In his book “The Political Bubble”, Mark Latham said this about the state of our democracy:
“Australians once trusted the democratic process. While we got on with our lives, we assumed our politicians had our best interests at heart.”
Whatever you think of Latham, one cannot deny that this book is a brilliant analysis of the malaise that has permeated our politics for the last decade. He asked:
“What can be done about this democratic deficit? Can our parliamentary system realign itself with community expectations, or has politics become one long race to the bottom?”
Re-establishing trust in Government is one of the essential things the Albanese Government can do.
Until Morrison came along, I considered Tony Abbott to be the most extraordinary liar ever to walk the plush green carpet of the House of Representatives. He, however, proved to be amateurish alongside Morrison. So good was his lying that he took it to heights never before witnessed in Australian politics.
Now with an inquiry into the duplicate ministries scandal and a Royal Commission into Robodebt, the Coalition thinks it’s all a hunt to discredit Scott Morrison, and we should “move on” from all the cock ups they ever made.
John Howard advised Tony Abbott that it would be foolhardy to implement Royal Commissions into Pink Batts and the Unions because, in the future, such actions might turn around and bite you on the bum. That is precisely what has happened.
WORDS THAT MAKE YOU THINK
Why is the Coalition protesting every inquiry and RC into its governance? Restoring honesty and integrity to government requires a learned knowledge of prior sins.
— john lord (@saint13333) August 25, 2022
Of course, these two won’t be the only sins of the ministers that will face inquiries. There is an impressive list.
No doubt, whatever form the proposed National Corruption commission takes, it will have several issues to look at.
Angus Taylor and Barnaby Joyce were involved in a shady water buyback scheme that channelled money through the Cayman Islands.
Waiting for ICAC, that will end his reign before it starts.." Peter Dutton awards a $423m contract through a ‘limited tender’ process to Paladin to run Manus Island – a company his sister works for that has no previous experience in running such facilities."
— Angry Aussie (@AngrySportysa05) May 30, 2022
$444m awarded to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with no tendering – straight into the pockets of directors with links to Liberal National Party.
The Coalition granted $30 million to Foxtel, ostensibly to assist with “sports coverage” (whilst simultaneously slashing ABC funding). There was no public release of any conditions or oversight regarding the financing.
Then follows the issue of When in 2018, the Federal Government paid a Liberal donor at the Leppington Pastoral Company ten times the fair value for land that will serve as the airport’s second runway after 2050.
The saga of the Sports Rorts affair has never gone away. The former sports minister Bridget McKenzie said the prime minister’s office did not approve the $100m sports grants program.
Federal parliament Car Parks affair, Government officials can’t say how many car spaces are funded by the project, which Labor describes as ‘professional rorting.’
Is the Leader of the Opposition seriously suggesting that these alleged examples of impropriety should be swept under the rug just because it might make them look bad?
The deputy opposition leader, Susan Ley, and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton both, last week, called the Royal Commission into Robodebt and the inquiry into the then Prime Minister’s ability to make two out of one, “witch-hunts” and “get-square” with Scott Morrison schemes.
According to Dutton, Albanese saw:
“… political advantage” in an inquiry targeted at Morrison. “It’s morphing into a witch-hunt rather than pointing out a problem that needed to be solved.”
The opening paragraphs of Rossleigh’s recent article for The AIMN explains the attitude of those opposed to any action against those who have worked against the nation’s best interests:
“Imagine that you go to the police to report a person is accused of misappropriation of funds from your organisation, and rather than investigate, the constable asks a few questions and asks you, “What’s the point of the investigation?”
You reply that you’d like to find out how it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again, to which the constable tells you: “Yeah, but he doesn’t work there anymore. Aren’t you just being vindictive? I think you should get on with your life and not worry about the past!”
Susan Ley’s simplistically inane comments never seem to match the seriousness of the allegations making her at times look like a Marilyn Monroe dumb blond. They look foolish, even laughable, in doing so when one considers they lost the election mainly on Morrison’s untrustworthiness. (No misogyny intended).
But the Liberals and the Nationals have always been a party of elites and wannabes. The idea that economics and society are intertwined is abhorrent to them. Economics is the domain of the wealthy and privileged, and culture belongs to those of class and privilege.
The previous Government’s words and actions questioned the very essence of the word truth. Or they at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.
The Liberal born-to-rule philosophy has finally been put to death by their shameful actions, as has the indulgence of “we are the best party to manage money.” During their Luddite period, they alone were responsible for the utter contempt they displayed for the Westminster system of Government.
We found that with Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, that power is a corrupt possession, especially when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s wellbeing for the sake of it.
Of course, in the case of Morrison’s duplicitous Ministerial self-appointments, we must remember the conclusion of the Solicitor General:
“On the other hand, we’ve got a report from the solicitor-general. It clearly says that there was nothing illegal done, but it also clearly indicates that it is just highly unconventional, highly unorthodox and shouldn’t have happened.”
If the Coalition cannot admit to the carnage they are responsible for, then the stench of it will attach itself to their future election campaigns.
Of course, Labor has to walk a fine line between genuinely being called out for Morrison bashing and seriously trying to resurrect good governance.
As part of its restoration program, Labor must also do something about the Public Service. Change it from an anti-public service to a concerned pro-public service with a pulse that people can measure. And return it to being an apolitical institution in Australia!
Regaining trust in Government will not be attained overnight. It may even take as long as the conservatives took to wreck it. Such is the audacity of the conservative mind. But having said that, the Prime Minister has made a good start with a willingness to show openness and truth when dealing with people.
At the same time, it is prosecuting its case against the opposition. It must prove that it is making advancements in communicating its transparency agenda.
The conservative right-wing media are doing their best to advise against any form of investigation that might expose wrongdoing. They did the opposite when Abbott went after Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard.
Albanese is determined that we might have a better standard of governance. It cannot achieve it without exposing why it is necessary. That means laying bare those matters which were shady, dishonest, deceitful, or plainly corrupt for a decade.
My thought for the day
If we are to save our democracy, we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should be transparent and tell the truth.
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