Sometime during Howard’s reign of nothingness, our democracy began to slip away from us. Entitlement insinuated its way into our politics as rivers of gold in the form of a mining boom flooded the country. We put nothing from it into a future fund that might have been a godsend in today’s economic environment.
Howard gave us a gun buyback, a war in Iraq that was none of our business, and under the pretext of a lie, a GST that benefited the wealthy and substantial welfare payouts at the time of each election. It was called ‘buying elections’, and it worked rather well.
The wealthiest of society became more so and avoided paying taxes. Treasurer Costello commented that at least the poor was no worse off.
Indeed, before the Luddite period started, Labor had its epoch when good intent was interrupted by the ambition of revolving-door leadership, where exceptional minds indulged in mediocre political practice for personal power.
The Rudd government came to an end in June 2010 when:
“… under pressure from an impending leadership caucus ballot, stepped down from the leadership of the ALP and was succeeded by his deputy, Julia Gillard. [However] Rudd was re-elected leader of the Labor Party in 2013 and served a second term as prime minister.”
It was also in 2013 that l began to write for The Australian Independent Media Network, otherwise known as The AIMN. Since then, almost ten frantic political years have passed.
I call them the ‘Luddite years’ (oft-repeated) because it was a period of dreadful governance by leaders seeking not the power of an intent to govern well for the common good. Tony Abbott was considered the best Opposition Leader we have seen by being the most negative: a dubious criterion for such judgement. He never would make the leap from Prime Minister to international statesman.
Julia Gillard led a Government that passed legislation for a tax on carbon that would have resolved the most significant issue of our time. Abbott rescinded it, and we witnessed the most incredible public policy debacle in our history.
Abbott’s “carbon tax” scare-mongering was, it seems, a plan to hide his own party’s corruption, lies and incompetence behind self-embellishment, deceit and more lies on top of lies.
Rudd fell because of a perception of self-importance. Turnbull’s own ego ambushed him while Morrison displayed what many believe was arrogance… behind his perpetual smirk. A bastard in any form of the word. And Morrison never stopped telling us lies or how good he was.
Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it.
Behind every conservative leadership takeover is a person desirous of power. All the corruption, the policies, the lies, the rules, the placement of important people of the same ilk on essential committees, and the support of a biased media was a plan to make the rich richer.
Capitalism is the rudimentary monetary system in the normalcy of democratic conservative politics. Supposedly it makes the rich more prosperous, and the others keep in touch via a magical drip-down effect.
When Abbott became Prime Minister, he set the ball of corruption rolling, and it has been bouncing along ever since.
So corrupt is this economic system that our political choice is no longer democrat or conservative, left or right, liberal or conservative. It is a democracy or authoritarian fascism.
When on May 21 2022, Australia elected a progressive left-wing government, they got with it a Labor politician of some distinction. Without the charisma of Whitlam, the flare of Hawke or the urgency of Rudd, Albanese, with great patience, took his place in the queue for leadership.
Now but a few months into his first term, he has made considerable progress. Most importantly, he has taken the edge off the Luddite way of doing politics. It is far less belligerent and argumentative. Respect has poked its nose in the window.
Tony Abbott became Prime Minister wanting to take politics from the front page. Lying bastard that he was. He abused Gilliard after she had politely asked the press to stop writing crap. Pandemonium could well have been his middle name. He only lasted two years.
Malcolm, the velvet fog Turnbull, came to power intending to restore the Parliament with the adult decorum and collegiate government that had flown the nest years ago. With so many extremists in his middle order, it couldn’t last.
Scott Morrison stood for nothing, knew everything, and refused to shut up when talking about himself but became Prime Minister. Eventually, he had to step in and move Turnbull aside. God only knows how.
So, what has changed? Well, not so much what, but who. Image is a powerful thing. All the men of the Luddite age, except Turnbull, were loud, aggressive, in-your-face politicians who knew only one way to lead: they led presidentially. They could never be wrong.
Albanese believes in the Bob Hawke style, where Ministers carry their portfolios on their sleeves and take responsibility for them. They appear calm, and whilst they are all of the digital age, calmness prevails within the chaos.
This calmness in appearance whilst addressing significant problems is a tribute to the Prime Minister’s style of governance. So different to that of his predecessors that it’s almost scary. Round, one of climate policy, has been addressed, and round two is being drafted.
Penny Wong and others have circumnavigated the region relentlessly to win favour in the Indo-Pacific.
We are on the eve of Labor’s first budget, with another in May next year. All this while, Ministers are analysing their portfolios for defects or future action. Albo knows what needs to be done to win back the people’s trust and doesn’t want to do it in complete disorder.
If you want to rate this government’s performance against something, use Kevin Rudd as your yardstick.
Rudd was the first prime minister of Australia’s digital age. He attacked the period with a pace commensurate with his belief in its possibilities. Chaos prevailed.
Now bring your mind back to Albanese. He makes as many television appearances as his predecessors, but it’s as if he doesn’t. He brings a sense of resolving matters with a degree of calm and composure that the others never tried. He doesn’t impose himself on people as others have done. He doesn’t lie, and he doesn’t forcefully subject people to lessons. His colleagues are as observable as he is.
What more do you want?
My thought for the day
In the recipe of good leadership, there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. It, however, ranks far below getting things done for the common good.
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