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Day to Day Politics: ‘Shambolic’ – I cannot think of a better word.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

1 One would have thought that after Tony Abbott was disposed of, the good government that we were promised so often might have actually occurred. It hasn’t. Malcolm Turnbull, with fine words, promised a new beginning and the public believed him. Words like reason, transparency, rational debate and policy explanation.

Two events over the past days in part explain that we have had a dysfunctional government for two and a half years. Not just dysfunctional, but incompetent. A first blush overview of Niki Savva’s book reveals a Prime Minister totally under the influence of a control freak with an intimidating disposition. Someone with an obsessive personality that borders on the pathological.

However, nothing demonstrates the absurdity of this government more than George Brandis’s announcement of a plebiscite on Marriage Equality before Christmas. When I first heard it I immediately assumed, I think as Brandis did, a July election, because the AEO had said that they needed 6 months to organise it. It would be impossible to have one if the election were to be in August/September and the voters would be upset, let alone the cost, if they had to go back to the polls a second time.

Why not have the Plebiscite at the same time as the election and save $160 million. Then, as the afternoon wore on and Turnbull’s office began retracting, it became manifestly clear that chaos was the order of the day.

Has Brandis put his foot in it? I think he has. I don’t think they have a policy on Marriage Equality other than to delay and delay.

Everything about this government points to a shambolic cabinet who haven’t the faintest idea what they are doing. Credlin controlled Abbott, the far right controls Turnbull. Turnbull has no authority and no guts for decision-making.

All he can offer is that the government was committed to holding the plebiscite ‘as soon after the election as can be done’.

Only a government in disarray could make an announcement before lunch and take it off the table prior to dinner. What a shambles.

An observation.

‘The secret of change is to focus all your energy on not fighting the old but on building the new’.

2 The revelations in Savva’s book ‘Road to Ruin’ are truly astonishing and deserve the country’s attention. Abbott often said that if our democracy was under threat it was because of the people who occupy government from time to time. He meant Labor of course, but he might have been looking in a mirror when he said it.

In the recipe of good leadership one of the vital ingredients is delegation. Having the confidence in one’s underlings to make decisions. The control Credlin imposed on the PMs Office leaves one’s head spinning. From foreign affairs to office decorations. Stuff that you wouldn’t experience in the biggest companies’ boardrooms. Even a quick scan of the accusations in her book make for astonishing reading.

It may not have been an affair in the conventional sense we understand, but it was a most unusual political one to say the least. One that could always be viewed with scandalous observation.

Tony Abbott’s response was to say: ‘The best response to this book is in the objective record of the Abbott government’.

An empty, highly debatable response at that. The problems of the Abbott Government didn’t start in Government but in Opposition where blind negativity was the order of the day replacing policy development. That’s where the dysfunctionality begun. He thought that just gaining office would put everything right.

The disclosure that it was Joe Hockey, now our Ambassador to the US, who broke a valuable marble table fills me with disgust. As does the instruction to Bishop not to apologise over the cost of a chopper.

Everyone with meagre political observational skills noted that Margie was only ever trotted out in crisis situations.

An observation.

In the recipe of good leadership there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. It, however, ranks far below getting things done for the common good’.

3 Eight Coalition and 8 retiring Labor MPs are set to qualify for Parliamentary Pensions and most will be paid a minimum of $118,125.00 – or 75 per cent of a current MP’s base salary for superannuation purposes of $157,500.00.

Why don’t the sheeple protest?

4 Meanwhile in the US. ‘Only in the US,’ Donald Trump, in scenes reminiscent of a Hitler rally, asked, no demanded, that thousands of people at a rally swear an oath of allegiance. And they did. It was a scene that people of my vintage thought we might never experience again.

‘I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J Trump for president.’

5 After last week’s embarrassing debacle over Negative Gearing you might have thought that The Australian might leave the chill of those waters behind for a while. But no, yesterday’s headline read: ‘Labor’s crackdown on negative gearing ‘a threat to small business’.

6 Peter Costello has warned against changes to Negative Gearing, Superannuation, and Capital Gains Tax. In fact he has urged Scott Morrison to maintain the generously immoral superannuation and tax arrangements of his tenure for the rich and privileged.

On the evidence thus far the Government never had a reform policy in the first place. They just needed something to talk about. Something they are good at.

7 I think I will stop here. I’m becoming very depressed of late about the way in which we are governed. The disrespect that we are treated with. The incompetence. Government for self; abounds. There is a stench about it that is contributing to the way I feel.

I wrote last week that this mob has degrees from the world’s finest learning institutions dripping from the walls of their parliamentary offices but all the learning seems unsuitable for good governance. The problem is that that conservative ideology and practical common sense just don’t mix.

I’m not sure that I want to read ‘Road to Ruin’ but I probably will. What seems to give the book integrity and is compelling about Niki Savva’s writing, is the number of sources who have gone on the record.

My thought for the day.

‘A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds’.



