“For your eyes only”.

There’s a phenomenon perhaps not unique to Australia, but is particularly noticeable in regional Oz..esp’ around these parts of the Mallee, where you can see the material progression of the process toward the almost inevitable “Third Generation Syndrome”, where you see the original pioneers pine and daub shanty, followed some years later after some modicum of farming success in “The New House” and then finally to the much later triple-fronted brick-veneer showpiece of the farm’s success story…
Then comes the next generation…the third generation syndrome where all that hard work gets “pissed against the wall”.
This breakdown with the family structure is jealously guarded from outside eyes and sometimes only the most intimate members of the family, even right up to the one parent knows of the inevitable collapse..I have heard of wives continuing on their merry way, involved in this or that community group..the bowls club, the local op-shop, even the choir group..totally unaware of the stalking of Nemisis until the fatal blow falls and then the shock of total destitution stares them and the family in the face..Some never recover their equilibrium and go on in a kind of continuous methodology of habit..like the setting of one foot in front of the other as in walking.
Many times it is not anyone’s particular fault..The produce market might collapse just when they are most vulnerable with a loan, or an accident may befall a family member or members plural..or health issues etc….But in the saddest cases, it can be gambling (perhaps even “pre-selling” of a crop) or the drink that does the most damage..and when that is the cause of the family breakdown, then truly within the group, it really is ; “For your eyes only”.
It was booze that done for the next generation of some of my family, booze mixed with the stagnation of life progress in a dying district. A district that was once a booming area with all the bountiful residuals of a virgin land cleared and cropped for several generations until…until the ground water started disappearing or becoming too saline…before the top-soil, held together for many millennia of Mallee bio-forest was clear-felled to every fence-line and then grazed almost to bedrock and the dirt-farmers became chemical farmers and that was alright while the rain was predictable and of a certain measurement…..until..
THEN…then we see the breaking spirit, the breaking health, the closing businesses and the loss of population drifting away from these “sad shires”..friends, family, networks, transport capabilities and the final straw ; the :”free-market” that destroyed many agricultural boards and guaranteed buyers..then comes the drink…
I saw it here when we purchased this property from an obscure Aunt..Obscure to me, because I had only heard of her mentioned in vague conversations…as “Aunt..X”..I never met her till we came to inspect the property that was on the market..I didn’t even know it was HER property..and when we did purchase it, we were pressed by those who bought OUR own property to move out and yet my Aunt had made no move at all to vacate her place. I had to recruit my other relatives up here to please intercede to assist the aged Aunty (their aunt as well!) to move her to her new unit in the Barossa. It was curious that there did not seem to be much enthusiasm on their part, until after I moved here and discovered some awful truths I was not supposed to know.
I won’t reveal those “truths”, as I suspect many regional families have lived their own situations that have for a short time at least wrought havoc into their lives. Sufficient to say that it was a third generation syndrome moment that resulted in extreme trauma for the family of my Aunty..may they rest in peace.
But sadly, this generational thing is exactly identifiable in the behaviour of the right-wing governments of this nation this last decade or so..We are ..what?..three generations from the second WW. , where militaristic discipline shaped social structure and obedience to such a degree that the imposed impossibilities placed on society caused the social upheaval that resulted in the huge changes in social welfare and health commitments of the preceding Labor governments..But the Liberal / National parties still cling to those perceived halcyon days of the Menzies era as the yardstick for measuring industrial , social, financial and status capacity in a world that is ploughing forward at a pace they completely fail to comprehend..and so the resulting chaos we see in day to day running of the nation could very easily be recognised as that same “Third Generation Syndrome” collapse that is going to leave the nation so vulnerable to what is akin to a family collapse.
With the by-election in New England, we are seeing a person totally incapable of viewing the big picture of the national needs and totally unsympathetic to any other electorate outside his own..If he is re-elected and given back the water portfolio, it WILL be akin to the naer-do-well son making his way to the front-bar of the local until in a drunken stupor he writes himself and the family’s future off in a wreck of his own making..The voters of New England would be wise to consider if they wish to be joined with or cast adrift from many of their “near relatives” with such selfish representation..They would be wise to consider this risk, for ; joined with a country-wide community, they could contribute with others to build the next “house”, while on their own they will, for a time flourish, but it will be by spending their accrued assets and good-will capital..a capital that is heavily invested in a person and a party that has in the recent past squandered resources and capital investments to what could be a criminal conglomerate. Look to your “house” ,New England…because WE further down the river catchment are looking at you!
So the nation must soon consider if these people now in govt’ have the honesty, the capacity and the integrity to lift the nation from one level to the next to promote community growth and prosperity, or will they do as has been done so many times in a once hard-won successful family and piss it against the wall?…and if they set about doing the latter, will WE be satisfied with standing by and witnessing the sad, long, debauching of our nation and our children’s future with the pathetic explanation to those inheritors that it was done in the interests of…
“For your eyes only”.

