If you have a tendency to roll your eyes to the back of your skull on hearing the term “un-Australian“, brace yourself. Starting from Monday next week, you’re going to hear it a lot more. Across newspapers, radio, television and the internet, a $2 million advertising campaign funded by Clubs Australia is going to hammer in the idea that independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie’s proposed pokie machine reforms — supported by the Federal Government and a reported two-thirds of polled Australians — is un-Australian.
Still, for a campaign that hinges upon ideas of national identity, it’s almost heartening to see that Clubs Australia’s idea of Australian-ess is a broad, multicultural one. Their website might predominantly be in English, but they also provide their anti-pokies-reform message via PDFs in other languages from the homepage. Jeremy Bath, spokesperson for Clubs Australia, says they want to ensure the message is heard among all communities. “This is a campaign for all Australians,” he tells New Matilda. “We want to make sure that every Australian — whether they’re of non-English speaking background, or even, indeed, if they don’t speak English — understands the ramifications of what’s being proposed by Andrew Wilkie’s poker machine reforms.”
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People of New South Wales,
Well, that was close.
First of all, I think we should start with an apology. On behalf of mypeople — the tanned, tropical and slightly sun-stroked natives of Queensland — I would like to offer a genuine ‘Sorry.’ You know, for the whole Pauline Hanson thing. We breathed political life into her before passing her your way, and today, we nearly saw things get out of control.
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For one of the most visible men in Australian politics right now, Campbell Newman is nowhere to be seen. At least not in Queensland parliament.
Journalists might sit in the state parliament’s press gallery just to get a glimpse of the man, but it’s a redundant exercise. Newman is not allowed downstairs, but he’s there in spirit — appropriate enough given that here in Queensland, things have been taking on a Biblical dimension lately. We started the year with floods and high winds (we’re just waiting for the locusts and to be rained down with blood now), and lo and behold: booming Old Testament vernacular has started to seep into state parliament too.
It started two weeks ago when Jeff Seeney — the Liberal-National Party’s folksy, re-elected pit-bull of an Opposition Leader — starting bellowing across the chamber in evangelical tones about the impending arrival of a mythic figure. “Campbell is coming!” he told Labor triumphantly. “Campbell is coming, and it frightens the life out of them!” Premier Anna Bligh dismissed that assessment, dryly describing Seeney as simply “the vessel through which the will of Campbell Newman will pass”.
Like I said: very biblical.
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