It was marketed as his first key note address for the year. Any good marketing person, given that he really had things of great importance to confide in with the citizens of the nation, wouldn’t allow it to be hijacked by other problems his government was facing.
Well unless he had little to confide in and would rather be questioned just about the “Sports Rorts” scandal.
So bad had been its governance and such a shock had its win at the election been that drawing any attention to its ineffectiveness would make it look even worse.
Never in the history of this nation has a government been so unfit to serve, and never in the history of this nation has its people been so indoctrinated with so much propaganda that they, in effect, discarded any sense of levelheadedness or reasoning to re elect this sordid lot of corrupt politicians.
And yet again I am compelled to watch Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the one with the mouth that weaves its way in and out of problems with all the charm and vigour of a rattlesnake ready to strike, and thus my writing may be intoxicated with the venom of his untruth and lies.
In other words, I wouldn’t believe a word he says.
I shall, however, with the greatest respect for fairness and truth try to report fairly on the words spoken.
These were my feelings before the Prime Ministers address to the National Press Club and the nation.
A large part of the Prime Ministers speech addressed the subject of “disaster resilience” but again he never mentioned the AIDR.
The Conversation reminds us that:
“In 2017 the government axed funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), an agency that provides information to decision-makers on how best to manage the risks of climate change and sea level rise.”
And The Australia Institute tweeted:
Great to see the PMs new found enthusiasm for "adaptation and resilience." Unfortunate they completely axed funding to Australia's only dedicated adaptation/ resilience facility, the National Climate Adaptation Research Facility in 2018 #auspol https://t.co/sPnWwsu5zQ
— Australia Institute (@TheAusInstitute) January 12, 2020
As only he can, the Prime Minister sold his government’s performance as one of astonishing success where ministers were performing brilliantly. His capacity to leave out facts of great importance is astonishing.
Try these, courtesy of Sydney Criminal Lawyers as an example:
- The economy is in tatters, with national debt eclipsing the levels it reached during the purported ‘debt and deficit crisis’;
- There continues to be an alarming erosion of individual freedoms and a concerted campaign to crush trade unions, and to silence protesters and those who are critical of government;
- The government refuses to raise social security payments, despite recipients being barely able to afford housing and food;
- Homelessness continues to rise and homeless people continue to be criminalised;
- Domestic violence is at all-time highs;
- Robodebt – which the Federal Court recently found to be ‘unlawful’ – has caused anxiety in many Australians and led to a number of suicides;
- Indigenous people continue to die in custody at unacceptable rates;
- Banks have been caught behaving unlawfully, despite our leader having repeatedly voted against a Banking Royal Commission; and
- Climate change has been met with inaction, as our nation slips dramatically in the Climate Change Performance Index.
Hundreds of small businesses around the nation are bearing the cost of supporting the nation through these times, while big multi-national corporations get away with paying minimal or no tax.
Many farmers can’t feed their stock, some have given up. Fruit and vegetable producers are going bankrupt.
This is all contrary to the picture the Prime Minister painted. Once again he repeated his lies about meeting our emissions targets and later when asked a question about the combined nations of 1.4 emissions equalling 40% of total emissions he looked dumbfounded at the questioner as though it wasn’t possible. But it is true.
Deputy leader of the opposition Richard Marles countered with these remarks:
“We are not on target to meet our Kyoto targets … we are not on track to meet the commitments on the Paris accord,” he said.
“The global assessment of Australia is that we are ranked right at the bottom on the terms of climate change.
“I think the Australian people can now see through the fact this is a prime minister who lies.”
“We are doing what you would expect a country like Australia to do but what I won’t do is this: I am not going to sell out Australians – I am not going to sell out Australians based on the calls from some to put higher taxes on them or push up their electricity prices or to abandon their jobs and their industries and them they are collateral damage of a global movement.
These words smack of a constant theme in conservative commentary. A conspiracy theory.
We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.
He was in good form. So much so that if you didn’t know better you would think that we lived in a Utopia beyond compare.
