Listening to Angus Taylor on “Insiders”, I was impressed that he summed up the situation on net zero so honestly and openly. First, it would be wrong for this government to commit future governments to things, so we could only plan for the next ten years and, secondly, we wouldn’t be changing anything in the next ten years apart from relying on technology not taxes to enable us to reach net zero and the technology hasn’t been developed yet. However, we are committing billons of dollars to developing it, because we don’t think taxes are the answer.
Given the lack of anything concrete, one wonders what the discussion in the Nationals’ Party room was like:
Barnaby: Scott wants us to commit to net zero by 2050.
Barnaby: He thinks it could be an election issue so what do you all think?
Littleproud: What’s it involve? Like what do we have to do?
Barnaby: We have to commit to net zero and he’ll make billions available to mitigate against the adverse consequences.
McCormack: Which are?
Barnaby: Well, none, because we won’t be changing anything.
Christensen: If it involves shutting down coal mines I’m against it.
Barnaby: Actually Scott’s agreed to build a coal-fired power station if it stacks up economically.
Canavan: Doesn’t matter, I’m against net zero whatever. If I give in on this, nobody will interview me again, unless I think of something else to be against. I tried complaining about The Wiggles being woke, but nobody took any notice and…
So, as you see, this fits one of the two modus operandi of this government. Make an announcement committing billions of dollars, then not actually do anything so that you can announce the billions of dollars in the next budget or at the next by-election. I could ask where the billions of dollars are coming from, if not from taxes, but that might start a whole side-track about Modern Monetary Theory and we’d never get around to the main reason for writing today: Mr Morrison and the other modus operandi of his government.
A few weeks ago, Scotty announces that he’s cancelling our submarine contract with France and we have a deal with the US and UK.. As it transpires, it’s not so much a deal but an agreement to work something out at some future date… rather like when we were first in the queue for the vaccines. Now, when Dan Andrews fulfilled an election commitment by tearing up the East-West contract which the Liberals signed the day before going into caretaker mode, in spite of Andrews announcing that he wouldn’t be building it, he was attacked for wasting a billion dollars and getting nothing for it. Strange that this hasn’t been the focus of any of the discussion around the submarines.
No, it’s all been about whether we let the French know. And this is where the old Morrison MO comes into play.
- The initial response when things go wrong is that it’s someone else’s fault. “I tried to ring but Macron didn’t take the call.” (Nobody told me or somebody else didn’t do the right thing. Think Brittany Higgins or the vaccines not arriving as early as promised.)
- Then, it wasn’t my fault, but we’ll work it out and I’ll contact them and we’ll have a bit of a natter and it’ll all be ok. (Think Brittany Higgins again.)
- If neither of these works, we may need Phil Gaetjens who works for the PM to launch an independent inquiry. Of course, by “independent” we don’t mean independent of the PMO, we mean independent of actually telling anyone else what he discovered or independent of actually asking anyone who might know anything. (And again)
- Finally, background against the person or start an argument about some minor detail in the whole fiasco.
You’ll notice that we’ve hit that last point with the French president in the past day or so. Biden may said that it was “clumsy” but we’ll just ignore that and create the distraction of accusing the President of knowing and, by the way, has he forgotten about the war and how we helped. Ungrateful foreigner! He’s slandered all Australians by calling me a liar.
Yes, this is Morrison using diplomacy to repair the relationship. No, not the one with France. That’s basically stuffed and, even though he’s risking any free trade agreement with the EU, he’ll double down and up the rhetoric because – just as he did with China – the issue isn’t getting a good outcome, the issue is ensuring that he’s in an election winning position.
He hasn’t suggested that war with France is inevitable, but I guess that’ll be Dutton’s job as Defence Minister.
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