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Day to Day Politics: Oh what a bloody mess they have made.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

What an unholy mess this Conservative Government has made of the governance of this country. If you cast your mind back to when Tony Abbott was the Opposition Leader he spent the whole four years entirely devoted to the destruction of Labor. He achieved it and some say he was the best Opposition Leader ever. (Whatever the criteria was I have never understood). But in doing so he came to the job without policies and without a plan for Australia’s future. Since 7 September 2013 not a clear narrative have we heard from anyone in the Coalition.

Abbott, like all conservatives believed that just being in power would be sufficient to erase Australia’s problems. He lived in a fool’s paradise with no answers to the difficulties we will confront in the future. The future of jobs, of the rising cost of health, of pensions, the future with climate change, the future need for equality of opportunity, particularly in schools and the need for infrastructure policy with a growing population. Indeed population itself.

We thought that the answer might have come with the emergence of Malcolm Turnbull. Sure he did us a favour with the removal of Tony Abbott but he has since, by his capitulation to the extreme right-wing of his party, proven that he is in fact one of them.

Like Abbott he too came to power without a thought for the future, only for his desire of self-fulfilment. Now he governs like a leader not knowing his left hand from his right. He and his ministers, even after four years in power, continually blame Labor for every failure from the smallest thing to the largest.

It’s the same in the US with the Republicans having had 7 years to construct a health bill and when the time came to present it they were found wanting. Especially as they came up with a plan that would see 25 million of the poorest people without insurance. They had spent the 7 years trying to bring down Obamacare without having a ready-made replacement. What fools they are.

We have a government in survival mode governing in an ad hoc manner on a day-to-day basis. It makes decisions depending on the crisis of the day. No energy plan so blame Labor for closing Hazelwood. Announce an enquiry about the cost of power. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t report for 12 months.

Announce a dubious Snowy Hydro scheme. It doesn’t matter how it fits into a non-existing National Energy plan. I mean what sort of Government would suddenly discover it didn’t have one. All they are doing now is creating the illusion that you are doing something.

Bill Shorten doesn’t do anything other than reinforce all the negativity. He is good at doing it too. Malcolm Turnbull’s personal approval continues to languish and Tony Abbott is peaking around the corner waiting for another opportunity to tell everyone that there all his policies.

Meanwhile the Government gets further behind in the polls.

Alan Austin writing for the New Daily summed up their economic performance:

Late last Friday, Australia’s Treasury quietly released a nifty statistic. It revealed that government gross debt is now $483,080,000,000.00. That’s $483.1 billion.

Of this, $213.1 billion has been added by the Coalition since the 2013 election. This is more than the Labor governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard added in their six years and nine months.

In other words, the Abbott and Turnbull governments have now officially doubled Labor’s gross debt.

With the budget but weeks away the Government doesn’t even know it the Business tax breaks will go ahead. “We have a plan,” they said. Remember when everything was on the table? It was like a menu at a mad hatter’s convention. All you can say now is that the service is bloody awful.

We have had a sort of debate about 18c and what the protagonists want to say that they can’t say now has not yet been answered. What was that my mother said? “If you can’t say something nice then shut your mouth.”

If there is a plan maybe it involves a sustained character assassination of Bill Shorten, cancelling the tax cut and instead using the money to buy votes and put, with the Senate’s help, the changes to 18c in a lead box at the back of a remote store-room.

He has to cancel the tax cuts even at the risk of being hailed a back flipper. The reason is that he has no comeback to the very simple argument that you can’t possibly give handouts to the rich and privileged of this magnitude while at the same time taking from the poorest of society.

I hesitate to give Turnbull too much credit for having an actual strategy. I’ve done that before and come off badly.

If it is a strategy it is a recipe with so many ingredients that too much or too little of whatever will ruin the end result. If it retains the cuts in the budget knowing that the Senate would never pass them then we again have voodoo economics and the government stands to be accused of just bumbling along with no idea of what they are doing.

In my view the Prime Minister has about 6 months to show the electorate that he is a worthy leader of the nation. It’s a hard task when you are being told what to do by others, but do it he must.

Rarely in Australia do parties get less than six years in office meaning oppositions have the same in opposition? Surely 6 years is enough to put together a coherent plan for the future of the nation. If they don’t then they have been sitting on their arses at the taxpayer’s expense.


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  1. Keith

    A further legacy of Abbott that we need to endure is the loss of the car manufacturing industry.Thousands of jobs lost and the negative multipler effect will have a further toll.

    Abbott destroyed the possibility of any mature debate about an emissions trading scheme.

