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Demons, Demagogues and Evil – The Possession of the Australian Government

By Steve Davies  

“The time is well overdue for serious parliamentary and public discussion of the morality of the actions and behaviour of the Scott Morrison Government. In particular its impact on people, the integrity of government and the Australian Public Service.

It is impossible to consider whether actions, decisions and behaviour are moral without considering moral evil.

The key aspects of the actions, decisions and behaviour I have listed in this piece are markers of moral evil.

To varying degrees both major political parties have brought us to this point. It is critical that we have this difficult conversation given the capacity of technology to amplify moral evil and cause great harm to individuals, our society and our democracy” (Steve Davies).

Part 1 – Evil

Social media and the mainstream media are littered with reports concerning the behaviour and policies of the Coalition Government. This has been the case since the election of the Abbott Government in 2013. Community concern ran so deep and was so vocal that within two years Tony Abbott was removed as leader.

He was replaced with the more politically correct and amicable Malcolm Turnbull. It was anticipated that a Turnbull would ensure electoral victory. It did not quite work out that way.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s audacious double dissolution gamble looked to have backfired spectacularly on Saturday night as voters walked away from the first-term Coalition government in droves, raising the chances of another hung parliament and turmoil in Coalition ranks.” (Australian federal election 2016: Voters walk away from Malcolm Turnbull, results on knife’s edge. Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 2016).

The rest, as they say, is history. In what has been characterised as a coup Scott Morrison replaced Malcom Turnbull as leader and the Coalition and was returned to government in the 2019 federal election.

In short order the Morrison Government returned to the radical neo-liberal policies and autocratic behaviour that were the hallmark of the Abbott Government.

Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for severe community concern to re-emerge over the behaviour of the Morrison Government and the impact of its policies.

Fast track to today and what we are seeing with the Morrison Government is the continued:

  1. implementation of policies, practices and technologies that demonise and abuse welfare recipients and disadvantaged Australians.
  2. implementation of policies and practices that increase social and economic inequality.
  3. abuse, via administrative and legal means, of whistle-blowers whose information exposes government corruption.
  4. abuse, via administrative and legal means, of citizens and taxpayers whose information exposes wrongdoing and maladministration.
  5. demands for blind compliance within government agencies at the expense of ethical and moral conduct.
  6. failure to implement a National Integrity Commission to ensure the ethical conduct of politics and public administration.
  7. development and operation of oversight mechanisms that render redress, justice, fairness and transparency impossible for ordinary citizens.
  8. weaponisation of technology and data which robs citizens and officials of moral agency and freedom of rights.
  9. stifling and distorting the public dialogue essential to democracy and good government via propaganda and censorship.
  10. trauma and psychological harm inflicted on people and damage caused to society through the normalisation of moral disengagement across government. The treatment of refugees is a graphic illustration of this.

It suits the Morrison government and its apologists to look at the actions I have listed though the lens of individual ‘cases’. That tactic falls apart since the actions listed are systemic and touch the lives of every Australian.

The deeper significance of these actions is that they are markers of the normalisation of moral evil within the Morrison Government.

Pointedly, the question of the impact of moral evil has been raised by people of faith in relation to a new evil: the COVID-19 pandemic:

“But potentially deadly viruses, like other natural disasters, can also be greatly exacerbated by the moral evil of bad human decisions and actions. For example, human beings can cause or contribute to pandemics by irresponsible actions like the following: wet markets (animal meat placed in highly unsanitary conditions), risky or negligent laboratory practices, biological warfare, government unpreparedness, failure to share critical medical technology, etc. Natural evil in the world never seems to stand alone. Moral evil often makes things much worse.” (Coronavirus Pandemic & the Problem of Evil by Kenneth R. Samples, April 21, 2020).

Definition of moral evil: Moral evil is the result of any morally negative event caused by the intentional action or inaction of an agent such as a person or organisation

What accrues from all of this that we should all question the behaviour and actions of the Morrison Government, or for that matter and other governments, through the lens of moral evil. It’s also logical and prudent that we do so considering the espoused values and beliefs of the Prime Minister and some of his colleagues.

