In its first year, the Rudd Government has been the kind of disappointment I expected.
There are bright sides to the picture. The demise of Howard and his mean-spirited club was certainly a breathe of fresh air. Canberra’s environmental policy is now more progressive – although not in any fundamental way. Appalling abuse of the human rights of would-be immigrants has subsided. Some of the more hard-nosed brutality of an incipient police state has receded, for now at least – although as far as I’m aware, all the 20+ anti-Terrorism laws passed by the Australian Parliament earlier in the decade remains in force.
But in too many respects, as expected, it’s been business as usual.
I’ll focus here on just one policy area here: ‘Defense’.
First, a disclaimer.
I use terms such as ‘Defense Budget’ and ‘Defense Minister’ under protest. In more honest times, ‘War’ was the word. But War has morphed into Defense, a term more palatable for the post-modern masses. We are yet, as Orwell suggested, to see the war machine run by a ‘Ministry of Peace’. But we’re heading that way. Real peace itself, of course, remains an elusive dream – mainly because of incessant war-mongering by ‘allies’ in the ‘free world’.
Anyway, back to ‘Defense’… Did anyone notice, shortly before the world’s money markets dived, that Mr Rudd gave an extremely generous funding guarantee to ONE specially favoured area of expenditure?