Australian Museum of Democracy to open in Canberra.

A museum commemorating the existence of democracy in Australia will soon be opened in Canberra. The Australian Museum of Democracy will serve as a historical reminder of the days when democracy was a central pillar of the nation’s government.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, opened the museum recently and spoke glowingly of democracy as a prominent feature of Australia’s past.

“Democracy belongs in a museum,” he gloated.

“I am enormously proud to announce the establishment of the Australian Museum of Democracy in the nation’s capital, and I am equally proud to have overseen the destruction of that democracy.”

“The museum reminds all Australians of a time when governments acted democratically and largely in the interests of their constituents, and I encourage all Australians to make the journey to Canberra and look back with fondness at such an idyllic period in our history.”

“The delightful museum is located in Old Parliament House, which hasn’t been used for governing since 1988, and this is appropriate because there’s not much democracy in the new parliament house,” Morrison smirked.

The museum displays numerous artefacts from the nation’s democratic history since Federation in 1901. One section is dedicated to the Free press and recalls a time when media outlets were owned by numerous people and offered a variety of opinions on current affairs and politics. It also recounts the days when the federal and state governments were not controlled by the man who now owns almost all of Australia’s media, Rupert Murdoch.

Visitors can read, view and listen to news stories which reported the news, rather than simply reproducing government press releases or repeating the latest slogan from the government. Visitors can also learn about something called ‘investigative journalism’ and how this held society’s leaders to account.

Many younger Australians will be amazed to learn that mainstream news content was once more than just government press releases, celebrity gossip, reality TV show recaps and stories about football WAGS.

Genuine choice in parties

The museum also contains archival and historical relics detailing the days in which Australians enjoyed a genuine choice between political parties. The Liberal, National and Labor parties all stood for distinct principles, and while they came together during times of hardship such as war, they provided Australian voters with a genuine choice according to the voter’s world view.

Australians passing through the museum can also witness politicians making policies, not slogans, and parliamentary debates obsessed with producing laws, not sound bites. They can also read transcripts of opposition members challenging policy proposals of the government, instead of weakly acquiescing.

The remainder of the museum exhibits evidence of a time when the Australian government did not attempt to merge religion and politics or glorify war, and a time when the government respected the right of citizens to protest. Australians can reminisce on a time when border security was not a national obsession, and when particular racial or religious groups were not blamed for the nation’s every problem.

Australians can also look back on a time when politicians did not use exclusive nationalism to win votes and divide the nation, and when corporations were expected to pay tax and behave responsibly. Finally, Aussie citizens can look back at a time when the government was not attempting to spy on its own citizens, unless they were red and hiding under the bed.

Image: Aditya Joshi

P.S. The Museum of Australian Democracy exists. It is real. This article is satire, written to draw attention to the erosion of democracy in Australia by the current government. The actual Museum of Australian Democracy is in Old Parliament House, Canberra, and it houses a real collection of real archives depicting real events in Australia’s political history. Apparently it’s quite interesting and informative.

Australian Labor Party: The Clayton’s opposition.

The current Australian Labor Party is the Clayton’s opposition: the opposition you have when you’re not having an opposition.

The current Labor Party draws its inspiration from Clayton’s beer, which was a non-alcoholic beer whose slogan read: ‘Clayton’s, the drink you have when you’re not having a drink.’

Clayton’s existed to offer Australians, particularly men, the chance to avoid drinking beer but appear to be drinking beer. Clayton’s looks exactly like beer and allowed patrons at pubs or social gatherings to avoid teasing or criticism from their peers. At the height of Clayton’s popularity, men in particular were expected to drink beer in every social setting, and to drink a lot, or risk having their masculinity or sexuality questioned. Indeed, the saying went;

‘Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.’

The current federal Labor Party embodies the spirit of Clayton’s beer because it offers the appearance of an opposition party, but in reality it is not an opposition party.

In reality, the current Labor Party offers no genuine alternative to the current government. The Labor Party supports the LNP in many policy areas, even those which contradict with the founding principles of the party. Labor continually contradicts itself on climate policy, and it has been unable to protect the rights of workers or to increase wages.

As a result, the Australia voting public is fooled into thinking it has a functioning opposition party and an alternative to the current government, but in practical terms it doesn’t. A recent reshuffle of the federal Labor government placed different members in different portfolios, but only time will tell if this makes any real difference to the operation of the party. Their current slogan is “On Your Side”, but whose side is that?

In many cases, Labor gives the impression of being beholden to the right wing elements of the party.

What is a right wing Labor member?

A Liberal?

What is an ineffectual opposition party?

A Clayton’s opposition party?

Image: Matt Palmer