As Christmas approaches, it is time to provide Scott Morrison with an indication of his progress through his second year as Prime Minister.
This has been a year of considerable upheaval, not just in Australia, but in the world.
While it is unlikely that any changes in policy which are beneficial to the country’s progress would have any impact in these remaining weeks of 2020, there are plenty of areas where changes are urgently needed.
Morrison began his life in NSW – which has always regarded itself as the Premier State – and while for a time, under Joh Bjelke-Petersen, properly known as Sir Johannes, but better known for his improper behaviour, Queensland usurped the title of the most corrupt state in Australia – and, believe me, there was stiff competition – the Fitzgerald Inquiry succeeded in returning the title to NSW, where it has been fought over by both major parties.
It currently remains with the Liberal Party, which is Morrison’s party of choice.
His approach to entering a political career was not above reproach, and there have been many occasions where he has displayed some confusion over where his loyalties lie, as between the national government, his family and NSW. He clearly shows little support for any state which has a Labor leader – which is not acceptable!
He is a proud family man and is clearly determined that we will recognise that he has duties to perform in that regard, an attitude which he reinforced by secretly leaving Australia in late 2019 – while unprecedented bush fires were ravaging massive areas, particularly but not exclusively in the south east – in order to keep a promise to his daughters that they would have a holiday together.
Now fighting fires is State business, but that approach becomes messy when fires fail to recognise state boundaries.
In these circumstances, any sensible person would see that the national government might have a role to play in coordinating the actions of state authorities and, if appropriate – as it definitely was in this instance – mobilising defence forces to assist as required.
And – as the head of the national government, Morrison was in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Morrison seems (misguidedly) inclined to believe that being popular is necessary for a national leader, and, after apologising for not seeing sooner that we missed his presence and guiding hand, he concentrated on making sure that we could see pictures of him shaking the hands of the people who had lost their homes and livelihoods, while he assured them that help was on its way.
Well, that was December 2019 and Christmas 2020 is nearly on us, but help seems as distant, while being even more desperately needed, than it was then.
Ah – but let’s be fair. He did not know that COVID-19 was waiting to pounce, globally, and proceed, metaphorically, to throw the world into a chaotic mess.
It snuck up on us and, to give him his due, he did fairly quickly close national borders, and kept a firm watch on them ever since.
His favourite Minister (the one he beat for the Prime Minister’s job, and who can do no wrong, can get all his appalling secrecy and surveillance legislation rubber stamped and generally work on turning Australia into a police state) was ostensibly in charge of the borders, but nobody has yet put up their hand to take overall responsibility for the Ruby Princess fiasco.
As far as Australia’s success in being near the top of the list of countries which are handling the pandemic well, the credit has to go to the Premiers and Chief Ministers.
In many cases, Morrison has been a hindrance rather than a help, and his refusal to recognise that the world is experiencing an upheaval, in the process of which we have to completely change our thinking about what is ‘normal’ now, is actually holding us back.
Cutting assistance to people with no hope of finding a job is outright cruelty.
Living, fortunately, so far from Canberra, it is hard to know whether the Coalition parties see Morrison as their best hope for retaining power, or whether, for some unknown reason they dare not criticise him.
Certainly, in the 2019 election campaign, there were few senior members of the Coalition who got anything like as much exposure to the public as Morrison did, while he pranced around the country being Daggy Dad, or the best friend of the farmers/miners/local interest groups and – above all – the fossil fuel giants.
A close inspection would reveal that he offered little by way of policy for the future, distorted the intent of the ALP’s policies – ably aided and abetted by Clive Palmer and his millions – but ensured he told everyone what they wanted to hear – not what they needed to know!
The budget was not in good shape, wages had stagnated, tax cuts would give little help to any other than the already well-off, and many government policies favoured any and all but those most in need.
Anyway – back to more recent events.
The Coalition is nothing if not besotted with privatisation.
Because it enables them to ensure lucrative opportunities for their mates to invest in totally unsuitable businesses – and become grateful donors.
(You really do need to investigate how much of Job Keeper payments – ostensibly intended to permit business owners to retain and pay for the services of existing employees- has actually ended up in the Cayman Island accounts of shareholders via extra dividend payments.)
