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Could it get any worse?

We have been given the impression by certain members of the media recently that Tony Abbott is being hailed as some sort of world leader in the aftermath of MH17. Try as I did to find any reference to him in any of the major news dailies around the world, I couldn’t. I found several negative references concerning his abandonment of the carbon tax and his attempts to deregulate university fees, but nothing that linked his name to MH17. That, however, has not stopped people like Gerard Henderson and Michael Stutchbury praising Abbott’s performance on ABC’s Insiders.

Notwithstanding their efforts, the Prime Minister appears to have had his moment in the sun, and one gets the impression now, that his ongoing efforts to bring us the latest updates on gaining access to the crash scene, are nothing more than grandstanding. The latest poll taken after the MH17 tragedy suggests he has been given a few brownie points for little more that what would be expected of any national leader just doing his job. So, is he so naive as to think his grandstanding on the tragedy of MH17 will absolve him of past unpopular decisions and restore his credibility with the voters?

His overall approval rating shows that we have seen through his pitiful attempt at galvanising a nation’s grief. It came coincidentally while Joe Hockey was undermining his efforts by stealing the limelight with a, ‘look at me, look at me’ appearance at a book launch. That, to me, suggests something is dysfunctional about the relationship between the two men.

One of the ugly Australians? (Image by

Close on the heels of that laughable effort, a group of Catholic and Anglican Church leaders has accused Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison of ‘state sanction child abuse’ and called upon him to step down from his position as guardian for all unaccompanied minors. One might add, not before time. Of all Abbott’s ministers, Morrison’s performance is the most lamentable.

How easy was it for him in opposition? He could mount attack after attack, be strong on rhetoric, low on detail and appear so confident and assertive. Free from the constraints of running a department he could confidently face the media every day, set up a mobile billboard to advertise boat arrivals, mercilessly hunt his prey like a tiger in a Sumatran jungle and torment the then various Labor ministers for being too soft. How things have changed since the baton of responsibility passed to him. Now he has become the hunted and under the pressure of ministerial responsibility his performance has been a shambles.

Masked by excessive secrecy and the dubious claim that the boats had stopped, the department has been dogged by reports of inhumane treatment of detainees, disregard for human rights, riots resulting in a violent murder, lack of basic sanitary supplies, abuse of minors, mental illness, attempted suicide, intimidation of departmental staff and now a cover-up. How, in the name of ministerial responsibility, is he still there?

Scott Morrison has been forced into allowing 157 asylum seekers to be brought to the Australian mainland which goes against everything he has worked toward since taking on the portfolio. He boldly claimed that they were economic migrants because they had come from the safe country of India. When challenged on the accuracy of that claim by Sarah Ferguson on the 7.30 report Wednesday 30th July, he then said it was his understanding that they were economic migrants. Which means that he doesn’t really know for sure what they are. But, not knowing doesn’t seem to stop him from making unsubstantiated claims about them. I cannot recall an immigration minister more savagely uncompromising and as vindictive as Morrison. Does he think that looking more like a dictatorial commandant than a minister is good for his image? His continued presence in that role is offensive to a nation historically proud of its compassion and sense of responsibility to those fleeing persecution.

CommissionThe revelations by Psychiatrist Dr Peter Young, a former director of Mental Health Services at International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), the detention centre service provider, that pressure was applied to alter his reports to something more palatable, paints a shameful picture which, if true, should in itself, bring an end to Scott Morrison’s ministerial appointment.

Could it get any worse? By any measure it shows the whole government to be dysfunctional, small minded, narrowly focussed and out of sync with broader community expectations. Is it, therefore, any wonder that they are taking a clobbering in the polls? Do they really believe their ideology is sustainable in a post modern world? They probably do.



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  1. Peter F

    Yes it can, and it will.

  2. bobrafto

    I agree with you it’s time to axe Morrison and the Abbott and his mob of Con Men.

  3. Andrew Moran

    The real test on MH17 is the action intended to be taken against Russia. The Europeans who have much more to lose in any confrontation are. Abbott intends none.

    The Dutch PM did comment on the importance and viability of the MH17 recovery activity. And identified the practical difficulties involved. Unlike Abbott who was going to sort it. And has since been confronted by reality. He’s clueless.

    Could it get worse? Yes. Read the Murdoch press to see the big issues. It daily illustrates Goebbels proposition that if you keep telling lies people will believe it’s the truth.

    Will it? No doubt. Until something really important upsets the masses. Like who wins Masterchef.

  4. A Regional Michael

    Sadly, it will get worse.

    Despite the low polls of the LCP, many Australians, fanned on by the Murdoch-led MSM, still believe he is doing a good job.
    Their ‘policies ‘, (a euphemism if ever the was one), are yet to really bite the wider electorate.

