Pokémon-Go To Hell

Why is this internet meme the wrongest thing anyone ever misguidedly put together?

Because, as memes go, when the premise is so completely flawed it can only go downhill from there.

If this is meant to be the meme’s creator clarifying the situation, they’re clearly more out of touch than they realise.

So nobody bat an eye about people sitting on their asses for the past five years, obsessively crushing row after row of garishly bright computer-generated confectionary? Is that what you’re claiming? No, sir (or madam)! You are utterly WRONG! The Candy Crush Saga obsession was, in fact, universally lampooned by anyone with even half a brain.

Perhaps you didn’t notice because you were too busy SITTING ON YOUR ASS PLAYING CANDY CRUSH at the time!?

Explore their neighbourhoods“? “Meet new people“? Don’t make me laugh!

If, by “explore their neighbourhoods”, you mean hundreds of people obsessively descending, cult-like, on public parks and city streets, viewing the world that’s all around them via an image on their phone screen, in an effort to spot fictional cartoon characters that they can throw magic animated balls at—with scant regard for anything that’s actually happening in the real world, let’s be honest—then yeah, maybe you could say people are “exploring their neighbourhoods”.

And if, by “maybe even meet new people in the process”, you mean adopting pack-mentality, racing about while not watching where they’re going, walking into people, colliding with telegraph poles, light poles, traffic signs & buildings and stepping blindly into the path of bicycles, motorbikes, cars, buses and trams, whereby risking their own lives and the lives of others, then yeah, I guess you could say these ignorant fucking idiots do “meet new people” while playing this stupid fucking game.

Go ahead and tell yourself it’s all about getting outside and meeting people if it makes you feel better. Arguably, you’d be just as happy doing exactly the same thing while not having to go anywhere at all. Just like you did with Candy Crush!

Honestly—why oh why oh why is this happening? As if there aren’t enough phone-obsessed fucktards in the world already. Who the hell thought anything like this was even remotely necessary?

Ultimately it’s just another example of how the gap between child and adult gets ever-smaller with each passing technology fad. It’s tragic to see the number of grown adults that keep falling for this garbage. But I guess that’s just how it is these days.

Today’s parents increasingly listen to the same music as their kids, frequent the same social media platforms and, as a direct result, also end up using the same pop-culture buzzwords and phrases as their kids (“I was, like”… “I know, right”… “Whaaaaa?”… “Really?”). Hell, some parents today even dress like their kids, so is it really any wonder that they also develop the same obsessions as their kids for this phone-based time-wasting brain-rotting shit?

Has the notion of the generation gap entirely ceased to exist?

I’ll tell you this much: you know the world’s gone to hell in a hand basket when you find yourself longing for the return of a decent generation gap.

Holding Onto The Man…


Over the course of a lifetime, we forget infinitely more than we remember. But some things stay with us forever and have an impact on us that we can never really explain. This is the story of one such thing: a book that’s been so dear to my heart for so long that it’s hard to know where the reverence ends and the obsession begins.

It was 1995 and the world was still a reasonably nice place. I was 21 and, ever the late adopter, I’d found myself in the throes of first love. My collection of comedy waistcoats was burgeoning, my passion for piano house music showed no signs of abating, I had a George Michael haircut and I’d just been overseas for the first time—life was good.

The previous year, I’d started a retail management traineeship and bought my first car, so I’d been feeling pretty lucky for a while. But 1994 was also the year that ended with my parents dragging me out of the closet that, until then, I’d never intended coming out of, so it’s fair to say that I needed the following year to be a bit special.

1994 was also the the year of the greatest number of AIDS diagnoses in Australia. These days people tend to think of the AIDS epidemic as a very 80s thing. But the number of AIDS diagnoses didn’t start to fall until the introduction of the first truly effective antiretroviral HIV therapy, which wasn’t available until 1995—thirteen years after the first local AIDS diagnosis and after a horrendous decade of misunderstanding, misinformation, fear, panic, no treatment, severe illness, so many deaths and a general sense of hysteria surrounding AIDS.

But I didn’t know much about any of that. At the time I didn’t have many gay friends, I didn’t spend much time in Sydney and I wasn’t into ‘the scene’ or a part of ‘the community’, so I was very much removed from the harsh reality of it all. I eked out a fairly narrow existence in Newcastle, where life seemed peachy-keen so long as I had my friends, the odd bottle of bubbly and a spot of clubbing every other weekend. Mine was the definition of the simple life.

