What happened earlier this month in America marks a heinous stain on democracy. The US Capitol Building in Washington was invaded, people were shot and killed, and grenades and pepper spray were employed by both sides. The National Guard and riot police were deployed. A state of emergency was established, and then processes resumed.
These dramatic events were incited and orchestrated. The mob still has issues with a peaceful transfer of power after a democratic election. And rioting seems to be the new American way.
All I can compare this with in Australian politics is the notable constitutional crisis 45-odd years ago, when Gough Whitlam was sacked in November 1975. Yes, there were rallies with rhetoric, placards and slogans. But the crowds dispersed, went home or to the pub and turned on the cricket.
No one stormed Australia’s Federal Parliament in Canberra over Whitlam, or any other politician here in Oz. Why would any of us want to? Gough was never re-elected. He received superannuation and a government driver. Politics rolled on, the public servants administered, the media ranted, and the MPs kept on blithering. That was our great drama in Australian politics. And it has all since faded into part of our Australian psyche.
Who would invade Federal Parliament in Canberra, summer or winter? In summer, Australia has holidays, cricket and beaches. In winter, there is AFL and rugby. You’ve got to sort your priorities as citizens of a democracy!
If any of us did invade Federal Parliament, it would mean having to listen to our duly elected politicians. About the only folk who ever invade Federal Parliament in Canberra at any time of the year are busloads of Grade Six schoolchildren, compelled to travel on educational excursions to our nation’s capital. The poor kids are forced to endure listening to Australian politicians rabbiting on and on.
The Grade Six tweens formulate their own opinion of our politicians (dickheads) and head off on the bus, likely never to return. So what did Grade Sixers learn during their Australian Federal Parliament invasion last week? That Aussie politicians voted themselves a large salary increase and a matching rise in their superannuation. It’s probably turned them off politics for good!
In light of last week’s dreadful rioting in the US, you could say Australia is very un-American. There is peace in Canberra. Thank goodness we live here!
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