Some of you might recall that I despise the Waffling Wanker of Wentworth. In less salubrious terms, he is referred to as “Malcolm Turnbull”. WWW, as I shall refer to him henceforth to save time and space, has the unfortunate distinction of making Cameron look like a succès fou in comparison. By synthesising the misplaced metropolitanism of Britain’s much unlamented former prime minister, the integrity of the unutterable T**y B***r and the pseudo-cosmopolitanism of the vile N**k C***g the WWW has seemingly brought his party to the brink of collapse.
Australian politicians have done little to command public faith in recent years. The Australian Labour Party (I cannot bring myself to misspell the name of the party, whatever convention it might prefer… Bloody King O’Malley, bless his soul…) haven’t recovered from its Kev and Juliar Show-era toxic meltdown. Bill Shorten, despite the WWW’s best efforts to make the Drover’s Dog look eminently qualified to divide his time between the Lodge and Kirribilli House, still trails that pestilent slime-filled urn as preferred prime minister – albeit by a reduced margin to what can with some charity be called tepid support.
What is different about Australia’s two main parties, however – and in the mid-to-long term provides a profound challenge, is the minimal level of support a party can rely upon. The ALP, even in their much-reduced state, can rely on the support of labour unions. This alone is not enough to return a working majority at parliament, but it is political life support. The Liberal Party do not have this luxury. Menzies, of the Sir Robert persuasion, created the Liberal Party to be the voice of the “Forgotten People” – middle class battlers. His vision was of a party that drew from the best of conservative and classically liberal traditions. It was an anti-radical party, a party that whatever the failure of politicians and their policies, ought to have stood against tyranny.
By embracing the narrative of a tyrannical left, the WWW has undermined his party. Perhaps most dangerously, the WWW has seemingly refused to take real action in respect to the rampant abuse of section 18C of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act. If someone holds a view that might be interpreted by someone as being somehow hurtful, a formal complaint can be lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Naturally, this proves to be terribly convenient when those overly keen on identity politics wish to silence opposition. As conservative and right-of-centre Australian voters abandon the WWW’s floundering Liberal Party in favour of Cory Bernardi’s Conservative Party or the fragrant Pauline Hanson’s One Australia Party, the Liberals will have to decide if they want to survive – or if they wish to go the way of the Nationalist and United Australia Parties. (The National Party is not to be entirely ignored, but as the junior partner in the “Coalition”, it carries less weight – although how long it can conceivably tolerate the WWW’s destruction of its interests remains to be seen)
12 thoughts on “Emu”
Absolutely, Christopher!! 🙂
The only thing I could add would be the relative importance of Barnaby Joyce, who may be regarded by some as a buffoon in the Boris Johnson mould, but who is actually pretty shrewd (like the other BJ), well motivated and with a far better ear to the ground with real people. I like the bloke!
Perhaps also Christopher Pyne, who may suddenly eclipse the lot of them; very popular in SA.
I would have previously kept an eye on Julie Bishop, but her time has passed, I believe. Supporting WWW’s backstabbing of Tony Abbott (another guy who tells it as he sees it and is a genuine Aussie) was one of her few mistakes, in my book.
Bearsy: I also quite like Barnaby Joyce. Perhaps the only reason why the WWW hasn’t utterly imploded is because Joyce is able to exert some influence on him. As leader of the Nationals, the WWW is in no position to utterly alienate him, nor can he try to marginalise him at the federal level the same way he could an Abbott loyalist in the Liberal Party.
Pyne does have potential, but he needs to be careful not to become another Mike Baird. Four years ago he was the Liberals’ NSW blue-eyed boy. Now, he’s very much yesterday’s man and Gladys Berejiklian doesn’t seem to be a great improvement. Changing leader does little to improve a party’s fortunes if policies aren’t improved as well.
Julie Bishop has been handmaiden too many times to be the bride. Unless she proves capable of a profound political and person reinvention — which I doubt — she’s missed her chance. Politics requires ruthlessness and ambition and she’s proven herself unable to find enough to make it to the top. By casting her lot in with the WWW in those most odious of circumstances she will be forever associated with what’s proving to be a spectacular failure of a prime minister. Being cast into the political wilderness for three years might be the necessary treatment for the Coalition. Shorten is unlikely to be able to tame the Senate any more effectively than the WWW has — and his rise to the prime ministry would come as a consequence of the Coalition’s travails. It would also once-and-for-all end the more left-leaning portion of the Liberal Party’s Turnbull obsession.
CT, how do you manage to be au fait with the politics of every country? Are you akshully a Digger? Or a British diplomat? or wha’? 🙂
janus, amen. How?
Do I understand you dislike our present PM, Christopher? Neither do I!
The main problem I have with him is that he doesn’t stand for anyone or anything, other than himself. As someone put it recently, being PM of Oz was simply part of his bucket wish-list – not unlike far too many other PMs.