IMHO no ‘caring’ organisation should ever be run by a for-profit organisation.
Surely it is obviously an oxymoron for a corporation, whose first duty is to make a profit for shareholders, to invest in a business which requires that those hired to manage the business, should put those served by the business as top priority. It is definitely a moronic idea!
We have all wept for victims highlighted by the Banking Royal Commission.
As an aside – remember how all its recommendation were to be honoured?
I challenge you to find any that have been, or any sign that they might be and, in fact, Josh Frydenberg is now planning to remove the very restrictions on lending which Justice Heyne said must never be removed. This is policy making on the run to keep donors happy!
So now you can seek a loan and no one will care that you cannot afford to service it, will possibly end up a bankrupt and lose everything.
Back to caring organisations and the Aged Care enquiry.
If banking customers were deserving of sympathy, what about our elderly, some of whom, during the worst of the pandemic in NSW and Victoria, were abandoned, unfed, unmedicated, unwashed, cut off from family and locked in!
And only today I was reading of the shocking treatment and fraud being visited upon many NDIS recipients.
When did Australians stop caring about their fellow human beings?
There has always been an element which resented the latest group of immigrants or refugees.
Why, is a source of puzzlement, since the only people who have any viable grounds for resentment of new arrivals are the members of our First Nations, whose lands were usurped and who have yet to have their rights recognised.
Until yesterday I had never heard of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whose death has just been announced.
He is quoted as saying:
“God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims,” he wrote. “No one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth; no one civilization encompasses all the spiritual, ethical and artistic expressions of mankind.”
When you think of the damage, wars and worse, which are triggered by disagreements over over what is the ‘true’ religion, he and his ilk are sorely needed.
Morrison, who apparently sees his religion as a personal matter, quite separate from whatever guides his policy making, has much to answer for in making policy decisions which are so biased against those most in need.
The National Cabinet – before it reverted to political infighting – was a good move, but it also created a smokescreen.
While, for ostensibly good health reasons, parliament was not meeting, Morrison used the time to sow the seeds of a dictatorship, with a compliant Coalition who saw it as beneficial to them – stuff worrying about us!
Knowing he was on a winner with conservative supporters, Morrison ignored the fact that a majority of the world’s governments are recognising and taking action to deal with global warming.
But Trump will no longer provide Morrison with an idol, an example and a buffer.
Average world temperatures are steadily rising.
Adverse weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Opportunities to move away from fossil fuels and improve our production and storage of renewable energy are being ignored.
So, what is the End of Term Report (how I long for July 2022 – must we really wait that long?) looking like?
Actually, pretty poor.
We have massive unemployment, with 10 job hunters for every job.
We have a privatised employment agency system, run by staff whose training and procedures leave much to be desired.
Centrelink is also part-privatised and you can bet your bottom dollar – since they glumly accepted that Robodebt was illegal (they have, even though they won’t say it in so many words) – they will be looking for some other way to take money from the needy and gift it to their mates!
NDIS is an absolute mess, as is the Aged Care system.
The Coalition dislikes having to regulate the bodies it establishes, so corruption and fraud are running riot.
Your government is encouraging investment in what will become stranded assets.
We are about to have another mass adoption, this time in the NT, of the cashless welfare card – completely ignoring research which has found that it does not achieve any of the outcomes it was claimed would result from its introduction.
Ideology is a very damaging tool!
While supporters of the Americanised approach to life, which demands that if you cannot stand on your own two feet, then you will be pushed aside, might feel positive about Morrison’s time in office. I suspect I would find few friends in their ranks.
But those who believe in good governance for all – transparency, integrity, compassion for the helpless and who abhor corruption but demand ethical behaviour – would have a different response.
Scott Morrison – you need as a matter of urgency to accept global warming as fact, to ensure the homeless get a roof over their heads, that those in need get necessary support and that you take a much closer look at yourself and your policy vacuum.
You are on notice to shape up or ship out!
And if you do not want the shame job of being voted out, as Trump has been, and John Howard before him, then please resign, take on that cushy sinecure you have been offered and call an early election ASAP!
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