Tag Archives: Asylum seekers

A lucky country, run by second rate people

“Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.”
That is a quote taken directly from Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country. It was published in 1964.

Is that still true? The short answer is of course yes. Let me count the ways our lucky country is led by second rate people, and some of their signature ‘tunes’.

Morrison is like a bull in a china shop

In December 2010, the shadow cabinet were asked to bring three ideas each, to a tactics meeting, for attacking the Gillard Government. One of Mr Morrison’s ideas was to use an anti-Muslim campaign, as he thought it might be effective, and popular. He was dissuaded by colleagues, who thought it a step too far.

In February 2011, he objected to the cost of flying grieving relatives to Sydney, for the funerals of their loved ones, who had died in the Christmas Island boat disaster. After much criticism, he apologised for the timing of the statement, but not the substance. He made the statement on the actual day of the funerals.

He repeatedly referred to “illegal arrivals” and “illegal boats,” when discussing asylum seekers. He was eventually elevated to Immigration Minister in 2013, when Abbott came to power. He takes particular pride in having ‘stopped the boats’. He was widely criticised for his refusal to discuss “on water matters”. He has a basic disregard towards the public’s right to know what the Government does, on our behalf.

In November 2014 the Australian Human Rights Commission found that he had violated the rights of children in his care, and of breaching Australia’s international obligations. Tony Abbott was concerned that the report was politically motivated. No remorse, from either of them.

In the five years to 2019, more than 95,000 asylum seekers arrived in Australia by plane, causing a huge backlog of unsuccessful applicants, all waiting to be deported. Critics say that many are the victims of people smugglers, using the other, acceptable gateway, the airport. Many are vulnerable to exploitation, and possibly slavery. It is possible that Morrison has thought about this, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

In 2019 he went to Hawaii while Sydney was on fire, because he had promised his kids. He doesn’t hold a hose, because he is more of an office type of guy. He was busy, he said, and he deserved a holiday, like every other husband and father. This was the beginning of the ‘daggy dad’ routine. Beers at the footy, visits to Bunnings, silly hats. All part of a campaign to humanise him, to try and remove the ‘big end of town’ focus of his policies. Tax cuts for the rich, Robodebt for the poor. He has a mortgage, like everybody else, except he gets paid over half a million dollars a year.

The pandemic saved him, because he has so little regard for following process that he, and his Government, were in danger of being hounded out of office. It is still amazing how little he expected to be found out, with firstly his sports rorts affair, and now the supercharged car-parks scheme. He is like a burglar who thinks no-one can see him, as he breaks and enters, misusing taxpayers’ funds as if they were his own.

The vaccine rollout has been a disaster, because the daggy leader didn’t understand that he had only done the first part of his job. He was happy to coast on our low deaths and infection rates, without any curiosity as to what might come next. Second and third waves have been a part of pandemics since at least 1919 and the Spanish flu, but it was, in his mind, definitely not a race! More of a victory lap.

If we were to study Morrison’s response to gender issues this year, his calling in of his wife to advise him on an appropriate response to Brittany Higgins was a particular lowlight. He seems to be afraid of those pesky women, and their demands for, at the very least, a safe place to work. Again, his tone-deaf support of Christian Porter highlighted his inability to read the signs of change.

Ditto for global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered its Sixth Assessment Report this week, and the usual suspects fronted up to gaslight the Australian public. Morrison again stated that he supported the science, and his Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, repeated the line that we are on target to “meet and beat” the Paris target. The climate crisis, for it really is one, was visible to scientists thirty years ago, and yet the Liberals think they can still fob us off with tales of “technology not taxes”.

In this instance we are going it alone. We are not even borrowing ideas from overseas; the rest of the world knows Climate Change is happening, but our leaders have stuck their heads in the sand. Like ostriches, or was that emus? How embarrassing, and ultimately dangerous. Clearly, we are led by second rate politicians, who hope their luck never ends.

Morrison has made a Faustian deal with the cabinet

Australians have never seen the like of this Government before, precisely because of the unlucky convergence of two unique circumstances. The first is Scott Morrison’s relentless ambition, and the second is the sycophantic, supine nature of his governmental colleagues.

