I’m considering applying for refugee status to the Belgium Consulate.
Howard winning the election again, gaining votes, and the emergence of Family First on an odious right-wing homophobic platform gives me no hope for this country.
The result means Howard and his private school gang of born-again christains can continue turning Tasmania into a clear-felled desert, and continue to preside over one of the poorest environmental records in the world. They also have a mandate to continue their evisceration of the pubilc health welfare and education systems, all of which constitute the bare essentials of any caring democracy.
The worst thing for me is that when I walk outside today, the majority of the people I look at will be people who share a similar view. I can’t live in a country of such selfish, parochial, and just plain nasty people.
When I first came to Australia, I would say that outside of South Africa, this had to be the most racist country in the world. This always provoked outrage and a stream of invective to prove otherwise. But after how many years now of a political party that prides itself on the same bigotry and hatred that undelies racism, this country has swung far into the territory it professes to abhor.
As for the future of the arts in Australia, it will only be more of the same. The government has sustained such a fierce and hostile attack on the arts during its terms, there is no reason to expect anything less than a continued savaging of what little remains. When the majority of young artists in a country intend to leave in the next couple of years, and the institutions which train them are in real danger of being unable to continue, this is a community in serious and immediate crisis caused by the very government which has just returned.
I have no hope for any future as an artist here, and am only thankful that I will be leaving on Thursday anyway. I’m not sure where I will go after my time in Taiwan until early next year, but it won’t be back to Australia. Until the Howard government falls, and Australia stops its vile addiction to the worst of the right-wing’s view of the world, I can’t and won’t live here.