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My view of the year that was: A year of scandal and corruption

Continued from My view of the year that was (part 2)

The latter half of 2020 saw Australia as one of the leading countries in the world with its COVID-19 interventions, although the federal government always had its eyes on economics before people, it was the states that led the way. Victoria experienced a second wave, but with strong leadership from Premier Daniel Andrews, it gradually whittled down what was a horrendous list of casualties to none in over 30 days.

The Murdoch news media began a character assassination of the premier that was relentless. It was supported by the Victorian opposition leader who was more of a hindrance than a help in reducing the list of COVID-19 cases. Eventually, the premier overcame his distracters, and as a consequence, was praised for his leadership.

In July, I wrote a piece that was a record of my personal experience of the virus and my family. I make no apologies for its title: “You bastards,” I thought to myself. I wrote that:

“The waiting itself is like a custodial, totality severe sentence. Hour after hour ticks by as your thoughts imagine the worst. The tyranny of distance and a parental need to action is unbearable, overwhelming in its desire to help.”

I followed this up with From Abbott to Morrison: By God you need patience in which I talked about the dysfunctional government and how much patience was required if one was to have any confidence in conservative governments ever reversing their incompetence.

“In short, they had behaved criminally. I recall thinking at the time that if a hopelessly dysfunctional government can have a Royal Commission into alleged corruption in the Union Movement, why can it not have one into our financial institutions?

Well, you all know what happened after that. The government relentlessly resisted a financial services Royal Commission until the scandal became more significant than Ben Hur and the chariots of fire were let loose.”

As the months passed by the American elections – due in November – came closer and Trump became more desperate and erratic. He contacted the coronavirus, entered a hospital, and miraculously a few days later was cured. Many thought it was a stunt, as the polls had Biden well ahead. The election confirmed their predictions. The world sighed in relief at his loss, but Trump was far from convinced.

Speaking at a book launch of A long view from the left written by a former footballing friend Max Odgen, Bill Kelty raises the question “How come?” Trump wins so many states without a health policy, without a superannuation policy or a minimum wage. It is a question I have also posed in the context of Australia this year on many occasions.

“How come?” with almost nine years of pathetic governance is the Morrison government able to maintain such a lead in the polls.

On this very subject, I posted When ‘sorry’ seems to be the hardest word in which I wrote:

“Which of course leaves me with the most puzzling of questions. “That being, that at the end of their third term in office, the government will have served close to nine years with three prime ministers. During that time, they have committed numerous severe misdemeanours, including the rejection of climate change. The current prime minister has a list as long as the Flemington straight. So how come his popularity sits at 68 per cent?”

I followed this up with A damming report on aged care that the government cannot ignore and I wrote that:

“The COVID-19 deaths in our aged care institutions have revealed the dereliction of duty by the federal government. It is the federal government, which is ultimately responsible for setting the standards for their care. This failure, however, is not a recent phenomenon. The Interim Report into Aged Care Quality and Safety released late last year was also damning for the federal government…”

Why we find such compelling reasons to mistreat each other is beyond me. Even when old and frail the difference between being alive and truly living can still, with proper care, be experienced.

On the same theme, in late September I posted JJust because we are governed by clowns it doesn’t mean we have to laugh.

“Yet another scandal surrounding the Liberal Party. A Liberal Party donor purchases a parcel of land near the Western Sydney airport for a fraction of its true value, and the Auditor General finds it to be a shonky deal.”

We were then in September scandal, and corruption has punctuated the year. The public – weary from the performance of corruption-riddled governance – had completely turned off to its effects.

October was quickly upon us when I wrote Who protects us from the government?”

The Prime Minister spruiks his lies but is the preferred Prime Minister by a mile. But few trust him. Well, that is until the virus came along and now everyone does because, in their minds, they want protection from it. So, they put their trust in someone with the power to protect them.

When the virus goes, and the ghastly hardship of recession takes on its most dreadful consequences, they will revert to their untrustworthy attitude.

We all know of the draconian laws legislated during the terrorist threats and asylum seeker periods that gave our government the right to intrude on our civil liberties.

In a speech delivered at the Sydney Human Rights Law Centre Dinner, 27 May 2016 Peter Greste said:

“The human rights that governments both state and federal have been chipping away at – the right to free speech, the right to privacy, the right to freedom of association and protest – are all foundational rights that underpin the way our democracy works.

Freedom of the press, protection of whistleblowers, the public’s right to know have all taken hits over the past few years. Yet they are fundamental reasons why our country has been one of the most stable, the most peaceable, the most prosperous and thriving on the planet.

