Many of us were disenchanted with Malcolm Turnbull, but Scott Morrison is completely wrong about why.
The majority of the population agreed with Turnbull’s previous statements about climate change, renewable energy, marriage equality, the Republic, the negative affects of overly-generous property tax concessions, the perils of political donations, the need for state-of-the-art communications etc.
Our disappointment stemmed from his backflips on these issues precipitated by the apparent stranglehold on the party by a few noisy anachronistic men who yearn for the days when women were content with silent domestic servitude and one’s connections, rather than one’s ability, offered opportunity. Dishonourable mention should also be made of the few women aboard the gravy train who enable these throwbacks by their complicit silence.
Morrison, after an ugly coup very reminiscent of how he originally won preselection, immediately tells us his priorities are the drought and reducing power prices, no doubt as payback to the Nationals for signing the agreement that keeps him in government (like the Nats would ever jeopardise their over-represented position at the table).
Yet his first action is to kill off any action on climate change and to throw the growing renewable energy sector into uncertainty once again, actively working against the mechanisms that would achieve his stated goals.
In the annual Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018, 59% of respondents agreed with the statement: “climate change is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.”
This represents an increase of 5 percentage points from 2017, and a consistent increase in support for this statement over the past six years.
While the federal government pretend to pursue a “technology-neutral” energy policy, public support for a large-scale energy transition in Australia is even more emphatic than support for climate action.
According to the Lowy poll, 84% of Australians support the statement that “the government should focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable”.
But it’s not just climate change and energy policy where the Morrison government is unrepresentative of community attitudes.
Scott Morrison, along with several of his colleagues, couldn’t bring themselves to vote for marriage equality despite overwhelming community support for it.
He has refused to release the report from Philip Ruddock on religious freedom but has intimated that, even though he can’t point to any actual concerns, he will introduce legislation to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
He vaguely talks about parents having a choice about the values their children are taught which we all know is the religious dog whistle about the Safe Schools program.
If Mr Morrison has convinced himself that there is no bullying problem in his party, it’s perhaps not surprising that he cannot understand the bullying that goes on in schools and the request from teachers for resources to help them discuss respectful relationships and tolerance and understanding of diversity.
The majority of Australians support euthanasia and legal abortions, but not our Scott and the unrepresentative preponderance of religious people in our parliament.
While every economist is telling us that wage stagnation is a real problem, Scott keeps telling us that all will be well if businesses make more profits, once again completely out of tune with the community and out of touch with the reality of soaring company profits which have not translated to wage rises.
Scott also keeps telling us they are keeping us safe by spending hundreds of billions on war materiel, terrorism stuff, and keeping asylum seekers locked up, yet he pays lip service to domestic violence, not understanding that the behaviour of politicians is a shocking example of the belittling intimidation that accompanies such violence. He seems more worried about keeping us safe from strawberries than from the trauma that is a part of too many Australian’s lives.
He tells us he leads a united party who wants a united country. We may be apathetic and weary of political shenanigans but that is just impossible to accept from the man who “sees votes in anti-Muslim strategy” and who happily just knifed a sitting Prime Minister for no reason he can articulate.
Shutting down parliament, refusing to go to the Pacific leaders forum, cancelling the scheduled COAG meeting, and leaving the Senate with no legislation to discuss, does not engender hope that they are getting on with governing.
It seems more like they are fine-tuning their slogans and their shouty attack of it all being Labor’s fault.