Starting Wars Is Not Swan’s Way

Wayne Swan did not declare this war
It was Clive Palmer crying poor
On Lateline not two years ago
When Kevin Rudd was all aglow,
Insisting miners pay more tax.
That night Clive said he’d get the axe;
Promised a miners’ revolution
To bring about Rudd’s execution.

So it was.    Twiggy and Gina
Came charging into the arena.
They roused the citizens of Perth
To claim states’ rights to sell their earth.
Well known Aussie mining magnates,
Victorious,  this band of mates,
Then refused negotiations
And Gillard’s terms with corporations.

Billionaires on the back of trucks
Got Tony Abbott thinking,  “Shucks!
We’ll have a nationwide revolt!
Bring carbon pricing to a halt!”
But somehow his People’s Rising,
Urged on by his catastrophizing,
Flopped.   It did not eventuate
He’d get what he thought his ‘due’ estate.

Abbott couldn’t make the distance,
So Clive now has to lead resistance.
The manpower of a footie team,
Plus  ‘National Treasure’  title,  seem
To enlarge him,  make him bigger,
Into a massive public figure.
Ally Twiggy gets his jollies
In Canberra,  nagging pollies.

It wasn’t hard to find a part
Ideally played by Ms Rinehart.
In charge of all their propaganda,
She made sure their memoranda
Were written up, had wide report
In her media outlets newly bought.
That’s when Swannie sounded the alarm!
“Oz beware! Our democracy could come to harm!”

NB   Ms. Rinehart’s often pictured image standing on the back of that truck seems to have  disappeared from every story featuring it on the web and been replaced by more flattering portraits.   Or is that my imagination?   Andrew Forrest chatting up the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will have to do!

NOTES:     The response by members of the Opposition to Wayne Swan’s recent address to the National Press Club has stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism.  Joe Hockey accused Treasurer Swan of encouraging the ‘politics of envy’  and declaring war on people who were ambitious.     Swan’s comments were delivered in a newly feisty style and seemed to reflect a more aggressive mood than his earlier wont,  though he had written extensively about the subject earlier.    One wonders if Hockey, Abbott et al  bothered to read his observations in his essay in ‘The Monthly”:  The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia  in whichSwan had said the rising power of the rich – including mining magnates Clive Palmer,  Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart – was threatening Australia’s  “fair go”  mentality.   He made a reasoned argument to justify his view that

“A handful of vested interests that have pocketed a disproportionate share of the nation’s economic success now feel they have a right to shape Australia’s future to satisfy their own self-interests.”

There has been plenty of interesting comment and commentary on the comment about Swan’s argument.   I was sufficiently stirred up by the thoughts of  Ad Astra,  of The Political Sword,  to write the pome above.   I agreed with his argument that politicians on the right were too quick to defend the three billionaires and accuse Swan of class warfare rather than addressing his real issue of the growing gap between rich and poor.

Isn’t it a pity that no sooner had Wayne Swan introduced a debate on the growing disparity between the affluent and the rest of the community, it degenerated into mindless slogan-slinging. ‘Class warfare’, ‘the politics of envy’ were the predictable responses from those defending those specifically targeted: Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest.

The more I read of other commentary the more  I realized there was indeed a war going on and it was a media war I had  myself  watched being declared by Clive Palmer on Lateline on May 7th, 2010,  just after Swan,  with the then PM Kevin Rudd,  had first introduced the mining resources profits tax.  He was joined in the battle almost immediately by fellow mining magnate,   Andrew Forrest.     Their good friend,  Gina Rinehart,  joined them soon after in the miners revolt that was  promised by Palmer a few weeks before.

It began with a very well organised protest meeting on June 9th in the streets of Perth with a parade of thousands of supporters from all walks of life who had been speedily convinced they were vitally affected by this new tax.   Gina Rinehart and Twiggy Forrest,  both standing on the back of a truck,  led them enthusiastically chanting,  “Axe The Tax!”    with Gina in her signature pearls and Twiggy in his trademark working man’s gear.  As I mentioned above I just can’t trace that image of Gina in pearls,  hair flying,  mike in hand, yelling her guts out.   Can anyone help?

Of course that was only the beginning.   In the less than two years since then Kevin Rudd has lost his job,  as Palmer promised,  and these three mining giants have continued in a determined and very public campaign to bring down his successor,  Julia Gillard,  and her government,  having been promised by Tony Abbott that the Coalition will repeal the mining tax.   Swan’s article and his address to the Press Club look to me like the response of a man who feels he has held his peace long enough.

UPDATE 26/04/13, Clive Palmer has been very active in politics since 2010 but his engagement with public life has resulted in the development of his own political party, the United Australia Party. Today the the Australian published what I thought was an ironic report about a comment from Joe Hockey that Clive Palmer needed to show voters his policies. It looks like the UAP could be more of a threat to Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott than Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard.