    Scorn has been heaped on those who have been closely studying the Great Barrier Reef by Birmingham, as indicated by:

    “I asked the Government ( Senator Birmingham) to reflect upon the grief expressed by a Queensland scientist over a recent devastating Great Barrier Reef bleaching event. This is a scientist, Professor Terry Hughes, who has spent his life studying the Reef, who when he showed his class of marine biology students the latest survey results, they all spontaneously wept.

    And all the Government could do in response was to make a joke about it. There has rarely been a more callous display.” (Peter Whish Wilson)

    Callousness is a very unfortunate attribute that has crept into Australian politics:

    Appalling treatment of asylum seekers.
    Bombing in Iraq and Syria causing huge numbers of civilian deaths and injury rates.
    Where other countries have acknowledged having bombed civilian areas causing untold grief, the Australian authorities have refused to acknowledge such missions. Except, they have indicated they were not part of the last deadly mission (per ABC).
    Callousness has been displayed against many Centrelink clients.

    While Abbott did much damage to the Labor Party, he also did huge damage to the LNP. The leadership issue is still simmering away in the background.

  2. Freetasman

    IMHO they are doing what was in their agenda and in line with their ideology.
    Polls for them will be not important if in the time left for them they can increase the gap between the rich and the poor.
    The same applies with the Republicans in USA and the present Brazilian government to bring some examples.
    They know that some of the damage will never be repair by the ALP for two reasons, one they will put it in the “to hard basket” and second the ALP have a neoliberal ideology.
    Do not forget that the destruction of the car industry start with senator/minister Button in the Bob’s government.

  3. Terry2

    One positive becoming very evident in Queensland is that we did not allow the Newman government to stay in power and flog-off our electricity distribution . We’re only on the fringe of Debbie but we lost power for a few hours lat night but the good thing about a publicly owned power distribution network is that we can direct resources into areas like Nth. Queensland.

    Publicly owned Energy Queensland control all power networks within the state through Ergon Energy who have sent hundreds of power linesmen from southern Queensland to start the massive job of reinstating power supplies : wouldn’t have happened if the owners were in Singapore or China.

    Bets wishes to those now engaged in the cleanup which is never much fun in pouring rain. But on the plus side, areas previously drought declared in Central, Western and Southern Queensland are getting good rains and remember cyclones and tropical lows are the only sure way that these areas get their annual rain.

    More good news from the USA : Trump has discovered clean coal and it’s going to be sooo great for the environment, clean air, clean water – and we doubted that Trump could do it – Denise Drysdale was right !

  4. johnlord2013

    Could someone show me a block o CLEAN coal.

  5. captainwise

    I think you are TOO generous in giving Turnbull 6 months to get it together, good god he is driving a ‘Ship of State’.
    Time and time again he has proven an unworthy leader just as his predecessor Abbott.
    He is now in the desperate stage of resorting to vitriol and attacking his opponent through a hypocritical fog of blind rage in an endeavour to wound Shorten.
    Far from the Abbott led negatively charged opposition Shorten has a list of policies ready for action but the noisemakers and media give them no reportage.
    In the name on objective observation and by any measure taken this country has suffered at the hands of the last two conservative governments.

  6. Jaquix

    Too late for Turnbull, he’s lost credibility. He begged “Give me a chance” before the July election. Since then he’s proved he had nothing to offer. He has blown it, never even tried really. So his chance has gone. Whether they limp along with him, or someone else, the Coalition is dead meat. The pity is that theyre obstructing progress and making the job of the next government very difficult – huge job repairing the damage. They have doubled the debt in less than 4 years. Labor got us through the global financial crisis, and doubled the debt in nearly 7 years. So the Libs have performed the miracle of actually being 4 times worse than Labor at managing the debt/economy.

  7. Klaus Petrat

    John Lord, I am stunned how much lenience you are prepared to offer to Turnbull, a man with no character whatsoever and only the office of PM as his priority.

    If Labor was stumbling along, I get the feeling, you, like the MSM, would have torn them apart 3 years ago.

    This man, much like Trump, destructs all advances in renewables and climate change fights for the sake of Gina Rhinehardt and the likes. But grant him another 6 months.

    His answer to the energy crisis is Labors failure of the past. His answer to doubling electricity prices is the carbon tax and Labors fault. But grant him 6 more month.

    That man Turnbull is destroying the social fabric of Australia in return for his Prime Ministership. He has no conscience, he has no strategy, he can only blame Labor but you just granted him another 6 month.

    Good on you. Extremely disappointing actually.

