Friday, September 5, 2008

Musical chairs in Sydney

Europeans who were up at dawn this morning [such as me], browsing through the latest news, would have learned that a political game of musical chairs is going on Down Under in the state parliament of my native state, New South Wales. Insofar as this subject is hardly world-shaking, it now seems to have disappeared from my Google News screen, but the Aussie press continues to talk about it. Here's the cover-story photo from the Sydney Morning Herald:

This banner is bad, incomprehensible, but I'll explain it as best I can. The guy with a contented grin is the new premier, Nathan Rees. The title indicates that this former garbage collector has swept away the old guard, meaning the ex-premier Maurice Iemma, and is ready to shower his total ignorance and inexperience upon the government of NSW. Big deal! As for inset in the banner showing rear views of three or four fellows, I have no idea of its sense, no doubt symbolic.

The wording is revealing about Aussie mentality. How would you feel about a title such as: From garbage collector to brain surgeon? Normally, running a nation should be no less complex than brain surgery. But Aussies seem to see the rise of Rees as a local lad who's just won the premiership lottery. But what a miserable lottery!

Since returning to France from my native Australia two years ago, I've often felt that I've been talking to a brick wall whenever I expressed naively my opinion that what I had seen of NSW in general, during my brief visit, and of Sydney in particular, had an antiquated run-down look and feel, as if it all needed to be rejuvenated with a few new roads, new bridges, new railways, etc. I've never felt like being too explicit about my painful disappointment with Sydney, because a lot of my dismay centered around the observable fact that this great Victorian city seemed to have been transformed overnight (?) into a dull Asian metropolis. I'm convinced that this transformation was, and will be, a lethal ethnic error... but I don't really care about the consequences, because I'm no longer a resident of the Sunburnt Country.

In any case, it would appear that the poverty of the Australian infrastructure is just as bad as what I thought. Here's an excerpt from this morning's Australian press:

Iemma's resignation after three years in power follows months of intense criticism from political opponents, media and the public over the state's creaking transport, infrastructure and hospital systems.

It continues:

The New South Wales government is unpopular after more than 13 years of Labor rule and as the state's aging infrastructure shows signs of wear and tear.

The underlying problem with NSW government is that the potential people to do the job are simply not there. Why not? Because the current sociopolitical environment doesn't bring such individuals into existence. There are no traditions of serious political education in Australia. We have no political academies, no experts in economics and political science, no great orators, no authors who have set out their visions for the future of Australia in books, etc. So, we call upon clowns... such as Michael Costa, who didn't even believe in the planetary dangers of global warming. And now, NSW is calling upon a former garbage collector. Garbage in, garbage out.

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