End of mean-spirited era

Before the election Julie Macken, writing for New Matilda, recalled some of the hard-core nastiness of the outgoing federal coalition government. She called it "The Bureaucratization of Evil".

Julie wrote about a 2003 summit into mental health, examining the effects of detention on asylum-seekers: "But my note taking came to a halt when I heard Dr
Louise Newman, one of Australia’s most respected psychiatrists, say during her presentation: ‘What I’m describing here is State-sponsored torture and child abuse.’"

"Then there was the 10-year-old Afghani boy, who in a fit of rage and despair sat down in the dust and carved ‘freedom’ into his arm."

Tony Knight wrote in the same journal about the tragedy that was SIEV-X. Nearly four hundred people drowned at sea during that 2001 election campaign, and it barely made the papers. The Prime Minister at the time said it wasn't our fault, despite reports that nearby ships knew what was going on. Tony writes of the beauty and grace of the community-built memorial in Canberra, and closes with the words, "Lest we forget".

These two articles sum up the callous disregard for human life and digni
ty that really epitomised (the dark side of) that man and his government. They also remind me that all along, there were people speaking the truth and asking for healthier solutions.

Yeah, anyway he's gone now. I know why so many Australians liked him: he offered safety and retreat from the world of difference, the comfort of denial, permission to blame other people for our problems, the freedom to believe in lies that would protect us against the great imagined horrors of invasion and destruction.

But i hope we get more optimistic and honest people in charge from now on.

(image: thanks for you lie - banksy by niznoz at flickr)

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