    Abbott’s primary skill as a political zealot, is as a divider of community.
    Related to this, his other primary skill is a capacity to distil complex issues into meaningless slogans which, despite his political leanings, would make Maoists from another era, envious, and in a present one, bring to a warm inner glow to his American patron Rupert Murdoch.

  5. OzFenric

    Did anyone really expect anything else? The cruelty of the offshore processing centres is nothing new. It’s exactly why Labor closed them down following their 2007 election. That they’ve needed to be opened again speaks to a lack of understanding in the electorate: a small majority want them closed when their mental and physical health outcomes are rubbed in our noses, and a significant majority want them opened again when they’re not receiving the hordes of unwashed semi-terrorist disease-ridden foreign filth. So the Coalition is wedded to the concept, and Labor will be forced to close or amend them when/if they return to power. Then the cycle begins again.

    Long and short of it is, the Australian people threw out Labor without thinking too closely about what it might mean to install Tony Abbott. Now they got their wish, and perhaps fortunately the Coalition is being more vicious and ideological, more quickly, than anyone might have suspected. This means that we might reach a tipping point to vote them out again sooner than otherwise might have been the case. Labor will return to power, but on current indications it will be a slightly righter-than-left Labor; each time the cons get in, the goalposts shift further in their direction. On their current form Labor cannot communicate its progressive message effectively, which means that the cycle begins again.

    So it will get worse for the next couple of years. Then slightly better. Then yet worse when the electorate stupidly votes in another conservative government a few years later.

    (Yes, I’m feeling slightly cynical about politics.)

  6. OzFenric

    I actually have a little sympathy for Scott Morrison. His is a thankless portfolio, and despite Tony Abbott’s respect he’s not earning himself the kudos that a long-term political career requires. I suspect these few years will haunt him in future and he may find it difficult to achieve any further seniority than he already has. But he doesn’t really have a choice; the Coalition has left itself so little policy flexibility in so many areas, through its uncompromising rhetoric, that he couldn’t change the policy if he wanted to. All that’s left is to bluster, deny the problems and swear blind that it’s all for the good of the children.

    Then I think about Scott Morrison point blank telling lies about the treatment of children in his detention centres and what little sympathy I might have felt just sort of dies.

  7. Heather

    Good article. Well said. Thanks.

  8. mars08

    If we IGNORE the two-party preferred stats, the primary support for the ALP is currently at 39%, and the L-NP primary vote sitting 38%.

    So the two major parties (one right-wing and one far-right) have 77% of the primary vote between them. Both these parties like to make a big deal about being “tough” on asylum seekers. And, given the almost even primary vote… both parties will (unfortunately) continue their dogwhistle politics in the hope of grabbing a few more bogot votes in the all-important swing seats.

    Could it get any worse? Of course it can!

  9. Anne Byam

    Like a deep and festering wound, it will get worse, before it can get better. But it can only get better with intervention – a wound ? – careful cleansing, perhaps minor surgery, clean dressings and anti-biotics; a Government ? – the complete removal of the accumulated dirt and detritus, cleansing ( by poll and then by Election ) and a fresh dressing of good Government with good and reasonable policies that will not attempt to badly separate and segregate parts of the community. Good in theory ? Yes. In practice – we don’t know yet. But by hell we should all pull together to make sure the wound that is apparent in our country now, deep and dangerous to our communal health – is dealt with continually, relentlessly, and with utter determination to make the country whole and healthy again. Labor absolutely MUST step up to the plate – with stringent but FAIR policies. In a 2PP system, they are the only people we can really turn to. Unlike their counterparts who have attempted to divide us, make us suffer, if not in reality ( much won’t get past the Senate ) but with the old die-hard regimen of …. FEAR. That’s what this Government thrives on, and tries to impart.

    John Kelly has written the perfect profile of a bully. And what do bullies do best ? They instil fear, even if they don’t have any intention of going through with their threats, or their ‘suggestions’. Language can be super suggestive, and is not confined to having lasting effects only on the mentally unstable. Power hungry people have a way of suggesting, over and over again, using different rhetoric – that we should all be afraid – be very afraid. If we don’t comply – ” other things will happen ” … which is what another “bully-boy” mentioned a couple of weeks back ” “If the Senate chooses to block savings initiatives, then we need to look at other savings initiatives that may not require legislation and I would ask the Greens and the Labor Party — who between them hold 35 votes on the floor of the Senate — to understand that there are alternatives for a government,” Mr Hockey told ABC Radio. Threat.

