You can smell an air of desperation in the ranks of the Coalition government at the moment. Each week, it seems, we have a rich canvas of events and incidents involving incompetence, ineptness and stupidity to write about. It is coming from the Liberal side, of course, now utterly fraught with gaffe-prone ministers, ill-judged expectations, a stunningly arrogant assumption of superiority and a leadership that has become world famous for absurdity, foolish outbursts and a refusal to change tactics and direction. But, hey, I’m not saying anything we don’t already know.
Joe Hockey’s apology on Radio 2UE was excessive, bordering on Act 3 of a soap opera. He messed it up by trying to make it sound like he was the offended party. “For there to be some suggestion that I have evil in my heart when it comes to the most disadvantaged people in the community is upsetting.
“But it’s more upsetting for those people in the community. So I want to make it perfectly clear to the community that if there’s any suggestion that I don’t care about you or that I have evil intent toward you, I want to say that couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m sorry for the hurt.”
Very touching, Joe, but it’s not about you and the fact is you only did it because you were shamed into it. Hockey has exposed his own incompetence. He doesn’t seem to understand what the word, ‘regressive’ means. He doesn’t seem to get that when assessing the impact on the lower levels of affluence in society it’s the percentage of your income spent on fuel or food or transport that matters, not the actual amount.
Any flat tax is regressive, Joe. Progressive taxes place a more equitable load on the higher paid. It all makes sense if your eyes are open. But, if you subscribe to an ideology that is committed to preserving the wealth for the wealthy, then perhaps it’s not so clear.
Tony Abbott has put his foot in it (again), with his comments about the upcoming vote for independence in Scotland. “I think that the people who would like to see the breakup of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, not the friends of freedom, and that the countries that would cheer at the prospect of the breakup with the United Kingdom are not the countries whose company one would like to keep,” he said. Against freedom and justice? What was he thinking?
David Marr has an amusing theory behind this churlish outburst. Attacking the Scots will bump up the yes vote by enough for the Nationalists to win. Most Scottish parliamentary seats in the House of Commons are held by Labor. By removing them from Westminster, the Tories have a better chance of retaining power in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tony Abbot saves the Tories. Wow!
While David chuckled his way through that little parody on Insiders, last Sunday, it was the reply Abbott received from Alex Salmond who showed remarkable insight into our Prime Minister that went viral. Salmond, who is Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party said Mr Abbott was “notoriously gaffe-prone” and he had “put his foot right in it.” Tell us something we don’t already know, Alex. The First Minister was clearly being kind to someone he must have perceived as an idiot and who needed to be handled gently.
There is also the matter of ramping up home security in the light of Australians joining the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the PM’s concern for the Yazidis of Northern Iraq. There is a strange sense of Deja Vu in relation to this humanitarian crisis and the rescue of 4000 Kosovar refugees by John Howard in 1999. Church leaders are asking Abbott to protect Christians in Iraq and Syria.
Dr Freier, the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison asking that they offer refuge to Christians facing forced conversion to Islam or death.
One could be forgiven for thinking that a revised definition of ‘hypocrisy’ is about to be written. Will we see a sectarian airlift out of the Middle East protecting Christians while we traumatise predominantly Iraqi and Afghani Muslim and Tamil Hindu refugees in off-shore concentration camps in New Guinea and Nauru? One can only wait and see.
But the blunder of the week thus far, must go to the Prime Minister who blames the previous NSW Labor government for changing the law that now sees two Liberal MP’s resign and another six standing aside for accepting campaign donations from developers. Such an absurdly simplistic claim must surely have the more stable minds inside the Liberal party wondering how long they can continue to allow the party to bleed so profusely.
One gets the feeling that for freedom and justice to be served for the Australian voter, enough heads should roll to make ‘Game of Thrones’ look like a vicarage tea party.