Image for A Week in Politics

You’d have to agree that things are heating up.  An American president is going head to head with an oil company, admittedly a British one, but that’s still a world first.

And back home, we have discovered that the Minerals Council of Australia gets to decide who is our PM.

That was a chilling moment.

Julia Gillard, who always seemed a nice enough person, a kind of feisty woodpecker hammering away on the front bench, is suddenly and ignobly swept to power.  Almost overnight, Kevin Rudd seems a figure of nostalgia.  We did, after all, vote for him, and it would have been nice to finish the term.  He did get us through the GFC, and saw off Howard for goodness sake.  Shame about the carbon compromise, the one issue there isn’t a middle in. 

So Australia’s women get a kind of empty victory. A woman PM, which should have been a moment of real magic and triumph for every woman and girl in the country, comes in courtesy of shady bullies in the NSW Right who don’t even like her and would yank her offstage as quickly as they pushed her on.

And Julia herself not shaping up too well.  Already declaring herself anti-gay marriage and anti-God, which at least is sort of even-handed. This lady is master of middle-roading.  The God one is worrying though.  90% of everyone who finished high school understands God to be a metaphor for the unity of life, and the need for humility in an awesome universe.  But Julia still thinks God is a man in the sky.  Who she doesn’t believe in!  Bit of a spiritual vacuum there. 

At least she’s honest. John Howard was a pretend Christian, (and isn’t it good to see him on the news, whining and pathetic.  Was that continence pads puffing out his beige trousers, or was I just hoping?)  Kevin Rudd was a real Christian.  He just wandered off the track.  His mentor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the truly great men of the 20th century, stood up to Hitler.  Kevin couldn’t even stand up to big coal.

But now we know why.  Because miners run this country.  The tragedy of the last two weeks is what they have unveiled.  We aren’t a democracy.  In a democracy, the heads of Riotinto, BHP and Western Mining get to vote like the rest of us, and that’s it.  Their employees do too.  And we all count as equals.  In Australia 2010, peak industry bodies take their vast profits, our of our common ground, and make late night phone calls.  Kevin Rudd stood up to the miners, and he’s gone.  In other times it would be called a coup.

And finally, today, the “cover all the bases” policy on refugees.  Its not the Pacific Solution, more the sort of Timor Sea solution.  You have to admire the skill, now she’s to the left of you, now to the right of you.  But at least no drowning will be involved.  Its a forward movement of sorts.  Tony Abbott must have ringing in both ears. 

Meanwhile at home, Jan Cameron, bless her cotton socks, has saved 28,000 hectares of ancient forest for carbon, wildlife, clean water, tourism, enjoyment, oxygen, and our economic benefit as a sustainable mixed economy instead of a short term wood mine.  In the tradition of Gustav Weindorfer, or Olegas Truchanas, she goes down in history as a great Tasmanian. 

And then there’s Eric Abetz.  Just to end on a positive note.  Don’t fill in his questionnaire.

They don’t read them.  Thats not the idea.  Here’s a question that got left off… 

Are you concerned that…
A.  Labor want to steal your grandchildren.
B.  The Greens are all lesbian drug addict vampires  
C.  We might have to use less petrol so billions of people don’t die of famine?
D. This poll seems to be steering me along certain pre-determined routes, like a cow in an abbattoir. Isn’t there a name for that?