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Nothing to show

Nothing to show: A year in power … Nothing to show. Two years as PM in August … Nothing to show. Three terms in office … Nothing to show.

Monday, May 18 marked the anniversary of the Morrison government’s election win, and Scott Morrison is fast approaching two years as serving as Prime Minister. In addition, the LNP will be on their way to concluding three terms of governance.

So how has this period advanced Australia as a nation? Well, the simple answer is it hasn’t. Are we likely to see from Morrison any bold ideas that will inspire us to be better than we are? Conversely, what did Abbott and Turnbull achieve? Turnbull claims marriage equality but I put that down to social protests.

What has Morrison done in his two years at the helm that would get you excited? It is fair to say that at present he is confronted with a pandemic and is being applauded for his efforts. Rightly so, but all he has done is to follow the advice of science and the experts. Not hard.

When Labor was confronted with a similar economic problem (the GFC) to what the coronavirus is doing, Morrison as much as denied the GFC’s existence.

Turnbull, in his book, describes Morrison as a pragmatic professional politician with a plan for winning but not for governing.

1 You have to wonder if he is a man for the times. One not of necessity a brilliant intellectual, but a man who could see what lay ahead for the next 5, 10 or 20 years and could drag from those around him the ideas and willpower to get us there. A man like Anthony Albanese has those qualities.

But instead we have a government that doesn’t want parliament to sit because it is paranoid that someone from the opposition might throw a curved ball at them. Nobody knows.

Not even our most senior public servant knows. Paul Gaetjens had to take some fairly basic questions on notice at Senate hearings on COVID-19 last week. Take these for example:

“Do the decisions of the national cabinet have to be ratified by the full cabinet? Do they bind the states and territories? How, exactly, is it different to the Council of Australian Governments? Are all of its workings covered by cabinet confidentiality?”

Just as suss is this mysterious committee known as the NCCC or National COVID-19 Coordination Commission to be headed by the Prime Minister’s mate’ Nev Power, who was a former head of Fortescue and is to be paid the princely sum of $267,345 for doing 6 months work which is yet to be defined.

However his chief executive, Peter Harris AO (a former chairman of the Productivity Commission), padded up at the Senate and admitted that the NCCC’s processes were somewhat “opaque.”

Opacity is a word that best describes the government’s attitude toward accountability. Hardly transparent at all.

The NCCC has no commissioners with expertise on clean energy but an abundance of folk with ties to fossil fuels that are set to push for a gas-fired recovery, as the ABC has reported.

2 The Trade Minister’s counterpart in China won’t return his calls because we are saying silly undiplomatic things about them. We have been playing “deputy sheriff” for the US for so long other nations resent it.

China has now slapped an 80% tariff on our barley to remind us that diplomacy is – sometimes best done in-house rather than shouting in the streets.

3 The Prime Minister’s self serving indignation over the Sports Rorts Affair and Angus Taylor’s self-indulgent incriminations are making the government look pathetic in terms of parliamentary obligations and standards.

The inquiry into the rorts prior to the election tells us that the prime minister’s office asked Bridget McKenzie to seek Scott Morrison’s “authority” for intended recipients of $100m of sports grants and coordinate the announcement with Coalition campaign headquarters.

The Australian National Audit Office to the Senate inquiry gives evidence that contradicts Morrison’s claims that McKenzie, the former sports minister, was the ultimate decision-maker.

It also confirms that changes for the grant program were not made after parliament was dissolved.

On 27 February, Morrison told the House of Representatives that “there was no authorisation provided by me as prime minister on the projects”.

This article by Paul Karp in The Guardian gives a thorough account of the sequence of events and it would be difficult not to conclude that the Prime Minister has certainly mislead the Parliament and should resign.

He won’t of course because integrity has gone out of fashion.

There still remains of course the question as to the grants constitutional validity.

But then it would seem that no one resigns for misleading parliament anymore. It’s just another example of the declining standards of political integrity in this country.

4 Is our government treating students who would make an enormous contribution to our Universities and our economy fairly? Why are they standing in food lines?

