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Peeling the skin off an avocado

By Ad astra  

Recall how you felt when you last fondled a plump avocado, deep green, beautifully formed, slightly soft to the touch, seemingly ripe for consumption, only to find that when your knife punctured its alluring skin and peeled it back you were greeted by grey spots, rotting inedible pulp, and precious little else.

Even as you extruded the big brown seed, hoping to salvage some usable pulp, you found yourself contemplating the few scraps that were not rotten. Not prepared to throw the whole avocado in the bin, you scooped up the scraps, added a little vinegar and mayonnaise, and made a small amount of dip as an evening appetiser. It was the best you could do, but it was a miserable reflection of the uncut fruit that promised so much.

That’s how I feel as I reflect on the performance of our recently-elected Prime Minister.

Not that I ever saw him as a pristine piece of fruit that would delight us all. Many did though. The Morrison PR machine amplified that illusion.

It gift-wrapped him as a regular, slowly-balding family guy in a baseball cap, beer in hand, replete with a big smile – clearly one of us. Experienced in the art of glib talk from his time in tourism, he quickly learned how to deflect hard questions, airily dismissing them with a disarming grin as a product of the ‘Canberra Bubble’ where stupid or inconsequential questions are generated every day by what Morrison regards as hangers-on. Any question too demanding was studiously ignored. In itself, that would not have been disappointing. It would have been just what most of us expect from the political class. What has been, and continues to be so deeply disappointing though, is the gross incompetence, the sheer ineptitude, and the alarming hollowness of Morrison and his government.

We were promised so much more. We were reminded endlessly that the Coalition was a superior manager of the economy, miles ahead of Labor, which we were told was ‘never able to manage money’. Every survey of voter opinion showed that the voters had bought this line, despite Labor’s brilliant management of the global financial crisis. Spin drowned out the facts.

Then along came reality.

For months now the Reserve Bank Governor, Philip Lowe, has warned PM Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg that monetary policy – lowering interest rates – could not bear the full responsibility for propelling the economy out of the doldrums in which it has been becalmed month after month. He insisted that the government must do some of the ‘heavy lifting’ through fiscal policy. He cited infrastructure spending as an obvious activity that would not only benefit the nation, but in doing so would create jobs, and with it consumer spending which the economy so desperately needs.

Some pointed out that boosting the Newstart allowance would be of immediate benefit to the economy as the money would be quickly spent. That was ignored by a PM and Treasurer obsessed with the surplus they had promised. Nothing was going to deflect them from the pursuit of their ‘Holy Grail’.

Then a sledge hammer hit.

As Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane put it in Crikey in an article titled: Morrison’s economic mire snares retailers and media alike:

The great Morrison Stagnation besetting the Australian economy has now been recognised internationally, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cutting its 2019 GDP growth forecast for Australia to 1.7% (down from 2.8% just a year ago) and revising its unemployment predictions for this year and next.

Scott Morrison is now declaring he “won’t be spooked” into taking any action to help the economy, in the same way a man standing on a rail line refuses to be spooked by the oncoming train. If stagnation turns into a downturn or worse, this do-nothing, agenda-less leader will own it 100%.

Cornered by a salivating media, all Frydenberg and Morrison could do to explain these awful figures was to indict ‘global headwinds’ and ‘the drought’. Of course neither of them accepted any personal responsibility for the crisis. In their view, the state of the global economy was the chief culprit, along with US-China trade wars. Their habitual ‘nothing to see here’, was trotted out once more to deflect attention.

Quizzed about the expected stimulatory effect of the tax cuts, they could not explain why these much-vaunted measures had not been effective, why instead of spending it, countless recipients had chosen to pay down debt, an outcome that even novitiate students of Economics 101 would have anticipated. They seemed astonished by the news that spending on a variety of consumer goods had slumped, that profit forecasts of some well-established firms were in free fall, and that some previously profitable businesses were threatened with closure. They clung tenaciously to the belief that eventually the tax cuts might work. Asked about infrastructure, they continued to insist that they had billions of activity ‘in the pipeline’, failing to add that the activity and its benefits were still decades away.