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  1. lawrencewinder

    It was obvious even before this rabble were elected that they had no policy… it was always, “Me, too, me too!” and then they contradicted themselves the whole time . Their rabid criticisms of Labor were again, always a reflection of what they really were and listening last night on QandA to Cash and earlier on radio to Frydenberg you sense they really do live much like their IPA masters, in a parallel universe. The criticisms being leveled at them at the moment must indicate that they are really on-the-nose in the electorate as their directionless posturings are a quantum leap worse than labor (who actually had and implemented policy) but it’s not being reported in the frenzied fashion that the Ugly American’s minions are so keen on.

  2. John Kelly

    A most incompetent government, true. But also a most arrogant one. They thought, as you rightly say John, that all they had to do was win and the rest would take care of itself. What arrogance!

  3. Ian Sprocket Muncher Parfrey

    The LNP are nothing but an Omnishambles of Clusterf*ckery.
    Always have been – always will be.

  4. Shazz

    …”7 I think I will stop here. I’m becoming very depressed of late about the way in which we are governed. The disrespect that we are treated with. The incompetence. Government for self-abounds. There is a stench about it that is contributing to the way I feel.”

    reading your political sentiments is a must have literal garnish accompaniment to my morning brew nowadays John, as usually always provides me an instant fix of word thought context to unscramble my political nightmare anxiety driven dawn brain chatter to aptly describe the repugnant disgust I feel towards the current mug thug power-mongering outlier-far-right corrupt band of suited up parasites luxuriating in their oligarchy …. cheers!!!

  5. Felicitas

    I agree entirely Shazz, Yes John- keep it up. My time is limited and often the only AIMN post I’m able to read is yours, and I sorely need to have that sensible, well-articulated precis of the world so I don’t fall into the chasm of despair at my country’s rushing trajectory towards the bottom of whichever hole it is currently digging. So thankyou.

  6. kerrilmail

    It appears to me that the current government, after having spent so much time pinned down by the stilletoes of Peta Credlin, figured once Malcolm agreed to take office (with promises made to secure votes) now assumes it is a free for all and they can do and say as they please. Malcolm is governing with both hands tied behind his back which explains his eggy face. Brandis is a pompous fool who thinks he knows better than anyone else. Morrison is all at sea and well out of his depth. (Perhaps he should have stayed with “on water matters”) Dutton is still lying and being underhanded as though he is not in any way accountable. Joyce is simply an idiot. O’Dwyer seems confused. Ley is still scouring her Thesaurus for synonyms to “co-payment”. Don’t get me started on Cash and Frydenburg. Cormann is trying to hold ground as if Abbott were still in charge. Older Politicians are as rats skulking away with wet paws. Many more ministers and Cabinet members seem to think they have the freedom to fulfil their own desires and there is Malcolm having bought so many votes he is now having to pay for with his credibility.
    Malcolm has spent time under the thumb of Kerry Packer so has experience of biding his time but the public see him as a weak leader which he indeed is because he has sold his power to get the job. All the bollocks about “governing in his own right” and “being his own man” when he has his “own” government AFTER the election is just that. Total bollocks. IF Malcolm wins the next election, and I think that is a big IF, he will still be manacled to the MPs he needs to win government outright. That is he will not be able to get rid of Dutton, Brandis, Ciobo, Morrison, Joyce, Pyne and any of the other duds who he is at odds with over policy let alone the old guard at the back including Abbott, Abetz, Bernardi, Andrews etc. If he wins in his own right it will only be because those who are scotch-hobbling his beliefs and hopes as PM are still being elected. He cannot win their seats without them and he cannot form a Ministry without them and their votes.
    If Shorten doesn’t make good use of the chaos to continue with sensible policy announcements and level headed well reasoned plans, as though Labor was in government, then he does not deserve to win.
    If he continues as he has of late to prove he can present structure, equanimity, sensible policy and hope he will surely be a good PM rather than just “anyone but Malcolm”.

  7. Kyran

    In a recent article, Mr Kelly (“Morrison misreads the state of the economy”) suggested “Preparing the May budget is underway…..”. Having spent a week looking for any evidence of this, I can only admit defeat. As always, the utterances from our current leaders are confined to what they can’t do.
    This ‘government’, in tiny’s tenure, had a preponderance of throwing out a thought bubble and formulating a vague and shallow policy dependent on the level of blow back to whatever ridiculous thought they had had, subject to IPA approval, of course.
    The same ‘government’, in talcum’s tenure, appears to have slightly modified the approach in so far as ‘someone’ leaks ‘something’ on a daily basis and the MSM all go running around trying to add substance to a leak.
    My malaise is that this is now ‘the way in which we are governed’. The lack of any leaks pertaining to the budget suggests, to me, they have yet to break out the crayons and abacus.
    There was an old adage that, if the choice is between a ‘conspiracy’ and a ‘cock up’, the latter is more likely. This ‘government’ seems to rate its performance on the number of cock up’s per day. They seem fascinated by their own self importance and reliant on ‘personality’ politics, as it assists in the distraction from their policy paralysis.
    Likewise, I think I will stop here. Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  8. terry

    no policy your joking they know exactly what they are doing , they not a bunch of dummies . destroy the unions , lower wages , create a large pool of unemployed to exploit , desperation ect ect dumb the kids, kill medicare . user pays , the list just gets longer . another three years and control of the senate . best yet too come .