The Green Hills of Tyrol.

Was watching that new program on the ABC last night about the Brits in Aden back in the sixties … and one of the characters was talking to his obviously fading father and he started to sing that old Andy Stewart standard; “There was a Soldier, A Scottish Soldier … ”, and it was about the “green hills of Tyrol”. I didn’t know that … Tyrol … that’s where my old man came from. You might have read that piece I put up about him in “Willie Wilson’s ferret”.

Anyway, the old man got homesick … and that’s what that piece about the ferrets was all about; Home … or at least that feeling of home … of a place to belong, where one could roam freely as a child and have adventures and discover things with other kids. And when grown up, could point to a geographical location and say; “That’s where I came from”. Identity … that’s what it gave you. Identity … Home.

* * * * *

Enclosure, also spelled Inclosure, the division or consolidation of communal fields, meadows, pastures, and other arable lands in western Europe into the carefully delineated and individually owned and managed farm plots of modern times.

This enclosing of public land, the locking off of access to open field and meadow to allow private property to flourish in a capitalist society is a terrible thing, a demeaning situation. This is a deliberate policy to diminish and to corral people into a crush of suburban town limits … to shut down “community” and replace it with limited access property … private property. To reduce all persons to nothing more than an identifiable commodity to be constructor, consumer, and then consumed ourselves. To take our identity away and replace our need for “national home” with some generic, jingoistic “homeland”.

The original confiscation of Indigenous land and renaming it “crown land” reduced the native peoples to allocated strips of territory and took away in one fell swoop their claim to right of wandering … all other was private property. This “right of ownership” extended to water and wildlife, so that the Indigenous peoples could not even maintain their hunting culture. It was a deliberate action designed to genocide the native population.

The same philosophy is now being actively pursued by the right-wing elite of our country to shut down any large-scale projects that would extend the politics of community … which could encourage a more inclusive social order..perhaps even socialism as a political reality itself. There is a driving imperative within the current political right to with-hold from the general populace a sense of “community belonging” … any developing coherence of neighbourhood so that a cluster of like-minded people could form a block of mutual interest that could stop speculative development. Like the “Shut the Gate” farming community … the “Stop Ardani” … and remember the “Green bans” of the seventies?

This deliberate policy of debasing community and promoting private property could be the driving force behind certain elements of racism and bigotry so apparent now in the nation. The fact that many recently arrived ethnic groups cluster together and form a community for both identity and security, much like the old Greek and Italian communities, and from within these suburbs arise those familiar community projects like a religious worship building, a club, sporting grounds with an ethnic team … and so on.

These early start communities show a natural loyalty to culture, and ethnicity that can create a suspicion of exclusion to the dominant culture..that looks like a rejection of the dominant culture, when all it is, is the desire to create a feeling of what it was like where they came from: home.

There is a distortion of public understanding of what constitutes community ownership when you have politicians like Margaret Thatcher claiming that there is no such thing as society and Ayn Rand refuting any identity in “public”, because that grouping is made up of many individuals, thereby reducing everything of value to the rights of the individual. And that includes all property, community or otherwise. The recent allocating to Packer’s group of public land for his Barangaroo casino complex, demonstrates this. Public land becomes “private property” and we are locked out of more free-space.

Richard Epstien wrote a set piece for the rights of private property; “Takings : Private property and the power of the eminent domain”, where he claimed the “owner” of private property was entitled to compensation for the “takings of lands”. But this claim seems only to be the right of those individuals who by one measure or another claimed ownership of that land..hence no recognising of compensation for indigenous peoples, but much compensation for the “fortuitous purchase” of land that could be essential for transport corridors of mining operations … (anyone we know?). And one could note that the exchange rate in value of land from the individual to the government is in marked contrast to that sale price that the government gets when certain land/utilities are transferred to private ownership.

