“You are only as good as your Cabinet” are words that make you think. For those of my vintage, it suggests a group of people who respect leadership and intelligence with the same broad objectives. Bob Hawke’s first Cabinet was such a group. They were a progressive bunch with the will to take the country forward, and they did so with hard work and diligence.
The Ministry included such luminaries as Hawke, Lionel Bowen, John Button, Paul Keating, Barry Jones, Bill Haydon, Susan Ryan, Mick Young and Gareth Evans.
Of course, talent doesn’t always follow those with degrees. The current Ministry is probably the most educated of all time, whereas the Hawke Cabinets conversely contained a fair few without degrees, other than life experience.
Sure, they had a bit of flair with a touch of Hawke larrikinism. Keating left school at 14, Mick Young worked as a shearer and roustabout, and Peter Walsh was a wheat and sheep farmer.
I mention these fleetingly because I have written in-depth on this subject before. I really wanted to comment on a few LNP politician’s behaviours who don’t represent the parties they stand for and are not representative of any standard of decency expected of our parliamentarians.
Let’s go back to President Trump’s Twitter ban and begin with the response by the climate change fact-denying, bible-bashing absentee George Christensen who believes that free speech that allows for the individual’s right to lie without consequence is a good thing:
“On Sunday, Christensen proposed laws to ‘stop social media platforms from censoring any and all lawful content created by their users’.”
He was, of course, opposing Twitter’s suspension of President Trump. Trump has been very active lately firing out violence-inspiring words. Words like these:
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Trump’s speech was riddled with imagery of warlike-violence and I wonder if Mr Christensen supports this example of ‘free speech.’
The New York Timesreported that:
“Several laws clearly make it a crime to incite a riot or otherwise try to get another person to engage in a violent crime against property or people.”
Again, I wonder what George thinks of that?
Acting Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack has been criticised in the media when his words compared the riots with the recent Black Lives Matter marches.
If hydroxychloroquine-deviates like Christensen and the clearly incompetent McCormack want to express their views in the guise of free speech, it does not mean it should be free from ethics like truth, but people often demand free speech to compensate for the freedom of thought they rarely use.
Christensen and McCormack are but two of one of many in the government with these traits.
I can but humbly conclude that if you agree with Trump’s right to free speech and it contains actions that promote violence, then you must in part at least own a bit of the story.
Scott Ludlum takes a dig:
you think politics can't get more degraded under morrison's brand of mediocrity and menace, and then michael mccormack takes the podium like a three week old boiled potato and you realise we do indeed have further to fall
— Scott Ludlam (@Scottludlam) January 11, 2021
Both Christensen and Craig Kelly have also agreed with the President that hydroxychloroquine is an effective coronavirus treatment.
The point here is that Morrison’s Cabinet members and those outside it appear to have carte blanche to say what they want on any subject. Matt Canavan regularly does on energy and climate change as does Kelly. No strong leader would allow it.
Chris Bowen gives the impression he doesn’t think highly of those guys.
Craig Kelly is a menace who spreads conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory and at every turn, Scott Morrison has failed to call out his Captain’s pick for Hughes. pic.twitter.com/781gfNTRSj
— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) January 12, 2021
Of course, it must be remembered that the two of them have power over the Government who with a one-seat majority are still vulnerable on the floor of the House. If one of them crossed the floor, their demise could mean life or death for the Government. They know it, as does Morrison.
McCormack said that he did not believe Christensen or Kelly should be criticised for having different opinions. Still, when those opinions aren’t substantiated with facts, they are just baseless crap.
“Facts are sometimes contentious and what you might think is right, somebody else might think is completely untrue … That is part of living in a democratic country,” McCormack said.
The Acting Prime Minister also doubled down on remarks he made comparing the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests to last week’s riot on the Capitol, saying “any form of violence” should be condemned.
McCormack, the acting Prime Minister while Scott Morrison takes a break, was asked whether Donald Trump should be removed from office for inciting the riots:
“It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at the Capitol Hill that we’ve seen in recent days, similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,” Mr McCormack told the ABC’s RN program.
In yet another tweet, Josh Frydenberg couldn’t support the Deputy Prime Minister quickly enough.
Tony Windsor also tweeted:
👍 to Commonwealth CMO Paul Kelly for taking non relative Craig Kelly to task on vaccine conspiracies.
In related news Craig Kelly has joined Miranda Devine on Donny trumps quiet web site #Shitter. Mr Kelly’s psychic wave cure for cancer can be installed at the crApp store.
— Tony Windsor (@TonyHWindsor) January 13, 2021
What is it in the Acting Prime Minister’s innermost thinking that compares a Black Death in custody with a protest by some uninformed “fascists”?
Now let’s move onto the Prime Minister and see how the leader is shaping up at the beginning of 2021.
Thus far, he has refused categorically to tell his backbench to stop spreading misinformation.
However, he tweeted:
Very distressing scenes at the US Congress. We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 6, 2021
The Australian chimed in:
Josh Frydenberg says he is uncomfortable with Twitter’s ban on outgoing US President Donald Trump, joining Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack in slamming the social media giant. https://t.co/hUWoGFLeYZpic.twitter.com/6IhnY457ki
— The Australian (@australian) January 11, 2021
On leave, the Prime Minister is quoted as saying that he is hoping for a peaceful transfer of power in the United States.
He criticised the rioters for their “terribly distressing” acts of violence in storming the Capitol building but could not find few condemning words for the President. When he asked the crowd to disperse, Trump’s mixed messages were overlooked when the rioters read between the lines.
Morrison also refused any criticism of others on his backbench (and others) for supporting and promoting unfounded conspiracy theories over the US presidential election results.
Anthony Albanese was direct and blunt in his response, saying the actions of the people involved were those of insurrectionists. In contrast, Malcolm Turnbull said Morrison had been “a bit weak” and “a bit tepid” compared to other world leaders’ condemnation.
So it has to be said that the Prime Minister is carrying a large amount of luggage from one year to the next he is also adding a significant amount into 2021.
2020 was a challenging year, and many societal and economic changes will be thrust on us by COVID-19. The Government is hardly likely to merge the economy with society and bring about a fairer governance system.
Their record whilst in power has been nothing short of deplorable. There are no “Liberals” left to bring about change that in turn would apply equality of opportunity, transparency, and an open government style that governs for all.
No doubt exists in my mind that all the small ‘L’ liberals have gone and we are left with a rabble of conservative, very right-wing Trump-like species who only have feelings for themselves. What’s in it for me?
The LNP is like the GOP. Both have lost the traditional values of at least having a heart. One only has to look at the decline in both their values over the past decade. They have sold them out to the corporations and the extreme right-wing of their parties, in other words, to the highest bidder who gives not a dam for the collective good.
America has proven that it can with the right people overcome the moronic-powerful like Trump, and this year Australia may have the same opportunity with Morrison.
The question is; Does Labor have the right people to do it?
My thought for the day
Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. It is incumbent on them.
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