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The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 2)

We are in many ways an incomplete democracy struggling along, so overburdened with the luggage consecutive conservative leaders have packed into bags so small that we never seem to find time for the bigger issues of nationhood.

Think a republic, a bill of rights; an overdue rehash of our Constitution has needed attention for many years. Indeed, a rethink of our democracy and how it functions should be at the very centre of our thinking.

But alas, given the conservative preoccupation with incremental change it would take them an eternity to make any major transformations.

The right to vote in an election is the gift that democracy gives. Therefore, it is incumbent on the voter to at least have a rudimentary understanding of politics and to take an interest in the political landscape.

Other than “climate heating” as the major piece of luggage the government carries into the New Year the erosion of our democracy is next important.

Its demise began with Tony Abbott and is continuing with the emergence of Scott Morrison as a Trumpish sort of warrior for the right.

In my last post for 2019 l alluded to the possibility of love playing a role in the way politics is practiced. By that I meant that a healthy respect for our democracy and a courteous manner toward one’s opponents might bring about better common good results than the hatred shown toward each other now.

In terms of readership it was one of my most least read posts for the year confirming within my thoughts that people are angry, confused and have dropped any semblance of the notion that we still live in a democracy. That logic, truth, trust and reason has the answers. On the contrary their frustration tells them that anger, belligerence, aggression and arrogance does.

It is not however, only in politics that we see it. It is but a reflection of our society.

More the fool me, I thought. Well, at least those people who commented in my favour and agreed gave me some room for reflection.

However, the public might be forgiven for thinking that our politics has descended into a swamp of hate where respect for the other’s view is seen as a weakness. Where light frivolity and wit has been replaced with smut, lies and sarcasm.

And in doing so politicians debase our democracy and themselves.

But let’s move on beyond the wreckers like Abbott, Morrison and Dutton and most of the current Cabinet.

The accumulated mistakes they have made seem to have not troubled them in the slightest. Conscience is never revealed.

1 The Australian National University conducts an annual poll into the state of politics. This year they found that public trust has reached an all-time low.

Key points:

  • Australians’ satisfaction with democracy is the lowest it has been since the Dismissal in 1975, a new study suggests.
  • Public trust in government is also at an all-time low, according to the study.
  • Just over a decade ago, contentment with democracy was at an all-time high now it is at an all-time low.
  • Just 25 per cent believed people in government could be trusted.

“I’ve been studying elections for 40 years, and never have I seen such poor returns for public trust in and satisfaction with democratic institutions,” lead researcher Professor Ian McAllister said.

Since gaining power in 2013 this government has taken umbrage at those who might say or print words critical of it. So much so that over a long period of time the attitude among politicians, public servants, security, officials and legal figures has been to halt the flow of information that one could be assured of from government in a liberal democracy.

It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.

Openness and transparency should be sacrosanct in any democracy, but it isn’t in Australia.

In a democracy the right to free speech is given by the people through the government. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here (and in the United States).

The very least we should expect from our government is an openness that gives the voter an assurance that whistleblower protection is in place. That freedom of information requests are treated with respect and that matters of governance and the national interest are best served with transparency.

Here is a simple example.

The Prime Minister has refused to disclose the content of Barnaby Joyce’s drought envoy reports in the form text messages.

Joyce has no objection, so why the refusal so here we have, yet again, the government shrouded in corruption, secrecy and incompetence.

2 Morrison returns.

After watching Scott Morrison’s, 22 December press conference after his embarrassing return from leave l have these comments. Firstly, his statement that this is a time for bipartisanship was a fib. The opposition has offered him it, many times.

Secondly, when asked about the use of credits to reach our Paris commitments he completely ignored the question and went on to repeat the lie of omission that we will meet our target in a canter.

The point is that 50% of our target can be taken up with the credits meaning that we would be guilty of not pulling our weight.

The world will be entitled to call us cheats, and they would be right.