Scott Morrison has become a scourge on this democracy. His anti-social and ideologically driven policies have generally only been spasmodically opposed by some of the cleverer Laborites, but mainly by the independents in Canberra. His so-called Cabinet Ministers act more like a team of obedient assistants, rather than the dedicated professional policy makers they should be.

Australians pride themselves on an egalitarian, larrikin spirit of individualism, but a collective apathy has overtaken the people. When Morrison ran for the Prime Ministership, we congratulated ourselves for ‘dodging a bullet’, in the figure of Peter Dutton. By now we all know that was a false victory. What we got with Morrison was much worse than the alternative.

Dutton reminds me of the cartoon figure, Dick Dastardly, described by Wikipedia as a “fictional, villainous anti-hero”. In that characterisation, Dutton does regularly play to the ‘peanut gallery’ with his outrageous displays of supposedly tone-deaf utterances, but as with Dick Dastardly, he is more comic-book than evil. And his ‘administration’ of the Home Affairs Department was so inept, that he proved there is nothing to fear. His major act as Defence Minister has been to cancel ‘woke’ morning teas, so the Chinese People’s Army better wake up to itself!

Morrison on the other hand, is suffused with a shape-shifter’s amorality, with seemingly no beliefs, no principles, and total shamelessness. His acceptance of Andrew Laming returning to the Liberal fold demonstrated his contempt for parliamentary or even moral standards, but also a withering scorn for Australian voters. He must genuinely believe that we have no memories, or at least no capacity to judge, and no expectations of our governments.

His professed Christianity is not rooted in any reputable church’s history, but it is a confected import from the U.S. Traditional Christians in Australia are continually being confounded by his apparent lack of charity, or compassion, or common decency. But his branch of Christianity does not espouse these qualities.

Instead it basks in dog eat dog competition, as in the gospel of rich versus poor; it revels in a narrow orthodoxy because mankind is seen as not being fit to exercise free will and moral choices; it reads the Bible as literal truth because it presents a simplistic view of the world, one that is more than two thousand years out of date.

It believes in the duality of the world, divided between the Prince of Light, and the Prince of Darkness. This appeals to the uneducated who feel cast off and left behind by the modern world, and it has provided a handsome living for those who have latched on to the scam. Many of those leaders traditionally end up in jail, or disgraced, when their misdeeds are uncovered.

Matters as important as the status of women are settled, in that women are at best help-meets, and never equals. The Pentecostal and its stable-mates on the evangelical right are designed for, and sold to, white males of a certain cast of mind, and Scott Morrison fits the mould.

His treatment of asylum seekers when he was Minister for Immigration and Border Protection was so clinically and morally harsh that 300 of his schoolmates from Sydney Boys’ High School were compelled to write an open letter objecting to his speaking at a fund-raiser at the school. They were ashamed of him.

His apparent obsession with punishing the asylum seekers led him to re-open Christmas Island, so that he could rain hellfire on them, again. That was fully five years later. He was now Prime Minister, and his anger was re-ignited because he thought their struggles with physical and mental health issues were, not imaginary, but confected. After five years, in a badly run gulag, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

That is not to mention the hapless Sri Lankan family he has imprisoned on Christmas Island, for years. Don’t think that ‘Dick Dutton’ calls those shots; Morrison controls the members of his Government as if they were toys.

We are all too polite, in a typically Australian way, to call him out for his authoritarianism, his miserable, penny pinching nature, his weird set of beliefs, his sociopathic pursuit of his enemies. It is no wonder that the ABC is running scared, and the rest of the media, if that is what we call it, is either controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his own brand of puppets, or by Channel 9. It is definitely no surprise that Morrison has had such a run with the Australian public.

So are we just unlucky enough to have scored this dangerous person, at this moment in time? Not at all. He studied Trump’s post-truth regime, and he saw that, if enough of the people are apathetic, or ill-educated, or fed lies on a constant basis, he might just get away with it.

Recent failures in quarantine and the vaccine rollout have seen his self-assurance wobble. The Victorian Labor Government applied some heat to Morrison, and he has retreated. This might be the way to attack this incompetent one man band. Actually challenge them, and then even the Murdoch press has to deal with the public disenchantment. Hopefully Australian voters wake up before we sleep-walk into another Coalition government.