In my two most recent posts, I have, in “The State of Play” discussed the background or lead into the 2019 election.
In the second, “The Bill the Australia despised” I canvassed the comparative campaigns of both major parties.
In this one I concentrate on the aftermath of the election and dip into the future of both parties. Firstly, that of the Liberal and National Parties and then the prospects of Labor.
It is predictable, even inevitable, that those who participated in the Australian general election of May 2019 will step back and consider the result. Many have done so already.
Members of the victorious party – in this case the Coalition – all charged their glasses and drank of the well of the unworthiness of its victory.
And through rose coloured glasses – after it sobered up – found that nothing had changed.
They were still the same party with the same incompetent personnel. They had won yet another undeserved victory. Yes, nothing had changed. They were blessed with victory but little else.
The same problems (many of their own creation) still challenged them and they are now battling their way through their own incompetence with all the pace of conservative thinking.
In the meantime, the people who voted for them in their melancholy lethargy give not a thought to their decision to vote through their pockets.
In Australia uninformed voters unfortunately outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives fed them all the bullshit they needed and the menu generally contained a fair portion of untruths. It was true of this election, and those before it.
Way back on August 1, 2014 I wrote the following:
How has democracy worldwide become such a basket case? Unequivocally it can be traced to a second-rate Hollywood actor, a bad haircut of an English woman, and in Australia a small bald headed man of little virtue. They all had one thing in common. This can be observed in this statement (paraphrased):
“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich.”
Since Margaret Thatcher made that statement and the subsequent reins of the three, unregulated capitalism has insinuated its ugliness on Western Society and now we have an absurdly evil growth in corporate and individual wealth and an encroaching destruction of the middle and lower classes. These three have done democracy a great disservice.
Where once bi-partisanship flourished in proud democracies, it has been replaced with the politics of hatred and extremism. Where compromise gets in the way of power, and power rules the world.
Australians have tuned out of politics because of the destabilisation of leadership, corruption on both sides, and the negativity and lies of Tony Abbott. The propaganda of a right-wing monopoly owned media and the exploitation of its parliament by Abbott.
Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all – one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.
We need a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass the politics of greed and disrespect, and truth, respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.
The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist.
The misuse of free speech may have contributed to the decline of our democracy, but it is free speech that might ultimately save it.
Of course, since then the phenomenon of Trumpism has reached our shores and taken us into a pit of sewage that we struggle to escape from
Opposition in this country has much to overcome before it can govern.
As for the loser well sad to say that they are still recovering from a loss of momentous proportion. How was it possible to lose an election that was well within their grasp?
(Well I will address that in my next article for The AIMN).
Here, however, is my summary of Coalition incompetence past, present, and likely future.
If government is a work in progress then how come this one has so much carry over work from election to election?
Power: Whatever happened to the 25% reduction in power prices we were promised? When will the government tell us its future intentions regarding coal? You would think a decade is long enough. I watched Angus Taylor on Monday’s 7.30 Report and he didn’t seem to have a clue on national energy policy.
Snowy Mountain Scheme: Taylor spoke about Snowy 2 as though it was a done deal and that the cost estimates all stacked up, whereas I could see cost overruns written all over it. And not just the costs but also the completion date of around 2025 seems ambitious. It’s reasonable to assume that it could come in over $10 billion given this governments record.
“Initially promised at $2 billion, it was quickly revised to $4 billion and a contract for part of its construction has been agreed at $5.1 billion,” said Dr Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre.
Climate Change: Will they ever take it seriously and admit that Abbott’s decision to rescind the ‘carbon tax’ was probably the worst policy decision ever taken by an Australian Prime Minister?
Drought: What is being done to future proof us from worsening drought? Does anyone know?
Water/ Murray Darling: What is being done to resurrect this once mighty river? Who was responsible for stealing much of the water? Who is looking to its future?
Religion and free speech: With religion now (as proven by the last national census) in rapid decline will the government come clean on its proposals regarding the influence of religion and free speech?
Banks: The government is going through yet another ‘bash the banks’ exercise, shouting that it’s not us who are responsible for such low interest rates. It’s them, the banks. Now we have to wait for another inquiry for some blame shifting.
Newstart: The government continues to put a surplus ahead of any rise in Newstart. Their reasons are purely political and without a thought for the welfare of its recipients.
A fair rise in this welfare payment would kickstart the economy
National Broadband Network: Together with the tax on carbon it has been a monumental tragedy. To have spent so much money on something so important to the country’s future is a national disgrace.
ABC News reported the Chairman of Telstra, John Mullen as saying that the NBN “was a massively expensive waste of resources that has entrenched a slow, state-owned monopoly, rather than a competitive high-speed broadband network.”
Aged care crisis: It is totally incomprehensible how any government, whilst at the time of instigating a Royal Commission into what is another national disgrace, should instead seek a budgetary surplus when previous reports have disclosed problems that could be attended to immediately.