Yes, it is the essential ingredient of right-wing policy to reduce community constructs of a feeling of belonging … of an identity with a location we can call “Home” … and the relentless displacement through transitory employment, high rental, low socio economic assistance of large swathes of the population, always on the move, seeking low-cost housing, a modicum of permanent employment … if just for a couple of years to save for a deposit on ridiculously expensive houses..that will for a long time stop many children from being able to point to a name on the map and say..as I can and many of you can. ”There! That’s where I grew up … and that’s where Willie Wilson had some ferrets …”

A SCOTTISH SOLDIER

Andy Stewart

There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier

Who wandered far away and soldiered far away

There was none bolder with good broad shoulder

He fought many affray, and fought and won

He’d seen the glory, he’d told the story

Of battles glorious and deeds victorious

But now he’s sighing, his heart is crying

To leave those green hills of Tyrol

(Chorus) Because those green hills are not highland hills

Or the island hills, they’re not my land’s hills

And fair as these green foreign hills may be

They are not the hills of home …

Sacred Site.

Image result for Old Aboriginal Woomera pics.

Australian Aboriginal Woomera ( spear launcher).

 

Ahh!…yes..I can see that you are all a tad jaded and tuckered out with the political shenanigans. I tell you what..I’ll tell you a story. It is constructed from two events..one, when a friend told me of finding a very old woomera in the cleft of a very old tree on the edge of the Simpson Desert..as told in the story below..The other was told me by a Italian brickie mate of two brothers who actually did go through the described scenario below…only difference was; they drew straws.
I hope I never have to be given such a choice..but then..there are others who have done the same.
It goes like this..:

SACRED SITE:

Two men stood side by side at the rear of the four wheel drive truck. The setting sun was behind them. Their shadows stretched out in front like long thin pencil lines over the salt-bush and stubble.

“Come over here Bob, I’ll show you something.”

Antonio stepped away at right angles to the track and fence. The desert air was cooling, and the distant horizon purpling with the coming of evening, the darkness was tumbling towards them from the east. After a short distance the first man stopped suddenly and stood with his hands in his pockets but the thumbs outside. Bob strode up next to him and gazed at where Antonio was looking, he saw nothing but one lone, long dead tree amid an expanse of desert shrubbery.

“See there?”

“What?” Bob queried.

“There at the base in that small cleft.”

At first Bob didn’t see anything unusual, but then an object took shape, a man crafted object of symmetrical design. He moved a few steps closer so he was only yards from it, in the dusk he made out clearly the shape.

“Why … it’s a woomera” he said surprised “ an … an Aboriginal woomera … but it’s old … so old”.

He spoke in awe, and indeed it was old. At least a hundred years old because the wearing of the elements on it, it had been sun- baked and sand blasted, the resin and fibres holding the spur onto the body had deteriorated and the patterns cut into the body of the woomera were now obscure. Bob leant forward as if to touch it but Tony gripped his wrist fiercely.

“No, Bob … don’t touch it, let it lie there. I haven’t touched it ever in all the years I’ve known it’s here, you’re the first I’ve ever shown it to … it must remain as it is till time takes it back to the earth … as it will take us all … as it will take Francesco.”

Antonio released Bob’s arm and straightened up still gazing at the woomera.

“Come, we will camp nearby for the night it will soon be dark.” Both men turned and walked back to the truck.

A soft fire glowed in the centre of a ring of stones, but its light seemed too frail to penetrate deep into the darkness, unable to wash into the deeper crevasses of their eye sockets and the hollows of their cheeks, so the men’s faces quivered into grotesque shadowy masks.

“Who’s Francesco?” Bob asked.

Antonio squatted, one arm on his knee with the other hand prodding a stick into the coals.

“Pass me that piece of branch, Bob..ta…Francesco was my older brother … he died a long time ago … twenty years now … or rather tomorrow.”

Bob stretched one leg out in the cool sand and made himself more comfortable.

“You never told me you had a brother” Bob remarked quietly, in a tone that suggested he was a little bit piqued that this close friend would keep such a secret from him.