Then, in July 1995, I snagged myself my first boyfriend. I’m certain my mother, who didn’t speak to me for several months after she’d evicted me from my closet, thought I’d conjured him up purely to spite her.

I’ve always been a writer, but rarely a reader. The BF was a reader. We’d only been together a few months when he introduced me to a recently published book he’d just read and suggested I should read it too. I don’t know how effective my poker face was, but I’m almost certain my inner monologue groaned and rolled its eyes at the prospect of me having to read an entire book. And at 300-odd pages, I’m sure I was daunted by what I would’ve considered at the time to be its War & Peace proportions.

I don’t recall exactly what his sales pitch was, but I remember the BF seemed genuinely moved by the story, which might’ve been all I needed to see. Whatever he said about Timothy Conigrave’s Holding The Man obviously convinced me to read it. And once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Saying that, I think I took the book home and did precisely nothing with it for a few days, a week, a month, or however long it was. Actually I think it was only about a week, but as far as I could tell it was just another memoir and far from the kind of thing I typically (if infrequently) read, so I was hardly champing at the bit to get started.

But thanks to the peculiar luxury of time afforded by an evenings and weekend work roster, once I finally did pick it up and start reading I almost literally didn’t put it down. In fact, I finished reading it the very next day. All 300-odd pages of it, done and dusted in two sittings.

“I guess the hardest thing is having so much love for you and it somehow not being returned. I develop crushes all the time, but that is just misdirected need for you. You are a hole in my life, a black hole. Anything I place there cannot be returned. I miss you terribly.

Ci vedremo lassu, angelo.”

To say that I was a blubbering mess by the end of that last paragraph of the book after the first read would be one of the great understatements of the decade that was the 1990s. (By way of comparison, even when I discovered that I’d been booked for surgery on the day I had tickets to Kylie Minogue’s Intimate & Live concert three years later, I wasn’t left as emotionally destroyed as the ending of Holding The Man left me!).

Even now, every single time I read that block of words, I get that weird “I’m about to burst into tears” throat-lump / voice-strain / lip-quiver thing. Every single time. Without fail. I first read that sodding book four times, cover-to-cover, within the space of less than a month, 21 years ago! You’d think I would’ve acclimatised after so many readings and been kind of over it by now, right? But that’s not how Holding The Man works.

After that first read, I ended up sobbing in the foetal position, my head in the BF’s lap, while telling him how much I loved him and how much it would kill me if that ever happened to us, and how I couldn’t imagine how painful it would be to lose him in any way, but worse still if it was that way and how, if it was ever legal anywhere, I thought we should get married so that we could stay together forever and… oh dear. Love’s young dream—it does go on a bit, doesn’t it?

Of course, there was diminishing emotional turmoil with each subsequent read. The first time, I cried so hard for so long that I started kinda hiccuping—you know that thing that little kids do? I don’t know what it’s called. It probably has a name, but I’m sure you know the thing I mean.

On the second read, I only unravelled to the point of an uncontrolled-but-gradually-dissipating sob. It still got to me the third and fourth times, particularly those closing paragraphs, which are effectively the retelling of a letter the author wrote to his dead lover a year after his death.

The sense of loss was even more palpable by the fourth read because, by then, I was so familiar with the story and its characters that those last lines were far more poignant than they’d seemed the first three times I’d read them. But at least I only ended up going foetal once.

In short, Holding The Man had a profound effect on me. As silly as it probably sounds, it felt like I knew Tim Conigrave and John Caleo, the story’s resident star-cross’d lovers. It certainly gave me a clearer understanding of AIDS and how it had ravaged ‘my’ community over the previous decade, which was quite terrifying because as far as I knew at the time there was still no end to it on anyone’s radar.

Holding The Man is an emotional wrench and after each read, I felt utterly gutted. It was as if Tim & John had been personal friends of mine. I became… I don’t want to say “obsessed”, but it could well sound like something of an obsession. I just couldn’t stop thinking about the boys and their story.

