Australian Politics: Sophisticated Brutality

Organized Chaos?


I’m losing count of how many prime ministers we’ve had in the years I’ve been alive (mild exaggeration). It seemed like, in my childhood, John Howard would be prime minister forever. Then Kevin happened, then Julia, then Kevin again, then Tony and now Malcolm (in the space of 2-3 years). Australian politics is a brutal, cutthroat affair. Some would say dysfunctional, which it can be. But there’s a silver lining: the Australian public has influence.

In this country, unpopular thugs would find it exceedingly difficult to hold their grip. Because if the public doesn’t like you, goodbye. That’s not to say you were a terrible prime minister. But you’ve taken the baton of false promises, bluff, question skirting, back peddling and passed it on to the next chap.

Why this constant reshuffling isn’t all bad in dot points:

  • Proves little media sway. Left and right leaning media outlets aren’t pressured by the Government. This is the better of two evils.
  • Political foes aren’t shot dead on obscure, dark streets, they’re stabbed in the back in front of the entire nation. We can all see your dirty laundry.
  • Polls win. More Australians would prefer you as PM? Australia has the chance to see if you’re better without having to wait.
  • Legislation still passes. Promised a change? You still have time.
  • This brutal environment doesn’t let you get comfy. The Australian public is your master. You have the job because we put you there, not because you’re a power-hungry thug with a god complex.
  • Dysfunctional, but still functioning.
  • Change sooner rather than later is usually better.

Maybe Australian politics is in a sorry state right now, but look what we’re not… Think Russia, think the GOP, think almost every country across the Middle East and Africa… In this country, our opinion matters. Tony is gone because the Liberals knew that if he wasn’t, losing the next election would be a sure thing (almost). Party funding just isn’t enough to keep you in power (sorry Christian right, sorry big business).

We can bemoan the sorry state of affairs, but it highlights the fact we still have power. A Putin will never run this country. Dirty laundry is hung out to dry in the front yard and the media is free to savage you like a pitbull, which means corruption is a very risky business. This all equates to a more educated public. The media is, perhaps, a little too strong, but the left and right freedom balances it out.

Of note: they all suck anyway. Here’s why in dot points:

  • Pro same-sex marriage at 60 – 70% and growing. Still not legal.
  • Pro Euthanasia at 80% and steady. Still not legal.
  • Pro Islamifcation safeguards. Hard to put figures on it, but Australia says no to Islamifcation, yet Islamic seeds are free to take root (no controls against Islamic immigration).

Majority/ consensus still means nothing despite the Government’s desire to please the nation. The fact euthanasia for the terminally ill is consistently ignored by the two major parties both astounds and infuriates me. It’s why I haven’t voted in the past two elections. I will never support a government that ignores people that are suffering.

Euthanasia – The Ultimate Human Right

If there’s one issue that drives me stir-crazy, it’s euthanasia. To me, there’s nothing more sensible, considerate, humane and justified than assisted suicide, and I find myself incensed with anyone that disagrees. In fact, at my most impassioned, I pray that those who oppose it die in the most excruciating, painful and humiliating ways imaginable. I want their every swallow like razorblades, their every breath exhausting. I want their final moments to be dragged out for months on end, with unimaginable pain not even an entire field of poppies will relieve.

That’s how much I abhor the people that stand in the way of assisted suicide. I hate them with every ounce of my being. They make me sick. Why do they even oppose it? Well, I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that those most vocal in their opposition of euthanasia are pushing religious agendas. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (England), recently wrote that he, along with members of other religious cults, believed that England’s push to change euthanasia legislation went beyond “merely legitimizing suicide to actively supporting it”.

There are a couple of problems here, first being yet another religious numbskull believing it their right to dictate the rights of everyone including those that don’t share their delusion. Is there anything more annoying? No really, is there anything—ANYTHING more annoying than someone trying to impose their religious dogma on someone that doesn’t share their faith? In my opinion, no. It’s selfish, rude and unbelievably arrogant to assume that your fallacy-ridden, unprovable and scientifically impossible belief system can be forced upon those that aren’t gullible nor stupid enough to believe it. I mean, this isn’t some pastor speaking in front of his own congregation, this is an Archbishop trying to influence the conscience of democratic MPs.