In response to our deteriorating economy, the media sector too was forced to expose its underbelly. Many players reported a worrisome slump in advertising, reflected in falling profit margins. Share sell-offs followed. The future of several media outlets remains uncertain.

Now we have the latest job figures. Like those unexpectedly caught in a storm, Coalition operatives cling hopefully to the miserable 0.1% drop in unemployment, all the time ignoring the legions of people who desperately want work, or want more of it. Unable to make ends meet, they are hungry for income-earning work, any work at all, to keep food on the table after paying rent, power bills and all the others that arrive every day.

But Morrison and Frydenberg assure us with every breath that the Coalition ‘has a plan’, one for every contingency, no matter how threatening. No details are offered. We are expected to accept, relax, and ‘leave it to Beaver’. Wouldn’t we all love to see their plan for managing climate change, their energy policy, their drought policy, even their plan for managing the burgeoning cohort of elderly, demented and disabled folk.

It would be difficult to identify even one area of our economy that has not been affected, or dangerously threatened by ‘The Great Morrison Stagnation’. Yet our hollow PM and our discombobulated Treasurer press on as if there’s nothing to explain, nothing that needs attention, nothing wrong with what they’ve done, nothing to do but watch, wait, and hope that the headwinds will abate and that fair winds will propel the ship of state to a conservative utopia, where ‘if you have ago, you’ll get a go’. Journalists are now waking up to Morrison’s do-nothing style. Peter Hartcher is one. He sums up the situation well in Arise Prime Minimal – your country needs youwhile Paul Keating savagely exposes the futility of the government policy of doing nothing that might threaten the cherished surplus. On another subject, Katherine Murphy berates Morrison in Scott Morrison’s climate pact with the Pacific ‘family’ exposes the hollowness of his words.

Can you see now why I began with the avocado analogy? While it looked so good on the outside to those who elected Morrison and his entourage, when the skin of the Coalition avocado is peeled back and the seed extruded, most of the inside is exposed as hollow and rotten, and even more tragically, like any rotten avocado, irrecoverable.      

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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34 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Women supporting adultery vote national$ and get us all screwed.

  2. Carol Taylor

    Am I the only one who when viewing the newly made-over Morrison, resplendent in American baseball cap, munching on pies, joining in a game of lawn bowls (while wearing a shirt and tie), that thought: this is so false. Has anyone really bought the daggy dad routine? Morrison won, how? But can he keep his dysfunctional mob of assorted deniers, liars and stage-managed publicity stuntists together as a team? Not when every trip to the supermarket, every bill that comes in tells most that something doesn’t gel. I don’t have any faith in the MSM to do “a reveal”, but hopefully people’s own experiences will start putting pressure on Morrison to do something/anything that isn’t just a PR stunt.

  3. John O"Callaghan

    I always said that given time this incomptent inept corrupt mob of spivs and bullshit artists will self implode under the weight of their own considerable short comings. This prediction is slowly but surely coming to pass.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    well written, though I now wonder about the avocado in the fridge: still, a better bet than the potato in the wings

  5. David Bruce

    The LNP actions are destroying the middle class in Australia, maybe intentionally, to appease the IMF, World Bank and the UN.

    Unfortunately, the whole world is suffering from a broken money system now.

    https://goldswitzerland.com/financial-system-is-rotten/

    It will end in tears because it was the middle class who put those Scumbags in “Office”. Where is the tar and feathers when you need it?