Immigration: Forget about the boats, asylum seekers are flooding in by plane. This is what David Crowe of the SMH had to say:
“Australia is on track to post a new annual record for asylum seekers who arrive by air after official figures confirmed more than 95,000 arrivals over the past five years amid fears of corruption and exploitation.
About 80 people every day since the start of July have claimed protection after landing at an Australian airport, highlighting a huge change in people smuggling operations since the government’s crackdown on boat arrivals.”
And might I mention those who came by boat and are now in year 7 of an unofficial jail sentence for not committing any crime. Shame, Dutton shame.
Inequality in education: The Australian Government continues to spend the majority of commonwealth funding of private and Catholic schools. This is fundamentally wrong. Every child is entitled to equality of opportunity in education.
According to this article in The Guardian, educational inequality has cost the Australian economy more than $20bn, as well as contributing to the widening gap between rich and poor.
International Diplomacy.:Since Scott Morrison adopted the language of Trumpism our voice of international diplomacy has declined into crass gutter talk. Sure you can make your point, but trying to punch above one’s weight usually results in a very uneven fight.
Instead of trying to build a relationship with China it looks as though we are trying to intimidate them. Ah, the art of diplomacy.
Just who does this Prime Minister think he is that on a thought bubble of his own wind, in the loneliness of his limited intellect, think that he can make decisions concerning Middle Eastern peace with all the simplicity of a leader unsuited to the task. It’s not often you can offend all sides of an argument?
Trumpism: In his speeches in America the Prime Minister seemed to indicate that the characteristics of Donald Trump – with its self-styled disingenuous narcissism, hard right authoritarian dictatorial messages using accusations of fake news, or other methods to attack one’s opponents – would be the style he would follow.
The problems facing the world are global ones yet we find right-wing dictators of the Trump ilk using populism to talk about national issues.
Australians have a low opinion of Trump, and for the Prime Minister to deliberately copy his concept of and attitude towards life is to embarrass and lower the public opinion people overseas have of us even further. And at a time when restoring trust in politics is important.
The Office of the American President was once viewed by its people as an office of prestige and importance. Trump has reduced it to one of ridicule and contempt.
Internally the Coalition’s hard-right is holding sway over the small L liberals. Scott Morrison has control but only for as long as Peter Dutton’s ambitions are kept under control: Usually by allowing him to do and say what he wants.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson recently wrote this for the SMH:
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison would have us believe that he is putting Australia “first”, and is governing primarily to reflect the values and aspirations of the “quiet Australians” he would also have us believe gave him his “miracle” election win.
He would have us believe he was putting Australia “first” when he sat like a muppet through US President Donald Trump’s excruciatingly embarrassing press conference at the White House recently, when he allowed Trump to turn the opening of an Australian manufacturing plant in Ohio into one of his cheap presidential campaign rallies, when he did Trump’s bidding on the trade status of the Chinese and when he grossly misrepresented our climate actions in his address to the UN, including a sideswipe at the messenger Greta Thunberg and other student climate protesters.”
The economy: With what appears to be an economy going backwards and the government more inclined towards a political surplus, just what does the government plan to do? Create a surplus or try and fix what they have broken, including many people?
On Wednesday of this week the International Monetary Fund reported on the state of the Australian economy and it wasn’t pleasant reading:
The IMF – again – downgraded Australia’s forecasts, slicing 0.4 of a percentage point off growth for 2019 and cutting the 2020 expected recovery rate by 0.5 of a percentage point to a below-average 2.3 per cent.
As the IMF gave the Australian economy the thumbs down the Australian Financial Review reported that:
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared his budget surplus plan will not be ‘spooked’ by international events, as the International Monetary Fund slashed Australia’s economic growth forecast to just 1.7 per cent and advised world governments to unleash a spending stimulus.”
Rudd prevented a recession during the WFC with a massive stimulus spend. However, it looks as though the Coalition, according to Mathias Cormann, would never consider a Rudd style stimulus.
Given that they have no intention of spending anything immediately on infrastructure and their tax cuts and other measures haven’t worked l’m wondering just what miracle Scott Morrison is praying for to prevent a full-on recession.
Employment: Unemployment is measured with a less than perfect analytical process (one hours work a week= full time) and is probably much higher than the current figure.
Any increases in work participation are only matching the immigration rate so when the government heaps praise on itself for creating jobs this is all they are doing.
It has become obvious that the party that promotes itself as the only one that knows anything about economics is making a mess of it.
In fact ,during their tenure of government this government has made a monumental mess of almost everything they have touched.
* * * * *
Thus far I haven’t yet mentioned Medivac, funding for health, funding for the NDIS, an urgent requirement to do something about political donations, a national ICAC and revised rules for Question Time.
To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement. Now we are ashamed.
We have been wandering around like a drunk looking for a drink under this government, from one serious setback to another. They say they have ‘a plan’ but in six plus years they have never revealed it.
What an abysmal bunch of well-educated yet incompetent fools we have in charge of so many important portfolios.
You cannot have clowns in positions of authority when the future of the country is at stake, and with two and a half years of his term still to go just being some sort of crazy clone of Trump wont get us to where we need to be.
My thought for the day
Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it.
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