Antonio didn’t look away from the flames, his eyes didn’t blink as he stared into the syrupy yellow.

“It’s why I asked you along on this trip actually,” Antonio solemnly spoke.

“Oh?”

“You’re a priest, I want you to help me bury him again..”

“Who?”

“Francesco … my brother!” “…

“…You alright Tony? .. I mean; where’s the body?”

Antonio leant back and felt inside his clothes bag and swung back with a small wooden urn.

“Here …” He said quietly “His ashes!”

Bob squinted at his friend with one eye closed.

“In there?”

“In here”.

There was a pause in the conversation and the fire crackled and hissed, the silence of the desert night crowded in all around them, listening.

“So what did they bury all those years ago?”

“Ashes … plain wood ashes!” Antonio smiled and leant back to place the urn into his duffle bag. Bob let out a slow, low whistle.

“You better enlighten me Tony.”

“I’ll get the billy boiled first.” Antonio dropped a palmful of tea into the boiling water. He slowly stirred the contents with a piece of stick.

“I’ll tell you Bob, not as a confession, but still…maybe for Francesco’s soul!”

“How did he die?”

“He shot himself.”

“Suicide?” Bob raised his eyebrow Antonio leapt up angrily…

“No! … No … No, a thousand times no …” he strode two steps away then turned and strode back, the ball of his cupped left hand slapping onto his right fist, he shook his head empathically as he spoke. “Not suicide, … no! his was a sacrifice … yes, a sacrifice to the filthy God security!” Antonio stopped suddenly, hands frozen apart, his heavy breathing noticeable in the still desert night.

“Security,” he whispered. His shoulders slumped and he sat back down by the fire, reached over, took the billy and filled two mugs with the brew.

“Sugar, Bob?” his voice still tense.

“Please … and milk”.

“I take mine black.” Antonio leant back on his duffle bag and stretched one leg out comfortably, his boot pushed up a little mound of the red sand..

“Dammit Bob, it still upsets me after all these years.” He guffawed, “Suicide!” and he guffawed again. He took a sip of his tea and a deep breath.

“Francesco … was ten years older than me and we were partners in a building company before the recession. We started out as brickies you see, then it just grew from there “Collossus Constructions” we called ourselves and it did get colossal! Ended up flat out just organising the other trades. We did a lot of estate housing projects in those days for those big real-estate companies. We were in it up to our necks when the recession hit and it all went bust! Oh God did it go bust! Overnight, two of our biggest contracts went into receivership and left us holding the bag. Subcontractors to be paid, contracts to finish etcetera, etcetera and it cleaned us out … or nearly …”

“Didn’t you see any signs of the impending collapse?”

“Nah! they were still signing contracts up till the day before … so someone was pulling a shonky!”

“It’s always the way” Bob chipped in.

“Anyway we were running around like scalded cats all week, cajoling this one, pacifying the other, putting someone else off till finally on the Friday night Francesco comes ’round in his ute and says to throw in a sleeping bag and the billy and let’s go bush for the weekend. I couldn’t have agreed more. Hey, isn’t it good out here in the desert?..clean, peaceful. It was at this very spot that we camped … right here, the same place I come to every year since then … but this will be my last … this will be my last.”

“You look good for a few years yet Tony.”

“But I feel tired Bob, so bloody tired.”

“You been carrying some of the weight?”

“In a way … it could’ve been me … it could have been me that died.” Antonio sighed. “He found that woomera, not me, he wandered over there to go to the toilet, after a while he called out to me: ”

‘Tony … come here, have a look at this!”

“No thanks!’ I called in disgust.

“‘Nah … not that … it’s interesting.” He had found something.

When I got there he was squatted in front of the woomera staring at it.

“Hey!” I said, “that’d look great above my mantelpiece” and I reached out for it but he rapped my knuckles with a piece of branch.

“Don’t touch!” he barked. “Have respect for the dead.”

“What dead? It’s only a woomera.” I said.

“Oh he’s dead alright, after all those years, and its still his..it was probably left here by mistake.”

“Finders keepers…” I began, but Francesco wasn’t listening to anything I said, he just stared at that thing.

