||Issue No. 307||19 May 2006|
Open for Business?
Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Politics: Labor Pains
Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Corporate: House of Horrors
History: Clash Of Cultures
International: Childs Play
Culture: Folk You Mate!
Review: Last Holeproof Hero
The Locker Room
Pleased with Beazley
What is Working Class
National Day of Protest
Higher Profile for Labor
The Full Nelson
The Jack of Hearts has trumped himself this time.
It is very strange that someone familiar with the medical principle of "do no harm" should find himself overseeing something as useful as Australia's Defence infrastructure.
Luckily Nelson is able to embrace the Howard government principle of "no care, and no responsibility" thus saving him from actually being accountable for the fantastic achievements of the Defence Department in recent times.
While we may shake our heads about an institution that seems to think that spitting on women is a brave and manly act, or wonder how it is that someone can lose several million dollars down the back of the lounge, or even why we would buy a helicopter that can't fly at night or over water, we can rest assured that the safety and security of a nation is in the hands of someone as principled as Mr Nelson.
Now, Brendan mightn't be the smartest bloke that's ever wielded a stethoscope, he does, nonetheless, possess all the talents necessary to rise in the ranks of the current show in Canberra.
Indeed, Dear Leader Howard took a break from his conga-line duties in the US to disagree with Blind Freddy and actually claim that the Department of Defence was, in fact, competent.
This raised eyebrows down at the club, where a few old boys had been muttering into their ports, because there is a tide of opinion that would indicate that things are, in fact, pointing 180 degrees from the position adopted by Gunner Nelson.
Now, Nelson may appreciate the many photo opportunities presented to the Minister for Playing Armies, but it's important to remember that Nelson has always been a big picture man, not one to be bound down by red tape, details or common sense.
And so it comes to pass that the boots fall apart, the equipment fails, the pay is crap and indignity after indignity is dumped upon what M*A*S*H referred to as 'enlisted personnel' and other indians in the defence infrastructure, while the Brass over at HQ continue to spend like, well, a drunken sailor, ensuring that Australia has the very best technology for the defence of the nation, such as ensuring that the Officers mess at Duntroon is suitable stocked with Grange and Larks Uvulas in Aspic.
Now, some foolish citizens would think that the defence establishment is about ensuring that our ever-growing list of enemies is kept at bay so that the general citizenry can celebrate the many freedoms that being an English colony entitles us.
Brendan Nelson has taken it upon himself to dispel such opinions.
He has, quite rightfully, shown us how the Defence Establishment is, in fact, a nice little earner for the idiot sons of the landed gentry (also known in Yachting circles as the Officer Class), an outlet for the buffoonery of chaps from good private schools, a good photo opportunity for conservative politicians, and a wonderful instrument for distracting people's attention to the fact they are being robbed blind by the Federal Government
Then there's also the fantastic bogey-man of terrorism, where the Defence industry can play a brilliant role in whipping up public hysteria to a perceived threat, and thus enable Nelson and his cabinet colleagues to address what might, in a sober assessment, be considered real threats to our way of life - such as living standards heading off towards South America while the environment takes on a very Saharan hue.
And if a few people get killed along the way, or their bodies mislaid, this is no cause for concern, as any body or report can be conveniently mislaid and the families of service personnel considered collateral damage.
Given the state of the Defence establishment in this country today maybe Minister Nelson should have stuck to his original medical career, god knows, he would have made a damned fine proctologist.
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