I regret that I’m compelled to write again about the Leader of the Opposition. In what was an interview about the past, he told us everything about the style of leadership we can expect from him. Let’s call it “Liberal Negative” to give it a name.
Frankly, I was shocked by Dutton’s incapacity to concede defeat. The born-to-rule attitude runs strong. Or so his answers indicated. Time and again, when he ran out of reasoned words, he resorted to the Morrison tactic of abuse and blame.
It was astonishing, even laughable, to hear a man just appointed to be his party’s Leader trying to blame Labor for the very policy failures that the people had overwhelmingly condemned them for two weeks earlier.
As reported in The Guardian, the opposition leader constantly deflected blame for the national energy crisis, saying there is “fault all-round” while blaming the states for locking up gas reserves. For heaven’s sake, they were the Government for a decade.
“Dutton also suggested that there was a “sense of panic” on display from the new energy minister, Chris Bowen while defending the Coalition’s management of the national energy market when it was in Government.
“The sense of panic from Chris Bowen that is out there at the moment wasn’t there when Coalition was in government,” Dutton said. “I think he is a bunny in the headlights.”
A clearly unimpressed Mark Kenny responded via Twitter:
Where is the conservative apology over the chaos and collapse of the coal/gas-heavy energy market? Remember their fulminating clarity when a perfect storm took out SA’s power in 2016? Turns out coal & gas are not always “base load” & not always available. @InsidersABC pic.twitter.com/CewXDIIPUF
— Mark Kenny (@markgkenny) June 18, 2022
How can Dutton, a dyed-in-the-wool true-blue conservative after a decade of the most robust opposition to any reform, now claim that it is all Labor’s fault. Or at least 50% is. Those sorts of lies are why the LNP lost. The people woke to it.
Even though heartland seats fell to climate independents across the country, Dutton said they would not support Labor legislation that enshrined the 43% cut in emissions by 2030. More likely, they would take a smaller target to the next election.
Instead of uniting in the hope of tomorrow, Dutton has surprisingly chosen to reside in today. Does he not realise that the electorate has said no to the type of governance his side practised? Lie and attack, create chaos and confusion, divide and rule. We are on the periphery of a new politic.
Those were my thoughts as l watched Peter Dutton’s interview with Speers on Insiders last Sunday. Even after a resounding defeat, he couldn’t concede that the lack of an energy policy was a key reason. Had he overlooked that he had been part of the Government for the last nine years?
He seemed underprepared, or putting it more bluntly; he wasn’t sufficiently up with the detail to give a reasoned answer to anything, so he repeatedly aborted his answers to attack Labor negatively. All he could offer was a hatred of Labor. It was unprofessional politics and showed his limitations.
He was so wooden that you could almost hear his media advisers’ sighs of despair. My take on the interview is simple. They have learnt nothing from the defeat. We can expect a totality of hostile opposition in the Abbott mould. The Liberals will move further to the right, and the Nationals will remain the climate deniers they are.
Nothing has changed. Nothing.
Speers also asked him about an article published in The Australian where he said he had devised a plan when he was Defence Minister to buy a couple of submarines from the United States to fill a capability gap.
At the time, his comments were disparaged by Defence Minister Richard Marles as “rank politics.” There were even allegations that Dutton may have leaked classified information had the plan been canvassed by the Government’s nuclear submarine task force, which Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead was leading.
No such thing, Dutton told Speers. Apparently, he had reached his conclusion after visiting the Connecticut production line.
The remarks had been formed by “his judgment.”
“There is nothing top secret in a professional judgment as the former defence minister that I have made. It’s not based on classified information or secrets but the judgment that I made,” he said.
Speers went on to ask about the Indigenous voice to parliament that Labor has promised to deliver as a priority.
The opposition wanted time to go over the detail of the proposal before deciding on support, Dutton announced without even a hint of bipartisanship.
“We want to see that detail and there are lots of questions that will come from that. I don’t think the public has any understanding yet of what the Government is proposing,”
Perhaps I’m a bit of an idealist, but I wouldn’t say I was enamoured with the tone of that last sentence.
He then more or less changed the subject to bring up that; “I really want to see the closing of the gap.” It, of course, is a separate issue. And one that is hard to believe.
Labor has promised an Uluru statement from the heart in full. It would include a truth-telling Makarrata commission as a first step toward a treaty with Indigenous Australians and constitutional recognition of the voice to parliament.
Dutton’s record on anything to do with Indigenous folk isn’t great. He is on the record in 2019 as opposing the voice to parliament because it would create a third chamber. A nonsensical suggestion if ever I have heard one.
Liberals tend to pull up the shutters when equality for others is proposed.
In 2008 he opposed the national apology to members of the Stolen Generations, but after becoming Leader of his party, “mistake.”
Of course, changes in the constitution have an abysmal record without the full support of both major parties. In the past, Dutton has shown a giant chip on his shoulder when it comes to people who, in some way, are different. Or at least perceived that way.
My previous article: About “Boofhead”
My thought for the day
Australia is one of the most advanced technological nations on earth. However, our social progress on matters of great moral importance is still fighting its way out of the dark ages when intolerance ruled.
PS: Trying to deflect blame for Australia’s energy crisis onto Labor shows all the intelligence of a reincarnated Tony Abbott.
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