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Would you be like to live in a police state where untrammelled greed has knowingly destroyed its environment for the benefit of the elite, asks Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may, I would ask you one question:

Would you like to live in China, a police state whose untrammelled greed has knowingly destroyed its environment for the benefit of the elite?

No?

The arable area of Australia is roughly the size of Vietnam. That’s if we cut down every tree. This sliver of life is all that stands between us and shitdom, a la Easter Island on ice.

But frack it, right?

Somewhere, in a boardroom far, far away, a man with receding hair and a striped shirt asks two crucial questions:

What is this Artesian Basin? And is it money?

He is obliged to maximise returns to stakeholders — known in some circles as "sausageholders". And the sausage is pointed directly at our heads. The trickle-down effect.

Worse, he has friends. Lots of them.

Somewhere, much closer to home, in a café on Martin Place, a moron made tragic fools of the cream of Australia’s intelligence services, not to mention the bunyips of Macquarie Street.

And didn’t our prime minister do well? Certainly well enough to enthuse the crowd at the recent World Cup opener against our former Gulf War allies, Kuwait.

Make no mistake, ASIO reports to Parliament. Or, in 2015, Peta Credlin, who for the time-being is the Australian lower house.

Accordingly, the men and women ASIO find themselves beholden to a bunch of Fruit Loops with a wildly erratic security/publicity agenda. Add to their complications the silent-movie AFP and kill-happy local police and you can start to have some sympathy for them.

There is another pressure, too — money. The guys in the striped shirts. The guys who are pointing their sausages at you. ASIO has a very ordinary track-record in resisting instructions to focus on commercial targets.

So, we find ourselves at the mercy of striped-shirts and an avariciously-instructed domestic security body.

If this goes on, environmental degradation and police state will follow as night does day. You might not notice the creep for 10-15 years or so, but you will.

As they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.

Read also 'Down with the corporatists' by managing editor David Donovan.

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