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Habits are hard to break. Just ask Scott.

So what did you think would happen when you voted to give another term to a government that had arguably proven itself to be the worst in Australian political history? Did you really expect that good government would start tomorrow?

Did you think that after 6 years of deplorable, at times incomprehensible governance, that a team of politically skilled coaches would come in and restore a party that was broken, in complete disarray and fighting each other in hand-to-hand combat for control of the party?

Did you expect a tired old party to immediately resurrect its credibility in the space of a month and go on to govern with extraordinary brilliance and astuteness?

What has happened is the opposite. The government has continued on with business as usual. The first month of the Morrison government has been nothing more than a day-to-day pretty ordinary beginning for a new government.

What is supposed to be the honeymoon period has turned into disputes about press freedoms and the government looks like it is still stuck in its usual place of residence. The past.

Good government, as being distinct from bad government, requires good leadership. And that is of course distinct from good campaigning, which on reflection one has to admit Morrison did rather well.

The danger in looking back to often is that you lose the will to go forward.

But of course had you watched every speaker at Bob Hawke’s tribute you would have noticed an over recurring theme that highlighted his leadership. It was inclusiveness, trust, delegation and an ability to listen.

The problem for Morrison is that none of his ministerial team is trustworthy. They are all individuals playing in a team game.

The governments words and actions bring into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they have at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

 Having won government with an array of smear campaigns and mountains of outright lies the government has quickly fallen back into what it has been doing badly for 6 years.

It takes time to dig a party that still has the same policies and the same MPs out of a hole the size of their collective egos.

However, journalists and commentators seem to be acting as though this new government would bring with it an overnight conversion. What on earth made them feel that that way?

That the government overnight would become better planners, more compassionate, demonstrably inclusive by taking the people with them.

The fracas started soon after Saturday 18 May and has proven my point.

Firstly, it was the fundamental freedoms of the press to write their stories, opinions, and other stuff without being hindered by the Federal Police.

In what is supposed to be the honeymoon period the government has acted like dictatorial twits, dictating to all and sundry just how it expects its servants to act. Like its born to rule mentality had been confirmed by the voters.

So what else did you expect?

All that has happened since the election serves only to endorse in the minds that take an interest in these things is just how much lying took place. It exhausted the truth to the point of the truth just giving up.

Dishonesty had its way, papering over the real problems facing the nation.

The conservatives conned the people into believing that, given they were the better economic managers, then everything must be all right. But they were lying through their teeth.

Then Morrison confessed on the public alter of truth that his tax cuts couldn’t be delivered on July 1 as promised because Parliament could not be recalled before June 28, when the writs were due to be returned. Given the government would have known that all the way through the campaign, it was just another lie from the Christian prime minister.

He seems to do it with such casual consummate naturalness. Did his faith teach him that truth is something you can turn off and on?

The give away really was the impertinent way in which Scott Morrison put his hands up to dismiss legitimate concerns about freedom of the press as if it had nothing to do with him

So here we are now having obtained this post election truth but at the same time wondering why the government isn’t acting a little more honourably.

But really, why would you expect this government so firmly entrenched in its incompetency to all of a sudden act decently?

The fact of the matter is that right throughout the election campaign Morrison made promises he couldn’t keep. And he knew it. And now he has to deliver a surplus even if it’s bad for the economy.

On top of that Mathias Cormann and others then claimed that the government had a mandate with a one-seat majority. How stupid is that?

They became overexcited with a Pyrrhic victory of lying over truth.

Remember during the campaign they said that the economy was in such fine shape that it was on the verge of producing 1.25 million new jobs this financial year.

Looking forward, I imagine that the answer as to why they haven’t been able to deliver their promises will be just another lie. Or the fallback that it is all Labor’s fault.

In the aftermath of any election usually the first two utterances one hears from the winner is “we will govern for all the people” and unequivocally is “we have a mandate.”

Yes, invariably when political parties win an election they claim to have a mandate. But surely to claim that you have a policy mandate when you have won by the narrowest of margins is an absurdity.

If you campaigned in an election on one explicit policy and everyone knew that it was specifically about that policy and you won, I would say you had a mandate. However, in this election there were a multitude of policies with a distinct difference in ideology.

People assume that elections, especially ones with a large margin of victory, give the newly-elected government or elected official an implicit mandate to put into effect certain policies.

But in essence the word “mandate” is not derived from any particular institution, doctrine, law or constitution. It may even have its grounding in philosophy, history or political morality.