He has literally refused to reconsider any part of his government’s climate change policy. He is in a very bad place with his attitude.

One thing I did conclude though was that sympathy doesn’t come naturally to the Prime Minister.

My thought for the day

Sometimes love cannot be spoken only shown.

Next post my words will speak of leadership.

Link to Part 1


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  1. josephus

    One can cite Hungary and Poland as semi paranoid regimes also.
    Is education at fault? certainly the media, tv especially. Our ABC is muted, too.
    I see mindless fascism gaining ground and I do fear that my many well educated relatives who were murdered three generations ago died for nothing. Rwanda has happened and we can add other witch hunts since.
    And before, eg Armenia ,Namibia.
    It seems that mob rule egged on by vile demagogues and by sociopathic bigots nearer home appeal to enough to win elections.
    O tempota O mores. But in Roman times there were no mass media , and blood lust was satiated and partly contained by the rituals in the stadiums.

  2. Baby Jewels

    I agree, Josephus. We appear to have learned very little from history. And so many of those dragging us further towards authoritarianism/Fascism are a new breed of Christian – who are the very opposite of Christian, it seems to me, as they grab more power for themselves and take it from the rest of us.

  3. Terence Mills

    It’s interesting that London’s ITV seek out Craig Kelly and Israel’s public broadcaster seeks out Tony Abbott when they want to expose climate change deniers,

    It begs the question, are we the only country that harbors these nut jobs ?

  4. New England Cocky

    Aw c’mon JL, all is not lost.

    “Just over a decade ago, contentment with democracy was at an all-time high now it is at an all time low.”

    Those Australian voters able to remember a decade ago and do the necessary subtraction, 19 — 10 = 09 would suddenly realise that the period 2007 to 2013 was successive Labor governments “distracted” by USA (United States of Apartheid) operatives for the benefit of foreign owned multinational corporations and their shareholders living overseas.

    Since then, the general Australian voters continue to listen to the nutter shock jocks to re-enforce their own bigotries rather than having an accurate reliable world news service while in depth thinking beyond “Foot-a-ball” is considered a social disgrace.

    Your solitary observations on Australian politics and life provide a clear distraction from the mediocrity passing as fake news in the MSM.

    As my late farming mentor used to say, “When things go wrong, the only problem with lying down in the road is that some bastard will come along and walk on your face.

  5. whatever

    Yes, the degeneration of the entire News Media landscape into TalkBack/Tabloid bulletins of RW talking points is the means by which the Conservitards claim ownership of popular political momentum.

  6. Kerri

    The lack of pre-emptive spending on firs fighting is going to cost tenfold.
    At least that will be the historical feather in Morrison’s hat for eternity.

  7. Pilot

    All this crap started with Keith Murdoch way back during WW1 when he lied to senior military staff trying to get Monash replaced as Australia’s military leader in France. Fascism runs deep in the Murdochs. Murdoch white-anted his way around the place, probably gave Menzies a headjob or 2 because he ended up as his Media administrator. First edict was that ALL newspapers and radio would publish ALL government statements. He was removed pretty quick. Their paper The Melbourne Herald published many articles from prominent UAP members glorifying Fascism and hero worshipping Hitler and Mussolini. When the UAP was disbanded and Menzies formed his Liberal party, who were the first members? All the fascist trash from the UAP. So, our beloved Liberal party is founded on a base of fascism, something they continually deny, but history says otherwise.

  8. Andrew Smith

    The big ‘C’ Conservatives and/or the LNP, like the GOP and UK Tories have become corrupted by the interests of stakeholders or oligarchs via think tanks informing policy, media like NewsCorp doing the PR and communications, leveraging ageing electors while the MPs are mere sock puppets or ciphers, avoiding any grounded policy for national benefit and strangling govt. services and budgets (advised by Koch affiliated think tanks etc.).