By the time I first read Holding The Man, it was about a year since Tim’s death and just under four years since John’s. It was all so recent. It was all so real and so raw and so very, very sad. I had to do something. Something meaningful. I had to contact the families. I had to thank Mr & Mrs Conigrave and Mr & Mrs Caleo for their sons. I had to let them know that there were others in similar situations, people they didn’t know and who they’d most likely never meet, but for whom the love story of Tim and John meant more than words could adequately express.

But, of course, me being me, I certainly tried. I tried to use words to adequately express, as best I could, how thankful I was to them for both of their sons. And I posted both letters. I never heard anything back (not that I expected to). I don’t know if they were ever read, or even received. But I had to write them and I had to send them. It was almost a necessary post-book catharsis.

And the weirdest thing about all these weird things I’m saying is that it’s not just me. This book, Holding The Man, has had just as profound an effect on thousands of people since its 1995 publication, in largely similar ways. These are responses that people from all walks of life, all over the world, have reported experiencing.

According to Tim’s and John’s families, both of their graves are still being visited by far more people than they ever could’ve known in life. In a 2015 radio interview, Tim’s sister Anna and John’s mother Lois reported that they almost always discovered flowers, cards or letters whenever they visited the gravesites. Incidentally, I’ve never visited either of their graves (although, I acknowledge, I have thought about it) so, knowing that, I kinda feel a little less of a freak.

Since the first time I read the book, I’ve recalled the entire story, or portions of it, so vividly, so often. I didn’t need to wait for last year’s movie—I’ve had that screenplay in my head for 21 years. As someone who often struggles to remember what he did yesterday, it’s odd that this story still always seems so recent to me. Sometimes, I have to put the events of Holding The Man into the context of the day, just to jolt myself into re-acknowledging how long ago it really all was.

On the day that John died, for example—Australia Day 1992—I was just 17 years old. The first Big Day Out music festival was held at the Sydney Showground and it was only four years since the beginning of the nation’s year-long Bicentennary party. Bill Hayden was Governor-General, Paul Keating was a month into his Prime Ministership and the median house price in Sydney was $183,000. That week, the biggest news in TV was that Bert Newton had defected to Network Ten to host a new morning program, while on the charts Michael Jackson’s Black Or White had been replaced at #1 by Salt-N-Pepa’s Let’s Talk About Sex. “That’s what got us into this mess in the first place”, John had told Tim, shortly after their HIV+ diagnoses in 1985. Let’s talk about sex, indeed.

By comparison, the week that Tim died, in October 1994, was otherwise relatively uneventful. Hayden was still G-G, Keating was still PM and a house in Sydney still only cost $192,000. On TV, the pin was finally pulled on Network Ten’s short-lived revival of A Country Practice, while in music Kylie Minogue’s Confide In Me was dislodged from the #1 spot by Boyz II Men’s I’ll Make Love To You and the Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert soundtrack enjoyed its fourth week as our best-selling album. More parallels then, even if only tenuous and superficial.

It might seem flippant to bring the deaths of these two beautiful men down to the level of pop-culture events, but I have a very clear sense of all of those things having happened a very long time ago. I didn’t know Tim and John, however much it might sometimes feel as though I did, or I do. Sometimes, the connection with the characters and the story feels more real, more present, more current than it probably should. So sometimes, a pop-culture comparison is just something I need to do to maintain—or reinstate—a sense of distance and perspective where Holding The Man is concerned. Because it’s so easy to get tied up in knots about it. I need to maintain that distance and that perspective, in whatever silly ways I can, to make sure I’m reminded that, just as with Let’s Talk About Sex and Paul Keating and Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert, the whole thing really did happen a very long time ago.

Somewhere down the years, I’ve managed to mislay my copy of Holding The Man. I clearly recall what it looks like and I clearly remember seeing it in my bookshelf. I’m so intimately familiar with so many parts of the story, it’s as if I’d only read the book yesterday, yet I haven’t picked it up for years and, right now, I’ve absolutely no idea where it is. It certainly isn’t nestled neatly in my bookshelf with the many other far less-loved tomes that still reside there. If I said I didn’t find its apparent disappearance somewhat upsetting, I’d totally be lying.

