It’s one thing for the Coalition to blame Labor and the Greens for everything – that’s just politics, as ProMo would say – but it’s quite another to claim credit for things you were dragged to, kicking and screaming and resisting all the way, by the persistent and growing voice of the people.
Tony Abbott is claiming credit for marriage equality.
“When all is said and done, I helped to make the thing happen,” the former prime minister told The Sydney Morning Herald . “I set up the process which opened up the possibility and even the likelihood of change. Now that it has happened, I absolutely accept the outcome. It’s the law of the land and that’s the way it is.”
He certainly set up a process which ripped families apart and saw some horrible exchanges and advertising. Apparently we are supposed to forget that, on the day the postal vote began, he urged everyone to vote no.
“I say to you if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” Abbott said in a televised doorstop.
He wrote in the Fairfax papers that “This debate is about changing marriage, not extending it. And if you change marriage, you change society; because marriage is the basis of family; and family is the foundation of community.”
Then, despite 75% of his electorate voting yes, he ignored their wishes and abstained. He couldn’t bring himself to actually represent the community. He chose his opinion over theirs, and has ever since been fighting to find ways to legislate to allow discrimination to continue.
Not to be outdone, Scott Morrison is claiming credit for setting up the banking royal commission. Not that he intends to act on any of its findings. He’s busy. Not sitting.
As so often is the progression, the Greens were the first to listen to the whistleblowers and the victims and to call for action. Labor eventually came on board as they realised the anger in the community and how widespread the problem was. And then a few backbench Nationals finally grasped that the government’s resistance was putting their re-election at risk.
We also have the Liberal Party talking points claiming credit for getting people off Manus and Nauru.
They left them languishing there for five years. They attacked anyone who reported on the worsening health crisis and the physical danger. They colluded to block any scrutiny. They lied about the circumstances of refugee deaths and the cause of unrest. They fought tooth and nail in the courts to block medical transfers. They rejected New Zealand’s offer to resettle people.
Refugee advocates have been tireless. The Greens have been resolute. The crossbench has stood up. Labor has been given the courage of a majority.
In all these cases, it has been the people who have demanded change. As it will be in taking action on climate change.
For the Coalition to claim credit for what we forced them to do is insulting our intelligence and misrepresenting theirs.
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