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A prime minister devoid of principle, accountability and transparency

Election diary No. 18: Saturday. 12, March 2022

1 On Monday, 7 March, our Prime Minister used a speech to decry “that we face a world ‘devoid of principle, accountability, and transparency’.”

When he said those three words, my first reaction was to put myself in the position of a journalist at the function and on the list to ask a question. My question would have been threefold as follows:

When in your tenure as Prime Minister have you shown any principle? Secondly, when have you been accountable for your decisions?, and thirdly, when have you and your Government been transparent?

That he would use those three words in that context only confirms the opinion of Sean Kelly in his book; The Game: A Portrait of Scott Morrison. All these things apply to others, not Morrison. On page 349 (of the Apple Electronic version), Kelly writes that:

“When journalists began to challenge Morrison with their reporting columns and their questions, this must have been particularly confronting because of Morrison’s acute understanding of the power of journalists. He relied on them to tell his stories. Now they were resisting. This was the confrontation with the limits of his power that every powerful person hates.

It is unlikely to be coincidence that of the journalists who had made the most piercing critiques and asked the most piercing questions of Morrison had been women: Jane Cadzow, Julia Baird, Laura Tingle. Michelle Gratton, Niki Savva, Katherine Murphy, Samantha Maiden, it seems unlikely they recognised something in Morrison that men, at least at first, struggled to see- or perhaps were blind to, in the way, that Morrison himself is blind to so much.

During those months, this more sceptical view began to spread. Many columns made reference to aspects of the Prime Minister that had been visible for some time. – his lack of empathy, his tendency to manage situations rather than lead, his unwillingness to take responsibility-but that had never quite gained a foothold in the commentary about him.”

The fact is that he is never wrong and seeks to blame others. He never apologises. His callousness and unchristian behaviour toward those who are disadvantaged. His lack of transparency. Enquiries are always by his staff. His incapacity to understand how women think differently from men is a stretch too far. Even the philosophical difference between right versus wrong seems beyond him.

While this article does not critique Kelly’s book, the pages are scattered with references like this throughout. The author puts all the pieces together to show that politics is just a game to our Prime Minister, and he lacks the sensitivity needed to be a modern democratic leader. His lying has become legionary, together with his frequent denials of the mistakes he makes. Evidence shows that he lacks international diplomacy and has cost us dearly.

Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.

For those who study the minds of leaders like Morrison, whose only interest is his government’s re-election, it is easy to see that his speech was for a domestic audience.

National security has always been a touchy point with the electorate and subject to the most outlandish scare campaigns. This is but the start.

To read Sean Kelly’s is to become more or better informed about the personality and character of the Australian Prime Minister.

2 One of the more pleasing headlines I have read in some time is this one: “Anthony Albanese to embrace Labor luminary Bob Hawke’s consensus style if ALP wins election.” Political historians will argue that Bob Hawke had the most talented ministries of all time. Particularly his first.

It included Lionel Bowen, John Button, Paul Keating, Mick Young, Bill Hayden, Clyde Holding, Gareth Evans, John Dawkins, Susan Ryan, Kym Beasley, Barry Jones and Tom Uren. That’s not a bad bunch to have in your first ministry.

What made them so good was that Hawke gave licence to their collective heads. He believed that as a leader, one of his greatest assets was the ability to delegate. And why wouldn’t you with the talent he had at his disposal?

Anthony Albanese admired Hawke as a chairperson who got the best from his team. So, he will use Hawke’s consensus style politics if he wins the next election, breaking away from the leader who has all authority of recent decades.

Albanese used a speech to a business summit last Wednesday in which he presented himself as a consensus figure with a “renewal” agenda. Albanese also said if Labor wins office in May, he will revive “the dormant national project to create wealth in a way that produces benefits for all Australians.”

Albanese also told Wednesday’s summit Australia needs to end the climate and culture wars and look for collaborative opportunities between governments, trade unions, businesses and civil society around “shared aims of growth and job creation.”

Albanese also said that Morrison’s objective as prime minister has been “to sustain a sense of division,” a division that he had stoked to advance a partisan agenda.

He forthrightly argued that Morrison does not see a legitimate role for the Government in driving economic growth and distributing the benefits.

Because Morrison didn’t believe that the Government had a role to play, he said the Coalition has delivered “a decade of inertia.”

A week before the speech by Albanese, Katherine Murphy, writing in The Guardian, reported that the Prime Minister said:

“The overlay of an uneven global recovery from the pandemic, unprovoked military aggression in Europe, in Ukraine, an energy and commodity price shock, and continued geostrategic risks in our own region – this all creates a highly complex and risky external environment,”

“It’s no place for amateurs.”

Well, he certainly got that right.

This American conservative political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending it’s only they who have the answers is being duplicated in Australia. Could we fall for it again?

But that is precisely what Morrison is doing. He is diverting attention from his and his government’s inadequacies by fabricating a false sense of security to create fear and xenophobia and position his government as the only option to defend Australia’s national security. This, Morrison hopes, will enable him to stay on as prime minister. He is a desperate man.

