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Morrison’s government fails major test of good faith.

“Art doesn’t imitate life, it imitates bad television”, quips Woody Allen.  ScoMo & Co’s reality TV Prime Ministership show, local franchise of the global schlock-horror melodrama of The House of Trump, sponsored by Multinational Oil Inc, exceeds our worst expectations this week. Our deep misgivings about its good faith are confirmed.

Frydenberg shills Philip Lowe into praising our tanking economy, trashing all vestige of RBA credibility as ScoMo re-runs Monster of the Third Chamber; kills any hope of constitutional recognition or voice to parliament for indigenous Australians – just to appease his right wing.

Daily, our Messiah from the Shire, the man without a plan, appears more a one seat wonder; every bit as impotent, inept and incoherent as either of his two immediate predecessors.  Daily, moreover, he seems to turn to theocracy rather than behave as the democratically elected representative of the people his political role entails.

Topping a top week, “Ecce ScoMo” gets invited to a nosh-up at a White House, once a type of confirmation ceremony, but it’s all going to hell under the current incumbent.

Trump backers attack the press in the Rose Garden, Thursday, an all-in brawl provoked by a reporter with the hide to ask Trump to take questions. Trump stalks off. He’s just ordered government to collect data it already collects, after failing to get a citizenship question on the US Census.  Sean Colarossi writes,

“The executive order meant to paper over his census loss went up in flames almost immediately – another loss for the president and his band of supporters.”

But help is on its way. When ScoMo scoots over to Washington in September, (if Dutton hasn’t toppled him), he’ll be sure to share his own media evasion tips. These include, as Immigration Minister, his infamous on water silences; then his abolishing press conferences altogether. Now it’s sooling the AFP on to nosey journos. At their homes.

The invite? It’s “a rare honour”, crows our ABC – equalled only by grovelling John Howard, Bush’s man of steel, a US lickspittle so keen to join in the killing of innocents; the illegal invasion of Iraq, that he lied, in 2003, to the parliament and people of Australia that he had legal authority. In fact, he had a couple of junior legal officers draw up a very specious case.

Howard still lies. Whistle-blower Andrew Wilkie quit his former job at the Office of National Assessments (ONA) in protest. He notes, “The US did not go to war in Iraq because of WMD and terrorism. Australia went to war in Iraq to support our alliance with the United States.”

Like his predecessor but with super-oleaginous sycophancy, Morrison is reviewing and  rehearsing ways to say “Yes, yes, yes!” to any request to join an illegal attack on Iran, although by September, Trump may have changed his plans several times.

He may have to. Report emerges from Sir Kim Darroch, Sunday, that Trump scrapped the Iran nuclear deal merely to spite Obama, “an act of diplomatic vandalism”  says the former British Ambassador who is promptly attacked by Boris Johnson as Boris performs his own act of subservience to Trump. It won’t silence Darroch.

In a wondrous case of art predicting the future – at least the generic, neoliberal political buffoon, HG Wells has a remarkably prescient image of Boris Johnson in A Dream of Armageddon (1901). Perhaps there’s more than a bit of ScoMo in the vision as well.

“He was one of those incredibly stupid energetic people who seem sent by Heaven to create disasters. His energy to the first glance seemed so wonderfully like capacity! But he had no imagination, no invention, only a stupid, vast, driving force of will, and a mad faith in his stupid idiot ‘luck’ to pull him through.” Wells would be happy substituting “Pentecostal faith” for luck.

Darroch highlights division among Trump’s advisors. And indecision. The White House lacks any ‘day-to-day’ strategy of what to do following withdrawal from the Iran deal. In other respects also, it lurches from chaos to catastrophe just as successfully as our own government.

But now, Trump’s past with registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, raises its ugly head.

Trump hosted Epstein as a guest at Mar-a-Lago, where he appears in photos in 1997 and 2000. Epstein’s little black book, leaked by an employee in 2009, contains 14 phone numbers for Trump, his wife, Melania, and several of his employees, reports Vanity Fair’s Eric Lutz.

