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Morrison is not a Leader

By 2353NM 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President of the USA in the aftermath of the ‘Great Depression’ that commenced with the stock market crashes of 1929. Rather than riding out the Depression, promising business as usual at some point in the future, Roosevelt instituted a series of economic programs across the USA that focused on ‘the 3Rs’, relief for unemployed, recovery of the economy and reform of the financial system. Roosevelt also overcame the objections of a large isolationist campaign in the USA to provide help to the allied forces in World War 2, first of all through the ‘lend-lease’ program where armaments were ‘given’ to the allied forces and subsequently through a direct involvement in both the European and Asian ‘theatres’ of war. Arguably, Roosevelt also set the USA up for its financial and political domination of the remainder of the 20th Century.

In short, Roosevelt was a leader. He didn’t do everything correctly and despite being the President that repealed the USA’s prohibition, you could argue that in terms of the norms of 2020, his actions left a lot to be desired. However, in the terms of the era, his actions were radical and met by significant opposition with the US political and legal systems of the day. Sadly Australia’s response to the ‘Great Depression’ was nowhere as near as successful. The economy in Australia remained generally depressed until the economic stimulus caused by additional expenditure on raising and outfitting the military at the commencement of World War 2.

Conversely in the current malaise generated by COVID 19, Australians are certainly managing better than the Americans from a medical viewpoint. When compared on most measures, Australia is one of the world’s leaders in ‘flattening the curve’ and reducing deaths while managing to maintain some economic activity. Despite the marketing, the leadership we are seeing is not due to the actions of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Sure, he is making the right noises and seems to be (generally) saying the right things, but there is a disconnect between Morrison’s actions and the marketing of the actions.

Paul Bongiorno recently discussed Morrison’s leadership throughout the current pandemic in The Saturday Paper (paywalled). It is noted that

Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures — or to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western Australia and Queensland. The Liberal-governed states of Tasmania and South Australia escaped his censure.

If the ‘mood of the nation’ is represented by the survey conducted by The Australia Institute in May where 3 in 4 Australians surveyed supported state border closures, the misreading was not something that could be claimed to be within any reasonable margin of error.

However, Morrison was still supporting failed politician and self-described ‘businessman’ Clive Palmer’s Court Case against the West Australian Government’s border restrictions during July and August, until a campaign was mounted by the (only) Perth newspaper. Morrison issued the instruction to federal Attorney-General (and Western Australian) Christian Porter to withdraw from the case. It was a rushed decision — the previous week, according to Bongiorno, Porter was texting WA Government’s Attorney-General, taunting him for being on the losing side.

In March, the ACTU called for payment of two weeks ‘pandemic leave’ for all those who are required to self-isolate. Morrison ignored the request which has to an extent worsened Victoria’s recent ‘second wave’ as those that couldn’t afford to stay home and isolate went to work and assisted the pandemic to spread. Recently the Unions and the Business Council of Australia wrote a joint letter to the Coalition Government again requesting pandemic leave — which Morrison has since agreed to, initially as a Victoria only arrangement, a couple of days later the payment was extended if required across the country.

Over at The Guardian, Greg Jericho has been looking at wages policy over recent years and — surprise, surprise — wages generally haven’t been growing at or better than inflation for about seven years (or 2013 — when the Coalition was elected to government). As Jericho suggests

As the pandemic crisis continues, we need to focus not just on the economic recovery but what kind of economy and society we want that recovery to lead to — because the government is using this crisis to push its agenda.

Discovering this week that 2.5 million people are either out of work or underemployed is pretty scary, but add in record low wages growth and you can understand people being fearful of what the future holds.

Morrison is talking about flexibility for employers to enable them to employ more people, however as Jericho notes

Flexibility is always code for the ability to reduce employees’ hours. And with that comes lower wages growth because workers constantly feel pressure of a trade-off between better wages for fewer hours.

The government is negotiating with employer groups and the ACTU for changes to the IR system, but has threatened to “go it alone” should no agreement be reached by the end of this month.

In addition to his lack of understanding of public opinion and lack of regard for the economic circumstances of those with insecure or low paid work, Morrison’s government is the responsible authority for aged care in Australia and there have been a number of COVID 19 clusters based in aged care homes. Morrison is attempting to duck shove responsibility back to the states, as demonstrated in Victoria where the state government were supplying staff to operate privately owned aged care homes as this article was being prepared. Greg Jericho also commented

This week as well, the head of Scott Morrison’s Covid advisory commission, former gas company director Nev Power, confirmed to a Senate committee that the commission was pushing for a gas-led recovery rather than one underpinned by a shift towards renewable energy.

The government is clearly using the crisis to favour fossil-fuel energy and sideline renewables as it hopes people’s attention has shifted from the climate-change crisis. (By the way, the first half of this year was the second hottest on record.)

