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Dysfunction and Disunity: The End is Nigh

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” is a near perfect description of what is going on inside the Liberal party right now. They don’t just appear to be disunited and dysfunctional, in reality, they are all of that.

No matter how hard Malcolm Turnbull tries to convince us that he is succeeding where Tony Abbott failed, the truth is otherwise. He is proving to be as big a failure as Abbott was, the only exception being that he is able to articulate his failures.

Who would have thought after the debacle that was the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd dysfunction, that this government would be journeying down the same path? Yet here we are, witnessing an internal donnybrook every bit as fierce as that which brought an end to the Labor government in 2013.

What is it about politics that lets this happen? What is it about politicians? What is it about us as a people, that we breed such mongrels? We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose; it has been going on since Adam and Eve. Never though, has it been so open.

The Turnbull government is in deep trouble and they know it. Their policies are shallow, their vision is non-existent, their judgement is pathetic, their inability to deal with relatively simple issues like marriage equality, climate change, the economy, education, health and welfare is indefensible and the polls show the electorate has lost confidence in them.

Little wonder they are fighting each other. Labor members watching from the sidelines can’t believe their good fortune. What they see is a mirror image of their own behaviour just three and a half years ago. But this one is nastier.

The government’s problems are clear to those of us watching from the balcony. Their inability to think for themselves has allowed outside forces, the ones that fill their coffers, to dictate the terms. These external forces want to maintain the status quo and continue to broaden the gap between them and the working man and woman.

Hence, there is no room to serve the people.

Winning a pay cut for the lowest paid in our society says it all. While politicians, state and federal, feather their nests, taking advantage of rules of their own making, that encourage them to bleed money from the system and while those in the corporate sector pay themselves obscene salaries, those that work on Sundays are being penalised to advance the cause of inequality.

Governments around the world have been dismissed for less. There’s not a spin doctor alive that can fix this.

It’s what happens when one loses control. Someone else steps in to fill the void. The federal government are just pawns playing out a script, backed into a corner with no means of escape. The plutocrats have taken over.

The Coalition will lose the next election by a landslide. Mind you, a landslide in Australian elections might be as little as 53%. For some reason, mostly to do with a flawed electoral system, it only takes a few percent to create a huge imbalance in party representation.

At least when Labor were defeated in 2013, they were governing well. But the electorate saw through the disunity and exacted a price. This time the electorate can see bad government in addition to disunity and the Coalition will suffer for it, big time.

When the level of despair and dysfunction has escalated to a point where Peter Dutton is being considered as prime ministerial material, you know the end is nigh. But changing governments every six years is not good for the country.

Labor needs to learn the lessons of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd disgrace. Sound leadership, sound economic policies, embracing equality and not being intimidated by the media or the plutocrats, will endure, provided the party, as a whole, works as well on the inside, as it does serving the people.

It’s Labor’s to lose.


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  1. Graeme Henchel

    The Thug from Northern Beaches

    There was movement in the party, for the word had passed around
    The Thug from Northern Beaches could not stay
    He had told so many lies, that the punters had surmised
    They could not believe a thing, he had to say

    So the politicians plotted from locations near and far
    As the centre fought against the rabid right
    They all agreed the thug was becoming more bizarre
    but they knew he’d not go down without a fight

    Turnbull had made his score from banking and the law
    But he’d lost out to the thug some years ago
    His plan was just to wait, for the thug to meet his fate
    He did not quite have the numbers yet to show

    And Bishop from the west, played at sitting on the fence
    Though she thought to throw her own hat in the ring
    She was quick to take offence as the thug became more tense
    And with Malcolm she would stay on a good thing

    Some others liked their chance so they jockeyed to advance
    Scott Morrison and perfidious poodle Pyne
    They gave the Thug some space but in case he’d run his race
    They positioned to survive in Turnbull’s line

    Others from the right, thought the Thug must win the fight
    Andrews, Corman, Brandis, Hockey and Robb
    But by far their biggest fear was for their own career
    As Turnbull might relieve them of their job