The second problem this Archbishop can’t seem to wrap his head around is that suicide is a right held by all, whether you’re terminal or not. I cop a lot of heat from this assertion, but I stand by it. Let me explain: no one owns us. Not our parents, not our friends, not the state, not even the God these people believe in. We’re the sole determiners of our destiny. Life or death is our choice alone. Am I actively supporting it? No. I don’t believe being dumped by your boyfriend or girlfriend is reason enough to kill yourself, nor is going bankrupt or boredom. In actual fact, I believe suicide to be exceedingly selfish and downright reckless – depending on circumstance. This is where the Archbishop fails to grasp reality. According to his logic/ stance someone committing suicide on account of their relationship woes is comparable to that of a terminally ill patient who’s ready to die. He mightn’t have said that per say, but that doesn’t mean he’s not painting every case of suicide with the same brush while completely ignoring key factors such as quality of life.

Death isn’t pleasant. “How We Die” by Sherwin B. Nuland explains in graphic, yet captivating detail the mechanics of clinical death and what most of us can expect in the lead up, and the truth is that death is seldom peaceful. Whether we’re struck down by a heart attack or stroke, a near death experience can be terrifying and leave those that survive with debilitating cases of PTSD. But in many cases, survivors of such health scares recover and, in a lot of cases, go on to lead happy and fulfilled lives. But what if you’re terminal? What if a change in lifestyle isn’t going to make you better? What if an operation or medical treatment isn’t going to take away the pain and fear? What then?

Here’s the Government’s answer in countries where assisted suicide is outlawed: “Don’t care. None of our business. Anyone that helps end your suffering is liable for criminal prosecution. If, one night, you’re on death’s door, we don’t care that you’re not surrounded by family, we don’t care that it may be in the middle of the night. Death with dignity is a criminal offense and will be treated accordingly.”

I’m not exaggerating. In places where assisted suicide—on the basis of terminal illness and suffering—is illegal, torture is a government sanctioned and endorsed practice. “We’re too good for capital punishment, but we sure as hell won’t put stop to punishing those diagnosed with terminal disease. Die in pain, die without dignity, we refuse to show you mercy, unlike your dog.”

Why isn’t assisted suicide a common legislative process around the world? Poll after poll in my native Australia shows strong support for assisted death for those that are terminal and suffering, ranging consistently in the region of 80% or more. Yet despite our longstanding democracy, the public servants (MPs) of this country refuse to heed the will of the people. Is this a failure of democracy? Are Australians too stupid to decide for themselves? Or, like so many places on Earth, are we hampered by the personal and moral agendas of those that have been placed in a position of power?


Standing in the Way

Those that oppose euthanasia always confer “the line”… where do we draw it? They usually speak on terms of humanity as a whole, that it’s somehow a group decision when it comes to assisted suicide (should it be legalized). But it’s only ever been the decision of those that are dying. The person dying is the sole decision maker and proper legislation can be set in place to ensure that remains the case whatever the situation may be. Allowing these people their right to die doesn’t quash the value of human life. If anything, it empowers it, as it shows compassion, it shows humanity. It shows objectivity in the face of moral dilemma, which has always been a weak point of mankind. We’re too easily influenced by our personal ideology that we forget human rights aren’t ours to delegate how we see fit. And I have yet to hear a convincing argument suggesting otherwise, especially when it comes to euthanasia.

Another tactic common among those that oppose euthanasia is to stir imagery of evil doctors or money-hungry next-of-kin. They envisage a world in which legislation does not exist or work to protect those most vulnerable, and in some cases it doesn’t. But you don’t subject everyone to disadvantage or misery just because of the inevitable instances where bad, scheming people do bad scheming things, especially when criminal law is available to bring them to justice.

People Are Hurting

I can’t stand suffering. I can’t stand it. So if something can be done about it, then it’s our duty to make it happen, but only in a way that ensures doctors, loved ones and the terminally ill are protected.

I’m forever saying: “I’m not scared of death, I’m scared of dying” and that’s true of so many. Assisted suicide gives the terminally ill the ability and power to seek a more peaceful end, one they can spend in the company of their loved ones, one stripped of anxiety.

I’m sick to death of misguided ‘morals’ standing in the way. These people hold onto an ideology that’s in conflict with reality. But guess what, death is an earthly matter. If you’re religious or don’t believe in euthanasia, fine, suffer until the very end, but don’t you dare impose your ideology on others. People have the right to shag who they want, believe what they want and die when they want, and any legislation that can safeguard these rights within reasonable and rational parameters can not and must not be delayed, obstructed or prevented.