Three months ago, Laura Tingle wrote a stinging critique of the Abbott government in the Australian Financial Review entitled, ‘Being Governed by Fools is not funny’. It was recently shared on Facebook and deserves to be re-visited.
It was written prior to the 2015 fiscal statement (the Budget), but if one ignores the time factor, the main body of the content could have been written yesterday.
The Coalition were swept into power in 2013 on a platform of lies and deception that weren’t even needed. Labor were going to lose anyhow. Not because they governed the country badly, but because they governed themselves in such a reckless and destructive way publicly, defeat was inevitable. The ABC’s The Killing Season has reinforced that view beyond doubt.
The LNP could have promised the voters nothing during the election campaign and they still would have won. Instead, they promised so much, even their own people knew they could not deliver.
On gaining power they acted as if it were the good old days when John Howard was at the helm. Even though they had falsely trashed the state of the economy in opposition, they believed the private sector would rally behind them and perform sufficient miracles to guide them to prosperity.
For the previous six years Australia and the world had been dealing with the aftermath of the greatest threat to world order since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It wasn’t a war, or even a cold war; it was a world economy on the brink of collapse.
Decades of irresponsible financial oversight, corporate and personal greed had enabled financial institutions to gamble recklessly with other peoples’ money. And when the collapse came, it was brutal, particularly in Europe and the United States.
In Australia the same Labor Government that was in the early stages of internal meltdown acted quickly. They went hard on stimulus and they went straight to households. The average person’s bank deposits were guaranteed and taxpayers received a $900 bonus.
The LNP opposition criticised this as excessive over-reaction. But it kept the country on a continuous growth trajectory. We were the only OECD country not to slip into recession.
It should have been obvious then that the LNP did not know how to manage an economy under these circumstances. Their record looked good when awash with money but in difficult times they were untried and untested.
Their only attack plan was to highlight the rising national debt, itself a pittance and easily managed, but the media gave them oxygen and Labor faulted in selling its case. Perhaps Labor were so distracted internally, they took their eyes off the ball and let the opposition run amok.
Even then, it should have been obvious that the LNP’s blueprint for debt reduction was flawed but the media either failed to do its job, or didn’t want to.
And so, in 2013 a poorly informed electorate voted this untested and unqualified rabble in, not by a huge margin, but sufficient for the LNP to think they were the nation’s favourite.
And so, what have we today is the result of that poorly informed choice.
A prime minister without a vision and a glaring lack of communication and oratorical skills living off a handful of three word slogans. A man with no respect for our Constitution or the rule of law.
A prime minister who has attracted the world’s attention for all the wrong reasons: hideously stupid gaffes, a 19th century approach to climate change, a 1950s approach to Trade Unionism, a dark ages approach to social equality and obsessively secret on matters of public interest.
We have a treasurer who clearly has no real answers to the questions he asked of the previous government, the one the voters removed. A man who, for all his bluster, has demonstrated a gift for verbal gaffes to rival his leader.
We have a government whose ideology blinds them not only to good government, which began, apparently, only last February, but to basic economic principles that Year 12 students could easily recognise.
Little wonder therefore, that Change.org has a petition asking for his resignation.
While that will be ignored no matter how many sign it, it is a true reflection of the feeling within the community generally. Anecdotal evidence and polls consistently show a majority of Australians will not support the LNP at the next election.
Whether one’s disgust at this government’s performance over less than two years is because of their economic ineptitude, their immoral approach toward asylum seekers, their disregard for the rule of law, their disregard for health and education outcomes or just the incompetence of several ministers, the polls are unequivocal.
Their most recent foray, i.e. defaulting to national security issues has been exposed as nothing more than an attempt to wedge the opposition.
Were this a Labor government, one can only imagine what the LNP-friendly media cohorts would be writing. Their collusion with the current state of affairs is appalling.
For those old enough to remember, we can compare the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, MacMahon and Fraser governments with this Liberal National Party and conclude that a treachery of monumental proportions has occurred; an abandonment of morality that began with the Howard government and which has become progressively more tragic today.
George W Bush took the United States down a similar path in the early 2000s and America is still recovering. Sometime soon, we will have to go through similar pain to restore our pride, our dignity and world image, but more importantly our self-respect.
That time can’t come soon enough.
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