  6. Phil Pryor

    We have never ever had a more superficial, empty, vacuuminous, arid arsehole of a P M, the insufferable superstitious fool and fraud from some mythical shire of shitheaded shysters, than Morrison (Moron for short), a chronic liar and fraud. Add to that the coin counter Frydenberg, a dud and incompetent economics idiot, as bad as J Howard, who lies, eggagerates, deceives, alters, camouflages and distorts what little he knows about budget factors. These turds and turkeys and turncoats are ruining our nation, the environment, our future, the planet, decency, and much more. With a foregn freak and forged fraud in Murdoch, the great media maggot and miscreant, we have little hope and must suffer gouging, grabbing, grasping and grubby gutting, all for profiteering by the self ordained nobles, a tribe of turds and traitors to democracy. Do not EVER vote for or support these thieves, opportunists, crooks and crims.

  7. Matters Not

    Re:

    PM and Treasurer obsessed with the surplus …

    And they were (and are) not alone. Chris Bowen when Shadow Treasurer promised an even bigger one when elected to government. Yep said Chris – my surplus will be bigger than yours. As though they were comparing swinging appendages.

    So Morrison et al have no other (realistic) political choice. There must be a surplus! There will be a surplus, ‘Tis now the Holy Grail of economic competence as agreed on by both sides of the political aisle.

    Sad but true.

  8. Miriam English

    David Bruce, your conspiracy theories are showing again.

    The UN has nothing to do with the monetary system, and certainly doesn’t approve of Morrison (in so far as a group of nations can be said to have a single mind on anything). The World Bank used to do a lot of damage in forcing many poor nations to impoverish their own people in austerity campaigns, but they have realised what a mistake that is and now recommend programs to build infrastructure and education and health. I know little about the IMF, so feel free to manufacture crazy conspiracy theories about them.

    The link to the article you gave is to a company trying to sell gold to suckers. The crap they spout about fiat currency is simple self-serving ignorance. (And they are climate change deniers as well!!!)

    The value of money is not some metal, but is purely an agreement about worth. Even in a currency based on gold, it is still purely an agreement about worth. The gold is just a ridiculous irrelevant extra. This is part of the reason why it was dropped.

    Gold is a useful metal — from heat-reflection in astronautics, to non-corroding electrical contacts in electronics, it is too useful to leave locked up and wasted. It also retarded the economy because it was harder to make a nation wealthier if based on a set amount of gold. And it was a clear vulnerability for an economy — if the gold was stolen, or destroyed with bombs, or if large amounts of gold were suddenly added to a nation, then the economy is trashed. A fiat economy is much safer and lets it fit the productivity of the nation… theoretically… though numbskull economists are still acting as if the economy is still gold based when it hasn’t been for ages.

  9. Phil

    David Bruce.

    Agree with that David Bruce. A mate of mine has a degree in economics from Sydney University, he told me/advised me, to buy gold, as fiat currency will soon be worthless. I am already seeing a profit. Ignore Miriam she will soon be broke. Obtw I wonder why China and Russia are buying up gold by the ton? Of course they’re dumb commies.

  10. johno

    Daggy and Josh are all over this economy in a canter. ( or was that global warming )

  11. corvusboreus

    Yes, the monetary value of gold is increasing on an exponential curve, and mainly because this increasingly rare mineral is an essential element in micro-circuitry, and which is an ever-expanding industry.
    No, I don’t subscribe to David Bruce’s conspiracy theory that United Nations / World Bank directives are the reason that anti-globo Morrison is deliberately undermining the financial security of Australia’s lower-middle class.
    I will store that particular chestnut in the circular draw alongside the claims that ‘global warming is being caused by volcanoes / faked / engineered by HAARP’ and ‘the oceans are not rising’.

  12. johno

    If gold is so fooking rare, why do we waste it on jewelry ????? Jewelry is still the primary use of gold making up about 78 percent.

  13. corvusboreus

    johno,
    If fossil fuels are so rare (and risky) why would we waste them by racing around on jetskis?
    Logical consideration is often external to human activities

  14. Terence Mills

    We were promised so much more.

    Well, actually Ad Astra we were not promised anything by this rabble beyond the conservative panacea of cutting taxes : they always cut taxes because they believe, at the end of the day, the majority will vote their back-pocket.

