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Morrison has gutted the LNP

Even typing those words has an unreal feeling. Will he come back? Will his poisonous personality rear up out of the darkness? Will he make a miraculous comeback? Or will he pull the pin on his parliamentary career, and move to the U.S. where some believe he belongs?

Some might find such trepidation, caused by one very unimpressive individual to be over-wrought, but it is no exaggeration to describe him as a catastrophe dodged.

The single worst prime minister in our history, aided and abetted by the most aimless, and spineless collection of chancers and rent-seekers ever gathered. And yet he went close to setting up a government which was almost impossible to remove.

The power of the Murdoch press pack is still very much in evidence in Australia, but the rise of the independent media, and the very powerful effect of the Twittersphere, undermined what looked like a forever government.

Anthony Albanese’s day 1 failure to name the unemployment figure also gave rise to fears that Labor’s run would be sabotaged. The performance of the ABC and its political commentators was woeful, probably fuelled by the constant threats of funding cuts, and the intimidation by the ministry.

But failures in disaster management, naked vote-buying which favoured, as always, LNP electorates; the performance of electoral liabilities like Matt Canavan and George Christensen was a reminder of how low our democracy had fallen.

On any measure now the opposition will be made up of the remnants of the shattered Liberal Party, and also by those in the National Party who escaped annihilation by the skin of their teeth, but are too obtuse to know that their time must be nearly up.

Peter Dutton is so spectacularly unsuitable as a leader of anything, that it immediately forces one to cast around for something, anyone, to present an alternative government. Of course looking at Dutton’s performance since rising to the leadership could fill one with despair.

Instead of looking contrite and accepting the crushing verdict of the voters, his first words as opposition leader were to suggest that he would be ‘on hand’ to clean up Labor’s “inevitable mess” in 2025.

No sense of looking for redemption. No shame regarding his own failures, from his first days as a minister. No embarrassment regarding Australia’s fall from grace within the international community. No regrets about the fate of refugees, stranded and victimised by a series of bullies, as Morrison allowed his cabinet to participate in some group cruelty.

Appointing Angus Taylor as the Treasury shadow serves to highlight the lack of able members to choose from. His known difficulty with numbers, a la Clover Moore, and also emissions reduction, and his vulnerability on matters of integrity regarding water related matters, means that possibly the most important role in opposition is being filled by someone who will struggle, especially against such a polished performer as Jim Chalmers.

There was never any acknowledgement that the election was fought on climate action, fixing corruption and a demand for honest government. Every action the LNP took, from the botched pre-selections in New South Wales, to the last minute weaponisation of prejudice against trans-gender kids, to the memories of Robodebt, added up to a tone-deaf government which people did not just want gone, but one that many actually feared.

The only possible excuse for the conscious bastardry shown by the LNP through nine long years is that they were all struck with a group hysteria, in which they lost their minds, and their moral compasses, in the naked arrogance of never-ending power.

That is why so many in the community, with little or no interest in politics, finally woke up to the nasty excesses, the blame shifting and the outright theft, and mis-use of taxpayers’ funds.

How can we be expected to accept members of parliament with the obvious character flaws of some of the casualties of ‘the reckoning’? For such it was.

We woke up that the leader was from a religious cult, who only recently admitted, through a ‘sermon’ he gave at Margaret Court’s very own church, that he doesn’t believe in government, and thus does not believe in democracy.

 

 

His playbook was spectacularly unsuited to Australian conditions. We are not a nation of religious bigots. We are not a nation of patriarchal misogynists. We are a nation which has always honoured the principles of fairness and justice before the law.

We have always believed that our representatives must act in a manner befitting their high status, and the rewards which accrue to politicians.

Morrison and his ‘vandals’ trashed the conventions, laying bare the lack of regulation and accountability, which had never been so nakedly exposed as it was by the behaviour of the LNP government.

If you are confronted by visions of Barnaby Joyce, apparently the worse for wear railing about whatever the issue of the day was, then Australia’s voters decided to disempower this collection of misfits, and to give the other team a go.

Anthony Albanese is not much of a speaker, and he can stumble on a simple answer, but he appears to be decent, caring, and competent. These qualities are in short supply, and especially on the opposition front bench.

Simon Birmingham is what I would call an old fashioned Liberal. He appears to be decent, caring, and competent. I expect that in the not too distant future, the LNP rump, following a couple of disastrous polls on Dutton and Ley, will decide the neo-liberal far right experiment has failed, and will attempt to reset the coalition.

Sadly the coalition parties have been stripped of talent, and so we could see a Labor government for years to come. That poses a series of future problems. A good government needs a good opposition. Morrison has pretty much made that impossible.

