Thanksgiving: Australia Just Humiliated Lady Bigot 'Pauline Pantsdown'!
Firstly, if you're not familiar with Australian politics, you should know about Pauline Pantsdown, who is as far as I'm concerned its pinnacle. See, back in the '90s there was a fringe candidate called Pauline Hanson, and because Australia is parliamentary there was no law saying she couldn't start her own party. She called it "Pauline Hanson's One Nation" which seems really arrogant until you realize there's another party across the country called the Nick Xenophon Team.
This is George Christensen. We must all pray he never has a spat with Pauline and decides to start his own party. Photo credit: Fairfax
Anyway, Pauline Hanson is a bigoted little lumpkin and is about as well-liked in Australia as Ted Cruz is here. I developed an irrational love/hate relationship with her on my fourth day in the country because she's so gloriously fucking dumb. How dumb is she? Well. She once told a TV audience that she wouldn't eat halal food. So someone invited her over for haram food, which she also turned down lest she get any Muslim on her.
— ¡Ay, Caramba! (@gillyworks) November 15, 2017
Pauline Hanson is the kind of fucking moron who will try to change a whole nation's laws because she can't look up what words mean, is what I'm saying. (Didn't get it? Haram is the opposite of halal. But if you didn't know that already, you probably looked it up.) And this is a lot of ink to spill on such a loathsome creature except that you can't understand Aussie politics until you realize that back in the '90s, Australians sent a relatively not-great song to the top ten just to fuck with her:
Maybe next time, Pauline, you'll think fucking twice before pulling another stupid stunt like wearing a burkha into Parliament?
(Quick aside: if you're not familiar with a parliamentary system, a primer. The people elect their representatives and whichever party wins enough seats gets to run the government. If no party wins enough, they start horse-trading with minor parties to form a coalition government. The government gets to appoint the Prime Minister, who picks his top officials. That holds until the party gets restless and decides to chuck out the PM and replace them in what's called a spill but should be called pistols at dawn except all the Aussies gave their guns back after the first mass shooting. Basically, people who live under parliaments wake up every day not 100% sure who's in charge of the country because it might have changed at 2AM in some palace intrigue.)
The other reason we bring you this Aussie post is because Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister, is really truly bad at politics. He's a Liberal (which means conservative, but we think Trump was rude to Mal because nobody told him that big L Liberal means something different in Australia) but he's been forced to go into a coalition with not just the normal minor right-wing parties. He's been making deals with the crazy ones, too. He thought he could give the fringe sorts a few bones and they'd go away, because he is INCREDIBLY FUCKING THICK.
Really Mal would be fine if it weren't for the gay people getting all uppity and demanding things like protection under the law. Turnbull, a fucking coward, wouldn't bring gay marriage for a direct vote in Parliament because it would put his members in a bad position. So instead he called for a plebiscite, a postal vote, which meant that Australia just spent a few hundred million dollars they don't really have to get people to vote on gay marriage. Because the vote was by mail there weren't even any democracy sausages, which is fucking un-Australian. The results came back a few days ago, with overwhelming support. Now they have to vote on it in Parliament. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Watching Malcolm Turnbull try to administer the country is like watching Sam Brownback's second term: You don't know why anyone's still letting this happen, but it's so crushing that you'd nearly feel bad for him if he weren't enacting policies of unmitigated evil and destruction. It does feel a bit much to blame Mal entirely, though -- the Prime Minister before him, Tony Abbott, is so widely hated that this happened and everyone mostly laughed:
He's actually proud of this. And that's after Trump humiliated him on his first call. And after the White House listed him as the President of Australia because the White House didn't know they have a Parliament.
Australia's been showing equally adept leadership in the Manus fiasco. Manus and Nauru are brutal offshore detention facilities where Australia keeps all its refugees. (Yes, refugees.) There have been self-immolations. Doctors were forbidden from reporting on guards raping child detainees. It got REALLY REALLY BAD. So obviously, Australia eventually settled all the refugees because it's a country of tens of millions of people and they decided they could find homes and jobs for a few thousand war-weary LOL NO I CAN'T EVEN FINISH THE SENTENCE. They just shut down the water and power to the camps and told the people in them to find a different place to go. For a comparison: A UN commissioner said that Manus was as inhumane than Abu Ghraib. The people kept there weren't even on bullshit suspicion of aiding terror; they were just fleeing their home countries and had the bad luck of being picked up by Border Force.
Australia isn't the least racist place in the world -- they're still searching their souls to decide whether they should formally recognize Indigenous and Pacific Islander folk. They've just come out with a report about a children's prison in the Northern Territories -- a place that had something like Jim Crow laws until quite recently -- that is nothing short of horrifying, and until the good lord Jesus called Bill Leak to whatever eternity awaited him it wasn't at all unusual to see REALLY racist cartoons in the paper. Pauline Hanson came back to prominence, after all, and someone's voting for that bullshit.
But today she's humiliated and the Coalition is at risk and Mal is looking weaker by the day and for all Australia's faults it just voted to stop being dicks to gay people.
Australia is a weird place and also probably the first place I've ever felt entirely at home, because they like drinking and swearing and they don't have time for your bullshit, thanks. Their politics are fucked, but given that we've got He Of The Huge Golf Handicap in charge of shit I feel like I can't hold it against them writ large.
Besides, for every Pauline Hanson there's a Tim Watts, MP, who had this to say to a couple racists trying to be assholes to a Muslim MP: