Written with Annasis Liz Kelly
Over the years Australia has had many politicians and governments who have applied one bandaid after another. Sadly, I feel in the case of the Morrison Government more than the average have been applied. My starting point here is to point out my obvious biased: I do not like the Prime Minister of Australia. He is misogynistic, racist, and corrupt to the core. Of course, that’s my opinion but it is one I feel many others share!
Scott Morrison received a lot of goodwill from the citizens of Australia over his early handling of the initial COVID-19 impact, closing the borders before the WHO suggested the move, requesting an investigation into the source of the virus, plus many others. Good will that has quickly unravelled. Let’s face it, this is due to the numerous transparent bandaids applied to both the small and major issues affecting our country.
Many missteps and mismanagements have been seen during the pandemic. For me, the most shocking were the revelations that deaths within the Aged Care System made up 42% of all COVID-19 related deaths. Each new death was another hole in the hearts of Australians, whether we knew the victims or not.
As soon as COVID-19 hit Australia it became obvious many Australians were going to lose their jobs. Sadly, his actions impacted the pretence that people on welfare payments are bludgers when he announced an additional allowance to the JobSeeker by a $550 payment each fortnight. Some economists have suggested financial assistance should have increased as per the CPI inflation rate; had they not been frozen some 25 years ago.
Australia learnt a few things based upon the sudden increase in the welfare payments:
1) Morrison knew the payments provided to Australians requiring financial assistance are too low to live upon. But he did not want the majority of the country to feel the same levels of poverty experienced by pensioners for decades.
2) Evidence showed that by raising the rates greatly improved pensioner’s lives. Some were granted opportunities to finally seek employment; others could feed themselves fresh healthy foods for the first time since they went onto the payments.
3) Our rich country can afford to give pensioners the much-needed increase towards their financial assistance.
The sudden rise told us that our Prime Minister is fearful of losing the next election, and the COVID-19 payments are a bribe as such.
Sadly, the same day JobKeeper ended, Brisbane and other areas of Queensland had 4 local transmissions of the more contagious and severe UK variant of COVID-19. With the added complication of a widespread contact tracing area due to the travel of the individuals now infected. Which means that one of the less transparent bandaids Morrison applied was ripped off. At a time it is still sorely needed by many Australian citizens. The removal was rather painfully removed, too.
There are numerous bandaid implementations put forth and others maintained when they should have been removed. The Morrison Government established enough votes to extend the ‘test’ of the Cashless Debit Card (CDC Indue Card) during the pandemic, creating a widespread lack of available cash accessible to pensioners. Implementation of this program acts as a punitive manner towards the lowest social class of our society; purely for the fact that they are unfortunately found in the situation of needing financial assistance to live. Individuals already forced to live well below the poverty line are now struggling to purchase second-hand goods when first-hand are unaffordable, cannot catch buses to job interviews, or have been forced to carry armloads of shopping when they are unable to catch a taxi home. Unable to attend family birthday celebrations and forget about going for a coffee with the Mother’s group because that requires dipping into that 20% portion of your payment allocated as cash.
What’s worse is the Indue Card is not able to be used when there is a power outage. As evident in WA currently, many CDC recipients have had outages due to the recent cyclone that’s passed. In some cases, having to drive many kilometres to get even a bottle of milk with the tiny amount of cash that they are forced to have because of the Indue Card. Because they will only have access to a tiny portion of their welfare payments. But this is not the first instance of power outages preventing individuals from accessing their money. This failure has occurred many times in the Card’s short lifespan.
The absence of service accessibility within Indigenous communities experience all round are amplified when payments are tied up by Indue or Basics Cards. With food prices three times higher than other regions of the country a cashless system has created further hardships in the face of health and nutrition. The Northern Territory frequently lose power to the remote townships at a rate Australians would consider unacceptable. During these power outages the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples starve when there is no money to buy anything from the local store. The Morrison Government ordered a report to be created supporting and validating the Cashless Welfare System; it was allocated to Parliament members only but was leaked to the public.
For us (Jennifer and Annasis) all good will towards the Morrison Government disappeared instantly when he denied this country’s relationship with slavery. The most senior leader within this country who has refused the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including the truth telling aspect, has shown he has no understanding towards the First People of these lands. His denial refused people like Jennifer her own family history; in favour of saving himself a form of ancestral guilt due to his family history within this country.
When he changed one word in what we call a racist national anthem, he broke our hearts and Jennifer welcomed the New Year with tears of pain. Days later Scott Morrison was determined to centre the ‘hardships’ experienced by his ancestors as more important than the genocides that of the Indigenous Peoples. The PM gleefully told Australia he is a descendant of the First Fleet, which to us says he is a man whose ancestors played a part in merely 10% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations surviving the war of invasion of what he calls a Settled Colony. He knows his side of the Aussie propaganda, but he has failed to educated himself about the people he serves. Morrison does not know the many nationalities of this country and that leads him to ultimately undervalue people like Jennifer and other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, plus the many other nationalities within these shores. Which means we cannot trust the man leading our country. A little bit of advice for the Prime Minister; in 1838 Police Magistrate Edward Denny Day described the Myall Creek Massacre as a “War of Extermination”. We beg him and other Australians to look honestly into the history of these lands through the eyes of the First Australian’s. Many will be shocked and disgusted at the truth behind the propaganda and lies taught by the colonial side of this continent. Such as the meaning associated with the term ‘settled colony’; which suggests no lands were ceded and no people were conquered.
