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Day to Day Politics: The year ahead. Oh shit no.

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?”


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  1. Arthur Tarry

    Donald Horne identified this malaise many years ago when he wrote ‘The Lucky Country’. So perhaps mediocre government in Australia it has always been so. However I suspect it is even worse now due to changes that have occurred and are occurring in our society.

  2. wam

    Lord, life goes on!
    Only we tragics listen to politicians in order to fuel our discontent, at no glorious summer. Step by step for the 10 week election was excruciatingly long, 2019 is beyond caring. Leaving the msm to ‘politic’ and that is where the government is judged today, forgotten the next day and new ‘politic’ the next day. That forms a steady slow comfortable progression with no hassles. Unless a ratings booster like juliar then wow the fervour!!!!

  3. Terry2

    The coalition are absolutely committed to lowering corporate taxes and by hook or by crook they will achieve that objective, probably with the support of One Nation, in the Senate. Their philosophical objective we are told is not so much to put more money into corporate treasuries but to encourage a trickle down effect that will lead to ‘jobs and growth’ and to encourage overseas investment into Australia.

    That being the economic argument, why don’t we just give corporations a scaled taxation based on the number of people they actually employ (full-time that is) and the number of apprentices they recruit (and who actually complete their apprenticeships). Their tax could be scaled down in accordance criteria based on the increase in their workforce over the preceding year (and the number of apprentices completing their training).

    At the present time, we see the traditional sources of jobs : banks, large retail, mining and the like all being replaced by mechanisation, robotics and computerisation : they are not planning and are not committed to employing more people and with that mindset they do not warrant or deserve tax cuts.

  4. wam

    wow just heard trumble say royal commission’s actually can do nothing. Well he is right about the rabbott’s political pair but wrong with gillard’s ‘child abuse’. Perhaps the current NT prison was made in haste and will be a waste.

    Bill just needs to repeat the tax cuts at time of record profits and when asked awkward question just repeat this government has tripled the debt sent 100s of billions overseas and wont release any details under ‘operational’ secrecy so we don’t know the ‘truth’.

  5. roma guerin

    Barry Jones has a splendid essay in The Saturday Paper Feb 11-17. It was the best read I have had this year and gives me hope that Mr Tumbril may just fade away if he reads it.

  6. helvityni

    I suppose people lose interest in Oz politics and politicians because we are not getting anywhere, the Left and Right are having their fights, the Palmers and Hansons break the monotony, but are unable to keep us interested too long…

    We just want to be happy, and the politics is too plain depressing, and at the moment especially bad…

    Watched the Insiders and got terribly bored with Frydenberg’s monotone rant about ‘clean coal’, Mal’s esoteric ‘nuanced coal’ has not yet been embraced by his fellow Libs, I noticed…

    We are more interested in hail-storms and worried about the damage they do to our cars, and gardens….

    We need to change our system so we’ll get better people to govern the country, politicians who will work for US…not for themselves…

  7. Harquebus

    John Lord.

    “They have no credible policy on renewable energy and climate change.”
    There will never be a viable policy on renewable energy because, there is no such thing. Renewable energy devices are energy sinks.

    Physics trumps political and economic ideology every time and that is what is happening.

    “It is an untruth that’s both durable and bipartisan; one that the business community, nearly all professional economists, and politicians around the globe reiterate ceaselessly. It is the lie that human society can continue growing its population and consumption levels indefinitely on our finite planet, and never suffer consequences.”

    “My father rode a camel. I drive a motor car. My son flies a jet plane. His son will ride a camel.” — Unknown


  8. helvityni

    ” 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…”

    Exactly, who can bear to watch his childish antics, he’s not even funny (as Keating was)… Half of Australia is worried sick, yet our millionaire PM doesn’t seem to have noticed.
    He also does not want those 150 asylum seekers to go to NZ, he has promised them to Trump…who most likely will not have them.

    Playing god with peoples’ lives…

  9. Kaye Lee

    Terry, One Nation aren’t enough to get it through the Senate. They need Xenophon too.

    Labor and the Greens have 35

    The Coalition plus ON have 32 . They’ll get Bernardi and Leyonhjelm as well.

    Xenophon (3), Lambie and Hinch are 5 votes and there are two vacancies.

  10. Matters Not

    The Libs, the Nats and PHON are in coalition. But in many instances Turnbull is putting PHON above the Nats when it matters. And it hurts.