  8. Graeme Henchel

    Malcolm and the Thug

    It was nearly four years ago
    That we began our tale of woe
    When Abbott and his circus came to town
    They’d defeated Kevin Rudd
    With the help of Murdoch’s mud
    And Abbott wore the shoes of the clown

    The thug had gone in hard
    On Julia Gillard
    Earning himself the title Dr No
    With Rupert on his side
    He just sloganeered and lied
    And got in with no policies to show

    And so began the tale
    Of the Mad Monk’s mammoth fail
    A story that was never a surprise
    Because Abbott and his crew
    Had no clue of what to do
    Once the public stopped believing all their lies

    It didn’t take too long
    When things started to go wrong
    promises were broken from the start
    Then Mathias and Joe Hockey
    Smoking cigars and feeling cocky
    dropped a budget that stunk worse than a fart

    What followed was a disaster
    We’d never seen it happen faster
    As the polls went into terminal decline
    We had Abbott’s Dames and Knights
    And the Egghead’s “Bigots rights”
    And the backflips of perfidious poodle Pyne

    But it was the captain of team Australia
    That led his team to failure
    With his lies and his stupid captain’s picks
    All his crew were just as weak
    As he took them up shit creek
    A party of pernicious lying pricks

    Things went from bad to worse
    As they flogged a dying horse
    Till the backbench thought the jockey was to blame
    So they tried to call a spill
    But did not complete the kill
    We were left with just some more of the same

    In the months after the spill
    they went right after Bill
    And they tried to pull another budget con
    And all the ten flag guff
    Was fast running out of puff
    as the polls showed that these lying fools were gone

    Seeing Bronwyn on the take
    Their greed exposed through chopper gate
    The public had concluded they’re the worst
    With a giant bullshit bubble
    Abbott’s mob’s were deep in trouble
    and it was the prick himself who made it burst.

    As the press were asking whether
    this is the worst mob ever
    The voters made their mind up, they must go
    They got out their baseball bats
    For the liberals and the Nats
    At the ballot they would surely deal a blow

    So on the eve of Canning
    Turnbull acted on his planning
    And Abbott, still deluded, got the flick
    After two years of lies and failure
    There was relief across Australia
    As the mad monks mammoth fail had made them sick

    So Abbott’s die was cast
    His use by date had passed
    Soon we saw another chapter in this farce
    They were hoping Malcolm’s words
    Could polish their policy turds
    In a desperate last attempt to save their arse

    Turnbull started off so well
    Saying everything was swell
    What a great time it was to be alive
    All ability and innovation
    and intelligent conversation
    the polls reversed, the party might survive

    Everything was on the table
    Malcom seemed so able
    But pretty soon the cracks began to show
    For him to lead this mob
    He must appease the right nut jobs
    And keep all of the thugs policies on the go

    The voters were surprised
    Turnbull was Abbott in disguise
    Relief turned to dismay, was this a joke
    Different coloured ties
    More smiles but the same old lies
    And slogans served on waffle when he spoke

    Bill Shorten all this while
    Had been working on his style
    And labor had been leading the debate
    Still the press all wrote him off
    They all so admired the Toff
    PM they said was always Turnbull’s fate

    Soon we were having a GST
    Then it was never going to be
    And state taxes lasted all but a day
    Poor decisions were the norm
    As Mal returned to form
    And the polls began to turn the other way

    So Malcolm’s great solution
    Was a double dissolution
    An election that smacked of desperation
    All we hear from the snake oil man
    Is “Jobs and Growth” and “plan”
    So much for intelligent conversation

    Then on election night
    The polls were very tight
    Nobody knew who’ll lead Australia
    Whatever is the score
    One thing was is for sure
    Malcolm and the thug had been a failure.

    The farce managed to just scrape back in
    Malcolm’s tantrum showed his fragile win
    The result was the closest of calls
    Abbott and his fools began to plot
    The senate was a more unruly plot
    The right tightened their grip on Malcolm’s balls

    We’ve seen the rise of the redneck rump
    With one Neuron and Donald Trump
    And for a while the thinkable was begun to thunk
    But these populist shysters quickly showed
    The more they’re exposed the more they explode
    Just like Malcom and the monk

    In the 9 months since the election
    Malcolm’s polls have gone in one direction
    The snake oil man is clearly going down
    Who knows how this farce will turn
    Will the Thug make a return
    Or will they find another useless clown

  9. Carol Taylor

    I will dispute forever and a day that Tony Abbott was the best Leader of the Opposition ever. The Gillard government passed a record number of bills with next to no Amendments. Why no Amendments? Because Mr No just sat there looking like a stupefied lizard saying No and achieving nothing. He said no and the Gillard government forged ahead anyway. Is this being the best? To sit there an achieve absolutely nothing except notoriety for himself. All the while the media gushed, Ahhh Tony, a real man, a “man’s man”.

