Election diary No. 16: Saturday, 5 March 2022
1 The problem with the government is the system itself. A system that will always remain imperfect so long as it is short of independent oversight. It’s called ‘politics’, and it will only ever reflect those rules that govern it. If the rules are imperfect and don’t change, then imperfection in government is what you will get. Still, if the rules are tight, drawn up independent of government and overseen by an independent commission, then you can derive some trust in those you elect.
If the rules or the requirements for election are not changed, you can expect more people of the ilk of Christensen, Joyce, Andrews Dutton, Kelly, Laming, Pitt, Porter, Taylor, Tudge, Wilson etc.
If the rules for question time are as ridiculous as we witness, then you get an hour of comedy with laughable answers to Dorothy Dixer’s questions equally silly. “Just pick up the phone and ask stupid.”
If the rules for receiving political donations remain as rotten as they are, they will continue to be broken.
If rules more generally are so open to corruption that you could drive a truck through them, then you must expect corrupt politicians.
If politicians don’t meet your expectations, perhaps it’s the rules that may lead them into temptation.
If hastily drawn up rules like Robodebt and Job Keeper result in further corruption, then it is the fault of the politicians who put the plan together.
If the rules were drawn up correctly, this might not happen.
As reported in the Brisbane Times:
“Australia’s largest construction company, CIMIC, (formerly Leighton Holdings) has been accused of underpaying hundreds of workers, subcontractors and banks in its troubled Middle East operations by more than $500 million in a scandal administrators warn could lead to criminal prosecution.”
I could go on with many more examples, from financial institutions to Deaths in Custody, Aged Care and bullying in schools. There are rules for everything. Kids grow with family rules.
Often it seems that the rules are made to be broken rather than be obeyed. Or is it that bad laws are made to be broken. Those that are surpassed by new and better science or time when influenced by better education or reason itself.
Regulations are an essential part of society. They make for a cohesive community. Good regulation serves us well when applied justly, but it can also be shaped to disadvantage.
I am not joking. We cannot underestimate the importance of our regulatory three-tier government system that make all the rules. Still, every department within the three tiers should review all the instigated rules. They could even start with our constitution.
The danger in looking back too often is that we lose the will to go forward.
2 February 28: Did you see that the United Nations Expert Panel on Climate Change released its latest report? You didn’t notice well; after all, a war is taking place, and we are still trying to cope with a severe worldwide virus.
The headline on SBS news read; “Major new report says it’s not too late to stop runaway climate damage.”
“Even drastic action to reduce emissions won’t completely halt the impacts of climate change – but it will limit the severity, the report finds.”
Headlines like this have been appearing for years now, and the flippancy with which we tend to overlook them never surprises me. Is it to happen yet again in this election or has the message finally gotten through?
3 Just a reminder that the Australian government sits on $4.7 billion in emergency response funding and have not spent a cent of it.
There are elderly pensioners on their roofs right now in Lismore needing to be rescued, and the Minister for Defence is running a GoFundMe.
Sorry, but there are no words I can put my name to with which to shout my disgust.
People often argue from within the limitations of their understanding, and when their factual evidence is scant, they revert to an expression of their feelings.
4 Wednesday, February 3: Penny Wong on Facebook:
“Happy birthday to my mate Anthony Albanese.
5 I suggest you read Kaye Lee’s latest piece, “What a complete waste of time the last nine years have been.”
6 On December 5 2015, I wrote:
“The Vladimir Putin Shirtfront won the Insiders Matt Price award in 2014. This year it was given to Christopher Pyne for his ‘I’m a fixer’ comment. There were some excellent entries. Abbott got the most nominations with his act onion eating (without tears). Knighthoods, Good government starts today, and in my opinion, he should have been a winner when he outrageously said that his ministers were performing exceedingly well, and it was all due to his magnificent leadership. Oh, I forgot one. ‘Good government starts today’ Others nominated were Hockey’s ‘Just get a job.’ Scott Morrison for ‘There’s a boom up there’ Bronwyn Bishop ‘It was within the guidelines’ Then there were mentions of ministers with large packages, even snakes. There were many others, but for the breadth of its audacity, I’ll stick with my choice.”
Never in the history of this nation have so many people been elected to serve us, but instead, help themselves.
7 The latest fortnightly Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 56.5-43.5, in from 57-43 last time, from primary votes of Coalition 32.5% (down half), Labor 37.5% (down one), Greens 12.5% (up one), One Nation 3.5% (down half) and United Australia Party on 1.5% (steady).
For further analysis, go to The Poll Bludger.
Bookies have Labor at $1.32 and Coalition $3. 20
8 It seems that the man with all the money has decided that another four car parks in his electorate might be four too many. Or does it look like too much pork-barrelling?
How hypocritical the Morrison government is in withdrawing the $65m of spending on four commuter’s car parks it promised to build in the electorate of the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
CAR PORK II: The Sequel
PM won't say what role – if any – he had in the train station carpark pork barrel pic.twitter.com/PVRRyfSANt
— Andrew Probyn (@andrewprobyn) August 5, 2021
As reported in The Guardian in March 3, Labor’s shadow infrastructure minister, Catherine King, said the cancellation of four further projects was a “humiliating backflip” for the Treasurer and questioned how much money had been “wasted” on car parks that wouldn’t be built.
9 The Age (firewall) reports that a group of economists say that the government will never repay the country’s debt. It will be interesting to see how it responds to this problem in the upcoming budget.
While it might be true that truth is the first causality of war, I contend that it has become a significant causality of our public discourse over the past ten or twenty years.
If l were asked to pinpoint its beginning, l would say that since Tony Abbott’s appointment as opposition leader, political lying in Australia reached unprecedented levels and insinuated itself into our public dialogue, including the media.
So much so that it is almost impossible for the average punter to know just who is telling the truth.
My previous diary entry: Bullying is symptomatic of world leaders, including ours, and war is the outcome.
My thought for the day
I think accepting and embracing change is one key aspect of what we try to define as wisdom.
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