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Who is the culprit?

By Ad astra

When you reflect on the dilapidated state of federal politics; when you question how on earth we have become encumbered with so many appalling policies, do you ever ask: ‘Why is it so?’

I do often. And when I do, one culprit emerges over and again. Who is it?

Who in the above motley collection is the culprit? Who is responsible for these policy calamities?

You be the judge. It’s not a big challenge for the politically astute, but it might be revealing for the casual political observer.

Let’s look at just a handful of policy catastrophes that afflict us still.

Consider global warming
Leaving aside the uninformed utterances of our new One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts and all the other climate deniers, there is strong consensus among thousands of climate scientists that the planet is warming inexorably towards levels dangerous to life on earth, which if not curtailed will become irreversible. A majority of ordinary people believe this to be true, and want something purposeful and effective to be done about it. So what is being done?

All our government is doing is implementing its so-called ‘Direct Action Plan’. No environmental scientist or economist worth their salt can demonstrate that it is working, or even can work. It’s a dud. Since Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ was repealed and the DAP began, carbon emissions, which had begun to fall, are now rising again. Forget all Greg Hunt’s talk about Australia ‘meeting and beating’ its emission targets, and Josh Frydenberg’s reiteration of it. Emissions are increasing. We are not pulling our weight as global citizens. We are frauds in the climate change world.

Why is it so?

Who was it who thwarted the move towards an Emissions Trading Scheme that PM Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull had agreed upon? Who used this nascent agreement to upend Turnbull and take his position? You know. Who used the repeal of the ‘toxic carbon tax’ as a powerful weapon in gaining power. You know.

Have you reflected upon how destructive a move this was, one that left this nation far behind comparable countries, one that made us a pariah? We have never recovered from that, and never will while we have no ETS.

Turnbull lost his leadership over this, and even today clings to it by a thread, obliged as he is by his deal with the conservative clique in his party to make no change to climate change policy. But he was not the culprit. He did not dream up the DAP; he supports it now only to save his skin. It was he who boldly said he would not lead a government that did not take effective action to combat global warming. His support for the DAP is insincere. It puts the lie to his previous pro-ETS utterances. It belittles him. You know who the culprit is in this sorry tale of missed opportunities and ineffective action.

Of all the misdemeanours of our prime culprit, this is the most egregious. It is quite the most dangerous. It is shameful. You know who the culprit is.

Consider the National Broadband Network
It is a strange coincidence that our prime culprit and our current PM were also the players in this sorry saga. Labor proposed a fibre-to-the-premises NBN that experts around the world acknowledge is the ideal model, one that would give the best results and provide this nation with an enduring position in the communications world, and a competitive advantage over those nations with inferior models.

You will have no difficulty recalling who instructed the then Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to ‘demolish the NBN’. Demolition was his modus operandi. Anything Labor did must be demolished irrespective of whether it was in our national interest to keep it. Turnbull must have been horrified. His reaction was to create a hybrid, multi-technology model with a substandard compromise of fibre-to-the-node on the street corner with ageing copper wire to the premises. Turnbull knew this was an inferior model, but at least it was better than demolition. So we are now stuck with a model that will leave this nation well behind in the world of communications and uncompetitive, just when our PM tells us that we must be innovative so that we can be globally competitive.

It is shameful that this has occurred for no other reason than our prime culprit regarded anything Labor created was anathema, and therefore must be destroyed. It is shameful too that tech-head Turnbull now vigorously but unconvincingly defends the Coalition’s NBN. He knows it will be inferior, probably will cost the same as Labor’s, and might be no faster in rollout. Turnbull has sold us another pup with his FTTN NBN. But there is no gainsaying who is the prime culprit in this lamentable saga. But for him we could have had the best, but now we are stuck with second-best or worse. All the talk about the excessive costs and slow rollout of Labor’s model has turned out to be bunk. Now Turnbull is trying to convince us that users don’t want the fast speeds Labor’s FTTP guaranteed. Has he checked whether businessmen want and need very fast speeds to be competitive?

Our prime culprit has inflicted on our nation yet another destructive decision born of adversarial hatred of anything his opponents proposed to do. You know who he is.

Consider marriage equality
We all know our prime culprit does not support same sex marriage, no matter what he says. So, knowing there was clamour from the community to introduce marriage equality to reverse the Howard government’s 2004 insertion of ‘between a man and a woman’ into the Marriage Act, done so subtly by a simple parliamentary vote, our prime culprit sought to thwart attempts to change the Act by insisting it be put to a plebiscite after the recent election.

He knew a plebiscite would delay a decision; he knew that he could obscure the matter by allowing lots of time for debate and argument ‘from both sides’. He is ideologically opposed; same sex marriage is contrary to his religious beliefs. He does not want it, although the community does. He hopes that by fostering debate religious groups can cast doubts in the minds of voters. He knows that doubt is a potent element in any public vote, be it referendum or plebiscite.

