The Week in Review: your five minute guide to politics and current events (13th – 19th August)
With Tony Abbott home from holidays, the share market back to where it started and the Master Chef decider out of the way, we could finally get back to talking about the carbon tax.
Wednesday’s ‘No Carbon Tax Rally’ proved once again that when it comes to debating the merits of this policy, any reference to science, economics or even the carbon tax itself is strictly optional.
MC Angry Anderson mistook the rally for a religious convention, telling his “brothers and sisters” that “we are driven by forces we don’t fully understand … forces that, as I believe, are of the divine inspiration”.
Truck driver Troy ‘Grover’ Logan – who looked dangerously close to actually dying on stage - used his time at the podium to say “these new electronic log books are gonna make us drive when we’re tired”.
And a speaker from Alan Jones’s Galileo Movement spoke critically of the United Nations’ ban on the DDT pesticide. It was left to Tony Abbott to take control and remind everyone what they were actually there to complain about.
Throwing any sense of irony to the wind, the protesters then staged a ‘mock funeral’ to announce the ‘death of democracy’ (complete with a coffin), less than 100 metres from parliament house. Sources tell me the same stunt didn’t go so well in Syria.
Pauline Hanson popped up at the rally, saying that Julia Gillard was becoming a dictator. A fair comparison really given that Hitler also had to contend with a minority government and a budget deficit. For a while. That’s where the similarities end of course – Hitler was much more popular.
Earlier in the week Tony Abbott weighed into the coal seam mining debate (about whether mining companies should be required to ask permission to access farm land) by stating that he supported the farmers. He also said he supported the rights of the mining industry.
This ingenious talent for simultaneously agreeing with both sides of an argument (henceforth known as ‘Abbotting an argument’) must have been a skill he learnt at the Oxford debating club. Next he’ll be saying we should cut government spending, lower taxes and increase the budget surplus.
The AFL’s use of language this week wasn’t quite so nuanced. West Coast Eagle Patrick McGinnity told Melbourne’s Ricky Petterd that if he came to Perth he would “rape his mum”, Collingwood supporters where in the spotlight for chanting “rapist, rapist” and Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse denied any link to the match last year where he yelled ‘f**king rapist’ to St Kilda player Stephen Milne.
The AFL is now rushing to establish a ‘creativity in sledging’ code after a week of such disappointingly one-dimensional insults.
There was mixed news for Australian icons this week. While Fosters fended off a hostile takeover bid from SABMiller, Qantas splashed the cash with full-page wrap around advertisements on Tuesday morning’s newspapers talking about ‘A New Spirit’ and a commitment to Australia. Hours later CEO Alan Joyce announced that the company will be cutting 10,000 jobs and shifting part of its operations to Asia. Not the new spirit everyone had in mind.
Aussie Pop icon Kylie Minogue had a better week. Her single ‘I should be so lucky’ was placed on the Sounds of Australia Registry, meaning we will no longer be able to pretend it didn’t happen. Apparently the 1988 hit was written in forty minutes and recorded in an hour. Judging from this video, it’s unclear why it took so long.
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