It may very well be that the Prime Minister and his colleagues assert that their beliefs are their business. However, it is particularly important we do question them due to the impact of government on our society, democracy, and lives

After all, how do we judge whether actions and decisions are morally good without considering moral evil? In many ways, this is illustrated by the Morrison Government’s behaviour in relation to COVID-19.

One only has to look at the constant sniping of the Morrison Government against the actions of the Victorian Government. In particular, against the Premier of Victoria Dan Andrews see this.

Throughout the Morrison Government have railed against the recent lock down in Victoria. The tension behind this appears to be the Morrison Government’s preference for what they call a “scalable proportional response,” snapping back and ‘living with’ COVID-19.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 28 March 2020:

“A group of experts convened by the Group of Eight prestige Australian universities at the request of Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy a fortnight ago were asked to give the government their view of the severity of social distancing measures that should be adopted. The overwhelming majority in the group urged a strategy of “go now, go hard and go smart.”

But “go now, go hard” did not find favour in Canberra. As Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly later explained, what was at issue was “essentially two schools of thought”. One was go hard, go fast, while the other was what he called a “scalable proportional response.” (Has Australia’s coronavirus response been too slow off the mark? Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 2020).

The difference in the two approaches was highlighted by Bill Bowtell AO, Adjunct Professor UNSW Strategic Health Policy Consultant especially related to global health and development, HIV/Aids prevention and public health in a tweet on 28 October 2020.

 

 

Bill’s statement; “The best way to live with #covid19 is to live without it” sums up the moral evil inherent in Morrison Government sniping and position. That is, the so-called scalable and proportional response sews the seeds of illness and death and, with that, social and economic decline.

One only has to look at the success of our neighbours in New Zealand to see that and, of course, of the success of the people of Victoria.

Coming soon:

Part 2 – Demons

Part 3 – Demagogues

 

Steve Davies is a researcher, ethical government activist, and was a public servant for 30+ years.

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11 comments

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  1. Jack Cade

    Despite the sterling efforts of AIMN, IndependentAustralia, Crikey.com and even the Saturday Paper, we in Australia are no better placed than Belarus to rid ourselves of a thoroughly corrupt and inept government. Actually, we are worse-placed than Belarus: Belarus has a determined and courageous population that will no doubt prevail. We don’t have a courageous population. We have a population that allowed John Howard to ignore the wishes of half a million people who marched against the invasion of Iraq, and we endorsed the maggot at the next poll.
    We are a comatose and – I’m sad to say – uncaring bunch of people, led by the nose by an unscrupulous wrinkled American cuckold and his cohort of utterly amoral, integrity-free serfs.

  2. !

    So in this essay there is the baldly stated assumption that human beings are created in the image of God. Thus there is no need to seriously proceed any further but one is tempted to ask whether or not it’s Catch the Fire Ministries and or Daniel Nalliah being resurrected via this piece – with more to come apparently.

  3. Hank

    U got that right Jack!!!

    Intellectual disgrace stares from almost every Ozzee face
    and the seas of pity lie locked and frozen in each eye

    and now the reboot to massacre ‘normal’

    the u$a murdereroch orange freak stench permeates throughout the wastrel sham fraudian fake corporate greed is good racist pathetic clean coal bankstah colony Stralya.

    have a nice day zombeeze

  4. Jack Cade

    !

    For an accurate image of God, you merely have to picture any or all of the humans he selects to proselytise on his behalf. This is not news – one at least of the Old Masters, when stuck with a suitable model for the evil Judas Iscariot, painted him with the face of the current pope.
    After all. the God we are exhorted to follow, to adore, told Abraham to kill his own son to prove he loved God.
    And that same God favoured King David as the founder of the nation he was going to foster: David – a murderer, adulterer, bi- sexual thief.
    And the same God that sent his own son to earth for us to betray, torture and murder.
    The God that plans everything, knows everything and therefore approves of everything. It’s what he wants,,it’s what he’s decided will happen.
    So why pray?
    Why try to improve the lot of your fellow man?
    Why bother? We are ‘in God’s image’. That’s what God is. We are what God is. God is Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Henry VIII, The Spanish Inquisition, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, George Dumbya Bush, Saddam Hussein. And he is the next Potus. Who will HE or SHE bomb first? He, or she, who is ‘made in God’s image’?

