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Day to Day Politics: The year 2017 declared yet another political disaster.

Sunday 31 December 2017

The curtain comes down on another year and we turn our thoughts to a new one. Without wishing to sound morose I personally wonder just how many more I might have left. At the same time the young are so busy discovering themselves, the world they live in, and their place in it, that they are apt to neglect the fact that it is they who are the custodians of tomorrow.

An observation

“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts.”

As I write I reflect on the year 2017. I can only conclude that it is another wasted in the advancement of our nation. I try to think of things positive that I might share but I cannot. I stop, hesitate, because marriage equality must surely go down as a magnificent victory for the people. I can’t even count how many pieces I wrote on the subject. Yes, it was a victory for the people, we did it in spite of the politicians not doing what they were elected to do.

We showed what we are capable of doing when we turn our collective attention to the common good.

I come across an old newspaper article I had filed for later use. “Goodness,” I thought to myself, “it surely cannot be the same person”. It was dated December 28 2012:

“It’s not a 24-hour news cycle, it’s a 60-second news cycle now, it’s instantaneous.”

“It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one liner.”

The prolific tweeter acknowledged he took a share of the blame in being drawn into negativity and the “game of politics”, but said politicians and the media were wrong if they thought they were “helping battlers” by using one-line sound bites.

“They are not respecting them, they are treating them with contempt,” he said, to a round of applause.”

“It is our job above all in politics to tackle the big issues and to explain them, and have the honesty to say to people ‘there are no easy solutions here’.”

“It is a disgrace how much misinformation has been got away with.”

“The media has got to the point where they are so cynical about politics that they do not expect politicians to tell the truth.”

“So if politicians are not being held to account, why would they bother? What is the incentive for them to tell the truth?”

“Well, of course, there should always be an incentive to tell the truth, which is doing right thing by the electorate.”

“But truth-telling and responsibility have to be a key undertaking, a New Year’s resolution for each and every one of us in our federal and state parliaments in 2013.”

Yes, these fine words of Oxford educated wisdom were spoken by the then Telecommunications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, at the Woodford Folk Festival. “Alas,” I thought, @if only he had believed in them he might have made a great leader.”

“There should always be an incentive to tell the truth” he said. Did he really mean that?

Then I recalled what Abbott said in 2013:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”

At the time I thought that was rather a grand statement, a full of principle statement. Unfortunately it was expressed by a rotten gutter politician. And Turnbull needs an incentive to tell the truth. God help me.

Like this one about taking $23 billion from the deficit. The figure of $23 billion is only $23 billion less than the projected figure of $606 billion. It’s not $23 billion less than what the debt currently is. (That figure was conspicuously absent in all news stories).

Sorry I’m rambling. Back to 2017. It was in the early part of December that I detected a change, a shift in journalistic mood. After what can only be described a dreadful year for the Government, with the polls clearly showing Labor as favourites to win the next election, the mainstream media were saying that Turnbull was back in the race. He had finished the year well.

It would be fair to say that 2017 was a year the Coalition would rather forget. And with good reason. It was a disaster in more ways than one. It had governed the country appallingly. So much so that I was flabbergasted that Labor only leads by 6 percentage points. After all Turnbull is only five Newspolls shy of the dreaded 30 negative polls in a row, he himself nominated as the cut off point when leaders simply have to go.

The Coalition leapt from one crisis to another and internally fights broke out like cluster bombs falling on a brain-dead crowd. Those who contend that Turnbull finished the year well because he had settled two of the most contentious internal issues the government faced: legalising marriage equality and resolving the framework of a new energy policy, had better think again.

The right-wing, far-right nutters in the Coalition – now that marriage equality has been resolved – are out to save religion from a nation increasingly losing touch with it. Christian religious rights will become a major issue next year. Also the vast majority of Australians know they are being conned by the National Party over a new energy policy. That fight is far from over.

Turnbull’s hypocrisy on Climate Change continued throughout the year and little progress was made. It was the year of Turnbull’s final surrender on energy policy. He succumbed to reviews, thought bubbles and reports designed to placate the deniers who now direct the Coalition.

Peter Lewis from Essential Polling writes that:

“The coal stunt was a none-too-subtle attempt to shift the focus of energy policy away from the imperative of transitioning to a renewable future by opening a new wave of investment in fossil fuels.The lump of coal act was also the final surrender by a prime minister who had built a public persona around his determination to take meaningful action on climate change.”

Barnaby Joyce had a year to remember, an affair to remember, and a sacking he may yet pay dearly for, proving that he needs a manager. Yes, he’s been handling himself for too long.

