Are you confused about Australian politics?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by barryqwalsh, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. barryqwalsh
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    barryqwalsh Gold Member

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    As you may have read, Australia has another new Prime Minister. How did it come about?

    This column, by Janet Albrechtsen, puts it in a nutshell.



    I was wrong to support you three years ago, Mr Turnbull

    Nocookies
     
  2. barryqwalsh
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    barryqwalsh Gold Member

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    I was wrong to support you three years ago, Mr Turnbull
    Mr Turnbull, you said people must be held accountable. At a lunchtime press conference on a tumultuous day in Canberra, you demanded they nail their names to the mast. Let me go first, my name on the mast. I was entirely wrong about your abilities.
    Fourteen years ago, I wrote that the Liberal Party should be a broad enough church for a bloke like you, articulate and smart with your free-market instincts and successful career. The Quadrant crowd looked askance at me for years, they thought me naive or stupid, or both. I stared the nay-sayers down, convinced that you were smart enough to put aside your historical ego and narcissism in exchange for the privilege of being prime minister of Australia.
    In 2015 I thought you would do a better job than Tony Abbott as prime minister. Abbott, a lethally brilliant opposition leader, flailed about as prime minister. It was tragic to watch a man who grew up politically at the feet of John Howard bunker down in his office, listening only to one person, flip-flopping over policy and letting down his base. Abbott didn’t govern as the team player or the Liberal that many of his supporters thought he would. He seemed to be a nervous PM, ignoring advice from the most senior Liberals who had his best interests and the country’s future at heart.
    Three years on, you have proven me wrong.
    Your turn now, Mr Turnbull. Care to hold yourself to the same standards as you have asked of others? In the spirit of being held to account, let me help you grasp how you hit rock bottom.
    You never intended to run a broad church as Liberal prime minister. You tried to appropriate the mantle of Menzies when the ego of Whitlam suits you better. As prime minister, you promised to provide economic leadership. But you failed to tell a good story, even though there is a decent economic story to relay. Your retail political skills are woeful. It doesn’t help that your cabinet fan club is the weakest link. This week, minister for dark arts Christopher Pyne asked MPs to act in the best interests of the party. He is a clown, insulting our intelligence. Marise Payne barely says boo and Simon Birmingham managed to incense the Catholic education system where so many conservative voters are found.
    All those early thought bubbles were a sign of a man out of his political and policy depth. Raising the GST? Dealing with negative gearing? They went nowhere fast. Remember your “big idea”? You said you had been working on it for some time: to give states the ability to levy income tax. That bubble burst in less than 48 hours. Your superannuation changes were a betrayal of good Australians who saved for their retirement.
    Then that election in 2016. It was a tediously long eight-week campaign that even you refused to join on occasion. You didn’t see “Mediscare” coming despite being warned by smart operatives about the magnitude of the threat. You knew better. Your “jobs and growth” mantra didn’t have a verb to explain how you would get there. But you knew better. And your excited talk of innovation and agility during that campaign scared the bejesus out of voters who feared they would lose their jobs. You knew better there, too.
    To steal a line from a sassy girl in Game of Thrones, you know nothing, prime minister. Not about politics, anyway. You can quote Thucydides or some such ancient philosopher during a morning paddle on Sydney Harbour with visiting dignitaries, but your tin ear in politics is settled beyond a doubt. On that note, you still haven’t taken responsibility for turning a government with a 14-seat buffer into a mangy rump with a one-seat majority.
    Instead there was that awful sulking on election night in 2016. I was at the hotel in Sydney where your faithful and weary supporters waited and waited to hear from you. Remember that night? The one you almost refused to attend because you were at home choking on sour grapes. I left 10 minutes before you arrived, telling a senior Liberal it wasn’t worth waiting for your filthy mood. The senior Liberal rolled his eyes and said he too wished he could escape that. Then you arrived, and with clenched fists delivered an angry spray, not once mentioning the good MPs who lost their jobs that night or the voters you let down. If we must be held accountable, then that history is yours to own.
    Don’t forget the way you turned citizenship problems into a circus. You confected rage over imaginary witch-hunts and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to deal with this, as you dragged your feet over MP entitlements.
    Now for the past week. In the spirit of being accountable, how do you account for your dying days in politics, the tricky tactics and delusion? You shut down parliament on Thursday rather than face up to the mess of the Turnbull government. The government had your name on it; the buck stopped with you. Abbott didn’t cause this, he exploited a weakness: you.
    Blaming your travails on bullies inside and outside the party was comic, given the behaviour of your shrinking band of supporters. Ask them about their bullying of MPs who had lost faith in you. And did you really think the entire media would be ABC-like in grovelling for your plans to transform the Liberal Party into the Turnbull Party? John Howard coped with critics in the media. So did Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard. Every politician does. It happens in a democracy with an independent and curious press. This is not Russia and you are not Vladimir Putin.
    How is this being-held-to-account jig going so far? On Thursday you also tried to transform a secret ballot into an open one, demanding 43 names on a letter before you would call a partyroom meeting. You said these were momentous times and people must be held accountable. Momentous? Not really. The revolving door to your office has been in perfect working order for a decade. And your absurd new rule was sad and embarrassing. Did you think we wouldn’t notice the delaying tactic or how this rule allowed your bullies to chase down people by name? When you challenged Abbott for the top job, the letter to Abbott had 20 names. You couldn’t fight fair, Mr Turnbull.
    You tried to nobble your challenger with a constitutional argument that you didn’t raise until Peter Dutton signalled he would be a better leader. Can you really be such a poor loser? Resigning from a one-seat majority government is a final “f..k you” to a party that made you prime minister.
    Are you going to hold yourself to account for this? It is almost a decade since you took the leadership from Brendan Nelson on September 16, 2008. Looking back, the decline of the Liberal Party and Australian politics, with the repeated sacking of leaders on both sides, accelerated under your ego.
    Those who know you well, away from the cameras, know that you share much in common with Rudd and Gough Whitlam. All the bad stuff. But more Rudd than Whitlam, who remained an icon of Labor. Who was it that said of Rudd that those who knew him couldn’t bear him; only those who didn’t know him would vote for him? Rudd and Whitlam are in the history books for winning elections from opposition. Your legacy is the rise and rise of Bill Shorten, a man of no substance.
    You cannot work out that greatness comes from both humility and confidence, each needed at different points in the performance cycle. You said once you didn’t know what humility meant. You told a friend you wanted to be prime minister by the age of 40. When he asked “For which party?”, you said it didn’t matter.
    Your Rudd-level narcissism means you are headed the same way, into political oblivion, bridges burned, a political party in disarray and a country let down. Yes, people should be held to account.
    Nocookies
     
  3. skye
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    skye Platinum Member Supporting Member

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    Australia needs another Donald Trump! :up:




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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  4. C_Clayton_Jones
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    C_Clayton_Jones Diamond Member

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    “Are you confused about Australian politics?”

    No, just indifferent.
     

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