Since 1995 it’s sometimes felt as if I lost close friends of my own when Tim and John died. Never mind the fact that I knew nothing of either of them until after they were both dead. But by all accounts, life after Holding The Man is rarely the same for anyone. It’s like experiencing a stand-alone, self-contained grieving process that exists parallel to, but completely separate from, your actual life. It’s just as real as any other grieving process, except it involves two people you never knew. And, like any other grieving process, it never goes away, it just changes shape.

Which sounds ridiculous, of course. And it is… isn’t it? I didn’t know these two guys. I didn’t know anyone associated with them. At heart, I’ve never been much into ‘the gay community’ or, for that matter, long-term relationships. Aside from the fact that they were gay and so am I—and possibly also the fact that Tim was apparently a bit loud and opinionated and could, at times, be pretty hard work for his nearest and dearest, not unlike myself—I don’t have anything at all in common with them.

So, as well as having utterly adored this beautiful story for more than twenty years, along with experiencing this weird-ass grief thing just from having read it, I’ve also spent two decades singularly failing to understand why this one story should’ve struck such a chord with me. And if whatever I’m left with as an after-effect is a version of grief, then what, exactly, am I grieving for? Them? Their loss? Their loved ones’ loss?

Or am I actually grieving for myself?

Am I really just stuck in a rut with this story, because it keeps showing me something I’d so dearly love to have, but which I’ve never managed to achieve with anyone—is that it? Am I actually looking inwards, grieving my own inadequacies and regrets and lost opportunities? I sincerely hope that’s not it. After so many years, having to acknowledge such an appalling degree of self-centredness, over and above a simple unadulterated love for a wonderful piece of literature, would be beyond disappointing!

I watched the film adaptation of Holding The Man for the first time last weekend. Not a smart move. I was nursing one of the greatest man-flus I’ve ever suffered through at the time. I could barely breathe and I was hacking up a lung at every unwanted opportunity. It’s never a good idea to watch the film version of the first book that ever made you cry under such conditions. Plus, I’ve watched virtually every scene of that movie in my head for 21 years, so this thing had a hell of a lot to live up to.

I approached my first viewing of the film with much the same trepidation I felt about seeing the stage play ten years ago. Back then, I decided it just wasn’t worth the public humiliation. However much a live production would inevitably strip from the book, if it was worth its salt—and I knew it would be—then it was always going to set me off. There was a very real risk of me ending up a blubbing mess in the middle of a theatre. More than once, just considering what the live performance might be like was enough to set me off, so it was a fate I wasn’t prepared to tempt.

I felt just as apprehensive about attending the premiere of the film last year. Once again I felt like some kind of traitor for staying away, as if I’d been unfaithful or something. It was like rubbing salt into the wound that I’d first created by not going to see the stage play. But whose wound? Was it the story’s wound? Or was I rubbing salt into my own wound, by showing such shocking disloyalty to a story I’d adored with such fervour for so long?

Thankfully, watching anything from the privacy of our own home allows a certain freedom to react and respond in ways we otherwise mightn’t when in public. In my case, those reactions and responses ranged from beaming smiles to the occasional knowing nod, from finishing some of the lines to an almost frenzied sobbing during the movie’s final minutes. Throughout, I also critiqued the production in terms of the many ways it varied from how it’s always looked in my head. John’s bed was on the other side of the ward, not that side; and the walls were pale blue; and the lighting was much lower; and Mary-Gert’s kitchen looked far more 70s than that… and so it went on.

I watched the movie three times in 24 hours. Then I bought the soundtrack album. The music makes me cry. I want to watch the movie again right now. Thinking about watching the movie again has me welling up. There’s too much cut out, but it’s perfect. It’s not sufficiently like the version in my head, but it’s every kind of magnificent. I’m obsessing about Holding The Man, all over again. And now, as if to prove it, I’m writing this!

When I was 21, I used to say that I wished I’d been born 15 or 20 years earlier, if only to’ve been around during the 70s and lived through the disco era. If I take nothing else from it, ever since I first read Holding The Man it’s always presented me with two stark truths: the first is that if I had been born 15 or 20 years earlier then, all other things being equal, I’d almost certainly have died of AIDS sometime during the 1980s; the second is that my generation was so lucky that it wasn’t born 15 or 20 years earlier, because it meant most of us were old enough to be acutely aware of what was going on, but young enough to avoid the same awful outcomes.

