Wren's Week: Morrison's lies and Frydenberg's economic mismanagement

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Scott Morrison had to backtrack on comments made about the boats from Sri Lanka stopped by Border Force, writes John Wren.

TWO BIG NEWS ITEMS were grabbing the headlines this week. The first was the Tamil family from Biloela whose lawyers have so far delayed their deportation to Wednesday and then again until Friday. It’s very clear that the vast majority of Australians now see no reason why the family cannot stay in Australia.

The video of screaming toddlers violently wrenched from their tearful and bruised mother by Peter Dutton’s black-shirted goons (actually a deep navy blue, but black enough to have sinister Mosley-like connotations) have shocked the nation. Is this done in our name and why?

Scott Morrison is pragmatic and usually seeks a political win. It would now be seen as a popular move to back down and grant the family residence and as such would be the path that Morrison would normally take. This time he hasn’t, and it reveals much about the Liberal Party’s leadership tensions.

Dutton has never given up his dream of being PM. He knows full well that it was Morrison who thwarted him when he deposed Turnbull last year. The Home Affairs mega-portfolio has given Dutton near-insurmountable powers and his flagrant and deliberate use of them to cruelly deport the family against the popular will of the people is a direct challenge to Morrison’s leadership.

Morrison could easily direct Dutton to reverse his decision and be lauded as the popular peacemaker. The fact he hasn’t is indicative that he no longer has control of Dutton. Dutton is the one with the power now and the unfortunate family are the just the pawns in his raw display of naked power. What we are seeing is a lame duck PM and a megalomaniac Home Affairs Minister running roughshod over him, because, well, he can.

In short, Morrison has the title, but Dutton has the power. Be afraid, Australia. Be very afraid.

There have been ridiculous comments made by both Dutton and Morrison regarding the family. On Monday, a strategic news drop was made claiming that a number of asylum seeker boats from Sri Lanka had been stopped by Border Force. Accompanying the news item was file footage of just such a boat being boarded by high-vis wearing ABF personnel.

The article stated there was a “surge” of these boats. Internet sleuths soon identified the footage as being filmed in 2014, so not recent. Stupidly for Morrison, it also belied his bombast rhetoric that he had “stopped the boats”. He hadn’t, of course; the boats have kept coming. They are just being turned around or simply not reported on.

Morrison was forced the next day to admit it was a made-up story to keep the fear of asylum seeker boats in the media. The liar from the Shire strikes again. Stupidly, the mainstream media ran with the story as usual.

Yesterday, Morrison then stated that allowing the family to stay would be a threat to national security. Last time I looked at the map, Biloela did not seem to be a high-value strategic target. As for the toddlers, they are obviously very dangerous individuals. Morrison is flailing on this issue. It is now reflecting so badly on the Government that the best thing, PR-wise, for him to do is allow them to stay. The media will move on and in a week the story will be gone. But he can’t because Dutton won’t let him.

Dutton claimed that the family were “not in detention” on Christmas Island. Given they are in a detention centre, surrounded by guards, forbidden visitors and contact with everyone but their lawyers this seems like yet another lie. How someone can publicly spout such bald-faced lies is incredible. This is the thug the voters of Dickson chose to represent them. What does that say about them?

On a side note, but related, Dutton’s wife, Kirralee, runs two childcare centres in Brisbane. As such, Peter has a direct financial interest in them. The businesses are part of the Dutton family’s marital assets. Any impartial observer would note that Dutton, or those he commands, seem to take pleasure in the physical and mental abuse of children. This was evident in the way the Tamil children were treated, separated from their mother in transit to Darwin and then Christmas Island.

To add insult to injury, the childcare centres’ website proudly proclaims that:

‘Children need to feel safe and secure in our environment — we are influenced greatly by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child.’

I wonder if the centres’ customers (parents) know that the husband of the owner seems to routinely breach such U.N. conventions on the rights of children and the refoulement of refugees, amongst others.

The other big news this week was the release of the national accounts that shows Australia’s economic growth under Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has slowed to its lowest level since the GFC. This is catastrophic news for all Australians. Tax and interest rate cuts have not worked to stimulate the economy, which only leaves one more option for the Government and that is to start funding massive infrastructure projects, such as pumping cash back into the economy.

The Government’s deliberate attempts to restrict or even reverse wages growth, coupled with a lack of energy policy that has seen power prices soar, has meant people simply have no money left to spend. The Government has, of course, created this mess themselves. They left the economic booby-traps in place for the Labor Party to deal with, who they thought was going to be in power. Now they are standing on their own landmines themselves.

The Government is absolutely committed to delivering the surplus they promised (but didn’t think they’d have to deliver), which means they can’t spend money on infrastructure. This leaves them paralysed and watching the economy go down the toilet. Fortunately for the Government (not us), iron ore prices remain strong and this, on a macroeconomic scale, could get Australia over the line with the surplus. Unfortunately, it’s not much good if you don’t own a mining company.

Frydenberg’s spin on the economy was akin to a gambling addict who has spent $50,000 this month on the horses and finally wins $1,000 and tells everyone he’s a winner. Many argue that Frydenberg’s management of the economy is a gamble. He’s betting on iron ore prices staying high and a turnaround in consumer confidence. He may get the first but not likely the latter.

On a final note, what does it say about a government that is willing to plunge the nation, 25 million people, into deep recession just to be able to claim they delivered a surplus? There is no morality in that.

In the unlikely event you’re reading this, Morrison, may I quote you Matthew 16:26:

‘For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’

You can sign the petition to have John Wren reinstated on Twitter here.

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