5 What is the real figure of our unemployed and underemployed?

Employment, underemployment and unemployment will be a problem for years to come and trying to spin the figures as they have been doing for some time will only make matters worse. The million the government says they have created only ever kept up with immigration and didn’t create any “new” jobs.

There will be no snapback as Morrison predicts. One reason being that it is not known how many jobs will be lost from companies that just go broke for any number of reasons.

Paddy Manning writes in The Monthly 15 May says:

“The official employment figures show that a staggering 2.7 million people (one in five working Australians) either left employment between March and April or had their hours reduced. The participation rate – people working or looking for work – fell back to the level it was at before the China boom took off in 2004, with half a million people giving up job seeking altogether.”

Brendan O’Connor, Labor’s shadow Employment Minister responded to the ABS figures, saying they were a picture of the economy a month ago, and would get worse.

Labor called on the government to expand the JobKeeper programme to include others (such as casuals) but the suggestion seems to have fallen on deaf ears of conservative ideology.

We can expect the job figures to become increasingly worse in the months to come.

The Prime Minister says he wants a business-led recovery but a recovery by any means might be a better idea.

6 Some businesses wont even comeback let alone snapback. The Prime Minister has yet to lay before the Australian people a plan to take us forward, to take the opportunity of creating new economics that

7 I have no doubt that the government will use COVID-19 as an excuse for doing nothing on climate change. “It will have to wait,” will be the spin.

Monday night’s ABC Four Corners revealed in chronological order the blameworthiness of our politicians on this most serious of matters.

Take these quotes for example from The Guardian’s report on the program:

“Ken Henry, the Treasury secretary between 2001 and 2011, said the question the government should be asking itself on climate was how to put a cap, or limit, on national emissions at least cost to the country.

“The answer to that question – and everybody will tell this – is an emissions trading scheme,” he said.

Martin Parkinson, a former secretary of Treasury and the now defunct climate change department, said it was incorrect to categorise carbon pricing as being “about taxing people”.

“The carbon price is actually about creating the right sort of incentives to develop the technology and then use it,” he said.

On national climate policy, Parkinson said: “What climate policy? I mean it’s basically … it’s a mess. It’s incoherent and has been for a decade.”

Peter Shergold, the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in the final years of the Howard government, was asked what he would say to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, if he held that position now.

He said he would tell him: “My sense, prime minister, is that there is a mood to follow such leadership if it exists. Tell it honestly, and tell it truthfully, and don’t try and pretend there are not going to be costs imposed on industry and costs imposed on individuals, but it is worth that for the sake of your children and your grandchildren.”

Now you would think that these fellows would know a bit about the problems of climate change and how to address it, but our friend Angus and the Prime Minister seem to know more.

Confronted with the fact that no one wants to invest in coal, what do you do? One is you set up an inquiry, stack it with lovers of the clean black stuff, and call it the ”King review.”

The idea is to grab some cash from the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund, as well as Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

In their findings you have the inquiry recommend that the funds be opened up to provide funding to heavy emitters and fossil fuel projects.

Not a bad plan. After all, it wasn’t the intention to use the funds in this way.

They are not just environmental vandals but straight out corrupt politicians. Angus Taylor makes a good crook, it would seem.

You should read this. It is absolutely scandalous.

To answer the implied meaning of my headline I simply say that this Prime Minister and his Ministers are so ineffectual that they are incapable of fixing anything, let alone guide us into the future.

We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.

My thought for the day

At the last G7 conference the Prime Minister described himself as a “conservationist.” In Australia we know that all the evidence suggests he is an environmental vandal.

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  1. Keith

    Australia copped a terrible dusting during the last bushfire season. India and Bangladesh are about to be hit by a category 5 cyclone, Amphan. They are in the process of moving 5 million people to safer areas, how social isolation can occur in such circumstances to ward off the coronavirus is nigh impossible. A study just published has found that cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes have increased in power. The study used objective data from satellites to make such a conclusion.

    In the background to the coronavirus crisis, we have the government organising coal powered stations, in circumstances where renewable energy is far cheaper. They continue to promoted new coal mines, and are pushing for the mining of gas very hard. These are the kind of acts that cause coral reefs to break down causing huge damage to marine environments.

