Friday 7 April 2017.
I have at my age come to appreciate just how little time is contained in the passing of three years. Those of us who discuss politics argue that three years is hardly enough time to change anything and suggest that four would be better. Having said that, historically parties generally get two terms so in reality they govern for six, which should be enough time to implement a program. If you have one.
What complicates it is when a government such as the one we have now is elected and is incapable of getting things done. One full of internal division and ministerial incompetence.
What follows is a simple demonstration of this. Compare what I wrote on this day last year with the happenings of today. The comments in bold are also mine. You might like to raise some points of your own.
1 In my naivety, after so much damage had been done by Tony Abbott to our democratic institutions, I like many others thought that with the advent of Malcolm Turnbull a new era of politics might be possible. One in which civility prevailed over crass debate. I had hoped that this election might somehow be the contest of ideas that Bill Shorten had talked about.
I wrote these words one year ago today. Only one side was offering anything new and it was the Labor Party who was ahead of the game in the months leading up to the election. Turnbull was producing thought bubbles that were seen for what they were. The person of quiet, calm discourse went missing in a blaze of hypocrisy soon after attaining the position.
I was of course wrong. After watching the debacle last week that cumulated in the states knocking back Turnbull’s states tax proposal I am convinced that this election will follow all others before it with the same quantity of rusted on bullshit that attaches itself to those who seek power over leadership and governance for the common good. It will be an election like all the others of my lifetime. An election of claims versus counter claims, of lies and promises designed to either gain or retain office.
Well it turned out to be an election of a 10 week duration where the leader of the conservative parties put in one and a half million dollars of his own money. Shorten surprised by out campaigning Turnbull with a thoughtful campaign that gave refreshing, progressive ideas that have been lacking for years.
2 Yesterday’s Newspoll 51/49 to Labor result got everyone excited at the possibility of a Labor victory. No one seemed to notice that the Morgan Poll released the same day had the Coalition well ahead on 52.5 to Labor 47.5. Morgan suggested, if you believe them, that this was because Turnbull was showing leadership. You can add to the mix Tuesday’s Essential Poll which had the two parties on 50/50.
Polls only ever reflect what people are thinking at the time. They are not a ”who will win” barometer this far out. One would need to look at seat by seat polling to get a feel for that. However, Labor has to be pleased with the trend toward it.
The Polls were suggesting a very close election. The Murdoch press decided to ignore it and just scraped over the line and with a majority of one proclaimed a mandate to do anything. And still do.
The fact is, that the government is in very bad shape with a leader who seems to be in very poor form. His Government is riddled with disunity. Even the mouth that roared, Chrissy Pyne agreed after hearing the Newspoll result on Q&A. Nobody feigns indignation better than the fixer.
What’s changed? A year on the government is still in very bad shape with a leader who seems to be in very poor form. His Government is riddled with disunity.
Abbott is in the background being who he is. Conservative senator Cory Bernardi is registering his own Donald Trump-style political party Morrison isn’t talking with the boss but both he and Mathias Cormann are. They pop up here there and everywhere talking and talking and talking like the proverbial broken record. Rarely do the actually say anything.
Yes they still do it. They pop up here there and everywhere talking and talking and talking like the proverbial broken record. Rarely do the actually say anything. I don’t know if it’s just me but at the moment I’m finding Morrison almost indecipherable. I thought Turnbull was going to do all the for that reason.
Andrews would even challenge with half a chance. Turnbull puts things on the table and takes them off before people have had a chance to peruse the menu.
His last big idea that was presented to the Premiers, a tiered tax system together with segregated education system, lasted three days. The process Turnbull used to present his ideas was simply deplorable. If a manager presented a plan such as it on a sheet of A4 to the board of a major company they would laugh him out of the boardroom. We deserve better this sort of crap. Pardon my Tonyism.
“Change is a process, not an event”.
Somehow the Murdoch press managed to spin it as Turnbull confronting the states. Can you believe it?
Now if you believe Turnbull, Morrison and Cormann that the only problem we have is one of spending too much. That the budget is a disaster waiting to happen, then the next budget will have to be the most draconian in recent history. The question arises will they do the right thing for the country or will they present a survival budget with an eye on doing the dirty work in a second term if the win.
This budget will be helped out with some rises in commodities. But after blaming Labor for every economic sin in sight they somehow have to explain how they have managed to double the debt, and how it is possible we can afford a tax cut for the rich and privileged while at the same time attacking the conditions of the less well off. And of course being unable to explain how the cuts will produce jobs. Morrison yesterday was asking large companies to explain what he cannot.
3 Turnbull faces many problems as the election approaches. The two that stand out are ones of comparative fairness. It was he after all who said that the government had to apply a fairness test to its proposals. He wants to give business a tax break in the midst of raging controversy over corporations and wealthy individuals not paying any. Stories of the prevalence of tax evasion are everywhere, on TV, the radio and news programs. The super-rich and the privileged don’t have to pay. Why should we?
While tax evasion is rife by those who can well afford to pay the latest news tells us that the government is about to pounce on the black economy. The local electrician who might take cash to install a power point.
The Panama Papers have revealed some 800 Australians people being investigated by the ATO. People see the unfairness. PAYG taxpayers must think the government is just using them to cook the books.
Only last month the Tax Office admitted that 321 companies with earnings over $200 million didn’t pay any tax in 2013-2014. The Melbourne Institute which shows the top 1 per cent of Australian earners had amassed 9 per cent of Australian income in 2013, more than double the rate of wealth concentration than was the case in the 1980s.
I mean, “fair suck of the sav” as someone once said.
4 They want the ABCC legislation passed and won’t even consider structuring an authority to oversee corruption in big business and government. People see the unfairness. It looks like and sounds like a vendetta against Unions for no other reason than political gain.
Well they got the ABCC legislation through but it was watered down to the point where you could drive a truck through it.
So to repeat myself.
It will be an election like all the others of my lifetime. An election of claims versus counter claims, of lies and promises, all designed to either gain or retain office. Nothing more, nothing less.
5 Quoting Peter Hartcher:
”Australia had a bipartisan consensus on climate change under John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. The consensus was that climate change was real and that pricing carbon through an emissions trading scheme was the best way for Australia to respond.
Abbott shattered the consensus. He rode to power a conservative reaction against climate change action. He used it to destroy Turnbull’s leadership and then Rudd’s and, finally, Julia Gillard’s …The bleaching of the Barrier Reef.
In the first week of the news breaking, it ranked as the ninth most reported subject, according to the media monitoring specialists at iSentia. The most reported topics of that week in Australia were tax reform, the Twenty20 World Cup, the Socceroos, the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Egyptian airline hijacking.
In the second week, as more evidence of yet more extensive mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef emerged, the topic dropped to number 10.
Similarly, there was relatively little reporting of the record-breaking heatwaves of February, says iSentia’s Patrick Baume.
Why? “It’s only a hypothesis, but I think there’s been a peaking of interest or concern” in matters related to climate change.
“It’s seen as something from the past, as if getting rid of the carbon tax meant we’d got rid of climate change. It’s a funny one.”
”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”.
My thought for the day.
”If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?”