Not only has he embraced the ‘Tyrannical Left”, he has also embraced the ‘Tyrannical Right’. His recent endorsement of the Fair Work Commission’s reduction of Penalty Rates (for non-Ozzies – long standing agreed rates of pay for working unsocial hours) combined with massive tax-cuts for Big Business has outraged almost everyone. It is a generally agreed principle here that any new wage agreements do not mean that wages are cut and the people working unsocial hours are the lowest paid. The Fair Work Commission’s decision is a direct attack on those least able to afford a cut in wages. Turnbull’s assertion that it isn’t a Liberal decision is seen as a weaselly way of dissociating the Government from backing Big Business’s demands for lower wages.
Moreover, again for non Ozzies, it is seen as yet another attempt to take the ‘Fair’ out of what for many years was an Ozzie maxim that everyone should have a ‘Fair Go’. A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work – and a fair remuneration for businesses – but not at the expense of the workers.
As you are no doubt aware, Christopher, the primary vote for Independents has increased dramatically in the last few elections – I suspect it will continue to rise. For non-Ozzies, I won’t try to explain our voting system – other than to say we never lose our vote by the ‘first-past-the-post system’. But, it is quite clear that many Ozzies are fed up with both political parties who keep churning out the same policies decade after decade… and are voting for alternative parties.
Boadicea: Absolutely! The WWW has spent most of his life dedicated to obtaining power. In most respects the ALP would be a better fit for the WWW than the Liberals, but the fact that he’d have to start on the bottom and work his way up turned him off the ALP. The Liberals can be more flexible with such details. This outrageous sense of entitlement has come to define him. He’s never forgiven Australian monarchists like John Howard for not giving him republic on a silver platter. He’s had it in for Abbott ever since Abbott ousted him in a leadership spill. The reality is that the WWW was an absolutely horrendous opposition leader and would have allowed the ALP to get away with their Kev and Juliar Show-era incompetence simply be being just as inept.
I was shocked to read that people working these unsocial hours would see their wages cut from 150pc of regular wages to 125pc of regular wages — on average A$6000 a year. Naturally, this will favour large businesses but not necessarily small operations. What didn’t shock me was the feigned horror after the exploitation of 457 visas by fast food corporations was brought to light. This has been going on for years — under the ALP and the Coalition. Naturally, by bringing in people from India and China — as well as the UK, incidentally, they could screw down wage inflation.
The WWW embodies in the most obvious form the “centrism” that some had called the “new way forward”. The cultural war would end in abject capitulation to the most radical elements of the left, economic battles would end in capitulation to multinational corporations. That is, a knife in the back of the majority. The UK seems to have turned a page on this with Labour’s return to its radical origins under Corbyn and Theresa May’s repositioning of the Tories in more Christian Democratic fashion. The one thing that I do enjoy is seeing the WWW strain under the weight of responsibility. It’s rare for a politician to have to actually suffer the consequences for her/his actions. I really don’t see how the WWW can survive the next general election — if he even retains the Prime Ministry long enough to make it.
Tomorrow’s Western Australian elections could prove to be very interesting — especially with the “pact” between the Liberals and the One Australia Policy. True, Western Australia is a bit “different” in many ways but it is still telling.
Christopher! You certainly seem to have a sound understanding of Turnbull. The Republicans are annoyed because, as PM, he isn’t pushing their cause – he won’t because he won’t take the chance of a second failure.
As you say, he was an appalling opposition leader – which is why we were amazed that the Liberals gave him the top job.
Sunday rates of 200% have been cut to 150%, Saturday and other rates have been cut from 150% to 125%. Unless, as it now has come to light, the “blessed unions” have made other arrangements. This along with the 457 visas will come home to roost with the Labor Party more than being a problem to the LNP. The Labor Party are supposed to look after workers’ rights – whereas the Menzies’ vision for the LNP has long been discarded – and they are now seen as being only interested in businesses.
At this moment it looks as though Labor are going to win in WA.
Boadicea: In the 1990s the Australian Republican Movement was a serious political force. Today it is a serious political farce. I have to laugh at the Red Bandanna Man’s more risible pronouncements. Before the 23rd June vote he repeatedly asserted that by being in the EU construct the UK made it clear where its loyalties were and that there was no point sharing the same monarch. After the 23rd June vote and the British government’s moves to restore favourable trade ties to Australia, he stated that by leaving the EU, the UK made Australia look bad because of the shared monarch. All indications show that there is no way that a vote on becoming a republic would return a majority in any Australian state — even the People’s Republic of Victoria with at least three states having over 60pc opposition, thus precluding the “double majority” required in any event. To placate republicans the WWW has to on occasion make pro-republic statements. Republicans remain annoyed, voters who would prefer the PM to focus on more serious matters are irked by the time wasted and monarchists — and there are a good many in the Liberal and especially National rank-and-file — are disconcerted.