    It seems that their biggest legislative item is to repeal the Medivac laws for people stuck on Nauru and PNG : note, they no longer talk about resettling these folk just to deny them appropriate medical care.
    Ironically we have just seen Australia’s most notorious serial killer granted medical care right up to his final breath : go figure !

    But at least Spud Dutton has our best interests at heart, spending millions of our money on Christmas Island, to keep us safe from a family of four asylum seekers, including their two children who were actually born here.

    When parliament resumes we will have their religious protection laws to keep us all safe from discrimination. It’s going to be a bit tricky this legislation as it includes in the definition of religious beliefs :

    religious belief or activity means:

    15(a)holding a religious belief; or

    16(b)engaging in lawful religious activity; or

    17(c)not holding a religious belief; or

    18(d)not engaging in, or refusing to engage in lawful religious activity.

    Do you think this was taken from a Monty Python sketch ?

    Such a shame that Craig Kelly wasn’t allowed on to Q&A to explain his theory on Pacific Islands : evidently they float. I am intrigued !

  15. Jack Cade

    These arguments and points being made are futile. The shallowness of the Coalition is bleeding obvious to anybody with more than half a brain.
    QED…

  16. Miriam English

    Phil, by all means waste your time and money. By the way, I have a friend who has a degree who believes in demons, ghosts, and the big sky-daddy, so, yeah, I think your economics “friend” goes in the same trashbin of opinion.

  17. Miriam English

    Terence Mills, does the proposed religious discrimination really include that definition? Or have you paraphrased it? If accurate then this is hilarious and definitely deserving of a Monty Python sketch.

  18. Josephus

    The UN and World Bank chestnut: so many governments and companies sing the profit for shareholders only tune, or preach privatisation to save money, always at the nonmonetary cost of the people, that it might be apposite to warn against certain old, nasty conspiracy theories exploited by the Nazis among others.

    That said, global capitalism is rarely good for the people. One random example is outsourcing services at the expense of the needy or sick : hospital food used to be locally made, delicious, and fresh. Instead, today over huge areas a large private company transports frozen meals that are the same in all hospitals in that area, and these meals are horrible: Local jobs go, a few companies get rich , quality suffers.

    Scomo and religion: he demonstrated his respect for religious beliefs in not bothering to attend the Uluru closure celebrations.

    This morning 29 October on ABC Radio an astro physicist vividly warned of the impossible, implausible and dangerous consequences for our planet of the ongoing myth of continual economic growth , simply by extrapolating from current neoliberal assumptions into the near and distant future.

  19. Sad BB

    The avocado seed and Scumbag’s brain are similar in size. Can you guess which one has more intelligence?

  20. Leep

    The liberals will never adopt a labor policy they will stubbornly stick with monetary policy until they realise that we are in recession and of course it will be to late then to prevent the pain of a recession and labor will have to dig Australia 🇦🇺out forgetting that labor can’t manage money forgetting that labor prevented the GFC from happening the Australian voters have to realise liberals are only for rich and not for the less fortunate Australians and that goes for red haired nut job and that grossly overweight miner.

  21. Matters Not

    Re the religious protection law(s). Likely to be highly contentious in the Legislative arena and then later in the Judicial realm, thus the felt need to define as much as possible in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. Morrison et al want to be the effective lawmaker(s) and not some unelected judge(s) somewhere at some time in the immediate or even distant future. Thus, there’s attempts to define away the choices which might made by what is sometimes called activist judges.

    If it does reach the Court for a decision, a judge or judges must first look closely at the actual words used in the legislation, (including the definitions), to elicit intent. Second, if there is still dispute, reference is made to the words chosen by the Minister in introducing the legislation and subsequent discussion/debate to see if further clarification was made. Third, if there’s still doubt, judges refer to dictionary (common sense) definitions. And if there’s still no resolution, then the judge can effectively become the legislator – and that will never do – will it – because judges might get it wrong. Lol.

