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What makes a criminal in 2005?

10 May 2005

Here we are in New South Wales, filling up the private gaols. Our esteemed Leader, Mr Robert ''Piss-in-a-Jar'' Carr, has boasted there are now 9,000 inmates in the state prison system, something he's apparently proud of. A convict state in 1788 and 217 years later nothing has changed.

So who are these people we have to be saved from? The usual suspects – Kooris, the mentally ill, the desperately addicted, those who supply the addicts and also those who grow and sell a bit of marijuana to those of us who like a smoke. Oh, and Ray and Rodney, who were sent to their rooms.

The killers, rapists, robbers and bashers only make up a small proportion of those in boob and in the womens' prisons the majority are there for welfare ''fraud'', drugs and being Black. Not too many tax evaders, chronic polluters and land rapers in that lot. And what about that corporate paragon Peter Macdonald? He pocketed $8.8 million (plus options, of course) while his company attempted to evade liability for the thousands of workers slowly and painfully killed, and being killed, by asbestos. Gotta look after the shareholders eh?

Why is this so? Having failed, in every measure, to act like a Labor government, the cynics of the Sussex Street Falange have decided to trawl the dregs of political opportunism by beating the law and order drum and exploiting the xenophobia and insecurity of an electorate that is teetering on the edge of the financial abyss, heavily in debt, with no job security and cringing with fear at perceived evils lurking in the shadows.

Worried about public safety? Put up spy cameras and send out the sniffer dogs to bail up dope smokers. Scared of ''the other''? Vilify minority youth and lick the collective arse of a corrupt and out of control police force, while pandering to the tabloid jabberers and talkback bullfruits. Public transport falling apart? Drug test the workforce while gutting service levels and monstering the remaining passengers with uniformed thugs. And build lots of tollroads. No wonder rail patronage has dropped by 500,000 in the last two years.

All this while Nature Lover Bob whores himself and his government out to the blight industry like lubricated rentboys, and Gauleiter Sartor rapes Redfern, Waterloo and all points south. Now we all get to join the Cargo Cult with more coal fired power stations and the madness of a desalination plant to prove, once and for all, that these clowns have given up all intentions of adopting anything resembling sensible water policy.

So what can Brogden and the greedheads and Jesus-sucking fun haters in the Liberal and National parties do to look more right-wing than this bunch of punishment freaks? So far Brogden's been struggling to be noticed at all by the media shills who normally lead the cheer squad for the coalition, so he will have to contrive some pretty hideous stuff to beat Sniffer-Dog-Bob at his own game. Possibly changing his name to Samuel Marsden and introducing prayer breakfasts with public floggings and a heretic burning or two might do the trick, but he'd have to be quick or Carr will beat him to the punch. And he'll have to drag the developers out of the governments' pockets too. Democracy – ain't it grand, you get to choose which rod gets applied to your back. Indeed.