Saturday, June 4, 2011

An open letter to Bob Brown

G'day Bob,
I decided it was time to write to you, because the country is pretty fucked and we need you to act.
At the last election an interesting thing happened. The collective mind of Australia created a hung parliament. We also gave the Greens a bigger vote than we ever have before. In my electorate we elected the first lower house Green in Federal Parliament.
We did all that for a reason. It wasn't a mistake, it wasn't chance: it was Australia's collective consciousness saying we trusted neither Abbott nor Gillard with the reins of the place.
Well we've been proved right. The two of them are chasing each other to the bottom, playing up the fears of the populace and competing to be the most effective dog whistler.
Meanwhile in Victoria Ted Baillieu and the central committee of the Victorian Liberal Party have embarked on their 5 year plan - commonly known as the Great Leap Backwards. Swearing is now a focus for police action (simply another avenue for police harassment of the poor, the young, the homeless and the Aboriginal people); the anti discrimination legislation has seen changes rammed through to allow religious groups to discriminate on the basis of sexuality, gender, marital status...mandatory sentencing has reared its ugly head, new prisons are on the agenda... You get the picture - a race to the bottom, playing on fear and forgetting 50 years of progress as an aware and tolerant society. Greg Barber where are you?
But back to the important subject of Federal Parliament and asylum seekers. Abbott and Gillard and competing to be "toughest" on asylum seekers. Gillard's "Malaysian Solution" even has the Liberals calling foul. As it should. I'm repeating myself, but nevertheless: asylum seekers and refugees are good for this country, arriving by boat is a plus not a minus. Somebody needs to show some leadership here and the only person left standing Bob, is you!
The populace doesn't need to be told that they need to fear these people. Somebody in public office needs to stand up and take a moral stance on asylum seekers. Somebody needs to do the thing that people in public office haven't done since Bill Deane and Paul Keating took leadership stances on what is good for Australia and what is good for humanity.
Nobody is doing that at the moment. Every political figure is...playing politics, playing the polls.
Well Bob, I'm looking at you. Here's your opportunity. It's what we put you and Adam Bandt and the rest of your team there to do. At the moment all we get are minor noises from Sarah Hanson-Young.
Do not mistake this: the reason the Green vote improved so much this time is because we didn't trust Gillard and Abbott and we were right not to. When we need you however we find you wanting. No vocal leadership, no moral leadership. Instead a committee of inquiry. We don't need a committee! We need you and your team to stand up and call the shots.
The refugee policies of Abbott and Gillard are unacceptable, contrary to the best interests of ALL Australians and inhumane.
You've got a choice: do something pretty effective about it or face annihilation at the next election. This is the reason your team were trusted with our vote. At the moment it doesn't look like you are living up to our trust in you. Do you intend to change that?

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