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Can Joe Biden change Australian politics for the better?

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” ( President Biden, 21/01/2021).

He might have been showing his age using that language, and I may be showing mine by repeating it. However, what is inferred by the message is that the new President will no longer tolerate the sort of behaviour demonstrated by the former President, Donald Trump. It is time for all the abuse to end.

What happens in America usually repeats itself in Australia. We seem to inherit everything about them, their music, sport, dress, speech and many other cultural influences. Ain’t that right, guys?

Under Trump, the language of politics changed. US politics was harsh enough and brutal enough as it was, but Donald Trump added a new dimension.

In Australia, we had picked up on the vernacular at the beginning of the Tea Party revolution when one could call on the use of foul language, bad manners and a lack of truth as legitimate political tools. Lying in earnest began in the US when Mick Romney opposed Barack Obama in his second term.

Australia experienced it out of the mouths of opposition leader Tony Abbott and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. And what vile fluid it was.

Then from the first time Trump met Morrison, they developed some sort of relationship of thought that lasted until Trump’s bitter end. They may have had more in common than we first thought.

They both admired populist strongmen and had a fawning allegiance to reactionary populist strongmen the world over.

Both were prone to making mistakes by not taking advice and being surrounded by people of mediocre intelligence. Look at Trump’s sackings and Morrison’s hopelessly incompetent cabinet.

Both were devoid of international diplomacy. Look at Morrison’s handling of the Jerusalem embassy and his inability to fulfil any trade diplomacy with China. And, especially in his handling of the China relationship, there’s been a streak of impulsiveness that at times outweighed any consideration for the delicate balancing act that is international diplomacy.

Trump would have nothing to do with getting things done for the common good, fearing that socialism might be used to describe it. Morrison and his cabinet have committed policy failures that would see riots on some countries’ streets, but laidback Aussies don’t do such things. Morrison is a little less subtle, but the comparisons are remarkable.

In the recipe of good leadership, there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. However, it ranks far below getting things done for the common good.

In a review of Nick Bryant’s latest book; “When America stopped being great,” Andrew West, says that.

“Joe Biden had a solid win in the electoral college, but the Democrats are weaker and more divided on ideology than at any time in the past forty years. Trump’s influence will taunt Biden’s administration, which will need to balance its two factions: the social-democratic left versus what you might call the social media left. The former will hope that Biden summons up his instincts of half a century and prioritises unions and workers’ rights; investment in infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and his beloved Amtrak; higher taxes on the super-rich; the protection of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; and the incremental expansion of health care. The latter, channelling its energy through Vice President Kamala Harris, will demand attention to group rights based on ethnicity, sex, sexuality, and gender. Biden and Harris have about eighteen months to make it work before a bruised, but defiant Trumpism stirs again.”

Biden needs to convince his nation that his way of doing politics will have better outcomes for a country yet to overcome the callous, selfish politics of a leader bereft of decency. He needs to make his methods work and show the world that the crass politics of conservative Trumpism is of a world that has now passed.

If they can, Australia’s people will see through the copy-cat style of Morrison’s politics that have washed over us. He should stop pretending to be Trump and start telling us the truth.

Now that he doesn’t need to align himself to Trump, Morrison should quietly back away from his impersonation.

Some time back he praised Trump’s political priorities, saying that they “shared a lot of the same views.” As recently as December, Morrison accepted the Legion of Merit (a US military decoration) from the 45th president. What on earth did he think he was doing?

He should never have accepted the honour. And with a President as mentally fragile as Trump, he should have kept the fact that they shared many thoughts and ideas to himself.

His judgement in attending what was fundamentally an election rally with Trump in 2019 was another error. His presence gave the impression that he was tacitly endorsing Trump, whereas he should have stayed out of it as another nation’s leader.

It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.

The end of the Trump era has opened the door to endless possibilities. Time to ponder the damage he created, but more importantly to consider just what Biden’s ascent to power will do to the rest of the world.

He has come to power with an impeccable service record to the American nation. His inauguration has given his country – and perhaps the rest of the world – a chance of doing politics in a new way.

