Federal Parliament, 17 August 2017
Through the paint-stripping wind walked The Varnished Culture, shoulders collectively set and teeth gritted. Up the hill went we from the National Portrait Gallery, past the tent city (which looked uncomfortable, brother) and the old Parliament House, looking clean, white and reassuringly, democratically modest in size and scope.
Now the old place is a museum displaying certain politicos as they were in their prime (no animatronics); one feels regret at losing the core use of the building, as the relatively small capacity would perforce limit the number of elected representatives and their retinues.
We reached the big house on top of the hill, went through airport-type security, remarking that the working press had to endure this as well. After sampling a horrendous school band in the Great Hall, we proceeded to the House of Representatives, where it was business as usual, i.e., the business of the nation was discarded in favour of invective, stunts, witty barbs posing as points of order, pointless divisions and random rubbish. An intern rushed in and informed us that Senator Hanson had appeared across the way in the Senate Chamber, dressed in a burqa. Such is the level of debate on a serious issue.
Australia is in trouble. Apart from several members possibly standing in breach of s. 44 of the Constitution, there doesn’t seem to be anyone about who knows, or cares, about the nation’s malaise.
Which is why The Varnished Culture is all for Democracy….ancient Greek-style democracy, that is.