Bill Clinton, a former frequent flyer with convicted paedophile, multi-millionaire money manager and sex-trafficker, Epstein aboard Jeff’s private 727 jet, nick-named the Lolita Express, an airborne bordello, is under the pump now that his friend, gigolo Jeffrey is indicted for sex trafficking minors, working-class girls to prostitute to the filthy-rich and perverted.

Trump is clearly worried that, he, too, needs to cover his tracks and they are extensive.

Trump once praised Epstein as, “a terrific guy .. who is a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.

Now, the US President is forced to say that he’s “not a fan”. The two had a falling out fifteen years ago. Times reporters assume this to be a sour business deal.

Epstein ran a shuttle service between Miami and New York. Trump is unlikely to have been a client. Yet the two were closer than The Donald admits, reports The New York Times on Tuesday. Trump’s association with Epstein, who was convicted in 2008 for soliciting underage girls for prostitution, includes the two co-hosting at Mar-a-Largo, a “calendar girl” competition in 1992, attended by twenty-eight girls and only two adults; organiser Trump and Epstein. The hopeful calendar girls were led to believe the contest would include many VIPs.

Trump fires his Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, former US Attorney in Miami, who negotiated a super-lenient, secret, “non-prosecution agreement” granting Epstein and his associates immunity from federal prosecution and a sentence of thirteen months in gaol for Epstein in 2008. The leniency included allowing the tycoon to leave prison to go to work each day and to hire his own private guards.

Epstein’s case makes our own corporate criminal, and thrice jailed national hero, Alan Bond’s final minimum security stretch in prison seem harsh. In 1997, Bond spent time in maximum-security Casuarina prison before transfer to minimum security Karnet Prison Farm – where he had his own art studio; four years for the biggest fraud in Australian corporate history – stripping over a billion dollars from Bell Resources shareholders.

Acosta’s dilemma is not without irony. A US Labor Secretary’s role is to protect workers and children from exploitation; enforcing laws on child labour and human trafficking. That’s the theory. In practice, Acosta may have acted to protect a sexual predator. Miami Herald investigative reporter, Julie K. Brown, estimates that in 2008, Epstein received “one of the most lenient sentences for a serial sex offender in U.S. history.”  

It is government by kakistocracy, the kleptocratic tyrants of a very bad soap opera.

Epstein’s Bust is also an event that rocks our own ruling class to its core; our age of obscene inequality, wage slavery, wage-theft and sexploitation, a melodrama in which the thrifty rich trumpet their virtuous ascendancy over the slothful working-poor, on whom our taxes are frittered to cover the prohibitive costs of a welfare safety net – plus tax cuts for the rich.

Unlike the prudent self-denying plutocrats, lower classes are addicts to instant gratification. As ScoMo implies, they are unworthy because we give a go (only) to those who have a go.

“The Epstein scandal blows holes through the foundational myths of our time, revealing them for the empty and sickening bromides used to justify obscene wealth and power and privilege that they really are,” observes The Washington Post’s Helaine Olen.

Barely days after sending him on a fool’s errand, to get consensus from the Liberal Party and its National Party abusive partners, in Beyond Our Ken, ScoMo pulls the rug from under Ken Wyatt and any justice or voice for Indigenous peoples. The right to be and to be heard. It is despicable betrayal of trust and Prime Ministerial responsibility.

In a parallel sub-plot entitled Labours of Hercules, bigot-whisperer, Christian Porter, a Jedi, meanwhile, gets a year to “workshop” Coalition colleagues into embracing Ruddock’s religious freedoms, a rear-guard ambush of marriage equality. At the same time, Israel Folau takes his homophobia to the Fair Work Commission in a cameo appearance in With God on My Side.

The preposterous notion that first peoples be heard by our law-makers; have a voice to parliament or any right to constitutional recognition is quickly denied by ScoMo as climate clown Craig Kelly makes a fool of him. Aboriginal people should just be Australian he says. The mineral lobby sponsored IPA calls The Voice racist.

Wilfully misrepresented, thank you Mal, as an impossible demand for a third chamber in parliament, right wing critics see The Voice as nothing less than an assault on our parliamentary democracy itself – which any fool can see is a sacred institution working flawlessly to serve the ruling elite, and as fairly run as the Uluru Camel Cup.