 

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17 comments

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  1. ozfenric

    “A good government needs good opposition.” That’s a furphy, a deliberate mistruth, that says more about the person making the claim than about the nature of government. The claim is justifiable if you accept the premise that all governments are bad by nature. That’s sailing dangerously close to “We don’t trust governments”, as some have said recently. If it were true, if even a good government will go rogue without a well-organised team in opposition, it suggests that anything a government does must be bad – and anything the opposition does, by extension, must be good. That sort of thinking gives us Tony Abbotts to our Julia Gillards. Opposition for opposition’s sake.

    It might be more true to say governments get the oppositions they deserve. Instead of “A good government needs good opposition”, I would suggest that “A bad government needs good opposition”. If the government is corrupt, or working against the interests of the majority, or otherwise doing “bad” things, then an opposition – even one like Dutton’s rump – can be a threat. A rabble in opposition can become the good opposition if they have a good to work towards.

    Similarly, a good government needs a bad opposition. If Albanese’s new government makes good on its promises, reforms the machinery of government, ends the climate wars and re-engages with the world as a respected partner, and brings a compassionate respect for the public it was elected to serve, then the last thing we need is Dutton and co. being emboldened and contrary for the sake of having something to say. That’s the situation Joe Biden is in at present – leading a good government but obstructed at every turn by a powerful and intransigent opposition. I’m not claiming that everything Biden wants to do is good, because he’s clearly no Bernie Sanders, but the point is that he, like Obama, will find his ambitious policy agenda blocked at every turn.

    “…the coalition parties have been stripped of talent, and so we could see a Labor government for years to come.” This is in no way a bad thing.

  2. Mark Buckley

    Ozfrenic,
    “That’s a furphy, a deliberate mistruth, that says more about the person making the claim than about the nature of government.”
    IMO government and oppositions, in an ideal world, engage in a contest of ideas. Your assumption that the reason for having an opposition at all is to merely stop governments going rogue, is simplistic and wrong.
    Good oppositions hold governments to account, and if we’re lucky enough to have a quality opposition, it surely must raise the standards of the government. Sometimes, with consensus, opposition and government actually co-operate.

  3. Terence Mills

    I saw Question Time today and what a change : questions got answered, Albanese was on top of his game and the new Speaker looks as though he has the ability to run the show impartially.

    I don’t think Morrison has any desire to return to Canberra and for him to choose to go to an inconsequential meeting of the little known International Democratic Union in Tokyo is very odd : I have searched online for this group’s agenda but found nothing of consequence beyond them being a fringe right-wing conservative think tank based in Germany.

    It is an insult to his electorate that he hasn’t even turned up for the first week of the new parliament : he should resign on his return from Japan and get out of the way. This man has done immeasurable damage to the Liberal party and was even worse as a prime minister than Tony Abbott and that’s saying a lot.

  4. ozfenric

    Might have to agree to disagree. Personally I’m very happy to see Labor elected with a bit of clear air, an obstructive Senate being quite enough to deal with. If they prove to be disappointing, then in three years’ time at the next election their opposition might grow, and that’s what will “hold them to account”. Note that I don’t say “The Opposition”. Labor’s opposition in 2025 will, hopefully, be made up of a range of political views and opinions, all of them hewing closer to actual policy and considered approaches than Morrison’s lot ever did. Wishing for a good opposition does not need to mean the Liberal party. If you’re looking for a contest of ideas, I’m not sure the Liberals/Nationals are a good place to go looking. Not since John Howard, at least.

  5. Harry Lime

    Only disagree on one point Mark,I find Birmingham to be a creepy hypocrite,re “you voted for us”when questioned about the blatant corruption taking place in his party.I think it was Insiders.Who’d want to be a’ team player’ when your ‘team’ is rotten to the core…they all went along for the ride,which, happily resulted in a catastrophic crash,and a lot of deserving victims…hello Josh,hello Tim.

  6. Phil Pryor

    it’s a good opposition, gutted, as many had no guts (or brains) either by past actions. Peter Duckwit-Futton has an abundance of stupidity, making up for his reliance on ignorance, which he would feel was bliss. It is a leached opposition, malnutritional, starved of talent (hah) and lacking balance, vision, foresight. Puppets of corporate representation, no doubt well paid at least in donations, future sinecures, largesse, this opposition can oppose all it likes. It has a terrible record, indefensible. As for the lost slug, Morrison, a vacuum wrapped in emptiness inside a blackhole, may he disappear miraculously up his suctional Khyber…

  7. Mark Buckley

    Harry Lime: Well, I suppose he is just the best they have. He is sometimes disappointing, but at least he acknowledged the election was about climate, and integrity. I still think Dutton will not last.

