Sunday, May 16, 2010

Comparing Russian and Australian politics

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Do you look at Russian politics and think you are glad you don't have to contend with fascism like in 'that country'. Well maybe you do. Here is a story by CNN about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of Yukos, the oil company he purchased in an oil privatisation. This story is basically that he is in prison because he under-stated or evaded taxes. He is close to being released, so a number of other charges are being made against him by President Putin. Now the reason why Putin is alleged to have placed him in prison is because he was an prospective political opponent of him. He was considering running against Putin in the election, and was otherwise financing opposition parties to Putin. The implication is that you have no rights is you challenge power in Russia.
Now lets look at government in Australia. Some years ago this awkward, naive Queensland woman was receiving a great deal of political support in Australia because she did not fit the usual political mold in Australia. She spoke honestly, and argued for some issues which a segment of Australians were concerned about. I don't support her views, but she received a lot of support from those who agreed with her 'white Australia' agenda. This women was of course Pauline Hanson. Prior to the coming election, this women was rolled by interests associated with Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party. We do not hear any defence of Pauline by the Labor Party, so you might conclude that they had some sympathy with the Liberal Party on this issue. Maybe you were thinking that Labor just didn't like her politics. But there is more to this. This was an intent to preserve the duopoly in Australian politics - between Liberal and Labor.
Consider the example of the Liberals going after Kevin Rudd in the case of 'Ute-gate', where he was supposed to be the benefactor of election contributions which were not registered. The Liberals really went after Rudd. That's ok for Labor, because it might discredit Rudd, but not the Labor Party. The party is a brand, or independent identity, so it tends to preserve its amoral agency. i.e. We do not blame the brand for failing, we blame the CEO. But what if that organisation or political structure is flawed in its construction because of a lack of competition, perhaps because it preserves certain financial benefits for politicians. i.e. Life time pension as an MP. Does that not support my argument that Hanson was rolled in the same way that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was rolled in Russia? Of course Russian politics are so much more 'extreme' than Australian politics.
Tony Abbott orchestrated the arrest of Pauline Hanson for election contributions. She served 3 months in prison if I remember correctly, before a judge overruled the decision. Perhaps the judge ruled that it was a trivial complaint compared to what other parliamentarians do in the grand scheme of things, with their abuse of MP allowances. Consider though that Abbott had done what he wanted to do. He had discredited a political aspirant. To be sure she was not going to be an important force, but she threatened to divide the Liberal Party vote, and in the process she was going to cost the Liberal Party the election. She was rolled because she was a threat. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was rolled because he was a threat.
So do you think the answer to fascism under Kevin Rudd is to vote for a Liberal Party member? I don't think so. I think you're best prospects for freedom in Australia is to vote for Libertarians, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Is that enough? No, not for sure. The Libertarians are not an intellectual group, so they are not going to overturn the intellectual issues which are undermining the country. They will however be a reprieve from statism.
Interested in why Russian politics are more extreme that Australian politics? See my next post.
Andrew Sheldon

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