He knows that if his allies in opposing marriage equality, prominent among whom is the so-called but unrepresentative Australian Christian Lobby with its persuasive spokesman Lyle Shelton, are given a chance to spread misinformation, fear and doubt, even bigoted views, it might engender a ‘No’ vote in the plebiscite. He is devious, cunning and ruthless. His conservative supporters have locked PM Turnbull into supporting the plebiscite, although Turnbull himself supports marriage equality.

If the plebiscite fails to reach a majority in favour of marriage equality, just one prime culprit will be responsible.

Now think about income and wealth inequality
You don’t hear Liberals talking about inequality – they accept it as the normal state of affairs. There have always been the Lords and the Ladies and the Serfs to bow before them. Driven by their entrenched neoliberal belief in the power and wisdom of markets, they cling tenaciously to the long-discredited theory of supply-side economics, colloquially known as ‘trickle down’ economics, which posits that tax cuts given to the top end of town trickle down as benefits to the workers in the form of more jobs and better pay. It’s bunk, but advocates recite this belief like a catechism mindlessly repeated during worship.

All the evidence is that inequality is increasing in this country. It has been for years. It shows no sign of lessening. The construction of the 2014 Budget made inequality even worse. Neo-liberals don’t acknowledge this; neither do they care about it.

Who is the culprit?

Some may identify Joe Hockey, or his successor, Scott Morrison, but think about who put them up to their budgetary strategy. The 2014 Budget was not Hockey’s; the punitive attack on the less well off was authorised and endorsed by our prime culprit. He was the one who was prepared to punish the poor. Even his supporters acknowledged that the Budget was unfair, the most unfair in many years, and that those who had the least were targeted for the most punishment. Why is our prime culprit so mean?

To add insult to injury, the Coalition now proposes to give generous tax cuts to businesses. This includes the banks and wealthy international companies, many of whom pay little or no tax anyway.

The budgetary assault on the less well off and the attack on Hockey’s ‘leaners’ are shameful, and equally the handouts to the well off are obscene.

So who is the culprit?
We know that there are a few good politicians, many mediocre ones, several poor ones, and an occasional lamentable one. This piece argues that there is one person, just one, who has inflicted on the Australian public a succession of appalling policies, just four of which I have outlined. His egregious actions have diminished us as a nation.

He has made us a pariah in the world of climate change action. He has thrust upon us an inferior broadband network that will curtail our competitiveness. He has manipulated the debate about marriage equality to diminish its chances of becoming law despite the public’s wish that it be so. He has accepted inequality as the norm in our society and has sought to make it worse.

Can you think of a single politician who has inflicted so much destruction, so much damage on our society? Can you identify a meaner person whose adversarial nature has caused so much harm?

Yet he still hovers in the background like a ghost of things past, quietly, subtly eroding confidence in his successor, hoping for another opportunity to wreak havoc once more upon our lucky country.

You know who the culprit is.

If you are still scratching your head, click here!

What do you think?

Let us know in comments below.

Did you identity the prime culprit?

Do you agree with my assessment of who fits this description?

What is your assessment of this person?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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25 comments

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  1. Ian Parfrey

    Spot on in all aspects.

    What I want to know is, when and how can we Class Action his reprehensible arse?

  2. Phil

    Obviously the clown-puppet you allude to is Tony Abbott – his puppet master is Rupert ‘just die you old bastard’ Murdoch, but those wholly responsible are the stupid citizens of Warringah who voted for clown Abbott in 2013. May their coastal sands wash away and their roads and houses fall into the sea. I won’t be shedding any tears for their losses.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Another outstanding article, Ad astra.

  4. Sheila Moffatt

    Tony Abbott ripped apart our social structure, broke all the unwritten rules of behavior, is a pathological liar, tried to drag us into the 19th century with regard to social cohesion, is a scientific ignoramus, a bully and a social misfit in my opinion. Who else could it be?

  5. Kaye Lee

    I have a list of culprits starting with all those who encouraged Tony from childhood to think that he was exceptional. I blame the preselectors in Warringah for selecting him and even worse, the voters in Warringah for electing him. I blame the climate change deniers in the Liberal Party who thought it would be a good idea to make him leader. I blame the party machine for selling us a lemon. Tony has never had an original idea, and he never read reports so I am not sure how much we can blame him for doing what others told him to. Hell we even found out it was the Queen’s idea to do the Knights and Dames thingy – or is that just Tony giving himself the absolution that comes with confession, particularly if you can blame someone else. If forced to do a mea culpa, a few ‘our fathers’ and yer good to go. Religion has to bear some of the blame for the policies Tony inflicted on us. Tony’s friend and mentor Cardinal Pell made a submission to the Senate saying climate change was crap. And I blame the media – lord knows there was enough evidence of his incompetence and his inappropriateness for so many reasons but they all cried – WE NEED TONY.

  6. Matters Not

    there is strong consensus among thousands of climate scientists that the planet is warming inexorably towards levels dangerous to life on earth, which if not curtailed will become irreversible

    Can only agree. Scientists are there to tell us what the problems are. They are not there, however, to tell us what the ‘policy’ solutions are, or what they might be. In a democracy, that role should be filled by politicians. There are any number of possible policy prescriptions re carbon emissions, including ‘direct action’. (Although the notion of rewarding polluters who refrain from polluting is hilarious. Next we will be rewarding motorists who don’t speed, thieves who don’t steal, bank robbers who don’t rob, child abuser who don’t abuse, rapist who don’t … politicians who don’t do their day job.)

