There have been many lies told about all the battles in which Australians have taken part. That is why the Morrison temporary government has decided we need to piss up against the wall another half a billion dollars to expand our monument to eternal war in Canberra. But perhaps the most egregious lie told in 1914 was that “This war will be the war to end all wars”.
The bastardry, brutality and buggery of the trenches was only matched by the stench of dead and dying bodies on the battlefields. The futility of the fighting pales into insignificance when one considers the mythology of the significance of the sanctity of the eternal flame or the sea of knitted red poppies littering Parliament House in Canberra.
Alistair Hulett got it right when he wrote:
“A bayonet is a weapon
wi a working man at either end.
Betray yer country.
Serve yer class.
Don’t sign up for war, my friend.
Don’t sign up for war.”
When I was growing up in Gympie on the day before every Anzac Day the entire school would be lined up on the oval and the maths teacher Mr. Konkie would be asked to provide us with middle C so that we could sing “God save the Queen” in tune and then proclaim that:
“At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
we will remember them.”
The entire proceedings were presided over by the head master Harry Peg who regularly molested the senior girls until he happened upon the daughter of the local member of state parliament. Peg was soon to find himself despatched to an all-boys school in Brisbane.
I have an indelible memory of being repeatedly told that “In both wars our troops went away to war to safe guard the freedoms that we so jealously guarded and to protect our way of life”. Given the number of times since then that we have despatched our troops to fight on foreign soil, it must be that by now have greatly expanded freedoms and a magnificently protected way of life.
However, it would seem not to be the case. Australia has some of the most repressive anti-terror legislation in the world. Our civil liberties are constantly being eroded. Governments have become addicted to increasing the length of prison sentences. Law and order regimes are the order of the day. People who have lived here most of their lives and who have committed relatively minor offences are increasingly being deported. Asylum seekers are turned back on the high seas and incarcerated in off shore concentration camps even when they have been found to be refugees. Their crime, it would appear, is that they came to our country in small vessels rather than on a cruise boat or aeroplane.
We force unemployed people, who apply for social security, to work for the dole and survive on below poverty line benefits. Aboriginal people, living in remote communities, are subjected to even more draconian work for the dole conditions. Asylum seekers are increasingly being deprived of any form of social security.
We have ex-politicians and ex-senior public servants being given lucrative jobs by Woodside Petroleum because of past favours done in forcing East Timor to agree to allow Woodside to extract their oil. The people, Witness K and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery who were instrumental in exposing Australia’s bugging of East Timor’s cabinet room are currently facing trial on drummed up charges in secret proceedings organised by the Attorney General, unChristian Porter.
So, I say to Morrison and Co, go wrap yourself in your stupid flag, worship your medals and if you have none then your lapel pins, walk on the crocheted poppies and proclaim yourself to be the epitome of a scoundrel, promise to remember them and issue medals to the families of the fallen, give plastic cards to veterans, sing “Advance Australia Fair” and smile like the gormless idiot you are. I will hum “Waltzing Matilda” and plan your demise.
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson