Let’s start with the environment and the issues which we supposedly put at the top of our agendas. As a side note, Anthony Albanese caught Covid-19, so he is on the side-lines for at least a week. That would be the pandemic which we have apparently dodged, as thousands die every month.
Labor’s team has performed well, but circumstances have left the LNP exposed. Matt Canavan, inflation figures, News Corp’s bias, Malcolm Turnbull, the Teal Independents, Katherine Deves; lots going on. Peter Dutton’s comment that to preserve peace, we must prepare for war might be the quote of the year.
The floods began in Queensland in 2021, and they persisted. They then crossed the border, but continued to re-visit Queensland, and are about to soak Far North Queensland again. La Nina is expected to peter out soon, but the damage has been done.
Once we were able to write off such happenings as Mother Nature flexing her muscles. Not anymore. We know the reason why the floods are a metre or so higher than the last one – climate change.
Northern New South Wales has never recovered from the first round of floods, and the situation remains hazardous. Some areas have only had a month between drenchings, and every time it rains the residents fear the worst.
A fair go, for whom?
The situation in Lismore and the surrounding areas was doubly hurtful to the residents, and their families and friends, when it was discovered that the Federal Government had passed responsibility onto the states, and was even playing politics with the level of financial assistance available to those worst affected.
If you need evidence of Morrison’s innate stupidity when it comes to the issue of fairness, look no further. If you were in a Coalition seat you were entitled to three times the assistance available to those in Labor seats. He actually thought no-one would notice, until the entire country did.
Once upon a time, in a fairer and better Australia, such naked and shameless favouritism would have been exposed by every media outlet, and the guilty party would have been totally shamed and disgraced, and driven from office.
There are no empty houses or flats to rent, so many are forced to sleep on couches, or in their vehicles. At one pathetic but revealing moment Morrison announced that the government could not be relied on to help in every natural disaster.
Of course we know that governments are not all powerful. But we also know that this government has been found to have wasted billions of dollars on trifles – cancelling submarine contracts, overpaying companies who unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of JobKeeper, subsidies to fossil fuel corporations.
Private schools received an extra $10bn funding in Coalition ‘special deals’, study finds. Public schools underfunded by at least $6.5bn a year. Of course it looks like Morrison will sail through all of these, unscathed. But there is a change in the air, at this stage of the campaign.
When the Nationals’ Matt Canavan called the government’s ‘agreed position’ on Net Zero by 2050 dead in the water, he renewed the climate wars. Morrison hit him with a wet lettuce leaf, and effectively abandoned his so-called “Moderate Liberals” to the Teal Independents.
The transphobia outbreak
The “Teal Independents” as they are known are challenging in several inner urban Liberal seats. The LNP has flip-flopped between accusing them of being Labor stooges, and agents of parliamentary chaos. They are neither.
They have been drawn into a loose confederation by Simon Holmes A’ Court, whose Climate 200 has partially funded their endeavours. Their motivation appears to be action on Climate Change, and equally importantly, a National Integrity Commission.
Morrison has personally chosen a candidate, Katherine Deves, to contest Warringah, a New South Wales seat. His ‘captain’s pick’ appears to be a raging transphobe, and many see Morrison’s sticking with her candidacy as a backdoor effort to win seats in the regions and outer suburban areas, at the cost of losing several of his inner urban seats.
The conspiracy theorists believe it is Morrison’s plan to divest himself of the last remaining vestiges of John Howard’s broad church, because the Modern Liberals are the last of the ‘wets’. After the election, the Liberal Party will be stacked with far-right religious zealots, and whether in government or opposition, Morrison will be more ‘at home’.
Cost of living pressures
The inflation figures came out and they were a shock. Annually the figure was 5.1%, which is an easy number to remember. I am sure Albanese will be all over it.
Footage emerged of Matthias Cormann claiming that “low wages” were a part of the government’s “economic architecture”. So the gap between wages and inflation was not something the LNP could abandon. It is essentially the price they pay for neo-liberalism, and its assorted evils.
The government sent $250 to every welfare recipient and pensioner today. On Twitter it is a popular meme, where the homeless and the destitute will be ‘saved’ by such generosity. Note that it is less than the ‘bribe’ Albanese was accused of offering, to drive faster take up of vaccinations. It is also less than the daily travel allowance paid to MPs who go to work in Canberra. That is $288 per day, paid on top of their salaries.
Bring on the election, I say.
Mark Buckley is a writer based in regional Victoria. He has a particular interest in politics, history and ethics in public life. He blogs at www.askbucko.com.
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