3 Here is a snippet to tickle your fancy:

Victoria’s pathetic Liberal opposition party has shifted its stance on climate change, saying it now supports (pay-walled) a net-zero emissions target by 2050. It will take up to the Andrews government on its environmental credentials.

4 “Don’t get too excited by Australia’s rebounding economy – it’s a distorted snapshot of the true picture,” writes Greg Jericho. “The GDP’s 3.4% growth in the December quarter only occurred because in the September quarter the economy shrank by the third-biggest amount ever.”

5 On Wednesday, 9 March, the Prime Minister ended his seven-day Covid isolation and visited the flooded town of Lismore, where a hostile group greeted him. This time, there were no handshakes – just the usual blame-shifting, which has become Morrison’s core crisis characteristic.

I will write more about this day of disaster when I continue my election diary.

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

My thought for the day

One of Scott Morrison’s most outstanding dexterities is his ability to sell his falsehoods and have people believe them. Unfortunately, too many voters consider him worthy of their vote at a time when change is badly needed. Australia cannot afford another term of this dishonest man and his government.

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26 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    Paul Bongiorno reports in the Saturday Paper that the beddwetters in the Liberal Party are concerned that they could be wiped out under Morrison’s leadership at the May election :

    A senior member of the government – a minister in Morrison’s cabinet – has begun contacting “like-minded” colleagues by email to arrange meetings where they can discuss the crisis. One recipient says, “The last time this happened, the leader was toppled.”

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2022/03/12/the-cabinet-minister-organising-against-morrison/164700360013493

    Once this rot sets in it is very hard to reverse the situation so you may well be looking at everybody’s favourite, Spudley Dutton making himself available to lead the nation into the election.

    Goodness gracious me !

  2. New England Cocky

    Vote for every candidate on your 2022 feral election ballot paper making sure that any Liarbal or Nazional$ candidate has the hihghest number placed against their name.

    This is possibly the last chance that Australian voters have to recover Australian democracy for our grandkids.

  3. Kathryn

    Another well-written summary of Morrison’s appalling lack of leadership, unbelievable hypocrisy and self-serving narcissism. The bone-idle, non-achieving Sloth Morrison keeps on regurgitating bland weak excuses and self-promoting lies whilst shamelessly blaming others for the chaos, dysfunction and destruction his appalling cabinet of political psychopaths will be leaving behind when, at long last, they are removed from their role as the worst, most despised and remorselessly corrupt government in living memory! Everything Sloth Morrison has done – and not done – has achieved NOTHING but reinforce the belief that Morrison ticks every box as a megalomaniac with undeserved delusions of grandeur who is burdened with a total lack of insight, not one iota of integrity, zero credibility and a level of callous disregard for others that can only be described as sociopathic!

    Truly, the BEST thing Sloth Morrison and the appalling, totally heartless “attack dogs” in his wretched cabinet can do for this country, our democracy and the future of our nation is to STEP DOWN! Of course, this will NEVER happen because the Lying Nasty Party maintain a born-to-rule entitlement that is beyond depraved. This is WHY it is absolutely IMPERATIVE that the people of Australia rid this nation of the worst, most dangerously undemocratic government in our history (right up there with the war criminal, John Howard). History will show that the Abbott/Morrison regime only managed to do three things “efficiently” and that is to defund, destroy and vandalise just about EVERYTHING Australians value which includes our democracy, our quality of life, our economy and our (once) enviable international reputation!

  4. Stephengb

    We should be encouraging snotty to keep up the good work !

    Go on, think about it ?

  5. Mr Bronte ALLAN

    Great & oh so true article Mr Lord! I could not agree more strongly if I tried, what you have to say about our “wonderful & glorious” (sic) so called “leader”! He & his mob of rabble rousers, liars & fucking idiots MUST go at the next election! Australia, & the “normal” thinking & voting public MUST kick him out! I shudder to think what will happen if this misogynist bastard & his mob of COALItion idiots gets re-elected, Australia will be in dire straits if the unthinkable should happen—there are enough rusted on & ignorant voters that could make this happen, god help us all if it does!

  6. Kaye Lee

    Devoid of principle, accountability and transparency??? He had the gall to say that????

    How about when Angus Taylor gave a forged document to the Telegraph to attack Clover Moore?

    How about Christian Porter’s blind trust?

    How about Michaelia Cash refusing to be interviewed by police about who tipped off the media about an upcoming police raid?

    How about the Gaetjens inquiry into who knew what in the PM’s office about the alleged rape of a staffer in the office a few doors down?

    How about the government’s push to suppress any mention that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger?

    How about their total abrogation of responsibility for the safety and well-being of refugees and their blocking of journalists from detention centres?

    How about their threats to deregister charities who engage in political advocacy?

    How about sports rorts and carpark carrots and contracts without tender?

    I could go on and on and on…..

  7. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I might be paraphrasing here, but Morrison’s comment yesterday had my jaw drop so fast and hard to the floor that I fear I may have fractured it. He said that “Australians know me… they know that I’m resilient”.