The last vestiges of Trumpism await a second impeachment that will hopefully never see in a public office again. What are the implications for Australia where our conservative politicians have so astutely followed the principles of Trumpism?

Joe Biden intends to reverse America’s image that Trump built in his four-year term. He is already back on board with the Paris Agreement on climate change, together with a wholesale shift in energy policies.

A raft of other policies are being reversed, dropped, or shelved under Biden’s administration. It is now time for us to put a heavy emphasis on how Biden’s new policies will reflect on our own.

We still have the pandemic and a recession that began before it. The heavy dominance of global and domestic terrorism seems to have given way to right-wing terror and insurrection in the US.

But politics in Australia will have to change. Not only in the way it is delivered and the manners that are used, but also in the policies.

Our issues will move closer to those of the US and domestically – rather than a fight between two protagonists – both Labor and the LNP will be forced into being more broadly acceptable. Morrison will have to shed telling all the lies he does and drop his phoney imitation of Trump, and although Australia has never placed much weight on personality, Albo will have to grow some and do it quickly.

The Prime Minister has a dominant, know-all personality with a liking for demonstrating it. On the other hand, Albanese is relatively unknown and super clean when it comes to controversy.

Morrison is a weak leader who gets away with a lot. His unwillingness to punish and replace those of his cabinet who have failed leaves the electorate thinking they have something on him.

We don’t seem to have the same methodology for dealing with incompetence that other countries do.

From now on we will not be able to rely on the old comparison answer that “oh well, we are not as bad as them” be it vaccinations or economics.

According to The Washington Post, Trump told more than 30,573 lies (or misleading claims) during his presidency.

The political and cultural damage from all those lies now lay at Biden’s feet. Our Prime Minister followed his very same political game plan. Conservatives in Australia need to look at the damage his philosophy has done to his country and ask themselves if they should continue with their Trump-style politics, or start acting like real Aussies. Do we really want to end up with a similar mess that Biden has to clean up?

My thought for the day

There are three kinds of people. Those who know. Those who know when they are shown, and those who have no interest in knowing.

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  1. New England Cocky

    ”Now that he doesn’t need to align himself to Trump, Morrison should quietly back away from his impersonation”

    Scummo has great difficulty doing impersonations, so I hold little hope that he will understand that he is just a characterture.

  2. Phil Pryor

    Trump, Biden, policy, honesty.., but, we have a pustular, political pervert, an impersonator of leadership, a follower of lying distortion, a lazy failure, a poser and parroting pimp in stealing any sustaining front to thrive and survive; with this shitskull as P M, a Poxed Moron in public affairs, we have no hope, no future of worth. His followers include substandard government strugglers, some incoherent, many on a take as personal goals, and his coalition partners include polluters, depravers, inserters, filchers, failures, fools and flagrant fornicators. To follow the wagging of foreigners is to imagine intelligent attitude from a skin cancer on a dog’s tail. Biden may do some good in preventing further “bad” in the short term, if he stays alert. He may surprise himself, with advice and support, and restore some reputation of a revolting large decaying stenchifying USA, post Trump, but Trumpy trash and tripe seems here to stay and fester. Morrison’s reliance on maggotty media bosses, by Merde-Dog and the rotten right wing of Crappy Costello and old fascist, Fritz Stokes, is a national disaster, the decaying corporate world being propped up for personal profit, not national plans for all.

  3. wam

    A beaut giggle this morning, lord. I loved your beginning with biden using trump’s ‘you’re fired’ in the same way as trump’s shoot from the hip TV experience. What ‘you’ see is just part of the ‘truth’. So to react with ‘fired’ finality is wrong The hope for the septics is kamala. As for your “Do we really want to end up with a similar mess that Biden has to clean up?” A quick read of your posts will show the mess of the lying rodent, the rabbott and scummo outstrips trumpism now and Australians prefer the LNP over Labor. Why??? Your thought leaves out the crux those who believe they know through their immutable belief. It is time to be able to question politicians as to their belief. ps “We don’t seem to have the same methodology for dealing with incompetence that other countries do.” Like Kim Jong-un if you fall asleep at his meetings?