Or as fairly run as the Fair Work Commission (FWC), a Rudd legacy, which has been carefully stacked by the Coalition. Last December, Bill Shorten pointed out that the government had appointed twenty employer appointments in a row.

Israel Folau’s case to the Commission against his employer, Rugby Australia, is that he was punished for his religious beliefs when his contract was ended after his Instagram post that homosexuals were going to hell. Whilst Folau’s homophobic comments are mistaken by some for his religious freedom, the case will also expose the FWC.

And it may also embarrass Scott Morrison and our Social Service Minister Stuart Robert, currently in the gun with pensioners for his niggardly adjustment to pensioners’ deeming rates. Both have close ties with the homophobic Hillsong Church.

Righteousness exalts our nation as Stuart Robert escorts fellow evangelical ScoMo to the annual Hillsong cult conference show where Morrison leads 20,000-odd in prayer. ScoMo attends Horizon, a Hillsong affiliate.

Hillsong prospers from its 34,000 local congregation’s tithes and offerings to the tune of one hundred million dollars a year. Blessed are the poor in spirit.

The congregation gives Morrison a standing ovation. ScoMo then faffs around in dialogue with himself and the church and the nation claiming publicly that religious freedom is about “culture” not about the law when clearly it’s about both. ScoMo’s increasing reliance on his belief system to supplant his political role is a concern.

Most voters would rather see a government act on the science of climate change and measures to abate carbon emissions rather than see the PM pray for rain.

“Our nation needs more prayer, more worship. That’s how things are overcome.” In a min-sermon, the first Pentecostal PM in the English-speaking world calls for “an avalanche of love”.

More love? It’s up to Peter Dutton to continue the Coalition’s war on Shorten on Nine’s Today Show Friday, by telling Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, that his failure to expel CFMMEU Secretary John Setka from the Labor Party makes Bill Shorten look good.

“This country needs more love and less judgement.”  Dutto would do well to heed ScoMo who eerily echoes Hillsong’s Global Senior Pastor, Brian Houston’s, Message to Folau, April opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Less judgement? Brian was quick to judge his own father, Frank, sacking him from his role as pastor and head of Assemblies of God in 1999, when he was accused of the sexual abuse of nine boys – yet did not report the abuse to the police – records The Royal Commission in 2015.

Whilst he acknowledges that he understood his father’s acts to be criminal, Brian Houston made the judgement that he would conceal what he knew from the authorities. His grounds?

“Rightly or wrongly, I genuinely believed that I would be pre-empting the victim if I were to just call the police at that point.” “Genuine belief” trumps moral or legal responsibility?

And what precisely does he mean by pre-empting the victim? He’s pre-empting justice.

One of Frank’s victims, Brett Sengstock, routinely abused between the ages of seven and twelve, has publicly called upon Houston to explain why he did not report his father.

Instead, Frank was allowed to resign with a retirement package. Sengstock, who has terminal cancer, unsuccessfully sought compensation when it could not be proved Assemblies of God was responsible for the abuse he suffered.

Church service over, ScoMo can relax. Our nation is in good hands Gorgeous Gus Taylor, spivvy star of Watergate and fossil-fuel poster boy Energy Minister, continues his dazzling run by jacking up both electricity prices and carbon emissions. Power bills are up on average fourteen per cent last quarter. Carbon, energy and sustainability experts, Ndevr Environmental report that our direct emissions are at their highest since 2002.

For the 2017 financial year, our total emissions were 9.1 MtCO2-e more than the previous financial year and equivalent to an additional 3.37 million car exhausts over the same time.

At Taylor’s rates we won’t meet or beat our Paris emissions reduction targets. Or anything. But at least ScoMo’s rudderless, agenda-free yet bitterly divided government rivals Abbott’s in breaking election promises, as well as in austerity budgeting, although details of spending cuts, which will amount to forty billion a year by 2030, are still well-concealed from punters.

At the same time, money for “soil magic” (as Lenore Taylor calls carbon sequestration) is drying up as the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) runs out of funds and projects. The ERF was climate denialist Abbott’s fabulous scam to fork more pork to Coalition sponsors. Now he is out of pork, while pesky emissions rocket ever upward, plucky Gus is over a barrel. And soon he’ll have to face a senate committee.