Roosevelt took advantage of a crisis to make a better USA. You would hope Morrison and those that support him can live with the realisation that they could have made a better Australia for the next 50 to 70 years — and blew it.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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11 comments

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  1. Lawrence S. Roberts

    ScoMo didn’t get there by accident. The rolling of Turnbull and the irregularities of the last election would indicate energies outside of the parliamentary Liberal party. The peculiar wording of ‘the herd immunity’ suggestion, as if the cull might follow. The ambiguous stance of the Murdoch media of; ‘business as usual’ versus – ‘take cautious care’. Is it really that they are hopelessly out of their depth or are they using the crisis to further the I.P.A. Agenda.

    Small business and mortgagees are feeling the pain while the stock market and big business is robustly healthy. Another shake-down of the middle classes to the benefit of the few. We could speculate that the Prime Minister and his Treasurer are fall-guys in the biggest displacement of money the Commonwealth has ever seen.

    This pandemic is predicted to run for 30 to 40 months, which would bring a weary electorate to the polls. On present statements from the opposition; would they do any better? No ideas seem forthcoming, just the usual sniping and boring Labor rhetoric.

  2. pierre wilkinson

    Morrison et al are incapable of thinking beyond the next election and trying to achieve the IPA agenda as soon as they can,
    meanwhile, sinecures, untended contracts, sports rorts, regional development rorts, angus #1 #2 and #3, barnaby #4 #5, well who knows how many,
    and then there are The ANNOUNCEABLES !!!!
    absolutely no plan for delivery, but who cares… certainly not the MSM

  3. Phil Pryor

    Are we talking of the spineless, gutless, brainless, heartless, shitskull P M, our own Pathetic MKoron, Piltdown Man, Putrid mentality? He is a poor Follower, no leader, but up the back of the pack, taking orders, using stunts, favours, schemes, sucking for donors, patrons, Big Bastards of Business, following wishes of the Huge media Maggot, the yanko wanko old shrivelled turd of treachery, ex-patriate money gouging, phone Tapping, government coercing, double crossing, fascist fraudy fantasising fuhrer of filth, froth, fabrication and fellatio friendly fellowships of greedy anuses gouging any money going, what a super shower of shit to endure as citizens…

  4. New England Cocky

    When has there been a LIarbral Nazional$ ”leader” who put the interest of the Australian voters ahead of the interests of foreign owned multinational corporations that make political donations to the Party? Certainly not the past three, Scummo, Turdball and RAbbott!!

    Howard was a self serving small minded puppet of the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection, Fraser was a born-to rule grazier who went broke in the Lloyds Collapse and Billy MacMahon was regarded as the worst Prim Monster before Scummo took the title hands down. Holt allegedly committed suicide in the surf so we are back to Pig Iron Bob Menzies, who resigned his Australian Army commission on the first day of WWI.

    Not really any talent and all under the thumb of the English bankers.

  5. RosemaryJ36

    A leader looks to what we need to aim for and then persuades us to help get there.
    Morrison is policy-bereft and a bully-boy who grabs an idea and tries to force it on us.
    Parliament must force him to realise that he must change tack because he is heading for the rocks!

  6. Andrew J. Smith

    Agree, when you hear radical right libertarian think tanks, MPs and related media make statements e.g. ‘Flexibility’, always assume the Orwellian doublespeak or opposite…. another is cutting costs, prices or taxes for voters when it is for the top end of town and/or corporate entities.

    Unfortunately it’s enough for many voters whom will not suffer the consequences e.g. Brexit promises voted for by pensioners with guaranteed minimum incomes….. see that’s going really well….

  7. John Boyd

    It is quite clear that the LNP approach is an austerity program like the policies of the Lyons Menzies government during the great depression which for ten years maintained unemployment to over 10% right up to the beginning of WW2. Who can forget Menzies famous words: ‘Rather than that Australia should fail to pay her honest debts to her bondholders, I would prefer to see every man, woman and child in Australia die of starvation in the next six months’ (May 3, 1931).

  8. Brad Black

    There has to be some point before the next election where morrison’s failures become obvious to a majority of voters, to those who still think the bloke has them ‘covered’. Surely 9 years of well below average governance from a political party controlled by compromised intellect and greed would dawn on the dimmest of our fellow countrymen and women. Because by the time of the next election, on present course, with backward LNP policies, it won’t be just the economy up shit creek. Not even the murdog press will be able to gloss over the queues lining up outside soup kitchens.

  9. Matters Not

    Yes Morrison is not a leader. Rather, he is the leader! He is the Prime Minister. He is the leader of the Liberal Party. And because the Essential Research poll finds his approval re the handling of COVID-19 at 61% he is a rather popular leader. Thems the facts. That’s the objective reality. No point being in denial.

    All manner of reasons why he shouldn’t occupy that position. But he does! And if an election was held in the foreseeable future, the chances are he would still be the Leader – and in a stronger position.

  10. New England Cocky

    @MN: Yep!! The Liarbral Nazional$ misgovernment is a self inflicted wound and yes it is in the best interests of foreign owned and national corporations to keep him there where so they can continue to screw the Australian voters.

    You place too much reliance on the polls. When you only poll Liarbral supporters you get the required answers.

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