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    HA HA !!!! Good one Phil. Love your rhetoric, so descriptive and so very appropriate.

  5. Bert

    Mr Lord, a minor correction. The gong sir moron probably begged for is not the USA’s highest military award. That spot is reserved for the Medal of Honor, the yank equivalent of our Victoria Cross

  6. Roswell

    Bert, you’re right. I’ll go in and make the correction.

  7. Geoff Andrews

    You unfairly imply that say:

    “His unwillingness to punish and replace those of his cabinet who have failed leaves the electorate thinking they have something on him.”

    You ignore the obvious: the poor bastard already has the only ones worth having. He’s picked the only fruit that was available. The back bench is devoid of talent. It is a dead parrot. Wakey, wakey.

  8. Kaye Lee

    “The back bench is devoid of talent.”

    That isn’t confined to the backbench. A more hapless group of Ministers has never been seen. Scotty does the Trump thing – he rewards people who support him and who share his religious beliefs. Alex Hawke? Stuart Robert? Add in Steve Irons, Lucy Wicks and Ben Morton.

    He invited Brian Houston to the White House FFS. That was one step too far even for Trump

  9. Michael Taylor

    I don’t think that Scott Morrison has ever worked out that on the world stage he is probably one of its most insignificant players.

    His earlier “look at me, I’ve put Australia and the front of the queue to get the vaccine” is yet another example.

  10. Phil Pryor

    Serious problems exist to all observers who hope for political honesty, integrity, foresight, clever application, energy, for my view is that the scene is lower than what we know and can study since 1901. The gap grows between requirements, needs, talent available and being attracted. There’s no money or dignity in the old wool and wheat Australia, of personal gold finds. Talent, much of it unscrupulous, narrow, bent, focussed on self, stays out of public life, for you can buy, rent, control, coerce to get influence. Parliament has poor talent in experienced, qualified, dedicated, openminded members. This nation needs to harness talent, find it, reward and attract it. Big government departments, tertiary institutions, some (hah) corporate cleverdickies, are needed as an advisory cabinet or committee to support the elected decision makers. Better, we need citizen contributions through a reducing jury type selection process, so as to blend need, wants, drives, people’s assessed, informed, resolved will. That might be an unattainable aim, real democracy.

  11. Kaye Lee

    We pay our politicians well comparatively. But, in too many cases, that has attracted people who are basically unemployable elsewhere. One of them even became PM briefly before his own party couldn’t pretend any longer.

    Our best and brightest aren’t going to waste time sitting in Question Time reading Dorothy Dixers handed to them by someone on the way in the door. They are out there actually discovering things, achieving things, learning and teaching and doing.

    As a teacher, I encountered many amazing kids whose potential and skills far outstripped mine. I considered it my job to enable them in whatever way I could. I also knew many kids who struggled for many different reasons. My job was to empower them, to give them the skills to grow, the confidence to try, and the resilience to try again.

    Politicians should be facilitators, not for them and their mates and whoever already has the most money, but for a better society.

  12. Kronomex

    Saint Scotty of the Marketing, to me at least, is the epitome of those little, and hugely annoying, yappy dogs that keeps trying to prove that he’s a big dog. Now he’s starting to turn into Morphing Morrison, the leader that cares (gag, choke) about the environment, global warming, etc in a stupid attempt to suck up to Biden and Harris.

    I also see that GrHunt is working on a Plan B(aldrick) regarding the vaccine situation. Next month it will change into Plan C(unning) and he’ll announce he likes collecting turnips and then we’ll know we’re really in trouble.

  13. Pete Petrass

    Unfortunately for us scotty from marketing thinks everything is just a marketing campaign, from international diplomacy with china to governing the country. If he thinks he is popular then all is going well. You just have to look at some of the stuff coming from his personal photographer to see what he thinks about himself. The biggest problem with his marketing campaigns though is that they are also riddled with unfettered corruption and that is costing this country more than many realise.