    The transnational goes further as Terence Mills points out re. Abbott and Kelly, there does appear to be related wacko PR networks, mostly US inspired with links to Israel, Hungary, Poland, Russia etc. (Abbott had also presented at the IEA in the UK promoting Brexit, like the IPA, it is in the Koch Atlas Network).

    Oz media barely scratched the surface re. those attending family and Christian related conferences in Hungary last year i.e. merely a study tour for Abbott, Andrews, Downer and political activist Sheridan from NewsCorp.

    One only realised, Hungarian govt. led by Orban looks to the 1920s and ’30s during the Admiral Horthy era as the golden years being allied with Germany, friendly with Hitler, Catholic Church central along with eugenics and aggressive nationalism.

    Nowadays that translates into white nationalism, despising liberals including Pope Francis, supporting a coterie of oligarchs, corruption, dumbing down of education, secrecy, media consolidation, deregulation (attacks on the EU), intimidation and/or restriction of the judiciary, gerrymandering and ageing electorates.

    Issue they have, aka the ‘great replacement theory’, is that their core constituency of white Christian nationalists is declining, hence, making electoral politics and parliamentary democracy more difficult for themselves.

    What happens if they find that gaining and/or maintaining power through democratic means impossible? Go the way of Putin and Erdogan?

  9. Zathras

    The ill-informed rantings of Kelly and Abbott overseas are a national embarrassment for us and demonstrate how out of step with the modern world we must appear to be.

    The idea that somebody (Kelly) whose only qualification and experience is as an assistant furniture salesman is determining the fate of future generations because of his wilful ignorance of science and professional advice should be a matter of great concern but will typically be forgotten in a couple of days of media noise.

  10. wam

    Are you an honest person, lord? Do you write honest words? Do you value honesty? Why is it not ‘alluded’ to as a quality for politicians?
    You often ‘allude’ that conservative voters do not employ ‘ logic, truth, trust and reason”? Is it possible your logic, your truth are no more trustworthy than theirs? Could you and they both be right and wrong? Could consensus apply?
    Glad you have spent 40 years studying elections. Your first vote is worth revisiting.
    Here is a taster.
    Jim Killen won Moreton by only 130 votes after receiving 93 vital Communist preferences
    Should ave you a pang of conscience when alluding that you only got interested in studying elections in the 80s but have berated conservative voters for not studying before voting?

  11. Lambchop Simnel

    The Keith Murdoch era rings bells for me also. Wasn’t this also the time, about 1930, the era of the Old Guard and New Guard hard rightist militias that may have influenced John Howard’s father?

  12. DrakeN

    Pilot, that is a fair precis of the reality of a “Liberal” Party which was established primarily to limit the activities of a Labor Party which was acting on behalf of the hoi polloi.

    Stopping genuine democracy was their prime concern.

    Nothing much has changed in the meantime in that regard.

  13. New England Cocky

    @Pilot: Much as it hurts, I must defend Keith Murdoch and his part in WWI. Murdoch was sent to Gallipoli by the PM of that time to discover the truth, “were the Army top brass accurately describing the situation in their reports?” The answer was “Definitely NO!!!”. Consequently, many good Australian lives were saved because the ANZAC Force withdrew from Gallipoli with no casualties for disputed reasons. Did the Turks let them leave or was an excellent con job manufactured?

    Murdoch opposed the formation of the ABC in 1923 (?) because the ABC was funded from Radio Licences and Commonwealth money, which gave the ABC a financial advantage over other commercial newspaper and radio media. That opposition never wavered and was taken up by Young Rupert allegedly to gain acceptance by his father. It is reported that Young Lachlan carries on the family tradition while he props up the Channel 10 network (?), the national repository of terrible programming.

    The reference to the Melbourne Herald running pro-fascism articles was probably inexcusable to a democrat of today, but was a world-wide typical response by the establishment terrified that their worldly possessions would be taken by any communist uprising within their national borders.