To be fair, Taylor is flat out hosing down claims he breached ministerial guidelines in March 2017 when he asked, then Environment minister, Josh Frydenberg to water down law to let him poison critically endangered grasses on 30 hectares of family property at Monaro, NSW.

But Taylor’s only an Energy Minister with no policy. His frantic efforts are dwarfed by a Morrison government which has set no course beyond tax cuts, which is already at the mercy of its reactionary rump and which seems content to muddle through on a wing and prayer.

That it took but four days for the Prime Minister to abort Ken Wyatt’s mission and to dismiss a quest for recognition and a voice to parliament made through extensive community consultation and in good faith is bad enough – but to do so by reviving the lie that a voice for indigenous peoples is a demand for a third chamber is to dismiss an act of good faith with an act of bad faith, a monstrous abrogation of democratic process, social contract and human rights.

Forget its surplus fetish and its neoliberal idiocy with regard to flattening our progressive tax system and its war on the poor, especially those who have endured a Newstart that hasn’t changed in twenty-five years, the Morrison government has failed a far more serious test, a test of its capacity to govern in good faith and to govern for all Australians. It will find it impossible to recover.

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22 comments

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  1. Barry Thompson.

    Another great article David, thank you.
    “kakistocracy”-I love it.

  2. whatever

    I hope Scotty doesn’t get too excited when meeting Trump at the Whitehouse. Adult-size nappies might be required.

  3. David Tyler

    Is it a measure of who Scott Morrison is as a man that he has used Ken Wyatt as an Aboriginal man to create a propaganda storm of photo ops and positive media and has abandoned him and Aboriginal people at the first hint of dissent from all the usual racists.

    Tweet from 💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz)
    https://twitter.com/slpng_giants_oz/status/1150181033775472640?s=17

  4. Freethinker

    And all that nice references about Morrison considering that, quote: Everrest Ministries told a congregation of Hope City Church that Morrison’s elevation to power was divinely inspired.
    Remember that id Morrison was not elected the “darkness will come”?
    Well, he is in and we are in the dark and no hope of even a dim light in the future.
    Regarding Ken Wyatt, I cannot understand how he can believe that in being part of the Liberal government he will be able to make changes for his people.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Unfortunately, Ken Wyatt is a real lightweight. There is not a chance in hell that he will put up a fight against the likes of Kelly and Dutton. He stood beside Abbott beneath the signs calling Gillard a bitch and a witch. No Indigenous person with an ounce of pride would join up with the party who refused to acknowledge the Stolen Generation, who fought against native title, who staged the NT intervention, who introduced the cashless welfare card based on your post code, who thinks more truancy officers are the answer to getting kids to want to go to school, who legislated mandatory sentencing, who cut off services to remote communities…..etc etc

  6. Keitha Granville

    And yet, despite all of that litany of horror, a huge swathe of the ejector views for him and his cronies. As they did for Trump, and as they appear to be about to do for Boris
    Why?

  7. RomeoCharlie29

    Scomo reminds me of Turkey’s Erdogan, intent on ripping up Ataturk’s legacy of a secular Turkey and turning it Islamic. I see Scomo intent on replacing a secular Australia with a religious fiefdom where prayer and love will replace policy andpentecostalist economist —a tithe— will replace orthodox taxation policies, a tithe is, after all, just a flat tax. At least Morrison isn’t using Erdogan’s tactics of violent suppression, yet, but let’s see what happens when religious freedom legislation exerts its influence. A long bow?

  8. David Tyler

    Totally share your misgivings, Kaye. Morrison has been typically cynical in his choice of Wyatt. On top of what you’ve already shared, it’s incredible that the Minister is prepared to continue the Community Development Program, a racist work for the dole scam for indigenous people in regional areas, which does a top job of intimidating participants and imposing fines for non-attendance etc – with the net effect that young men in particular drop off the welfare system altogether sometimes for a couple of years at a time. Great fund-saver.

