Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

My Photo
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

If all you have is a right wing, do you fly in circles?

Yesterday in the Australian Parliament, the government (right wing, very) won an important legislative battle with the assistance of a right wing (Extremely) senator who represents the so-called Christian Right (read undeducated Christian fundamentalists), to get a contentious bill passed, called Voluntary Student Unionism. This means that no compulsory student fees for services, as run by a student union/government, can be levied.

The bill was very contentious because even some of the right wing (sort of) were very concerned that smaller, regional universities would lose essential services.

But ideology swung the day. There is to be no compulsory unionism, anywhere, ever. But it's OK for the management and owner class to form associations and dictate everything from prices to zoning laws in our cities and towns. It's OK for the government to enforce as many compulsory laws/regulations as they wish, with the citizenry having no recourse to any redress except, perhaps, for a chance to vote.

The right wing now consists of a) the traditional conservatives; b) the parvenu conservatives; c) working class tories; and d) fundamentalist Christians who see an opportunity to do what they've done in the USA -- to put their agenda as the nation's agenda.

Now, if we don't like this particular bit of new law and its impact on higher education, we have to tread carefully in our complaints and voiced concerns, because the government also just passed a new set of anti-terrorist laws, which include laws about 'sedition', which is a wonderful word meaning -- like Humpty Dumpty -- whatever the government wants it to mean. Ostensibly it is to be used to prosecute people who, for example, agitate for the violent overthrow of the state. In reality, we really don't know what it means. Other places with sedition laws are not the sort of places that one would like to hold up as bastions of democracy, human rights, and free speech. Look it up, kids.

So these new pieces of Australian law are meant to protect us from the evils of nasty people who would do us harm. (Lips, don't unpurse)... And after all, if we're good we have nothing to worry about. Didn't someone else in the 1930s say something like that?

And as our tour of the wonderful world of right wing politics draws to a close, look fondly at the landscape where our hard won freedoms and protections are slowly being hauled off into the sunset, to be seen no more. And remember, folks, it's the winners who write the history :-)

Enough for now.

P B White