Re-Entry Briefing

[Author’s Note: This is a lazy post 🙂 In the middle of a heatwave without airconditioning. If our respective governments could sort of find out a way to combine and average out America and Australia’s weather right now, that would be awesome! Anyway, this is a modified version of a message I sent to friends overseas recently. If you are not au fait with Australian politics, it may help to know that we elected a conservative party to Federal Parliament earlier this year.]

Dear Australian Residents,

You will soon be returning to our sunbaked nation. As you have been absent for some time, this Briefing will help re-orient you to your homeland, and bring you up-to-date with current affairs. Please read, mark and inwardly digest the material in this document. It is possible that you may be quizzed upon touchdown.*

1. Governance

Our illustrious and democratically elected leaders continue their rule of our nation in true form. Senator Pyne has announced a reform of the National Curriculum, and – surprisingly – the panel which will be reviewing the Curriculum contains a number of right-wing conservative educators. It is good that our wise leaders have decided to review the Curriculum now; after all, it has not yet been rolled out across the nation. Meanwhile, the Government continues to spare its citizens unpleasant news. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (you will recall this is his actual title and not an Orwellian irony), Scott Morrison, has outdone himself in his service to the Nation in this area; not only did he limit himself to commenting on immigration matters in his weekly Friday media briefings, but he has cancelled the last two briefings, and today announced that henceforth a weekly written statement will be issued, with media briefings only “as needed”. We are so blessed to be protected in this manner. The blessing continues, with journalists’ visas to Nauru now costing $8000 – per visit. (Yes, that was three zeroes after the eight.) Cory Bernardi, South Australian Senator, has flooded the media with his conservative morality lessons; his book, “The Conservative Revolution”, has gone into a second printing. Bernadi’s comments are so utterly conservative that even Prime Minister Abbott has distanced himself from them.

2. Australia Reassumes Rightful Dominance of the Ashes

The world has been set to rights again: not only did the Urn return, but it did so in a 5-0 whitewash. The radios and livingrooms of cricket-loving Australians rang to the song of “STAND UP! STAND UP, IF YOU’RE FIVE NIL UP!!!” The total and rightful dominance of the Australian cricketeers continues into the 50 over form of the game. [The fact that the English women’s cricket side beat Australia in the other one-test international tends not to receive much attention.]

3. Potential Medicare Reforms

It has come to our attention that one of your party suffered an injury while away. While we lament this, and extend our deepest sympathies, we request that you receive all required treatment while on your vacation. The Medicare system is costing us too much to maintain, to the point that we are thinking of charging a compulsory $5 co-payment to bulk-billed GP visits. The left ramble on about how this will only financially impact the poor and those who most frequently require medical assistance, further disenfranchising them from the medical system. Obviously, they just don’t understand the financial imperative of reducing the monetary burden of caring for our citizens.

4. Weather Conditions

It’s hot. We don’t want to complain, but could you pack a bit of cool air and bring it home with you?

5. Entertainment News

Relish your in-flight movie during your trip home. Unless you enjoy watching tennis players sweltering in forty-plus degree heat, or that bastardized child of the cricket family commonly known as T-20, there’s nothing on the television.

Remember – it is absolutely necessary that you re-enter your homeland by plane – boats have been known to be towed back into Indonesian waters. Please have *all* current and correct documentation ready for presentation upon disembarkment. If you manage to obtain a signed copy of Bernardi’s book, we’ll even let you jump the immigration queue.

Sincerely,

Government Agent #361528

* Possible, but unlikely, due to service cutbacks. However, should you fail to answer any quiz questions correctly, you may find yourself visiting a lovely island called Nauru.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Re-Entry Briefing

  1. That is so terribly funny!!
    I am going to send the link to this post to a fellow blogger in the US who is quite interested in Australian politics. 🙂
    Standing up in my lounge room!!! 😉

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  2. Funny, but oh so sad. So terrible to see the trend towards conservatism extends to Australia as well. I hope in 2015 Canadians finally see the light and get rid of our horrible government.
    Until then, I’ll quite gladly send you some of our sub-zero temperatures in exchange for some heat. Take it easy and enjoy some a/c!