    As the leaks came in a flood you could smell the scent of blood
    Even Murdoch’s mob were calling for the end
    The Thug was sticking fast but his fate it seemed was cast
    It was not a case of if, but only when

    The party had a spill but they couldn’t make the kill
    Though the Thug was nearly beaten by a chair
    With hand upon his heart good government would start
    But still the smell of failure filled the air

    As the time flew past the thug kept up the farce
    With help from Smokin Joe and his big mouth
    With a blunder every week they went further up shit creek
    And the polls just kept on trending further south

    When Bronwyn got caught out, the public had no doubt
    The Thug and all his crew were on the take
    They tried to drag in Bourke but it really didn’t work
    And another captains call was a mistake

    Then six months on the Thug looked to be gone
    As lies and bad decisions took their toll
    The public had concluded the Thug is quite deluded
    They knew that the Thug’s head was going to roll

    Did the party have the guts to remove someone who’s nuts
    Or would the Thug just take them to the grave
    disunity is death but then in the same breath
    to keep the Thug was surely crazy brave.

    As things came to pass, they gave the Thug the arse
    And the thug said he’d not snipe or undermine
    Turnbull got the vote but the right still held his scrote
    And the Thug set out to snipe and undermine

    Turnbull started high as the nation gave a sigh
    Of relief that the thug had now departed
    Turnbull seemed able, everything upon the table
    But it wasn’t long before the troubles started

    Turnbull had won the fight by sucking to the right
    and the public saw that nothing much had changed
    Even worse the ex banker was now seen as a wanker
    A snake oil man for a Thug had been exchanged

    Turnbull’s great solution was a double dissolution
    A master stroke the media said for sure
    They had a pyrrhic win as they only scraped back in
    With Senate now even worse than before

    Since the election Turnbull has given no direction
    And Jobs and growth are further out of site
    Thanks to Ley and Centrelink, Turnbull moved closer to the brink
    As Hanson lured the looneys further right

    The party seemed bereft as that fool Bernardi left
    But most were glad to see him out the door
    Just as Bernardi jumped, Turnbull was being Trumped
    The polls continued going through the floor

    Turnbull was on the ropes so he tried to raise some hopes
    With a petulant attack on Labor’s Bill
    They rallied a few days before resuming the malaise
    And the Thug still an errand to fulfil

    Their energy security scare wasn’t going anywhere
    Mainly because it was so full of lies
    Soon the shit would hit the fan as the Thug released a plan
    Go further to the right. What a surprise.

    Now no-one can be sure quite what we have in store
    But one thing is easy to deduct
    The Thug will take out Mal and destroy himself as well
    And these pack of fools will finally be f*cked.

  2. jim

    A, “their judgement is pathetic” where’s the governor general?. where’s the outrage?.

  3. Bacchus

    Spot on as usual John Kelly and Graeme Henchel!

  4. Jaquix

    The wild card the next Federal election will of course be the odious Pauline and her merry band of misfits.. Before that she has the WA and Qld state elections to try her wings.

  5. keerti

    ” It’s Labor’s to lose”…so was the last one!

  6. Anthony Element

    Graeme, I doff my hat, and salute you Sir.
    A superb piece of penmanship.
    And I’m sure Banjo would heartily approve.

  7. havanaliedown

    Labor have already lost the next election by promising to make electricity cost even more. Well done Bill.

  8. Doug Evans

    If climate change is a relatively simple issue I’m interested to see what you would consider an intractably complex issue.

  9. jim

    Australia is on the cusp of an energy revolution. Investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2030, 2.4 million households will get much of their electricity, day and night, from rooftop solar panels and battery storage.

    Staggering predictions like this are wooing solar battery manufacturers from all over the world to Australia, many of whom are either launching their products here first, or getting here as quick as they can. The most hotly anticipated is Tesla’s soon-to-be-released Powerwall, a lithium-ion battery system that’s sleekly designed, and cheap too.

    The miners have know for centuries that renewable energy will become the cheapest betterist way of energy use.

