Australian Politics & Current Affairs
By Nick Kenny
The French call them “raconteurs” – experts in the art of story-telling. Tony Abbott is the best in the business. As he quotes at length from the Gospel according to Johnny, he reads us the most fanciful tale in all the land – the superior economic credentials of the Liberal Party.
Banking on the myth of the Howard-Costello “good times”, Abbott recalls the story like a rabble-rousing false prophet, making most of it up as he goes along. Among thinking Australians, this myth is an ongoing joke.
Let’s take a look at the facts. At the core of his narrative sits “The Great Surplus”. The golden idol of the faithful. The idol that Hockey and Abbott have accused Labor of deserting, ruining, and wasting.
This is an idol that neither men, funnily enough, have the balls to aim for themselves. But moreover, it is a false idol. It distorts everything a good economy should be based upon. This idol suggests that the hard-working folk of Australia are there to serve the federal budget, and not, as logic would have it, the other way around.
Take Howard and Costello, for example. These men spent eleven years selling our public assets for peanuts, chewing away at our public health system like termites, turning our universities into profit factories, taxing the poor, flogging Crown land off to foreign interests, and turning the “home-owning democracy” created by their own hero, Sir Robert Menzies’, into a scrape-and-bow rental epidemic. All this for the sake of a “surplus”. They slaughtered our nation’s well-being on the sacrificial alter of supposed “good fiscal management”. They did what no one in their right mind ever should – rather than use money as a means to another goal, they made it the goal itself.
Let’s consider that on a personal level. That would be like me promising to make you a millionaire. I sell your mobile phone, laptop, and computer. I send your kids to school without breakfast. I cut out soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and toothbrushes from your shopping list – unnecessary waste, really. I then make a business out of your local library, charge you for the privilege of entering it, and charge anyone from other neighbourhoods triple. For good measure, I rob a random homeless bloke, and throw his meagre cash stash into your bank account. I then sell your house and rent it back to you at a ridiculously inflated rate.
You now have no access to the internet, no phone, and no computer. Your kids have malnutrition and poor hygiene. You can’t afford to read or study anything, so you bury your face in a cheap Daily Telegraph instead. Your local homeless bloke is seriously pissed off and likely to rob the next person that walks past. You now own nothing, you are answerable to some landlord, arrogant and high on his own wealth, and if you don’t like it, you’re on the streets next to that same homeless bloke. But don’t worry – you’re a millionaire.
Every three years, you get to tell me how well I’m handling your finances. Knowing most Australians have the memory of a goldfish, I throw a fistful of dollars in your direction, you give me the big thumbs up, and we do it all over again.
The only thing the current Liberal Party has over the ALP is a knack for tall stories. Abbott’s whoppers will come back to haunt him. In twenty, thirty, fifty years time, the smoke and mirrors will have cleared, and the emperor’s clothes will be nowhere in sight. It’s a crying shame that today, only a handful of Australians bother to question the story – the rest just nod and smile, stick their snouts back in a trough full of bullshit where actual food once was, and stuff themselves full.