In August last year, I watched a news program that chilled me. It was yet another pointer, from within the current government, to our politicians governing according to commercial interests. And, in one scene, a senior politician promised to do everything he could to keep the opposition out of government. What happened to serving the people?
Two days later, another report revealed over 2,000 leaked abuse claims from Australia’s Nauru detention centre between 2013 and 2015 — and more than half of these involved children. Have these brushed-away claims been properly investigated even now, let alone resolved?
These reports were the final straw for me, riding on the back of strange and horrid months that, looking back I see, shouted our entry into an alternative universe colloquially known as alt-right.
My heart hurt. I felt helpless and outraged. I wrote a poem.
With at least one notable exception, today is celebrated around this country as Australia Day. Hence I thought today would be as good a day as any to share this poem, as good a day as any to plead for compassionate hearts, a kinder nation.
Advance a Fair Australia.
It concerns me
when I hear an MP
say they’ll do everything in their power to keep
the opposition out. Shouldn’t our powers that be
focus on doing the right thing by us,
not sledge, discredit, and cuss
at the other guys? Instead of setting a poor ethical example
for our impressionable kids to sample,
can’t we have respectful discussion, bipartisan vision,
reducing friction to elicit the best possible decisions
for the population?
But our administration’s
not built for efficiency:
it’s on a self-perpetuating mission, see,
to ever expand its own bureaucracy.
It’s a game. There’s a false democracy
in the way our country’s run —
our snug existence based on economics that have come and gone.
Our beneficent overlords’ goodness is supposed to trickle down
into our mouths, feed our babes. Sounds
spookily like The Matrix, where dead humans were liquefied
to nourish human batteries, this feeding of the machines justified
in just-roused people’s minds because they got a simulacrum of being:
they got a life in return. But is a life like that worth bearing?
Because that’s us! We are feeding the machine.
We forget that our collective actions and dreams
give us power. We make choices every day we breathe.
We can speak up together, seek reprieve
for those who need it most in our society:
first Australians, single mums, the elderly, LGBTQIAP,
our students not afforded the same accessibility to education
as the heads of factions who control the nation.
And asylum seekers — little children! — being abused on Nauru.
So what on Earth are you going to do?
These people don’t want platitudes: they need a change in Australia,
not bureaucrats exhibiting rent-seeking behaviour.
How hard is it to accept we all belong to a single race — the human race —
and no matter where we’ve begun, we can improve the fates
of other humans now. We can make Australia’s future brighter,
a kinder, more compassionate world for one another.