The theme of today’s post is going to be something that’s been on my mind for…oh, some considerable time. Years, I suppose. It won’t necessarily be coherent, all of my facts won’t be correct and somewhere towards the middle it’ll turn from an impassioned argument to a rambling mess.
I have a bachelor of arts, with a major in history. I know how to read critically, think critically and write critically – it took a while, but it’s one of my party tricks. I can pick apart bias and pejorative language and calculate how much of an article is conjecture. I have an eye for evidence, proof and cross-references. These are all the things I was taught, all the things I learnt – and a lot of those skills I can apply to other areas of my life.
I am about to talk about something where I can do none of those things, where I am completely and unequivocally lost.
Australia’s current political climate, the (poorly named) Liberal Party. And its leader, Tony Abbott.
It is difficult for me to read about any of the news currently coming out of my native country at the moment because it is demoralising. Disheartening, discouraging, dismal, distressing, absolutely downright depressing, okay? Okay. This isn’t going to be an insightful political commentary that will break down all of Abbott’s choices piece by piece. This is the rant of an incredibly frustrated 21-year-old queer Australian girl who is just not happy.
Australia has the ability to be a great country, one with a reputation for compassion and a brilliant healthcare system with world-class education and intelligent, welcoming, friendly people. And that’s just to start.
I want to love my country again. I want to hear about something other than the rising cost of education, taxes to our healthcare system, sexism in parliament, our non-existent science minister in cabinet – never mind the overwhelming male presence. The complete and utter unnecessary vilification of asylum seekers, the total disregard of marriage equality as a concept or indeed any acknowledgement of LBGTIQ people in Australia, the rapidly dwindling resources facing Aboriginal Australians, the dismissal of climate change and gratuitous spending of the country’s budget.
…would you like me to continue? Because I’m sure I could, I would just have to wade through article after article of warped news sources to find something that resembles the truth. (There are, of course, many, many trustworthy newspapers and websites out there that deserve every accolade in the world of journalism. But for every trustworthy source, comes one so blatantly biased it makes my eyes water with frustration.)
This piece isn’t really political, so much as it comes out of a need for me to be candid. This feels like something that belongs in a dystopian novel, as a model or an allegory for something that should never, ever happen. A reminder of what should never, ever happen.
I’m not sure how you, as a reader, would react to this. But I can promise you I will attend every protest, sign every petition and listen to every piece of carefully-crafted political commentary that I can. (Oh – I will also not vote for him ever ever ever. And I never have. And I’m quite proud to say that.) But I want my country back. This man, this cabinet, this government has a certain spirit-breaking strength I have never really felt before.
Right now, I am rather ashamed to be an Australian – and that’s difficult to admit. Because we have so many good things going for us. (I’d talk about the brilliance and balance that is the High Court but I’m not sure I have the wherewithal or the word count to do so.)
I’m currently on a two-month jaunt around Canada with my wife, and I don’t want to go home. Legally, I have more rights in Canada than I do at home. I know this post is just hugely upsetting, and if you’ve read this far I’m impressed. I did just need to expel all the terrible worries and angst and bitterness I have – I promise this has a point. If you’re feeling the way I am, I hear you. If you need to talk about it, please do. I’m not entirely sure if this post will be controversial or not but either way it’ll be out there in cyberspace, and I hope I get my point across well enough.
I want to empower everyone, to speak out, to protest, to vote, to sign petitions. I want to turn this around. I want Australia to be the Lucky Country all over again.
In short, what am I trying to say after this giant wall of text?
Tony Abbott, you need to step down.
I want my country back.