Tuesday 27 June 2017
The year was 2014. The year Tony Abbott winked.
Scott Morrison had been promoted to Social Services Minister. Even though I wasn’t religious I thought I should start praying for pensioners, the disabled, those looking for work etc.
He had demonised those seeking a better life. “Now it’s their turn,” I thought to myself.
The government’s own Climate Change Authority was questioning the effectiveness of ”Direct Action” saying the scheme wouldn’t deliver on long-standing emissions reduction targets. (In 2017 they want to return to coal).
Tony Abbott was still hanging onto the leadership and I questioned as to whether Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, the environment, and science. And so oblivious to the needs of women and so out of touch with a modern pluralist society.
At the time he was peddling the blatant and obnoxious lie that households received $550 off their energy bill as a result of the repeal of the “carbon tax”. It was total bullshit. Most of the $550 reduction was due to other causes, not the carbon tax.
As it’s turned out the retention of the carbon tax would have morphed into an Emissions Trading Scheme and we would be in front of the pack.
Now on top of that he sees it as his greatest achievement for women. Words fail me. Wise me up if you understand that.
Back then they were still talking about Australian values and nobody could articulate how they varied from other countries democratic values. They are still doing it.
Today I think the characteristic that most defines modern Australia is “diversity”. In all its forms, together with multiculturalism it defines us as a nation.
People of my generation and later should divest themselves of their old and inferred racist superiority.
It was also the year the murder of three people in Sydney was carried out by a deranged, religious fanatic with a criminal record. It was not by a terrorist organisation.
Joe Hockey confirmed a bigger budget deficit and admitted Coalition failures in communicating policies. Yes it’s true, but there hasn’t been any improvement in the years since.
Many economists were thinking that Hockey’s budget dilemma reinforced just how stupid it was to curtail the price on carbon. However, he could easily have fixed the problem by eliminating the 15% tax discount given to high-income earners. It was and still is, despite some improvement by the Coalition, nothing more than a legal tax dodge supplemented by low-income earners. It’s worth $12 billion plus PA. What about it Mr. Shorten. After that you could look at the billions given to mining companies in subsidies.
Remember all the fuss that was made about Peta Credlin. ”Do you really think my chief of staff would be under this kind of criticism if her name was Peter as opposed to Peta?” Mr Abbott asked the ABC’s Lyndal Curtis.
”Do you really think I would be attacking the Prime Minister in the manner I do if her name was James and not Julia.”
” … think people need to take a long hard look at themselves with some of these criticisms,” said PM Abbott.
When she eventually lost her position she said on radio that getting rid of the carbon tax was just a rouse. It had nothing to do with environmental. It was all politics.
It was a special year for George Brandis. He won a Walkley award for his ”what is metadata” interview.
Well deserved, too.
Then Abbott showed his astuteness with the art of international diplomacy.
He had plans to “shirtfront” the Vladimir Putin. “Once a thug, always a thug” I thought at the time.
The year was also unique for the amount of lies emanating from politician’s mouths.
It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. Unfortunately it is also the first causality of Australian politics. Telling lies to defend lies already told. It never works
2014 saw Ashby bring charges against Slipper. After a long dalliance with legal argument Ashby drops the case. Slipper is left with a huge legal bill. Ah, the law is a strange thing.
You would seriously have to wonder exactly what brand of Christianity it is that Scott Morrison practices. Fancy drinking champagne to celebrate sending refugees to one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt nations. 2014 wasn’t a very nice drop.
The list of companies avoiding tax in 2014 was again headed by Murdoch. Others included Frank Lowy’s Westfield. It seems that it’s OK for them to lean, but we must all lift. “Common Joe change the law,” I thought. Then I remembered the donations! Three years down the track still no change.
It was the year the budget was described as the most unfair ever. The Abbott Government gave up on their remaining budget cuts. And it should be remembered that they were not opposed on the basis of prudence but unfairness.
“The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you,” I thought to myself.
There was a lot of talk about the cost of living. I think people get confused. There is a big difference between the cost of living and cost of lifestyle. A recent survey found that 56% of those complaining about the cost of living had taken an overseas trip in the same year. And a further 52% had reduced dining out from three to two times a week.
Back then I was saying that Australia did not have a clearly articulated and legislated policy on climate change. (It was ‘my thought for the day’ in yesterday’s post).
Tony Abbott denied he had broken a pledge not to cut funding to the ABC and SBS, telling Parliament his government had ”fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”.
Lying is wrong but lying to defend a lie is appalling. Tony Abbott’s method of legitimizing lying was always to tell more lies. Repetition was always his method but it was like saying we are no longer communicating in English.
It was a year recognized for its political unfairness. It may be a good thing that some asylum seeker children now have a future but at the time I found it chilling that Scott Morrison effectively used kids as hostages to pass legislation.
“Less informed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths,” I wrote at the time.
The lying gradually reached a crescendo. When asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with President Hollande, Abbott said that we already had a Direct Action fund of $2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp $10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is Government policy to abolish the second. His lying knew no bounds. Still doesn’t.
Now they want to use the fund to build new coalmines.
What would an intelligent 18 year old about to vote for the first time think of this statement by Abbott:
”As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting.”
The G20 meeting gave Tony Abbott a powerful stage to articulate his vision for Australia. So he spoke about his inability to pass his unfair budget. Now that’s statesmanship for you.
In 2014 Abbott decided that in 2015, 500 workers who benefited from Gillard’s edict that non-faith-based workers be allowed in our schools. They were replaced with chaplains sourced predominantly from big Christian organisations. This in a secular public school system it was fundamentally wrong, be you religious or not.
My thought for the day.
”We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence. Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability.”