Wren's week: national security, climate change and LGBTI discrimination

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Scott Morrison talking about the encryption laws (screenshot via YouTube).

This week, John Wren discusses the dangerous way our politicians frame national security, the student protests about climate change and the Coalition's obsession with LGBTI discrimination.

Wren's Week


As I write this, our benchwarmer PM Scott Morrison has closed down Parliament to avoid losing a vote on bringing sick detainees from Nauru and Manus to Australia for treatment.

This is remarkable for a couple of reasons, the first being that Australia has a duty of care to the refugees. 

Their healthcare should not be up for debate in the first place and secondly, closing down a democratic institution because you don’t like the possible result of the vote by our democratically elected representatives is the work of a fascist.

Earlier in the day, Morrison gave a press conference where he came across as clearly unhinged, accusing Shorten of being soft on borders because he backs a plan to treat sick detainees. The pressure Morrison is under is telling. This outburst was a distraction from his encryption bill, that essentially states that encrypted software must have a backdoor coded into it that allows authorities to access information. Hackers will never ever find those backdoors or be able to access them, of course (cough cough).

His illogical outburst implies that Labor must be soft on security if it did not support a bill that weakened security. 

That was just today.

Earlier in the week, there was the schoolkids’ climate strike. Tens of thousands of school kids protested across the country culminating in a sit-in at Parliament House in Canberra. Climate change will affect these kids directly in the years ahead and kudos to them for their actions.

It has highlighted the inaction of the Coalition. The Coalition, led by the usual coal-fetishising numpties; Canavan, McGrath, Taylor, Kelly and the Murdoch media heaped scorn on the kids. This is bizarre given that these kids will be voting soon. Their proud parents, grandparents and older siblings already are. Abusing the kids is no way to win their future support.

Throughout all this, ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull was firing heavy artillery into the Liberal Party tent all week. It started when he weighed in on the pre-selection of Craig Kelly, the obnoxious climate-change denying pit bull who has a regular spot of Murdoch’s Sky News.

His local branches naturally didn’t want him, so Kelly waltzed into Morrison’s office and blackmailed him (I’ll move to the cross-bench if you don’t!) into an executive order that effectively meant all current sitting Liberal MPs will get automatic pre-selection. Obviously being a member of the Liberal Party means nothing anymore, which explains its plummeting membership.

It also rules out any chance of getting female candidates into safe Liberal seats. No wonder they have a problem with female candidates. The upshot of it is, any Coalition MP can now waltz into Morrison’s office and demand whatever they like. Morrison has shown he’s too weak to stand up to blackmail so now it will be open slather.

So, what of the Liberal Party leadership? We have former PM Tony Abbott leading the extreme right-wing of the party openly stating that he could be PM again. We have a PM in absentia Malcolm Turnbull running policy directives from outside of parliament; apparently texting members telling them how they should vote on the floor of the house, and a temporary PM, who is only as good as his last slogan (which is usually no good).

All three are locked in a death spiral blaming each other as the Liberal Party sinks without trace. It is no longer a sinking ship. It’s sunk. The rats are just squabbling over the flotsam.

And just when I though rock-bottom had been hit, the faux-Christian extremists decided to weaponise the discrimination of LGBTI kids in religious schools. Despite Morrison promising he’d make discrimination of gay kids and teachers illegal during the Wentworth campaign he hasn’t done so (quelle surprise), so Labor took the initiative and got the ball rolling. This got all the extremists yelling about “religious freedom”.

Now, anyone who follows Australian politics knows that “religious freedom” is Liberal Party code for “freedom to discriminate”. Therefore, any LNP bill that promises “religious freedom” is essentially enshrining discrimination, not eliminating it. After all that went on during the same-sex marriage debate, how out-of-touch must these fools be to think that it’s OK to discriminate against gay kids.

Morrison’s proposed bill effectively said that it’s OK for schools to describe their gay students as abominations, that they’re sick and perverted, but that they can’t be expelled for it. Shameful stuff. If these schools wish to take taxpayers’ dollars, they need to abide by our secular laws. If they want to do otherwise, stop taking our money.

I’ll leave you this week with the wisdom of Queensland LNP Senator Amanda Stoker who told Sky News that religious schools needed the right to discriminate against LGBT students because there might be "a child who wants to run a gay club within the school". This just shows how low the current iteration of the Liberal Party has sunk. 

You can follow John Wren on Twitter @JohnWren1950.

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