To try to make us safer by undermining the system that has made us safe in the first place to me doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

In Australia, we have seen such a decline in the practice of government that it wouldn’t surprise me if circumstances might prevail that would give the conservatives a long period of power that might entrench them.

So good has the propaganda been. Add to it the lack of interest the public has in politics, and you have a situation where maintaining the status quo is but a few lies away.

How bitterly disappointing it is when this virus of political lies so utterly corrupts the hearts and minds of our politicians, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.

We were almost into November, and I was still writing about the government’s crazy year. Nothing seemed to wash them from the uncleanliness of their brand of politics.

But the government was doing well in the polls when I wrote Another week in a government going from bad to worse.

“A short time ago I wrote these words: ‘The worse they govern the more popular they become.’ This week’s post budget Newspoll confirms it to be so.

Mind you, it might also be an indication of the lack of interest we Aussies show in our national affairs.

That Newspoll would reveal such a commanding lead by the government after nearly three full terms of continuing scandals, bad policy, bad implementation, unfairness, shocking leadership and an assault on the very sustainability of planet earth is a scandal of enormous importance.”

By now it was certain that Donald Trump lost the American Presidential election. Joe Biden eventually won the popular vote by 7 million votes, however 75 million people voted for the incumbent. That needs further analysis.

In my post Trump is going to La La Land I wrote:

“I dared not think about it, but I couldn’t avoid reality. I dared to think that the vindictive nature of the President would come to the fore. Was he in his vindictiveness, by doing nothing to prevent further coronavirus-related deaths, actually punishing Americans for not voting for him? Was it possible? His personality suggests a categorical ‘yes’.”

In November I continued to attack the government for its continued sloppiness with This government isn’t fit for purpose followed by Government dishonesty continues unabated.

“Looking back on my writing for 2020 and what has motivated it the most common ingredient has been a sense of frustration that I do not have the impact I once did. By that I mean my readership has dropped a little. I want more people to know the truth. Perhaps I have become too repetitive, and people are bored with it. Or as my son suggests, I’m a bit too lengthy.”

And so this post brings me to the present. My writing will continue, but thin out during the run-up to Christmas and into the new year. 2021 might very well be an election year, and much writing is needed to inform and convince people of the damage these conservative fools are doing to this nation.

My thought for the day

People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life and should be more interested. But there is a deep-seated political malaise.

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7 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    As a case study of what’s wrong with our Murdoch dominated media, the coordinated attacks on Dan Andrews during the Victorian lockdown would be instructive.

    The ‘Chairman Dan’ nonsense coming from the Sky talking heads was relentless and they even sent non-journalist Peta Credlin to press briefings to ask the same silly, provocative questions day after day.

    The Victorian Premier stuck with the expert medical advice and it paid off in spectacular fashion ; had he done as the talking-heads from Sky were demanding, Victoria by now would be a cot case.

    We’ve seen how the Murdoch influence through Fox News in the USA has turned mask wearing into a political symbol avidly avoided by Trump and his minions to the detriment of the nation.

    This can’t just be coincidental can it ? Surely the instructions must be emanating from top. The problem with Murdoch is that he won’t sit down and answer probing questions from non-captive journalists ; he deems himself unaccountable.

    I really want to know, Mr Murdoch : have you personally orchestrated this anti science response to both COVID and to climate action within your organisation and if not you then who ?

  2. wam

    Sadly, lord, your words reflect our political malaise. Whilst 70% of Australia feel supportive of the lnp government and ‘malaise’ is their attitude to labor and XXXX
    These hanging tags so beautifully used by the conservatives to reinforce the lie that the labor party is tainted.
    The media so quickly jumped on andrews for his attack on the flag waving parade showing how easy it is to bash labor but if albo can stop his collegiate approach to the lnp and slip in some juicy points they will pursue individuals.

    Judging by the success or otherwise of labor’s election strategies, it could be helpful if labor could talk WITH those workers who believe scummo and find out why?

    ps
    Carol. Michael, Jack and Rossleigh, a lord is now at port adelaide!!! I hope he is as good as the other ollie????

  3. Cando

    As we move to 2021 will the LNP find its way to a sane world view and act accordingly. Hmmm. Forget about it. Will 2021 bring us to the end of vaccine trials and the possibility that researchers will get right the dis-ease cancelling properties of the vaccines? Will we honor those brave souls who offered up their lives or good health in trials with say a memorial in Canberra, much like the War Memorial but one dedicated to those who gave their lives or health for science? While some say the Darwin Awards covers such activities I think that’s unfair, we should thank those who have their hearts in the right place.

