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What is really wrong with the country: 10 Years of Quiet Australians

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

Quiet Australians need to become noisy and well-informed Australians and take back control of our country, writes director David Donovan.

PEOPLE OFTEN ASK me what the problem is with Australia. For ten years, as managing editor of news website Independent Australia, I have been closely studying our nation.

I have personally edited and published thousands of articles on practically every feature of Australian life and read thousands more. I have also dug deep into primary sources and interviewed a host of people, and written hundreds of articles myself. Consequently, I feel reasonably well-qualified to diagnose the sickness in our country — and it does ail.   


The problem with Australia, in short, is that a small group of small-minded people with regressive, radical and authoritarian tendencies have taken control of our nation. Only when we are able to wrest control of our country back from the ratchet grip of this dangerous minority will Australia be able to regain its lustre and integrity.

Independent Australia was established to oppose these dark forces. It will continue to do so.

Australia has always been a rather conservative nation. After almost 120 years of near-nationhood, we still pay lip-service to a foreign monarch, we are chary to change our outdated Constitution and we celebrate our military history in an almost Mongol fashion. Conservatives have held power federally in Australia for about two-thirds of the time since our 1901 Federation.

This means that they have had the opportunity to place fellow conservatives into most of the important positions in the establishment, including the courts, the police, the military, the ABC and so on.

Corruption thrives via this network of mates, giving and returning favours, especially in the absence of any federal anti-corruption watchdog. Even the few non-conservatives in official positions know they must not anger the “born-to-rule” mob if they wish to retain their sinecures. That is the case even when Labor occasionally manages to secure power, because official appointees know it won’t be long before the Right retains its rightful ruling place.

And the Right is vengeful and capricious — as, for instance, the ABC knows all too well. Just this week, the national broadcaster was again subjected to further fiscal pain. 


Drifting becalmed in the backwaters of the world, the majority of Australians are “quiet” — contented, placid, languid and self-satisfied, though wary of any threats to their comfortable existence. They are also largely anti-intellectual — a state encouraged by increasingly poor standards of education in the population as public schools find their funding cut year after year. A well-educated, questioning hoi polloi is not in the interest of the ruling elite. Peasants only need to be literate enough to operate the owners’ machines and do their paperwork.

Meanwhile, conservative governments lavishly fund private schools with public money, for reasons too obvious to elucidate.

Most of these “Quiet Australians” consider themselves fortunate to live in the “greatest nation on Earth”. What interest they have in politics happens around elections because of compulsory voting, which they resent. Their interest in politics, obviously, is superficial.


This does not necessarily mean they are unintelligent, it merely means that, outside of elections, they receive their political messaging in a more subliminal fashion. Such as sandwich boards outside newsagents, snatched FM radio broadcasts, the television in a doctor’s waiting room, or newspapers perused in coffee shops.

Quiet Australians – the bulk of the population ‒ are, as a consequence, ripe for exploitation by a self-interested minority.

In general, major media owners support conservative causes because they believe it is in their financial or business interests to do so. But because Australia has the most concentrated media landscape in the world, dominated by one quasi-crocodilian rightwing despot, who shunned his Australian citizenship to the lure of filthy lucre, our media is even more skewed toward the Right than other so-called Western democracies. The message blared out in this almost forgotten colonial outpost, day after day – both subliminal and overt ‒ is the same: conservatives good, progressives bad.


But here’s the real kicker: our conservatives aren’t conservative anymore. Over the last 50 odd years, a radical “new” economic ideology ‒ neoliberalism ‒ has gained orthodoxy throughout the world. Of course, the only thing new about it is its name, because these same laissez-faire economic theories have been tried and failed since Tulip mania hit Amsterdam in 1637.

The idea is that markets operate according to invisible metaphysical laws and magically bestow riches on all — so long as they are not encumbered by laws and regulations.

Of course, markets are the contrivances of men ‒ and they are mostly men ‒ and they are able to be manipulated by men. Usually the men with the most money. The rise and collapse of markets is a brutally repetitive plague on the population. Only laws and regulations can operate to mitigate the worst excesses of the market. For centuries, the men with the most have been trying to remove these regulations. And for the last 50 years, these radicals have been in the ascendancy.

These same men now hold sway in Australia. Aided by that crocodilian media mogul, a strongly conservative establishment and a largely complacent public, a mean but achingly familiar paradigm has again taken hold. That the rich are virtuous – lifters, not leaners. That the poor and disadvantaged are dole-bludging parasites. That overly pigmented refugees fleeing terror are economic migrants, gangland thugs, or terrorists. That our First Nations people are lazy and entitled, and their sacred sites can be bomb sites, if they lie atop riches. That digging immense holes in the ground to extract dirty black rocks is our nation’s sovereign goal. That our civil rights must be curtailed and we should consent to constant surveillance, all to “keep us safe”. That we should send our children to more pointless wars. That we should be quiet and compliant — because a Quiet Australian is a good Australian.


As an Independent Australian, you are clearly not a Quiet Australian. These radicals must be overcome. With more like you, noisy and well-informed Australians may take back control of our country.

Independent Australia will continue this fight.

Please help enlist more noisy Australians to reject radicalism masquerading as conservatism. Together, we can drive out the rapacious and malevolent minority who have entranced our fellow citizens and temporarily taken control of our Australia.

This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members-only area.

You can follow director Dave Donovan on Twitter @DavroszFollow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.

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