  8. Michael Taylor

    A good government needs a good opposition.

    That’s more or less what we’d hear every day in Canberra, or if not, one of these:

    “A government is only as bad as the opposition lets them be,” or “A government is only as good as the opposition demands of them.”

  9. Kerri

    What needs to be exploded is the line Dutton and co. are pushing that they have a mandate, by virtue of the people who voted for them, to continue the same lines of claptrap that got them voted out! Last time I checked my dictionary, a “mandate” is a majority. And whilst I question whether a slim majority meets the bench mark for a “mandate” I am pretty certain a minority does not. But having said that I am more than happy to keep Dutton and co. in their roles. Heaven forbid someone more electable than Dutton should step into the breach.
    BTW have a read of the reports on Queensland police corruption and consider the worth of a “good” opposition being spawned from that swamp?

  10. B Sullivan

    Kerri: “Last time I checked my dictionary, a “mandate” is a majority”

    So Labor cannot claim a mandate, with less than a third of the electorate’s support, to justify sticking to its unambitious election promises on Climate Action. Labor can justify, with the support of the Greens and the Teals, to doing not just more, but everything it needs to do to address this emergency. Its policy of lip service has to end, along with Government subsidies to fossil fuel.

    I saw Albanese on 7.30 last night and he sounded so much like Scott Morrison you’d think he was quoting him verbatim.

  11. ajogrady

    Albanese and Marles unequivocal acceptance of AUKUS and ceding our defence procurement to USA needs and not Australia’s makes them just puppets for the USA. They should be very weary of the USA’s motives. It’s a sordid story with much historical precedent illustrating how at the drop of a hat Uncle Sam is liable to hang erstwhile “allies” out to dry. As American elder statesman Henry Kissinger once noted, the U.S. doesn’t have permanent allies, it only has interests. Anyone who accepts American patronage must know that the small print in the contract always reads: to be dumped at any time of Uncle Sam’s choosing and convenience.
    Some 47 years ago, the Fall of Saigon saw the United States scurry away from a corrupt puppet regime it had propped up in South Vietnam as the North Vietnamese communists finally routed the redundant American pawns.
    Afghanistan is the most glaring proof perhaps since the Fall of Saigon in 1975 of that American treachery. It’s a cautionary tale for others who incredibly still seem trusting in hitching their wagon to a U.S. alliance.

    A nation run by bankers will never be out of debt.
    A nation owned by weapons manufacturers will never know peace.
    A nation that allows a small segment of its citizens to write the laws will never know justice.
    And if these elements own the media, we will never know the truth.
    James Rozoff Author.

    West’s bid to subvert others is no longer a secret

  12. Canguro

    Albanese could, if he wished, win (local) (near) universal admiration by following the example of former NZ prime minister David Lange and ban further military association with the Great Satan. What would the cost be, to shut down Pine Gap, to evict the marines from the NT, to quit acting as a proxy unregistered US state or unwelcomed colony? A lot of squawking from the mouthpieces of Great Satan, a lot of verbose dark rumblings about consequences; aside from all of that, SFA.

    Take a leaf out of Paul Keating’s book and recognise that our future lies in strengthening ties with Asian neighbours.

    And give Great Satan the proverbial finger it deserves. After all, it’s not as if we depend on that rotten empire for our survival. And it’s not as if we’re on the verge of being attacked or overrun. And it’s not as if China has any designs on us aside from a bit of economic pressure when we get a bit too up ourselves and (ridiculously) rattle and shake the ‘Let’s threaten China’ can.

  13. crisflitz

    By calling them “The Opposition”, they’re always expected and anticipated to oppose. By having intelligent debates, being flexible and open to others points of views, perhaps we could have consensus now and then. I know this scenario is highly unlikely but rather than empathy training, perhaps philosophy & thinking training would be more appropriate and valuable.

  14. 2353NM

    A good government does need a good opposition.

    No one has the exclusive on being right all the time, a good opposition can contribute to legislation to make it better, however it requires an opposition that can sit down with the government and come to a consensus.

    Turning up at Question Time and rehashing old disproven material – as Dutton did this week – isn’t good opposition.

  15. GL

    crisflitz,

    Intelligent debates and the LNP is one giant oxymoron and the waste of oxygen morons on the whining and bleating benches are proof of that.

  16. Michael Taylor

    Oh for the days to have a good government, and a good opposition, and a good mainstream media all at the same time.

    I’ve never seen it.

    I’ve seen some good governments, but not the other two on those occasions.

  17. Albos Elbow

    There is no honour among thieves.
    If they are screwing other people, there is no difference for them not to fuck one of their own up the arse.

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