    Energy which should be way cheaper than it is now. but ….. incentive to spend $45Billion on our poles and wires was supercharged in 2006 by state governments: they wrote the rules for the regulator to enforce, thanks to a deal with former prime minister Johnny Howard, who gave them rulemaking authority in exchange for their blessing to replace state-based regulators with one new federal body regulator.

    As Australia becomes and it will a leader in solar and battery power, our electricity bills will continue to skyrocket thanks to a massive over-investment ($45 Billion user repay) in the network that we didn’t ask for and will never need.

  10. jim

    But that’s not all. The tragedy of gold-plating is that it happened right on the eve of the biggest energy revolution since the electric light bulb.

    “It’s as if, at the beginning of the internet age, Australia invested about $45 billion in fax technology or cooper wire,” one former federal government advisor observed.

  11. John Kelly

    Doug Evans, to manage climate change, we introduce a carbon emissions scheme, we subsidise the installation of solar panels, we legislate all new homes to have solar panels, we expand wind turbine installations. Then, get stuck into helping the development of solar batteries. It’s not rocket science. It’s ideology that has made it complicated. So, get rid of the ideology and it becomes very simple. The Liberal’s are imprisoned by their own ideology.

  12. Red Leaf

    The end of the Liberal party has been nigh for a long time. What I would like to know is: Do they have advisors and if so, why don’t they listen to them. Surely the public servants are pointing out important facts to the politicians?

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    There was a big difference with Labor. Throughout all the turmoil within the party, Gillard manage to proceed with good governance. Manage to put all policies in place including three budgets with no problems.

    That was in spite of having minorities in both houses.

    She also was attempting to bring the budget into line with ongoing fiscal consolidation. Made many unpopular decisions in the process.

    The party was shambolic but not the parliament.

    Gillard had long list of successes which Abbott and this government are still attempting to repeal.

  14. Steve Laing -

    Jim – the Tesla Powerwall has been on sale for over a year in Australia.

    The Liberals don’t have an ideology. That is their problem. Their only raison-d’etre is to keep Labor out. Its not really enough to get behind, but it does dictate that their strategy is always negative. But it works in the antiquated problem solving crucible that Parliament is supposed to be, but isn’t. Debate is non-existent, so every idea is created in an echo-chamber. Big business, on the other hand, has revolutionised its leadership and management practices so significantly that they now run the world, unfortunately without any real means of control by the general population. And the markets are tied into an algorithm that dictates that their modus operandi is profits at the expense of everything else. The only question remaining is whether that juggernaut can actually be slowed, or it will plummet forwards until it crashes in a manner that will be spectacularly rapid.

  15. corvus boreus

    John Kelly (6:48),
    The measures you mention will only help alleviate against escalating the damage done to the composition of the atmosphere.
    There also has to be a halting of the degradation/destruction of crucial biospheric components.
    Windfarms and solar panels may provide relatively clean power and thus help slow the ‘greenhouse effect’, but in order to start actually stabilising and repairing the planet’s climate we need to start reversing the current world-wide trend of escalating deforestation, and start increasing the coverage of heat and carbon eating, water storing canopy vegetation.
    Overall tree coverage has been more than halved in the last half century, and the living health of the planetary surface simply cannot be left out climate equations.

  16. Doug Evans

    John Kelly
    That list is daunting enough. If it was to be achieved it would constitute a good start but it becomes somewhat more complex when you add in:
    totally re-configuring the power distribution network,
    compensating power consumers who can’t afford domestic power walls and whose energy prices will go through the roof as the middle class unplugs or alternatively paying for everyone to have them installed (remember less than 50% of Australians who don’t already own their homes will ever do so),
    mandating energy efficiency of production,
    regulating land transport emissions,
    expanding public transport networks and capacity,
    getting freight off the roads onto rail,
    regulating agricultural emissions,
    ending all old growth forestry,
    closing all fossil fuel reliant power generation pronto,
    phasing out thermal coal and gas extraction for export – the Australian contribution to climate change doesn’t end at our borders,
    re-organizing our urban fabric to minimize the energy demand necessary to maintain services,
    re-configuring our urban fabric to facilitate cycling and other energy efficient means of individual transport and so on and so on.

