As the good ship Labor slowly sinks in the polls, the crew is ripping out the furniture and chucking it in the drink to try and keep her afloat.
The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (a policy as cumbersome as its name) is now filed in Davy Jones’ locker. Human rights — over the side. Anti-discrimination — sunk in the mud. Internet censorship  — buried on a desert island, along with the boat people (with a promise to come back and dig them up after the election, maybe).
The Rainbow Crew have been cast adrift in an open boat with nothing but a suspect package of slippery undertakings — and 85 slightly used designer T-shirts.
No sign yet of that half-finished life raft, the NCSOSBRR*, in the ever-lengthening trail of jetsam, but give it time. Keep an eye out for the NBN**, too.
It’s a shame. There was an excellent case to be made for tackling global warming, but the CPRS and enough pink batts to cover Uluru weren’t it. A human rights charter and an anti-discrimination bill had a lot going for them too.
Instead we’re offered a hastily scribbled back-of-the-envelope ‘plan’ for a farrago of committees, inquiries and public education. The same kind of unnecessarily complex, oblique, over-engineered approach that delivered us just 85 pieces of the 1000-piece jigsaw that is equality for same-sex couples. When there was already a simpler, if bold, answer to hand — marriage.
But this Government doesn’t do ‘bold’. It would rather ditch a principle than defend it.
Now as the election draws closer Labor apologists will be crawling all over Rainbow Town, telling us yet again to wait, to be patient, not to rock the boat, to trust them, because only they can deliver progressive outcomes, it just takes time.
Which is fine so long as we’re happy to be continually shoved to the back of the queue.
Disabled, seniors, youth, women, rural and regional residents, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders, culturally diverse people: they each get their own minister, departmental unit (often several), helped by advisory bodies drawn from their communities.
We get zilch. Zero. Nothing, beyond fancy words and timid tinkerings.
The biggest joke is, we’re even excluded from the Ministry for Social Inclusion (prop. J Gillard). We are the invisible, the ignorable, and as the dumping of anti-discrimination law proves, the disposable.
Until we are treated like every other marginalised community, we will remain second-class citizens, doomed to exhaust ourselves, yelling and screaming for what is rightfully ours.
I’ve had it with being treated like a bunch of stroppy beggars, fobbed off with spare change and a pat on the head, told to wait in line for the soup, if there’s any left once ‘more deserving’ people have had theirs. Let’s have the proper respectful treatment due to us as full and equal citizens, for a change.
* nationally consistent system of state-based relationship registers
** national broadband network

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