In the latest Cabinet reshuffle, regurgitated and newly appointed ministers, some with questionable credentials, to say the least, have already been waxing lyrical about the supposed “mandate” for the most objectionable of the Government’s policies.
The reasons the Morrison Government has been re-elected will be analysed and debated for a long time.
It’s really not funny when the people who rort and cheat are the ones who are rewarded in society. It is especially unfunny if they are government ministers, entrusted with our money, our laws and the policies that shape our future as a nation.
Let’s take a look at a few more Cabinet appointments we cannot afford.
1. MINISTER FOR THE NDIS STUART ROBERT
Stuart Robert, who worships in the megachurch style, just like the Pentecostal PM, was stripped of his portfolio during Turnbull’s rule for breaching the ministerial code of conduct.
The sketchy details involved gold Rolex watches for himself and the wife, and a “personal” trip to Beijing to celebrate a mining deal with a prominent Chinese businessman, to whom he presented a government medal.
His subsequent time away from the front bench was busy for Robert.
First, he bankrolled two former staffers, to the tune of $60,000, who stood as so-called "Independents" in the Gold Coast City Council election.
Without his elderly father’s knowledge, Robert also registered his parental home as the principal place of residence for Robert International Pty Ltd, which won tens of millions of dollars in government contracts. Registering someone as a company director without their consent is a criminal offence under the Corporations Act.
Almost immediately after his resurrection by Morrison, Robert was apparently subjected to the worst internet connectivity in Australia (despite living 15 minutes from the Gold Coast city centre) and managed to rack up a residential internet bill of $62,814.52, for which he billed the taxpayer.
In his earlier role of Minister for Human Services, Robert established "Taskforce Integrity" to track down people who cheat the government — apparently without any hint of irony.
2. MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, SKILLS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION MICHAELIA CASH
Michaelia Cash is best known for her ongoing bitter war against unions and workers in general.
Cash’s Department famously tipped off an AFP raid on the offices of the Australian Workers’ Union.
In her subsequent superhuman efforts to avoid scrutiny, Cash expertly dodged questions, managed to avoid FOI requests and even hid behind a whiteboard to avoid being filmed by the media.
In Senate Estimates, Cash then went on the attack and
... angrily responded to questions from Labor Senator Doug Cameron, by threatening to "slut shame" young women working in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s office. She made a grudging half apology for “any offence”, but pointedly did not apologise directly to the staffers.
In her spare time, Cash likes to buy properties she fails to list on the pecuniary interests register.
Read more about Michaelia Cash here.
3. MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT SUSSAN LEY
The former Health Minister distinguished herself in the role in 2015, by signing off on a rule that written consent from patients was no longer needed by healthcare providers for the My Health Record scheme’s “assisted registration” process.
Said healthcare providers, meanwhile, had
'been pocketing up to $50,000 a year in bonus payments to sign people up … amid concerns patients [had] been registered without their informed consent.’
While denying that Medicare would be privatised, Ley also set up a task force, which engaged consultants to consider the ‘commercial provision of health and aged care payment services’.
Ley’s resignation from Parliament, again during Turnbull’s Prime Ministership, centred on the development of her personal property portfolio. Ley’s considerable commitment to this task involved chartering private planes and spending 37 taxpayer funded nights on the Gold Coast, before
‘dropping in to the auction of a major LNP donor’s luxury beachside flat and then unexpectedly purchasing it on a sudden whim.’
Despite her electorate being in NSW, Ley maintained these visits to the Queensland holiday destination were in pursuit of “government business”.
But ignoring most of this, the mainstream media are currently fascinated with the spelling of her name, to which she deliberately added an extra “s” because:
“I read about this numerology theory that if you add the numbers that match the letters in your name you can change your personality.”
For her exemplary efforts in demonstrating the benefits of the Coalition’s negative gearing policy, Ley has been promoted to Environment Minister.
4. MINISTER FOR ENERGY AND EMISSIONS REDUCTION ANGUS TAYLOR
Taylor, along with Barnaby Joyce, is at the centre of the Watergate scandal — a complex saga of shady deals, unexplained multi-million dollar water buybacks and conflicts of interest in the Murray-Darling Basin. Despite his involvement in this disgraceful mismanagement of our water system, from which it is alleged his business associates may have benefited, Angus Taylor managed to hang on to his portfolio.
Here, Taylor will be in charge of Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, energy prices and fuel policy. What could go wrong?
Read more about Angus Taylor here.
5. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE GREAT BARRIER REEF WARREN ENTSCH
For a Liberal MP, Warren Entsch may be a bit of a maverick. He did, after all, support the Same-sex Marriage Bill.
He even “defied” Morrison by giving his preferences to the Greens in the recent election.
However, recent comments from Entsch suggest that this may have been due to an interest in the “green” vote, rather than an actual interest in anything green.
In his first five minutes on the job, Entsch has declared a “war on plastics”, which would definitely be a good thing. Unfortunately, Entsch then shared his “expert” opinion – devoid though it may be of any qualifications or experience in environmental science or management, climate science, oceanic geomorphology or even proper research – on the Great Barrier Reef.
Nonetheless, Entsch said that the Reef's ''coral bleaching was primarily caused by warm currents from the northern hemisphere which Australia “can’t stop from coming down”.’
Entsch added that
'the World Heritage site doesn't need "saving", while taking a swipe at climate change activists for "indoctrinating" school students who protest the issue in Australia.’
Entsch – who it should be noted is neither a scholar of the human psyche – also declared that children who protest against climate change had been brainwashed by climate activists and likened this to “child abuse”.
Mr Entsch has not yet explained why his Government gifted $450 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation if the Reef does not require “saving”.
Perhaps ministerial appointments such as these, which mock our intelligence, may eventually result in sufficient public outcry to prove that scraping in to government does not a mandate make.
For readers who may not be aware, citizens have the legal right to refer any elected official to the High Court if there are question marks over his/her eligibility. For example, due to citizenship, conflicts of interest or misleading campaign methods. This may only be done for your elected representatives for a period of 40 days following an election. Details are available here.
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