So the question remains: What is a mandate? Well you decide. For me it is only legitimate when all cards are on the table and the party who wins, wins with such a majority that its mandate cannot be denied. And in those rare moments where it is legitimate it is more to do with how governments govern rather than any authority to do so.

With all the ignorance of a man bereft of deep intelligence, Morrison dismissed with typical aplomb the concerns about media freedom and heavy-handed police raids.

And he did so in the manner of blind arrogance.

The law is the law and has nothing to do with me.

He simply couldn’t see through the clouds of his conservatism that all these AFP raids heavily favoured the Liberal Party. “We are not dumb,” said the people.

And as far as law goes had he not forgotten that as prime minister it is he and the government he leads who make our laws

The AFP (now a law unto themselves) were really gilding the lily when they suggested the election campaign was not factored into the timing of its raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, over a story published last year, and the ABC to chase down material used by Dan Oakes and Sam Clark for stories in 2017.

Both sides of our political divide need to get over some issues arising from the election. The Coalition needs to get over the shock that they won and did so very narrowly. The main thing they need to do besides deciding what and who they are is to simply tell the truth.

Labor has to get over the shock of losing. In doing so they must also decide what they are. A party for the common good or an old fashioned socialist party, and I don’t think that worked last time.

The public need to think about all the things they didn’t vote for and realise they voted the same mob back in and not to expect any improvement over the term. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. They fell for all the lies and will have to wait 3 more long and stressful years to change things.

Ask yourself this: Does the political culture we have make you feel good about your country?

So don’t moan if the Coalition continues to stuff things up. They have been doing so for six years. You gave them another three. That’s not my fault.

My thought for the day

The right to vote in an election is the gift that democracy gives. Therefore, it is incumbent on the voter to at least have a rudimentary understanding of politics and to take an interest in the political landscape.

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32 comments

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  1. Doug Young

    The ALP needs to ask itself why it stuck with a complete lamebrain leader who never once seriously challenged a single lying nasty initiative.

  2. MöbiusEcko

    The after election revelations continue unabated. Dutton on the ABC admits to lying about refugees, but his dead bat attitude emanates insouciance. Indeed the whole of government attitude is they don’t care about having lies revealed as they believe, with some merit I think, it doesn’t matter. They will get away with whatever they want as they have the powerful, the media and the supposed independent government agencies on their side.

    I believe and fear they will be elected again even when the economy tanks, they constantly screw up and are riddled in corruption and malfeasance. I believe this because over the last few weeks I’ve seen political commentator after commentator along with the media espouse every reason why Labor lost, except for the real reasons, and since the election, the attacks based on lies and distortions on Labor have continued unabated. They are already ingraining in the people’s minds that Labor is hopeless and worse than the L-NP, so stick with what you know. And that’s what will happen in three years.

  3. Kaye Lee

    One real difference between Hawke and today’s clowns is that Hawke had the confidence and the honesty to say when they got something wrong and to change it. Can you ever imagine Morrison saying we got that wrong or our plan isn’t working as intended? A continuing criticism from the Auditor General is the lack of evaluation, whether at the start of a project to decide if it is value for money, or as it is rolled out to see if it is achieving its goals.

  4. RomeoCharlie29

    John, I prefer the short version: you are a bunch of ( expletive) idiots who shouldn’t be allowed to vote until you actually know what you are voting for.

    Now, do a sub-edit and send it to the Telly, Sun Herald and Courier Mail as an op-ed, that way it would address those it is aimed at, not us.

  5. helvityni

    What I hear said often and very proudly: ‘Aussies are good bull- shit detectors. ‘

    Really?

  6. Kaye Lee

    I asked a young first-time voter why he voted Liberal. He said because they are better economic managers. The ONLY place he could have got that impression was from the media. That mantra MUST stop. The only thing it is based on is the surpluses from the Howard years when my pet rabbit could have delivered a surplus. High commodity prices and the rapid growth of China had NOTHING to do with Howard and Costello.

  7. Terence Mills

    Paladin, the small security firm providing security services for the detainees (who are not detained according to Dutton) on Manus Island has, we are told, been receiving $20 million per month or $240 million a year : ( i.e. that’s only for security and does not include food and accommodation for the detainees)

    According to Peter Dutton on Insiders yesterday Paladin are likely to have their contract renewed as it appears that it hasn’t gone to tender even though there are other security firms offering to compete to provide these services.

