Opposition? What’s that?

In a real democracy – or a false two-party state like Australia – opposition parties can be expected to challenge government legislation or spin.

When Prime Minister John Howard announced today that he had received information about a specific terrorist threat in the country, opposition parties and media outlets should be laughing the man out of town. A terrorist threat may indeed exist in Australia but the timing of such an announcement – when the government wants to push through draconian anti-terror laws – smacks of political opportunism. “This is not a political issue”, Howard said today, a grin sitting just behind his smug face.

In Australia, Opposition leader Kim Beazley represents the kind of alternative government likely to please the Howard government. Historian Clinton Fernandes analysed Beazley in February this year and found a man in love with the US alliance, military hardware and “foreign affairs pragmatism”:

“In his first press conference as Labor leader on January 28, Beazley emphasised that Australian troops in Iraq would stay for as long as Australian diplomats were in Iraq – that is, indefinitely. He also called for Iran to comply with US demands. In other words, Labor’s new leader is once again attempting to knock the members into policy subservience. Whether they obey is another matter.”

Australian democracy is in meltdown.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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