Politics Opinion

Ducking and diving with Morrison’s misfits

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The Liberal Government continues to drag our economy down while the media does little to hold it accountable for its ineptitude, writes Peter Wicks.

A LOT HAS CHANGED over the years. I’m old enough to remember the days when massive spending by government to avoid a recession was considered a bad thing.

The time I refer to is the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2009 when the Liberals would have us believe the Labor Government spent like drunken sailors and wasted so much money that our grandkids’ great-grandchildren would still be paying the debt off.

Fast forward to the Morrison Government we have had inflicted on us now. We’ve had a “Back in Black” campaign for a budget surplus that never existed and we now have a debt that most of us will never see paid off.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg likes to boast about the Liberals’ financial management credentials and how they’ve managed to hold Australia’s AAA credit rating across all three credit reporting agencies.

What you won’t hear him talk about is how it took a Labor government to achieve that triple-A rating across those agencies for the first time in Australia’s history, a rating we’ve struggled to hang onto since the Coalition formed government in 2013.

Another thing Frydenberg forgets to mention is that unlike the Morrison Government, Labor’s stimulus succeeded in warding off a recession in Australia. Labor’s handling of that global financial pandemic earned then Treasurer Wayne Swan the award of “World’s Best Treasurer” from Euromoney magazine. The only other time an Australian treasurer has received this coveted award was Paul Keating in 1984.

However, don’t write the Coalition off just yet. There are several publications that run “Idiot of the Year” awards, so Josh may just get an award for his $60 billion blunder when his mathematical failings showed that the only job not worth keeping in his JobKeeper program was his own.

It took the Labor opposition pointing out that the taxpayer subsidising the payrolls of companies like Woolworths may be wasteful for the Government to make amendments to the JobKeeper scheme to bring the costs down for future generations to pay off.

But in all fairness, we didn’t see a great deal come from Labor’s spending. Unless, of course, you think large infrastructure projects and major school upgrades are important. These frivolities, however, pale in comparison to the Liberals giving your rich relative the opportunity for a taxpayer-funded bathroom renovation.

One job that the Liberals haven’t been keen to save is that of the bloke that used to drive the “Labor debt truck” that slammed Labor for a debt level this government can only dream about. In fact, it’s been a far-fetched dream for them ever since Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey led the country backwards in 2013.

It’s no wonder Scott Morrison doesn’t want any scrutiny of his ramshackle government at the moment. The “sports rorts” beast has grown another ugly head as we find grants were approved without even an application being submitted. There’s even evidence suggesting that some of these dodgy claims that cost Bridget McKenzie her portfolio may have been backdated to hide that they were approved within the “caretaker period” after the election was called.

Then there’s the independent review into Australia's national environment laws that has seen a call for a major overhaul. Don’t hold your breath on that one.

Another one to not hold your breath waiting for from this government is any action on Closing The Gap. Apparently, the earliest we can aim to achieve parity on incarceration rates is 2093. A target so ridiculous, even Minister Ken Wyatt had to distance himself from it. As for parity on domestic violence rates, it’s every Indigenous woman for herself now — we’re not even going to bother with a target.

Scrutiny on all of these things and more are avoided now as Morrison has effectively ensured that the Opposition is silenced by once again cancelling Parliament.

Morrison is the one who wants all the state borders open, except, of course, the A.C.T.’s. Apparently, everyone else has been able to adapt to working with COVID-19 except the Federal Government.

The danger posed by having MPs from Victoria in Canberra was too great, we’re led to believe. Not every Victorian MP, though — Josh Frydenberg is okay to rock up and address the media from Parliament about the cuts to stimulus while unemployment skyrockets as he can wear a facemask.

We’re constantly told how the Government has ensured there is plenty of PPE gear for the whole country, however, it seems to be hard to acquire if you are a Victorian MP or a Victorian aged care facility.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is stuck between a rock and a hard place He either gives his blessing for Parliament to be cancelled or argues against it and cops the blame for every MP that ends up with so much as a sniffle.

Unfortunately in Australia, we have a largely compliant mainstream media that, aside from a few exceptions, don’t want to hold this no-show government to account.

So for the foreseeable future, we can expect to hear more pot-shots at Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and less about $10 million gifts to News Ltd and cuts of $84 million for the ABC.

Maybe things haven’t changed much after all.

Peter Wicks is an Independent Australia columnist and a former Federal Labor Party staffer. You can follow him on Twitter @MadWixxy.

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