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Day to Day Politics: 2016 – Thank goodness there’s only one of them (Part 2)

Tuesday January 3 2017

The Government did do us all a favour in ridding itself of the gutter politician, Tony Abbott, as leader. Political historians will record his contribution to the destruction of our democracy and it won’t make for pleasant reading. It was and still is a blight on the body politic. Despite saying when he lost the top job that there would be no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping he continues to parade the political stage as though he were still the legitimate Prime Minister, telling Turnbull how to govern. Placing tests of far right conservative values on him so he can say that nothing really has changed, so why did you replace me.

In an article for The Australian on Friday 30 December he bemoans the current internal divisions in the party saying any Liberal supporter who thinks the party should be punished for “behaving dishonorably and for emulating Labor’s political execution of an elected prime minister … needs to realise they would be punishing our country” if they supported a breakaway conservative party, because it would help to elect a Labor government.

He is of course referring to the egotistical Bernardi and Christensen who’s ideological driven, far-right ugliness threatens to pull the Coalition apart.

The dilemma that conservatives face in my view is that they find themselves in the future but act like the want to stay in the past.

Should Cory (You’ll hear more from me in 2017) Bernardi decide to leave the Liberals and form his own far right party funded by the first lady of wealth Ghina Rinehart it will split the Coalition, and the conservative vote, and lose another vote in the senate. And it will, as Tony Abbott says, hand government to Labor.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff said this of Bernardi:

“He has no record of note in politics. He has hidden under the umbrella of the Liberal Party for years and if he was to walk down the main street of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane not one person would recognise him.”

Another MP of his own party added:

“He is a show pony with no substance, with an ugly political agenda, and good riddance to him if he does quit the party.”

With Abbott having little chance of leading his party again the right in the Liberal Party would be left without a symbolic leader.

Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott and everyone, including me, hoped that finally we had a person we could argue with but at least it would be civil. Our hopes were quickly dashed when he revealed that the true Malcolm was just another politician. Well not altogether. Malcolm also turned out to be a hypocrite of the highest order giving up long-held beliefs in policy areas to take the job. He even gave a speech prior to Christmas to the Australian Republican Movement reinforcing his support for a republic but like marriage equality lacked the intestinal fortitude and leadership to progress his arguments. There is not much one can look to as achievements unless you count occupancy as one.

He had the world at his feet but the right had him by the balls. Now he is locked into cycle of internal appeasement giving up the dignified position of being true to who you are and instead caving into lessor mortals.

It would be fair to say that the move to swap Tony Abbott for Malcolm Turnbull has been an unmitigated disaster. So much so that we enter 2017 with a Government in disarray. More focused on its ideology than serving the people.

His arrival saw a highly educated group of mainly men making atrocious decisions. Placing economic matters on a supposed dinner table and taking them off before we had a chance to read the menu. It went on for months. After just scraping home in an election everyone thought he would win comfortably he couldn’t do a thing right. He had a win with the ABCC bill but most commentators agree it is a toothless tiger. He also connived with the Greens to change the Senate voting rules and made a complete mess of it.

In February we will find out how much of his personal fortune he gave to secure the job.

That’s at least seven months since the election was held but in some cases, its years before donations are revealed. The political disclosure laws are nothing more than a joke, except it’s not funny. They are blatantly devious, purposely designed to disguise or conceal the link between money and political outcomes.

At least we know that Independent candidate Tony Windsor raised nearly half a million dollars in donations to try to oust the Deputy Prime Minister from his seat at this year’s federal election. Why, it’s rather simple really. He told us.

It is a question, together with MPs expenses, that the electorate is rightly angry about but one that politicians, to their own peril think little of.

But if anyone wants to discover the real Malcolm one only has to find a video of his speech on election night when he put on display the extraordinary superior opinion he has of himself.

The pressures on Turnbull as he confronts 2017 are enormous. Some say he won’t last until March but that aside, surely underperforming Ministers within a party more concerned with its cultural wars, will have to go. It is hard to imagine another year of continuous embarrassment from Dutton, George Brandis, Barnaby Joyce, Christopher Pyne, Mathias Cormann (he’s the man who said that domestic violence leave would be just another cost to the economy. He also refused to say if the Turnbull government still has confidence in Dr. Alan Finkel after the chief scientist warned Australia would not meet its emissions reduction target)and Scott Morrison.

The supporters of changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination will have to disclose what it is they want to say that they can’t say now.

Some things will, without some action from Turnbull, remain festering sores on a party   hoping about on one leg.

Besides the aforementioned, unemployment and the scourge of underemployment will need to be addressed, science re-established and sources of revenue found. Very difficult when your underlying principle is to take from those who have not to further enhance the wealth of those who have and by some miracle the trickle down effect will somehow make us all equal.

The New Year has also greeted some pensioners with a cut in pensions. The move, although in some cases a reversal of money given by John Howard to win elections, has been unpopular.

Tomorrow: Part 3

My thought for the day.

“There is nothing more self-destructive than the inability to forgive. Especially yourself.”

 

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15 comments

  1. Alan Jones

    Stop picking on my little white headed boy !

  2. kerri

    Yes the trickle down effect basically amounts to the poor paying the rich (via idealogical, government enforced taxes) in the hope that the rich might be kind enough to give some back!
    Abbott’s comments are all about winning the political game as he clearly has no insight into what is good for the country!
    Watched an ABC program last night hosted by Uhlmann and Jennet, on politics in the year 2016.
    As Turnbull expressed his thoughts that he was very happy in the job and it was an exciting time to be PM with that “you can believe me because I’m pretty smile”
    I wondered is it just me?
    Or has Turnbull, like Abbott before him developed the
    “straining shit through your teeth” grin???

