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The chickens are coming home to roost

By 2353NM  

Apart from the creation of a futures market in toilet paper, pasta and rice, the Coronavirus may also have a few positive political effects here and overseas.

Firstly, the messaging from the government regarding protection of you and those around you seems to be based on the recommendations from the medical community. Yes, there is a realisation that scientists who are experts at understanding communicable diseases do know more than politicians. In this case the politicians are taking the advice, even to the stage of Peter Dutton’s accepting Queensland Health’s recommendation for isolation in hospital when diagnosed with Coronavirus. While Morrison and the rest of Cabinet didn’t choose to self-isolate despite being in contact with Dutton in the period immediately prior to Dutton’s diagnosis, Morrison chose not to go to what was the first and may be the last opportunity to see his favourite football team play for some time the following weekend. Also to be fair, testing the Ministry and advisors in the Cabinet Room prior to the onset of symptoms is pointless — and a waste of resources.

Is it too much to hope for a recantation of the dodgy accounting and bluster in regard to the emissions targets and ‘carbon tax’ that have poisoned Australian politics for a decade? After all, the experts in environmental science have been warning of events such as ‘mega-fires’ and greater frequency of highly destructive cyclones for about the same length of time.

Secondly, the government released ‘scalable’ financial measures to attempt to keep the economy from diving into a recession. There are a number of measures that promote ‘instant’ spending as well as measures that will take some time to have an effect. Again the measures seem to be based on the advice of experts in their field at Treasury. It’s probably not accidental that the measures imitate to an extent those implemented by Rudd and his Treasurer Wayne Swan around a decade ago during the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ (you know the one that the Coalition has been arguing didn’t exist because Australia didn’t go into a recession). The Coalition have been pillorying the ALP for a decade about the measures that put the infamous “$900 cheques” into the hands of people that would ‘only spend the money on (the then new and expensive) flat screen televisions and at the pokies, built a large number of assembly halls and other needed infrastructure at schools and assisted a considerable number of people to be able to regulate the temperature in their homes in a far more environmentally sustainable way. Certainly the implementation at the time wasn’t gold plated perfection — but Morrison’s will probably come up against similar issues with his stimulus package in the months ahead including loading the $750 stimulus given to Centrelink ‘customers’ to the ‘cashless welfare card’ if it’s an option.

The Coalition’s carefully crafted ‘truism’ that they are the better economic managers because the ALP hands the cash out to anyone now has the same credibility as their line about ‘the carbon tax’ causing $100 lamb roasts, the wipe out of Whyalla and ongoing economic pain. Don’t forget former PM Abbott’s Chief of Staff told us the ‘carbon tax’ claim was just brutal retail politics. If you doubt it, the audio is here, courtesy of Buzzfeed.

It isn’t only Australian politicians that are eating humble pie — US President Donald Trump has been somewhat less than enthusiastic about vaccination in the past. Like the Coalition government’s budget cuts to the CSIRO, the editor of the USA’s Science Magazine reports

For the past 4 years, President Trump’s budgets have made deep cuts to science, including cuts to funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH. With this administration’s disregard for science of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the stalled naming of a director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy — all to support political goals — the nation has had nearly 4 years of harming and ignoring science.

Suddenly, a change of tune

“Do me a favor, speed it up, speed it up.” This is what U.S. President Donald Trump told the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference, recounting what he said to pharmaceutical executives about the progress toward a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

It would be easy to comment that “karma is a bugger” and leave it there. But there is something to consider further here. While Morrison (and Trump) have been caught out playing politics, Morrison at least is also finding out that reacting to changing circumstances can be accepted if it is seen to be in the public’s best interests. Let’s hope he joins the dots and figures out most of us couldn’t give a damn if there is an economic surplus or not, it is far more important to produce meaningful reductions in emissions (without dodgy accounting) and demonstrate kindness and compassion to refugees, the jobless and those that genuinely need a hand in our society. The UK and USA have been printing additional money for years with apparently little adverse economic effect.

You and I need to tell all those that run for political office that we no longer have the appetite for a winner take all competition. We need to know why you are doing what you’re doing (even if it takes longer than 30 seconds on the evening news to tell us), if the situation changes it is acceptable to change tack and leaving a healthy and liveable environment for our descendants is of utmost importance. In addition, all those elected to office (regardless of political ‘colour’) have the right to have a seat at the table and their opinions heard and considered.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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10 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Yep, just print the money – it doesn’t matter.
    Or else, don’t – and millions will die, the economy and thereby the country will collapse totally.
    And what’s the point of that to anyone ?

    It’s fascinating that THIS crisis allows the government to help, but devastating bushfires and dying refugees don’t qualify. Makes you wonder.

  2. Ill fares the land

    I think we are confusing what the LNP is currently doing to try and protect the economy from a disaster with its core ideology. It is doing what it has to do; not what it wants to do.

    At the end of the crisis, “usual transmission will be restored as soon as possible”.

    In fact, I expect it will be worse, because the anti-climate change action rhetoric won’t just be “it will destroy jobs”. It will be turbo-charged to become “climate change action in this time of crisis will do even more harm to the economy”. The flood of privatisations (the NBN will surely go into public hands – it was always to be thus); the feigned austerity and so on will all be a part of the LNP’s “post-crisis-crisis management” and it won’t be the billionaires or the multi-million dollar salary CEO’s living in Toorak, Hawthorn or Point Piper that have to stump up – it will be those at the other end of the financial demographic. The LNP probably won’t get back to anywhere near a balanced budget, but they will loudly proclaim at the next election that “only Morrison can lead Australia back to a strong fiscal footing” and electing Labor will guarantee that future generations will be saddled with even more debt … blah…. blah.

