ADELAIDE - I strongly agreed with the sentiments expressed by Phil Fitzpatrick in his recent article, ‘Forget the Puppets; Go After the Puppet Masters’.
It is astounding to me that the so called progressive forces in politics are so obsessed with identity politics, asylum seekers, special interest groups and what I regard as the ephemera of politics.
They are indeed so obsessed that they seem unable or unwilling to tackle the huge problems of hunger, poverty, discrimination, inequality and racism to which Phil referred.
Where is the Left's alternative economic vision, whereby the huge corporates, and the mega-rich financial manipulators who control them, are brought to heel?
The neo-liberal consensus, despite the growing evidence of its many flaws and failings, seems impervious to any coherent leftist critique.
Papua New Guinea is special only in the sense that the self-serving behaviour of foreign powers, large corporations and the political elite is clearly visible.
It does not have to be covert or subtle because PNG politicians are easy to control and manipulate. Their collective love of money makes them an easy target.
Meanwhile, in the USA, the most egomaniacal, morally bankrupt, dishonest and manifestly unfit person to ever hold the office of President continues to govern by tweet, all the time striving to remake America in the image preferred by the rich and powerful.
Democracy is truly in crisis yet few seem to understand this, much less have any capacity to do anything about it.
Even in Australia, the reach and power of foreign powers and corporations wielding money as a weapon, has been unexpectedly revealed through the egregious behaviour of Senator Sam Dastyari.
While he has been forced to resign, there is no reason to believe that this is more than a mere hiccup for the corporate power players who increasingly dominate our political as well as economic systems.
One player leaves the field in disgrace but the game goes on.
Meanwhile, the current Liberal-National government in Australia, like the O'Neill government in PNG, endlessly reassures us that either a Federal Independent Commission against Corruption is unnecessary or that it will establish one in due course.
In short, it resists a necessary change that might reveal the full extent of how corporate power and money have corrupted our democracy.
No wonder people are turning away from the major parties in Australia and, in PNG, continue to out their faith in the proverbial "local heroes" rather than support parties that habitually over promise and under deliver.
I have resolved that, as a mostly powerless single voter, my best strategy is to refuse to vote for any established political party again. Instead, I prefer to put my faith in a PNG style "local hero" whose integrity seems sound and who has a commitment to assessing issues based upon facts and merit, not ideology.
Happily, many other Australians have apparently reached the same conclusion, hence the relentless growth in the number of minor party and independent members being elected to Parliament.
To me, this phenomenon is clear evidence that the proverbial canary is shrieking in the coal mine, yet our tone deaf politicians fail to hear it.
As Vladimir Ilyich Lenin famously said, 'What is to be done?".