There was no mention of a grand plan to take the nation forward into the years beyond our understanding; of the dangers or indeed the enlightenment we might discover.
It was the same old Morrison bombastic speech where the lips moved at a remarkable speed but had little to inspire. It was a defense of everything his party had done or was doing. What a great nation we are he was telling us despite the view around the world..
He focused on two issues. The first was the Commonwealth’s role in national emergencies in which he raised some practical issues, and the second was National Mitigation Adaptation and Resilience Program for worsening climate change.
He also said that:
“… the summer’s bushfire crisis had proven the need for greater flexibility in calling out the Defence Force to assist in responding to emergencies.”
Something that will be discussed, I’m sure, at the next COAG meeting.
It means that it’s – for this government at least – easier to give up on lowering our emissions, be resilient and adapt to whatever comes our way.
And then came question time. The journalists were chafing at the bit. They new what they were there for and those like me knew why we were watching.
We had been grossly misled about the use of our money for political campaigning.
The first came from Sabra Lane, the President of the Press Club.
She asked the Prime Minister to reflect on his own performance during the bush fire crisis. He didn’t bother to answer. He waffled on incoherently about something else and by the time he had finished I think Lane had forgotten that she had asked a question.
A lie by omission.
Mark Riley was second in line and in an acknowledgement of the gravity of the scandal rather emotionally asked Scott Morrison:
“Can you say categorically your office had nothing to do with this, no involvement in the construction of this rort?”
Morrison assured Riley that both he and his department were at all times at arms length, which of course didn’t explain why cabinet a few weeks prior to the election increased the funding by an extra $40 million.
We now know that, with the leaking of incriminating emails to be an outrageous lie.
A lie by omission.
Make no mistake, even if no rules were broken this is corruption of the highest order. It was the corruption of the public purse to advantage the Coalition’s political campaigning.
And underlying what is really concerning them is the possible resurgence of Barnaby Joyce.
The ABC’s Andrew Probyn followed with Senator McKenzie’s coloured charts in hand for all to see, asked if there would be no further slush funds, Mr Morrison replied:
“Well Andrew, I’ll put your editorial to one side and your commentary on it, that’s your view…” and proceeded to ignore the question.
A lie by omission
Michelle Grattan – the Doyen of Australian political journalism – asked about who was better qualified to make decisions the public servants or politicians. Unequivocally Morrison answered it had to be ministers.
He must have thought that public servants were less human than politicians.
Bullshitting is bad enough but when someone believes their own, that is intellectual dishonesty.
When The Guardian’s Sarah Martin turn to ask a question came around she asked if there was nothing wrong as a matter of principle in using public funds for political interests and entrenching the government’s power, Morrison gave her two answers: “I just reject the premise of your question” and a “you can have an editorial on it”
Lying by omission
When it came to the ABC’s Laura Tingle to have a go she ventured into wondering what was the point of having guidelines if they were not followed. She is still wondering because he didn’t answer.
Lying by omission.
Ms Tingle also asked as to who knew what and when at the very top of the government – by asking how Cabinet on March 3 thought an extra $42.5 million could be properly spent as time ran out before the approaching election.
Guess what? Another lie by omission.
So confident with his answers was the Prime Minister that at the end of it he wanted more.
I said at the beginning that you couldn’t believe a word he said.
What further evidence do you need? And just where this “you can have an editorial on it” new verbal reply to journalists comes from is a mystery, let alone what it actually means.
Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it.
You wouldn’t trust him or his ministers as far as you could throw them. The Prime Minister is a masterful liar to those who see through him, but he must sound like the Messiah to those who don’t.
(Note: I have something further to add to my post of last week titled Asking Peter Dutton in which I mentioned the entity of The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) and questioned its relationship to government and who it was that funded them.
Well, I was contacted via The AIM by the Executive Directors assistant of this entity and as a consequence was invited to interview her next Thursday, February 6).
My thought for the day
Humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement. However, it is truth that that enables human progress.
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