There’s a whole generation of gay Gen Ys and millennials who know virtually nothing of any of this. Medical advances are such that AIDS diagnoses haven’t been reportable since 2012 and, just last week, it was announced that the volume of them is now so small that AIDS is no longer considered a public health issue in this country. And HIV isn’t considered the death sentence it once was either, though who knows whether the younger generation actually understands why, or even what the difference is. They should all read or see Holding The Man.

I’m 42 now. My relationship with Holding The Man has lasted far longer than any relationship I’ve had with any actual man. It’s even lasted longer than the very love affair that spawned it. It’s such an important and real Australian story. In the end, I don’t really care if I get embroiled in it a little more deeply than might be considered healthy. It keeps me grounded. It reminds me that I’ve loved and been loved. It reminds me that I have far deeper emotions than I ever like to let on. And it keeps me reminded of what has been, what could’ve been and what could well be again.

I’m gonna keep holding onto this man for as long as I can.

Why does Australian politics suck so much?

Source: smh.com.au

Source: smh.com.au

Politics is a divisive topic—so much so that, along with religion and sex, it’s a member of the holy trinity of topics that ought not to be broached in polite conversation under any circumstances.

Political matters inspire passionate viewpoints and lots of black & white. It’s one way or the other, it’s our way or the highway, you’re with us or you’re against us. There’s no middle way with politics.

Those who are really into it (arguably not the majority of people) will defend the political process until they’re blue in the face. Bring it down to the level of party allegiances and you’ll trigger some of the most boring conversations you’ll ever have the misfortune of hearing. Introduce alcohol to the equation and there’s a very real risk of violence.

Forget the prospect of that orange twat with his spray-on hair becoming leader of the free world next January. Ignore all the Brexit bollocks. Today, Australian politics is on the lips and tips of everyone’s tongues and, right now, it quite possibly sucks more than it’s ever sucked before.

But why does Australian politics suck so very, very much when, to be fair, it’s probably not that different to politics anywhere else in the world? For all I know, politics may well suck massively everywhere. But our political landscape is the one I have an immediate view of and I think it sucks in pretty much every possible way.

And why?…

Self-serving arseholes: politicians say what they have to say to feather their nest and get the outcome they want for themselves. “Putting the people first”? They say stuff like that often enough during election campaigns, but how often ‘the people’ are ever actually put first is questionable.

For example, in what way were ‘the people’ ‘put first’ when their Prime Minister called an early election, gave it a name—”double dissolution”—that hardly anyone understands and followed the announcement with an interminably long campaign, all on the basis of an issue about which nobody gave a rat’s arse? Just another way our self-serving politicians can achieve outcomes they want (although it’s already looking unlikely that the outcome they wanted will be the outcome they get—how’s that for democracy?)

And in what way will ‘the people’ be ‘put first’ by the Government spending millions of dollars mounting a mandatory but non-binding plebiscite vote, to allow millions of Australians—most of whom aren’t interested in the topic, much less directly impacted by it—to decide whether certain people should be allowed to marry, solely on the basis of gender? Coz it’s not actually about sexuality, it’s about gender. The result of the marriage equality plebiscite will potentially exclude certain Australians from a right they would otherwise have, solely on the basis of the gender of the person they want to marry.

If anyone proposed a referendum or plebiscite today to exclude women—or indigenous people, or, for that matter, the elderly, redheads, the left-handed, tall people or people with different-coloured eyes—from the right to marry, they’d be universally howled down and rightly hounded to oblivion. But that’s the kind of outcome that the result of the “marriage equality” plebiscite will allow for. All it will do is allow our self-serving politicians to absolve themselves of all responsibility and claim ‘the people’ made the decision. And there’s nothing more reliable than allowing ‘the people’ to vote on divisive issues about which they know little and care even less, and without having considered the potential repercussions. Goodness knows, it’s an approach that’s working so well for the UK right now.

Source: the age.com.au

Source: the age.com.au

Obfuscation and lies: Obfuscate—a great word that’s sadly underutilised, meaning to obscure an issue so that it becomes unclear, or unintelligible.