    Whilst everything Dutton is involved in is shrouded in secrecy and threats of AFP raids – who are those men in ill fitting suits walking up my driveway asks my wife ?? – we can start to glean something of his incompetence from the numbers so far revealed.

    Paladin is receiving $20 million per month that’s $240 million a year : this morning on ABC RN Breakfast Fran Kelly mentioned that it was costing around $1600 per detainee per day for this security service – food and upkeep are on top of that, remember.

    So, that comes in at 416 detainees x $1600 per day = $665,600 per day x 30 days = $20million per month or $240 million a year and that’s just to provide security (i.e. to stop the detainees who are not actually in detention according to Dutton, from escaping or being attacked by hostile locals).

    Now, what was the argument they were trying to float at the election ? Oh yes,the coalition are better money managers than Labor.

    I know I’ve said it before but I keep coming back to Alice in Wonderland, especially when I see that grinning visage of Morrison who looks so much like the Cheshire cat :

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

  8. Delveen Chandler

    I absolutely believe that Bill Shorten and his Team were cut off at the ankles by a devious bunch who are very adept at deceit and deal wangling. Early in his leadership the seed was planted that he was a dud and ignorant people did what they did best believe the hard sell conmen who promote their own agenda. The likes of Hawkey, Keating, Whitlam had the welfare of the country at heart. This bunch that people were tricked into voting back in, have only $ in their personal coffers and power tripping as an ultimate aim. Australia, under the Abbott, Turnball, Morrison leadership, has become the laughing stock of the world. Poor Australia where are you headed. God save us.

  9. whatever

    You see, Sunday night is the time for headline-making stunts. It is, apparently, the only time a lot of people actually watch the TV news.
    Prime Minister Dutton made a brief “Manus Island terrorist African gang pedophile” statement on Sunday, just a ‘fireside chat’ with the electorate.

  10. Hotspringer

    Suck it up, Australia. This is what you wanted, this is what you voted for, now suck it up.

  11. Kerri

    Surely now the MSM will hold the government to account for every time they lamely claim it is all Labor’s fault??
    They have been in government 6 years and have just been given another three (sounds a bit like a death sentence to me)
    If they can’t pull on their big boy pants and govern in their own right then they need to be half to account as incompetent.
    If they have their claimed “mandate” then they have the power to deliver.

  12. Henry Rodrigues

    I will keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, this election was won by Murdoch and the rest of the bloody dishonest media bastards and whores.and they know it. This is why even after the dust has settled, they keep hammering Labor on every front and in every conceivable forum, brainwashing and corrupting everyone, to never consider Labor as a viable government.

    The younger generation on whom Labor had pinned much of its hopes have displayed enormous ignorance eg. young people handing out how-to–vote cards for Pauline Hanson. Where were all those disaffected young people who were energised during the same sex debate ? Where were all those family oriented voters who were appalled at the corruption and mismangement by the financial institutions and the defensive attitude of the coalition to their misdeeds, especially by Scummo ? Where were all the climate change worriers ? Did all these voters just forget or just didn’t care or were just too stupid or just plain greedy ?

    Labor should have won this with a 15 seat majority. Instead it looks like it will be a long time in the wilderness.

    Voters will wake up one day and look at the state of their country, the environment and their freedoms, and blame everyone but themselves.

  13. John Lord

    There is also the argument that if oppositions receive a sizable vote they too have received a mandate from their electors. That would also apply to independents.

  14. Keitha Granville

    We are not dumb said the people – oh my goodness, yes, yes you are.

    Unfortunately the country, the planet and those who didn’t vote for them also have to suck it up. For the planet and the country it will be too late.

    Did anyone else note the article in Rolling Stone about Carmichael ? Look it up, great read. We are now as much as a laughing stock as Trump/.

  15. Bert

    Henry Rodrigues, you nailed it in one. The MSM hammered Labor for the last six years and they are STILL at it. When are they going to start questioning the actual government? Imho, never.

  16. Peter F

    I will say it over and over: a government has a mandate to INTRODUCE legislation for the peoples representatives to consider and decide upon. If they cannot get the votes, they have to accept that the people do not want their legislation to be passed.

    It was for this reason that the coalition closed down the parliament soon after Dr Phelps won her seat.

  17. Mark Needham

    “Critical Theory is seductive because it liberates the thinker from the burden of thinking.”
    and…
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

    H. L. Mencken”

    Not my words, but succinct.

    Mark Needham

  18. Terence

    Henry

    In answer to your question – Who are the parents of all the young voters you talk about?