    The concept of ‘direct action’ has possibilities that go far beyond an emission trading scheme. Imposing fines on polluters is a form of direct action. We use ‘direct action’ in so many areas of life. Dump rubbish on the side of the road. Expect a ‘direct action’. Assault someone. Expect ‘direct action’.

    The nature of ‘direct action’ has other possibilities as well. We could impose fines. In the case of corporations, fines are paid by the corporation but if we really wanted to get serious we could impose prison sentences, and because corporations can’t ‘serve time’, we could imprison CEOs. I suspect that form of ‘direct action’ would have immediate results. So, no fines, just mandatory prison sentences.

    I wonder if that would work? Direct action might be the way to go?

  7. bobrafto

    (Although the notion of rewarding polluters who refrain from polluting is hilarious.

    yea, the polluters are laughing all the way to the bank and back.

  8. Matters Not

    bobrafto, I’m sure you are aware of The Cobra Effect and unintended consequences.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

    The more you pollute now the bigger the reward will be when you lower your emission in the future. So build them up and make an even bigger buck.

    Perhaps we could put a bounty on ‘rats’ tails’? Now that’s an idea.

  9. Peel

    I wish u would stop excusing Malcolm Turnbull, it doesn’t matter if he is dominated by the far right or the Catholics and hill song advocates, he is still a liberal and liberal will be opposed to anything that labor proposes are does, so don’t let him of the hook so easily. And don’t be so naive, it’s the voters who put them both there, by being elected they got the chance to weave there corrupt patterns.

  10. Charybds

    I can’t excuse any of them ……
    I don’t believe Abbott actually has the intelligence to be the driving force for their crap.
    He certainly is a force but his actions would be nowhere without encouragement from the dark heart of the LNP.
    If I had to point a finger I think I would go for someone like Ruddock.
    … but basically the entire malodorous lot of them are on the take, amoral bastards, and need to be jailed.

  11. Wayne Davis

    The Australian people thought they were electing a liberal….still others thought they were electing a conservative. The truth was there for all to see from his time as health minister. This was a radical fundamentalist cleric, a leader of something totally alien to Australian history and culture, a leader of a totally new and theocratic party, Christian State!

  12. bobrafto

    Matters Not
    September 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm
    bobrafto, I’m sure you are aware of The Cobra Effect and unintended consequences.

    You’re right, it’s hilarious that the taxpayer can just bend over with barely a whimper.

  13. Allraj

    Nah the culprit is his mum. She should have kept her legs closed

  14. Geoff Andrews

    I see our prime culprit as a spoiled brat whose idea of a good day at the beach is to trample just one more kid’s sand castle than he did the day before.

  15. Spiridon Fragopoulos

    Brilliant expose Ad Astra.It does however raise one question.Who are we to deem the worst culprit working against the Nations interest?The ideologue who fervently although twist mindendly wants to enforce his sicko ideology on us,or the other who does inwardly know that he is supporting a sicko conga line, in order to have his portrait hung up and against the best interests of our country.Chewing ,Chewing,I think the devil that shows may be easier to counter,as was proven, than the obfuscating self obsessed snake oil purveyor.He fools more people.

  16. Steven Forsyth

    It’s obviously Tony Abbott, but his hero is John Howard… and that’s where it started. Tony is/was just continuing the legacy

  17. Stringybark

    I’m with Ian Parfrey and yes Allray, someone should have slapped his mother and father when he was born!

  18. Macha

    What rubbish. No evidence that global warming is catastrophic. Typical propaganda regurgitation. Do some research please.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Howard also should bear some blame for showing how lies can win elections. The fact that he is held up as some wise old statesman shows what short memories people have, but Abbott learned his lessons well about non-core promises and emotive manipulative lies to scare an electorate.

  20. Wayne Turner

    In order.

    1.The public – For being gullible and politically ignorant.Most of the public that is.And voting on what the MSM tells them to.NOT understanding policies properly,and falling for known liars.

    2.The Main Stream Media – For being owned by too few,and for being the promotional wing of the Libs and Nats.Led by the terrorist against our former democracy: Rupert Murdoch.

    3.The pollies – Producing such self serving lying and hopeless turds.

  21. Colin Stuart-Campbell

    Scariest thing is we all know that he is still an illegal parliamentary duel-national. The AFP and legal system should have removed him, and could have prior to the last election. why haven’t they?

  22. David McCarthy

    Yes the puppet you refer to is Tony “I’ve never had an original thought in my life” Abbott, but the real villains are the faceless lobbyists who are never elected and take their cues from the true enemy of Australia, Rupert “hurry up and die” Murdoch and his cronies, who then tell our politicians what to do and say. It was Rupert who told Tony to “wreck the NBN” because he saw it as a threat to his Foxtel network, and look what we have now, a complete mess that’ll take a generation to fix, if it even can be fixed now. Corrupt from the top down and a very sad indictment of our current political climate 🙁

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