The Hollow Men

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Yesterday, Sunday 15 August 2010, I went to a rally and march against global warming in Brisbane’s King George Square (KGSq).

KGSq, or Fred Patterson*  Square as we used to call it in the street march days,  is a horrible place to have a rally — gone are the lawn and the water fountain now replaced by warm glare and ugly,  hot, grey, brick pavement. I hate to think what it will be like in summer.

On the march – the organisers asked us to walk  facing backwards — a silly stunt mocking the Julia Gillard’s ‘moving forwards’ speech and surprisingly hard to do.  Somehow  I managed  to ask fellow national tertiary education union (NTEU) members on the march whether Labor deserves another chance to govern at the coming 2010 federal election.

One unionist , a lawyer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), said yes because the alternative is so much worse.

Another unionist,  a doctor at Herston campus of the University of Qld said no.  He would be voting for the Greens but then it would be a question of preferences, he said.

Another union member, an indigenous nurse and academic, said that neither major party deserves to govern. The nurse-turned-academic, who was trying to get funding for a study on the effect of foetal alcohol on aboriginal kids, gave as an example the state of indigenous health. She argued that poverty and alcohol was destroying her people but all Labor governments could do was to give millions for elitist indigenous educational programs with dubious results in even achieving their limited objectives.

A union organiser said that she had not voted Labor since the 1980s when the Hawke ALP government backed uranium mining and export.

The ultimate protest vote?

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column

For all we know the following quote may turn out to be the quote of the 2010 Federal election campaign:

“When it come to good ideas for Australia’s future, Gillard and Abbott have given the voters a blank piece of paper, I say let’s give them a blank piece of paper in return.

They say that voting in Australia is compulsory, but it’s not compulsory to fill out the ballot paper.

You can put it in the ballot box, totally blank.

That’s what I’ll be doing on Saturday and I urge you to do the same.

It’s the ultimate protest vote.”

Abbott v. Latham

Why did the person propose the ultimate protest vote?

A) Albert Langer was an anti-vietnam war activist and is opposed to parliament and was jailed for encouraging people not to vote.

B) Therese Rein is one of Australia’s top entrepreneurs and feels her husband Kevin Rudd was unfairly sacked by Labor.

C) Pauline Hansen is a rabid nationalist and blames Abbott for her being sent to jail and dislikes Gillard because she got Rudd the sack.

D) Latham is a labor mate turned celebrity journo who has ‘maintained the rage’.

If you are interested, my reason for not voting for any of the mainstream parties is that no one in their right mind would vote for Abbott.

The union organiser on the march against global warming asked me my reason for not voting Labor.

My reason for not voting  Labor
I told her they do not deserve a second chance, even within the constraints of parliamentary democracy they are not fit to govern.

There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star
Kevin Rudd's final speech - Therese Rein (left), Jessica Rudd (right)

Labor came to power during a recession and so had a great chance to do something positive — instead Labor in power sold public assets in Queensland and elsewhere, harmed the environment on every criteria, sold out clean energy in favour of coal, said sorry but did nothing to help indigenous people gain their own economic base (the land), gave an open licence for bosses to hurt building workers by funding the Australia Building and Construction Commission, the list goes on … they snuffed out the light of social democracy on the hill and threw it on the scrap heap of global war and US alliance.

I will not be attending the ALP campaign launch at the convention centre today (16 August 2010) because I heard Julia Gillard address the ACTU congress there in 2009. Gillard attacked building workers with lies and innuendo that day.

The then deputy prime minister and minister for industrial relations told the 1,000 or so delegates that she would introduce an industrial inspectorate with the same powers as the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The deputy prime minister did this knowingly within earshot of the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of building workers who had died on the job because of unsafe workpractices by employers.

Anna Bligh sold us out

The ABCC has not charged or used its coercive powers against the bosses who are responsible for these deadly places of work.

Whether Labor will lose I cannot say. But I do know this.  Rudd was supposed to ‘hold the line’  in Queensland. He could not do so because the Bligh state government has failed every test – it sold off public assets like ports, power stations, Qld Rail … it made it possible for a Qld police officer to murder an aboriginal man and get away with it … allowed mining companies to dig huge holes in the earth … and thereby killing us all bit by bit.

The list of Labor’s shame is endless.

I live in the seat of Griffith.  My choice at the election is Kevin Rudd who can’t even bring himself to put Labor on his advertising billboards such are the rivers of bile he has for his labor mates.

I can vote for the right wing american citizens electoral council inspired by Lyndon La Rouche who wants government to fund a hi-tech future of nuclear power, high speed internet, fast trains … technology not people is their dream.

I can vote for the Greens or a ex-Australian soldier who is opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So I vote for the latter who may get one other vote in my booth at Seven Hills TAFE – now closed by Anna Bligh so the developers can move in – but then it comes down to preferences and we are back where we started, with no choice at all…

 This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
                                   — T S Elliot"The Hollow Men"

Ian Curr
August 2010

* Fred Patterson was the only communist ever elected to an Australian parliament. It was to the seat of Bowen in North Qld.

One thought on “The Hollow Men

  1. A 'No' vote says:

    It was Mark Latham, former leader of the ALP federal that suggested voters cast an informal vote.

    A comrade informed WBT that:

    “Albert (Langer)’s protest was slightly more subtle than the Latham argument (in) that you don’t need to fill in the ballot, so just hand in a blank one.

    My memory is that this is in fact illegal, and that the requirement is that every square must be filled with a number. Otherwise it is not a legal vote, and as such you are strictly breaking the law.

    However there is no stipulation that the numbers must be consecutive, so that I think Albert’s argument was that you should fill out every square (as legally bound to do) but put a 1 in each square, or something similar. This was supposedly quite “legal”.”

    Also note that the Tasmanian Dams case in the High Court established that to write “No Dams” on the ballot paper does not negate your vote so long as your voting intention is still clear.

    The writing of the words ‘No Dams’ is strictly illegal however you can’t be prosecuted because your vote is confidential and no link is permitted between your name on the electoral roll and the vote you cast.

    Langer’s crime, for which he was jailed, was that he was found in contempt of an order sought by the electoral commission.

    Unlike Latham he tried to get people to vote for Neither side (the campaign was called Neither!).

    Langer ‘was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment for breaching the court injunction ordering him to stop advocating contrary to the Electoral Act. In March 1996 after widespread public outcry and media attention the Federal Court reduced his sentence to three weeks, which he served in full.

    During his incarceration, Albert Langer was deemed by Amnesty International to be a “Prisoner of Conscience.” See WikiP

    Latham has no injunction against him. However his own Labor party introduced Section 329A of the Electoral Act made it an offence to encourage, during the election period, voters to fill in House of Representatives ballot papers other than in accordance with the normal method. The offence was punishable by 6 months’ imprisonment or a discretionary pecuniary penalty.

    Mark, I’d watch out, the hand that fed you may turn around and bite you back. But then you have so much dirt on them, they might think twice about it.

    I’ll be voting for Sam Watson in the Senate and for Hamish Chitts (Revolutionary Socialist Party) in the house of reps.

    Ian Curr
    August 2010

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