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    • Yes, we seem to be taking “great leaps backwards” at the moment here in Australia. The Immigration Minister’s refusal to brief the media in person is one of the most cowardly political acts I’ve ever witnessed; the Medicare co-payment scheme was tried in the early 90s, and flopped (I was a student working as a medical receptionist at the time and saw its impact first-hand); and the fact that an extremist like Bernardi is getting so much airspace makes me want to … to … to steal into his office at night and paper the walls with pages of “The UN Charter of Human Rights”!
      Sadly we don’t have aircon where we’re living right now 😦 44 degrees centigrade today!!! and nightly minimums in the high twenties. But tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of the heatwave, and the Bureau of Meteorology haven’t been pushing back the time the cool change is expected, so I’m just being stoic. This, too, will pass 🙂

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      • Oh, my! I though everyone had a/c in Australia! Eek. I will definitely try willing some cooler temps down there! 😉
        Paper his walls with the UN Charter of Human Rights – I love it!
        Our *prime minister* refuses to meet with the media…

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      • Why do these politicians think that it’s OK not to meet with interviewers?! Even if they dislike it intently, they ought to do so – goodness only knows, at least here, that they like to bleat on about having a “mandate from the people” to do something. Well, a “mandate” implies a relationship – which implies communication!!! Grrr.
        There was a very famous – or infamous, depending on your political leanings – minister for Immigration here in the nineties, Philip Ruddock. I deplored his politics but admired him as a person. John Howard, then then conservative Prime Minister, had appointed him Minister of Immigration at a time when it suited the conservative agenda to come down hard on so-called “illegal asylum seekers” or “boat people”. Basically, Ruddock was both the scapegoat and the staking-goat for the conservatives: he was the mouthpiece of their policies, the one who was lampooned by everyone, while the others enjoyed the boost in popularity which unfortunately can follow this type of thing. (There was a particular incident, including a vessel denoted SIEV-X and one called the Tampa, which caught international interest – but it would take some time to go into here.) His actions cost Ruddock a lot: his own daughter publicly left the country, stating that she disagreed with her father’s stance. Despite all this, I never heard of him refusing to meet with the media. Although I protested along with many others against his politics and against him holding that portfolio at the time, I look back on him as a brave and tragic figure.
        *sigh* They say we get the politicians we deserve. Now there’s a depressing thought!
        Think I’ll go drown my sorrows in another litre of water …

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      • Sadly, I and most people I know have very little respect for our current government. I can’t even bear to watch the news. … This is more depressing than talking about depression. 😉

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      • Too true! I made the mistake of reading the paper over breakfast last Saturday morning. Have returned to my former policy of “no news before noon” 🙂

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      • And yes, almost everyone in Australia does have aircon! It’s just that we moved from a very warm place to here, which only gets very hot occasionally, so we thought we didn’t need it. /hollow laugh/

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      • I have a/c and I only have about three super hot months per year. 😉 We do hit the mid-30s plus humidity. When I didn’t have a/c I’d sometimes take a cool shower and not dry off, just lie in front of the fan to cool down. Oh, and go to lots of movies in the afternoon. Take care!

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  3. Sue directed my attention this way. I found your description of current issues fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

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    • No problems 🙂 The dearly beloved and I are keenly awaiting the return of our favourite political analysis program, “Insiders”, on the ABC. I jokingly said this morning, “Perhaps it’s been axed – remember what Barry Cassidy said last year about Liberals* refusing to come on the show?” The DB said, “They wouldn’t be that stupid.” At which point I laughed, because the Abbott government has proved over and over that it really IS that stupid! I find that even my conservative friends are agreeing with me. That’s definitely not a good sign for the nation.

      * Which, not knowing whether you’re Australian or not, I have to point out is the somewhat misleading name of the conservative party currently governing Australia

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      • I’m American, with a huge interest in American politics and a more than passing interest in the governments and government systems of other countries.

        Sue and I have been discussing politics some of late, particularly issues which are current here and you have already had the “privilege” of dealing with.

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      • Unfortunately Australian politics often follows America’s, though we have often been a leader in some areas – perhaps being smaller gives us a little more flexibility. For example, our healthcare system seems more equitable. I used to live in South Australia, which has had some truly visionary state governments over the years: among the first in the world to give women the vote; stopping homosexuality from being unlawful; putting recycling levies on beverage cans and bottles – you hardly ever see a drink container on the street, because someone wants the 10c they can receive for handing it in; removing free plastic bags from supermarkets. However, unfortunately, South Australia has a small population, water shortages, a large area to administer and a conservative government. We’ll see what happens next : -)

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  4. Pingback: The Real Danger in Extremist Polemic | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

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