History tells us that, during election campaigns—the only time they actually need us to believe what they say—our politicians lie. Or, at very least, they obfuscate to the point where ‘the people’ extract a categorical ‘promise’ from long, complex statements in which no such categorical ‘promise’ was actually made, but from which the ‘promise’, as interpreted by ‘the people’, was clearly the intended message. Of course, this assumes ‘the people’ could understand what they were being told in the first place.

Our politicians do this on all sorts of topics, giving all manner of hand-on-heart guarantees on which they later backflip. There’s nothing wrong with changing positions on something, per se. But our politicians have a tendency to change their position on issues about which they’ve previously made (what sounded like) rock-solid promises with grating regularity. If you found yourself thinking ‘the Prime Minister doth protesteth too much’, after his recent categorical assurances that “every aspect of Medicare that is delivered by Government today will continue to be delivered by Government in the future, full stop”, it’s because we’ve heard it all before.

In July 2010, two weeks after carjacking the Prime Ministership and only days before the federal election, Julia Gillard repeated her categorical statement that “there will be no Carbon Tax under the Government I lead. What we will do is we will tackle the challenge of climate change”. Seven months later, under the Government she led, Prime Minister Gillard unveiled her Carbon Tax plan. Challenge well-and-truly tackled, then.

And who can forget John Howard’s pledge, ten months before the 1996 federal election, to “never ever” introduce a Goods & Services Tax? As far as ‘the people’ were concerned, there was no question of what he was saying, although he was actually candid about why he said it—in short, the GST had lost the Liberal party the 1993 election, so there was no way it could possibly be an element of the ’96 campaign… but who knew what might happen in future years? He actually posed that question himself. Despite the eternal certainty implied by “never ever”, he was really only talking about “never ever” discussing it as Coalition policy during the 1996 campaign and it only applied for as long as Howard required Australians to remember it, before they voted Liberal on 2 March 1996; his victory at that election has long been described as a “landslide”. Less than 18 months later, in August 1997, Prime Minister Howard unveiled the plan to introduce a GST on 1 July 2000. 16 months later, Howard was re-elected at the November 2001 federal election, as if the lie that nobody has forgotten, didn’t matter matter to anyone even that soon afterwards.

It doesn’t matter if a politician uses other words, later in any given statement, that negate the ‘promise’ that ‘the people’ clearly heard. The ‘promise’ will have been the key message and its interpretation by ‘the people’ as such will have been the only reason for making the statement in the first place. Semantics can be argued back and forth until the proverbial cows come home, but ultimately its the whole looks/sounds/walks=duck thing: a statement, purposely made, in the knowledge that it will mislead the majority of people who hear it, in order to appeal to their fears, beliefs or core values and to thusly attract their vote on election day, is a lie.

Even if they don’t lie, our politicians obfuscate with tedious regularity. They answer questions with questions. They dodge some questions altogether and provide no answers at all. They respond to other questions, particularly those about their own party and its policies and performance, by talking about the opposition party’s policies and performance. And they generally obscure issues to the point where they become so unclear, or unintelligible that it’s impossible for ‘the people’ to understand a word they’re saying.

How have so many ostensibly intelligent politicians not realised that, without clarity, ‘the people’ resort to protest votes? The more protest votes that are received, the less truly valid the results of any election. While a ‘hung parliament’ probably sounds like a dream-come-true for some, it’s not the outcome ‘the people’ need from a federal election, because all it means is that everyone will block everything at every step and nothing will ever happen. A bit of clarity and a dash of differentiation is potentially all it would’ve taken to avoid the outcome we’re currently staring down the barrel of.

Our illustrious federal treasurer clarified matters perfectly in May, when he said, “We say what we mean, we mean what we say, we do what we say we’d do in the way we say we’d do it”…. Even if you could decipher that statement, it’s still a garbled mess that represents, so very well, the way many of our politicians choose to obfuscate—even, ironically, when trying to say that they don’t.

Source: au.news.yahoo.com

Source: au.news.yahoo.com

Leadership merry-go-round: had the Australian Labor Party won yesterday’s federal election (the real outcome of which remains to be seen, although a Labor win doesn’t seem likely at this stage), it would’ve seen Bill Shorten—a man who can’t even pronounce the name of his own country correctly—installed as Australia’s sixth Prime Minister in six years.

No first world nation should tolerate a political system that allows parties to install and remove leaders at will.