  4. DrakeN

    Thank you Mr. Lord for your comprehensive coverage of the foibles and fallacies which control our crazed human behaviours;
    sapiens sapiens we are not. Wisdom continues to evade us.
    There is a long way to go in the evolutionary process of shedding the primitive survival intincts which gained us our dominance initially but which are now preventing us from developing into cohesive, rational and progressive societies.
    Whether we can manage to do so before we successfully wipe ourselves from the face of the planet is becoming increasingly in doubt.

  5. John Millar

    Hopefully Scottyfrommarketing will hit the fan in 2021 as his new found Damascus acceptance of the need to be seen taking action on Climate puts him offside with both Moloch and the fossilised members of the coalition. As a resident of Grayndler in the No Aircraft Noise party days we had a CD of songs. One of these, to the tune of Polly Put The Kettle On, was ‘Laurie has a lap dog, lap dog He calls him Albanese’. (Laurie Brereton was the then minister pushing the third runway which channelled flights over Grayndler before they reached Howard’s Bennelong.) Now we just change slightly to Scotty has a lap dog. In order to make himself a small target for Moloch et al, Albo has rolled over and supported some of the most draconian ‘security’ loss of freedom legislation in the world. Not My PM, and Not My Opposition Leader either.

    John, thanks for your thoughts and words this year, and enjoy your festive season hiatus. We need you back next year.

  6. Andrew Smith

    The self anointed and conservative libertarian ‘Anglospehere’ led by the US, followed by the UK and Australia, has strong nativist conservative instincts and/or players who seem intent upon permanent disruption, centred round disinformation from MPs, commentators and friendly media outlets including pseudoscience to manage cobbled together right wing voter coalitions’ PR image; mostly attacking anything dissonant.

    Related from the UK a BylineTimes article titled ‘Alt Right Pseudoscience: Lockdown Sceptics:

    ‘One epicentre of this new disinformation nexus is British right-wing commentator Toby Young, who has become a top publisher of demonstrably false and scientifically illiterate COVID-19 misinformation. Yet Young was recently featured in the Financial Times for his COVID-19 publishing, and has ties to some of the most influential figures in British establishment conservatism across policy, media and parliament – raising questions about how fringe pseudo-science is attempting to influence public discourse through the prism of ‘free speech’.’

    Alt-Right Pseudoscience – Part 1: Lockdown Sceptics

    Covid anti-lockdown, anti-mask etc. movement can be traced back to the same (often with fossil fuel complex support) US/UK libertarian conservative protaganists who also oppose education and climate science….

    From, DeSmog August commenting on similar:

    ”A close look at commentary on both COVID-19 and climate change reveals significant crossover between unqualified voices casting doubt on experts recommending action.

    Why?

    “There’s nothing mysterious about this,” says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of cognitive science, who studies the persistence of misinformation in society at the University of Bristol.

    “I think COVID is just climate change on steroids in a particle accelerator,” he says. “The same forces are happening: you have the inevitability of a virus which is the same as the inevitability of the physics. And opposing that you have politics which motivates some people to deny the inevitables and instead resort to bizarre claims.”’

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/08/10/how-uk-climate-science-deniers-turned-their-attention-coronavirus-covid-19

    We are all familiar with ‘free speech’ in Australia according to LNP/ON MPs, IPA and NewsCorp to promote unsupported policies, initiatives and (climate) science denial, while they demonise the free speech or ‘feedom’ of others whether ABC or individual journalists, by flooding social narratives with contrary or confusing noise… so nothing changes…..

    Australian ‘elites; have shown themselves to be very insecure and beholden to UK/US culture and ideological whims, at the expense of Australia’s own interests; our servility will not change while the LNP and/or IPA are given free rein and promotion by NewsCorp etc.

  7. Bronte ALLAN

    Yet another great article John, you encapsulated just how rotten is this fucking COALition mob to a tee! Notwithstanding just how stupid & corrupt the Trumpet is, here in Australia we have had to put up with our own version of the worst government in the world, having SloMo & his mob in charge of us all! This corrupt mob of lying, flat earth, right wing, robodebt “thing”, extreme over “payment” (?) for the new NSW airport land, “cashless welfare card” (?). Climate change denying, rorts galore with all the sports crap, supporting coal mining, all their obscenely wealthy mining magnates, pastoralists, media barons, jailing of so many so-called “illegal immigrants”, & the list goes on & on! What hope have any of us got when a huge majority of Australian voters still think this dickhead & all his crones are the best to govern Australia? Please keep up your good works Mr Lord, Australian thinkers & others of our way of thinking need you to keep going!

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