Sometimes, Australian politics is a gift that just keeps on giving.
By now, there’s probably not a person with access to any form of media that hasn’t heard about the Great CIA-Greens Conspiracy, helpfully revealed to us by mining magnate Clive Palmer. But just in case you’ve been hiding in a shack in the rainforest while wearing a tinfoil hat, here’s the gist:
The CIA wants to destroy the Australian coal industry. This would mean that the US coal industry could snap up our international markets. In order to accomplish this dastardly goal, they are funnelling money to groups like Greenpeace. And to the Australian Greens.
Via, of course, the Rockefeller Foundation, itself a long-time target of conspiracy wing-nuts, I mean theorists.
Because of this terrible situation, all Greens MPs should immediately resign. Conveniently, Palmer also demanded that those planning to run in Saturday’s Queensland state elections should withdraw their candidacy. This … this … dirty dealing, this funny money from international governments, must stop!
Shocking, isn’t it? Why, this could destroy the foundations of Australian politics as we know it!
Mr Palmer? You’re a significant contributor to the Queensland Liberal National Party, aren’t you? A vocal opponent of both carbon pricing and the mining super profits tax, which are foundational policies for the Greens? And aren’t you suing the management of one of your own hotels, alleging they’re – goodness me – illegally sending money to the US?
I think that’s known as seeing a theme. Or possibly smelling a rat. Or both.
Speaking of rats, the Opposition – recipients of Palmer’s largesse – is doing a fine job of impersonating them leaving a sinking ship, as the media descend upon them with glee. Tell us, they cry, what you think about Clive Palmer’s accusations!
Ever been at a party when someone has broken wind? Remember how everyone near them slowly edges away, while trying to look terribly casual?
They’re not doing themselves any favours. Really, the best thing to do would be to simply tell the media that Palmer’s entitled to his view, but it’s not one they share. Instead, they’re dancing around the question, looking for all the world like they secretly agree with him.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s response was particularly painful. He forced a laugh that actually sounded like it was causing him pain, and commented of Palmer: ‘he’s … (heh, heh) a larger than life character’.
Who presumably needs a larger than life tinfoil hat. Or, at least, a media advisor who can tell him it’s time to get off the podium and stop reading AboveTopSecret before bed.
But it gets better.
We all know that the Opposition believes the sky will fall when carbon pricing is introduced. It’s not like we can forget, after all – their elected members make a point of cramming their ‘carbon tax’ talking points into speeches on everything from superannuation legislation to grammatical corrections of current acts. It’s their favourite boogeyman, and they do so love to drag it out of the wardrobe for the purposes of frightening us whenever they can.
But guess what? Not only will this ‘carbon tax’ make the sky fall when it’s introduced on July 1 this year – it’s already doing so! In fact – gasp – it must have travelled back in time!
No, really. I’m not kidding.
The ‘carbon tax’ pushed up electricity prices starting from 2007. The ‘carbon tax’ forced any one of a dozen small businesses to lay off workers or close altogether months ago. The ‘carbon tax’ reduced our senior citizens to huddling around a candle for warmth because they couldn’t pay their gas bills. It’s driven up food prices! House prices! Petrol! Our international reputation, small country towns and trade – all in the process of collapse!
Yes, folks, this may be the single most powerful piece of legislation ever enacted. Forget SkyNet and its remorseless Terminators – it’s the ‘carbon tax’ that will destroy the world.
Sorry, is already destroying the world.
Or has destroyed the world? (looks out the window) Nope, there are houses still standing. Must be a work in progress.
What’s that, you say? There was a global financial crisis? Electricity prices started going up long before 2007? The price of petrol depends largely on the price of oil, set by Middle Eastern cartels?
Pshaw. You’re just not looking hard enough. For those in the know, the ‘carbon tax’ can be easily spotted lurking in the background of old photos, leaving behind traces of its nefarious activities.
It’s possible, even, that the ‘carbon tax’ was responsible for the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt. After all, he was a Liberal PM, and this agent of destruction – sorry, Agent of Destruction, it really deserves capitals – is a creature of Labor’s making.
(Oh, sorry, Senator Eric Abetz, the ‘Labor-Greens Majority Alliance’s making’. Let’s not forget that little bit of space-cadet scripture – the idea that Labor and the Greens are in ideological lock-step.)
So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. The Greens are taking CIA money to kill our coal industry, while the ‘carbon tax’ travels back in time to destroy Life As We Know It. (Really, it’s a wonder the Greens bother – they could just sit back and let the ‘Carbon Tax of Doom’ do the job for them.)
Really, none of this sort of thing is new. You don’t have to travel far on Teh Interwebs to find someone claiming Elvis is alive, the Moon landing was faked, Satanic messages can be found by playing rock and/or roll music backwards, and 9/11 was an attack mounted by the US on its own citizens. And that’s without needing to go anywhere near David Icke and the Lizard People That Rule The World. (I’m looking at you, Your Majesty.)
The difference here is the profile, and the amount of power these people can command. Palmer is a billionaire, and money buys a lot of influence. The Federal Opposition are elected representatives who have their speeches preserved, repeated and interpreted by the media, the public, and our international trade and alliance partners. That makes these notions of a CIA Conspiracy and a Time-Travelling ‘Carbon Tax’ of Doom not only ridiculous, but potentially damaging in financial and trade markets.
Not to mention the howls of derisive laughter directed towards us.
Do Clive Palmer and the Opposition have the right to say what they believe? Sure – although I’d question the ‘right’ of anyone to deliberately spread lies. But, why not? Let’s grant them the right to free speech.
As long as we have the right to mock them mercilessly for the dingleberries they show themselves to be.