    Take John ‘Wacka’ Williams and his treatment of late. Political tragics will know that Wacka has spent a significant part of his political life in pursuit of banks and their somewhat dubious practices. He’s ‘been at it; for years. Imagine how he feels after this backhander.

    The federal Nationals are fuming over a deal in which Pauline Hanson’s One Nation will chair a parliamentary inquiry into the lending practices of banks to farmers.

    The Nationals lashed out on Thursday, saying they were sick of being traded off against other third parties without consultation, as they were with the Palmer United Party in the last term of Parliament.

    The Senate Select Committee into Lending to Primary Production Customers was promised to Senator Hanson when she and her team first met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in July last year.

    The Nats are being rogered but all they do is protest.

    Senator Hanson had demanded a royal commission into the banks but Mr Turnbull talked her out of it, saying a Senate inquiry would be quicker.

    A One Nation spokesman insisted the promise was not in return for the minor party’s support for any piece of legislation.
    He said either Senator Hanson or Senator Malcolm Roberts will chair the committee, which will seek to call bank executives.

    Wacka does all the work and PHON reaps the political reward. And as Chair, Roberts or Hanson gets to decide when and where the sittings will occur. It’s a great (personal) money spinner as well.

    Senator Roberts is no friend of the banks. He belonged to the international Galileo Movement and contends that international bankers are surreptitiously trying to gain global control through environmentalism.

    The Nationals, who are under threat from One Nation, especially in rural Queensland where discontent with the banks is high, feel they have been undercut by their Coalition colleagues in their own constituency.

    When the Senate voted on Thursday to establish the select committee, Queensland Liberal-National Senator Barry O’Sullivan boycotted the vote.

    More here.


  11. Vikingduk

    And now Anna Bligh (former Qld premier) has been hired by “powerful bank lobby group” Australian Bankers Association as their new head. No doubt hoping her Labor connections will turn a few heads, change a few minds, kill that royal commission idea stone dead.

  12. Harquebus

    Malcolm Roberts chairing a parliamentary inquiry into the lending practices of banks to farmers?
    I am already laughing in anticipation. At least we will have the entertainment factor so, it might not be a complete waste.
    One thing I am pretty sure of though, Malcolm Roberts is no match for our banks.

  13. Pat Garnet

    All be it cheeky of me to say that I predicted this 15 odd years ago, because of my involvement in the catholic religion and sexual abuse. Oz is but a blip (smaller now) on the place we know as Earth. If you have followed the catholic church’s conduct over centuries, during the Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children, you will accept they have been a very powerful Organisation who promulgated rules and laws that would allow them commit and cover up heinous crimes

    These people are VERY powerful. More so than Trump, Trumble, Putin, etc., etc.,
    Our world is being conducted, by about six major entities. The c.c and possibly another religious, along with a couple of super powers, and are pushing a dice around a board. We have seen evidence of enormous unrest, hypocrisy, lies etc., etc., and nobody has been able to give clarity of the problem and how to manage. Yes, there is a great big problem within global society and OUR pollies are hamstrung ,and “marking time’ in the quagmire, while finally the SHIT is floating to the top. JUSTICE and DEMOCRACY have become a MYTH. WE have a long way to go before we hit the bottom, so hang on “we ain’t seen nothing yet”

  14. Terry2

    I see that Josh Frydenberg wants to change the rules of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation so that it can provide investment to clean-coal energy producers.

    Shouldn’t we first establish that clean energy coal technology exists ?

  15. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget that George Brandis took $7 million in funding away from the child sex abuse RC and redirected it to the home insulation RC.

  16. Vikingduk

    And that Brandis wants Native Title legislation changed after the recent high court decision regarding the adani mine/native title. Soapy by name and style is our George

  17. helvityni

    There’s nothing cleansing about Mal’s two Georges, quite the opposite, I feel dirtied just by seeing them on TV…

  18. king1394

    ‘I’m all right, Jack’ is more the attitude I notice today. “She’ll be right” was optimistic, and had a touch of teamwork to it; we were all in it together but we would pull through. “I’m all right, Jack’ more strongly reflects the role of competition that infested our culture with the neo-conservative economic system that promotes the ‘winner takes all’ response to both inequality and environmental degradation. “I’m all right, Jack” … and bugger you

  19. Red Leaf

    If the left think that the government is out of touch with society and the voters, that’s ok because that means that the government is out of touch. But if the right say that the government is out of touch with society and the voters that means that in reality they are the ones who are out of touch. That doesn’t make sense.

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