John Wren takes a look back at the performance of our country's leaders over the year and grades them accordingly.
IT'S THE END of another tumultuous year in politics. Here are my ratings of cabinet members for 2020:
Stuart Robert — 1/10: Stuart is PM Scott Morrison’s former housemate and co-religionist, so it was no surprise he got a guernsey back in Cabinet after the May election, despite his past record of unexplained financial irregularities. As a Pentecostal, Robert believes disabilities are trials sent by God to test the recipient. He also no doubt believes in faith-healing and the power of prayer to cure the disabled. Putting such a man in charge of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a sick joke.
David Littleproud — 1/10: A Water Minister who has overseen the rivers run dry, the near-collapse of the Murray Darling Basin Scheme and towns running out of drinking water, because The Nationals, led by Littleproud, changed the rules to give water priority to irrigators rather than townsfolk.
Ken Wyatt — 2/10: Why an Indigenous Australian would have anything to do with The Liberals is a mystery to me. Wyatt proved he was a Lib, though, when caught out playing the game of mates earlier this month signing off on a $2 million indigenous eye clinic run by a Liberal Party crony Bill Glasson, an unsolicited bid that ignored tenders provided by actual Indigenous providers.
Anne Ruston — 2/10: As Social Services Minister, Anne famously blotted her copybook when she claimed increasing Newstart would only give more money to drug dealers. She has also vigorously defended the Robodebt scheme, that has since been shown to be illegal. “Inept” would be a kind description of Ruston.
Sussan Ley — 2/10: Another rehabilitated Cabinet member. Ley is the Environment Minister who has done absolutely nothing to battle the coal-powered environment destroyers of her own party. While the nation burns, today she signed off on oil drilling exploration in the pristine Great Australian Bight. She seems to have forgotten all about her previous fixation with ending live exports. We haven’t forgotten her perfidy though.
Angus Taylor — 0/10: This man is unfit to be in public office, let alone in Cabinet. We can only surmise Morrison hasn’t gotten rid of him because Taylor has compromising pictures. Read about Taylor’s litany of sins here.
Matt Canavan — 1/10: Poor Matt suffers from “coalaphillia”. He is little more than a coal lobbyist who has somehow found himself in the Senate. Matt sees the world in only two shades — coal-black and everything else. You’re either on coal’s side or you’re a dirty inner-city latte-sipping Marxist. He is on the wrong side of history.
Karen Andrews — 5/10: Karen scored relatively highly as she has done so little. When one takes no initiative, one can’t be held accountable for the results of that initiative. It must be challenging being the Science Minister in a government chock-full of science-deniers. Poor Karen.
Michaelia Cash — 2/10: Dumped from her last portfolio due to scandal after scandal, she now presides over a tertiary education sector on its knees. While she continues to drive the Government’s privatisation of vocational education agenda, apprentice numbers have plummeted and our skills shortage continues to worsen.
Dan Tehan — 3/10: Poor Dan. An Education Minister in an anti-education government. True to form, he leapt onto the traditional conservative “back to basics” education approach. Under seven years of the Coalition Government, Australia’s school education performance has dropped significantly against world standards. No improvement is likely under the hapless Tehan.
Paul Fletcher — 3/10: One wonders what Fletcher must have done in a past life to get lumbered with the NBN catastrophe. Fascist governments have a disdain for the Arts and intellectualism — true to form, the word “Arts” was removed from the title of his portfolio responsibilities. This demonstrates exactly what he and the Government think of art and culture.
Greg Hunt — 2/10: The expletive-prone Hunt has made his career of late by claiming responsibility for various new PBS listings of pharmaceuticals. He’s made numerous announcements, but bear in mind he just implements recommendations from an independent panel. It’s not really up to him. He’s just a highl- paid rubber stamp. Hunt is also overseeing the rapidly collapsing private health industry. Poor bastard.
Alan Tudge — 2/10: Nobody really knows what Tudge does. We know what he used to do, though. He was one of the main drivers behind the Government’s now-stopped illegal Robodebt scheme. He’s keeping his head down now after that debacle.
Linda Reynolds — 5/10: Lucky Linda has one of the Government’s prime portfolios. Conservative governments love to spend money on things that go bang. They also provide plenty of photo ops in glamorous locations. Linda still has significant work to do on how the Government cares for our military veterans.
Christian Porter — 2/10: Fortunately, Porter failed to get his heinous union-busting bill through the Senate. He petulantly sent it straight back again. He has also been drafting the utterly regressive and unrequired religious freedom bill. It has been suggested that it is so on the nose it could bring the PM down. This would be Machiavellian in the extreme as Porter thinks he might be in with a sniff if or when Morrison finally goes down. Watch this space.
Simon Birmingham — 4/10: Birmo is meant to be in charge of trade. He doesn’t seem to be doing very much. It’s only a matter of time before many of Australia’s trading partners start penalising Australia for its inaction on reducing carbon emissions. Birmo is fundamentally unsuited to lead the negotiations when that happens. Australia needs better. Much better than Birmo.
Mathias Cormann — 1/10: The famously innumerate Cormann is Australia’s Finance Minister. He has been in the role since 2013 and Joe Hockey’s disastrous Budget. He has been part and parcel of every shambolic Budget since. Under his watch, our national debt has more than doubled (yet he still routinely lies that he is paying down “Labor’s debt”). His latest budget (with Josh Frydenberg) has Australia futilely seeking a Budget at the cost of the whole economy. If he does pull it off, a Pyrrhic victory will be an understatement.
Bridget McKenzie — 1/10: Australia’s Agriculture Minister who is overseeing the do-nothing approach to saving farmers whose livelihood has been destroyed by climate change. I say “do-nothing” because one of her tactics is to offer loans to farmers that they’ll never be able to pay back, thus making bad situations much worse. She was heckled in Parliament from the gallery this week. The only positive is that her incompetence has perhaps seen many traditional welded-on Nationals voters suddenly question her coal-loving party’s raison d’etre.
Josh Frydenberg — 0/10: Josh is facing a high court challenge to his s44 eligibility. Hopefully, that will rid us of his presence. He, along with Cormann, is driving the economy off a precipice in the futile search for a surplus. He might deliver a wafer-thin surplus, but at what cost? Soaring unemployment, massive debt and destroyed environment. If I was Josh, I’d pull the pin and run for the hills. His incompetence will be remembered as long as Joe Hockey’s.
Michael McCormack — 0/10: It’s hard to believe the best the Nationals could put up after Barnaby Joyce’s escapades is an Elvis impersonator from Wagga Wagga. That pretty much shows the depth of their talent puddle. As I write this, he is actually acting PM as Morrison is MIA allegedly on vacation in Hawaii. Dog help us.
Scott Morrison — 0/10: Morrison won an election based on lies that were amplified by the Murdoch media and preference flows from Clive Palmer's $70 million war-chest. Morrison is a devout Pentecostal; this shapes his entire thinking. He has failed to act on climate change, he has failed to show any leadership in the bushfires crisis in NSW and Queensland. He plays the game of mates with impunity. He turns a blind eye to overt corruption in his own ranks. He is the main force driving the religious freedom bill that, if passed, will enshrine the right of zealots to discriminate against the LGBGT community, women, or anything their faith demands. While the fires rage and a national disaster unfolds, he went on an unannounced overseas holiday, allegedly in Hawaii. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless.
It’s a tragedy this year’s report card is so dreadful, but this is the Cabinet Australia elected.
On that note, Happy Holidays, Australia! See you on the other side!
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