Tag Archives: Josh Frydenberg

Is Morrison losing his electoral sheen?

Scott Morrison is struggling every day with how quickly the Australian electorate has changed its opinion of him. That is because we have gotten to know him. Although the good folk at Hillsong Church probably find him perfectly acceptable as a modern leader, most of us live in the 21st century.

When he claimed that God had handed him victory in the 2019 election, most of us sort of suspected that Bill Shorten had a say in who won and who lost, and it wasn’t God. Hearing him say that he would burn for us was obvious hogwash, but we overlooked it. He was obviously caught in the moment. He had pulled off a remarkable win.

Morrison has immense confidence in his ability to again lead his troops to victory, and the quality of his team is so sketchy that he will probably carry most of the burden of campaigning in 2022. That does not augur well for the Coalition, because the electorate is tired of Morrison, and they see his ministers as ciphers, parrotting Morrison’s talking points.

The last two weeks of parliament were revealing, and it was all bad. Morrison showed his true colours. He has form as an anti-Muslim, he is beholden to the Australian Christian Lobby, and he is at best a homophobe. He is no strategist when it comes to parliamentary procedure, as he was easily outwitted by Albanese on the Religious Discrimination Bill.

He is afraid of a real Integrity Commission, because he knows that probably half of his front bench would be investigated. He raises the defence that Labor does not support his bill, so Labor must be to blame for it sitting unloved on a shelf, for three years.

So he went to where his instincts tell him to go. Can we describe his orchestrated attacks on Anthony Albanese as being vintage 1950s? To watch Morrison and Dutton frothing at the mouth as they accuse him of treachery, was obviously the stuff of panic. If a couple of negative polls are able to loose these sorts of attacks, it can only get worse. How can we respect a Prime Minister, and a Defence Minister, when they are so easily spooked?

The Treasurer is still reasonably popular. Not for his economic policies, nor his membership of the Reagan-Thatcher fan club, but because he seems a little bit less crazy than the rest of them. How surprising to see young Josh launching his own attack on Albanese, for not having served in an economic portfolio. As many have pointed out, neither had Robert Menzies, John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser, Tony Abbott, or Malcolm Turnbull.

Of course members of parliament are flighty creatures, when they see their gilded lifestyle threatened. So Frydenberg and Dutton were seen to be jockeying for position, should their leader stumble. This has had a galvanising effect on Morrison. He decided to out-crazy both of them. Washing an apprentice hairdresser’s hair, welding so badly we all feared for his eyesight, engaging in shameless cosplay daily was part of the action. Where is the dignity of the office? The gravitas of a leader?

Morrison’s relentless messaging is tiring. His politicisation of absolutely every incident in Australia invites an attack on Albanese, or the Labor Party. Thank God he doesn’t comment on the weather-he would probably blame Labor. It is as if he only has two gears; one is where he goes missing, waiting for situations to drift until they become crises; two he is like the Energiser bunny, chasing down every opportunity to bag the opposition.

Although the quality of his team has, if anything, been reduced by the retirement of several senior members last time around, the remainder are stepping up into positions which are too big for their abilities.

It does start at the top, though. Morrison not really cutting it, falling back on tired routines of abuse, and dismissive press conferences. Recently he made an announcement on Antarctic funding, and offered to take questions. When asked about “other issues’ he replied that he wanted to stay on the Antarctic funding issue. He treats the press as if they are his servants, and he fails to realise the press are asking questions on our behalf.

The ‘team’ is falling apart. In an attempt to abandon transgender kids to their fate, he had five backbenchers cross the floor. They were trying to differentiate themselves from the rednecks who hold sway in the coalition. They are being challenged in their inner urban seats by canny independents.

The other stress point on the coalition is directed by the likes of Barnaby Joyce, George Christensen, Craig Kelly and Matt Canavan. These men all seem to share a significant rebellious spirit, which could be said to channel some of the excesses of Trump supporters in the U.S.

Morrison has supreme self confidence, until he is caught in the headlights. His success in handling the pandemic has turned to failure. We all know why Greg Hunt is getting out. His performance in the last six months has hit new depths, since we found out he didn’t buy any vaccine until it was too late. But he was great at announcing new drugs going onto the PBS.

Boris Johnson, Morrison’s great mate, has decided to throw caution to the winds, re. Covid-19. He has even stopped the U.K. Government paying for testing. They are currently bearing 100 deaths daily. Watch Morrison do the same in the next few days. To add to his and Dominic Perrottet’s catastrophic decision to ‘open up’ the country. When the next variant hits, who will we blame?

His attacks on Labor vilify about 35% of the population. Has it never occurred to him and the team that he is meant to govern for all of us? No, because we are stuck in a retro anti-left mindset, which divides the country. By accusing Albanese of being pro-China, he is accusing Labor voters of being traitors.

