The mainstream media needs to stop making for excuses for Malcolm Turnbull's failures and subject him to the same scrutiny endured by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, writes Noely Neate.
WHAT IS even the point of Malcolm Turnbull?
If I see one more mainstream media (MSM) article about how "Turnbull has been forced" or, "Turnbull is at the mercy of", I will scream.
This morning's leadership spill is surely not the end of the sorry saga of Malcolm Turnbull's failure as a leader.
He is supposed to be our Prime Minister — the most powerful man in the nation. Yet, ever since Turnbull became PM, all we have had is "Malsplaining" as to why he is so disappointing. I’m not going to list all the ways he has let us down as the list is too long and, to be frank, too depressing. From the minute he squibbed on marriage equality, the Press Gallery should have been hitting him up, then, to show some leadership. Even the Financial Services Royal Commission, which is the only worthwhile action by this Government, is something that was forced upon him by public pressure, not by the Government's own affirmative action.
Speaking of the best interests of this nation, the ALP, with their Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years, learned exactly just how crook you are perceived to be by the nation when you spend more time worrying about yourselves instead of the country. At least, to their credit, they did have notable achievements like the NDIS, Gonski and what could have been our greatest piece of infrastructure to set us up for the future, the NBN, among others. These policies were all done during Gillard's term, while leading a minority Government under fire from both internal political rubbish and intense pressure from the Press Gallery.
Gillard was subjected to screams of, Go to an election! from the minute she formed the minority Labor Government. It didn’t matter what she achieved or what she did, it was not good enough for the majority of our MSM and, of course, then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Yet, ever since Abbott was elected, that intense media scrutiny has gone off the boil. Since Turnbull rolled Abbott, the scrutiny is not even lukewarm. In fact, the narrative has been more along the lines of him “doing well in a difficult situation” — like Turnbull has no choice, or is held hostage, a victim of circumstance.
You know what? I don’t care what party he belongs to. I don’t care if he has "ferals" on his backbenches that want to take us back to the Stone Age. I don’t care how much money he has stashed under the couch. I don’t care that he has no majority in the Senate. And I should not have to.
We vote. The party with enough votes gets into power. They choose a prime minister. He is supposed to lead Australia. If they make a bad choice, sweet, choose another leader — but just stop stuffing around. If Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t have authority in his own party, which he obviously doesn’t and has not had since he first rolled Abbott, then what even is the point of him?
His internal issues are not my business. If he can’t do the job, then he should be flicked from the leadership — full stop! He is either in charge or he is not.
All leaders have to compromise, make deals within their own leadership group and so on — it is called "adulting". These discussions are normally held behind closed doors. The leader may not be happy with some concessions but decisions are made, then enacted and the running of government continues.
Gillard was a perfect example of this. She was in a horrible situation — white-anting from Rudd, squeals from media demanding an election re-run and, she was pretty much not considered a legitimate prime minister by the media. I may not have agreed with all the decisions she made, but she made decisions. Gillard kept the government running, she enacted legislation in a difficult Parliament and a hostile Senate and not once was she given an "out".
Gillard never had the luxury of the media narrative of "well, circumstances are difficult …" or, "unfortunately, forced into ..." All she copped was abuse, nothing was good enough and there was massive sooking from those in the MSM, who were still so filthy this woman had the temerity to roll their bloke.
Turnbull has not even copped a fraction of the flack Gillard got.
I wonder if this is why we are in the situation we now find ourselves, with a listless Government, doing nothing but wasting taxpayer funds while they tread water? Maybe, if this Government actually had expectations put on it by the MSM like they did with the Gillard Government, it might not be this way?
I have a golden rule called the “Joh Test”. Every single piece of legislation, public policy and so on, I read it, sit back and think, what could a future Joh Bjelke-Petersen do with this? Could it be abused? Could it be rorted? Could it be enacted in ways it was not intended, to our detriment? This is a pretty good test. Everyone looks at legislation in the here and now, but that stuff sits on the books forever and we have no idea who will be running the nation in the future. Hell, we never thought Hanson would come back, right? We never thought we would have raging racists in our Senate.
I think it is time for the “Gillard Test” to come into force. The only reason we have such a piss-weak Government, achieving sweet frack all for the nation, run by a piss-weak Prime Minister, is because there has been no expectation of any better.
The Malsplaining has to stop!
Some of the dire problems we are currently facing include:
- vast swathes of the nation suffering extreme drought conditions;
- growing homelessness;
- rampant domestic violence;
- people literally starving on welfare — when they are not being punished by this Coalition Government;
- the Great Barrier Reef in trouble;
- increasing youth unemployment;
- kids in danger and dying in offshore camps; and
- a gap that is not closing, it is getting worse.
The list goes on. How are these things addressed? They aren't! None of this is being addressed — none of it!
All we are getting is spin and explainers as to how it is not Malcolm’s fault he is impotent and his Government is incompetent. For some weird reason, those bogan slogans don’t actually result in good policy? Well, colour me shocked!
If Turnbull can’t do the job, then get rid of him and put someone in who can. Or, better yet, as they squealed when Gillard was in, just go straight to an election now and start again.
In fact, do us all a favour, MSM, start looking at this Government and this Prime Minister through the same prism you did Gillard. Scrutinise the hell out of them — set a higher standard. You keep telling us how important a free press is, well, do your job! Subject Prime Minister Turnbull and his Government's actions to the same scrutiny you applied to Gillard. I dare you!
So Turnbull rolled the dice with a spill, being half-smart as he normally is. Funny thing is he only won by seven votes (48-35). Dutton didn't have time to prepare and still got 35 votes? That will have emboldened Turnbull's enemies, so my money is on three more weeks of turmoil before we see #LibSpill2 — at the most.
As the saying goes, piss or get off the pot!
Call an election now!
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