There is something endearing about Australians, in that we always find a way to claim that we do things differently here. Of course we don’t, we import most of our ideas, and we engage in self-congratulation way too much. We are indeed “a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”
Consider the case of Trumpism. ” We’re not like them”, “aren’t the Americans mad” “wow, we were lucky there” are just examples of good old Aussie self-delusion. The Morrison Government would never come right out and announce the deconstruction of Australian society, because it is innately secretive, gradualist and cunning. But it does share Trump’s goals. Remove all constraints, dismantle the Public Service, reward the rich and the big end of town, and trash the poor.
Our leader is not only a brash narcissistic fool, with a short attention span, and a plan provided to him by his backers. He is more cautious than that. His changes have all been done by stealth, but Morrison is following the Trump playbook of deconstruction, without the innate intelligence, or even an eye to his legacy, to consider the consequences.
Cutting Red Tape
That is just another way of saying let’s throw away the rule-book. Here are some examples:
Environmental controls – hand-pass them to the states. It is too hard for this Government. Even Richard Nixon was forced to establish the EPA, back in the 1970s, because private industry, unregulated, began defiling America’s water and air quality in a reckless pursuit of super-profits. The people knew, because their lives were affected. The damage could be seen from space.
Appoint a succession of ministers who do not understand the gravity of lost bio-diversity, of dwindling natural resources, and who think that they will be comfortably retired, and working for an oil company, when the shit hits the fan.
Climate change – kick the can down the road, destroy Australia’s international reputation, and its climate. Enrich your mates in the fossil fuels industry, and ensure your retirement, post politics. Ignore the majority of Australians, and for the gullible, continue to lie and distort reality. Always question the science. And always deny that our bushfires, our floods, and our denuded forests and gutted Great Barrier Reef are related to climate change. The people may object though, when they notice there are no insects, or birds, or koalas, left.
Aged Care – The Australian Government is responsible for Aged Care. So sell it off. Underfund it, allow minimal regulation, appoint a minister who, amidst the recent pandemic, could not answer basic questions regarding care, quarantine, or staffing. Treat the elderly as if they are an afterthought, and if all else fails, use weasel words to try and shift the blame. And then do nothing to fix it, even after the pretence of a Royal Commission, where the two chairs could not agree. What an excellent reason to do nothing.
An example of the level of regulation: “Two brothers banned from the poultry industry for a total of 17 years after starving more than a million chickens were involved in the acquisition of two aged care homes in Melbourne, despite being bankrupt at the time and having no experience.” https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/bankrupt-chicken-farmers-banned-for-cruelty-running-aged-care-homes-20210211-p571lm.html
Post Covid recovery – The hopes for a “Green Recovery” were soon dashed, even though the Government knew that most Australians were in favour, and the opportunities abounded, for a super-charged economy. The reason for this decision? The Government has a coterie of friends from the Oil and Gas industries, and it is instructive and depressing to look at their backgrounds.
Notwithstanding Australians’ love for renewables, Morrison and Taylor have proceeded down this cul-de-sac, because of their own fear of the far right rump of the Coalition, and I suspect, their hopes for a very nice retirement, working for the fossil fuels lobby. In understanding centre-right populists it is always best to look at narrow self-interest first, because frankly, many of them do not have another agenda.
Robodebt, (aka torturing the poor) – was a shameful episode in Australia’s history, where a government, knowingly, proceeded to harass and harm the most vulnerable Australians, illegally. They continued the harassment after finding out that the process was illegal. Services Australia, whose motto is “We deliver government payments and services” is a privatised organisation which presumably ‘looks after’ Centrelink work.
It has been recently ‘run’ by Stuart Robert, but Robodebt has many fathers. Alan Tudge and Paul Fletcher have been named in the class action against the scheme. I cannot work out why “services” is shown on the internet in italics. Perhaps it indicates a special type of service; could it be one which is illegal, and causes harm to citizens?
The people most affected were the unemployed. These people are now ‘served’ by Job Centres, who appear not to find work for anyone, and so they are forced to live on a pittance, and still go for lots of non-existent jobs. The Government has instructed that the smallest infraction will incur the harsh penalty of actually being starved. Their welfare payments are cut off, with no sustenance provided.
Of course, many of the people who are affected by these draconian laws are children, so they cannot yet vote. Some of the people responsible for that debacle are ‘looking at’ ways of gutting the NDIS, which has been described as possibly Australia’s greatest legislative achievement for the last fifty years.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – In Trump’s America the Government leaked like a sieve. Most of Trump’s mis-steps and acts of bastardry were actually leaked to the media, and we are finding the same process is occurring here. So there are still consciences to be found, even within this Government.
In a recent example the Sydney Morning Herald reported the Government was legislating for the denial of “funding to Australians with acquired brain injuries and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder as well as reducing avenue of appeal for participants as part of secret plans to save costs.” https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/leaked-laws-reveal-plan-to-kick-australians-off-the-22-billion-ndis-20210325-p57dym.html
What could the reasoning be behind this plan? Are we blaming the kids for their fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and how will they live? Will we put people with an acquired brain injury on the side of the road and leave them there?
Where do these people come from, these people who do not want to help Australians who have been cruelly disabled? Is it not a part of Australia’s mission statement that we look after everyone? By saying that, we are not saying that everyone’s life will improve, but that on any sensible evaluation, the lives of most Australians will be improved. Because that could be the only legitimate reason to seek Government.
I cannot think of another valid reason to seek power, and there has never been an Australian politician who admitted that he, or she, was in it for the money and power. They invariably claim that their purpose is “to serve”. I see no evidence of a culture of caring for the people, and if forced to give a Google review, one star for turning up to work.
Although, to be fair, David Coleman hasn’t turned up for work since December 2019. In December 2019, it was announced that Coleman would be taking indefinite leave for personal reasons, with Alan Tudge taking over his portfolio as acting minister. He formally remained as a minister until a December 2020 reshuffle, in which he was instead appointed Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Wikipedia. So, no star for David. One year on a ministerial salary. Could he possibly resign, and allow someone else to actually ‘work’?
He is still active on Facebook, though. Perhaps he is taking a cue from the Prime Minister, who has taken to making official announcements on Facebook. That way neither of them has to answer a question concerning what it is that they actually do.