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If the rules are rotten and they don’t change them, so too will be the government

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.

We’re still all working on your gift – hopefully we’ll get it to you by May!”

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.

 

 

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.

Conclusion

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 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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12 comments

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  1. L.S.Roberts

    The Australian Constitution and parliamentary system was put together by well meaning people who where born in the 19 century and the reign of Queen Victoria. The independent oversight was a well educated electorate and a free press.
    Civics are scantily taught in our schools and the mainstream media is no longer free. The monopoly media even has a stranglehold on the ABC. Witness a dissenting voice being ejected from Q&A.
    The cumbersome nature of our parliament was best illustrated by the start of the pandemic; when everyone else discovered Zoom and Skype the parliamentarians were stranded in there home states allowing our incompetent incumbent to seize control.
    We are in for a fast moving bumpy ride over the next few decades and it’s time we traded in our steam driven vehicle for an EV.

  2. Terence Mills

    Well, they changed the rules to allow Liberal branch members a bigger say in nominating candidates but Morrison wants the power all to himself.

    So the critical NSW seats of Bennelong, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Hughes, Parramatta and Warringah plus Mitchell, Farrar and North Sydney held by ministers Hawke, Ley and Zimmerman remain without a candidate for the Liberal Party.

    Best leave it that way, Eh ?

  3. calculus witherspoon.

    That first para is one for the ages, like Shane Warne bowling Gatting at right angles with his first ball in Ashes cricket.

    Bit by bit, they have whittled away what was never brilliant in the first place, so that the system has become so blatantly corrupt and sly as to defy imagination. We are being led back to the Middle ages by boorish mindless oligarchs.

  4. wam

    Loved 2, your link talks about global warming and weather neither mentioned by you, why not?
    Sorry, lord, you give more effort to an extremist party than to half the 90% who reject them.
    Until you include the comments of your rabbottian friends, especially on the greens, you will remain a lefty liar to mine and never be a purveyor of truth.

  5. New England Cocky

    @wam : perhaps you would be happier on the Rabbott propaganda website because your sentiments appear somewhere to the political right of Gengis Khan.

  6. GL

    Point 3. I see the money being part of their $16 billion Pork and Bribe Carnival.

    On point 9: It won’t worry the LNP in the least, (if, and that’s a big if, they lose the election) because the party wide disorder of selective amnesia will strike and then it will all be Labor’s fault.

  7. John Lord

    Warm. Did you consider that l may have mistakenly used the wrong link. I will check it out. At my age it isn’t easy putting these posts together. Michael Taylor gives me considerable help but l’m not perfect. I’m not a liar by intent.

  8. Geoff Andrews

    WAM
    I interpreted the essence of Mr Lord’s paragraph 2 as criticism of the major parties’ refusal to take serious and uncompromising action on climate change instead of this juvenile “they say they can reduce emissions by 30% by 2030: WE can do 29% by 2029”.
    The Greens philosophy on this topic is not extreme: it’s essential if our descendants are to avoid an uninhabitable future.

  9. Trevor

    The Australian Constitution is a farcical document written by and for the landed gentry so as to maintain their absolute right to the fiction of Terra Nullius, even after this fiction was struck down by the High Court.

    These so called learn-ed figures from mythology, who penned the Australian Constitution, are still pulling every Australian’s chains by continuing Sovereignty to the Parliament instead of the Australian People.

    Ted Mack in his writings on Democratising Australia points repeatedly to the roadblock to Democracy being fulfilled in Australia, by virtue of the simple fact that the present class of Politoxics must agree to referenda questions limiting and diminishing their Power and control over Australians, to acceed to the wishes of the majority that Sovereignty must reside with the People.

    Neither of the main political parties(unmentioned in Aust Constitution) are willing to acceed anything to the Australian People which would result in a Bill of Rights for Australians, so as to limit the over reach of the Australian Govt and it’s paymasters of Global Capital and Mining, which have engendered the appalling statistics of Corruption in Australian Govts and Corporations.

    Nor are the political parties willing to allow any controls on the largesse of the Political Parties in constantly attacking the Australian Treasury to fund their addiction to Power, Privilege and Patronage and in maintaining the present time re-burgeoning White Australia, Authoritarian Pale Male Adversarial Political, Winner take all approach, to Governing Australia.

