flood appeals of which there is no shortage.  This is great for personal need - up to a point.  

We rely on infrastructure. We rely on The Commons - of roads, bridges, railway lines, runways, water, public buildings. We rely on special provisions from government for financial assistance at the personal, business, and agricultural level.  These are the big ticket items. The money for this cannot come from the Red Cross or any sort of relief agency.  These can only be funded by government.  The work to be done covers a fair slice of eastern Australia and it has to be up and running as soon as possible give or take the odd bureaucratic hiccup.

Why not a levy?  Why not send the hat around? Why not organise the passing of the national hat at a national government level?

Part 2 - Nutter Nation

If there is one thing that scares the Liberal and National Parties - more the Nats than the Libs - it is the thought of a resurgent One Nation.  During the Howard years the terror showed plainly. The Liberal Party had already undergone a massive swing to the right circa 1992.  The National Party, the rural rump of Federal politics but with great strength in Queensland (the birthplace of One Nation), has always been highly conservative but still lost greatly to One Nation in terms of seats and votes.  The Nats had to work very hard to push One Nation back and regain large slices of its traditional constituency.

There is a lot going on in the bush.  Fracking great Australian foodbowls for coal seam gas has seen the bush in Queensland and New South Wales get itself organised under the Lock the Gate Alliance. This is interesting because, in attempting to fight off the rural rump image and make itself sustainable into the future, the legendary leader of the National Party, Jack McEwen transformed the National Party into a stronghold of support for the mining and resources industries.  In short, a lot of the traditional National Party constituency is quite disgruntled.   

There is a lot for the National Party to be concerned about - and it is not only One Nation.  Former front man for The Greens in Queensland, Drew Hutton, has been busy organising on the CSG issue out around his home territory of Chinchilla on the great food bowl of the Darling Downs. I have written about this on a previous post raising the question of possible vote transferrence.

Please join in the Passing of the Hat.
Don't let it or the spirit it represents
pass you by.

Further reading and viewing:

From volatile vote to transition vote to transition party and then......?

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