There are many reasons for the current woes facing the government but, considering their habit of rewarding incompetence, it is hardly surprising.
Joe Hockey’s budget has been widely recognised as the root cause for public disaffection very early on in the Coalition term. When the heat got too great, they moved him on to the very cushy US Ambassador’s job.
Peter Dutton’s stint as Health Minister was memorable for being described by doctors as the “worst ever”. That incompetence was rewarded with a shift to another portfolio where his gaffes have become legendary, from joking about Pacific Islands disappearing to mistakenly sending a text to a journalist describing her as a “mad f*cking witch”.
Despite bringing the condemnation of the world down upon us as Minister for Persecuting Refugees, Dutton is regarded as some sort of power broker who must be included in the “leadership team”.
Christopher Pyne made so many backflips about education funding that he had to be shifted somewhere so people would stop quoting his lies back to him. Unable to get anywhere with higher education reform and looking severely in trouble, “the fixer” was gifted the submarine portfolio just in time to promise, again, that Australia might get a few jobs for the hundreds of billions we are spending maybe building bits of the subs in a few decades time.
Speaking of submarines, what did Sophie Mirabella do for the last few years after she was gifted her submarine job in return for losing a safe seat? Her silence was deafening during the whole tender process. Quitting that sinecure, she was once again rejected by her electorate and has now apparently been hired by Gina Rinehart to use her questionable skills of persuasion as a lobbyist.
Greg Hunt has the embarrassing distinction of being named the Best Minister Ever by the OPEC countries for his time as Environment Minister when he oversaw the dismantling of a price on carbon, the approval of the world’s biggest coal mines, increasing emissions, the worst coral bleaching on record, the destruction of the renewable energy industry, and the gutting of environmental research by the CSIRO.
Smugly declaring his job done, Hunt has moved on and is now rehiring a few of the sacked climate scientists and refunding a few projects that were halted due to funding cuts like the carbon capture and storage research – except now we are giving $9 million of the funding to Glencore, the Swiss mining company that the ATO are auditing.
Josh Frydenberg has done the hard start on renewable energy which we now like in a hands off, non-involved kinda way. Fossil fuel subsidies are apparently not seen as distorting the “level playing field”.
Another example of rewarding mediocrity must surely be the IPA apprentices, Tim Wilson and James Patterson, who seem determined to give us another round of grief with their Section 18C obsession.
Wilson was gifted a very highly paid job at the AHRC where he was painfully unsuccessful at everything he tried – free speech, marriage equality and a religious summit where he forgot to invite the Muslims.
James Patterson has done so little he feels it necessary to mention he spent a few months as an intern somewhere. Nevertheless he was considered the best boy to replace Senator Michael Ronaldson who quit because he got dumped from the front bench.
Neither of these young men have shown any reason to reward them with safe seats and Senate ticket positions other than being party hacks.
Likewise James McGrath who was censured by the party for paying for personal files to be compiled on Labor politicians. Instead of sacking him for this vile McCarthy-esque intrusion, he was rewarded with a Senate position.
Then we have George Christensen. When his homophobic, racist, misogynistic newspaper articles were revealed just after he was preselected in 2010, the preselectors were rightly horrified, saying had they been aware of his views, he would not have been chosen. Apparently winning his seat was enough to overlook his strange behaviour and, as time passes, Christensen is feeling more empowered to express his prejudices publicly again.
Cory Bernardi has been described as dumb as a post by his own party, yet they keep putting him at or near the top of their Senate ticket in SA.
“Cory is deluded,” says a Liberal Party colleague. “He is one of the least effective or important members of the parliamentary team. Cory is a person without any intellect, without any base, and he should really never have risen above the position of branch president. His right-wing macho-man act is just his way of looking as though he stands for something.”
And in Tasmania, putting an angry Eric Abetz at the top of the Senate ticket led to the party being almost wiped out.
When Bronwyn Bishop’s long term service was rewarded with the Speaker’s position all hell broke loose. To think she was the best person to be an impartial adjudicator was ludicrous.
Not to mention that Barnaby Joyce is Deputy PM…I truly don’t want to mention that. It’s embarrassing.
And of course, there’s Tony.
Having endured his antics in student politics at Sydney University where he was considered an inconsequential, anachronistic bully boy, I have watched his rise in politics with incredulity. He even surprised himself when he was gifted the leadership in exchange for becoming a climate change denier.
To hear commentators describe him as an outstanding Opposition leader just floors me. That implies that the only job of a parliamentarian is to win the next election because spending six years collecting dirt files on people and demonising asylum seekers and action on climate change can hardly be looked on as an achievement.
Less than two years into the job, even his own party realised what a dud he was and did the unthinkable – they knifed a first term sitting PM after all the condemnation of the other side for doing just that.
And now they want him back?
While the Coalition continues to reward failure and promote mediocrity, they will inevitably career from one mishap to the next, because, regardless of who is steering the ship, it is being manned by incompetents each trying to sail off in their own direction.
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