    The lack of an Australian Constitution mentioning the Political Life of Australia suited the times two centuries ago where the invaders stole the land and then wrote laws sanctifying their murderous behaviours, but it no longer suits these times as corruption, dodgy bros operations, criminality and boorish abusive Shouty Mc Shouties emanate daily from an Executive Govt of happy clapping political pygmies hell bent on trashing not just Australia, but the whole world.

    Wake the fck up Australia.

  10. B Sullivan

    “So much so that it is almost impossible for the average punter to know just who is telling the truth”

    It is much more valuable, and far easier, to know who is not telling the truth. There is consistency in truth, while lies are betrayed by inconsistency. As long as they are not willfully blind or morally crippled by a faith that demands they accept lies as unquestionable truths, detecting inconsistencies shouldn’t pose that much difficulty for the average punter no matter what unprecedented level political lying in Australia reaches.

    As for the polls. They indicate the proportion of the total number of primary votes each party can expect and assume that with the distribution of preferences these proportions will translate into an equivalent proportion of seats. They will not. The widely discredited pre-election polls for Morrison’s Miracle election were pretty much accurate in their prediction of the primary vote. They just failed to take into account the bias of Australia’s regional electoral system.

    If the figures you quote prove accurate at the coming election, then the Greens, with one in every eight Australian electors voting for them, can still only expect to win one seat. In the present parliament with around 11% of the primary vote they have 1 seat out of 151. Factor that in and simple mathematics will reliably inform you that a good chunk of Labor’s two party preferred lead in the polls is just not going to translate into seats. Greens votes are thinly dispersed across Australia and so do not win seats. They count for nothing in deciding who wins government whereas National and National/Liberal Party votes are concentrated in the same regions, and so they win around twenty times more seats than the Greens, vote for vote, and therefore allow the Liberal Party, which can only count upon barely a third of the people’s support, to form a coalition government with out a democratic majority.

    If Australia was truly democratically represented in parliament, which it could be if it adopted proportional representation, then the Greens could expect to win around 17 seats in the the parliament. Think what a difference to Government policy that would make.

    Democratic proportional representation ensures that everybody gets a fair go in parliament because their votes are equal in value and seats are awarded to reflect the genuine will of all the people. Even stupid people are entitled to be represented, but proportional representation ensures they are not as over-represented as the current parliament indicates. Regional representation just isn’t democratic. Twice as many people vote for the Greens than vote for the Nationals but the Nationals have ten times more seats in parliament. I don’t know what the correct word for a regionocracy is, that describes rule by the will of the regions, but conscience screams at me that it is not a true democracy which is rule by the will of people who all have equal say in that rule.

  11. Terence Mills

    As I mentioned, above the various Liberal Party candidates in a number of key seats have still not resolved the bitter factional infighting : Bennelong, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Hughes, Parramatta and Warringah plus Mitchell, Farrar and North Sydney held by ministers Hawke, Ley and back bencher Zimmerman all remain without a candidate for the Liberal Party.

    We now hear that the WA Liberals are in disarray having been decimated in the state elections and still trying to finalize candidates for the federal election but could lose a handfull of seats.

    SA may also be a challenge for the coalition as it appears they have now lost any prospect of building the new nuclear submarines which, if built, will be built in the USA.

    A commentator noted on Insiders that we could be seeing the final twitches of a tired and dying government.

    Very disturbing that Morrison wants to announce a ten billion dollar submarine base today. But so close to an election and with a strong possibility of a change of government, this type of decision should be bi-partisan or at the very minimum delayed – after all, we have seen the coalition government jump from Japanese submarines to French and now AUKUS all for base political reasons. In the process they have delayed the construction of these submarines for ten years : the coalitio track record on defence is appalling !

  12. Harry Lime

    Yes Terrence, but their announcements have been outstanding.Brings to mind another land mine signed off by the vindictive Napthine in Victoria just as they were on the cusp of being flung out of office. The LNP…rotten to the core,nowhere more apparent than in the actions of the despicable Morrison, as he is dragged towards the exit.

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