    The most selfish, greedy, ignorant, destructive generation ever – Baby Boomers. These young voters have grown up seeing their parents live by the motto “Fark everyone else, I’m all right Jack.” So are you really surprised that their kids have the same self interest, ignorant genes? Just look at the way that they drive. Their parents will probably be driving a BMW or an Audi, ducking and weaving through the traffic. Let’s face it, they have been ducking and weaving throughout their middle management careers so why would their driving be any different? So what does little Johnny or Jenny do in the baby beamer that mummy and daddy just brought them, rat run through local streets, talk on their mobiles (despite the risks) and sit in the right hand lane like it’s their god given right.

    And you expect their voting to be any different?

    The battle is over and Greed has won. I really wonder whether as a species, the horse has bolted. Whether in 50 years time, the word egalitarianism will be deleted from the human language. As populations continue to grow, dog eat dog theory will only intensify as more and more people compete for fewer and fewer resources. As the saying goes, desperate people do desperate things.

    At the moment we live in a world where “Anything is justified as long as someone is making money.” If you look at the reaction of the populous to the realisation that they have been conned over and over again by politicians, most seem to react with barely more than a mere “meh pffft.” Sometimes I wonder if just maybe they look at themselves and think well if I was in their position I would do the same thing if it meant that I kept earning that sort of coin. Because whether it’s climbing the greasy pole at work or in parliament, in this competitive corporate world, you have to “Do what ever it takes.” But yet again I suspect that most wouldn’t have the emotional intelligence or self awareness to comprehend the moral vacuum that they inhabit.

    I wonder if our ancestors would be proud of what we have become?

  19. Florence Howarth

    The only mandate that arises out of an election result is the ability to form a government on the floor of the lower house. The right to govern only exists if one maintains the numbers. John, you are correct. Each MP elected by the voters in his electorate are equal, with one vote each. They represent the voters in the electorate that voted for or against them.

    The Constitution says laws are legislated by garnering the majority of votes on the floor both houses.

    Under our system, it is not winner take all.

  20. Henry Rodrigues

    Terence…… Thank you for comments. I too wonder if the morality of a good caring, sharing society has been permanently and irretreviably altered or maybe buried for ever on the bonfire of instant greed. These young people, the inheritors of the legacy of their self centered parents, will probably never ever have any regrets about the sad state of their country, as long as they don’t have to suffer any of the inconveniences.

  21. Jack Russell

    These young people:

    . Don’t know what’s been lost – they’ve never lived it.
    . Don’t know what’s coming – they’ve never lived it.

    The more wrinkles you have means the less you have to say.

  22. Josephus

    ‘The law is the law and has nothing to do with me’. Oh , so beheading a mound of black terror, ie a woman, on a Saudi square is acceptable, is it? Carting terrified Jews off to human abattoirs is acceptable? Leaving refugees for years in hell holes is acceptable? And so on. That way tyranny lies.
    The law is an ass. It needs human rights oversight. A free Press, and a fearless, well funded broadcaster.

  23. Terence

    Henry

    I’ve stopped wondering – I know it already has.

    Just struggle everyday with trying to stop myself living by the motto “When in Rome.”

  24. Wam

    Spot on Kaye lots of us have been telling little billy and torpid Tanya to deal with that powerful rabbott’s lie. The pair barely hinted at the lnp doubling the debt and never laid claim to having left such a solid economy that got through the GFC. They kept quiet whilst the rabbott Trumbull and scummo’s reckless borrowing doubled the debt and splashed cash to mates and donors and exclaiming we still have labor’s AAA.
    Lord you are too naive to assume voters or the morning shows will remember the rabbott, Trumbull and the turmoil because little billy and torpid Tanya didn’t remind us preferring to hope we remember by ourselves but we only remember what we are told and the morning shows are not told by labor. So scummo is a new man a new player and labor cannot manage. We are still rich and the doll bludger still waste cash, the blacks still drink and smoke, the loonies and unions still influence labor. No reason to risk a change QED.

    As for mandate, it seems silly to even consider a re-elected government as not having a mandate to continue its policies??
    ps
    If you speak to the supporters of the Canberra clp, at golf or pokies, bridge or at dinners, parties, BBQs, you will find their hero was a lying rat, a man obsessed with smashing unions, a man who, despite knowing of the stolen generation refused to acknowledge or accept blame or say sorry. A man for whom I have no respect and whom I consider the worst pm in Australian history and the nastiest most immoral Australian politician ever.
    Having digested my humble pie and the disappointment a winning money on little billy, it is pharlap odds on that scummo will win in 2022 and probably 2025 unless Albo can shake the economic tree or, heaven forbid we have a disastrous recession and another GFC and the banks will make a killing whilst protecting the rich..