  10. helvityni

    Saying no to EVERYTHING that the Government wants to achieve, means that NOTHING happens, no bad, but nothing GOOD either…

    The country stands still, and/or slips back to the past…

    How can anyone say that Abbott was a good Opposition leader, baffles me still today….

    In clever countries BOTH/ALL sides of Government want to improve the lot of their citizens, their disagreements are minor…

    An example: why wouldn’t the Liberals want to improve our education standards,,,,?

  11. helvityni

    John Lord, you say you want a lump of CLEAN coal, I want to have a piece of Mal’s NUANCED coal, that sounds so much more sophisticated or valuable, or whatever… 🙂

  12. wam

    Dear lord,
    Alan Austin writing for the New Daily summed up their economic performance:

    Late last Friday, Australia’s Treasury quietly released a nifty statistic. It revealed that government gross debt is now $483,080,000,000.00. That’s $483.1 billion.

    Of this, $213.1 billion has been added by the Coalition since the 2013 election. This is more than the Labor governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard added in their six years and nine months.

    How tragic is labor’s silence on this topic. They should be squealing at every opportunity at the lies of the rabbott about debt. Pointing out LABOR ECONOMY was AAA and doubling the debt and tripling the deficit it is now approaching the crisis down grading. The debt should be on every labor party office window and ‘the laugh of the week’ under the heading labor kept the AAA through the GFC. Why does trumble stumble?.

    keith the rabbott ruined debate but the loonies destroyed the reality.

    Spot on carol, his dumb request to the newton high students ‘let’s have a blokes question’ highlighted his amorality. His grip on reality is totally dependent on his religious belief in the truth.of his church.

  13. Emmee Bee

    I am concerned that whilst Turnbull appears to be doing nothing particularly useful, despite great hopes that he would be better than Abbott, what would be likely to happen under any replacement? Should Abbott return to the helm, we would no doubt see more absolute destruction of our norms and values, not to mention the social re-engineering of Australia plummet to even lower depths. But what if it isn’t Abbott that replaces Turnbull? What if it is Morrison, Dutton or others of that ilk? Part of me thinks that Turnbull is still the best of a bad lot, save for a complete change of government.

  14. Harquebus

    John Lord
    You have touched on some important issues. Good to see.

    Physical realities; limitations on population, resources and environmental damage were always going to trump the current political and economic ideology based on infinite growth.
    Attempting to increase energy production, grow populations, grow the economy, build massive amounts of energy guzzling infrastructure and pay off debt all while trying to reduce greenhouse gasses and the budget deficit using the same flawed thinking that got us into our predicament was always “doomed” to fail.

    The elites will risk everything and try every economic conjuring trick not thought of yet in the vain attempt to continue their privileged lifestyles ad infinitum.

    “History is littered with the regimes of despots and powerful elites that have willingly sacrificed the lives and well being of ordinary people in order to pursue their ideological beliefs and protect their personal interests.” — Graeme Henchel


  15. Sam

    On the notion of being thankful to Trumbull for getting rid of Abbott, there’s two ways you could look at it.

    Negatively-By him removing Abbott from power we ended up doomed to another 3 years of a conservative coalition government. For all its faults, labor is a far better option for government and under the right leader are actually quite good. Surely with that in mind, it would have been better for the country to endure a little more of prime minister Abbott to have been free of coalition rule since last years election?

    Positively-Sure him knifing Abbott gave us 3 more years of a coalition government but with his constant capitulations to the hard right on everything, it’s exposed the legend of the kinder, gentler, progressive turnbull who will save conservative politics and make them a viable option in the modern age as the myth some of us said it was all along. Having someone like turnbull in their pocket as an option was an important tool in the government appealing to the centre and to an extent the centre left. If we had Abbott lead the coalition to a wipeout but they still had turnbull as an option for 2019 maybe they’d have stood a chance of regaining power. Now we are stuck with the conservatives until 2019 but where are the future moderates amongst them that will effectively serve turnbulls function and appeal to a wider voting base now that he’s been exposed as a fraud? Even if they found that ‘progressive’ voice, who in the centre/centre-left would ever trust them not to capitulate to the hard right just like turnbuckle? Maybe in that sense he did us a favour by replacing Abbott.

  16. Ill fares the land

    My thinking is that we passed a “political tipping point” some time back and from here on, things only get worse. We no longer have a government who can adequately manage the country through what are a number of significant issues – some verging on crisis. Moreover, I doubt there is any credible alternative available.

    The tipping point I refer to is the now preponderance of fools, buffoons, clowns and liars, not to mention the already corrupt and the corruptible.

