1 I have no doubt that had a Labor government committed just one of the more severe misdemeanours l mentioned in my previous series of articles, they would have been hounded from office by the feral Murdoch media.
In that series, l totalled 79 reasons why people shouldn’t vote for this conservative government. A figure any government should be ashamed of, but as is the case with this government, bad governance doesn’t stop at the end of my astonishingly long list, of which many remain unresolved.
Is it any wonder that the government refused the Auditor-Generals Department’s request for additional funding in the last budget?
Now my list increases to 80. This time, it is a follow-up to the “Sports rorts affair,” except this time it’s for “Car parking at suburban” train stations. Labor MP Andrew Giles can claim the credit for exposing both rorts.
Headlines around the country Tuesday morning read similar to this (except for Newscorp, that is):
“The Auditor-General has blasted another federal government grants program, criticising a car park construction fund that heavily favoured Coalition-held seats, and ignored the areas of most need.
It has been revealed more than half of the grants were chosen the day before the government hit caretaker mode in the 2019 election, and more than three-quarters of the projects were mooted for Coalition-held seats.
Labor has already branded the latest scandal “car park rorts”, with the Auditor-General finding that 10 projects under the commuter car park fund weren’t even attached to train stations.”
An election that with God on his side Scott Morrison was desperate to win.
The Auditor-Generals report also revealed that more than three-quarters of the sites selected were in Coalition held seats. Not only that, but he also found that ten projects under the commuter car park fund weren’t even attached to train stations. No kidding.
I have always believed that less informed voters, unfortunately, outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at their stupidity, but I’m sure they will continue with it into the next election.
As sure as night follows day, the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, as usual, demanded that Minister Tudge – then-urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge, at the centre of the rorts – resign, saying that it was “sports rorts on steroids.” However, resigning is an outmoded term in Coalition morality, so there is little chance of that.
I am talking, of course, about the Coalition’s $660 million Commuter Car Park Projects.
The ABC’s Sian Johnson summed it up succinctly:
“A $660 million Commonwealth government spend on train station car parks leading up to the 2019 federal election was not based on need and focused on Liberal-held or marginal seats, a review by the auditor-general has found.
The review of the program, part of the $4.8 billion Urban Congestion Fund (UCF) established in the 2018-2019 federal budget, showed just 11 per cent of 47 project sites had started construction by the end of March this year.
The projects, which were mainly based in Melbourne and announced in the months prior to the 2019 Federal Election, were mainly in Liberal-held seats, with some in marginal seats.”
Of the 47 projects, the “most successful electorates” were all Liberal held.
The New Daily reports that:
“Six were in the seat of Goldstein (held by Liberal Tim Wilson), five in Deakin (Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar), four in Kooyong (Treasurer Josh Frydenberg) and four in Banks (Mental Health Minister David Coleman).”
Not only does the Auditor General’s office provide a mountain of evidence (worth reading for its comedic value), but it more than adequately portrays a party so desperate to win the 2019 election at any cost that it would stoop to such desperate measures to do so. Sound familiar?
What a joke this Government is. It couldn’t lie straight in bed so long as it gets the headline. Creates panic and confusion, as it is doing with the vaccines.
Most laughable is that only two of the proposed 47 car parks have been finished and only 12% of the proposed funding spent.
It goes without saying that if the Prime Minister needs to explain his involvement in yet another misuse of our money for election purposes.
Labor’s spokesman for urban infrastructure Andrew Giles tweeted:
Last year I asked the Auditor-General to investigate the Morrison Government’s commuter car park program.
His report has just been tabled.
It has shocked me.
This is sports rorts on an industrial scale.
— Andrew Giles MP (@andrewjgiles) June 28, 2021
Watching the current Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher on morning television news wiggle his way through an explanation was equivalent to watching Scott Morrison doing the same thing and reaching the conclusion that one of us is unstable. So confusing he can be.
2 Nationals MP Darren Chester is our local MP (Gippsland) and enjoys an excellent reputation in the electorate. He is a likeable fellow.
Given the sack by Barnaby Joyce, he rightfully decided not to let the matter rest, instead deciding to vent his spleen calling the now Deputy Prime Minister “incoherent” while adding:
“I have no personal relationship with Barnaby, I don’t seek a personal relationship with Barnaby,”
“I’ve been screwed over by the National Party twice in the last three years.”
“I wouldn’t normally comment on private conversations, but I’m gonna say the conversation I had with Barnaby was so incoherent yesterday, I couldn’t actually explain what he was even saying to me…”
“People of Australia, brace yourself, there will be more conversations like that,” Mr Chester said.
All this suggests to me is that Scott and his acolytes must spend more time praying about how to right their wrongs than managing the country.
With Joyce back in his old job, we can only imagine what we will face in the coming weeks.
3 Former Liberal leader John Hewson writes a timely piece for The Saturday Paper (firewall) titled “On shame and politics,” from which these quotes are extracted:
“It is most disturbing how genuine compassion has been lost from our national Government.
Even worse, they seem so shameless about it.
Concepts of government responsibility, integrity and accountability are increasingly downplayed, even ignored. A sense of shame is essential to an effective moral compass.”
4 I suspect the reason behind the Prime Minister’s statement regarding under 40s approval to take the AstraZeneca vaccine (after consulting with their GP) is that in doing so he reckoned on this disgraceful situation being with us into the new year.
Better to get as many people vaccinated between now and then.
And that Pfizer will only become progressively available.
Life is about perception. Not what is but what we perceive it to be.
All this, unfortunately, means that this deplorable messaging will continue for the balance of the year, as will the media coverage that goes with it. At this point, leadership is everything. Scott Morrison is in a position where having stuffed up the original purchases; he cannot afford any more. This one has the hallmarks of a captain’s call. So, taking out insurance with an election in sight is a valuable thing to do.
My thought for the day
Sometimes, I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. I feel a sense of shame.
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