But we lost even more respect when our country burned during Black Summer. As an Aboriginal Jennifer’s spirit has been shared with Totems such as a species of Eucalyptus Tree, which means according to cultural beliefs, part of her own spirit (aka human soul) plus billions of her kin were killed due to a lack of action managing these great lands. Vision of the native wildlife such as koalas crying in agony still breaks our hearts. The Sydney Morning Herald stated “the 3 billion animals estimated to have been killed, injured or seen their habitat destroyed by the summer fires is now understood to have included 143 million mammals, 181 million birds, 51 million frogs and 2.46 billion reptiles.” There is no estimate on the number of plants that were lost during these fires, but we’ve all seen the images of how much bushland was lost during those fires. Imagine them as not plants and animals but your beloved family members and you may almost touch the pain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders felt during Black Summer.
Our anger flares at the knowledge that many Australians are struggling to put a roof over their heads after the next year’s bushfire season comes to an end. More so at the unused bushfire prevention fund that has not seen a single dollar spent. These two facts make me wonder if the Prime Minister is concerned over the damage and trauma caused to the lives of this continent; trauma that I extend to the lives of the animals, too.
More recently after all the explosive scandals involving sexual violence and abuse of women from within the Morrison Government. From the Liberal Staff Member who Brittany Higgins has alleged raped her, through to the allegations denied by Christian Porter and to Linda Reynolds. Scott Morrison has shown the women of Australia time and again that he not only does not understand he does not consider women’s rights of value to him or the Liberal Party in general. Not only did most LNP Members, including the PM fail to attend the March for Justice, yet Scott Morrison found the time to shake hands and enjoy himself with the Sharks Rugby League Team in their locker rooms, resulting in further scorn from an Aussie woman. Marise Payne in her role as Minister for Women likewise did not walk outside her building to listen to the voices of the people she serves. Yet found time to go on SkyNews to talk about Women’s Rights; a minister now described by the PM as the Prime Minister for Women? I do not understand how Australia can effectively have two Prime Ministers within our democratic society with very clear rules determined by our system. I guess it’s another thing he’s going to have to explain to the country.
Shockingly, when Andrew Laming’s appalling behaviour was revealed Morrison did not punish his harassment of his own constituents nor the up-skirting photo he took. Both are arguably criminal behaviours, neither are being prosecuted. Instead of treating these as the crime they are, even after Laming admitted to them, the Prime Minister ordered his minister first to apologise in parliament, which he later laughed off, before being sent off to empathy training. Empathy First Training and Coaching Founder Leanne Butterworth laughed at the idea of Laming being ordered into empathy training. Describing the necessary steps that will need to be reached before Laming will behave in a fit and proper manner as “consequences and a ton of therapy” then going on to say “Laming would need pretty intense empathy training to see the improvement in his behaviour the PM is hoping for.”
Scott Morrison has again used platitudes to protect members within his party: Stating Laming was elected by his constituents and that he will take leave to access professional mental health support and undertake the mandated Empathy Training. Which has come after he admitted his guilt in the criminal activity; but the PM has confirmed Laming has his confidence. In the same way he has Linda Reynolds and Christian Porter from the accusations against him. Goes a long way to showing the Australian public how much he truly understands the will of the people he serves not to mention the standards associated with our legal system. Nobody is above the law, all citizens are residents are equal. Many Aussies want to know how more than one politician has not been held accountable for a wide range of alleged criminal offences. More so Laming after publicly admitting to them. Furthermore, the lack of support and acknowledgement shown towards the women of Australia falls squarely in the sights of equal human rights. After more than 30 countries pointed at Australia in February 2020 to accuse us of violating them; this is not a good look and makes us an even bigger laughingstock to the world.
Seems to people like me, that when the experts talk, the Prime Minister closes his eyes and sticks his fingers in his ears then silently chant his own mantra regarding his supreme abilities to lead the country. I only see transparent bandaids. Much to the pleasure of many Australian’s Andrew Laming has now been blocked by his own party.
What I find absurd and confronting is that SA radio FiveAA have held their host Jeremy Cordeaux to a higher standard than the PM has expects of his ministers. Cordeaux was sacked for his ‘silly little girl who got drunk’ comments directed towards Brittany Higgins account of her alleged rape. All while Scott Morrison has used used similarly dismissive language to hide Linda Reynolds for her offensive comments because they were meant to be private. But I ask how private is a work place? They are a public space where anyone can overhear what is said. Public spaces are not generally classified as a private particularly when others are around, leading me to question why the most senior leader of this country think they are for his workspace? After using phrases including the ‘rule of law’ to essentially shield Christian Porter.
Ending March 2021 with a portfolio reshuffle that neglects to hold any individuals responsible for less than acceptable behaviours, applies another bandaid that would fail the test of the real world outside of Parliament. Does it tell Australia anything with regards to the PM’s religious views and his eagerness to participate in a similar manipulation of the system employed by Churches when they transfer sexual predators? Avoidance in an attempt to deflect accountability for their criminals, sound familiar to anyone?
But when the Prime Minister cannot even hold himself accountable for the way he treated Christine Holgate when he exploded in Parliament roaring; “She can go”. What chance does the LNP have of being a party of descent human beings? To be a considered one you must be part of the humankind. That takes being both human and kind. Can anyone honestly say this is true of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison? Obviously we have very little faith in the man’s abilities. What about the rest of this society who belong to the proposed ‘Lucky Country’?
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