10-minute addendum, feels like it’s being delivered from the heart – by a man whose heart seems driven by people rather than politics – with zero obfuscation. He reels off stats so quickly that you suspect his habit of running fast and loose with the facts (even when it comes to his own past) is in full effect, but it’s hard not to get caught up in his charisma. Like most of us, he’s fed up with the lowest common denominator political discourse in Canberra. Unlike us, he’s actually got the money to put where his mouth is.
“WHAT FOLLOWS ISN’T THE RANTINGS OF A FOOL, THOUGH PALMER MAY BE INSANE.“
A fortnight earlier, I found myself standing on the outside looking in at Redfern Town Hall. A crowd of several hundred spilled out of the first floor function room and down the stairwell for the A New Way: New Policies, New Politics seminar – an awareness builder for Sydney Greens candidate Dianne Hiles, but ostensibly a forum for human rights advocate Julian Burnside AO QC to elaborate on his asylum seeker solutions. Much as he wrote in his You’ve Been Misled On Boat People: Here Are The Facts piece for Fairfax Media, Burnside spoke of asylum seekers not as political pawns, but people; humans with hopes and dreams and much to offer areas of Australia that need a population boost. That keeping an asylum seeker in detention costs between $200-450k a year, but paying them Centrelink benefits is closer to $25,000 – and if they’re in a struggling regional community, much of that money goes directly back into it. Meanwhile, back on the campaign trail, Messrs Rudd and Abbott continue to promise ‘solutions’ and
announce borderline non-policies that have more to with saving their own careers than human life. In his “Call To Action” speech, Palmer references asylum seekers just once. Playing to his demographic, he says that raising the age pension is one of his priorities. “Talking to a lot of elderly people on the pension, who find that they’re getting – I think it’s $327 a week,” Palmer says. “Asylum seekers that are being paid benefits in Australia are getting $427 a week. “Not to have a shot at asylum seekers,” he adds. “It’s the system we’re talking about here.” A system where those at the top prey on the weak. Much like it was in Jeff the T-Rex’s heyday. THE MUSIC • 14TH AUGUST 2013 • 33
Published on Aug 14, 2013
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