  8. GL

    And as usual for Scummo and Crony Co. Inc. The Rupert gets the story before anyone else. Like magic it suddenly appears and of course it has absolutely nothing whatsoever do with the election that has not been called yet…nope nothing at all…

    “We’ve been planning for it for weeks,” Scummo will announce as his first announceable of the week.

    https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/cash-boost-for-5-million-aussies-amid-rising-living-costs/news-story/797afc7d2fc78eb4473b9afa7b94ee18

  9. Kaye Lee

    Michael, I had the same reaction when Barnaby Joyce said this morning …..

    “The Australian people have to make a choice of who is more likely to make a nation as strong as possible as quickly as possible.

    You can’t always see where [Labor] are going to spend money, I can never understand where they are going to earn it from, and that’s what worries a lot of people.”

    The gross debt at March 11 was $863.6b with another $3.5 billion in tenders this week. Every day we are hearing announcements of money for this and that and tax cuts here and possible excise cuts there.

    How come no-one ever asks this government how they are going to pay for stuff like these stupid submarines and all the infrastructure and training that will go with them.

  10. GL

    All they have is bluff, bluster, bullshit, blame, scare tactics and fear so why run with anything else.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, and yet people believe all that bullshit.

    Our 30-something neighbour, whilst being a fabulous bloke and the best neighbour ever, won’t be voting Labor because “they’re bad for the economy.”

    Hopefully he’ll vote for Helen Haines then, but I don’t know, as we don’t discuss politics any more. Every thing but.

  12. Terence Mills

    Regarding Porter

    The parliament’s privileges committee on Friday (11 March 2022) updated its rules on the Statement of Registrable Interests that all federal politicians must keep updated. The changes – following a review requested by Labor’s Tony Burke, the manager of opposition business in the House of Representatives – mean MPs must disclose donors to fundraising vehicles like trusts and crowdfunding campaigns.

    The rules now require politicians to provide “the name and address of the person who created the vehicle and the names of all others who have transferred property to or through the vehicle”, if the gift in question “is a third party vehicle (including but not limited to trusts and crowdfunding arrangements)”

    Tony Burke noted that Porter’s blind trust was :

    “His so-called blind trust was simply a brown paper bag stitched together by lawyers to avoid transparency and accountability to the Australian people. It made a total mockery of the disclosure regime.”

    Even so, Porter still refuses to reveal who the donor(s) to his blind trust are and he claims that the changes to the rules are not retrospective and thus he doesn’t have to comply.

    The secret donor(s) must be very influential people to demand this level of confidentiality and suppression of their identity.

    Whoever was backing Porter’s legal action against the ABC was either a devoted supporter of Porter or they saw value in supporting an attack on the national broadcaster.

    Intriguing !

  13. Michael Taylor

    How good is Scotty? Jack of all trades.

  14. Kaye Lee

    A ukelele player, a curry chef, a carpenter, a preacher, a racing car driver ……

  15. Michael Taylor

    I get the impression that the big smiles or the thumbs-up in so many of his photo ops that Scott Morrison thinks people like him.

    He’s taken “smile for the camera” to dizzy heights.

  16. Florence Howarth

    Sadly he hasn’t worked out, acting to be PM doesn’t work.

  17. GL

    Michael,

    It could also be he is just a gormless moron with a healthy dose of small things that amuse small minds. In other words a bogan.

  18. Michael Taylor

    As I tweeted the other day, there’s only 2,500 photo ops until the election.

  19. GL

    The penultimate photo would be seeing his reaction as he realises that he’s gone followed by the ultimate photo of seeing his back as he slinks away from the media the following day.

    I’m still not holding my breath on either of those two things occurring.

  20. Michael Taylor

    GL, you’ll hate me for putting a visual of this in your memory cells, but he’s bound to have a photo op of blowing out someone else’s birthday candles, spraying droplets of spit all over the poor sod’s cake.

    It’s bound to be some centenarian at a nursing home, but it could also be some out-of-luck toddler. Scotty doesn’t discriminate against age when it comes to photo ops.

  21. GL

    Michael,

    You fiendish fiend!

  22. Michael Taylor

    GL, one of our teachers in primary school challenged the class to try and go ten seconds without thinking of a rabbit. None of us could do it.

    I now challenge you to try and go ten seconds without visualising Scott Morrison sneezing all over a cake.

    I bet you can’t.

    Yep, I’m evil. 😁

  23. GL

    14 seconds.

  24. Ai Khan Singh

    Quite the most interesting feature of the most recent two or three articles on AIMN is the absence of posts by ‘a Commentator’ and his couple of emerged coat-tailers.

  25. GL

    I almost choked on my coffee when I got to:

    “But the government has accused Mr Albanese of hypocrisy for pouring money into Labor and marginal electorates with projects such as a sports field in southern Melbourne, a basketball court in Ipswich, Queensland, and a footpath and cycling path in the Blue Mountains of NSW.
    “Labor’s spending is only exceeded by its hypocrisy,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.
    “After all of Anthony Albanese’s outrage over Coalition support for community infrastructure, he’s now demonstrating that his words were meaningless and his outrage nothing but cheap politics.””

    So sayeth a member of the sewer level club for cheap politics and pork barrels. The faux rage is outstanding.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-spending-blitz-appears-to-favour-marginal-electorates-20220314-p5a4jt.html

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