  14. Geoff Andrews

    You’re correct, KL.
    My comment could be taken to mean that it is only the backbenchers who are talentless whereas I was trying to say that if he had to throw someone under the bus (please please let it be Michaelia Cash – if I never hear her mellifluous voice again it will be too soon) he would have an easy choice of future bus fodder.
    Re Question Time.
    No Government member need, or should be able to, ask a question but as a concession to “free speech”, ration government backbenchers’ questions to say 20% to 25%.
    Why don’t Ministers ask questions? As we’ve established., they are just as clueless as the seat warmers.

  15. Matters Not

    Geoff Andrews – you want to reform question time? Why not think outside the box and abolish it? The whole concept is well past its use-by-date and is now a complete farce. Half the questions asked have been written by the person (or staff) who will do the responding while the remainder aren’t intended to get information but designed as gotchas.

    Parliament as a whole is simply a modern type of Morris Dancing – performed for the (supposed) amusement of the uninformed. Talent is actually a handicap because all that is required for the vast majority is the ability to follow the voting instructions as issued by the Whip. Even then that’s sometimes beyond Ministers. …

  16. Vikingduk

    Perhaps if one was to watch the SBS series The Rise of the Nazis, some viewers may see the playbook adopted by the republicans as perverted by cadet bone spurs and the smirking jerk. The how to manual for the killing of this corrupted thing called democracy.

    The nazis achieved this in 6 months, trump almost got there and the liar from the shire, suffering under the weight of complete incompetence, is no doubt trying his hardest to subvert parliament with that useless wanker, albanese, saying yes sir, how many bags full sir, yeah, sounds good, scotty, I’ll vote for that.

    Fuck me, really would make a brown dog weep.

  17. Florence Howarth

    The only way I can see question time, the conduct of parliament being changed is to make the speaker & speakers office completely independent. Set up arm’s length statutory body. The speaker to be chosen by 60% majority in the lower house. Speaker being responsible setting up speaker office & staff. Responsible for making house rules, setting standards.

    The speaker to sit for a fixed term. Cam only be removed if corruption is proven by the majority in both houses.

  18. John Lord

    Florence, I’m synpathetic to that view.

  19. Consume Less

    Looking like Biden is going for climate change at a canter. Scotty is fumbling around trying to replace the daggy dad hat with some other hat. The greeni empathy hat is the wrong size and looks terrible in the photoshoot.

  20. Geoff Andrews

    Matters Not
    Completely disagree. Properly structured, it’s a powerful weapon in the Opposition’s armory. An independent Speaker (or even a Speaker always appointed by The Opposition?!); only questions from non-Government members; and live broadcasts would keep the Ministers’ adrenaline levels up.
    During the 1960’s, they used to have “Questions on Notice” where the Opposition would read, quite often, a complex question and the “responsible” Minister had a number of days to prepare an answer, generally requiring Departmental input and was then read into hansard.

  21. Matters Not

    Geoff Andrews – a few points. The notion of a Speaker appointed by the Opposition has fatal flaws. First, no majority government is going to agree to that. Second, such an (unlikely) Speaker would be ousted at the first vote of no confidence. Simply wouldn’t have the numbers and it would result in chaos.

    Live broadcasts of Question Time are already a reality. (And their ratings are … rather poor.)

    Questions on Notice are also still a reality. (Where would Estimates be without them?) Note (from the Parliament info sheet.)

    ‘Questions on notice’ were originally part of the order of business in the House, a period during which Ministers read to the House answers to questions in writing, the terms of which had been printed on the Notice Paper. Questions were placed on notice to be answered on a particular day, either the next or one in the near future, and were commonly answered on the day for which notice had been given. … Over the years more and more time was taken up with questions without notice, and in order to save the time of the House, a new standing order was adopted in 1931 to provide that the reply to a question in writing could be given by delivering it to the Clerk, who would supply a copy to the Member concerned and arrange for its inclusion in Hansard …

    Members may ask questions in writing by having them placed on the Notice Paper. … There is no rule limiting the number of questions a Member may place on the Notice Paper at any time or on the length of a question …

    You can read further detail here.

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