We know Morrison’s flaws, but what is worse, we have lost patience because he leads a government of such astounding incompetence that we cannot bear to watch the next instalment.

Starve, or freeze? Choose one, if you are unemployed

Sometimes it is hard to believe the “careful money-manager” spin put on Australian federal spending. Especially with all the rorting, and the pork barrelling. A proper look reveals callous negligence toward other Australians, or a really nasty attitude toward those citizens who lack the political muscle, or the platform, to question some very poor policies. These decisions can, and do, change lives.

When the Treasurer of Australia cut JobSeeker back to an effective “starve or freeze” rate, (meaning, if you are lucky enough to have a roof over your head, do you eat or do you use the heater) he certainly struck a blow for budgetary discipline. The main problem was that not only did he consign many of his fellow citizens to making that choice, but by necessity, their children and grandchildren.

You can take the boy out of Kooyong, but can you get the Kooyong out of the boy? Does Josh Frydenberg know anyone from outside his gilded circle? When he speaks of car-parks for commuters, has he ever travelled by train?

Compare his life with yours: – School at Bialik, and Mt Scopus, two elite schools, followed by a gap year playing tennis, and then his two degrees (Economics and Law) at Monash University.

Post grad at Oxford, followed by a stint at Harvard. When he actually started working, aged 28, he did so firstly as an advisor to Daryl Williams, Attorney General of Australia, and then to Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister. His next gig was with John Howard, the Prime Minister.

Such high ranking jobs, for someone who was barely out of school. Obviously he learnt a lot, because his next position was as Director of Global Banking with Deutsche Bank.

As they say, the rest is history. This young man is an admirer of Margaret Thatcher and also of Ronald Reagan. For their economic policies, no less. Did such privilege leave him any options? Does he even know what it is to struggle, even with a relatively good job? Did he labour late into the night thinking of the miserable outcomes he was mandating, for hundreds of thousands of Australians?

Does he believe that repeating “Jobs over welfare” means anything to someone who struggles with literacy, or someone who has no workplace skills, or that other bogey of the Australian right, the addict who cannot find treatment, or maybe doesn’t seek it? Do such Australians deserve a life of misery because some members of the elite see it as a lifestyle choice?

This is where the rubber hits the road. We are all Australians, and surely we believe that no Australian should be left to starve, or to wither on the social vine. Most of us want to pay taxes so that our fellow citizens can at least eat. But, for a certain class of Australian, the poor deserve nothing.

At the same time that Josh Frydenberg dropped the JobSeeker rate, he also dropped JobKeeper. Many large and profitable companies actually profited from the programme, which was designed to keep staff on during the pandemic.

When asked about this apparent profiteering, Frydenberg’s close friend, and leader, Scott Morrison told us “I’m not into the politics of envy.” Mr Morrison dismissed concerns about companies accepting millions of dollars from taxpayers under the JobKeeper scheme, and using some of it to pay executive bonuses and dividends.

“If there are some companies that feel that they want to hand that [money] back, great. Good for them. But let’s not lose sight, in some sort of envy narrative, that that program did not change the course of the nation.” This from the man who presided over the Robodebt scandal, where the Government pursued welfare recipients for unverified, dodgy debts, which were at best doubtful, and proved to be unlawful.

The first place to look for relief, or some ‘common-wealth’ type thinking, ought to be the press gallery. But, with very few notable exceptions, it is really just another collection of educated, mid to upper-middle class careerists, all seemingly hell-bent on a professorship somewhere. So the notion of hard-nosed professionals, calling out inhumane policies, institutionalised theft and misappropriation of funds, not to mention naked cronyism, is the stuff of fairy tales.

Perhaps we could use the Opposition as a brake on the opportunism and the dishonesty; sadly that appears to be a dead-end street. The Labor Party is concentrating on being a small target, so it has ‘lost’ its principles. Past history shows similar day to day malfeasance, although with leaders in the past who seemingly did believe in some form of ‘common good’ purpose. This meant, in practical terms, less obvious contempt for “government for the people”.

Who to turn to? The people, sadly, have taken on some of the beliefs of the ruling party. If you are poor, or disabled, or simply disadvantaged, you deserve to be poor. If you are obscenely rich, God loves you, and you are getting what you deserve.

The only solution would be to start with a National Integrity Commission. Make it hard, and dangerous, for these people to mess with the national wealth. Secondly, perhaps a week spent in one of our provincial towns. A visit to the local food-bank, the supermarket the day before dole day, and lastly, have a look at the local Salvos store.

And stop paying yourselves to go to work. $290 a night to go to work is a disgrace, and it’s not even taxable. No wonder we don’t trust them. And Frydenburg should move seats in Parliament – watching him smirk when Morrison cavorts about does neither of them a favour.