View From The Couch – 02/Sep/2014

The Rot Sets In

This really is a crappy government, and nothing can cover it up. Amazingly they don’t even try to cover it up, which is even more astounding – and by astounding I mean in the negative direction, like one might describe an abcessed tooth.  A better word might be excruciating, for that is the word Evelyn Waugh gave to Sebastian Flyte in ‘Brideshead Revisited’ to describe his toothache. We have a federal government that is a deep, throbbing, incapacitating pain that simply will not go away. In a sign that time really does fly, it is nearing one year since last year’s terrible Federal election that installed this government of entitled intellectual runts (and other things that rhyme with runts), and in that time they have managed to kick a good half-dozen own-goals.

The biggest of these own goals might be the budget, which was announced at the beginning of May as all budgets are, but has since failed to pass the senate. In the four months since the budget was unveiled, it has demolished the credbility of Joe Hockey as Treasurer as well as eaten into the meagre genuine support the Coalition had at the Federal election. The truth is nobody outside of the regular conservative set wanted an Abbot Government; they just wanted the naked-ego freakshow that was the Rudd/Gillard ALP Government to end. Not even the properly educated ranks of the conservatives liked Tony Abbott. Let us remind ourselves that Malcolm Fraser quit the Liberal Party because he just couldn’t take the Abbott leadership. Let’s be clear, it wasn’t that he couldn’t take it seriously, but that having been forced to take it seriously, he refused to comply and support it.

Not even his own side think Tony Abbott as Prime Minister is a serious proposition. And so we have conservative commentators in recent weeks pimping for the next leader. Peter Reith picked Julie Bishop. There is momentum building. Peter Hartcher wrote a favorable article praising her efforts in the Ukraine MH17 incident. You would think the very fact that the weather balloons are going up is a bad sign, but nobody is seriously making supporting noises for Julie Bishop. Julie Bishop is an interesting politician in that she served Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott as deputy leader of the Liberal Party, so presumably the party think very highly of her ability. It’s just that their stupid sexism has prevented them from installing her as the leader in the quick succession of changes. If the response to the weather balloon may well change things. I do wonder if this government could get better if it were run by Julie Bishop and not Tony Abbott. It’s all a bit of a quandary wondering who you would hate less as Prime Minister.

Still, there is a possibility Tony Abbott’s personal standing in the polls never rises above the levels plumbed by Julia Gillard before him, which would suggest the party room will get restless. It might not happen tomorrow or next month, but if Tony stays as bad for as long as Julia Gillard did, then it might be time for the Liberal Party faithful to do their own bait-and-switch months before the next election, and install Julie Bishop as Prime Minister. I’d imagine it’s on the cards given how much smoke there is coming out of the media. Let’s then say she gets installed and wins the next election. That would be roughly 4 prime ministers in 4 terms, 3 of whom did not finish their first full term. That’s 12years of Australian Federal politics being booted around by people who are essentially playing musical chairs. The lousy thing is that it would represent 12years wasted experimenting with ever more extreme policies to not much good effect.

While it hasn’t quite happened that way yet, all it would take might be a few more bad polls and the budget not getting through.

Climate Change Deniers In Power

It’s also a truly awful thing when a government ignores the overwhelming science and installs a climate change denier on to a panel to shepherd a statement that says we should do less for the environment. The Appointment to Dick Warburton to review climate change was a bit like putting a sociopath with no empathy to review child abuse cases in the Church. Then again, that’s exactly what the Catholic Church did by making Cardinal George Pell to that role, so maybe there’s a certain kind of thinking that the worst possible person would bring in the most politically expedient result. Warburton’s report says the government should just give up on saving the environment and instead just do as little as possible. That’s not proper policy – that’s just letting the vested interests have their way. It’s a travesty, really.


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