You may find this hard to believe, but the 2016 federal election campaign was a full fortnight longer than this one. I remember journalists from the campaign bus complaining afterwards that Malcolm Turnbull was moribund and lazy, booking a single daily event.
No wonder the Liberal Party lost 16 seats. The press gallery falsely convinced itself the cause was a Labor Party defending its own policy, of universal healthcare. Yet two years later, Turnbull lost the prime ministership to Scott Morrison; the Liberal Party lost the by-election he caused in the seat of Wentworth; and the Coalition lost six consecutive votes on the floor of the House.
To this day, these men – who brought all this dysfunction into the public sphere, these serial losers, if you will – are given acres of newspaper real estate, endless oxygen, to tell voters – via journalists – about Australian politics.
Those House of Reps losses were on Senate amendments to a bill the Coalition itself had drafted and tabled. It is now known as medevac, the authority to evacuate [more] extremely sick refugees and asylum seekers from their indefinite incarceration – by the Australian government, without charge – in remote island prisons. The amendments were passed by Labor, Greens, and Independent politicians working together for infinitesimal change in the face of monstrous Coalition cruelty.
Then prime minister Scott Morrison promptly cut parliamentary sitting days to the bone. It was his first experience of trying to legislate as the leader of the Parties of government, and he unambiguously failed. It frightened and angered him, and he has barely dared to table a bill since. From a federal integrity commission to the hasty and insulting Coalition carbon emissions “target”, Morrison has relied solely on announcements of plans to a compliant and complicit press gallery to amplify and create the illusion of governance.
Morrison does not legislate policy into law because Morrison can not legislate policy into law. He lacks the negotiating skills, the bargaining power, and the support of his own colleagues. When he tried to push through his pet bigotry bill, tried to be a hero to his nasty co-religionists, he failed.
He does not, because he can not.
Scott was lurching from disaster to disaster for years before mismanaging and neglecting federal government responses to climate catastrophe events, to the Covid19 pandemic. The former were mostly of his own making, the latter to which he has actively contributed. His legacy includes unlawful extortion that cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars in #Robodebt. Hoodwinking cross benchers to pass his Convention Against Torture-violating bill to authorise processing of asylum seeker applications at sea.
With his eye firmly on personal ambition, messianic image making, exploiting factional hatreds, partisan political gain, and the interests of corporate client donors, his priorities and style have not changed from day one of his rapid rise through the Liberal party ranks.
A party that rewards cruelty and bigotry – as the career trajectories of John Howard and Phillip Ruddock, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton – is the ideal vehicle for a bloke like Scott.
This is the government that formerly august organs like the Australian Financial Review think should be re-elected for a fourth term. They barely even pretend to govern. Morrison has given our money, hand over fist, directly to his own constituencies – fossil fuel corporations, elite school parents, construction and retail and other industry billionaires – for years. Yet still we are served up dreary and damaging vested dross about their “economic management” credentials.
Just because Scott Morrison is apparently happy for his future grandchildren to burn alive on a dying planet does not mean Phil Coorey should be given airtime to insult the intelligence of ABC audiences every damn week.
Special mention must go here to trusty Morrison lieutenant, the insufferable Alex Hawke, who orchestrated both Liberal Party room leadership ballot flips that landed Scott first in Treasury and then in the PMO. His very useful role for the 2022 election has been implementing the factional strategy for installing beholden and bigoted candidates in wealthy Sydney seats. Like the boss, Hawke subscribes to universal violation of the categorical imperative. Both men always use other people for their own ends.
Appealing to our worst selves. Pitching to the greed and entitlement of propertied white hegemony in a nation built on violent seizure of land – and on lying about it. Outsourcing everything that Is not neglected, underfunded and dismantled. Covering up evidence of rape in the ministerial wing of the Australian parliament. Trashing convention. Flooding the zone. Deliberately targeting trans kids.
Lying about everything, all the time.
From ordering firefighting aircraft to Rapid Antigen Tests, from sports venues to vaccine distribution, everything he touches turns to corrupted, incompetent, vested handouts. There is no public interest factor in Morrison government decisions and actions. None. Ever.
This is where the Liberal Party is, and because of incumbent tory power, what we are doomed to observe. In 2022. Much as it grates on a huge swathe of the population, it is Liberal Party politicians whose pronouncements set the daily political media narrative. It is Liberal and National Party politicians who mobilise toxic masculinity to reach wealthy male voters in marginal seats.
It is Coalition politicians whose favour is most cravenly curried by the vast majority of corporate journalists, industry executives, church leaders. And it is Sydney-centric concentration of dysfunctional white male power that has culminated in yet another mind-bendingly toxic campaign. I have written before about their [supposedly secular] ideologies. Of much greater danger to an already corrupted polity are the aggressive tactics from religious extremists.
It is now the night before the day. I have two things to say.
A vote for the Coalition candidate is a vote for corruption.
And a vote for Coalition candidates is a vote against a secular state.
Vote well, vote wisely. I have utmost confidence in the Australian electorate