The direction Morrison is taking Australia is characterised by the same overarching ethos as that of his grotesque idol, Trump: self-interest, writes executive editor Michelle Pini.
IN RECENT DAYS, any criticism of our Prime Minister – a man who has modelled himself on the U.S. President – has been met with comments such as, “At least he’s not Trump”.
CRIMES OF COLOUR
The fact that Hitler killed millions, does not diminish the deaths of those who died at the hands of other, less proficient killers. In the same way, just because the United States is imploding from the repercussions of the heinous murder of George Floyd does not somehow absolve the ongoing slaughter of people of colour right here on Australian soil. It also does not exonerate the deaths of vulnerable Australians of all colours, whose only “crime” is poverty, but whose importance is somehow deemed less significant than others.
Observations that compare the two scenarios attempt to provide special dispensation for our own guilt and signify our deluded belief that we are somehow protected from following in the footsteps of our bigger, brasher counterpart.
The facts, however, tell a different story. We are no closer to “Closing the Gap”, than when this initiative to improve life expectancy for Indigenous Australians was first put forward in 2008.
Deaths in custody among Australia’s Aboriginal population continue to increase at an alarming rate, despite the Royal Commission into this shameful fact.
Our Federal Government did not even bother to acknowledge the Uluru Statement from the Heart plea of Indigenous Australians to be given the right to have a say in their own future — on the land they have called home for 60,000 odd years before European settlement.
Although the High Court decision this week forced the Morrison Government to pay back millions in ill-gotten gains – wrenched from the mouths of our most vulnerable via the Robodebt scheme – not a flicker of remorse could be seen from the perpetrators.
On the contrary, Morrison provided his usual smirk, shrugged off questions about people who suicided after receiving debt notices and mumbled something about Labor and accounting issues.
"The income averaging principle is one that has been followed by Labor and Coalition governments for a very long period of time…
That doesn't mean those debts don't exist. It just means that they cannot be raised, solely, on the basis of using income averaging."
The false premise of this response, since it was this Coalition Government that instigated this particular scheme was ignored by the mainstream media.
The direction Scott Morrison is taking this country, via small yet significant increments, is characterised by the same overarching ethos as that of his grotesque idol, Trump: self-interest.
With Australia in the grip of recession, record unemployment and millions of Australians facing salary cuts, further job losses and dwindling job prospects, the PM has flagged the end of the lauded JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs before they have properly begun.
He is instead pursuing industrial relations “reform” for those who may still have jobs. His job, of course, is safe for the time being as he and his Government, are doing a “good job” according to the PM, so there’s no need for pay cuts or job losses for them. Not even for those who should be held accountable for incompetence or corruption.
Morrison has indicated that an Australia he “leads” can’t sustain this magnanimous approach much longer and Australians will just have to stop being a strain on his self-declared superior economic management.
CRIMES OF INFERIOR DECOR
So, no money to feed or house people, but lots of room for subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and now, money for those who have kept their jobs and don’t need help, in the form of grants for home makeovers. Ah yes, while some can’t feed their families, Scott Cam will no doubt turn up on the doorsteps of the already wealthy to film their stylish new kitchens. How good is the PM?
Remarkably, even in a week when his Government “lost” $60 billion, Australians – just like their American cousins – are swallowing Morrison’s gaslighting, many without even gagging, since his approval ratings have increased. According to the PM, despite his resisting COVID-19 measures recommended by medical experts and pushed by state premiers for as long as possible, and with the Ruby Princess debacle, footy invitations and the "essential" international Hillsong conference notwithstanding, he is doing a “good job”. It’s because of him we have had minimal deaths due to this plague, he keeps reminding us.
FALSE ADVERTISING IS A CRIME
Here are just a few statistics which may demonstrate why our callous disregard of some human lives, but not others, is no better than that of the United States.
In Australia today:
- over 2,000 people recently suicided after receiving illegal Robodebt demands;
- up to 300,000 people are homeless;
- one in four prisoners is an Indigenous Australian;
- First Australians are the most incarcerated race in the world;
- Indigenous children make up seven per cent of the youth population but a staggering 54 per cent of those in youth detention;
- there have been 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since 1991; and
- Aboriginal people can expect to die at least eight to nine years earlier than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.
That the deaths of these innocents may not be in broad daylight or witnessed by horrified onlookers only makes them more insidious, not less significant. Our involvement, as casual onlookers, although shielded from the horror by our own ignorance, if not our wilful participation, only makes us hypocrites.
Just like President Trump's unfounded proclamations of "making America great again", there is little evidence to suggest Morrison is doing a “good job”. In the words of a wise friend, this is simply “false advertising”.
This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members-only area.
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