The status quo in this country is ... interesting. Take the man who deliberately chased down 14-year-old Elijah Doughty in a four wheel drive, killing the Aboriginal teenager in Kalgoorlie, yet was acquitted of manslaughter by a jury without any Aboriginal people on it.
But don’t worry, he was found guilty of “dangerous driving”, which makes me wonder if the judge gave him a stern lecture about taking more care on the roads or next time he might kill someone whose life matters.
Things are not bad for everyone, of course. For instance, there's good news for those who wake up each day thinking: “You know who doesn’t have enough power over the lives of other human beings? That Peter Dutton.” They must have leapt for joy at the July 18 announcement of a new “national security super ministry” to be headed by the bastard who gives potatoes a bad name.
No more will it be just refugees jailed indefinitely in torture camps who will be subject to the whims of a cruel sociopath and proven liar. Now, in theory, we can all enjoy the experience.
The announcement of this new Home Affairs Department, to encompass the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the absurdly named Australian Border Force, came a day after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced new “counter-terrorism” powers for the military at a bizarre press conference.
At an army barracks, surrounded by terrifying weaponry, Turnbull spoke in front of armed soldiers in gas masks looking like they were preparing to fight an alien army or a swarm of giant killer bees.
Of course, some suggested this was using the military as political props. But surely there is a less cynical explanation, like maybe Turnbull is just really into dystopian fiction and loves a good role play.
Or possibly the “soldiers” were really Tony Abbott and some mates all dressed up as part of a peace deal whereby Abbott promised to stop “sniping” at the Prime Minister in return for the chance to fulfil their biggest fantasies.
Then there is the rising cost of living and eroding living standards for most people, which you might be concerned about if not for the fact Treasurer Scott Morrison has said “it’s a lie” to suggest inequality is getting worse.
Sure, you could be pedantic and point out that all statistics actually show inequality is worsening in Australia, but if we’ve learned anything in the age of Trump it’s that facts are so last decade.
Inequality is lessening, I am not severely hung-over, the Brisbane Lions are favourites to win this year’s AFL flag and our Treasurer is not a lying, poor-hating bastard waging a class war on behalf of Corporate Australia. Just add your own make believe shit to the list, it’s fun.
Anyway, Coalition MP Andrew Laming said inequality was not that bad, as it just meant “staring over the fence and noticing another guy has a jet ski and you don’t have one”, which is definitely a step forward from Morrison’s argument, in that it actually involves an element of truth. One household having a jet ski while the other doesn’t really is an actual example of inequality.
Then again, so is more than 100,000 people being homeless, Aboriginal people’s life expectancy is more than 10 years lower than the rest of the country, 17.4% of children live in poverty or the fact that the Prime Minister himself was listed in 2015 as owning more than 20 properties while half the country has as much chance at home ownership as Scott Morrison does of replacing Sally McManus as ACTU secretary.
You can probably judge for yourself which of these examples is most likely to be bothering people.
Still, it’s not all bad news on the equality front. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency says that equal pay for women could be a mere 50 years away. Yes, just five short decades!
True, projections of rising sea waters will render large parts of existing cities uninhabitable by then and if we continue our current path of deepening dependency of fossil fuels, the basis for the planet to sustain human civilisation will be fatally damaged. But at least women will no longer suffer institutionalised inequality in wages on top of living through an eco-holocaust-fuelled dystopian nightmare.
[You can book tickets to Carlo Sands' solo show "Inspired?" is at the Sydney Fringe Comedy festival on Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. Proceeds to Green Left Weekly.]