“He was a hunter … and he rested here … for a camp maybe … maybe he speared a ‘roo, he leant his woomera against the tree … it would have been a sapling then surely …” and Francesco went on in this quiet monotone, building up a picture of this lone Aboriginal hunter and the desert and the need for food that sent him on long journeys …I just stood there listening to him talk and it was enthralling in it’s depth of feeling. I’d never known Frank to think of these things before.” Antonio stopped and stared into the fire, it’s flickering glow so enticingly rich and comforting under the stars. When he finished, Francesco stood up, turned to me and said: “We’re still all hunters, you know,” then turned and walked back to the camp.”

“It seemed to have touched a spot in him” Bob remarked.

“I’ll say,” Tony agreed. “He went back to look at that woomera again and again over the weekend. But he said no more about it. Then on the Sunday afternoon as we were packing up he said to me:

“‘Tony … we’re done for, you know that don’t you?”

“How do you mean … financially?”

“Yes financially stuffed..but I’ve thought out a way to beat the bastards!”

“Like how?” I asked.

“You remember those insurance policies we took out on each other two years ago?”

“Yeah, in case one of us kicked off, but they’re not worth a quid yet … unless one of us dies … say! you’re not thinking of faking a death, then disappearing or something?”

“Not faking … but a death, yes.”

“What are you talking about, – you lost your marbles or something … what are you talking about …” I was shocked I can tell you. Francesco got angry.

“Grow up Tony” He yelled “Grow up, we’re finished. In less than a month they’ll have our business, our houses, our cars, … our balls … everything .”

“But Frank”

“Don’t Frank me … you know what it’s like to live in poverty? Do you? and your wife and your kids … what’re you gonna tell them … “sorry kids, sorry honey but we gotta go live in a shack and eat porridge and potatoes!” hey? you tell them that … listen, you’re too young to remember back home, but I can tell you; I remember and I don’t intend to have my family go through those times,” and he slammed his hand against the side of the ute.

“What … what do you intend to do”

“Better you don’t know.” But I knew.

“Frank … no … be reasonable … Stefania … the kids …”

“It’s them I’m thinking of “ he said softly, then; “Listen Tony, I’m fifty eight, been working in building since I was a kid in shorts..what’ve I got; ten, fifteen years left, what of it? Fifteen years of nothing for me and my family, or else … I’ll never have more than I got now, never, I’ve reached my peak and I don’t want to go down into the depths, it’d kill me anyway.”

“We argued back and forth and I followed him around the ute talking to his back, but he was stubborn.

“Listen,’ he said “You wanna go live in a ditch you go live in a ditch. What do you think the old people suffered in their lives for? So you could have it easy and to hell with your kids? Every comfort has its price, Antonio, what do you want your kids to be? tramps? bums? No, … I don’t want my kids to battle out of a poverty trap like the old people had to. If there’s a price in it I’m prepared to pay everyone pays sometime … it seems my time is now.”

“But me, Frank, what would you have me do, sit by and see you knock yourself off and then reap the reward .. what sort of man do you consider me?! No, we’re both of us in this together, I won’t let you take it on your own …”

“It’s the only way Tony, you’re ten years younger, your family’s younger.”

“Give me a risk on it … toss a coin Frank, you always like to toss a coin for a decision, toss a coin now and we’ll take equal risk!” …

“Alright” He relented. “We’ll toss … and the winner loses!” He grimaced at his own joke.

He pulled a few coins from his pocket and picked out a twenty cent piece.

“I’ll call, since it was my idea” he said and he flipped the coin.

“Heads!” he cried.

Bob..Bob, have you ever been so scared that your stomach was just one big knot wrenching your innards together so they just ached? Well, that’s how mine were. Don’t ask me why I agreed to that madness but I knew the loser wouldn’t back out. The more I think of it, the more I refute it, but strangely, strangely the quick fix of the idea attracted me then and I loved my family enough to kill anyone that would hurt them, so why not kill myself to save them from hurt?! … all those kind of thoughts went through my mind in the split seconds of that toss as that coin flickered in the light. Of course it came down heads and Frank bent down and picked up the coin. He slapped his hand on my shoulder and said.

“Now, it’s decided. let’s not talk about it on the way home. Who knows, maybe I won’t have to go through with it after all,” and we packed up and left.

“On the Monday afternoon I was in the office when I got a call from the insurance agent.”

“Mr Gustoni?’ the agent asked.

“Yes” I replied, thinking it was me he was after.