Fact 1: it’s a legal requirement of our democracy for me to vote for a party, ostensibly for the talking head representing that party.

Fact 2: I can be fined for not voting.

Proposition: political parties should be subject to fines, if they replace the party leader without giving ‘the people’ the opportunity to vote for that change.

I don’t care if a political party feels its fortunes are sinking with the current leader at the helm—that’s my call. I’m ‘the people’ who are always ‘put first’, remember? That colleague who they’re about to knife in the back is potentially the name that my vote for their party was entirely hinged on at the last election. If the party’s worried about its leader causing the party to become less popular with ‘the people’, how can the party possibly decide who the replacement leader should be without again consulting ‘the people’? If it’s the opinion of ‘the people’ that allegedly triggered the party’s concern, it doesn’t make sense that any new leader should be installed without first asking ‘the people’ which politician that should be.

Australians’ broad understanding—rightly or wrongly—is that we vote for a political party that will be led, for the duration of the term, by the person named throughout the campaign as Leader of that party, not for a political party that will be led by the person named throughout the campaign as Leader of that party, either for the duration of the next term, or until such time as the party installs any other Leader of their choosing, at any time after coming to power. That’s just not how it’s meant to go—not in the minds of ‘the people’, anyway.

The past six years have been among the most unstable in Australian political history. There’s enough instability in the world as it is, without our politicians chaotically tossing local instability into the mix as well.

Source: smh.com.au

Source: smh.com.au

He said/she said carbon copies: Can anyone really tell the difference between the Labor party and the Liberal National coalition any more? What does one stand for that the other one doesn’t? Does either party have a position on anything that’s substantially different to the other? And why can’t any of them ever tell ‘the people’ anything about their own party’s position on any given issue without sledging the opposition?

Why can’t they come up with something that isn’t just a response to something the opposition said? Something original. Something unique.

I don’t care what any of them think of the opposition’s policy on anything. That’s why they’re opposing parties and, presumably, why the one I’m listening to is with this party and not that party. I don’t expect them to have the same policies and I don’t expect them to agree with each other. I expect them to tell me—in plain language that’s free from buzzwords, catchphrases and slogans and which makes sense to me as one of ‘the people’ who they always ‘put first’—exactly why voting for them will mean a better outcome for me.

If they weren’t such carbon copies of each other, they wouldn’t need to spend so much time clarifying the very fine lines that separate their policies.

Scripts are for actors: there’s so much political spin doctoring these days that our politicians rarely utter an unscripted word. And when they do, it’s often so embarrassing that a career-damaging crisis seems almost inevitable.

Is it really a surprise that our politicians are so often accused of being ‘out of touch’, when every single thing we ever hear them say sounds, at best, like a scripted speech and, at worst, like a spin doctor’s wankfest?

Even when they’re apologising for being a brain-dead idiot who should’ve either a) known more about the topic they chose to comment on, or b) declined to respond to a question on a topic they patently know nothing about, they still sound like they’re reading from a cue card.

‘The people’ have become so accustomed to this behaviour that whenever a politician says what they actually believe, in their own words and using their own voice, they’re often accused of being bigoted, simple, uncultured, or too ‘ocker’ to take seriously. ‘The people’ can’t get it right. But, then, I supposed we’ve learned from the best.

Source: anarchei.me

Source: anarchei.me

There’s really only one element of the political process in this country that I’m a fan of: that voting is compulsory. If nothing else, it at least means that Google searches of “where can I vote?” were far more likely to be trending across Australia yesterday than Google searches for “what happens if the prime minister doesn’t win?” and demands for a second election from those who don’t like the outcome.

Compulsory voting removes the validity of protests about the result from those who didn’t vote. Frankly, if you didn’t bother to vote because you were too bored, too hungover, too apathetic or too busy checking Facebook, I couldn’t care less what you think. You don’t deserve a voice and your viewpoint is irrelevant, because you knowingly gave up a democratic right that so many people in so many other countries don’t even have the option of exercising.

Even given everything else I’ve said here, regardless of whether or not I can put my hand on my heart and say that my vote definitely makes a difference, I’d rather live in a democracy where I’m required to vote, whether I care to or not, than in one in which I can choose not to.

In the end, though, just as a lie is a lie is a lie, politics is politics is politics – and it still sucks.