When Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg suddenly found themselves leaders of the government, they couldn’t hide their delight. The smirks turned into shit-eating grins.
As he launched the election campaign a few months later, Scotty began with “How good is mum? How good is Jenny?”
His victory speech a week later was more of the same.
“How good is Australia! How good are Australians! Thank you!”
Even as the country burned, Scotty was asking “How good is the cricket?”
From the time the Coalition came to power, they have had a relatively easy ride.
Disasters elsewhere delivered a much higher iron ore price than expected. Company profits delivered a budget boost.
The casualisation of the workforce has meant they can boast of more people in jobs, hiding the real problem of underemployment and insecure jobs. And all they have done really is keep up with population growth. Wage stagnation has become a persistent problem despite their claims of low unemployment.
They “stopped the boats” from landing in Australia but thousands of people still drown in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. “Queue jumpers” who are in a position to get a visa and get themselves on a plane are arriving in their droves. Despite the tough talk, the people smugglers have just changed their business plan. Meanwhile, people still languish in immigration detention and camps and nothing is being done to stem the worldwide tide of refugees.
They “axed the tax” which also stopped the decline in emissions. And electricity prices continue to rise. Private investment in research and development has fallen dramatically. Instead of polluters finding ways to reduce their emissions, we pay farmers to not cut trees down and to reduce herd sizes during drought.
Infrastructure spending keeps getting announced and then re-announced and then re-re-announced. Very little actually gets started let alone finishing anything. We have feasibility studies galore but little real action.
Scotty assured “quiet Australians” that, “if they have a go, they’ll get a go”, whatever the hell that means.
The “debt and deficit disaster” is over, Josh and Scotty tell us, now that we are “back in black” and “Labor’s debt” will be repaid in a decade by the Coalition’s surplus budgets. Except they are about to deliver their seventh deficit and the debt has more than doubled under their watch.
After cruising along, wasting money on pork-barrelling rorts and political advertising and countless reports and inquiries, they are now being asked to actually govern.
2019 was the hottest and driest year on record. The drought has savaged large parts of Australia and rivers and dams have dried up. The catastrophic bushfires that experts had been warning about (whilst being ignored) eventuated, devastating so many communities and so much wildlife and their habitat. When rain did come, it came in the form of terrible storms causing widespread damage and flooding.
And then the coronavirus hit.
Finally, it seems they have been jolted out of their lethargy to realise that slogans and blaming Labor just won’t cut it anymore. A surplus is no longer a Holy Grail and stimulus is no longer a dirty word.
But can these arrogant entitled people, so used to behaving like an Opposition, step up and do the job they are paid for rather than just a marketing campaign? Can they listen to experts? Can they admit we have problems? Can they stop passing the buck and actually lead?
That remains to be seen.
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