    Hence definitions that slice and dice and then mince and mash.

  22. blair

    it never looked good on the outside, or the inside
    The Steven Bradbury of Oz politics never showed any promise of being anywhere near adequate for those with their eyes open!

  23. Miriam English

    Terence, that is truly hilarious! Good catch! Basically their definition of religious activity or belief covers everything… from picking your nose, to sun bathing, to poking fun at the church, to shouting racist slogans, to planting vegetables in your garden, to posting on the net. 😀

    Though, as Matters Not has suggested, interpretation will rarely go that far past judges.

    I’ll have to make a meme image about this and post it far and wide on the net.

    I must admit that I was a little worried that they would be able to exclude the Church of Reason, which I intend to create if they succeed in getting this idiotic legislation passed.

  24. Ad Astra

    Folks

    As long as the voters see Morrison’s avocado as attractive on the outside, while remaining unaware of the rottenness under the shiny skin, I expect they’ll vote for another crop. How many of his avocados will they have to peel before they realise what’s underneath?

    Morrison gave us shiny Shepard avocados, but they’re out of season now. It’s the Haas variety that is in all the shops. Although rough on the outside, they’re usually edible inside. If only that were true of Morrison’s offering.

    I’ve learned a lot about gold today!

  25. Michael Taylor

    Ad astra, my apologies for being off topic but you are no doubt a keen watcher on the affairs of what is happening in Britain, with this Brexit mess and Johnson’s buffoonery.

    I think the time has come for Scotland’s independence. 😉

  26. Miriam English

    Ooooh… the rest of UK wouldn’t be happy about Scotland leaving. 🙂 They have all the North Sea gas and oil.

  27. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, if England isn’t careful they can say goodbye to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I’ve heard that they all want to leave if Brexit goes ahead.

    People I’ve spoken to in England are really, really, really, really really pissed off with the Murdoch media. The “No” vote was home and hosed until the Murdoch media played the race card. In the end, the racists won.

    The empire might well end up as an empire no more.

  28. Miriam English

    I’ve heard London has been considering leaving UK too and becoming an independent city-state. I imagine the folly of racism would come crashing down on many small-minded people if they cause UK to break apart so dramatically.

  29. Matters Not

    Just for the record, the religious freedom bill referred to above is an Exposure Draft (and all that entails) which is designed for wide discussion – to elicit responses from all and sundry and therefore includes all the ‘rats and mice’ propositions that have hit the table from a multitude of sources. Clearly, it’s the work of Parliamentary Counsel who’s there to develop a set of proposals that align with legislative requirements. But it should be remembered that (in theory) they are merely assisting the Minister in question. Strictly speaking, the Minister is still driving the bus (but in reality is no more than a legal cardboard cutout.)

    Let’s not forget this whole (religious freedom) thrust is ill conceived. An attempt to solve a problem of their own making – flowing from the marriage equality debate. It’s a quagmire. And you can bet that the parliamentary counsel legal staff are completely bemused.

    With Exposure Drafts almost anything is included if there is a group which needs to be placated. And there are lots of religious nutters out there.

  30. Terence Mills

    The government’s website says this about ‘exposure drafts’.

    “The Government’s Legislation handbook states that draft bills and all associated material are confidential to the Government and that details of bills are not to be released outside government before their introduction to the Parliament unless disclosure is authorised by Cabinet or the Prime Minister. Occasionally the Government may publish a draft bill and explanatory memorandum as an ‘exposure draft’ prior to its introduction to the Parliament.”

  31. Kronomex

    “… ‘exposure drafts’.”

    I saw that and all I could think of was standing naked out in a snow storm and becoming a soprano and having a sudden urge to watch Play School. Wonder if I should have the morning coffee?

  32. Ad Astra

    Michael Taylor

    Johnson’s ‘reward’ might well be the break-up of the United Kingdom. What a heritage!

  33. Miriam English

    Kronomex, your comment made me laugh aloud. 😀

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