When it results in a man who is bent on destroying all that we hold dear, becoming the one in charge of our fate.
We once were the Lucky Country.
There have been hiccups on the way to now, where we can finally see the luck is all where the money is.
Increasingly, whenever we have had a conservative government, the assets got sold off and services were privatised or out-sourced, the idea being that we would get more efficient services.
About the only people who ever benefited were shareholders, particularly in global corporations.
Costs for services generally went up, standard of services generally went down, institutions like banks and insurance companies got away with appalling behaviour, with only the occasional slap on the wrist, and Ministers of the Crown behaved in ways that dis-entitled them to be called honourable.
When was the last time a Senator or MP resigned for misleading Parliament or committing any other misdemeanour that breached her/his obligations?
You are right! It was some time ago – and I am fairly sure he was a Labor senator.
Corruption crept in, to the extent that, with no national watch dog to keep the government honest, blatant rorts are being perpetrated, with government gleefully distributing funds to where they will buy most votes.
Findings from Royal Commissions are ignored, if it does not suit the government to take action, and Ministers are seldom sanctioned – or even criticised, for actions which clearly lack integrity.
The trail of corruption and poor policy which has followed Scott Morrison’s ultimate elevation to the prime seat of power has been documented – and ignored, because, it seems, self-interest dominates over any sense of purpose to benefit Australians.
Scott Morrison was in charge of Immigration when “Stop the Boats” was the government’s watch cry. Under his rulings, massive breaches of human rights have occurred, resulting in the deaths and ill-health of numerous innocent refugees, for want of taking effective steps to find proper sanctuary for them.
Treated like criminals, with no hope for a future, the trail of suicides and mental health breakdowns would weigh heavy on the conscience of many – but not our fearless leader.
Taking over from the useless Joe Hockey (isn’t it great how being a useless Treasurer enables you to become the Ambassador to the USA?), Scott was in charge of Treasury when Stuart Robert, whose history of incompetence includes an inability to work out how much of his home internet costs should be charged to the country, introduced the policy now known as RoboDebt.
Any experienced Centrelink Officer could have told him, that the process of determining the entitlement to payment for someone who was out of work, took account of all relevant issues, and if the recipient of a Centrelink payment provided all income details, no over-payments occurred.
Ah! you will say – but not every recipient was honest. And that is true. But their number pales into insignificance in comparison with the majority who reported accurately – and were still accused of owing money.
In any case, and more importantly, averaging annual income as reported to ATO, cannot begin to provide an accurate picture of the individual’s fortnightly income receipts, if the person has been in and out of work.
A basic understanding of arithmetic would be enough to realise that the algorithm which was developed was totally inappropriate for the purpose for which it was developed.
Issues arising from false demands, debt collectors being employed – the whole soul-destroying attack on vulnerable people – was played out in the media. To what effect?
The government held its ground until the lawyers got involved.
The PM now wants legislation to ensure that the ability to fight a class action is curtailed – chiefly, I suspect, because one has been brought against them – and they have hastily admitted that the system was illegal and they will – or say they will – refund all the monies that were paid.
I, for one, would like to see an oversight body being established to ensure that every cent – plus, preferably, interest – is properly refunded. But some of those people will have borrowed money, possibly at exorbitant interest rates, some of them will have endured problems from stress and it is possible that some are not able to benefit from the repayment of falsely claimed ‘debts’ because they have died!
What about compensation?
And now the crowning moment!
Our aspiring would-be leader, drapes his arm around his predecessor’s shoulder, says “You are my leader” – and promptly ensures he has the numbers to seize the position from him.
Now, unfortunately, Malcolm Turnbull, who should be credited with having a greater sense of what being honourable means than do many of his fellow politicians, misread Peter Dutton.
He did not realise the Machiavellian depths to which Dutton can sink, or that creating a mega department for Dutton to control was – in a nutshell – not a good idea.
If there is one department that regularly spends over-budget, lets contracts without due process, and generally wastes scarce resources with gay abandon, its name is Home Affairs. The auditors must wonder why they bother to audit it, as no action seems to be taken, ever, to rein in the excesses and follow the rules.
And, possibly because Scomo may suspect that Dutton sees the now PM as having stolen the job from him, Dutton is allowed to act like a spendthrift with our sparse resources.
We are now in an interesting, if potentially disastrous, stage in our history.
Since the GFC, the Coalition has been hitting Labor round the head, with totally ill-founded arguments about their financial policy to ensure our economy recovered as swiftly as possible.
Actually, the rest of the developed world recognised the skill with which Labor achieved the desired outcome, but our Coalition politicians seem incapable of seeing facts through their warped ideological vision.
I secretly wonder whether Scomo realises his lack of ability as a leader – and this is why – without fanfare or acknowledgement, he accepted a suggestion to establish the National Cabinet (NC).
This has been such an inspired idea that I am sure it cannot have come from him.
Getting the glory is, after all, the reason to wish to be PM!
He has taken care to be the front-man for announcing all policy decisions, ensuring he appears to be the initiator, while, in the case of the Robo-debt back-down – letting Robert do a very inadequate job of advising that the government recognised that the policy was illegal.
Please remember – as Treasurer – Morrison signed off on the policy, saying that their advice was that they had good grounds to introduce it. I assume they got nether mathematical nor legal opinion!
The NC is to be congratulated in steering government to enable the country to get through this phase of the COVID-19 crisis with so few deaths.
I say ‘this phase’ for a reason.
Before the NC was established, Morrison had dithered about initiating a lock-down, and the members of that Cabinet must have worked really hard, to ensure Morrison accepted a policy which went even further than Rudd’s, in dealing with the GFC.
I am also grateful that the NC is to continue, because we now have three major problems.
The first is the elephant in the room – climate change – and gas is not a saviour, it is a fossil fuel which enriches people like Andrew Liveris. (Conflict of interest? Surely not!)
The second is that we do not yet have a vaccine for COVID-19, so are likely to continue having to deal with periodic quarantining and restricting overseas visitors, affecting our economy.
And the third is, of course, enabling the economy to recover, in a situation of incredibly high un- and under-employment.
And I trust Scott Morrison’s ability to develop appropriate policies about as much as I trust Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again!
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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