Democracy gone wild

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Last updated on August 3rd, 2017 at 11:48 am

“This is democracy on December 2, 2005,” writes apocalypse-minded Margo Kingston:

An Australian is hanged. The career of a would-be Prime Minister who made his name breaking union power in the Courts is in ruins. The IR legislation passes the Senate as a fierce and thunderous storm whips through Canberra. Drivers in a long line of white cars outside the Parliament’s Senate Entrance waiting to take the Senators away turn on their lights as rumours fly that the airport is closed. A tree uprooted by the storm falls in a nearby suburb, killing a man.

Right. Let’s work through this …

* The hanging of Nguyen Tuong Van has nothing to do with Australian democracy, just as the executions in Malaysia of Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers nineteen years ago—when a Labor government was in power—were nothing to do with Australian democracy.

* Peter Costello has blundered spectacularly, but his career is far from ruined.

* A “fierce and thunderous storm” on the east coast also has little to do with the democratic process, and in fact may help drought-ravaged Australia produce one of its largest grain hauls since 1995.

* Weather-related airport closures, or rumours thereof, are not influenced by voter behaviour.

* It is unlikely that any part of the Australian democratic system was involved in the death of a man struck by a falling tree. Well, maybe not; after all, according to Webdiary commenter Damian Lataan:

Howard is a liar whose lies have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people.

And now he’s killing people with trees! Oddly, Margo neglected to mention Australian democracy’s complicity in the vicious slaying of Popsicle.

UPDATE. Alan Ramsey hits a Margoesque note:

Nguyen Tuong Van went to his death. John Howard went to the cricket. Kim Beazley went to church. Rob Gerard went into exile. A day in the life of politics. Business as usual. The Prime Minister excused his cricket attendance on the basis of his “hosting duties”. Singapore’s hangman could have said the same thing. An embittered friend emailed: “As you often observe, God help us all.”

That paragraph means absolutely nothing.

UPDATE II. Margo explains her ridiculous piece:

The headline quotes Ron Boswell during the IR debate wrap. The first paragraph is a list some things that happened on the day. That’s all.

Posted by Tim B. on 12/02/2005 at 11:45 AM
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