It was also a year in which Neoliberalism came under attack and inequality was recognised as a growing threat to world economies, as was low wage growth.

But the cronies of capitalism would have none of it and the richest people on earth became $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) richer, more than four times last year’s gain.

An observation

I think Pope Francis got it right when he said that “trickle down economics doesn’t work, the glass at the top just gets bigger.”

It is alarming though that after having had an unequivocally rotten Government since 7 September 2013 that the Australian media are now pumping for a return of Malcolm Turnbull and his government of highly educated fools!

The Sydney Morning Herald listed the following as the political highlights of 2017.

1) Trump versus Turnbull

2) Morrison’s lump of coal

3) Larissa Waters makes history

4) Scott Ludlam makes an important discovery

5) Julie Bishop starts an unlikely diplomatic incident

6) Xenophon quits federal politics for the big time

7) Parliament unites in grief

8) Cash makes a hash of Senate estimates

9) Parliament unites in joy

10) Dastyari’s final dash

7&9 are obviously highlights of human compassion and therefore worthy of any list but to say that the others are highlights – highlights just how bad the MSM is in Australia.

My thought for the day

“Of all the things the voter must consider when confronted with the ballot sheet none is more important than the performance of the incumbent.”

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  1. Pappinbarra Fox

    “Ballet” correction needed. Did you mean balance or maybe ballot?

  2. Pappinbarra Fox

    Maybe 2018 will be a better year for us all. Look forward to brighter things everyone and have an excellent New Year.

  3. Howard Hansen

    Well said John, but sadly the new year is not going to be any better, as I looked into my crystal ball, all I can see on the horizon is more chaos from current government

  4. Pilot

    Ballet sheet? Or Ballot sheet?
    Hard to pick which has been their worst bloody year ol’ mate. The LNP have been a nasty abusive bunch of louts since 2013, not just the past year. Thoroughly pissed off! A right wing ALP doesn’t help either.

  5. Ella miller

    Thank you Mr. Lord and the AIM Network. As I think back over the past year the only comfort that I find is that you exist.

    It is sad to think that OUR ABC is slowly becoming the LNP’s ABC. The brainwashing by the MSM. I often wonder why Australians are not out in their thousands protesting and demanding that our Government govern in the interest of all. So I guess overall I feel sadness at the thought of next year.

    The elections in my state of Tasmania next March are going to be interesting.Watching the cricket on Boxing Day we were constantly bombarded by NEGATIVE advertising from the Liberals.Trying to instil fear in the population about the fear of a Labor /Green government.
    I found this intrusion into my Christmas break such an affront that I wrote to the Editor of our local rag. Nearly every ad break during the cricket was Liberal advertising. They must be so desperate…I also wondered with money tight everywhere, who is funding these expensive and constant advertising. The Labor leader Rebecca is also starting to be targeted.
    Anyway, enough of my rambling…Happier New Year…got to believe miracles do happen.

  6. John Lord

    Pilot. It has been corrected.

  7. Terry2

    I guess the defining moment for me was the response from our Deputy Prime Minister to a goodwill gesture from our nearest ally and neighbour who had offered to assist in breaking the political impasse on the indefinite offshore detention of asylum seekers.

    It’s best if you stay away from another country’s business.

    Because otherwise they will return the favour at a time they think is most opportune for them.

    It revealed a government that is driven by spin and political opportunism even when it comes to peoples’ lives.

  8. Freethinker

    Thank you John for all the articles during 2017 and we hope that on the 2018 will be a better, optimistic and positive issues to discuss.
    My wish for the 2018 is for an early election and this mob to be removed from office but I do not put money on it.
    Ella, anything can happens in our State and I hope that the public health issues will be enough to see the end of this terrible government.

  9. babyjewels10

    Ella “It is sad to think that OUR ABC is slowly becoming the LNP’s ABC. The brainwashing by the MSM. I often wonder why Australians are not out in their thousands protesting and demanding that our Government govern in the interest of all. So I guess overall I feel sadness at the thought of next year.” Me too. On all points.

  10. johno

    March in march is not far away, maybe there will be more than 2017’s dismal turnout.

  11. Phil

    Getting the vote on SSM legislation was dead easy and Turnbull’s thuggery deserve no credit. Easy because the only real opposition to the legislation came from religious ideologies and conservative mad-hatters who were easily neutered by the Ruddock gambit.

    There was no corporate backlash; no military/industrial backlash; no trade union backlash; no banking and finance backlash; no Minerals Council and mining interests backlash; no real estate and housing industry backlash – and no threat, real or implied to our continuing US vassalage.

    Turnbull and the MSM have nothing to crow about from 2017 – they survived by MSM headlined announcables and mindless slogans.

