One of the really big issues Australia faces is the apparent
disillusionment with the political process. In the last election
3,000,000 people decided not to vote. Why? My guess is that they were
sick of Labor’s infighting and detached from anything Tony Abbott had on
They couldn’t forgive Labor and, despite having major misgivings
about Abbott, decided to give him a go. After all he had promised a no
surprises, no excuses government that would govern for all. Competent,
and above all, trustworthy. When eventually he was elected and the
electorate had vented their anger at Labor he announced that the adults
were in charge and set about “reforms” never mentioned in the election
We all know now that that was nonsense. Those who were of the right
dutifully gave him their vote whilst the non-political, although a tad
suspicious, took a chance. Those of us more politically circumspect sat
back with fingers on our keyboards ready to type ‘I told you so’ in the boldest typeface.
The question will not be answered for some time yet but in my view
Abbott will be a one term government. He has squandered so much
political capital that he won’t be able to recover. Although if they
were to change leader it might be a possibility. Even taking into
account the complexities that can arise from the political process it is
difficult to imagine a transformation that might turn things around.
The electorate is heartily sick of the endless sound bites so suited to
the Abbott style of gutter politics.
The Prime Minister has been branded and proven to be a malicious
liar. He has to carry that with him to the next election. Ask Julia
Gillard how difficult that is. Not only that. People have formed a
profile of their leader and it isn’t pretty. He represents all that is
wrong with our political process, discourse and the illusive notion of
the democratic ideal. In fact they see him as having vandalised it.
One of my Facebook friends put it like this:
Our system of government has reached a critical low point
where the value of every aspect of humanity that is supposed to embody
political representation as a tool of collective representation has been
eroded, destroyed and devalued beyond relevance.
Abbot has trashed trust, epitomised incompetency, legitimised lying,
validated vindictive vitriol, beget bad behavior, betrayed
bipartisanship, destroyed democracy, eroded equality, divided diversity,
killed consensus, sidelined science, and is contemptuously corrupt and
erroneously elitist (Ricky Pann).
It has been a leaderless dysfunctional government of unfairness, more
intent on undoing than doing. Vindictive and ideologically obsessed
with self-interest. A government with ministers seemingly out of touch
with the electorate and their expectations. More focused on their
expense accounts than servitude. Instead of governing for the common
good it has been intent on serving those who voted for it.
Now on Christmas Eve the Prime Minister has grudgingly acknowledged
some fault in presentation, conversation and explanation. He cannot
however bring himself to the point of admitting gross errors of
judgment. That he has been wrong, instead insisting he is on the right
track with the right policies.
“A year of great achievement”, he says. The polls say otherwise.
His answer seemingly is to have a bells and whistles cabinet
reshuffle take a long break over Christmas, reset the political agenda,
sticking with the same policies with some re-working and everything will
be fine again.
This of course is a fallacy. The New Year will begin with most of the
same problems, an unresolved unequivocally unfair budget, doctors
co-payment, revised family welfare, RET, emissions target, university
fees, etc., not having been resolved, another budget to cope with in a
matter of months, and many more unpalatable decisions on the way. In
fact events of a world scale seem to be creating a set of almost
insurmountable problems. He cannot possibly hope to be an emissary of
Yet he thinks this can all be resolved with a holiday, a natural sun
tan and some fresh faces. The ministry re shuffle has some positives and
negatives. Participation for women in the ministry has doubled. I’m
glad you cannot hear my laughter. Science has been reinstated but that
might be in name only.
“Sometimes it helps if you put these things in the title”, Mr Abbott said.
The appointment of Josh Frydenberg as Assistant Treasurer was a no
brainer. Kevin Andrews as defence Minister is a mystery. If you were
looking to be rid of old wood then he would be the first to go. Dutton
out of health was a necessity.
And the appointment of Scott Morrison to the Social Services Ministry
will be deeply unpopular with the electorate. The budget failed on the
basis of its unfairness. 41% of LNP voters agreed. Now he will be asked
to sell the next one having a reputation for draconian demonization. A
man who personifies the word unfair. His character is already stained
with the word cruel. Remember Morrison recently blackmailed the Senate
with the lives of children.His appointment contains a sinister message.
Giving him a portfolio that requires the ability to show firmness
together with empathy, in my view lacks political intelligence and the
implication is about more inequality.
“He is very tough and competent political operator but he is also a decent human being”.
The inference, I think, being that only tough people can do humane things.
The Prime Minister has so branded himself in the personality
of an unmitigated liar and fool that no amount of re branding will earn
the electorate’s forgiveness.