June 6th, 2010. The day Café Whispers opened.
June 6th, 2014. The day we closed.
So why this ‘anniversary’ post?
Well even a year after closing our doors we still have up to 3,000 visitors a month dropping into the Café, maybe hopeful that the doors have re-opened. And we still receive email (via The AIMN) from people (many we don’t even know) who tell us they were disappointed we closed.
It just seemed fair to give those dedicated daily visitors a chance to simply get together again.
So what’s been happening over the last twelve months?
I guess that’s rather easy to answer: You just have to look at the mess this country is in, who is to blame, and what we’re trying to do about it.
On the latter Carol and I have been kept more than busy over at The Australian Independent Media Network – mainly as overworked admins, not as a writers – where all the team is committed to holding the Abbott ‘government’ to account. The expectations we had here at the Café for the worst opposition leader in history have been exceeded beyond anything we could have imagined. Tony Abbott has quickly filled the role of being the worst prime minister in the worst government at the worst possible time.
He has ignored climate change. Jobs are being lost. Services are being eroded. Retirement savings are disintegrating. The poor are being used as scapegoats to the advantage of the wealthy. Refugees are (still) being dehumanised and (still) made to suffer for political gain. Our freedoms are being eroded. And much of this is unfolding under the stunned gaze of a seemingly compliant opposition.
Whilst – as stated – we are committed to holding the government to account, we are equally committed to holding the opposition to account as well. For in many areas they have been equally disappointing. And again like the government, at the worst possible time.
It has been a disappointing twelve months in Australian politics (though not without sensationalism) and for those with an interest in the environment, the future, social justice, science, education etc, it has also been a disappointing year for Australia.
The next twelve months don’t look any brighter either.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that in the coming months Tony Abbott will call an early election. From that moment on we can expect with complete certainty that the Murdoch media will go feral on Labor whilst hoisting Abbott and his government on a pedestal he/they are certainly unworthy of. It will be ugly. You can add the Murdoch media to the list of those we in the social media attempt to hold to account!
One thing that has annoyed me personally over the the last year is the mainstream media’s fascination with political wedges. Maybe it’s because the political parties themselves are aiming for nothing else. Repeated scoops such as ‘Shorten goes soft to avoid being wedged’, ‘Abbott drove in the dividing wedge’, or ‘Shorten succeeded in wedging Abbott’ ad nauseum are all we hear. Instead of focusing on wedges and mainstream media commentators, Tony, Bill, how about coming up with something that resembles workable policies and direction for all Australians?
Speaking of the media, the media frenzy that surrounded Tony Abbott’s address to the National Press Club a few days before the expected leadership challenge earlier this year provided the perfect example of how out of touch the mainstream media is with the issues important to voting Australians.
After Mr Abbott’s address he fielded questions from the invited media representatives and one after one they threw questions about the expected challenge. With the rare exception it was apparent that nothing else was worthy of consideration. They were only interested in the challenge.
They then scurried back to their respective offices and penned a story for their dwindling readership about (their) biggest issue in Australia: the challenge (that never eventuated).
They blew the chance to question Mr Abbott on the real issues: the budget, the lies about Labor’s debt, same-sex marriage, the mistreatment of asylum seekers, growing unemployment, climate change and the government’s ignorance to it, unfair subsidies to mining companies, negative gearing etc etc.
Think of any important issue … and it was ignored that day.
And on the main they continue to be ignored (although we can expect them to be twisted around a bit once the election is called).
That day in the Press Club – though now long forgotten by most – stands out to me as no better example of how the media fails us.
But to finish on a lighter note … my New Year’s predictions were that by the end of the year we would have a new prime minister and that Port Adelaide would make the AFL Grand Final. I concede that both my predictions look a bit wobbly.
And now how about a song?