Aussie inequality. Trickle-up

The wide brown land of Australia is getting wider and browner. Each day, an area equating to more than 1,500 football fields’ worth of native woodland and scrub is being cleared in Queensland, alone, says the World Wildlife Fund. It’s a hotspot, the “only deforestation front” in the developed world, and results in the bulldozing of an estimated 45 million animals yearly in the sunshine state.

The clearing also drives sediment into rivers draining into the Great Barrier Reef, starving the coral of light and exacerbating the effects of climate change for the reef.

While the recently elected Queens-land Labor government has promised to make stricter laws, conservationists say New South Wales’s new laws (of 2017) are even worse than Queensland’s and could lead to a doubling of clearance rates.

In the Northern Territory, it’s been reported that a property called Tipperary has had 50,867 hectares approved for clearing in the past six years, an area almost ten times the size of Manhattan.

The despicable, hypocritical Barnaby Joyce (alias The Beetrooter), he who opposed a cervical cancer vaccine for girls claiming it would cause promiscuity, has had to quit as deputy Prime Minister after a poorly judged fightback over his pregnant girlfriend for whom he left his wife of many years and mother of his four daughters (who found out about the pregnancy on page one of a tabloid newspaper).

Joyce, who had also banged on about welfare cheats and dole bludgers, is alleged to have organised cushy jobs for the girlfriend, who had been his media adviser. PM Malcolm Turnbull responded with a “bonkban” on ministers having sex with staffers.

The last salvo from the red-faced  grub came at his new partner’s expense when he said it was a “grey area” whether the baby she’s carrying is his, because he was out of the country for ten days at the time of conception. He says, however, he will love the child as his own.

Michael McCormack, the new deputy PM and a former newspaper editor, in 1993 editorial about gay Australians and HIV/Aids, discussed their “sordid behaviour”. “Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay.” He apologised afterwards.

Reasonable Australians are having a fit of envy of their nearest neighbour, little cuz New Zealand, whose new PM, Jacinda Ardern, given 60 seconds to list her government’s accomplishments, rattled off: “We started KiwiBuild, we banned the sale of state houses, we introduced the Healthy Homes Bill, the winter energy payment, we extended paid parental leave, we banned microbeads, set up the Pike River Agency, started the work on the climate change commission, increased the minimum wage, committed to equal pay, we introduced child poverty legislation…” and on she went.

Commented columnist Elizabeth Farrelly (of whom your columnist definitely has columnist envy): “The Kiwis get Ardern, Canada gets Trudeau. Somehow, they get to elect actual human beings who fight for real things. We get Mr Hollow and Mr Beetroot, a sham and a vegetable…”

Our PM, who once crossed the floor for climate change, is now “desiccated by hypocrisy and bound by fossil-fuel addiction”. In her column on the growing inequality in Australia, Farrelly says: “There’s no trickle-down. Trickle-down was always a lie. There’s just trickle-up.”

Roland Gopel and his off-grid establishment

Off the grid in his own country, a man living in a caravan on his property 700km from Perth is being fined $50-a-day by his council for not having running water or sewerage, breaching regulation. He has also been fined $1,000 under WA’s Caravan Park and Campground Act and ordered to pay $3,000 in court costs.

“I refuse to pay a fine for living. I refuse to be homeless,” said Roland Gopel, 58.

At my charming, long-suffering Bondi pharmacist, John, I was pipped at the post by an older South African woman, of the purple hair brigade, in a hurry to be served before anyone else. She was, she said “double parked”. The pharmacist, served her straight away.

Then, at a meeting at my son’s school, who speaks up? Of the five parents unhappy with a new assessment system, three are South African, whiney Joburg, elegant Durbs and little old me from Cape Town. Afterwards I seek out Durbs who says he thinks it’s because we are the smart questioning ones. Ha ha, we are the entitled. Which one? In Rose Bay, I ask a shop assistant what she thinks of all the South Africans she serves. In reply, sign language for zip your lip.

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