    We had been warned decades ago that if no action was taken , then costs would escalate.

    But, we are lumbered with a neo-conservative government which does not believe in the science of climate change.

  2. Kronomex

    There is one thing to show and that is when Scummo is at his most arrogant his inner Mussolini manifests in the form of his chin thrusting forward in a display of overbearing smugness. Other than that we will continue to see ever more corruption and looking after the big end of town and other assorted maatteess along with further chipping away of anything that resembles democracy.

    Their view on climate change is basically, as I said elsewhere, is: Our policy on climate change and science is to have no policy.

  3. Phil Pryor

    The P M, our Piltdown Man, is clearly a problem, with inner workings of an antisocial megalomanical operator feeling unrestrained. The political perverted superstitious fool lives in another world that never ever existed, stands by created, invented, bent rules and nonexistent moral and ethical poses he imagines are sculptured for eternity. Full of steaming shit he is ready to declare his actions correct, indisputable, unique. He inflates his own worth with masturbatory magnificence, needing no praise and suffering no criticism. He is surely a neurotic with psychpathic instincts and leads a bipolar existence of swinging between satisfying requirements of donors, patrons, e g, coercering, overbearing Murdoch, and a concept of his own superlative individuality, this from a failed bullshitter at advertising who ran away from the jobs to avoid fronting the truth, the truth of his great inadequacy, mediocrity, stupidity, deviousness. We have one of the most rotten P Ms ever, for he will wilfully blunder into danger and harm the nation, especially in matters of climate and the environment. He is an economics pervert, doing stupidities out of inner submission to falsehoods and fraud. But we live a life of runaway idiocy in consumerism, waste production, emissions abuse, land degradation, planet ruining.

  4. Keitha Granville

    Listen to the doctors and the scientists on Covid, they are the experts.
    Don’t listen to the scientists on climate change, what do they know ?

    Until the Labor opposition actually becomes coherent and retujrs to Labor policies, we will have what we have far into the future so we better get used to it.

  5. Jack Cade

    Phil Pryor

    Those characteristics have always been de rigueur in the LNP, if not the entire parliament. In fact, remember ‘keep the bastards honest’, Don Chipp’s slogan? The Australian Democrats were the third party we needed (although I never voted for them – I probably would today).
    Like all idealisms, they were infiltrated and traduced to the point where they were no more ‘independent’ than the likes of Lambie, and consequently died by the knife of Meg Lees supporting a Lib policy.

  6. Phil Pryor

    To Jack.., you are probably right enough, for the push to have a go in politics, once admired as a bit of “guts” , is now totally corrupted to finding malleable loyalists who will swear alliegance, toe lines, sacrifice integrity, swallow the sandwich excrementally, make a career, be someone, get noticed, maybe cop a bit of filthy “superannuation”, seek benefits, climb a bit up the greasy pole, forget the past…some like B Joyce, would add sink the sausage, nark enemies, exploit law, ignore it otherwise, cultivate protective human barriers, drink don’t think, rely on superstition, fear, coercion, the grin, the larrikin image, undermine every other bastard, appear honest while ignoring that…