    Menzies was always a self-serving person from before the day he resigned his Australian Army commission on the first day of WWI, to when he ran away to England to assist the incompetent English High Command to run the war, to his despatch of Australian troops into the unnecessary Vietnam War debacle.

  14. Pilot

    I decided not to go there DrakeN. By it’s nature, businessmen and leaders. But in the fullness of time, my memory from my school days is getting a bit ….. I just alluded to the main point. One mistake I did make was that Murdoch senior had the ear of PM Fisher and complained to him that Monash’s senior staff were disillusioned with his planning and execution skills, which Fisher found out was a complete and utter lie. All his senior staff were firmly behind him and he had their confidence. For the life of me, I just cannot recall with whom he wanted to replace Monash. Driving me nuts.

    The Liberal Party has never, ever been about the average Joe, the working man, it is purely a big business oriented group, but yeah, they’ve always been about the Hoi polloi. To them a worker is a disposable item, not a human.

    As far as I can remember from history classes, both the old and new guards tried unsuccessfully to oust sitting governments, with the old guard doing a bit of damage, but the new guard’s attempt failed miserably. And John Howard’s father was a money launderer for plantation owners and slavers in PNG and Malaya. He wasn’t a nice fellow, we can see that in his progeny.

    I’m first to admit that I’m definitely not a learned person (didn’t finished school or attended university), but back through the late 60s at school we had a brilliant history teacher, she was stunning, had legs you wouldn’t believe, but I digress. Was the first time I didn’t sleep through history history, lol.

    And let us not forget the 1919 Queensland riots. The rightwing business groups and mouthpieces fired up returning soldiers so much they rampaged and rioted trying to kill and murder immigrants and workers who wrongfully accused of being disloyal.
    Australia, the new home of fascism…….

  15. Pilot

    NEC. Thank you very much for the clarification.
    We were taught that when Fisher travelled to France to relieve Monash from his post, he first met the General Staff, who, to a man supported Monash unreservedly. It wasn’t clarified, and we didn’t ask, who actually instigated the meeting, Fisher or the staff, but apparently there was a meeting and Monash kept his job.

    Our history teacher must’ve been a socialist, because she was very scathing on Menzies and his style of government, no time for Holt, but smiled a little about Gorton. At this stage of life, those bits didn’t stick to well, lol. We supposed to be learning modern Australian history, and she didn’t think Holt & Gorton fitted that as they were “now” PMs at that time.

    Next time I’ll leave to you more learned people.
    Thanks again.

  16. Keith


    Australia has is share of RWNJs, so has the USA. The situation in the Middle East has just escalated through Iran attacking a base where US service people were housed. The height of stupidity to take out a General from Iran. The news suggests the push came from the Pentecostal Secretary of State to kill the General. I think the RWNJs originated from the USA through the push towards neo-conservatism and religious cults such as Pentacostalism.

  17. Brad Black

    At a time when a good government would be seeking to unite the country in the face of adversity, there’s yet another example of the current government doing the opposite in an attempt to shift the blame.
    barmy joyce is claiming green caveats are to blame for the ferocity of the fires, a claim disputed by the Commissioner of the Rural fire service in NSW who stated that in the event of extreme weather prescribed burning has “very little effect at all.”
    Being lectured by a moron is bad enough, but an incorrect lecture by a lying, skirt chasing, unprincipled, hypocritical, science denying moron with a drinking problem is just one more slap in the face to the country hopes of moving forward.
    How much longer ….

  18. Terence Mills

    Amused to hear our Defence Minister when asked what our troops are doing in Iraq, she tells us that they are training Iraqi security forces as they have been since 2003.

    Seventeen years to train Iraqi’s we must now be training up a new generation after having trained their Mums and Dads !

    Why would we not be training the trainers and then just getting the hell out of there ?

  19. Pingback: The baggage they have lugged from one year to the next means 2020 will be a hard slog (part 3) - » The Australian Independent Media Network

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