Like the shock jocks it encourages and applauds, there is always one rule for the Morrison Government and its allies and another for everyone else, writes executive editor Michelle Pini.
NO SOONER had Alan Jones announced his retirement than Scott Morrison rushed to the phone to deliver his personal praise live on 2GB: “… You’ve always done the right thing for your country”, he said.
It’s an interesting comment made by a prime minister about a radio shock jock. It’s especially interesting when you consider the legacy Jones is leaving behind.
Even a cursory look at the radio host’s history of controversies exposes a penchant for racism, bigotry, misogyny and general misinformation dressed up as commentary. A closer analysis reveals a man who has spewed hatred at everyone from migrants to the first female prime minister, such that he called for the drowning of Julia Gillard and fuelled race riots. Hardly someone who may be described as “doing the right thing by our country”, then?
But this type of sweeping generalisation, in which Prime Minister Scott Morrison indulges, is indicative of a wider, deep-rooted behaviour pattern — one which emulates the Trumpist approach of denying or ignoring everything that may not suit his desired narrative and substituting a more convenient one.
For – like the shock jocks it encourages and applauds – there is one rule for the Morrison Government and its allies and another for everyone else.
THE RIGHT PROTESTS
In the Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown demonstration on Sunday (10 May), a group of approximately 100 people defied social distancing regulations to let the world know that the coronavirus was really a conspiracy — probably due to 5G, or Bill Gates, or maybe both. The protest was advertised on several social media sites including those of fringe conspiracy group, QAnon, and led to ten arrests and a police officer being injured. Charges included three counts of assaulting a police officer and another for "discharging a missile".
But, unlike school students striking about climate change – described as “anarchists” and “disrespectful”– this protest, although dangerous and completely unhinged, is fine.
Said the PM:
“People can make their protests and make their views heard.”
When students led concerned citizens in peaceful climate protests across the country, Morrison said:
“Let me assure you this is not something my Government intends to allow to go unchecked… we are working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians.”
Yep, those kids holding placards asking that scientific facts are taken into account in environmental policy, are mighty scary.
All that is wrong with our current Government is on full unabashed display when one considers Angus Taylor — a minister synonymous with dodgy government dealings at every turn.
This time, as Labor’s Mark Butler put it:
"It is beyond doubt that Angus Taylor misled the Australian Parliament about the origin of the dodgy document he circulated."
But not only has the PM not sanctioned the Minister at any point during these ongoing misdeeds but, although we know Taylor made up complete lies and misled the Parliament, and while the AFP also seem to know this, there will be no consequences — once again.
Chalk it up to this Government making up its own rules.
And speaking of the Morrison Government making its own rules brings us to the sports rorts fiasco.
Sure, it was his Government that oversaw the scandal. And yes, it’s now clear this misappropriation of taxpayer funds was done with the PM’s knowledge, if not under his express command. And Bridget McKenzie was thrown under a bus of sorts, but hey, he’s already answered our questions and he's denied it, besides!
JOBS FOR THE WORTHY RIGHT
When Morrison announced the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, in a last-minute capitulation to the many sober voices heralding a recession, the mainstream media (MSM) let forth a veritable orgasmic rush of praise.
It was "brilliant", "benevolent", "amazing", they cried. Admittedly – while it was to be managed by employers, instead of just issued to workers and while it was excruciatingly slow to execution – it did promise relief to a large number of Australians who would otherwise be destitute.
However, seven weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown, over a million workers have lost their jobs, at least two million people (casual workers and temporary entrants) have been excluded altogether and many have yet to see a dollar from the scheme. Bushfire relief, anyone? Employers have, in many instances, chosen to just let workers go, instead. And now, lo and behold, there is talk of the Government winding the scheme back – as early as July – before it has even properly begun.
That's okay, though, because the PM declared:
“People don’t want to be on JobKeeper and JobSeeker.”
Clearly, people would prefer to starve.
THE RIGHT DOUBLE STANDARDS
It says it all about our mainstream media that Kevin Rudd was excoriated for instigating a stimulus while Scott Morrison has been held up as a shining example.
As the Labor Opposition calls for the scheme to continue at least until social distancing is over, dumping it is reasonable, say the MSM. It costs money, after all, and we’re broke! Plus, how would a Labor government dream of funding it?
Somehow, details such as that we have had a Coalition Government for seven years, which, well before this stimulus and COVID-19 had already doubled the debt, and that JobKeeper is a Coalition policy, seem to have been conveniently lost in that marketing narrative.
Finally, it's time for us all to just get over it, send the kids back to school and go back to work — preferably on public transport so we can all help that herd immunity along. This is the PM's command, despite shutting down Parliament and effectively, democracy, refusing even to consider virtual meeting options.
In this week's farcical pared-down version of Parliament, the Press Gallery weren't even allowed within breathing distance of the far more important Government. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, however, coughed and spluttered over everyone, and touched everything in sight with his undisinfected hands in an exemplary display of what not to do during a pandemic.
Like the shock jocks it encourages and applauds, there is always one rule for the Morrison Government and its allies and another for everyone else.
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