While I have rice, I will share it with those who need it the most: Why inequality matters

This election is crucial to determine the future of our country… But don’t we say that at every election? Or do we just say that when the predicted outcome looks like it might be close?

Tony Abbott will deliver one of the most devastating attacks on workers, communities, and the environment that any government in Australia has ever attempted. Queensland’s Newman and Victoria’s Napthine are just the warm up act, testing the boundaries.

Those PM Gillard and PM Rudd policies that Abbott wants to repeal are those that are concerned with looking after the most vulnerable in our society – children, the disabled and their carers, the lowest paid workers, women, the sick, the elderly, public servants who look after the vulnerable.

When Tony Abbott promises to bring industrial relations back to the middle, by implementing “Work Choices Mk II”, it makes me question what he would consider extreme? Tony Abbott wants to slash red tape and green tape – leaving us a nation whose only protection from those who would profit from us risking our lives so they can save a few dollars, will be whether we can afford a law-firm to fight for our rights.

The red-tape that Tony has said he will slash, it is not a burden on business, it’s the rebar that helps keep factories standing, it’s the fire alarms in nursing homes that helps stop our grandparents dying in their beds from smoke inhalation, it’s the safety harness that helps keep the apprentice teenager from falling off the roof, it’s the net that stops walls of buildings from falling on people walking along the footpaths, it’s what help us know our drinking water won’t burst into flames as it leaves our taps as the CSG fracking moves into our neighbourhoods.

Under Tony Abbott you will only be allowed to exercise those rights you can afford to defend. Everything else will go, in the name of profits, for a select few. We will become a nation of 1%ers dining on caviar and lobster with 99% deciding on whether this week their $2 a day wage will be spend on heating or eating.

Andrew Leigh, ALP, Federal Member for Fraser, has written an article well worth reading titled ‘Why Inequality Matters, and What We Should Do About It‘. In this piece, Leigh includes a quote from Gavan Daws who studied the prisoners of the Japanese during World War II

‘I began imagining that if human beings were worked and starved and beaten to the point of death, they would be reduced to barely functioning skeletons, scraps of biology, with… all national culture and character tramped out of them. Not so. … all the way down to starvation rations, 1000 calories a day and less, to 100 pound of bodyweight and less .. the prisoners of the Japanese remained inextinguishably American, Australian, British, Dutch.

‘The Americans were the great individualists of the camps, the capitalists, the cowboys, the gangsters. The British hung on to their class structure like bulldogs, for grim death. The Australians kept trying to construct little male-bonded welfare states. [Unlike Americans] Australians could not imagine doing men to death by charging interest on something as basic to life as rice. That was blood-sucking; it was murder. Within little tribes of Australian enlisted men, rice went back and forth all the time, but this was not trading in commodities futures, it was sharing, it was Australian tribalism.’

I am not prepared to sit back and watch as Tony Abbott and his Liberal team get elected without fighting all the way til the polls close in Western Australia on 7 September.

I am not going down without fight against an Abbott-induced austerity.

I refuse to do nothing while Tony Abbott dreams of turning Australia into a nation whose national characteristics are greed, smallness, dead-hearted, narrow-mindedness, hate, pettiness, bitterness, jealousy (a nation in Tony Abbott’s own image).

I will not accept that our future is that of an American gangster, who will profit from the deaths of others, so they can hoard all the rice.

While I have rice, I will share it with those who need it the most.


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