Will this year finally see the introduction of ‘rank socialism’?

February 2, 2018
Comrade Malcolm Turnbull agrees to a royal commission into the banks.

The New Year is in full swing, and if there is one thing I am really looking forward to in 2018, it is the long overdue introduction of “rank socialism” in this nation.

This appears to be on the agenda to go by the dark warnings offered up last year by former prime minister, jogger and war-criminal-at-large John Howard on the matter of a royal commission into the banking sector.

On the prospect of Australia’s upstanding corporate citizens known as the Big Four Banks being the subject of a royal commission, the retired politician took time out from managing his eyebrows last November to declare: “I would be staggered if the Coalition proposes a bank royal commission. That is rank socialism.”

His nightmare came true just one week later, when Comrade Malcolm Turnbull caved to the demands of the infamously communistic National Party and declared his intention to paint Australia a particularly rank shade of red with just such a move.

I must admit I am not sure what “rank socialism” means exactly, as I could find no explanation of the concept in The Communist Manifesto nor in the National Party program.

My best guess is that it is, in the first place, basically socialism. This would presumably involve something along the lines of putting banks at the service of communities as part of a broader transformation that includes: introducing free and expanded health care and education; a large-scale public housing program; expanded social services; and the renationalisation of essential industry. It could also include huge public investment to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy with the creation of green jobs, to be funded by taxing the wealthy and cracking down on corporate tax evasion. You could probably also expect it to involve other measures, such as seeking justice for First Nations peoples and shifting to a foreign policy based on internationalist and humanist principles that oppose imperialism and war, and welcomes refugees.

All of this would then be wrapped up and dipped in a large vat of cat’s urine and left out on the footpath for a week during the middle of the Melbourne summer, which would, I think, without question make any such socialism pretty rank indeed.

Of course, there is another possible interpretation. After all, this royal commission was only announced after a rising tide of popular fury at the naked profiteering and alleged criminality of the big banks made it probably inevitable.

This prompted the banks, whose loudly stated attitude to the proposal long mimicked mine towards a gym membership, to suddenly call for one themselves so they could control its terms. And the royal commission framework, as recommended by the banks, excludes public submissions.

So we will have an investigation in which the actual victims of the alleged misbehaviour cannot actually submit any evidence.

This makes sense. After all, it is a common practice in our judicial system. Just look at how alleged murderers get to determine the basis on which they face trial and who gets to submit evidence.

And it must be said, that if a royal commission into the banks organised by the big banks themselves in order to block any potential for a genuinely independent investigation with the scope to recommend radical change can actually be any form of socialism, then I am sure we can agree with Howard that it really is a pretty rank one.


The announcement by the Turnbull government that it will seek to become a much larger exporter of arms makes a lot of sense.

Killing is one thing in which this nation has a long, proven record — from large numbers of this continent’s original inhabitants, to the Great Barrier Reef, through to an entire generation’s hope for a stable job, decent housing and the capacity to catch a train that runs on time.

It is the type of announcement that really gives you a new perspective on an ethical framework. Take the controversy over the comments in a speech to Melbourne’s huge 60,000-strong Invasion Day rally by Indigenous organiser Tarneen Onus-Williams that she hopes Australia “burns to the ground” in a speech about the need to end racist oppression.

How offensive can you get? It is just so outrageous that someone can metaphorically urge something to be burned down as a protest against injustice when it is perfectly clear that the moral, ethical course of action is actually to make weapons that can literally burn entire countries and then sell them for a profit.

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