While Tony Abbott spent his short tenure undoing everything Julia Gillard had achieved, Scott Morrison seems intent on undoing everything his own government has worked on over the past five years.
In an interview on Sky News, 21/3/18, then education minister Simon Birmingham criticised Labor’s plan to boost funding to Catholic schools saying it was “based on politicking, not principle and student need.”
Birmingham said it would “punish states who fund their schools well, and give a boost to non-government sectors who lobby the loudest.”
It took Morrison less than a month to throw out Gonski 2.0 without consultation and to gift billions extra to the non-government sector.
On 2 August, Scott Morrison declared the national energy guarantee was the “only plan on the table” to reduce electricity prices, warning critics that dumping the plan would fuel uncertainty and drive up household bills.
“This is a sliding doors moment to lower electricity prices,” Mr Morrison said when asked for his message to Mr Abbott and other backbenchers.
“If we lose this opportunity because of obstructionism, because of negativity, because of whatever else the Labor Party has in mind, to lose this opportunity for lower electricity prices, that would be very disappointing and it will flow through to impact on the economy and people’s household bills.”
Josh Frydenberg described it as “an opportunity for a historic national reform.”
Yet they rushed to dump it only three weeks later.
While Malcolm Turnbull is out and about claiming credit for removing discrimination from the marriage act, Scott Morrison, who couldn’t even bring himself to vote for marriage equality despite overwhelming community support, is busily cooking up new ways to protect those who refuse to accept the law of the land on religious grounds by legislating their right to discriminate based on someone’s sexuality.
In 2014, Morrison supported lifting the pension age to 70, voting for it in the House of Representatives. He then defended the policy when he was treasurer, saying it was necessary to ensure the system’s sustainability, given Australians were healthier and living longer in retirement.
Morrison chose the Today show to reveal he was scrapping that policy too, despite having said two years ago that if this, and the other measures contained in the 2014 budget weren’t passed, “gross debt will exceed $1 trillion in a decade”.
In April, Morrison said “The days of subsidies in energy are over, whether it is for coal, wind, solar, any of them,” but his new Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, said an underwriting program, where the government guaranteed finance for new generation projects, would proceed.
Taylor is also advocating the “upgrading of legacy [coal] generators” — something which is highly unlikely to happen without government paying for it or underwriting the investment. Matt Canavan is very keen to give money to anyone who wants to build a new coal-fired power station, except no-one is interested.
In May, the Coalition and Labor came to agreement about water allocation in the Murray-Darling Basin which Water Minister David Littleproud said would give the Basin’s 2 million residents clarity so they could get on with their lives.
But since Morrison took over and the government focus became all about the drought, Deputy PM Michael McCormack and Special Envoy Barnaby Joyce are calling for that deal to be scrapped.
Mr McCormack said several times last week the Federal Government “will certainly take a look at” changing legislation to allow water allocated for environmental flows under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be used by irrigators dealing with the drought.
Barnaby Joyce said “We have a huge amount of water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder. We don’t have to use it all but we can use some of it though and divert it for the growing of lucerne and show a real and decisive way to produce the fodder.”
However, both Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the Environment Minister, Liberal MP Melissa Price, have ruled out changes to the water allocations in the basin plan.
“We don’t have any plans to change the legislation,” a spokesman for Ms Price said.
The Liberal Party have targets to boost female representation in parliament, yet they are losing them hand over fist due to the bullying and intimidation that, despite overwhelming evidence, Morrison denies exists. There are no repercussions for the bullies, many of whom have been rewarded for their role in bringing down a sitting PM. The complainants are told to toughen up and shut up.
Women are very rarely preselected for safe seats or winnable Senate spots and it appears that will continue under Mr Morrison.
When Bill Shorten said, in May, that the aged care sector was in crisis, the Minister, Ken Wyatt, responded angrily.
“I’m slow to anger but I must admit that recently the Opposition Leader commenting that the system is in crisis and a national disgrace was not becoming of what I would expect in a bilateral and bipartisan approach to aged care. This demeans every one of those dedicated aged care workers and it achieves nothing but instilling fear into the hearts and minds of older Australians, just like Labor did in the lead-up to the last election when they were peddling ‘Medi-scare’ lies designed to scare the most deserving. For the Opposition Leader to continue this fear-mongering is verging on the abuse of elder Australians and it must stop.”
Yet, when faced by a Four Corners expose, Morrison pre-emptively rushed to announce a Royal Commission the day before it aired. Just like the RC into the banks, and the RC into child sex abuse by the church before that, the government has done a huge backflip, now embracing an investigation into an industry they previously denied had any problems.
It is glaringly apparent that the Morrison iteration of government has no plan, no credibility, and no integrity. They flounder around contradicting themselves, reacting to situations rather than leading any sort of coherent policy development. Protecting reputation is more important than truth-telling. Appeasing those who shout the loudest will be the order of the day. When caught out, deny, deny, deny and then blame Labor.
The ATM government has run out of cash and is handing out counterfeit bills in the hope we won’t notice.
Bring on an election.