The Coalition’s boast to being stronger on national security is based purely on throwing so much money at defence that they are wasting it in their haste to spend it.
The government’s ham-fisted megaphone diplomacy “shirt-fronting” in the Australian media has seen our relationship with China go from a standing ovation in parliament for Xi Jinping as he spoke about our free trade agreement to trade sanctions from China and warnings to their citizens not to travel or study here.
The hyping up of the threat that China poses to Australia is deliberate and dangerous. That is not to ignore the threat they may pose to Hong Kong or Taiwan, or their claim to islands in the South China Sea, but we have no stake in those disputes beyond freedom of navigation and abuse of human rights. They do not threaten our sovereignty in any way.
Concern about China’s growing influence in the Pacific region sounds more like guilt at our neglect as we slashed foreign aid and ignored pleas to act on climate change. If we don’t want our neighbours to be indebted to China then we need to offer the help they need, not some righteous anger at them accepting it from someone else.
When it comes to Putin and the Ukraine, the difference in rhetoric from Scott Morrison about how, no matter how small we are, we must join together to stand up to the bullies, and his assertion that our emissions are too small to matter, is stark. In both areas, we speak loudly but carry a tiny little stick.
Morrison and his band of miscreants have deliberately stirred up mistrust in the very institutions that are designed to protect our freedom and way of life.
In October 2019, Morrison told the Lowy Institute that the world needs to avoid “negative globalism” and eschew an “unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy”. He said it did not serve the national interest “when international institutions demand conformity rather than independent cooperation on global issues. The world works best when the character and distinctiveness of independent nations is preserved within a framework of mutual respect.”
Morrison contended that international engagement was “being challenged by a new variant of globalism that seeks to elevate global institutions above the authority of nation states to direct national policies. We will decide our interests and the circumstances in which we seek to pursue them.”
That Trumpian logic could be quoted back at Scotty by Putin and Xi.
Government ministers have also launched into criticism of our courts, so much so that three of them were forced into making an “unreserved apology” to avoid being found in contempt.
An increasingly shrill Tim Wilson said that legislation aimed at establishing an independent climate change commission to provide advice to the government on the appropriate policy mechanisms and interim targets needed to achieve this target amounted to “subversion and treason”. Presumably because Tim knows best how to protect us from this existential threat?
Morrison’s mob have repeatedly told us that bleeding-heart socialist lefties have taken over not only the courts but the education system, the non-Murdoch media, the scientific bodies warning about catastrophic climate change, the unions (who are also thugs and criminals…or mum and dad investors depending on the topic at hand), the Human Rights Commission, the universities, the AMA – pretty much everything except the Minerals Council whose pragmatic independent advice is apparently a shining light for the nation’s best interests.
It’s not just undermining institutions and organisations, they have also sought to pit us against each other, exploiting fears and stoking suspicion.
As shadow immigration minister, Morrison thought it would be a good election strategy to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration“, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate.
Peter Dutton claimed Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” because of “African gang violence”, prompting a twitter storm of people posting shots of themselves not being attacked whilst eating dinner in Melbourne.
He had previously claimed that Malcolm Fraser made a mistake resettling refugees from the war in Lebanon because second and third generation Lebanese-Australians were being charged with terrorist-related offences.
Morrison, Dutton and Barnaby Joyce all dismissed the Uluru Statement from the Heart saying we didn’t need a third chamber of parliament, which it never was. Instead, we have seen the government champion the free speech of people like Bill Leak with attempts to enshrine the rights of bigots receiving more government attention and support than the rights of the traditional custodians of the land to some input into the policies that directly affect them.
Their divisive tactics don’t just exploit ethnic differences.
Barnaby loves to pour fuel on the rural/urban divide bemoaning the “denearing (?) sneer towards the people of the great city of Gladstone and the people of Central Queensland.”
“It follows their usual line of thinking that regional people are somehow below contempt,” says Barnaby, looking for relevance…and a dictionary.
Our live and let live attitude to religion has also taken a battering at the hands of a government who seems to think the religious need to be compensated for marriage equality. The freedom of people to marry whomever they love has to be balanced with the freedom of religious institutions to abhor and discriminate against them.
Why is this government so perturbed about people’s gender identity and sexuality? Is the fact that many of them went to single sex schools a factor? Or is it, once again, manufactured division in the hope of buying a few votes?
And it’s not like you can rely on them in an emergency. When the bushfires hit, Scotty went on holidays because he doesn’t hold a hose. When the pandemic hit, it wasn’t a race to protect people. When the floods hit, it was up to the states to ask for help and kids on kayaks to be first responders. And apparently aged care is managing just fine.
Australia’s national security will never be assured by the amassing of weapons. Our social cohesion will not be achieved by stoking division for political gain.
We should be a good global citizen who respects and upholds the rule of law and who co-operates on combined action to tackle shared challenges. We should be a thoughtful neighbour, there in times of need but also aware that our actions affect others. And we should be a cohesive community that embraces our diversity as an asset that strengthens our freedom.
Instead, we have ScottyFromMarketing and the Beetrooter with a chorus line of swinging dicks, wolverines, climate change deniers and homophobic happy clappers, all beholden to vested interests whose only motive is to expand their wealth and power.
When Scotty left his job with Tourism New Zealand, then sports minister Trevor Mallard laid the blame for problems at the Office of Tourism and Sport squarely with Morrison.
Australian standards of public sector behaviour “are lower than ours,” Mallard told the NZ Herald.
“My experience with Australian politicians is that rules and ethics are not as important to them as they are to New Zealanders.”
Sorry, but this lot make me feel far from secure.
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