The Minister for Home Affairs

Content note: This piece includes graphic discussion of suicide and reference to abuse

Just as I said I wouldn’t, I forgot them, and their stories got tangled up with all the other distant horrors. In May, last year, two young refugees under Australian care set themselves on fire. Omid Masoumali, an 23 year old held in indefinite detention on Nauru, doused his body in petrol and burnt himself alive. Three days later Hodan Yasin, a 21 year old Somali woman, also set herself alight. Unlike Masoumali, she survived; with burns covering seventy per cent of her body. She lost several fingers in the blaze.

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Fields of Wheat

“Me and my friends sort of used to run through the fields of wheat…” the Prime Minister says, a gleam of merriment finding her eyes, “the farmers weren’t too pleased about that… Their cries were sort of like those of animals. Gosh, they ran and ran… their filthy, skinny haunches carrying them as best they could. But we were faster, of course – children often are – and because we were quite small they could rarely see us beneath the golden heads of wheat. We laughed a great deal when they swerved or swore or prayed. Blood takes on a different odour when it’s agitated, sort of like… marzipan. My friend April would always reach them first, then myself, then June. Farmers are rather well acquainted with dying. I imagine they learn it from their livestock. Goodness me… Nobody is ever perfectly behaved, are they?”

For UK readers who aren’t volunteering for Labour in today’s election because victory is still a long shot, even with the tightened polls, here’s a short letter from an Australian perspective.
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Beyond Bluewashing

Content Note: The following piece contains reference to mental illness and suicide

A fortnight ago, the Weekend Australian published a profile of Jeff Kennett so glowing you’d be forgiven for thinking he wrote it himself. The obsequious puff-piece gushed about the resigning chair of Beyondblue, citing the “indefatigable can-do spirit hard-wired in his soul” and painting him as a maverick saviour of the anguished and bereft.

The anguished and bereft might beg to differ. While there’s no doubt Beyondblue has done internationally groundbreaking work to destigmatise and alleviate mental illness in Australia, this is largely in spite, not because, of the organisation’s public face. As Kennett steps down after sixteen years with the charity, it’s only fair that we acknowledge his generous advocacy. But let’s also not forget the tireless work he’s done throughout his career to champion forces that contribute to and exacerbate mental illness on a mass scale.

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One Nation

There’s worse news every day.

Thursday, 15th of September: in her maiden speech to the Senate, Pauline Hanson declares that Australia is “in danger of being swamped by Muslims”.

Sunday, 18th of September: speaking to a forum of European conservatives, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott describes the influx of refugees to Europe from “Middle East and Africa” as a “peaceful invasion”.

Wednesday, 21st of September: an Essential poll of 1000 people suggests that 49% of Australians want to ban the migration of people of people of the Islamic faith to Australia. A further 11% aren’t sure either way. If the poll is accurate, those of us who oppose such a measure are in the minority.

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Brexual Feelings

It is closing time in the gardens of the West.
Cyril Connolly

Yesterday’s news from Britain has bought the world to its knees. Europe’s most powerful institution has lost a crucial pillar and the hopes and dreams of millions dangle on the brink. It’s difficult to guess what brought us to this place – the path behind is tangled and dim, the path ahead is subsumed in darkness. As we stumble, blind, into the thicket of history, the only thing that’s certain is the stark reality of this uncanny severance – Harry Styles is leaving One Direction.

Things simply cannot go on as they were. Who would want to see Louis, Liam, and Niall in concert, a hair-gelled triumvirate of pure dead weight? 1D is finished. And, to add insult to injury, the United Kingdom is leaving the EU.

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Randomocracy

There are questions that cleave nations, the junctures where the paths of history fork.

Who has the right to vote? Is this is our war to fight? Should above the line Senate voting change from a group ticket preference system to an optional preferential system wherein voters are instructed to number a non-mandatory minimum of six boxes above the line while the mandatory minimum of 90% numbered boxes below the line is replaced with a non-mandatory nominal minimum of twelve numbered boxes and an unwritten mandatory minimum of six numbered boxes which will act as a savings provision for those who confuse the below the line and above the line voting instructions as well as some changes to the mechanism of election night ballot counting for the sake of expediency and thrift, or not?

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The Good Emperor

Thank goodness we finally have a Prime Minister who respects our intelligence.

Just two months into the Pax Malcolma and the onioniverous antics of our erstwhile overlord seem a lifetime ago. I can barely even remember that time Tony Abbott said baby seals deserved to be clubbed. Or tried to legalise witch-burning on the grounds it would benefit small business. Or went to the NATO summit wearing nothing but a novelty Australian flag bucket hat because Barnaby Joyce dared him too.

That dark age is behind us and Australia now is in a safe pair of hands. Safe, supple, strong hands. Dry, warm, well-manicured hands. Hands that probably couldn’t strangle a man to death, but could pay an assassin to do it for them, but wouldn’t because they’re too gentlemanly. Continue reading “The Good Emperor”

This Machine Cuddles Fascists

Last week, former Keating Minister Gary Johns wrote a piece for ruling class vanity zine The Australian in which he argued that people on the dole should under no condition be allowed to reproduce. “Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it.” lamented the Labor MP turned IPA Nazgul as he lazily kicked his bootblack in the head, “But… if a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.”

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A Crowd Pleaser

The only thing more interesting than state-level political history is state-level alternative political history. That’s why I’ve written the manuscripts for a series of eight gripping novels called The Winter on Spring Street Chronicles, an epic alt-history saga which dares to answer the “what if?” questions nobody has given enough of a shit about to answer before. Though the strongest manuscripts, in my humble opinion, are ‘Part V: Et Tu, Kennett?’ and ‘Part IV: Joan Kirner – Black Queen’, the following hypothesis is drawn from draft notes for Part VII, ‘Whither Napthine? – The Vet Who Never Was.’
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