Ah — so it’s worse than I thought. Of course the “blessed unions” will have made other arrangements. They look out for their own — sometimes, sod the rest. Naturally younger voters or those seeking to re-integrate into the labour market will be hit hardest. Absolutely horrible.
Labour have enjoyed a 16pc swing in their favour winning even some safe-seats from the Liberals. Some results forecast the ALP to hold up to 40 of the Legislative Assembly’s 59 seats. The One Australia party have received only half the votes — 4.5pc — that they had expected to receive.
Christopher: all pollies look after their own!
Turnbull is spouting the usual nonsense about how cutting wages boosts the economy – failing to understand that Rudd’s genius in giving money to everyone to spend kept the economy going and allowed Oz to escape the recession that hit the rest of the world. After pointing this out to my MP, I asked “How was this measure going to create more jobs when the poor souls who had their wages cut would have to work extra hours simply to keep up with where they were now?” I got the reply that the decision had nothing to do with the government – they were simply acting on the ‘independent’ advice of the Commission. Bah! And she will wonder why the LNP will lose the next election.
I’m not sure that I agree that Labor have a 16% swing in their favour – politics here is far more about voting against the incumbent party than for the alternative. As Bearsy has said, Pauline lost out because she hitched herself to the LNP. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next election here in Queensland – but that’s a bit of a way away.
Boadicea: In a certain sense the WWW is correct. Reducing penalty rates makes it cheaper for employers to employ people for more hours. What this creates, however, is a situation in which the employee gains 4 at the expense of 6. As you rightly said, they will have to work harder to stand still. I grew up working class, sometimes in abject poverty. I’ve also had to work minimum wage jobs so survive. Sometimes, I was barely able to keep my head above water even when living an impoverished existence with few, if any, comforts. I’ve little love or patience for people who try to tell us that getting less for more is good for us. The WWW has never had to worry about from whence his next meal would come. Whatever his innumerable failures, Rudd had some grasp of how hard it could be to make ends meet. Most Aussies I’ve known make a point of the fair go. Australia’s isn’t a ruthless society like the US.
In Western Australia Labour enjoyed a 16pc swing — from 42.7pc in 2013 to 54pc today. It’s an almost Scottish situation — one doesn’t vote for the party one necessarily wants, but to throw out those who have proven themselves incapable. Barnett was premier for 8 1/2 years. That is time enough to disgust many voters. There is a logic to stepping down after a second term, even when it isn’t strictly required. McGowan won’t have an easy go of it. Labour didn’t fare nearly as well in the Legislative Council. Much like the federal situation, a hostile upper house can make life difficult! Hanson has much to learn. When voters want to “clean house”, it’s advisable not to throw one’s fortunes in with those who are destined to be consigned to electoral doom!
Queensland politics are always interesting. Katter, Hanson et al. make for a a heady mix.And I am fond of that codger, Katter. I do wish Newman would just shut up. He had his chance and he squandered it.
Sure, the reduction of wages does make it easier / cheaper for employers to hire more staff.
But, and this is, for me, the very biggest but! If the number of people who can only afford to live at subsistence level increases there is absolutely no point in employers increasing the number of their employees. All businesses, manufacturers, service providers. etc., etc,, need ‘customers’ with money to spend – most especially those ‘businesses’ that provide non-essential goods and services. It isn’t rocket science to work out that if wages are reduced to subsistence level all non-essential businesses will suffer. Turnbull and Co do not have any idea of how many people do not have surplus income to spend on non-essential items.
Boadicea: One lesson learnt from the Icelandic collapse is that providing debt relief to consumers does more to help economic recovery than bailing out large banks. Yes, there was an economic shock — but the country was able to recover more quickly as consumers, once the shock passed, were able to return to some semblance of normality. In countries like Ireland or the US where major companies were rescued but the man on the Clapham omnibus was told to lump it are yet to recover after nearly a decade. Major corporations simply invested that money overseas for higher returns. In some instances, they even made portions of their domestic workforce redundant and moved production overseas.
There was really only one thing about Australia that horrified me: the cost of products. Yes, I was there at a time when the Aussie Dollar was strong and I was paid in a currency that, at that time, was relatively weak. But even with today’s more “normal” exchange rates, the prices were eye-watering. I never thought that London would be a bargain in comparison to any place! There is much that could be done to make the cost of operating a business cheaper in Australia — Australia is infamous for red tape and costly regulations. Compliance is a financial burden extreme. A still arguably over-valued currency doesn’t help, either — especially when it hurts many exports and makes imports only too cost-effective, thus hollowing out whatever is left of Australian industry. For some, screwing down wages and making life a living hell for the working class is simply the most convenient option.