Possum Comitatus – Cassandra Downunder?

As Possum Comitatus
Not a year ago alerted us
The Great Unhinging has begun.
No surprises for anyone.

We see the embittered right
With all their moneyed might
And influence in the media
Generating mass hysteria.

The call for counter-revolution
Against pricing of pollution
Is one of many devious means
To discredit Labor, destroy the Greens.

Character assassinations,
Civil unrest. demonstrations,
Talk back radio jocks all jeering
Egged on by Abbott’s sloganeering.

Why hasn’t common sense availed,
Wise heads like Windsor not prevailed?
Why are Turnbull’s principles distorted
And as sour grapes or treachery reported?

Now, surely Gillard, however deft,
Can’t avert disaster for the left
And save the future for our nation,
Also its progressive, reformist reputation.

For that outcome is banned, prohibited
By the owner of News Limited.
But here’s a twist, even Possum did not guess.
A Deux Ex Machina! The mobile phone of a murdered child. STOP PRESS!

How many of you remember the predictions of Possum Comitatus of the Great Unhinging to come as Tony Abbott, the Coalition and vested big business interests, supported by the Murdoch media and others on the right challenged the legitimacy of our new government. This had been achieved by Julia Gillard in negotiation with the Greens and Independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie after the 2010 election with its subsequent declaration of a hung parliament.

Possum is a psephologist, an opinion poll analyist, so one would would expect him to have an awareness of some likely outcomes on the Australian political scene. But his predictions in this article went far beyond an expert’s analysis informed by polls and an understanding of the mood of our politicians, power brokers, big business and the electorate. He himself might have described it as snark, a nonsense word describing Lewis Carroll’s fabled animal in search of an elusive truth, when he predicted

What we will witness over the next 18 months or more is a Great Unhinging –an orgy of hysterics that will far surpass the duplicity, dishonesty – let alone the complete arsehattery – that substituted for public debate on matters of government during the previous 12 months.

The goalposts of what constitutes government legitimacy will be moved from the constitutional to the convenient, from the reality of the parliamentary majority to concocted nostrums about mandates to govern.

Every policy and utterance the government or the Independents make will be creatively analysed, deliberately distorted and whose fabricated consequences will be shouted from the rooftops. This will not be an exercise in political analysis, but an infection of pathological political syphilis. It will not just be a campaign against the government, but one rolling, frenzied campaign after another, where each new contrived outrage will assume a greater level of mania than the last.

Short of detailing every misleading slogan, publicity stunt and obstructionist tactic by Tony Abbott both inside Parliament and out in the electorate the likely picture he painted then could not have been more accurate. Read his prophecy! The character assassinations, the trashing of parliamentary process, no distortion…..too large, no lie too audacious, no accusation too brazen,‘ have all uncannily eventuated as he predicted.

His forecasting of the role of the media, particularly the Murdoch press, has been equally accurate, in that the best that would emerge from this ‘new paradigm’ has not received the acclaim it deserved because of the destructively negative slanting and spin of News Limited’s Australian and its tabloid newspapers, with the ABC and other electronic media outlets weakly falling into line. This, said Possum would be a parliament

rich in policy generation – the NBN, health reform, a tax summit, campaign funding reform, federal whistleblower protection, a Parliamentary Budget Office and a proper review of climate change policy to name but a few – yet while this incredible agenda with its long, far reaching consequences for the nation will be on the table, there will be one side of politics and one wing of the media doing its best to turn it all into a complete and utter circus.

What do you think? Is that déjà vu or brilliant deductive and diagnostic prediction? One thing that did elude him though, was the unexpected!

This past week has for me been reminiscent of ancient Greek drama, so I see our Possum as an inspired downunder Cassandra though with longer life expectancy! In classical Greek plays there was often a Deus Ex Machina or divine intervention, an unexpected contrivance to either hasten or prevent catastrophe. In this drama we’ve all been watching that contrivance or instrument has been a mobile phone. The tragic death of murdered Milly Dowler has already sent tremors though Murdoch’s media empire on two northern continents. Will it have similar repercussions down here?


2011/07/26 Yes! Possum was on the money, but then it was pretty obvious to all and sundry that the elite right would stop at nothing to get back into political power. My take at the time was the loss by Howard was not entirely unexpected nor with a potential major economic meltdown on the horizon was the loss of responsibility for government decision making necessarily seen as a bad thing by the right. The problem that rapidly emerged for the Libs and their backers was that the economic calamity was mostly averted or simply failed to materialise in Oz hence they needed something else to attack the left and in that they have left no stone unturned. Their worst nightmare would be a return of long term labor rule ala Hawke and Keating. Of course they admit no criticism of their action so even the shipwreck of the good ship News Inc is hardly likely to slow them down, if anything they are likely to become even more shrill.

Darin, 19/08/2011, Love the poem, great post!


About patriciawa

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s