Tag Archives: Craig Kelly

Too little, too late, for everything

When a politician rises to the top of his profession we expect that he or she has always wanted the job, and that he or she has meticulously planned every step along the way. I would argue that Morrison is aware of his limitations, but he rose to the top despite not having a plan. He believes in his own luck, because he really believes that God has a stake in the game. Why not throw your hat in the ring, if you believe in divine providence?

Scott Morrison seems never to have planned for anything. He wasn’t ready for the Prime Ministership. He just put his hand up when it became clear that Malcolm Turnbull lacked the political skills to protect his position, and that Peter Dutton was unacceptable, not only to the Liberals who were voting for a new leader, but for the Australian electorate at large. So his run was fortuitous, and landed him the top job, with no preparation, and no relatable skills with which to sell himself to us.

Some of the antipathy toward Dutton has dissipated. That will be attributable to his change of portfolios, and also to the nature of the Ministry of Defence. His role at Home Affairs was too powerful to trust him with, and Defence is the sort of portfolio where most of us are happy to see someone who can focus, and stay relatively quiet, and in the case of Dutton, stay out of our private lives and communications. It is after all, the portfolio which directs our armed forces, and most citizens are content to allow our defence chiefs to potter about, and to not smash the china (pun intended). So unless the U.S. wants another war, we’re close to being safe. Australia does not elect to go to war by itself.

The bushfires of 2019-2020 were our first exposure to Morrison, and he showed us what he was like from the outset. It was all about him, and what he would deliver to those who needed help. The Defence Force was his to deploy, the payment of volunteer fire fighters was his decision, the excuses were picked up from the side of the road (definitely NOT climate change related; arsonists lit most of the fires; the fuel load was high, which could be conveniently used to divert blame to the states.

With responsibility comes reward. It was not a huge leap for him to choose a holiday in Hawaii. He felt he deserved it, and as befits a small time thinker, he would take the reward before he had earned it. He then tried to hide it, which provided further proof that he was not up to the job.

Morrison on holiday

He must have felt that he could leave the country to its own devices, and that no-one would enquire as to his whereabouts. Leaders of modern nations have responsibilities, and obligations, to a wide range of stakeholders. Citizens, Ministers, other Governments, both inside Australia and internationally, need to know that there is somebody in charge. In emergencies they need to be ‘on the ground’.

It is beyond understanding that he would absent himself from his duties during an existential crisis for the whole of the East Coast. Secondly he put his staff members in an unenviable position, in that they were expected to join in on the deception. This attitude of protecting their boss at the expense of the rest of the nation, has fuelled distrust of the Prime Minister’s Office ever since.

We now wonder why he visited his family in Sydney for Fathers’ Day, when so many others of us had been stopped from seeing our families. We have all heard tales of children being kept apart from their parents, of cancer patients not permitted to access treatment if they live on the wrong side of the border, even of dying parents left to die alone. That did not bother Morrison. He has risen further than he expected, and the privileges of rank are there to be used. He earned them. I am sure he reminds himself often that it is his due.

The explanation lies in the particular nature of this accidental Prime Minister, and his choices and work history. He has always managed to be appointed to plum jobs because of his connections. Those jobs have been mainly middle to upper management, as a sort of Regional Manager. He appears to last a couple of years, and to then move on, leaving behind conflict and, as often as not, there are legal or accountability issues. Reports into his corporate behaviour seem to go missing, and there is always a patron willing to put him forward for the next gig.

He fell into parliament, after a smear campaign against his pre-selection opponent. That campaign was later proved to be false, but the damage was done. An amusing sideshow has been the career of Craig Kelly. Destined for the electoral scrap-heap, he was saved by a direct intervention by Morrison. Morrison over-rode the Liberal Party’s decision to dis-endorse Kelly at the 2019 election. He saved him, only to lose him to the cross bench, and then, more odiously, to Clive Palmer.

His record over the pandemic has been similarly mercurial. Pro-lockdown, anti-lockdown, pro-income support, anti-income support. Won’t build quarantine stations, yes he will. Will buy vaccines, but he wants the cheap ones. Totally transparent, as when he told us all to not accept the AstraZeneca vaccine, and then in favour of it, to almost every age. It is definitely not a race, it is a race. Now it is a race which can be won by starting slowly, but then powering home. In other words, he is making it up. The worst part is that he changes his mind according to reactions to his last pronouncement, rather than for the country’s good.

