With the election campaign just short of full swing expect the madness that has bubbled over in the previous weeks to soon explode like an ejaculating geyser. Whilst one of the duties of living in a democracy is to take the electoral process seriously there are some for whom the nastiness, horror and sheer absurdity of Australian politics is just too much to contemplate.
Unfortunately we don’t have something like the UK’s Monster Raving Loony Party to make a satirical protest and express our contempt for mainstream politics with funny hats, outrageous costumes and a list of humorous, albeit strangely rational policies. Sure there are other ways to show your disgust for the major parties during a campaign, even if on election day you actually cast a valid vote for the lesser of two or three evils.
If any issue in the current campaign might persuade you to dump both the major parties, and go shopping for a funny hat, it’s the focus on the tiny island of Nauru as a panacea for the asylum seeker problem. Tony Abbott is on record as saying that “it’s not an unpleasant place to live” and Kevin Rudd has talked about resettling up to 5,000 asylum seekers there on a permanent basis.
If somebody suggested we house thousands of asylum seekers on Cockatoo Island they would be certified insane but in many ways that would be more humane than the appalling Nauru solution. At just 21 square kilometres, a landscape pitted with phosphate mining and in one of the world’s most remote locations, it’s without a doubt the Alcatraz of the Pacific.
As the final phosphate supplies are exhausted, a financially bankrupt Nauru has no other option than to accept Australian handouts and continue its only viable industry – aka ‘detention and human misery’. Whilst it may be a bluff the mere suggestion that the island, which imports nearly all its food supplies, might accommodate another 5,000 permanent residents is beyond belief. Even the Nauruans themselves have been lobbying the Australian Government for years to resettle their own citizens in Australia as their phosphate economy finally collapses.
With no public meetings at which to heckle and stage-managed electorate appearances that screen out the rabble, there’s little chance for the disillusioned voter to vent their anger these days – at least in a ‘public’ forum. You might be able to protest outside the Villawood Detention Centre but Nauru is out of the question. Even those cardboard campaign posters that will soon litter the urban landscape are placed high on electricity, well out of the range of the disfiguring texta.
It’s spiritual founder Screaming Lord Sutch died in 1999 but the Monster Raving Loony Party still survives and now has chapters throughout the world. It has a small Facebook following in Sydney but maybe it needs a bona fide public presence complete with all the regalia (and funny hats) of disdain. It might be a minor protest on the larger scale but it would also be a contest – the Monster Raving Loonies versus the Liberal/Labor ’monstrous’ loonies!