    This is not a Government – it is a dictatorship. I think we all know that. And one of the worst dictators in this mess, is this particular
    ‘ person’, posing as a Senior Minister in a Government, in charge of the welfare of others, less fortunate than ourselves. He is lower on the evolutionary scale, than a dung beetle.

  10. my say

    Is it any wonder that they have kept so quiet,Morrison and Abbott need to be charged with crimes against humanity,At the very least Morrison needs to be sacked, he isn’t a fit person to look after animals let alone children,
    I heard Abbott say the other day ,children were better off in detention,and the only way for that to stop was to STOP THE BOATS,I beg to differ Abbott ,death at sea would be more humane ,than the torture you and Morrison are putting them through

  11. corvus boreus

    Anne B,
    The dung-beetle(Scarabaeoidae) is a creature of honest labour and invaluable ecological function.
    The whipping jockey seems more akin to a bloated, blood-sucking bedbug(Cimicidae), probably with similar reproductive proclivities.
    Or he may possibly be a form of Cestoidae.

  12. Jason

    Australia is presently in the midst of a competition to see who the dominant centre-right party becomes. Will it be the ALP or the NLP? Not such a radical contest given Labor’s considerable drift to the right since the 60s and Whitlam’s move towards economic liberalism after achieving government in ’72.

    The LNP is presently proving itself unpalatable so it either retreats to a centrist view or goes out in a burst of lunatic glory by going further to the right of Adolph.

    In time there will be a regrouping of allegiances. And perhaps a few political party name changes.

    The ALP will undertake the reform it should have done 15, 20, 35 years ago and become the leading centre-right party. And it wouldn’t be completely consistent with their history if they were called the ‘Social Democrats’.
    The LNP will battle on under the banner of the ‘Christian Conservative Party’ but will lose whatever talent it had due to its retrogressive stance.

    The Greens will be renamed the ‘Progressive Party’ and will become the main opposition to the Big Business supporting ‘Social Democrats’. The ‘Progressive Party’ will pursue a platform of small-l liberal policy initiatives.

    In answer to John Kelly’s question: Could it get any worse? Only if you lack the imagination to pursue alternatives.

  13. Jason

    Hmmm… missed the edit function… that should read – “And it would be completely consistent with their history if they were called the ‘Social Democrats'” or “And it wouldn’t be completely inconsistent with their history if they were called the ‘Social Democrats'”. Either way the ALP morphing into the ‘Social Democrats’ would be a logical and acceptable re-branding!

  14. Jason

    @Andrew Moran

    What action should be taken against Russia, and on what basis?

    What role will the BRICS play in Australia’s future economic prosperity?

  15. John Fraser


    Of course it could get worse !

    Abbott beat Rudd at the election and now he is going flat out to prove that he is a far, far worse Prime Minister.

    Hockey was never in the race to beat Wayne Swan as Treasurer …. hobbled from the get go by Kevin Andrews, just for starters.

    Get ready for the rise and rise of Bernadi.

    Then Abbott will be streets ahead of Rudd.

    Every morning I wake up and thank the Greens and Clive Palmer.

    For slowing down the excesses of Abbotts gang.

  16. Philip Hewett

    Are Australians so easily manipulated by anything labelled ‘tough’. Abbott and his media puppet masters can’t open their measly mouths without prefacing every statement with the word ‘tough’. Are voters really so naive as to be influenced by such simplistic propaganda? I’d like to think not but I am having my doubts.

  17. Bethany

    Do they really believe their ideology is sustainable in a post modern world? They probably do.
    Do they think of what they are doing? Do they know? Do they even care?

  18. mars08

    Philip…. the “tough” tag really grabs the Neanderthals out there. You know…. the one’s that believed the BULLSHIT about having the adults back in charge…. the bitter, angry wankers who think THEIR lives can be improved by making someone else suffer. Yes…. the self-absorbed bastards who think THEY are entitled to respect and human rights, and to hell with the rest. As far as they are concerned, politicians being being “tough” is just fine…. as long as THEY don’t suffer. Then they’ll whinge that they got a speeding ticket or that petrol is too expensive. Poor diddums….

  19. Owen

    They could always try Thinking …planning . listening.. asking. negotiating…acting..reviewing …adjusting ….implementing…reviewing and then a final.tweek..
    Rather than demanding, intimidating, threatening, forcing..scaring ..Hiding and so ……Just saying…….

  20. Florence nee Fedup

    “Get ready for the rise and rise of Bernadi.”

    If this happens, Australia’s will be in trouble. What’s more, they will deserve what they get.

