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Apr 30, 2014

Riders on the storm

Crikey readers talk the deficit levy, giving $9 billion to the RBA, the racist undertones of Anzac Day and how we should weather the weather.

About that $9 billion …

Ignaz Amrein writes: Re. “Abbott’s fistful of dollars will be a slug on states as well as voters” (yesterday). Bernard Keane makes a lot more sense than Terry McCrann’s predictable take on the government’s proposed  budget measures. I guess it proves the point that he and his employer appear to be part of the Coalition’s propaganda machine. You do wonder (actually, you don’t) why the $8.8 billion not-asked-for gift to the Reserve Bank is never mentioned in the Murdoch press and of course all the other measures of extra income the Coalition has scrapped. The trouble about today’s mainstream media is the fact that it is all about opinion and an agenda, rather than real news reporting.

The racist undertones of Anzac Day

Michael Kane writes: Re. “Rundle: Anzac Day’s disjuncture from the bloody failure it represents” (Thursday). There are a number of explanations about the key to Australia’s “coming of age” as a nation. One is based firmly on the Great War, with Gallipoli as the centrepiece. It has become a dominant interpretation through gaining bipartisan political and popular media support in the last two decades. It is increasingly ahistorical, jingoistic and distasteful in character.

I suspect that it effectively provides the almost exclusively Anglo-Celtic descendants of the participants in that cataclysm the satisfaction of seeing themselves as descendants of  “real” Australians, compared to the post-1945 millions. Little or no thought is given to the bitter divisions the conflict created, the growth in sectarianism and the awful aftermath of ruptured families and narrow minded isolationism. Australia’s population in 1914 was about 5 million, and the nation was at forefront of democracy and social policy — this after 50 years of progressive legislation in colonial jurisdictions and 14 years of innovation by both a real Liberal party and the new ALP.     Nothing like that can be found after WW I. There was  little joy, little innovation and not much culture for three decades dominated by a depression and a war that actually really threatened the nation’s survival.

Christopher Pyne is probably right that the Anzac legend and WW I should be taught extensively in schools, especially during the next four years. But let’s do it properly. Let’s not claim Australia was fighting for democracy when it was fighting for British imperialism, which actually our then war leaders understood for good or for bad. Let’s also look at the home front and the dissent. Let’s make sure what had been achieved prior to 1914 is understood and respected.

We should honour the sacrifice of the many — the British, French, Germans , Turks et cetera.  But I expect those nations will subject the war to rigorous scrutiny. If  history is turned into myth in this country, in a way not dissimilar to what Putin is doing with Russian history, we do a gross disservice to all future Australians. Thanks to Guy Rundle for being a courageous voice on the issue.

Always take the weather with you

Alan Baird writes: Re. “The ‘boy child’ is back: more bushfires, droughts coming our way” (Monday). Nice piece on El Nino from Magdalena Roze. I brazenly perused this article totally uncritically even though she’s probably attempting to hijack the debate, but then again I’m much more indulgent than George Brandis on these matters. I’ve been waiting for years to see what happens when the little boy puts in a reappearance. I am curious to see whether Tony will be reduced to requests for prayers for rain as his mentor John Howard was near the end of the last ENSO.

Isn’t it passing strange that denialists are quick to poke fun at climate science as a “religion” but are quite happy to implore the creator to make weather amendments? But probably not climate amendments. That would cause an unholy row. Then again, those prayers did work … as Manuel would say … “eventually”! Gee, heaven must be light-years away!

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