“Yes..I was right, I inquired into the policy agreement and yes, your accident indemnity does cover accidental death outside the working site and hours.”

I went weak at the knees … and almost speechless. I could just mutter into the receiver

” Oh..right..thanks..thanks” and I hung up and raced out of the office and drove to Frank’s place.

“Oh mother of God! mother of God!” I prayed as I drove through that endless traffic. I didn’t think it would be now not straight away! Give it a bit more time please! Please!

Stefania, his wife, was there.

“He’s gone out Tony he said to give you this contract to look at …’”she handed me a fat manilla envelope, then I knew it was too late.

“Is there anything wrong?” women they’re so sharp.

“No more than usual,” I remarked and quickly left in case I betrayed my feelings.

“He didn’t give me a chance to say goodbye, Bob, not a chance, not a chance. “Why?” I asked myself…He made it look like an accident..like the gun went off as he was climbing through the fence…”

“In the envelope there was a goodbye note and a few items he wanted buried with him and – also this …!” Tony tossed a coin to Bob’s feet. Bob picked it up examined it and turned it over.

“Why … it’s a double headed twenty cent piece, it’s been cut and another face glued on to make one coin! …”

“The cunning bastard … I always wondered how he won all those tosses, and you see that nick on the edge, that’s how he picked it out amongst others with his fingers.” Bob snorted and tossed it back.

“Well he did go through with it and in the note he asked that I somehow get his ashes and bury them with the few other personal items next to that woomera up here.”

“And did you tell Stefania of it all?” Bob asked.

“What do you tell the women? : Frank knocked himself off so we can pay our bills? What did that hunter tell his people if he came home without any tucker ‘I lost my woomera’? ..’left it somewhere’ ? No Bob, Frank was right, we’re all hunters and each must guard his secrets. No, I didn’t tell them, but she’d guess, women have their damned intuition.”

“Why didn’t you bury him, then?”

“I couldn’t bring myself to put an end to it all, I didn’t understand the connection between that hunter’s primitive woomera and our own highly complicated lives, that is till now. Now I know what Frank realised that weekend twenty years ago. That woomera over there is a totem of men’s responsibilities, the women bear the children, the men provide, that is the base line of our cultural life. Some women die in chldbirth some men die in the seeking of provisions. I’ve been on building sites myself where workmen have been either killed or badly injured. They’re taken away and another fills his place. No-one can shirk his responsibilities, we all take our risks. So the hunter’s woomera left here by accident must have wrought danger to that whole family’s existence so was that recession the calamity that befell our family’s existence … The insurance policy was just another means to provide … at a price, everything changes, but nothing is changed. The immortality of all things mortal … ashes to ashes, dust to dust. He lost his fear of death.”

Antonio sighed.

”And this is where you come in, Bob … would you mind … a simple ceremony …?”

The dawn laid silver sheets across the sky as the two men stood before the tree that held the woomera in its cleft. Tony gave the wooden urn to Bob who lay it in a shallow hole near the woomera. Then he gave Bob a flick-knife with a carved ivory handle.
“He bought that in Italy years before, and you see that carving … here, give it to me for a sec … this carving of a woman, he’d sometimes take the knife out amongst a group of us men and he’d rub the ball of his thumb over the tiny breast there and he’d sigh and say, ‘Ah, my Stefania, she once had breasts like this,’ and then he’d press this button here, like so: “

Swish! the silvered blade of the flick-knife shot out of the handle so it made Bob jump.

“And Francesco would sigh sadly again and nodding his head say: ‘And me, my cock once sprung up like that!’..he’d always get a laugh.” Tony smiled and folded the blade away and gave the knife to Bob.

“And last of all this” sneered Antonio as he flung the double headed coin into the hole.

Bob pushed the sand over the urn and knife and coin. He stood up and spoke in a clear concise voice:

“Let this site remain sacred to the memory of Francesco Gustoni …”

“Could you say the prayer in Latin Bob, he preferred Latin.” Bob nodded and began:

“In nome il Padre e Filio e Spirito Santo …”

A State of Failure.

When John Howard made the statement :

” Most famously, in 1996 Howard wanted Australians to be comfortable in their own skins. When pressed aggressively by Four Corners reporter Liz Jackson about his ambitions for Australia in the year 2000, Howard simply said he wanted Australians to be “comfortable and relaxed” about their past, present and future. As for himself, Howard said he was proud to be seen as “an average Australian bloke”. “( The Drum ; Terry Barnes).