  25. Mark Needham

    “The most selfish, greedy, ignorant, destructive generation ever – Baby Boomers” @ terence.

    Yes. you keep thinking that.

    Particularly, when you need to find someone to blame, for what ever ails you.

    Your comment is quite arrogant, possum.

  26. New England Cocky

    Sadly JL et al, the electorate gets the politicians they vote for the most ….. and have three years to rue their selections.

    Intuitive article John Lord. Well done!

    As of the notorious Scummo quote, well, it proves that the Lazy Nasty People are moving Australia into a neo-fascist state where all Australians are at risk to keep the few “elite politicians and their moneyed mates” in the manner to which they wish to remain accustomed.

  27. andy56

    well folks, we aint hit peak stupidity yet.

    most other civilisations through the ages went kaput, we are no different, just the scale is bigger. And we go on holidays to check out the ruins, no doubt the irony is lost on most of us.

  28. Terence

    @ Mark Needham

    Truth hurts hey possum?

  29. New Bruce

    It would seem to me that “the electorate”, at election time, pulls it’s head out of it’s arse only long enough to change arses, without taking time to consider what has happened since the last insertion.

    @Terence. Maybe you mean gen-x. Myself and the rest of my baby boomer friends and fmailies work(ed) bloody hard for the shafting we have gotten.
    By the way, I will back my old VT against any BloodyMindedWanker any day.

  30. Terence

    @ New Bruce

    I wish I was talking about Gen X but unfortunately it’s my generation (75-55 yo) who are now in senior management, Captain’s of Industry and in Canberra supposedly running the country. You sort of articulated it well in your comment and it’s something that I hear a lot at work and in social settings, “I’ve worked bloody hard for what I’ve got.”

    And to which I usually reply, “Well yes, no one is doubting that you have but does that mean that you have to keep all to yourself to the detriment of others?” Many don’t understand how a tax system works. Most think its some of bank/savings scheme where they are entitled to take out (usually to the cent) every $ they have paid in taxes when they need it (usually around pension time). IT’S OUR RIGHT!

    Yes I have a nice life, I will be self funded in retirement with no debt (I thought the Imputation policy was a good thing and it didn’t affect me because I just reinvested in different assets and I’m still getting good returns). I want for nothing but I also understand that I have kids who need to inhabit the earth long after I kick the bucket and hopefully my grand kids too. I understand that the tax system is the price we pay to live in the best bloody country on earth, not some avoidance game that needs to be won at all costs. Maybe it’s because I have traveled extensively that I have an understanding of how good we have got it. I tell people that as Australians we won the first division in the lotto of life. Most understand that Oz is beaut but have no concept of that in relation to the rest of the world. Most think that even America would be some sort of utopia if it wasn’t full of guns and bad coffee. If I ruled the world I would make it compulsory for every Australian to live overseas for 6 months (no Bali is not overseas) with nothing – like National Service, so that some of those bogans might actually be grateful and understanding rather an just being racist yobbos.

    I think the problem is that my generation see other baby boomers like the politicians, executives and all their suckerfish, helping themselves and shoving their snouts into the trough yet all the underlings are missing out. If you’ve worked in any sort of large corporate environment, you’ll know what I’m talking about. So what happens? They start to do the same, milk and rort the system because “It’s better in your pocket than theirs” is the common catch cry. It’s all so Lord of the Flies.

    Love the BMW acronym

  31. David Bruce

    Not everyone in your age group voted lnp Terrence. My mates and I agreed to put lnp last and labor second last!

    We decided to vote for people in our electorates who had “skin-in-the-game” – Independents or candidates we believed would take care of our electorate. What surprised me was our off-spring did the same!

    If we are still intact after Easter next year, I believe we may see some radical changes here. Doing more of the same expecting a different outcome is, apparently, a sign of insanity!

  32. Patricia

    “So here we are now having obtained this post election truth but at the same time wondering why the government isn’t acting a little more honourably.”

    I, for one, am not wondering why this government is not acting honourably .

    The people who make up this government have no ability to act honourably. To do so can only be done if one’s intentions and actions are honourable and there is nothing honourable about any of the people who inhabit the government benches.

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