    We tend to gravitate towards those who remind us of us. Politics is such a closed environment that as soon as someone is elected to the Parliament, they have to align themselves with “their kind” – of course, they generally have already aligned themselves with a like-minded clique. That is how they got pre-selection in the first place – by sucking up to those who could further their own ambitions.

    So, in a sense, they are already corrupt, because once in the Parliament they will then stand with their clique rather than stand on genuine principle. Now, that would be fine if they were capable, but I think was has happened is that over time, each of the cliques has gathered more and more idiots and they then in turn tend to recruit more idiots to their group. After all, how do those like Bernardi garner support? Simple – they seek out those whose views are compatible (if not similarly bizarre).

    Eventually, as has now happened in my view, the groups and hence the Parliament, come to be dominated by idiots and extremists. If you think I am wrong, look around you at our federal and state parliaments. I really can’t see anyone I would regard as a stellar performer. The LNP features such liars and morons as O’Dwyer, Dutton, Scomo, Christensen, Joyce, Birmingham, Brandis and Sinodinos and people like Turnbull who possibly could be a very good PM, but is trapped within the machine – or the echo-chamber of false truths and self-interest that is politics. Labor has lightweights like Kate Ellis, Dastyari (how did a protege of a crook like Obeid gain and retain so much power within the party?) and a leader who just can’t sell himself as an alternative PM. Di Natale means well but has not really shown the capacity to dominate and guide political debate. Hanson and her rag-tag collection of fruitcakes, wackos, climate-change deniers and nut jobs – aren’t they really just a symbol of the worst of human nature. Of course we complain, but we elected these people.

    The actions of a total dirty little scumbag in South Australia (Jack Snelling – a fool and a failure if ever there was one) in tipping out a sitting Labor member to get pre-selection into a safer seat epitomises everything that is wrong with our political system. That he was scurrilous enough to want to parachute out of his existing seat (screw his existing electorate) and that his party machine supported his outrageous request show how corrupted the system is. If his new electorate reward his behaviour by electing him solely because he is Labor, then we get the government we deserve we really are screwed, because then the one mechanism that can send a message fails.

  17. lawrencewinder

    If the “gaslighting” by the ABC is maintained this electorate is stupid enough to vote this corrupt and incompetent ruling rabble back in…and even if it doesn’t, the country will be at ground zero and will need to be re-built from the ground up such is the destruction wrought by this IPA inspired pack of mongrels.

  18. jimhaz

    [Bill Shorten doesn’t do anything other than reinforce all the negativity. He is good at doing it too.]

    I’ve hardly heard a squeak from Bill Gerbil this year. Last week I saw some family photo propaganda, and today I read Shorten and the other useless coccyx, Plibersek, moaning about the minor issue of Mark Latham’s bullying.

  19. Phil

    Time to change the narrative that argues: “Malcolm Turnbull did us a favour with the removal of Tony Abbott”

    The facts prove the opposite – had Turnbull not removed Abbott, the the ALP would be in power and education, energy, climate, health, employment etc would be progressing under a clear policy and funding regime and the social welfare safety net would not be in tatters.

    I don’t wish to see the ALP through rose coloured lenses however since the issues of the times are complex and highly challenging Labor has a lot of work to do but it has the capacity, the unity and the brains to meet the challenges.

    Turnbull by his ignorance, cowardice, inability to understand ordinary people and his hopeless;y conflicted values has proven to be the reason we have had to stomach this train wreck disaster of a government for far longer than is healthy for any of us.

  20. Peter F

    The reason that we survived the GFC was simply that The ALP listened to their advisors in Treasury.

  21. johnlord2013

    Time to change the narrative that argues: “Malcolm Turnbull did us a favour with the removal of Tony Abbott”
    You may well be correct.

  22. Tugsley Too

    Are you THAT Denise Drysdale Denise ?
    Can anyone fill me in if Denise is not tuned in (possibly her natural state) ?

  23. Harquebus

    Ill fares the land
    Hear hear.

    John Lord contemplating that Malcolm Turnbull might not have done us any favors in removing Tony Abbott. Who could have guessed? We truly live in interesting times.

    “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” — Napoleon Bonaparte


  24. Alan Baird

    IF the ALP had downed Tony at that earlier date Bill would have got in WITHOUT any of the development since Turnbull came in. He would have embarked on a small target policy and done bugger all. Remember Bill as he was, NOT through the lens of the last election. The ALP still has a LONG way to go, as was revealed by the ACTU’s Sally McManus’ speech yesterday. THAT would form the bones of a coherent policy. They could easily have a policy fleshed out by now but are loitering with intent. They are still too lazy.

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