Abbotting

AbbottAustralia is screwed. About the only thing going right at the moment is that Australia’s cricket team has found its mojo and is giving the Pom’s a right old drubbing. Apart from that the whole country is going to the dogs. In fact the very funny, but valid, Urban Dictionary has come up with a new term. When something mean, wrong and unfair happens we say that the person or entity has been Abbotted.  Lose your job – You have been Abbotted. Get denied the right to marry – You have been Abbotted. Get thrown in a detention centre because you dared to seek a better life – You have been Abbotted.  Get denied basic care needs because the Government wants to save money – You have been Abbotted. Blame everyone else including the former government for your own meanness – You are Abbotting. Jokes aside it is really sad and serious. [1]

And Australia is becoming mean. Make no mistake about it.  In the Hunter valley a young man with multiple disabilities has been denied the chance to attend his school formal. His school thought it might be a tad embarrassing to have him there so neglected to provide him with an invite. His mother complained and received an apology. Gracefully the mother accepted the apology but has demanded action to ensure something like this never happens again. I can’t tell you much more beyond that. You see the story is a video story on the Nine NBN news site. Channel Nine is to mean to provide captioning. The Government is also to mean to enforce companies to provide captioning. Hence 3 or 4 million deafies like myself get no access. Damn it, Abbotted again![2]

Last weekend in Canberra there were many happy Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBTS) couples who got married. For the first time ever it was legal for such couples to get married. The Canberra Government legislated for such marriages to occur. As a result GLBTS couples from all over Australia converged on Canberra and legally got married for the first time. They were to be happy for no more than five days. This is all the time it took for their marriages to be annulled. You see George KING KONG Brandis, Australia’s newest Attorney General, doesn’t like such marriages and decided to puff out his chest and challenge the legislation in the High Court. Of course these people getting married were hurting no one at all but Brandis wanted to be King. Stupidly the High Court said Commonwealth Laws superseded the Canberra legislation and the marriages were null and void. Abbotted again and with a dose of Brandisitis to go with it. [3]

Rarely have I been so angry at a decision from the Government as the one that led to these marriages becoming void. I think probably 80% of Australians are in favour of GLBTS couples being allowed to marry, Some religious groups and others, that I can only describe as idiots, are opposed. Most of the idiots are in Government unfortunately. I reckon the whole of Australia should just shut down in protest until the Government sees sense. Go on a National Strike so to speak. It is not that far fetched. In fact it is already happening over in Iceland. Not so much because GLBTS couples can’t marry but because the Icelandic Government was crap.

A group of citizens (a lot of them) protested outside Iceland’s parliament. They forced the Government to resign and then this group rewrote the countries constitution. People power at it’s best. If we continue to get Abbotted in the manner that we currently are, I suggest this is the way to go. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! [4]

But Abbotting is not always visual. Sometimes it happens by stealth. Last year the Labor Government launched the much vaunted National Disability Insurance Scheme. The disability community across Australia rejoiced and celebrated. Of course the launch of the scheme was just the beginning. Much work needed to happen to make the scheme strong and workable. Recognising this, the Labor Government designed the launch in such a way that there was flexibility to amend and change how the scheme operated as it was rolled-out. Now let’s be clear here, the NDIS was OFFICIALLY launched. It is supposed to be the real thing and was to be national by 2018-2019.

Then, of course, Labor got turfed out of power. Australian’s got fed up of the inability of the Labor Party to govern itself. I mean if you can’t govern yourself you can’t Govern the country can you? So the whole of Australia got Abbotted as Australians voted the Abbott Government in. Of course the Abbott Government had promised until it was blue in the face that the NDIS would not be touched. Even though treasurer Joe Hockey said Australia needed to get in surplus before it got an NDIS Mr. Abbott publicly stated the NDIS would go ahead unheeded.

Now of late the Abbott Government has slightly changed its language in describing the NDIS.[5] You will note the Labor Government LAUNCHED the NDIS. Mr. Abbott has had a subtle change of language. You see the sites where the NDIS was launched are now described as trial sites – It’s no longer a launch. Prime Minister Abbott has said that although he – ” … absolutely” supported the scheme, there was a need to establish it on a sustainable basis”

And there you might actually have the first indication that the NDIS is about to be watered down in then interest of “sustainability”  Be afraid, be very afraid because it is not beyond reality that the NDIS is about to suffer a dose of dreaded Abbotting too. Remain diligent is all I can say and take lessons from the Icelanders.

On a brighter note there was a fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Some guy, apparently accredited as an interpreter, got up on stage and in front of billions of people worldwide flapped his arms and body in a series of made up gestures and pantomime. Worldwide the Deaf community and the interpreting profession were outraged. They went into overdrive. They protested and let it be known that the interpreter was a fake. They let the world know what real sign language interpreting was all about.

I profess I had a little giggle. Not because I am disrespectful of sign language, I use it in social and professional life after all, but because the fake interpreter was allowed to have got up on stage at all. It was an ironic kind of giggle, if you get my gist. But this fake interpreter has been a godsend for the Deaf community and the Sign Language interpreting profession because it has brought incredible attention to interpreting and sign language in a way that could not have been hoped for. And it has been mostly positive. Sure its shameful that Mr. Mandela’s funeral was tarnished in this way but the irony is that, even in death, Mr. Mandela is helping the oppressed. I would rather be Mandellered any day.

So on a rather depressing note I bring a year of The Rebuttal to an end. May 2014 be a better year for everyone. May you all avoid a dreaded Abbotting and continue to prosper. Despite the depressing last Rebuttal of the year – Life is generally good – But stay diligent people – Let’s keep the Abbotting to the minimum.


[3] Overseas readers may be puzzled by this. To explain Australia is a mish mash of Federal, State and territory laws. Canberra itself is a Territory and has its own laws. The trouble is that if the State or territory laws contradict Commonwealth laws, the Commonwealth wins.

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