I’m not known for being irrational and emotional. In fact while growing up my dad used to tell me that I was un-emotional, that I was able to detach my emotions too easily maybe. I saw that as a compliment, as a useful trait for someone who toyed with the idea of becoming a spy in the army – I can endure torture well enough and am good at sucking up and distilling information – but who ended up as a chemist. At least I didn’t choose ‘psychopath’ as a career…..
This whole year I’ve experienced various shakes in my mental health thanks to the way the government and it’s PR department – The Daily Telegraph – have chosen (and yes, I do feel they chose this) to undermine me and people like me.
Now I get that the government and its people sometimes disagree, that they have access to information I don’t, that I could be completely wrong or that the timing is simply not right but putting all of that aside I can’t accept that there is ever a good (or SMART) time for a government to systematically attempt to undermine and close down reasonable debate, to hide what doesn’t suit their agenda and to use the media to create an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ reality.
Now maybe I was expecting too much in thinking that reality, as in stuff that actually happens, how people actually feel, might get at least some un-opinionated airing in the debate but in my experience that didn’t happen and every government led information program became a show pony carrying an injection of their alternative truth serum which was liberally distributed along with the mantra of ‘this is progress, this is jobs and growth, this is amazing, this is the only viable option’. It was sucked up to a point.
I am, of course talking about the Badgery’s Creek airport here. The airport and the merry bunch of fat cats that are rubbing their hands together with glee, including I might add the Greater Sydney Commissioner Lucy Turnbull who just happens to be the P.M’s wife – nothing to see here, perfectly normal behaviour, the PM running the country and the PM’s wife getting to divide Sydney up into Hunger Games like districts, taking out quite a few legitimately elected representatives before replacing them with her tribe. Oh and thrown in for good measure is her ability to over-rule any local opposition to her commissions plan like some kind of planning police (which of course they say they are not. Heaven forbid!!! Sounds like a dystopian film plot which would be mildly entertaining if I didn’t live in it.
Anyone reading the media or listening to Malcolm Turnbull would take home the impression that the whole West of Sydney is busting with excitement over this airport and the job opportunities it will bring. Of course there are some that are but there is a lot that don’t believe it, a fact that was reflected in the way Western Sydney turned Red (Labor) at this years federal election. While the Labor party do officially support Badgery’s Creek I again feel that has more to do with Anthony Albanese’s electorate being the one next to Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney – I bet $10 that he told his people who this airport would take the load off them – what a lie if that were the case. As if that would ever happen. Then there is Plibers (Tanya Plibersek) who also shares an inner city electorate and who famously told a local gathering of business women in the Blue Mountains that ‘we would get used to it’ when quizzed about noise. But what about the pollution and catastrophic global warming Tanya? Your electorate will drown first and we won’t be reserving you any land up here to save you with that attitude thank you very much. So to sum up that little diversion, to many at the election this year Labor were at offering at least something (curfew of sorts) whereas the Liberals were just not listening and were voted out.
And so it has gone on.
Post election and the momentum for this airport gathered. I raised my concerns with others, conducted research, wrote papers , articles and letters, requested meetings, attended events and filled out questionnaires only to be met with responses like this one from Paul Fletcher, Transport Minister:
20th October 2016
Dear Ms Foxon-Hill
Thank you for your email dated 14 September 2016 about the community’s views on the proposed Western Sydney Airport. I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond.
In the research, the Blue Mountains and Blacktown local government areas were included in the North West region as defined by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Infrastructure (now the Department of Planning and Environment). The online survey found that 61 per cent of residents in the North West region were in favour of the proposed airport, compared with 57 per cent of residents from the whole representative sample.
So what? Because 61% of people in the North West region (of the 499 people surveyed) said they were in favour of the proposed airport me and the rest should just shut up?
But it isn’t just that 61% of people are for the airport, that 61% amounts to a fair and reasonable majority that is to be respected and that’s why the government and it’s process has lost me.
- How fair are the results of a poll when the public have been groomed for the year leading up to it that this will bring only good things?
- How fair are the results of a poll when anti-airport protests are questioned as being NIMBYISM?
- How fair are the results of a poll whose questions are bias towards a particular outcome?
- How fair are the results of a poll of people who have been starved of investment for their whole lives because of this bloody proposal of an airport?
Again this is politics and some might say this is how BREXIT or TRUMP happened and I’d agree that yes, there are similarities but not the similarities that some might jump upon first up. You see Australia is not a world leader and in many ways is naive enough to not see that where they differ is that the USA and the UK were sold media lies and agendas for years before it came to this. That the BREXIT and Trump victories were the inevitable consequence of what happens when the ‘natural’ leaders of a country let that natural leadership go to their heads, create their own reality then live in a bubble while keeping reality at arm’s length. Australia will of course eventually arrive at this same place as these other countries – Cory Bernardi can already smell his victory and who can blame him? The writing is on the wall. Australia is going through a time of post-truth politics, soon to be followed by a kick in the teeth to the establishment followed (possibly) by an even grimmer reality before we all either die from global warming or come to our senses which quite possibly reside slap bang in the boring middle zone where left and right wings form a body and can fly.
There’s detail, fact, counter-fact, alternative propositions, amended propositions and on and on but none of that is worth anything when your will is dead and believe me, the will of this government is as dead as a Dodo and that worries me because I care about this country.
And that is where I’m coming from when I say in the beginning that the Government of Australia doesn’t understand my type.
I want progress.
I want investment.
I want development.
I want jobs for the West.
I Like and believe in Aviation and it’s role in developing and sustaining the economy.
I am even OK with more people in Australia as long as we have the infrastructure (including water security, jobs, homes and transport links) sorted before they all arive.
I don’t even mind a bit of this in my back yard – the Blue Mountains isn’t a museum after all and the West of Sydney does need and deserve some attention.
But most of all I’m for sustainability and putting a second airport in the Sydney basin when the first airport spends a good deal of its time and capacity ferrying people the 1 hour by plane to Melbourne or Brisbane is not any of the above and to say it is is bullshit.
Watching Australia slip backwards while its politicians tell us ‘it has never been a more exciting time to be here’ has been mentally draining and left me feeling extremely sad at times because there are plenty of us out here that are ready to back good, honest change and growth when we see it, but sadly the pickings are slim and those good guys that we did pick at the last election just got blasted by the Daily Telegraph that I’ve spoke to highly of today. Don’t they know that we elected them? Disrespect them and they disrespect us as voters.
So, as each stage of this airport development is signed off and moved on I think to myself ‘you, government, will rue the day you ignored this minority group while lying to the majority. The truth always comes out and when it does you had better be ready because your Point Piper houses will be the first to feel the full force of sea level rises which of course many of you don’t believe in but you try not believing when your Italian leather shoes are all wet’.
Meanwhile I have decided to forget all notions that the government are interested in consultation and discussion, are open minded, searching for the best outcome and generous and have instead adopted the mindset that if we are to achieve anything that resembles real sustainable progress in our lifetime we need to do it ourself and forget this government as they are from a time that has passed and watching them slowly poison themselves and us is not how I want to spend my life.
Onwards and upwards.
The future’s looking bright because these guys will no longer be here.