  7. wam

    wow lord, saturday already?
    He certainly has become a man of the times in the polls?
    What happened to bowling a googly or an inswinger? Too many unaware of australian terms? Baseball is a minor spin off from children’s rounders.
    (hear the rant telling referees to suck it up about the loss of 50% a right wing union hater. The game could follow and sack 50% of the players. That would save??)
    Just a little misprint in smirko’s g7 bit conservationist is ‘conservativist’ he is employing a suppository of all knowledge theory of what you heard is not what I said.
    It is so depressing to hear how good smirko is and how bad labor is. The former works so hard and keeps us afloat when labor just sinks the ship.
    ps here is a giggle lord.
    the paper is heavily into giving clp candidates free rein to write anti labor stuff and an exclp twit is always headlined.
    Yesterday on the 12 o’clock news the ABC had a clp candidate talking about how she will be able to liaise with frydenberg when she becomes treasurer after the election on August 22. Curently, to the ntnew’s shame there are two clp member and they form the opposition:
    Mrs Lia Finocchiaro MLA
    Leader of the Opposition
    Shadow Chief Minister
    Shadow Treasurer
    Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
    Shadow Minister for Treaty
    Shadow Minister for Northern Australia
    Shadow Attorney-General & Shadow Minister for Justice
    Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services
    Shadow Minister for Business and Innovation
    Shadow Minister for Trade & Major Projects
    Shadow Minister for Primary Industry and Resources
    Shadow Minister for the Environment & Natural Resources
    Shadow Minister for Health
    Shadow Minister for Disabilities
    Shadow Minister for Territory Families
    Shadow Minister for Education
    Shadow Minister for Renewables, Energy & Essential Services
    Shadow Minister for Children
    Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    Shadow Minister for Climate Change
    Mr Gary Higgins MLA
    Deputy Leader of the Opposition
    Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Planning & Logistics
    Shadow Minister for Local Government, Housing & Community Development
    Shadow Minister for Public Employment
    Shadow Minister for Tourism, Sport & Culture
    Shadow Minister for Corporate Information Services
    Shadow Minister for the Arafura Games
    Shadow Minister for Workforce Training
    Shadow Minister for Defence Jobs and Veteran’s Affairs

  8. Keith

    We are mighty lucky that Dutton did not become PM.

    Lets see whether Labor is protective of citizen rights; on security matters, the ALP have followed the zealous LNP.

    The real danger for people lies with the coronavirus and climate change. Arguably it has been Premiers, Health and Territory experts that have pushed Morrison aside.

    The COVID-19 crisis has been a dress rehearsal for climate change.

  9. New England Cocky

    @Keith: Don’t hold your breath because the two year anniversary of being Prim Monster appears to be the gazetted duration of COALition overthrows. So, is that why Benito Duddo has been racing gazetted legislation through without scrutiny in Parliament so that he may use “the emergency powers” he has created to incarcerate Liarbral Nazional$ members who do not support his turn at being Prim Monster in 2020/2021?

  10. Matters Not

    While the populace has been concentrating on the virus, the fossil fuel lobby has been hard at work.

    while the attention of the nation has been drawn to the daily COVID-19 count and embracing the digital world of schooling, working and socialising from home, the fossil fuel industry – with help from the Morrison Government – has quietly seized the opportunity to entrench its power and profits.

    A report from environmental advocacy group 350 Australia has detailed 36 individual policy changes or requests for project-specific support — all under cover of COVID-19.

    Yep, 36 individual policy changes resulting in plenty to show. But don’t worry, you have the opportunity to choose again at the next election – provided you’re not distracted by … (take your pick.) Without significant structural change, it’s just too easy!

    SANDI KEANE. Covert-19: Government stacks Covid Commission with oil and gas mates, cosy deals follow (MWM 13.5.20)

  11. wam

    ps jack I don’t remember the ‘honest’ mob ever being important beyond their slogan about honesty and their belief in parliament being honest in voting by conscience(imagine abortion with so many micks and men).
    They most importantly did support howard’s gst in 1999 and were on to climate change 40 years ago.
    Milanda Rout in 2007:
    “…The Democrats were considered socially progressive, being a voice for Aboriginal reconciliation, human rights and refugees as well as championing the environment long before it was fashionable to do so. ….”
    So too bad they didn’t support the labor movement and gough’s legacy instead of tilting at the windmill of changing the conservatives.

  12. Kerri

    Nothing to show?
    Scottyfrommarketing saved us from needles in strawberries!!!
    Never waste a good crisis. Or even a benign one apparently?

  13. Patricia

    “Employment, underemployment and unemployment will be a problem for years to come and trying to spin the figures as they have been doing for some time will only make matters worse. ”

    You cannot fix a problem unless you acknowledge that one exists.

    Morrison works on the premise that if you don’t acknowledge that any problems exist, they don’t, and therefore there is no reason to fix something that does not exist.

    He might be good at winning elections but he does it by lying, obfuscating and refusing to provide and information. He certainly, and the two PM’s before him, has no idea about how to govern.

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