We have a Prime Minister who has no idea how to lead.
In campaigning for the last election – It feels like eons ago, but it was just over a year! – Scott Morrison was here, there and everywhere.
Seldom did he have other Ministers with him – he was the genuine one-man band.
He was the Daggy Dad; the rugby enthusiast; the devoted father; the let’s have a beer at the pub, mate; the man who could persuade us that Labor’s policies would damage us – but he projected himself as our saviour.
The only policy he spruiked was to cut taxes.
He was marketing himself!
Which is, after all, exactly what he has done throughout his working career.
But look closely at what has happened in the Covid-19 crisis.
He formed a National Cabinet and, thanks mainly to the input from the Premiers, and helped by listening to expert (medical) advice, we have so far suffered far less and experienced a smaller percentage of lives lost than have many other countries.
But he, plus a medical spokesman, and possibly the Health Minister, has been the one who has announced the policies, as if he had thought them up unaided.
And, needless to say, when he moved on to the next stage, he has made no acknowledgment that the concept of the stimulus package was drawn from Labor’s policies in the GFC.
He also established another committee, comprised largely of senior fossil fuel executives, to advise on policy when recovering from the crisis.
At least the Chairman, Nev Power, had the integrity to accept that he had a conflict of interest and has acted accordingly.
So sad that the elected representatives of us, the people, show scant regard for transparency and integrity.
The stimulus plan, developed by the National Cabinet, has been shown to have been hastily developed and significantly flawed. The fact that it has not been necessary to spend all the funds initially allocated, has produced several outcomes.
An outpouring of demands that the excess funds be used to help those who were ignored by the original design, or to extend the period when assistance will be delivered, a typically stubborn refusal to consider doing so and an insistence that adherence to the gist of the original plan, in terms of duration, be adhered to.
In the meantime, backed by the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission, Morrison has completely ignored all scientific advice as regards the climate emergency, and been developing a plan around fossil fuels, this time preferring gas.
Maybe ‘completely’ is too strong, as, on ABC’s Q+A this evening (25/05/20), Chief Scientist Alan Finkel was actually promoting gas, but possibly in a more interim context than Morrison envisages.
It is worth noting that, while Dr Finkel is an eminent scientist, climate science is not his area of specialisation.
I always get the feeling that Morrison is out of his depth. Like Abbott and Turnbull before him – and indeed, like almost all Prime Ministers before him, but more so – his overweening ambition to become PM has revealed the Emperor has no clothes.
The tone of his voice, if his decisions or actions are questioned, is almost always petulant or aggrieved as if he resents being required to justify himself.
But the task of any leader is to explain not only what is to be done, but why – and be prepared to provide the thinking process which has led to the decision.
Unfortunately, too much of the media – including the ABC – do not ask enough questions or insist on being given a full answer.
I am sure he would love to be in the position of being able to wield power in the careless way which Trump does, walking roughshod over other’s opinions and arguments.
Perhaps the poor handling of the crisis in the USA has lessened Morrison’s desire to model himself on POTUS!
It is really important that Parliament reconvenes on a frequent and regular basis as soon as possible and that the National Cabinet – plus the Opposition Leader – continue to be involved in decisions on major issues.
In fact, because Anthony Albanese has always insisted he is willing to work towards consensus on major issues, his inclusion in the National Cabinet might make life easier for Morrison.
In part because Morrison has always seemed incapable of thinking up policy, which leaves the suspicion that his own input into what is eventually announced might have been minimal.
Equally, his unwillingness to take seriously the need for an energy policy is evidenced by the composition of the Covid-19 Commission!
The fact that most states and territories are contemplating lifting lock-downs, and reducing other restrictions, will make it more difficult to ensure that people recognise that the Covid-19 has not gone away, and vigilance continues to be essential.
It will take a strong leader to ensure that we do not suffer a revival of the virus crisis!
Do we have one?
I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”
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