    We will be celebrating the total wipeout of the Coalition and, with any luck, the death of neoliberalism by the end of 2018.

  12. Diane Larsen

    John thank you for the many articulate and interesting articles over time the discovery of this site and the many talented writers has been a light in a dark year I hope you will be here for many more years with your concise treatment of our hopeless current government all the best for 2018

  13. jim

    Great post just one of many, I find the ABC un listenable since this criminal govt lied there way into power
    in 2013.
    On the up side I think our young are not as dumb as the MSM and the IPA/ Liberals think they are and will show em so come election day hopefully.
    The IPA key policy positions include: advocacy for privatisation and deregulation; attacks on the positions of unions and non-government organisations; support of assimilationist indigenous policy (cf. the Bennelong Society) and refutation of the science involved with environmental issues such as climate change

  14. Kronomex

    Barnaby doesn’t need a manager, he needs someone following close behind armed with a syringe of thorazine.
    2) Morrison’s lump of coal – it’s what fell out of one of his ears after he banged his head to clear a blockage.
    I’d stick with “ballet” because I can see the federal LNP doing a lot of dancing next year avoid big problems and things coming back to bite them on their collective arses.
    Trembles bad polls are going to go beyond his 30 limit. There is no way short of the election that he is going to be removed from his obsession with being PM and “leader” (snort, snigger) of the LNP.

  15. Jack Russell

    I have a dream . . .

    That the conservatives are completely erradicated – from government, and from everywhere else they have inserted themselves – that the next government is truly for the people, in thought, word, and deed.

    Imagine . . .

  16. Wam

    What a beaut thought today, Lord. Especially when balanced by your opening constant reflection. Forget who said it but to become wise:
    By reflection is honest
    Following is easy
    Experience is bitter

    How do you garner the information upon which to reflect?
    From murdoch, fairyfax, guardian, abc or other truth spreaders?
    Are you facebooked to your local, state and federal member?

    I was quickly defacebooked by a senator when I suggested she should show us how hard working she is in such a demanding job by publishing her diary showing, where, how long, why, who with and outcomes of her meetings.(could be a source of truth there??)

    Perhaps suggesting her cashing of a 1st class airfare to europe, at her travel agent who converted the dollars to cattle class for her family then surmising whether she used any of her work flybys to upgrade made the exercise a bit of a rort, was not a good introduction?

    ps it is not rambling to suggest a $23 million of the debt is not $23m of this debt but $23 million off a future debt projection.
    Jack 50% of Australians are conservatives a bloody lot to eradicate??

  17. Jack Russell

    G’day Wam . . . always good to have a worthwhile project on the go to fill in any spare time.

    Anyway, what’s a conservative disconnected from power? Another homeless beggar.

    They absolutely approve of those!

    Win/Win ;))

  18. Wam

    Well my ‘in law’ family number 5 in 70s 6 in 40s and 7 under 20 and sll are conservatives who believed the hype of menzies and howard who are heros. They are scrupulously with the Lord on truth(except for the black market, copyright – they were horrified that I called a couple of the oldies theives) as a concept except they believe ch 9 and the advertiser is the truth plus they buy the weekend Australian. They simply disapprove of anything labor or union. The few times I have pointed out the liberal excesses has shifted one to the slimey X. So that is a loss. So in real life they, like Australias, moan about poor but they are rich, complain about muslims but support christians. Live happily knowing the borders are safe.

  19. Jack Russell

    Brings to mind a quote Wam:

    It is very difficult to explain something to a man, when that man’s salary depends on his not understanding it. ~Upton Sinclair.

    I guess that applies to any closely-held and valued belief . . or comfort zone.

  20. Wam

    Love the quote which fits the current ABC or mainstream journalists but the morning autocuists are at the mercy of the shock jocks and watchers who are definitely not akin to anyone here. It is excruciating to watch but drug like for me.
    It isalmost impossible to present contra facts if the truth is concreted in faith. Very intelligent people will not risk any discussion that may impinge on faith. My facebook is full of ex-students who share disgusting anti labor, immigration and religious right with out a care about where these people fit in society. They rarely use anti-Aboriginal language in front of me and an ‘oh sorry’ when a child says “step on a crack and marry a black when walking on paving stones” but have no qualms about ning nongs or slopes.

  21. Jack Russell

    Not on any social media Wam, just a few good independent news sites. I get the bigger picture quite thoroughly though, and the below line comments on the sites I am on are more than enough to fill in the gaps and also give links to further information I couldn’t possibly find on my own. I have right-wingers in my own family as well and, for the sake of peace and harmony, politics is off the menu at gatherings or it can get very heated.

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