    In the few nations where they have seriously addressed these issues they have been at it for decades. The rest of us don’t have decades. The 2ºC threshold of warming is the point at which in the opinion of those scientists who have seriously addressed it we have a 50/50 chance of avoiding runaway climate change. Not great odds. Emissions are still rising and 1.5ºC of warming is already locked in. Most projections seem to assume 3ºC of warming or more without drawing attention to the fact that at 3ºC of warming there is a vanishingly small possibility of avoiding runaway warming as the stored methane etc is released. For at least five years we have been on notice that GHG emissions in the first world must plateau about now and by 2020 begin to decline at around (from memory 9% p. a.) until mid century, a rate of decline which some economists have decreed to be impossible without destroying the economy of any nation which attempts it. While this may be technically possible it is most likely politically impossible. So I repeat: ‘If climate change is a relatively simple issue I’m interested to see what you would consider an intractably complex issue.’

  17. Max Gross

    Peter Dutton PM??? Lunacy, you cry! But I was gobsmacked when Abbott was touted as PM material. And here we all are, scrambling around in the smouldering detritus wondering what the f*ck happened!

  18. 245179

    with canberra populated by career politicians, there is no way any “snowy river” like projects will ever be commenced. The mining boom came and went, we continue approving coal mining, we engage in coal seam gas extractions, we export natural gas at just above cost price, we allow the 2 major food chain retailers to increase imported basic food stuffs, we watch our growers / farmers being forced to sell at production costs..or less, we read / see systemic coverups by religious groups of child sexual abuse, we see rorting of entitlements by politicians, we hear the growing blatant lies, we see the smugness, we see useless, dithering, inept, unashamed amateurs with portfolios, we see poisonous hanson gaining traction, we see deminishing tolerance / respect in our communities, we see chaos around the world. This brown duck….me, i fear for the future.

  19. Neil Aitchison

    The same sex marriage issue will turn people off voting for Labor and the Greens – there are plenty of Labor voters who clearly don’t want marriage to be redefined to include homosexual marriage. It seems that 9% of Green voters could vote for Cory Bernardi’s new party. Marriage is far more than just a wedding ceremony and calling someone “husband”, “wife” or “partner” and it is also far more than just “two people being in love” (or more likely in today’s way of thinking, a lot of marriages are more built on lust rather than love and so they are doomed to fail even before they start). For same sex marriage advocates to say that “You couldn’t use term husbands and wife in same-sex marriage, but otherwise it wouldn’t be any different to heterosexual marriage” is an incredibly shallow and meaningless view of marriage. Real marriage is a family-based institution for the nurture of children through to the next generation unlike same sex marriage which is a sex-based concept never tried before in the history of human existence. The latter is for the self-gratification of the individual (ie. to make them feel good) and in a political sense, same sex marriage is solely trying to make homosexuality look acceptable – in other words, there is nothing about same sex marriage that compares to real marriage. Real marriage is a millennia-old institution for procreation and male-female marriage is a proven pillar of successful civilisations since the dawn of time. Same sex couples simply don’t have the biology to do real marriage and the only way that they can make marriage seem plausible to them is to steal the word “marriage” and redefine it to suit their purposes. Even their idea of having a family is to use artificial reproduction and then deprive a child of a mother or a father. Such a confected lifestyle turns children into mere luxury accessories for selfish homosexual parents.

  20. Matters Not

    Once upon a time, there was a Neil of Sydney (NoS) – an absolute pain in the arse. Same posts – time and time again. Now we have a Neil Aitchison. A new pest. Same posts – time and time again.

  21. Roswell

    It seems that 9% of Green voters could vote for Cory Bernardi’s new party.


    Or did you just make that up?

  22. corvus boreus

    Neil Aitchison,
    I realise that it is a common trait of religious fundamentalists to morbidly obsess over the love/sex lives of other consenting adults, but same-sex marriage was not even raised in this article, nor the comments section, until your opinionated manifesto/sermon.
    By all recent polls, the majority of Australian voters support marriage equality for same-sex couples, even if many, myself included, would regard it as relatively peripheral issue that has occupied far too much focus in our nation’s political dialogue.