  9. gangey1959

    This ta bullshit is a double ended stick, which will both stop the pommy moron from standing as dealer of the coalandoilalition ever again, and to keep our minds off the imminent signing of the TPP. The marriage equality debate is simply a smokescreen for the latter.
    When they lose at the polls, whenever they are, the current government morons will shriek from the opposition benches about how the Gillard Government started it and how Australia’s misfortunes at the hands of the tpp are all HER fault and they would have done things differently if they had been re-elected because they had a PLAN.
    If by some REALLY POOR voting choices by “We the Voter” the lnp happen to win (heaven help us), the misfortune of andrew robber’s signings will still be heaped upon Ms Gillard for starting the damn thing in the first place, and all he did was pick up the pieces as best he could. Bugger me, they said NO to every positive piece of legislation that was put before them, or was already in place when they lied their way into office. Why not say no to this one. It only needs 2 minor modifications. (1) NO ISDS. (2) Include china. Piece of cake

  10. James O'Neill

    John, re your first point about the plebiscite. I am also completely unable to understand why, if the public have to have a separate vote on what should be the ordinary business of government why it cannot be held at the same time as the general election, thereby saving most of the $160 million we are told it will cost. It should be remembered that when the Howard government changed the definition of marriage they did so without a plebiscite.
    One is driven to the conclusion as you suggest, that the real reason is just to delay as long as possible. As such it is a good metaphor for all their “policies”.

  11. terry

    best thing is feathering their own nests with multinational company deals , backhands and insider trading . like running round buying dairies before trade agreement is announced

  12. mars08

    And yet…. the Coalition and Labor remain roughly equal in the polls…

  13. terry

    attacking the ndis should be a good nail in their coffin , their voter base must be shrinking with these policies .and attacks on doctors , students ,pensioners, disabled and their families , unemployed and teachers not to mention the gay community to name a few just couldn’t trust them no matter what they promised again ?

  14. adelaidesphere

    Great quote – re social justice. Who can it be attributed to?

  15. John Lord

    adelaidespher. All the words I write are my own.

  16. Rezblah

    I don’t know what it would take to try the lot of them for treason, all the boxes are ticked but no prosecution?! They are traitors, plain and simple, and blatantly so, and the only way they will ever be brought to justice is when the bailiff (or the pitch forks) are knocking on the door. Until then they will continue to do whatever the hell they want without fear of any reprisal whatsoever

  17. Kaye Lee

    It is interesting that when the Coalition were elected they formed a “star chamber” to make decisions. It consisted of Credlin, her husband Loughnane, Howard’s former chief of staff, Tony Nutt, and ministers Michael Ronaldson and Kevin Andrews.

    Credlin is gone, Loughnane has gone, replaced by Nutt, Ronaldson is going, to be replaced by an IPA stooge, and Andrews has been put in a box.


  18. Michael

    Hi John, your 7. I am with you – I found that using the energy it takes for “it” to rise above the forest, take a helicopter view, etc and use it for possible solutions

  19. thebustopher

    Precisely. If you’re going to have a plebiscite, do it in tandem with an election… Oafs!

    And I think I might wait until “The Road to Ruin” hits the remainder bins!

  20. Möbius Ecko

    And they spoke about Labor’s faceless men Kaye Lee. The Liberals have always had a back room of faceless men but you rarely see the MSM mention them. Unlike they way they went on about the supposed Labor faceless men, who were so faceless their names and photos were constantly splashed across the media.

  21. gangey1959

    When will there be a Royal Comission into lnp funding ? An enquiry into the IPA would reveal an interesting web methinks. It should have been run in conjuction with the one into willy shortarse and his mates, but the dick running it might have been asked to cross examine himself, and that is an act he only performs in private . Or so I have been told by those who might know whisper whisper.

  22. olddavey

    It would be enlightening to see a list of who’s corporate pockets the $160,000,000 cost of the plebiscite will end up in.

    And every time the figure is written it should read “$160,000,000” to emphasise the wastefulness of the LNP. “$160 million” or “$160m” does not convey the true stupidity of this incompetent bunch of numpties.

  23. musicinhills

    There is no hope, as Mars said, why aren’t any other parties far ahead in the polls, something very strange is going on, why are all the Mums and Dads and small business so quite, in the deep North there is no swing away from LNP there is still this distrust about the Labor party how they destroyed the economy, and how hard for the LNP to do any thing. It’s the emperor thing or cutting of noses to spite faces, it’s mind boggling astounding that there is no support or very little for other parties, What do the LNP have to do to get voted out? nothing, everyone seems to except their in government, there are a lot of votes for the LNP throughout the central and north queensland, I have very little doubt that they will return to power.

  24. Victcor

    Okay, you have this information, what will you do with it?

  25. cuppa

    Costello should crawl back into his hammock and go back to sleep.

  26. Michael Taylor

    Cuppa, I think he fell out and banged his head.

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