  9. Paul Davis

    In my humble opinion, there are a number of indigenous fellow travellers within political circles who enjoy the troughsnouting and the trappings of office as much as their caucasian counterparts. Just because they identify as indigenous we should not expect them to devote their political careers solely to indigenous causes, nor should we label them as uncle toms and aunty thomasinas when they behave in the same avaricious capricious manner as their white fellow gangsters. All politicians are just human beings, ok, there are several exceptions, eg, those who fervently and enthusiastically ensure those poor souls in our various on and offshore gulags continue to be tortured and brutalized; but politicians regardless of race, ethnicity or creed have in the main, two guiding principles, ie, get into power and stay in power. What it basically comes down to for the peasantry, ie, ninety percent of us, when we are forced to vote, is “who can you trust” and the answer is NEVER anyone who desires power over their fellows. Unfortunately, the Ted Macks of this world come only once or twice each generation. How many of our current parliamentarians are genuinely dedicated to building and maintaining a real commonwealth for everyone? Three, four, five possibly? None on the grubment benches.

  10. wam

    Sometimes we get cold in the north and its a two dog night this, david, is a two eye read and re-read.
    The evading and avoiding of the meagre mainstream questions is automatic to such a dissembler but hardly necessary, as the chance of a difficult question from any journalist is almost zero and the opposition is light. I thought your you comic relief giving howard steel instead of steal.
    Hasn’t the casting couch of the studio men gone from pimping parents to the depths of sophistication But aren’t these prosecutions echoing setka’s ‘eroding men’s perceived rights’.
    Scummo is constructing his house of cards secure in the knowledge it only has to be shown for the election period 2022. Without a big huff and puff from albo, it will see him through?

  11. Robin Alexander

    Disgustingly weak for PM to just use one of his party knowing full well he had no intention allowing indigenous people admitted to out constitution! Have to reLize his religeous beliefs are the have no time for less fortunate in community ie pensioners who depend on payment only not because theyhavent been workers? Indiginous! Asylum seekers!newstart! Disabled ! The less fortunate of society!wealthy are so welcome and blessed! Withso manydevout members we have just reasons to be very afraid future? The have no idea how togovern only spend huge amounts our debt gets more out of hand every day? Hidden well like everything!

  12. New Bruce

    And in 3ish years time Australia will go to yet another election with the current set of incompetent dickheads being portrayed as the only possible choice to make by our one sided media.
    Unless and until We the Voter get off our backsides and actually start to object, sanely, politely, but loudly, nothing is going to change.

    I was talking to a supermarket lady 2 days ago about the prices of stuff, and the costs of existing for us “older” Australians. She surpised me when she told me that she had voted against Labor for the first time ever because she didn’t want to pay more tax, and she only really understood what the lnp bullshit was all about when her grand-daughter explained the details to her AFTER the election. She has a disabled son, her grand-daughters are at Uni, and she and her husband are both working to pay off their mortgage. They are 60ish.

    Its all very well for those of us who understand the reality of the situation to get on here and read the wise words of JL and KL et al, and all of the other many others who keep our eyes open, and then write our angry responses, but what are we going to DO about it, because Australia, and Australians don’t have another 3 years in us?

  13. Freethinker

    New Bruce, IMO (and I admit it, I am pessimistic) until the majority of the people lost all their possessions of which they are prisoners and struggle to make ends meet we will not have people joining the union movement and be in the streets protesting against this government.
    People have mortgaged their freedom with credits that cost a large percentage of their income to pay and cannot afford to lose one hour of work to protect their rights.

  14. David Tyler

    PM has power to answer own prayers argues Brad Chilcott.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Brad Chilcott writes good stuff. This article is also well worth reading…..

    Scott Morrison loves “quiet Australians”. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government especially loves quiet charities, quiet scientists, quiet environmentalists, quiet journalists, quiet human rights commissioners, quiet workers in quiet unions and a quiet public broadcaster. It will burn for anyone who stays quiet – and threaten to burn down anyone who raises their voice.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/08/the-attempts-to-pressure-charities-into-political-silence-dont-happen-in-isolation

  16. Phil

    It was Len Hancock the mining magnate who is on record as saying, ‘ Poison the Aboriginal water holes ‘ Most of the members of the Morrison government would think no different than Hancock. Dutton would no doubt have them all on reservations and treated like so many cattle. Wyatt is either naïve as the day is long or your typical coconut, the great Harry Belefonte would no doubt refer to Wyatt as, the ‘ House Slave ‘ a slave that sells out his principles to sit at the table with his master.

