Created: Saturday, 22 December 2001 Written by kumHARK'S BARKS by Harold Hark
2 a.m. election night and well over point oh five
The majority of Australians have spoken. And they have been found to be trash. Mostly white and well off, but other colours too. Lots of immigrants who have counted their blessings and said, "I'm safe, shut the door!"
Australia is now clearly defined as the ugly country. Let's hear no more about being clever or lucky. We are officially a nation of the small, the selfish, the frightened. The Ugliest Australian of them all has triumphed. Goodbye public hospitals, goodbye Medicare, goodbye education for all of us, goodbye a fair go, goodbye Telstra, goodbye Ansett, goodbye honest and proper government with full and frank disclosure.
It will take a generation to recover. Those who voted for the Coalition should hang their heads in shame, but instead will raise their right arms in the most dreadful of salutes, and all in the name of fear and ignorance.
"I don't care about education, I just want to be safe," said one Illiberal voter at the shopping centre. When asked what she wanted to be made safe from, she said she didn't know. What she also didn't know is that she has just voted for a political party of business elites for whom her safety is the last priority. She has in fact voted for social chaos.
By her actions her worst fears may be realised. A course has been set for Australians: that of paranoid fear of The Other. Today it is boat people. Tomorrow it will be each other. God help the people of swarthy or Asian complexion, especially the ones who voted for the Coalition. Their votes will not keep them safe. They will scream, "I voted for Howard," but their white trash brethren will stomp the life out of them nonetheless.
Muffle the drums and beat them slowly, for Australia has sunk to a new low. The founders of the Federation implemented racist policies with innocence compared to this band of cynical thugs. In spite of corruption, mismanagement, elitism, racism, xenophobia, the Howard Government has earned a third term from an electorate of moral cowards.
How are we going to recover? We will, because we--the human race--always have. But it's going to take an awful long time. The fear that precipitated Howard's re-election has been given a life not unlike Frankenstein's monster.
The events of September 11 may well have shaped a hideous future, to which this election is but a reflexive adjunct. But the diminishing worldviews of a John Howard have been in place for decades. The reasons for the attacks in America and that country's response are reflected in Howard's victory. Exclusive policy begets retaliation begets war. No one in power is acting in the interests of humanity. Their justification for the evil they perpetrate, from Usama bin Laden to George Bush, may in the end take the whole planet down.
So counsel your young children well in the vast difference between right and wrong, because the people who re-elected John Howard do not know it. Australia will not regain its rightful place among nations until this generation achieves maturity.
To Kim Beazley, I offer grievous condolences. Though his defeat should have been with the greatest of valour, it is merely ignoble. Beazley could have been a great prime minister, I suppose. Then again, maybe not. He is nothing now. And he has left his party with nowhere to go. There are no replacements. Simon Crean? The howling winds of the wilderness simply increase at the thought. Jenny Macklin? Her spin on the defeat is as deadening as her flat persona. Mark Latham? "A right-wing authoritarian zealot" as someone has accurately described him. There is no one in the Labor Party to take over the leadership.
We now have nothing left. We must expect the worst. Do not for a moment believe that life in this once great country will be the same. This was not just another election. It was an election to preserve what was left of the soul of Australia. That soul has been eaten alive by vipers. That soul has been offered up to John Howard by larval voters for whom ideals and integrity are as foreign as the refugee children who drowned without their sympathy. Australia's future has been sacrificed to the banality of evil.
Were it not that the majority of Australians are a lazy, lame lot of cowards with nothing to fight for beyond the pallid hope that they can continue to shop at the local supermarket without being shot at, we would be facing the same future as Serbians under Milosevic. Yet by their very cowardice, voters have opened up this dreadful possibility. Coalition policies will continue to put people out of work. Sooner or later, crime will become a national epidemic.
With vistas no larger than the thumbnail of a Neanderthal, the majority of voters have revealed that all they care about is consumption and defecation. You see them everywhere. Faces devoid of spirit, emotions truncated, absorbed in an upwardly material mobility that excludes, barren of soul, their bodies looked after with the finest, most expensive products of entrepreneurial charlatanry, while the most basic necessities of others go unheeded, unobserved.
Vale Australia. The dream is over. The dark ages are well and truly here. The majority has spoken.
14 November 2001