I am firmly convinced that the entire Coalition suffers from cognitive dissonance.
Barnaby Joyce, in an opinion piece for a Tamworth newspaper bemoaning the “malicious fate” that has put his position in parliament in doubt due to his dual citizenship, wrote about the “crazy boarding school in Canberra” who “revel in the salacious at the expense of the people who we should be totally, and only, focused on.”
This from the man whose coalition partners spent 6 years in Opposition focusing on nothing other than the salacious – Peter Slipper, Craig Thomson, Julia Gillard’s relationship with Bruce Wilson, the deaths of four young men installing home insulation – anything but actually governing in the best interests of the country.
In Question Time yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull began with a condolence message on the passing of Dr Evelyn Scott, an Aboriginal woman who fought tirelessly against discrimination.
He quoted the philosophy her father taught her – ‘If you don’t think something is right, challenge it’ – before recounting the tale of a shop in Townsville who forbade Evelyn from trying on a wedding dress, possibly because she was marrying a white man.
Malcolm described that as “an attitude almost unimaginable today” yet he will, in the coming weeks, be drafting legislation to allow businesses in the wedding industry to refuse to serve same sex couples.
As companies report record profits, we are suffering the longest period of low wage growth on record according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and unemployment benefits have not increased in real terms in over two decades.
As more evidence emerges of how companies avoid paying tax, the government pushes to slash taxes for big companies by 5% still pretending that, rather than this resulting in increased dividends for shareholders and massive bonuses for executives, it will create more jobs just as these same businesses increasingly move towards automation.
As every Coalition MP jumps on the bandwagon of rising electricity costs – pensioners will freeze or boil – they move to cut the Energy Supplement to new recipients of social security payments. They seem to forget that axing the carbon tax was supposed to make electricity cheaper and save jobs.
We are constantly told by Coalition MPs that they are the better economic managers seemingly based only on being in government during a mining boom and an asset fire sale in order for them to say look, no debt.
When the GFC hit, Kevin Rudd was advised to go fast and go big with stimulus to keep people employed and businesses open. It worked. It may not have been perfect but it did exactly what it was supposed to do and saved Australia from the ravages felt by the rest of the world.
This resulted in a net debt of $161,253 million as at 31 August 2013, a week before the election where Tony Abbott swept to power promising to save us from the debt and deficit disaster. Four years later, our net debt has more than doubled to be, as at 31 August 2017, $332,593 million.
One of their first moves was to ask for an increase in the debt ceiling to $500 billion but instead, with the assistance of the Greens that they would never deal with under any circumstances, abolished it altogether and just as well because, as of October 13, our gross debt was over $504 billion.
We are told that Labor are the party of higher taxes yet it was the Coalition who put a 10% tax on everything with the introduction of the GST and it was Labor who reduced taxes by increasing the tax free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200.
Scientists, economists, businesses, energy producers, investors, environmentalists and world leaders all agree that we need to move away from fossil fuel use. The only people championing increasing the use of coal are the lobbyists for coal miners and the politicians who are dumb enough to believe their spin or corrupt enough to benefit from their patronage.
We have just been elected to a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. There were two spots for our area and two contenders so it is hardly a ringing endorsement. The Democratic Republic of Congo was also elected despite political repression, civilian attacks, and mass graves in their troubled country.
Julie Bishop frequently praised Australia for its success in building a multicultural society and valuing the diverse background of migrant settlers. Yet asylum seekers arriving by boat continue to be dehumanised. The UN has condemned Australia for its asylum-seeker policies and treatment of Indigenous peoples.
Tony Abbott’s comment addressing allegations of torture by Sri Lankan security forces, “We accept that sometimes, in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen,” was described by the Human Rights Watch in 2014 as “rationalization of torture.” They also condemned us for our record on disability and sexual orientation rights.
In the constant barrage of blame thrown at Labor, the Coalition seems in complete denial that, having been in government for over four years, they bear any responsibility for current circumstances.