  3. Daniel

    Like many others , I never believed Turnbull was going to be an improvement on Abbott. He’s always been an opportunistic fraud..
    My main gripe against him though is that he replaced Abbott. If Abbott had led the Coalition to the last election we’d now have a Labor govt. with a handy majority and we wouldn’t be reading about Christensen , Bernardi and the incompetent and nasty front bench goons either.

  4. Ella Miller

    “The Government did do us a fovour in ridding itself, and us, of the gutter politician Tony Abbott”

    BUT… did they rid us of him?

    He may not be the PM any more ,but, his divide and conquer influence is still there…..destructive as ever.
    When ever he makes a comment like the one about Palestine, he reminds me of an octopus with tentacles that reach into the mire and drags out the worst of our society. (judging by those that commented on social media about the evil Muslims )

    As for Malcolm Turnbull, he reminds me of a battered wife who stands there stoically defending her abusive husband…unaware of the cycle of violence being inflicted on her. He is a prisoner of the far right.

    The LNP have forgotten , who elected them and whose interests they are supposed to represent.
    The value of ‘do no harm ‘ does not appear to exist in the LNP ,
    not with regards to our nation or the people.

  5. helvityni

    I read somewhere that according the bookmakers Ms Julie is the favourite girl to be the next Liberal Leader…

    Oh dear, the world moves in a weird fashion; I tend to think of Julie as the it-girl of boot makers…

  6. Terry2

    The UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016 condemned Israel among other things, for :

    “Condemning
    all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition,
    character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East
    Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements,
    transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and
    displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law
    and relevant resolutions.”

    You can read the full Resolution here : http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2334(2016)

    The Resolution passed unanimously with the US, for once abstaining rather than sinking the resolution by using their veto.

    This is pretty important stuff if the international community is to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to bringing peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.

    So, Tony Abbott comes back from a jaunt to the Middle East, and he wastes no time in saying that ih his view Australia should move its Embassy and mission to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The reason why international delegations are not in Jerusalem is because East Jerusalem is, under international law, occupied having been seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Recognizing that illegal occupation does nothing to advance a two state solution in the Middle East.

    Tony Abbott has wedged Turnbull, embarrassed Australia and shown once again that he is unfit for a leadership role in this country.

  7. Carol Taylor

    The Right only have Malcom Turnbull “by the balls” because he gives them his permission to do so. Can you imagine Howard or even Abbott allowing Bernardi and Christiansen to run rampant? Not a chance, Howard or in Tony’s case Credlin would have shut them up almost immediately they started playing their games.

    I get the feeling that Turnbull has found it all très amusant, and concluding that anything anti-Left would be of benefit to himself. It had of course worked the opposite, giving the Left something to rally against. Instead of the Left being the “radicals” of politics, it is now the fringe hardline far Right.

    I think that it was in an interview with Leigh Sales that she asked when would the public see “the real Malcolm”. His response said with a somewhat sneering look was: you’re looking at him. And so we are, Malcom has managed to make himself irrelevant in today’s politics and until he manages to locate the aforementioned “balls”, there he will remain.

  8. Jaquix

    Excellent analysis John. Daniel you are right – if they had stuck with Abbott they would have been out on their ear by now and we could have been working on repairing and reform of so many matters. As it is we limp along with the ineffectual Turnbull and his rabble. Christiensen is too fat and lazy to start his own party. Bernardi likewise except he isnt fat. Just likes the limelight.

  9. helvityni

    Well said, Carol Taylor, in total agreement with your assessment of Malturn.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Malcolm is the spokesmodel for the government. He will not do anything that would endanger him losing a gig that allows “Lucy and I” to mingle on the world stage.

  11. Keitha Granville

    Thanks Ella, your analogy of the battered wife fits perfectly – and how apt with the government waffling on about the scourge of domestic violence while doing practically nothing to help

  12. helvityni

    Keitha, and I would have more empathy for our battered PM, if he started helping the women and children, who are the REAL victims of domestic violence and have nowhere to go…

    Turnbull has other options, if they don’t like him, he can leave, he is not depending on PM’s salary for his daily bread…

  13. Sam

    Not only would we have been spared the rise to prominence of the likes of Christensen and Bernadi with an Abbott led election wipeout, we would also have been spared the smug conservative types that point to the results in the UK and US as being Australia’s future.

    Hard to argue that the hard right will be in control of Australia if labor has a convincing majority and the greens hold the balance of power in the Senate.

  14. Jexpat

    Sam:

    Had Abbott been PM, Bernardi would have retained the top position on the SA Senate ticket -and would have been a shoe in. Even at the #2 position he was demoted to in 2016, he still would have been a shoe in.

    Christensen suffered a 3.6% swing against him, but still holds the Dawson electorate by a 6.5% margin.

    Barring some exceptional intervening factor, these two will likely be around for awhile.

    http://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-158.htm

  15. wam

    loved the diludbransims joining trunbull juggling the senate election system to destroy the minor parties completely(boyarrogant??) ignoring their minority status.
    did the boys in the green, nats and libs not realise that to double the senators halves the quota??
    The rabbott has no understanding of moral behaviour because as opus dei he is incapable of being wrong even when he admitted to lying to avoid awkward questions he believes that is acceptable.
    Surely his behaviour in politics shows he has no understanding of right or wrong and is amoral Perhaps all deeply religious zealots are amoral???
    ps forgive is the province of god the trick is forget

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