    Ps, 9% of Green voters could suddenly choose to vote for Bernadi’s uber-conservative revolutionary splinter party, with it’s rabidly anti-environmental, ultra-religious far-right agenda?
    That claim sounds suspiciously like utter crap.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Neil has his own agenda. He ran for parliament at the last election so Cory is competition for him for the religious fundamentalist vote. Homosexuality is Neil’s only topic – he is disturbingly obsessive about it and seems to think the rest of us share his fascination.

  24. John Kelly

    Doug Evans, I’m not qualified to talk about GHG emissions, reduction targets and the like so I will take what you have said as written. What I can tell you is that a currency issuing government like ours can always afford what is for sale in its own currency.
    Therefore, the cost element associated with meeting your targets can be achieved. Indeed, the government could subsidise energy prices even if they landed on mars. Any economist who says otherwise is living in the dark ages. Everything you have listed as necessary to achieve emission reduction targets can be commissioned and in the process create sufficient economic activity to bring unemployment down to zero.
    As for home ownership, the current level of home ownership (around 70%) has not changed in the last 65 years. One can assume therefore, that around 35% choose not to own their homes.
    We can get bogged down in the detail and technical aspects of emission reduction targets and renewables targets but in the end, if it all boils down to cost, a currency issuing government can always meet that cost in its own currency. I believe it all boils down to will.
    The rest of the world can drag their feet, but that is not a reason for Australia to do nothing. That is a great list you have compiled, so I say, let’s stop talking and get started.
    As for an intractably complex issue, try convincing those nutcase religious fanatics in parliament that the their god will not save the planet.

  25. Phil

    Doug Evans – you say the “2ºC threshold of warming is the point at which in the opinion of those scientists who have seriously addressed it we have a 50/50 chance of avoiding runaway climate change”

    I understood the 2 degrees threshold was the consensus of the global political process whereas the consensus of climate scientists sought 0.5-1 degree max.

  26. John Boyd

    Except that the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd ‘dysfunction’ saw a record amount of legislation passed, including Gonski, NDIS etc…600+ bills in all…

  27. helvityni

    Red Leaf, I don’t know who advises whom, but Tones seem to have listened to Peta, and I don’t think Mal would listen to anyone but Lucy.

  28. Harquebus

    Political reality does not match physical reality. We will see the same evolve when Labor is elected in yet another rinse and repeat of the same old ideology and policies that were always ultimately destined to fail.

    “He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.” — John McCarthy


  29. paulwalter

    Human garbage, the pair of them.

    And most of their colleagues and supporters.

  30. helvityni

    Mal is an enigma; he acts as if he’s above us all, he’s the KIng of the castle, yet few years ago he wanted Oz to become a republic….

  31. havanaliedown

    Thanks for your assessment, Paul – it’s nice to know what our “betters” truly think of us. Be sure to report for Gulag duty if ever you get your glorious revolution.

  32. Stephen Putnam

    “Hegel remarks somewhere that all the great events & characters of world history occur, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” – Marx (18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte).

  33. Doug Evans

    I spent 6 years active in this field as an activist and blogger but have been out of it for over three years now so without spending time fact checking I’m relying on my fading memory. My memory is that the initial scientific consensus was that, as I wrote, 2ºC of warming was the point at which we had a 50/50 chance of avoiding runaway global warming. More recently as calculations and measurements have been refined this figure has been revised downwards and as you say 1.5ºC of warming has often been mentioned. It’s a bit academic really as we already have 1.5ºC of warming locked in. We will clearly exceed both this and the 2ºC threshold and many projections figure in 3ºC or higher and no one talks about the fact that at these temperatures we will almost certainly have lost the opportunity to halt the warming.

    John Kelly totally agree with the sentiments underlying your article. I assume we both now agree that climate change is not a ‘relatively simple issue.’

  34. Ella Miller

    Who can remember the children’s story ” The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
    The LNP appear to be behaving like the characters in the book, despite evidence to the contrary they defend the indefensible,
    when will they learn?

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