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Storm in a Teacup

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Storm in a Teacup

Andrew Ryan

I watched a snippet of The News today while sitting in the waiting room at my local GP. The ads were easy to avoid, mindless chatter and all, but then I heard Tony Abbot say “storm in a teacup” and my ears pricked up like it was my own name. I couldn’t turn the TV off, so I was hooked. Idioms from that man’s mouth reeeeeally rub me the wrong way. It’s something in his delivery: the smugness, the patronizing tonality, the angle of his neck… I really don’t trust that guy.

And it’s not even just because he’s the leader of the current government and of a political party that is so drenched in the jizz of corporate business owners that they have forgotten what the citizens of this nation look like without the oozing film of consumerism obscuring their features – if he were involved in any other group, any kind of group, even if they aligned with my political views, my spiritual understanding, or my scientific enthusiasm, I still wouldn’t trust that guy. I would definitely question our apparent shared values too, if someone with that way of holding himself were the talking head of something representing said values.

The storm in the teacup thing is about Gillian Triggs, the president of the Human Rights Commission, and the timing of her inquiry in to children in detention. He also described it as a “political stitch-up”. I cringed when I read that. Gawd, I really don’t like it when he uses idioms. Idioms imply a native knowledge of the language of which you are speaking, or at least lots of time spent around those who have it. Not everyone in Australia has this understanding. The prime minister of a country such as ours – a young nation, full of soooooooo many different languages spoken in households- should be a little more straight forward with the style in which they chose to speak the dominant language, a little more inclusive, a little less dog-whistle-y, a little less dick-heady. I think it’s dick-heady. Our Prime Minister talks like a fucking dickhead.

From what I have gathered through reading bits of online news media, it looks like the government is pissy that this inquiry happened during their “time to shine”, despite the policy-causes of these detention issues having been put in place during the previous Labor government. Attorney-General George Brandis has signed off on putting the pressure on Gillian Triggs to resign, blaming her apparent favouring of the Labor government over them. Oh wahhhhhh, the mean lady is picking on us wahhhh///

She ain’t mean though, not at all, and she doesn’t come across as partisan when it comes to her job, not in the slightest. Take a read of this piece published recently on the human rights commission website- I kind of assume they aren’t exactly her words, maybe the work of an assistant, but it’s her feel I guess—- within these words I see no glimpse of any sort of side-sways swagger.

So the timing of the inquiry is the thing, according to Brandis and Abbot and whoever else. Bickering about the timing, because the timing makes them look bad. Look bad, guys? You think it makes you look bad? Look bad to whom? Anyone who knows what the results of that enquiry actually say will see that both the current and previous governments are given a big middle finger right in their stupid faces for allowing such grossness to occur on their collective watches. Everyone looks bad. Everyone IS bad.

So if they’re upset that the timing makes them look bad, it’s because they’re concerned about the power of those who don’t know exactly what it says, those who just hear that the report is damning, that there are way too many kids locked up because of governmental policy, that the government is actually awful, and assume that it’s just this government. So they’re on some sort of tactical tirade thing to make a big loud fuss to let everyone know it’s Labor’s fault too, desperately trying to flex their muscles by putting that pressure on Professor Triggs to resign, shaming her for that supposed partisanship, hoping that the voters will take current government’s side because current government has a mandate or whatever.

The only reason this timing is meaningful is because it seems to mean that there is enough reason to do it now- that things have gotten so bad that heaps of people are paying attention and demanding an answer. Heaps of people being like “What? What do you mean there are heaps of kids locked up in detention centres? WHY THE FUCK ARE SO MANY KIDS LOCKED UP???” and the Human Rights Commission being like “Yeah man, let’s actually look at how the fuck that happened.”

It should have come out ages ago, but it didn’t, so the current government should be sucking it up and coming back with an “OH YEAH?? WELL WE’RE FUCKING DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT, SO THERE”, instead of whining like children that they’re being portrayed in an ugly light. Grow up and prove you’re NOT ugly, assholes. That’s how you fix shit like this. But, unfortunately, career politicians seem to give no shits about anything other than playing their roles in some weird game. It’s like they get off on power-plays or something. So cool they found a career path to cater for that! Sociopaths, what a bad time they are. What a strange situation to live under the governance of.

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Brandis said something about “the two sides of politics”, something about how the Human Rights Commission has a responsibility to not sit on either side. What’s an easier way of saying that this statement is stupid because the set up of the statement implies an understanding of the situation that is inherently wrong? There’s got to be some Latin term for it.

I think it is wrong to describe politics in Australia the way Brandis did, because the two sides he’s talking about are what you see when you look at the line in which Labor sits on one side and The Coalition sits on the other. The space between them, and the way that moves, is the only line he’s talking about, implying it’s the only those sides which exist. No consideration is given to all the other spaces that actually exist politically, and exist they do, in abundance and complexity. There are many “sides”, if you’re compelled to be binary with it, though I don’t reckon one should be so binary with complex things. I think the Attorney-General talks like a dickhead too.