Pip,     12,03/12,     Brilliant patricia

Miglo,     12/03/12,     Another gem Patricia. And here’s me, I can’t even find a word to rhyme with ‘heard’.     Perhaps I’ll try another word.     Hey, that rhymed. :D

Lyn,     12/03/12,   Hi Patricia.  You are brilliant, a brilliant shining light, shining on TPS.

Nasking,     12/03/12,   Patricia,   what a beaut poem. Brill!

 Ad Astra,     12/03/12,     That is great verse.  Rhythmic and true.    The billionaires have declared war.  War is a dangerous game.  There are always losers – big losers and lesser ones – all lose.  And fair play and democracy is always a casualty.

Talk Turkey,    12/03/12,   Patricia  I think you have excelled yourself this time, what think you?    You are certainly answering Ad astra’s call! Sounds pretty lyrical to me.  What your pome says between the lines is,   The phoney war is over. We are properly embattled now.     More power to Stephen Smith, Wayne Swan and *J*U*L*I*A*, may our writings and links on the Sword encourage them and stiffen their resolve. It is a fight we dare not lose.

Catching up,     13/03/12,    We need to understand and protect our democracy/ Wealth and power does not give one any more rights than the tramp on the street.

“A good democratic conversation should always remind us of the different views and different circumstances of the other citizens of this country.If public debate is dominated by the interests of a few – and by this I mean the wealthy and big business – then the closed nature of that debate will drag down our democracy.”

Victoria,     13/03/12,    I had to post your poem at PB.   Very enjoyable

George,    13/03/12,    PatriciaWA, brilliant poem!

Catching up,     13/03/12,   We all have the right to put our point of view across. But I think it’s fair enough to ask about the influence of people who are able to fund major advertising campaigns at the drop of a hat, and whether this is conducive to a healthy democracy. I see it as part of a pervasive attempt to convince the pub.

Leone,     13/03/12    Patriciawa  Here’s a very unflattering one taken at the Axe the Tax rally –×2-700×467.jpg   There are photos around  but you are right – the major media sites seem to have replaced the uglies with studio portraits. I  won’t say more flattering because it’s been about 30 years since Gina had anything taken that made her look decent.    I can’t find any actually showing the truck.   Love the poem.

Gravel,    13/03/12,     Patricia, what a great memory you have of that interview a couple of years ago. As for your pome, you have again out done yourself with your clever and witty way with words. thank you

Patriciawa,    09/08/12,    Hi Janice, I’m sorry to hear about your indisposition, and very sad to think that it’s not going to improve in future. I imagine the the long term prognosis for a crumbling spine is not that good. But isn’t that laptop a treasure for keeping one in touch with the world!    My own time out was limited but having my think pad made even those few days bearable.  Being hospitalised after the accident made me very aware of how blessed I am and have been, not having been near a hospital in the almost half a century since my children were delivered in maternity wards.  Like you, I’m really pleased to know that TT is out of pain and on the mend.

PS  Thanks for your lovely comments on my latest pomes.  You have have been a loyal follower.  I’m not sure if you saw this one, but Ad Astra’s post makes it relevant again.  So this is for you!

Ad Astra,    09/08/12,     Patriciawa,     How appropriate that you should post your telling pome about Wayne Swan.  Thank you.

Talk Turkey,     09/08/12,    Oh Patricia!   I reckon this is your very best, it has real punch, and it’s clear that you have cracked the Rhyming Barrier, something I claim for myself too, perhaps a little vainly, but isn’t it FUN, English, when you KNOW you are going to find the onomatopoeia and the alliteration, the rhymes and the nuances you need to put together a delight like yours above.   Do you read your pomes to little Tacker? Do your own rhymes ever make you cry? Dam, some of mine do that to me! Smile

Ad astra,    I LOVE The Political Sword. The way it summons up the blood might well be the critical factor in our eventual win.    Oh and I feel GOOD tonight! Smiling, well, and confident. Yea!

Truth  Seeker,    10/08/12,    TT, good to see you are well on the way back to your passionate best.    Patricia, the pen is as sharp as the sword in the cut and thrust of political discourse.   Nice one.   Cheers!

Janice,     10.08/12,     Good morning all Swordians.    PatriciaWA – thank you for your pome – that is one of your best in my opinion.  I have no illusions about my crumbling spine but am a bit miffed that it suddenly and inexplicably grounded me for no good reason – anyway, whatever shifted and got into the nerve channel has eased its pressure and I have passed the ‘acute’ stage so that the pain is now manageable. I am always careful not to provoke such events by doing stupid things!  

Gravel,     10/0/8/12,     Another brilliant pome, I really enjoyed it.


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