Australia’s lost decade on everything, including climate

Scott Morrison has had a tough few years. First there was The Great Bush-fire Debacle. He went on holiday in Hawaii. Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Except that he tried to hide the fact that he was away. When he was sprung, he made all sorts of excuses, but in his own special way he made a statement that we will always remember: “Mate, I don’t hold a hose.” That was exceptional in many ways. It showed his narrow, superficial mind, with all its smugness, and complete lack of self-awareness. During a catastrophic bushfire, everybody holds a hose.


The country then discovered that, just before the election, and possibly even after the election was called, he had been using our money to try and buy coalition seats, and also lots of marginal seats they wanted to win. Scott Morrison was caught in the headlights of the sports rorts affair, and in an act of utterly callous self preservation, he threw his Sports Minister, Briget McKenzie, under the proverbial bus. Considering his narrow win in the 2018 election, how many seats were retained, or won, because of the calculated misuse of taxpayers’ funds?


The global pandemic struck next. He talked a lot about following the scientific advice, but his resistance to lockdowns, and his reluctance to provide financial support proved very unpopular. Like a dog after a bone, he sniffed the electoral wind, calculated he was on a losing trajectory, and promptly changed direction. He then pinched Boris Johnson’s JobKeeper idea, at Labor’s suggestion.


None of us knew then that the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, would do such a lousy job on the program’s design. Ripped off by thousands of companies, many of which paid bonuses to their already overpaid executives. Some even used those taxpayers’ funds to pay dividends to shareholders. That is some form of middle class welfare! Frydenberg now says it would be unfair to ask for the money back. There is only one word necessary to explain this Government’s moral bankruptcy – Robodebt.


Robodebt, where the might of the Federal Government was turned against often helpless, certainly powerless, welfare recipients. Ten year old debts, calculated using a dodgy averaging algorithm, and subsequently found to have been unlawful. The Government denied wrong-doing, as Evangelical far-right governments always do.


In June 2021, Justice Bernard Murphy approved a settlement worth at least A$1.8 billion, payable to those who had been harassed and vilified by their government, calling it “a shameful chapter” and “massive failure in public administration” of Australia’s social security scheme. Wikipedia.


The Ministers who have had their hands on the program include Christian Porter, Scott Morrison, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Marise Payne. There are very few geniuses in that little group. And so far, not a word of apology.


Of course after the horrors of the pandemic, there was great optimism about the arrival of the vaccines. Produced in record time, they did not appear in Australia, for several months. Outbreaks in Sydney, and then Melbourne, took hold. Hundreds of deaths followed, and Scott Morrison then made another of his astounding pronouncements: “It is not a race.” He repeated it, ad nauseum, many times over.


But it was a race, and Morrison and his hapless Health Minister, Greg Hunt, tried hard to cover up their sheer incompetence. But even Blind Freddie knows you don’t just buy one vaccine, when there is a worldwide shortage. And you don’t announce at a late night press conference, that the only vaccine you have on hand, is suspect. Morrison actually destroyed the AstraZeneca vaccine’s credibility, because he panicked. Lately he has been trumpeting how well he handled the vaccine rollout. Really.


Morrison is now on his way to attend the Glasgow climate summit, on our behalf, representing us on a world stage. He will smugly claim that he has an agreement in his back pocket, of net zero by 2050. The only problem is that up to a quarter of the Nationals do not agree, and he cannot legislate the target, because he will lose the vote in Parliament. So he is going with nothing in his pocket, except an unenforceable promise, redeemable in 29 years, by which time the whole Parliament will probably be retired, or dead.


He and the Coalition have been sabotaging our response to climate change since 2009. Morrison expects us to believe that he has done a complete U-turn, in a month, and to now put our faith in him. Sorry, not a believer, Scott. Up to a quarter of the junior Coalition partners, the National Party, does not agree, and have had to be bribed to stay silent. He has not lead anyone, anywhere. He was dictated to by the likes of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, the former Sports Minister Briget Mckenzie (she who went under the bus), and George Christensen.

We must also remember the sterling efforts of the Minister for Meaningless Climate Statements, Angus Taylor. Angus delivered his sales pitch with passionate fervour, but as we all know, Carbon Capture and Storage does not work, and most of us think bribing the Nationals is actually worse than a carbon tax, because it is using our tax money to support the coal and gas industries. We want to reduce our emissions, not increase them, Angus. Angus is going to Glasgow also, but he is going to spruik for the fossil fuel industry. They might as well take Tony Abbott along with them.


So the sum total of the Government’s achievements on climate change is essentially in the eye of the Prime Minister – Government by press announcements, which are believed in by no-one, and which are as flimsy as feathers. You have to admire Morrison’s sublime disconnect from reality, and his faith in his own ability to gaslight world leaders, like he tries to gaslight us. Welcome back, Scotty from Marketing, and you, Angus. Top job on all your efforts. How embarrassing. People around the world might think he represents how we think and feel about the planet’s health.

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