  3. RomeoCharlie29

    And as we move on from one mishandled crisis, the bushfires, to this latest catastrophe, I wonder if those affected by the bushfires are getting the money they were promised? That said, I got my $750 in my bank today, by the end of March! I only hope the millions of Jobseekers and jobkeepers get theirs before misery overtakes them. As someone who has had the pleasure and a bit of pain, in ten years of dealing with Centrelink I can only say how glad I am to be already “in the system” and hope that those now coming to it for the first time get an appreciation of what it is like to be one of those Joe called “leaners”.

  4. Judy Jacobs

    2353, it would be a huge, huge mistake to under estimate the stranglehold, moneyed corporations/mining magnates/media tsar etc have on trickle down economics so very synonymous with trickle down democracy, Woodrow Wilson, “The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy”, invisible empires decides brand democracy, who, how, what and when. Just recall how they then as Australia was being spared the ravages and carnage of the GFC to add insult to injury they also snookered Australia out of any semblance of 21st century (price on carbon, digitisation NBN FTTP, better deal for natural resources, natural etc etc). Once this crises is over, give you ten to one, if not today, if not tomorrow but in the not too distant future the invisible empire will decides brand trickle down democracy so very synonymous with trickle down economics, on a huge huge garage fire sale anything/everything not nailed down in “… budget emergency…” and “..economic reform to sustain our standards of living…” and “… industrial relations reform blah blah…” and the most offensive“… unsustainable burden aged pension…” then “… lazy job snobs…leaners…” as all hard fought gains that made for an equal and fairer Australia rolled out and the unraveling of the social fabric.

  5. Kronomex

    Captions for photo:

    “Ooh, yours is bright orange.”
    “Yeah, neat isn’t it? I like the way yours is brown. Hawaiian suntan?”
    “Yep. The head on yours is bigger than mine.”

    And on and on it goes.

  6. New England Cocky

    @Kronomex: You have a wicked sense of humour!!

    Title: Two Pricks Together

    “Look, I think mine may be bigger.”

    “Possibly, but I don’t get a hard on meeting white trash from the Western Pacific Islands.”

  7. Andrew Smith

    Think there is some confusion of the symptoms with the causes, the former are politicians like Trump and Morrison (especially Abbott) whom are simply sock puppets being manipulated by deep pocketed and ideological oligarchs funding think tanks e.g. Koch influenced ‘bill mill’ ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Tax Payers’ Alliance etc. while in Australia we have the Koch affiliated (Atlas Network) and mining magnates supported IPA in Australia.

    I would never credit Australian let alone LNP MPs to have any original ideas, and it’s now quite clear that much policy, even talking points, are simply imported from the US…..

  8. Claudio Pompili

    Based on the progressive roll outs of Morrison LNP’s stimulus packages, it seems to me that it is remaining completely consistent with its neo-liberal/IPA cum American Tea Party et al principles. As far as I can see, all of the stimulus monies are given either directly to employers as no-strings attached bailouts to sustain share prices and to subsidise workers, maybe, or to Centrelink to administer to customers who have to meet strict criteria.

    And the BIG LIE of decades of the LNP’s neo-liberal propaganda of ‘budget emergencies’ and that we can’t afford all kinds of welfare including the age pension, large public service, government ownership of services, the ABC/SBS, and wage rises. And suddenly, overnight, the LNP can ‘print’ $330billion out of the blue without nary a mention of having to balance the budget, increase taxes, live within our means, or that someone has to pay for this.

    I see no evidence of a Morrison LNP epiphany. And why would they change anything when neo-liberal economics and its ideologies have been so spectacularly successful in: wealth transfer from the bottom 95% to the top 5% whilst real wage growth has flat-lined for over 20 years; decimating the union movement; creating a ‘flexible’ and precarious workforce; demonising the most vulnerable in our society including asylum-seekers; maintaining the general population in a perpetual state of heightened anxiety/fear; creation of a a mega-department Home Affairs & Border Force, empowered with record number of pertinent legislation with far-reaching powers and control of much of our ‘security apparatus’; and the overt politicisation of our Defence/Police sectors eg the Navy for boat-turnbacks and the AFP for industrial espionage of East Timor and journalist/whistleblowers. Even without considering the exponential rise in overt fraud, corruption, rorting and gaming by the polity with impunity.

    The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t respect borders or ideologies. It has shown up the fallacy of ‘the markets’ and yet neo-liberal idealogies remain entrenched. I’ve not read any mea culpas from any western democracy in this regard. Like the GFC of 2008, then and now is merely a blip that requires government/public money intervention and once it’s over, all will go back to ‘normal’. The GFC and neo-liberalism/austerity policies gave rise to community-based responses, such the Occupy movement or more recently the ‘yellow vests’, however, the coronavirus pandemic makes physical mass gatherings of protestors impossible.

    Ever the consummate masters of reactionary, simplistic spin and marketing, Morrison and the LNP, know that the Australian public is easily duped. Splash lots of money around that appears to respond to the needs of quiet Australians but primarily secures corporate mates.

    I have no doubt that neo-liberalism, in general, will be emboldened and more resilient.

  9. Linda Wilkinson'

    Get a grip and get Australia sorted. We need a society with decent values this cannot happenwth out
    A decent government. I arrived in this country 51 yrs ago from Ireland and boy oh boy has it gone to the dogs. Once I was proud of Australia now I’m ashamed

  10. Linda Wilkinson

    Australia used to be the lucky country now it’s the greedy country

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