  5. !

    Jack Cade, just for the record – Belarus has had the same President (Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko) since 1994 and he has retained that post (with the assistance of Russia) despite widespread opposition. In roughly the same period, Australia’s had at least 6 (seven if you count Rudd’s two terms). Lukashenko is an out and out dictator who adopts all measure of oppressive means (including vote rigging, arrests, reigns of terror, etc) to maintain his autocratic rule while in Australia Morrison attained his position via a nominally democratic process that is accepted by the vast bulk of the population. Thus there are big differences.

    As for your latest post – I agree. As does a contributor who commented on the article linked to the above. But if it’s ‘good’ and ‘right’ then god must be involved, However if it’s ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ it’s the work of the devil. QED,

  6. Hank

    Hello Eye:

    By the way it’s Q.E.D. “quod erat demonstrandum”, literally meaning “what was to be shown”.

    As for the supposed ‘democratic’ ascension of MoScum . . . tell that to Turnbull. Ha! A penal colony without a bill of Rights and subject to a parasite murderarch. HA!! The bulk of your vile corporate bankstah bile rests on murder, theft, and torture. We see no mention of murders in ‘custody’ of First Nation People. No mention of their massacres at the hands of the brutish vampire. HA!!!

    1788 marked the inception of a histroy of wickedness that has corrupted and brutalised your supposed ‘democratic’ stralya. And for our own part, we sincerely detest it as we detest all cruelty.
    Q.E.D.

  7. Mark Shields

    You’re quite right but the word “Evil” has so many connotations that religious Nutters will always find ways out of this accusation. The real problem is that evangelical religious bigots will always cite the Bible and therefore have nothing to apologise for. The real ‘evil’ is the behaviour of religious bigots against scientific evidence!

  8. Jack Cade

    Religious beliefs. Many years ago, almost half a century (which doesn’t sound quite so long to me, now) I worked with a man who I believed was extremely intelligent: certainly more intelligent than I was, or am. He was an Anglo-indian, much more Anglo than Indian. He was a ‘Devout’ Christian, what we would call a Fundamentalist.
    He frequently mocked Hinduism, and Buddhism. But he maintained that the world was only 4000 years old. When challenged, by citing dinosaurs and fossils millions of years old, he said, straight-faced, extremely earnest, that ‘God’ put those fossils into the ground simply to puzzle man. Could not be convinced otherwise, or even moved to admit to the slightest doubt.
    I told him that if it was true, it just proved that God was a bit of a tit. He said I was a blasphemer.
    Ffs.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Jack, I had a younger cousin who went all religious. Said to me that the world was only a few thousand years old. When I mentioned dinosaur bones, he claimed they were left there by non-believers to throw us off the truth. I haven’t seen him since.

    Then there was the bloke I worked with in Canberra …

    I was querying the evolution of sight, theorising that eyes evolved because of a sensitivity of light on a eye-less head. He snapped back that creatures have eyes because God gave them eyes. When I asked where God got eyes from, he replied; “He already had them.”

    In the same department I also worked with a young girl who sounds like your friend (above).

    Crazy stuff.

  10. paul walter

    Michael Taylor, wow!

    That is a very, very sad story, but typical of a very shaky age.

  11. wam

    The personal beliefs of our law makers need to be defined It is no longer acceptable to consider the blanket ban on questioning politicians on their religious beliefs. It is time we know what scummo believe god runs his life.
    ps another beheading in france
    The abrahamic god mob should be questioned as to why they believe men who kill women and children are forgiven on earth and rewarded in heaven??? Time to stop funding private schools. to protect the vulnerable kids who attract high government grants.
    pps
    Father God, many sheep are lost they’ve wandered too far. Redirect their hearts to the Cross which is the only Way back to You.
    I get dozens of these from ex-students almost all east arnhem or the barkly/tennant where god and septic bible bashers rule. I got one where breast feeding women were called pedophile for introducing the sex act of nipple sucking to babies.

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