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Australia’s year of the skidmark

This was the year that started with a bushfire crisis that sent the prime minister scuttling to Hawaii – telling his staff to lie about it if anybody asked.

This was the year of the bushfire recovery fund that didn’t seem to help too many people, but provided a handy $10million to cardboard squillionaire and Trump buddy Anthony Pratt.

It was the year of the awful drought, which brought to light the appalling destruction of our inland river systems, aided and abetted by the National Party and its friends and donors. Thanks to Barnaby and Angus and their many helpers, the slow death of the Murray-Darling system was sped up, while piles of taxpayer dollars have disappeared from view.

It was the year in which the slow-motion state-sponsored assassination of Julian Assange kept rolling, and the state gathered to itself more and more powers to suppress truth and persecute truth-tellers.

The year Australia finally started to find the Murdoch fake news and propaganda monopoly too sickening to tolerate. But despite the overt signs of disgust from the electorate, the government kept shovelling money and favours at the NewsCorpse empire and was repaid with ludicrously favourable coverage reminiscent of the golden days of Pravda in the Soviet Union.

The year the Trump pantomime came to a bizarre finale, with our prime minister playing his tiny supporting role as shoeshine boy, for which he was weirdly rewarded at year’s end with a shiny gong from his golden idol.The year that our prime minister, striving to curry favour with the dying Trump regime, decided to turn Australia’s diplomatic pop-guns against the nation’s biggest trading partner, starting a tit-for-tat war that leads who know where.

The year of Black Lives Matter, when our newly militarised police forces showed how much they have learned about the suppression of legitimate expression.But above all, the year of Covid-19, when it seemed to me at first that Rupert and his government wanted to “let it rip”, but the state premiers got in their way. When nobody in government knew how to stop the virus tearing into aged care facilities. When nobody in government knew how to check whether passengers on cruise ships like the Ruby Princess were infected. When nobody in government knew how to stop international airline crews from wandering at will through uninfected neighbourhoods.

This was the year we were banned from travelling overseas (unless you had some political connections). Unless I’m mistaken, this must be the only time Australia has faced such a ban – unless there were similar restrictions during the world wars.

It was the year that our government decided the best people to put in charge of economic recovery from the pandemic were its friends and donors in the gas industry, some of whom forgot to declare their conflicts of interest and who surprisingly recommended massive handouts to the gas industry.It was the year the government decided the best way to stimulate moribund demand in the economy was to cut wages and increase job insecurity. And decided to lift lending controls from banks, allowing them to restart all the abuses revealed in the royal commission the government tried to stop.It was the year the government handed out dozens of no-tender contracts to friends and supporters.

The year the disgraceful Robodebt scam was formally declared to be the vicious piece of thuggery it clearly was from the start.

The year the cashless welfare card was accelerated, to the benefit of more friends and donors and the immense detriment of its victims. Hello, Son of Robodebt.

The year that Saint Gladys of NSW shed her shining halo and became just another cardboard cut-out liar and cheat.

The year that shame died.

The year that accountability was murdered and buried in a shallow grave with the rotting corpse of truth.

The year of Scomo, the Engadine Kid, a skidmark on the threadbare underwear of Australian parliamentary democracy.

I pray to God that 2021 brings us some relief.

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