Saturday 17 February 2018
What a week it was in Australian politics. And to finish it off the Prime Minister gave the Deputy Prime Minister and the Parliament a lecture in private and public sexual morality.
Something for which no one has an ownership of other than the standard society itself sets. Sexual morality is an elastic thing that seems to change from one generation to the next.
At a time when sex and its function is rendering women as nothing more than pawns in a game of male cowardliness, Barnaby Joyce finds himself being judged for misdemeanours over and above his own.
The self-appointed prosecution of the nation is Malcolm Turnbull. Of Barnaby Joyce he said this:
“shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office.”
Barnaby had unleashed a “world of woe”.
“encourage” Joyce to take a week’s leave to “reflect”, to “seek forgiveness and understanding.”
“Most of the ministers, most of the bosses in this building if you like, are men and there is a gender, a real gender perspective here.”
What was his motive in giving Joyce this advice? On the one hand, I would have thought that Barnaby was terminally ill and had no hope of surviving. Was he telling Barnaby to take a week off, think about it, and then resign honourably?
The point is that Barnaby is no longer the best retail politician in the land as some news outlets would have you believe. No longer can he stride around the country bombastically telling people how good he is and with a deception of lies promote his own moral compass.
He has lost the trust of the nation and done the business of politics a harrowing disservice. As if it weren’t bad enough already.
On the other hand, or at the same time, Turnbull has stopped his Ministers from having sex with members of staff. I assume that the other 180 or so members of parliament are free to do so.
Will Peter Dutton, have members of Border Force lifting the sheets of members looking for limp evidence? Trying vainly to enforce a ban on the most passionate of all human desires is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard of.
He argued that by re-writing the ministerial code he was addressing the power imbalance between the genders. As if? The fact is that men have never grown up. It is more about control than power. Of course, trust comes into it and only 13% of people trust politicians.
If you can’t trust them with sex on the side how can you trust them with corruption in cabinet?
It’s 11 am Friday and I interrupt my writing to take my wife to a doctor’s appointment. On getting into the car I hear Jon Faine utter the word “inept”. He goes on to explain that Barnaby Joyce had called the Prime Minister inept. My first thought is that that will be the end of him. You simply cannot speak to the boss in that way. Then common sense pushes the alarm button and I tell myself that it isn’t that easy.
But let’s have a look at how this unfolded. Joyce has never made any move to hide the contempt that he holds Turnbull in. Turnbull is contemptible of Joyce’s – what should I call it – country ockerism and lack of intelligence. It was Joyce who plotted to get rid of Turnbull the first time around.
We now have a serious crisis. Is it time for Turnbull to sack him as a minister? He can’t sack him as leader of the Nats. Is it time for the Governor General to step in? I don’t know the answer to those questions.
What I do know is that we are being governed by easily the worst government in our political history. It’s so full of corruption that a national ICAC or similar institution it would take two years to clear the decks. It is now clear that the Liberal party and the National Party are at war with each other or you might say that the ego’s of the two leaders are. Both are incapable of understanding that they are elected to govern for the people, not themselves.
Could it lead an inevitable split between the two parties, something that has been suggested over the years? A kiss and make up won’t do. Has the toff from town pushed the boy from the bush a little too far? The damage has been done. If Turnbull doesn’t do something he will look weak and humiliated.
Turnbull resents that he is told what to do by a lesser mortal. One that can only get 5% of the vote. In turn, Joyce believes that he has been ordained to hold in contempt those who would question the philosophy of conservatism and it’s connection with the past.
“An angry-sounding Mr Joyce has accused the PM of making things worse with comments he gave yesterday about the extramarital affair between Mr Joyce and his former staffer Vikki Campion.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said the comments caused “further harm” to his family.
“Comments by the Prime Minister yesterday at his press conference … in many instances, they caused further harm. I believe they were in many instances inept and most definitely in many instances unnecessary,” he said
“In regards to the National Party, there is nothing that we dislike more than implied intervention into the party processes of the National Party.”
As things stand the Prime Minister has responded with a customary smile and empty answers. Perhaps he intends doing something when he returns from Tasmania. Will he still meet with President Trump? Well, at the moment that’s anyone’s guess. I must say, however, that the answers he has given were limp (there I go again) in the extreme.
At the moment I cannot see, with the relationship the way it is, just how this alliance can possibly continue.And it’s only a couple of weeks ago that the band reformed.
My thought for the day
“Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it.”