Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Newmania: Free Gift With Purchase

Don’t you love freebies? It's so rare to get anything for free these days, so when something comes along, you should get excited. I particularly love those promotions where if you buy something, you get a freebie. Cosmetics companies love to do it: Spend $75 and we’ll give you a bunch of sample sized potions and unguents and lipsticks to try for free. Or some big box retailers will give away a year’s supply of cleaning products if you buy a dishwasher, or a pair of luxury towels if you buy a front loader. That's what I'm talking about - those little extras that build brand loyalty.

I like to think of the new LNP Government of Newmania a bit like that. We voted them in, we 'bought' their policies, and along with all sorts of politically accessible generalisations around cutting the cost of living and ending public sector waste. In fact, the whole deal was neatly documented in a list that’s available in convenient PDF format. But here's the surprise: we’ve received an abundance of extras, things we weren’t expecting, all tied up and looking “gifty” for the Greater Good of Newmania.

Not entirely unexpected was the Grand Reshuffle at the top of the Public Service Tree. New appointees in the Newmanian Public Service include several former colleagues and friends from his days as Lord Mayor of Brislantis, plus well-known members of the Liberal Party. I'm not 100% sure if those gifts were for the electorate or for the folks who got the new jobs, but at least someone is getting something, and that's good, right?

In addition to some lovely new jobs for friends, King Campbell has been particularly kind to his friends at the Australian Christian Lobby. There was always the possibility that changes would be made to the Civil Partnerships legislation, but King Campbell took it over the top when he not only outlawed state-sanctioned ceremonies, and then admitted that decision was to appease his Christian friends who’d been offended that the Civil Partnership ceremony mimicked marriage. That's a rarity. With free gifts, you usually get what you get. The ACL got almost everything they asked for. They must be very special friends indeed.

He didn’t stop there though, he also changed the name to Registered Relationships, which might not sound like much until you ask the love of your life to “co-register” and realise you said something similar last week when you registered your car, your dog or your Twitter username. Clearly King Campbell is not a romantic, despite all the public pre-election smoochies with his Consort Lisa.

The cherry on top of the Christian Gift Bonanza was the prospect of banning access to surrogate pregnancies, not just for LGBTI, but also for singles, and for defactos who’ve been shacked up for less than two years.I hope Wendy Francis isn’t expecting anything else for Christmas! There’s not much else King Campbell can give her, unless he joins the Salvation Army.

As for the rest of us, well, we lost out on this one. It's a shame King Campbell had to steal from our LGBTI friends to give to the ACL. It doesn't seem fair: I already have more rights than they do, but King Campbell stole some of them away? We'll have to accept that Newmania is broke, so perhaps King Campbell is really the Robin Hood of Giftiness. He steals from the poor to give to the noisy, irrational minority. I know I didn't vote for that, so it must be a special gift.

The goodies keep on coming, though. The Unions must be rubbing their hands together with joyous abandon at the thought of all the rare and exceptional opportunities King Campbell has given them! Imagine all that lovely lovely money that the unions won’t be able to pass onto the Labor Party unless their membership has okayed it via a ballot. Labor potentially misses out and the unions may suffer, but hey, Newmania is cold, stony broke. This might be one of those special imaginary presents that really isn't anything but a lot of hot air and distraction...like those little cardboard boxes full of positive vibes, for the friend who has everything.

It's also a fairly convenient way of kicking your opposition while they're down. Not so much a gift as a declaration of war, then?

Yet as every good gift giver knows, you have to find little treats for yourself along the way. Congratulations King Campbell, you got some new toys to play with.

Hmmm. I don't think King Campbell understands this Spirit of Giving business at all. He promised us all sorts of things - lower cost of living, less waste, accountability, dignity, grace, humility, and we haven't received any of those yet. His Free Gifts with Purchase aren't all they're cracked up to be either...unless you're a very special friend or have a good imagination.

Sometimes, it's not the thought that counts, and it's not the gift either. Sometimes you just want to get what you paid for.

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