    Aboriginals will never get a seat at the ‘ Whiteman’s Table ‘ as long as there is a Tory government in power. They are hoping to breed them out, die from disease, they just want the problem to go away. The only chance they had was with a government that had some sympathy for their culture and their welfare. For mine only a Whitlam – Keating or a Hawke could have achieved any of their aspirations. This only when the time was right and they weren’t going to up set all the ‘ Rednecks ‘ out in the bush.

    I wish people would just call a Spade a bloody Spade most Tories are bigots and everything else is utter bollox.

    Anyone under any illusion right wingers aren’t bigots, how’s the latest from Trump. He has told his own congress women who look on the dark side to go back to the crime ridden shit holes they came from. All but one were born in the USA.

    Aboriginals believing they will get anything out of this government are in the ” Dreamtime ‘ as the great George Carlin said ‘ You have to be asleep to believe it.

  17. Freethinker

    Phil, is interesting that the Brazilian government under Bolsonaro is extreme right and he and his ministers are Evangelists or Pentecostalist and regarding the native Indians the government has invoked “national security” to trample over the constitutional rights of indigenous people.
    The similarities of their ideology with the Morrison government are very similar and Dutton would not think twice to limiting the Aborigins rights under security laws.

  18. Phil

    Freethinker
    July 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Agree with all that. Yes the similarities are breath taking.

    Most members of the Morrison government could care less about the Aboriginal owners of this land. Dutton has all the hall marks of a Nazi I loath the bastard.

    I can remember vividly how Aboriginals were treated in the sixties it was disgusting.

    You know when I pause for thought, it is a wonder they haven’t taken up arms against us in the modern context..

    I remember watching an interview with a Maori leader and sixty minutes. He said or words to that effect. ‘ If all the Maori people acted as one there would have never been a treaty of Waitangi. They would have kicked the white man out. We are headed for a world of shit and I can taste it.

  19. David Tyler

    Kaye – thank you. Magisterial clarity and authority from Brad Chilcott. His conclusion is worth sharing here – it’s another tip ScoMo could take to The not-so-White House when he attends that dinner in honour of his sycophancy.

    While The Donald discourses on the merit of treating the press as the enemy – along with borders so tough they violate human rights, Morrison can talk about how we do all this, too PLUS we gag our charities but allow any tinpot right-wing group full access to all media.

    This is especially evident on ABC The Drum where each week, it seems, there’s a right wing twerp spreading disinformation whose organisation you’ve never heard of before. Hard to keep up, there’s so many.

    A sure-fire way to blur an issue is to present it via a panel where there are fatuous arguments against a clean environment, for example, for the sake of balance.

    =================================================================
    “The pattern is clear – no one in Australia should suggest that a better future is possible, and that it may be achieved through a democratic process informed by truth-telling and measurable facts.

    Scott Morrison and his government do love quiet Australians – and they’ll go to any lengths to keep us that way.”

    Brad Chilcott

  20. Phil

    ‘ Phil, yes I read about the Trumptsers latest bombshell. The guy is off the rails.’

    For mine he should be removed from office. He is nuts and dangerous.

    I hope he’s gone before he brings on another war.

  21. David Tyler

    Free-lance writer Kara Schlegl shares this insight in Crikey today. Writes of seeing images of Morrison lit by purple and green disco lights. Argues ScoMo’s presence was political.

    The pictures bring back the gut-punch disappointment I felt when tagging along with a friend to an annual Hillsong conference. She’d described the event as a “massive concert”, but what I found was an ocean bed of teens swaying to mournful Christian-rock ballads in between lengthy lectures from 40-year-old grifters telling kids that Jesus “needs” their money.

    https://www.crikey.com.au/2019/07/15/scott-morrison-hillsong/

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