TRUE OPINION: How will Australia look like in the next decade with climate change taking hold and our political institutions currently mired in widespread corruption and greed, ponders novelist and lawyer Miles Hunt.
The year is 2030. The Coalition are still in power – now for 17 years straight – and they are heading for Sir Bob Menzies record. Although Scotty from Marketing is not PM – he is back in Marketing for an international bureaucracy that needed his services. Dutton has been and gone. Even Christian Porter had a stint in the revolving door of the Liberal Party leadership / PM role. The Prime Minister’s position is now referred to as Leader of the Liberal Party (LLP) at all State Functions because it has been accepted that Labor will never again challenge them. Dave Sharma has that role now, which is strange because Kerryn Phelps won his seat in 2025, so no one quite understands how he is LLP – but the Nationals are in support so its all good. No female has had a turn at leader, but the Minister for Women was a female for most of this period.
Talking of Labor – they still exist (barely) and Albo is still leader. He is getting older though and can no longer work the decks as a DJ. The party cannot get rid of him though due to Rudd’s party rules which make any change of leadership all but impossible. No one knows what to do. Bill Shorten is still jostling for leader and is hopeful the voting public have warmed to him, like they finally warmed to Novak Djokovic after he won his 15th Australian Open.
Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull formed a new party to try and steal the centre vote. But this failed because neither could agree who would be the Deputy. Even Kim Beazley has made a comeback to politics hoping to get the nod from the Labor Caucus. Albo has signalled he will step aside when the Bunnies finally win another premiership, which doesn’t look likely given Rusty is now the Coach.
Tanya Plibersek did actually win an election for Labor, which ran when Albo was on holidays (so she was interim leader), but the election day fell on the 29th of February of a leap year, so the Daily Telegraph ruled that it never actually happened.
Australia has still not agreed to net zero by 2050, nor any interim target for 2030 – which is now due for Kyoto Mach III. It was hoped that any commitments wouldn’t be necessary with developments in wind and solar and hydrogen technology – but with the Liberal party nationalising all coal mines and power plants and a right-wing extremist ‘anti-eco-group’ simultaneously blowing up Tesla Batteries, Wind farms, and any Scientific Facilities – plans have now moved to a verbal non-binding agreement to reconsider their position.
Talking of Universities, they don’t exist anymore. They have all been melted down in an Alchemists hope that they would turn to gold – to help pay off the debt (which didn’t work, and the national debt is now $5 trillion and counting). The Old Universities’ sandstone has been repurposed for Private schools, whilst, as institutes for learning, they have been replaced by new Business Schools which only accept upfront fees for students, and only teach theories of neo-liberalism. The two main schools – Thatcherism and Reaganites – have an annual rowing championship which attracts thousands of drunken fans and much betting on the winner. After five years, it is still sponsored by multiple online sports betting companies.
Sport is now played in stadiums that seat up to a million people. Cities were enlarged to fit several of these monstrosities in, although housing is still a problem for essential workers – especially with the average house price now 300 times the average annual wage and doubling every day.
The Mining Boom, Gas Recovery and Oil Rebirth have all long gone – everything has been dug up and sold off. All roads, schools, hospitals have been privatised. The police have also been sold off, but most big companies have their own security forces to impose the peace.
The ABC is gone. So has art, culture and comedy. Everything has been digitalised. Even holidays are now taken online. Many people enjoy visiting the Colosseum of Rome or the Parthenon without leaving their own home. Even the Summit of Everest can be done online between games of Halo 15. No one leaves their home, and everyone is plugged in.
‘Turn on, tune in and drop out’ is a slogan for an internet company, but sadly for Timothy Leary, psychedelics have all been Trade Marked by Big Pharma, meaning hippies are still arrested for use – but for a breach of Copyright and not possession of the product. Even Cannabis is sold as a pill, whilst growing one plant for personal use remains illegal.
Sunday church has been replaced by the School of Economy – where people congregate to pray for further economic growth, low interest rates and asset bubbles. Fortunately, these prayers are answered by the Business God as population growth continues to prop up economic growth at a steady 3%. The population growth of course is due to Climate Refugees fleeing uninhabitable parts of the world, but the Government points to this growth as proof of its economic credentials.
Water has become precious and fires rage continuously. The UN is still bickering about how to solve this problem, but its biggest policy in this regard has been to rename itself “The Globe” – in a marketing push from Scott Morrison who is now head of the organisation. China is still refused entry, whilst the US has split in two – with the Republican Country now ruled by populist Russian defector Vlad Putin.
Everyone has their heads in the sand – which of course is now too hot to walk on, making trips to the beach all but impossible. Lockdown in Melbourne has finally ended.