Our decent Prime Ministers have a larger calling. Their remit appears to have been to work for the good of Australia, whereas Scott Morrison’s motivation appears to be getting his pay, taking his holidays when he is ready, see the family when he wants to, and win the next election.

Scott Morrison needs to reflect on why he seems to be so unpopular, and why his every action is endlessly dissected. It is because he doesn’t hide his disdain for the common people, and the people are discovering that fact. He also appears to be fairly keen on Scott Morrison.

Voters of Australia – You’re Doing it all Wrong

These days, in the dumbed – down media, there are often articles which tell the reader she has been brushing her hair wrongly, or he has been cutting the avocado incorrectly. I thought I would explain to the voters of Australia just where they got it so terribly wrong.

Most politicians seem to have had a golden moment, somewhere back in their youth, when they were driven by idealism, by a genuine desire to improve the human situation. Reading their Wikipedia entries sometimes shows something resembling a hint of gold, glinting in the quartz of their souls.

Australians have the vote. We take it for granted, but there are millions of people around the world who would sacrifice much to have that privilege. And we all know that, taken for granted or not, it comes with great responsibility, to actually make it mean something. Therein lies our inherent laziness, and a surprising naivety.

We all, wherever we live, have a responsibility to choose carefully, to consider the facts, to plumb the depths of our souls, to weigh judiciously the relative merits of the candidates, and putting aside all extraneous and superficial flights of fancy, we should try and send to Canberra the very best our electorate has on offer. It is not only doing justice to the wonder of democracy, but it includes an element of self-care, in that if we send the best to parliament, they will further our well-being, and the national interest.

This may sound onerous, but really it is not. We would probably look back on the known facts about the competing candidates, beginning with the party they represent, their history of achievement, we might look at their education, and their careers before becoming a candidate, we might look at their voting record, and even their publicly aired opinions. Lastly we might even make a choice based on their presentation, on how they speak to others, their perceived intelligence, their suitability to represent us, their willingness to put our interests first.

So although it sounds like a lot of work, this is really, to a large extent, based on instinct. We generally know if we find someone trustworthy, we make split second decisions all the time. If we take the decision seriously I always think that we will get it right, most of the time.

There are a multitude of reasons why the current Government should never have been elected. Although I generally shy away from using sporting metaphors when discussing politics, it is particularly useful when looking at this rabble.

To be successful, football teams require several A grade performers, a solid core of “better than competent” players, and the rest to be honest, hard working and committed personnel. As the quality of your list thins out, perhaps due to poor recruiting, or injuries, or the team’s age make-up, performance will inevitably suffer.

Football followers rather unkindly describe the situation when their team is struggling, as ‘running out of cattle’. Successful teams go out and find personnel to fill roles, to replace ageing warriors, to improve a function, maybe even to facilitate change, to re-set directions.

As I have bemoaned in the past, there is a growing shortage of quality ‘cattle’ going to Canberra. Consider the curious case of Scott Morrison (the captain) and Craig Kelly (past his use by date). The Liberal Party, prior to the last election, chose to superannuate the supremely un-gifted warrior to the bench, only to find the captain coming in and reversing the decision.

One can look far and wide for reasons, but it seems to be the worst choice a leader could make. Mr Kelly is a vociferous conservative, against same sex marriage, a climate science denier, a person who is against abortion in all cases, a man who would cross the floor to further his belligerent insistence on outdated beliefs.

Getting rid of Kelly was a decision which required no thought. It would send him to join Tony Abbott on the sidelines, it would allow Morrison to modernise his party at least a little bit, it would lessen the numbers in the obstinate right wing rump of the party, and it might increase the possibility of climate change action, even as Australia sinks into ignominy for its refusal to act. And it could have been achieved by not intervening, which would have left Morrison’s hands clean.

To continue the sporting metaphor, you have a captain with no clue, re-appointing a truly untalented player, to re-join a team struggling to achieve a game plan, and rejecting a younger, better player, who would not constantly ‘butcher’ the ball.

A reason commonly given for this apparent moment of madness on Morrison’s part, was to avoid embarrassing the Prime Minister. It appears to be a steep price to pay.

The country is worse off. The voters of Australia are worse off. The electorate of Hughes is again represented by a person whose only claim to fame is that he played rugby. I fear this sporting metaphor has run its course, but how in hell will we ever achieve anything with such a team of ‘poor cattle’?