  21. Anne Byam

    @ Corveus. I agree entirely …. the dung beetle is indeed industrious, and environmentally functional ( albeit slowly ) . I was in fact thinking more of the medium the dung beetle works in, than the beetle itself when writing. Got a bit carried away with it all. Apologies.
    I much prefer your choices …. blood-sucking bedbug — or the other Cestoidae ( which I had to research ) …. that’s more than an apt description for this horror that takes up space in the H of R.

    How he remains a Senior Minister, is beyond me.

  22. xiaoecho

    There is no such word as compassion in the government lexicon. No mercy will be shown to anyone who doesnt pay tax whether they be
    Austalian citizens or those wanting to become citizens. Persecution begins at home.

  23. ryan

    at least they wernt reporting him as the only prime minister to directly blame russia for it, AFAIK hes still only leader to come out and say russia shot it down, not russian backed seperatists but russia lol lucky that one slipped past media although im sure it will turn up in some gag line

  24. margaret millar

    Tony Abbott says whatever he thinks may benefit his image and add to his falling popularity. As PM he does not speak for -nor seek- the welfare of any asylum seekers -They are classed as frauds and job stealers from our citizens. And indeed many unemployed Australians are demonised as lazy bludgers on taxpayers who will not try to get a job–they are asked to look for 40 jobs a month – a bit much! There are hardly 40 jobs out there for many who have tried continuously..We would all be better off if the State Govt brought back more TAFE Trade Classes so the unskilled can learn to be skilled of course-It would all amount to gain for our growth and welfare as a properous country.

  25. corvus boreus

    margaret m,
    Often overlooked is the fact that under the current proposals, the unemployed will have to undertake the 40 applications per month for half a year before they receive a single cent of taxpayer welfare.
    There will be a spike in crimes of desperation as the mutual is dropped from obligation.
    A total abdication of governmental and social responsibilty by a socio-pathic regime.

  26. Plebian

    Nice article,
    Not giving appropriate medical care to children is a disgrace and the public should be horrified. Remember they voted this pommie psychopath (Tony) in so he needs to stay around so they suffer and learn their lesson. As Paul Keating said to John Hewson about his fightback policy ” I’m going to do you slowly”.

  27. Christina

    Yes, of course it WILL get worse. We have another 2 – 2 1/2 years of this arrogant zeal from a cabal of non-Australian’s who are determined to destroy Australian values, & super-impose extremist fanatasism

  28. Bec Waterhouse

    It most certainly CAN get worse. Remember, all Abbott needs is a Tampa like incident and he’s back in the running.

    If you look at Australia’s track record, you can’t even trust that we’ve learned our lesson after all that’s gone wrong in this first term. It took us 11 years to figure it out under Howard.

  29. Bob

    A problem is that we in west get picture of Russia that is USA generated, we consume their mainstream image of Putin and Russia. What do we know about them really? Have you ever seen a positive news media piece about Russia in mainstream in last decade?

    Putin is clearly an autocrat, but Russia is an old country with long history. At end of cold war President Bush senior made pledge that US wouldn’t use NATO to encroach and surround a now much weakened post Soviet Union Russia. But in contrast for last decade US policy has been to use its unilateral power to advance its strategic interests against Russia’s.

    The US has meddled in Russian related affairs and strategic interests since Chechnya, into Kosovo, then Georgia and now Ukraine. To understand this you have to grasp that elements of US agencies have located, supported, financed and or armed hard core nationalists and or secessionists in all these locations in last decade. The Afghan fighters that appeared in the Chechen conflict didn’t just get there alone, they needed handlers, transport and shipments of supplies, these were done through third party ‘charities’ or ‘fundraisers’, but they required serious state logistical support to happen. This is equally true of the Chechen militants now fighting in Syria, the are handled by various agencies to get there. As an aside, Washington’s nationalist group of choice for Kosovo, the KLA were and remain Europe’s largest heroin distributors and generally reprehensible criminals, infamous for their role in human organ trafficking.

    Russia is big enough to brush up against US interests in way few others can, but Russia can not project power like the US. But their strategic interests are completely at odds. NATO has been steadily moving toward Russia for the last decade, threatening Russian hegemony over the central eastern European sphere it has controlled or influenced for a hundred years on and off. For Russia whose history involves two massive and violent invasions by France and Germany, these are seen as natural buffer zones against those powerful western European states. But equally the NATO moves (the US built a vast armed forces base in Kosovo that is largest outside US since Vietnam and right on Russia’s doorstep) are seen as aggressive moves to secure valuable oil resource assets in the Caspian Sea, which are traditionally Russian interests and areas. All of this is under reported in western mainstream media, it is in academic’s books but not the daily news.

    What Putin sees is an aggressive series of moves by the US and NATO, with dominance of Europe to Russian borders as the endgame, that is picture we in west are not really privy to in our US dominated media stories about Russia

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