Sunday 19 February 2017
At the foot of this piece are some words I wrote on the corresponding day last year. It has now become a habit for me to include them if appropriate. So much so that It has become both a source of amusement and serious concern. I’m amused because invariably they indicate our worsening standard of governance and concerned because Australians generally don’t seem to care.
As one year meanders its way into the next and one day bleeds into another.”She’ll be right” I hear my fellow citizens say with laconic laziness. Just as they have for the whole of my lifetime.
In a way its sad how for so many years we rode along on the sheep’s back and then what seemed an never ending minerals boom. Of course it all had to come to an end sometime, but our politicians didn’t want to tell us. They would rather have us confined in a vacuum of their creation than face the reality.
And look where we are now. The great rustic malaise of ignorance is eating away at our democracy and most are blissfully unaware.
There is a dearth of leadership that has passed us by not for reasons of aptitude or incompetence but simply a desire to self-serve rather than serve.
I’m trying not to be negative in my thoughts but circumstance gives me no reason to be optimistic about our future. We seem rudderless waiting for the impending storm.
Good Government is usually married to good leadership and we thought, even if it was just a mirage, that we had it in Malcolm Turnbull however, the evidence thus far would suggest that he has been worse than his predecessor. If that were at all possible. He has morphed from calm and thoughtful Malcolm to angry Mal in a matter of months. Now he is self-obsessed and consumed by the Prime Ministership. So much so that he is prepared to countenance anyone’s demands to retain it. Now this pandering to extremists might help him retain his job until the next election but it will not help him get re-elected. The policies are out of sync with community expectations.
There are a great many people on the extreme right who feel the party is out of touch with society and the voters but the reality is that it may be they who are out of touch.
It has to be said though that if the Polls continue to be negative then those in marginal seats will become anxious and we might see a scenario similar to that when Rudd replaced Gillard with Abbott replacing Turnbull. Although that might be the same as committing suicide.
However, all that said, unless something like Christensen pulling the plug happens then we will see Turnbull fumble along, taking orders from the highly educated but brain-dead of his party, until the next election where I cannot be sure that Australian’s will have woken to the fact that so many years have been spent in mediocrity of governance. Years that have not served them well. How conditioned to it we have become.
Those I described as occupying ”the great rustic malaise of ignorance” have little or no interest in policy or how it’s formulated. All they do is gain impressions of policy and people through their larger than life television sets. Then they draw conclusions on character based on whether the fellow is a good bloke or not. Fact checking they have no time for but they do look for the liar and in Turnbull they don’t have to look far.
The Government seems to have lost interest in budget repair, microeconomic or major reform and look like putting it in the too hard basket. They have no credible policy on renewable energy and climate change. Decisions seem to be put off while they find another reason to blame Labor. Marriage Equality will continue to embarrass then periodically. The banks are making record profits and the Government wants to give them more of our hard-earned cash and other companies who don’t pay tax will also be given some more.
It’s a Government who wants to take from the poorest to pay for better child minding so that women can get a non-existing job. Laughable isn’t it.
I shall finish by quoting from a speech given by Ross Gittens, of the SMH to the Australian Business Economists Annual Forecasting Conference Sydney, February 15, 2017
‘’Let me finish by saying that the area of economic reform where the government’s performance has been most egregious is on policy to ease our transition to a low-carbon economy and honour our commitments at the Paris conference. Leaving aside Abbott’s role in our policy regression, Turnbull’s disservice to the nation was to swear off introducing a carbon intensity scheme the moment his hard Right party members, led by the now departed Cory Bernardi, expressed their disapproval. This scheme had been carefully worked up by people of goodwill hoping to provide Turnbull with a face-saving way of returning to a form of carbon pricing, which would help ease the transition from coal power to renewables and do it with only a small increase in retail electricity prices. Since then, Turnbull has done nothing but dig himself in deeper, in the process creating great uncertainty in the power industry, something that could easily end up adding to blackouts and price rises.’’
On this day in 2016 I wrote.
‘’Gunna Morrison Was at the Press Club yesterday spruicking about what the Government is gunna do with the economy. It was highly anticipated that he might make a policy announcement on negative gearing but surprised no one when he didn’t. They need more time to talk and plan. A blueprint perhaps.
They came into Government two and a half years ago on the back of a concentrated campaign of the need for action. Remember there was a budget emergency. Unprecedented in its depth. The country was in a situation as bad as that of Greece. The sky was about to fall in. Day after day Hockey and Abbott told us that we were in dire straits.
Yet two and a half years after being in government, knowing all too well that aspects of the economy needed attention, they decide to formulate a plan. But it is a plan remarkably short in detail. If the strategy, or the answer is in savings it didn’t make sense that he had saved 80 billion but allocated 70 in new spending. What he didn’t say was that without the spending we may very well have had a recession.
The only thing we got today was journalists shaking their heads at his answers to their questions.
Where is the much vented real structural Tax reform that Turnbull has been talking about? The sort a treasurer of the ilk of Keating might deliver.
Like Hockey and Costello before him all Morrison did today was give himself a big pat on the back.
He’s going to fund tax cuts from savings on future spending. The look on Peter Martins face was priceless. I told you he could waffle. ‘Assembly of God’ men can. The punters really need to ask themselves what this government been doing for two and a half years.’’
My thought for the day.
‘’We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?”