Howard transferred the responsibility of The State to show civil respect and leadership onto the rag-tag shoulders of every bigot and racist hooligan with an axe to grind and a vulnerable victim to grind it upon. He had , in effect handed that section of the constitution that pledges protection and the shielding hand of civil respect to the mob. Not the act of a Statesman, but rather that of the despot. For if The State is willing to relinquish the responsibility for civil obedience onto what was even then a racist minority, then it is not a State of civil union, but rather ; a failed State.

Mark well the warnings of Titus Livius..:

“… Here it is to be noted that many times actions that appear merciful, and which cannot be reasonably condemned, may become cruel, and very dangerous to a Republic if not corrected at the proper time. And to discuss this matter in more detail, I say that a Republic cannot exist without citizens of repute, nor govern itself well in any way. On the other hand, the reputation of such citizens is the cause of tyranny in Republics. And in order to regulate this thing, it [the Republic] needs to be so organized, that the reputation of citizens be based on the benefits it gives to the nation and not on any harm to it and its liberty. And, therefore, the methods with which they assume reputation ought to be examined, and these, in effect, are two, either public or private. The public methods are when one acquires reputation by counselling well and acting well for the common benefit. The way to such honours ought to be opened to every citizen, and rewards proposed for their good counsels and good works, so that they may obtain honours and be satisfied: and when such reputation is obtained through these pure and simple ways, it will never be dangerous: but when it is obtained through a private way (which is the other method mentioned) it is most dangerous and wholly harmful…” (Machiavelli ; Discourses)

The current trend toward violent and vicious attacks upon vulnerable groups and individuals is, I accuse, precisely because of Howard’s and the current LNP administration giving too much voice and freedom of action to the far-right and fascist movements in Australia. Howard cunningly let slip those dogs of war to divide the community..The Murdoch press responded and upped the ante with its unrelenting howl of confected outrage against every single person that challenged their stereotype they could vilify or make victim or claim as an act of aggression against a blameless “Alt-right” movement.

The speechless mass-shootings we see on a regular basis in the USA reflect an act of insane desperation by some of those very people in that State given too much freedom to be “comfortable in their own skin”..We all know or at least realise by the time we reach adult-hood that one is compelled or expected to act in a civil manner to one’s fellow citizens or place at risk the social contract of our own respect. We learn these things in the playground of primary school, where we make a group of friends or when we play in a sport team in our teenage years..We learn to yield to the folly of deliberately hurting others while we frequent the taverns and clubs of our twenties, so that by the time we reach maturity, like the age when John Howard made the above comment, we ought to be more astute as to how freely we counsel our own children..Yes..truly , we ought to advise them that they ought to feel comfortable in their own skin..BUT!..and this is the part that the devious fool; Howard left out..: but we must respect those others of our society who, while their “skin colour” is of a different complexion and their “skin culture” is of a different, more complex matrix, it is the duty of any citizen of the nation to allow space for ALL OTHERS to “feel comfortable” next to each other’s “skin”.

But Howard didn’t want this to happen..HIS intent was not to unite the nation under one social contract. There was instead intent and then deed to divide and rule with vicious impunity by the one ”skin” the one creed, the one political ideology..an ideology of ; Rule by fear. Rule by force. Rule by fascist intent! By his own words, we can see it is obviously NOT directed to those indigenous or ethnic groups whose past was vandalised, whose present is tenuous and whose future is a thing of doubtful hope..No!..those he was wishing such comfort upon were those of HIS OWN matrix.. HIS OWN prejudices. HIS words were not merciful, NOT reasonable, NOT all-encompassing..those were the words of an ache for white supremacy, Anglo-centric, Christian-centric conservative governance with no place for radical dissent.

He, personally failed, being found out to be a devious, lying little rodent, but his creatures follow on, chivvied and guided by the Murdoch Media and its imitators. There will have to be a Parliamentary Inquiry and perhaps a rolling tribunal to bring those media players before a panel to be judged for their actions against their fellow citizens. Let it be known as :”The Citizens Tribunal”…and THERE they will make their case and woe betide those who come up wanting!