It seems obvious to say that, if you ignore, or worse still, reward bad behaviour, you set yourself up for future problems. Parents know that. Teachers know that. Employers know that. Sporting coaches know that.
But apparently, our politicians do not.
A whole bunch of people in the Liberal Party spent last week lying to each other. These are people who are supposedly on the same team. And our new PM has chosen to reward them.
Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce now “deserve the respect due to former leaders” and have both been offered sinecures. Barnaby’s job seems to be to wander round outback pubs and farms, chatting and drinking with the locals. Tony’s is a tad more problematic because Indigenous people definitely do NOT want him being the voice to parliament that they asked for.
Arguably the most treacherous player, Matthias Cormann, retains his position as he does a media blitz denying his despicable behaviour which is on the record for all to see.
Peter Dutton, who must now realise that he was a dupe being lied to as well, also retains his position and, whilst immigration has been taken from him, he still maintains power over asylum seekers.
Morrison is going to have to come up with some policies.
His first act was to appease the Nats which he has done by appointing a kazillion people with “drought” in their title and heading off for his first photo shoot.
But he has been lashed by former president of the National Farmers’ Federation, Brent Finlay, who insists that any policy about drought must include action on climate change as they are “interlinked”.
“Instead of jumping in front of the cameras when a drought is on, we need them to do the grunt work on effective financial measures that allow our farmers to build up cash reserves in the good times to draw upon when the dry comes again.
The climate is changing, you can see it in the eyes of farmers who dismissed it as rubbish eight years ago. By recognising climate change, it is empowering resources to support agriculture.
It’s not going to make me popular to say it but unfortunately current drought assistance measures reward our less efficient farming operators at the expense of those families who’ve been better prepared for drought.
You’ve only got to look at our current weather patterns to know that climate change is real and we should expect more extreme weather including more droughts in the future.”
Scott’s next priority is to lower power prices but he is under even more intense pressure than Malcolm was from those who think building new coal-fired power stations will achieve that.
It was April when Morrison “smacked down a backbench push for the Turnbull government to back a new coal plant, arguing that high-efficiency coal does not mean cheap energy, and taxpayers would also be left on the hook.”
He has just appointed an energy minister who spoke at Alan Jones’ rally against wind farms and who has described climate science as a religion based on faith rather than facts.
The facts show that renewable energy will bring down power prices but that doesn’t seem to be where we are headed which is more regulation, possible nationalisation, and government subsidies to prop up a dying, polluting industry. They used to talk about the sovereign risk of blocking the Adani coal mine, yet now they are talking about compulsorily stripping assets from companies, assets we sold them only a few years ago.
The other focus for Scott is immigration but this too is a minefield.
He has pushed the line that we must unite together, I suppose to forestall any playing of the race card, but there are many in his party who do want it to be about race and religion, or “composition” as they say to try to disguise their bigotry and white supremacist tendencies.
Tony Abbott, when addressing the Sydney Institute in February, called for immigration levels to be cut from 190,000 people a year to 110,000.
Morrison responded by saying “Mr Abbott’s plan would cost the budget $4bn-$5bn over four years, and result in a lower proportion of skilled migrants.”
Addressing the National Press Club a few months ago, Peter Dutton backed that view.
“Essentially our two-thirds, one-third mix of skills to non-skills within the visa program has continued as it did in the Howard days because there is economic benefit, as well as a social dividend. My judgment is we’ve got the settings right. There’s an economic benefit to bringing people in who are skilled, who will work and pay taxes and contribute to society. It’s not just a social dividend. There’s a significant economic dividend.”
So are they both going to backtrack on those views to say Tony and Pauline had it right all along? Are we going to hear more about the “composition”? It would appear as a shameful populist capitulation rather than a considered stance on what is in the best interests of the nation.
If early indications mean anything, we will not see any sensible policy come from Morrison’s government, but there is a going to be a whole lot of populism, pork-barrelling, and rewarding of bad behaviour as he uses his few months as PM to appease all the wrong people.