1 When I’m asked to articulate just when the decline in our democracy occurred, I usually start in 2013, when Tony Abbott, the most unqualified man to ever became the Prime Minister of Australia, won the election. But John Howard set Australia on the path toward a totalitarian leadership style. His longevity in power speaks to his success, but it also set the tone for power for power’s sake. All power emanated from the office of the Prime Minister. Subsequent Prime Ministers have followed suit.
My point is that good leadership doesn’t always require total power. Bob Hawke was also a successful Prime Minister. He, however, was a first-class delegator.
Liberal Prime Ministers since have all tried to rule with Howard’s defining power, but the quality of those under them has been deplorable. The longer Howard remained in office, the more power he attached to himself, and as a consequence, the quality of his ministry declined.
Albanese has unequivocally stated that he would govern in the Hawke style; delegating authority to his ministers, thus removing some of his power but not his authority.
Sounds better than the dictatorial, “I know better than everybody else”, and “I’m a Christian”, so I’m righteous of Scott Morrison.
2 Some satire from The Shovel:
“A Journalist tests Albanese’s commitment to women by asking him to name every woman in Australia, thus divesting himself of some power but not authority.”
3 Colour me surprised. From Greg Sheridan in The Australian (paywalled):
“Actions speak louder than shouty debate.
As the great Fonzie once told Richie Cunningham, you’ve got to fight at least once. It’s hard to think of a single issue the Morrison government has fought for.”
4 All the talk last Wednesday was about Albanese’s backing an increase in the minimum wage of at least 5.1 per cent. As is usual, businesses claimed the higher costs would destroy jobs. Of course, this prompted another argument about who handled money better.
During the course of the two defining years of Covid, I heard/read commentators say on many occasions that it was these workers who carried the burden. As a consequence, they needed to be rewarded and recognised. Albanese knows this and supports the lowest-paid workers in the land.
I would argue that holding back wages for as long as the government has actually led to inflation. Look what has happened in the USA, where conservatives have held wages down for 30 years.
Business groups said, of course, that any increase above 3% would send the inflation bells ringing. If Labour wins, it will formally submit to the independent umpire without mentioning a figure. We should also consider that the Reserve Bank has said that Australians’ real wages are set to shrink as much as 3% in 2022 as salary increases lag behind inflation and may only start to catch up by 2024.
PM Morrison answers question on how workers will make ends meet with current wage-to-inflation ratio by saying "Labor will make things worse".
— Charles Croucher (@ccroucher9) May 11, 2022
Walked into a cafe yesterday with a sign announcing they’d be putting prices up by 10% next month. 10%! To be clear, wage growth hasn’t happened yet…I look forward to the Morrison Government condemning this obviously inflationary move #auspol https://t.co/y2zCrU1hMh
— Richard Denniss (@RDNS_TAI) May 11, 2022
Isn’t it remarkable that a highly-paid politician (Scott Morrison) so demonstrably objects to our lowest-paid workers receiving a pay rise?
One could add that there is no good reason to give our highest-paid workers a tax cut at this time. What have they done to deserve it?
I am convinced that Scott Morrison believes that lying diminishes over time and forgets that he leaves behind a residue of broken trust.
4 “At no point in my lifetime has the ABC been more important than it is today,” Kerry O’Brien says in a video published by ABC.
5 Here I am back on the polls with The Poll Bludger publishing the latest Morgan results showing Labor 54.5 and the Coalition on 45.5. The Poll Bludger also has some interesting State breakdowns.
The polls’ consistency demands that we note their new methodology. Let’s hope the polls are correct this time.
6 Kevin Rudd makes some excellent points about Murdoch in this article for The Guardian:
“… they normalise the idea that Murdoch’s national stranglehold on print media is OK because it’s merely a right-wing counterbalance to the left-wing ABC. This is ludicrous; the ABC has robust standards, rigorous complaints processes, and is accountable to parliament. News Corporation is functionally unregulated, its political bias is way off the Richter scale, and it acts like a petulant child at the very suggestion that it be compelled to answer questions at a commission of inquiry about their monstrous levels of monopoly.
The Murdoch’s insist they have nothing to hide, while claiming the ABC is compromised. If they actually believed this, they would have welcomed a wide-ranging media royal commission years ago.”
7 What is it about these Coalition people? Scott Morrison seems too terrified to be seen behind an ABC mike, and Alan Tudge is too frightened to show his face as the Education Minister.
You know a political party is in trouble when it talks more about its opponents than itself.
8 If you wanted to see a fact-check that terrible debate last Sunday, read this article by Paul Karp of The Guardian.
9 And if you are wondering who won the final debate last Wednesday night, The Guardian reported that:
“150 undecided voters determined Albanese the clear winner of the Channel Seven debate. The Labor leader convinced 50% of those who voted in the network’s ‘pub test’ compared to 34% for Morrison and 16% who were still undecided.”
The final question in this relatively civil debate was full of its own intrigue. Both were asked to say something nice about each other. Morrison went first and praised Albanese’s rise from humble beginnings and then went on to bag him with any negative he could think of. Albanese praised Morrison for his interest in mental health and chose not to say more.
The Australian, surprise surprise, gave Morrison a narrow win.
10 If you know who said this, I would be obliged if you were to let me know, so I may give the author due recognition:
The Liberal party needs to be destroyed at the ballot box. And to start again. This time putting the interests of ordinary Australians ahead of ideological zealots and donors. This is close to the worst lot of conservative politicians I can remember. There is nobody even remotely of the quality of Howard and Costello.
It has been a decade of insufferable negligence: their intolerable lies and incompetence.
11 Talk about Ministerial standards. Education Minister Alan Tudge seems to be in hiding at the moment. How can you have an affair with a staffer and then be cleared of any wrongdoing and invited back into the ministry if the Liberal Party wins? And the taxpayer has to pay half a million dollars for his behaviour. Just plain wrong.
12 A friend said that Labor would end up with a large majority. A hypothetical thought indeed. His theory is that a few Coalition former ministers will resign when the Coalition loses. Labor will then gain those seats in by-elections. Nothing wrong with his thinking.
13 Are we to forget the misdemeanours of this government? Will it mean that if this government wins the election, we will ignore the crimes of Robodebt, Sports Rorts, land purchases, car parks, and many others?
And there I must end until next Wednesday.
My previous diary entry: Let’s hope the polls are right this time
My thought for the day
You cannot possibly believe in democracy if at the same time you think your party is the only one that should ever win.
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