A Comment by an ISG Member – Do You Agree?
This week we allegedly saw Turnbull’s answer to Gillard’s ‘Misogyny Speech’. If that is the case, the comparison is telling and humiliating for Turnbull.
Gillard’s was a cutting demolition of the arrogant hypocrisy and sexism of the Abbott opposition, and Abbott personally. It took aim with delicious accuracy at his frequently ludicrous, often gendered attacks on Gillard and her perennially embattled but relatively progressive and responsible government. She demolished his suggestion that her support of a Liberal MP as Speaker, who was accused of sexual harassment by a male made her a supporter of sexism. (Some suggest Abbott may not shine intellectually; but his skill in the political reinterpretation of facts as Opposition Leader demonstrated marvellous ingenuity).
Turnbull’s effort was more like a ‘Misanthropy Speech’ by a member of that misunderstood minority, the mega-rich. ‘How dare you try to suck up to people like me, you common little upstart’ was the less than electrifying subtext.
In a country as egalitarian as Australia, (even today), it is hard to conceive how this could not fall flat. But NewsCorpse commentators and other rusted on sycophants lauded the speech as some kind of display of backbone, rather than an eyewatering display of aggressive entitlement.
‘Don’t bother trying to get into politics commoners, if you can’t afford your own harbour-side mansion’, was the clear, classist message. ‘Bring your own and stay home’ would be the chant of the top hatted, monocled, cigar chomping, cheer squad. ‘Only Labor parasite’s need to rely on the public harbour-side housing, the commoner’s Kirribilli’.
This is so far out of line with what we expect from an Australian Prime Minister I was more astounded than offended at first. But then the next day Turnbull gave another press conference and came out with, ‘I am my own man and no one can influence me.’
Suddenly it became clear. The Liberal Party boffins, scratching like vultures over the Trump victory have gleaned another meaty morsel from the putrefying American body politic. This time they have evidently deduced that Trump gained significant advantage from being, well, rich, and therefore not needing anyone else’s money in the form of donations and so being arguably incorruptible (?!?!?!!!)
Effectively BEING the 1% means both Trump and Turnbull can therefore argue they are not beholden to it…
Many may wonder if actually being a member of the 1% meant he already HAD a massive conflict of interest compared to other citizens, for example, when it came to taxing the rich or big business properly; but logic and reasoning are definitely not in political fashion at the moment (and haven’t been popular in the Liberal party for far longer).
Maybe Turnbull also thought that as he had just had to admit to buying the federal election, by donating $1.75 million to the Liberal Party campaign, he should really own it and put the public on notice, he paid good money for his job and he was bloody well entitled to it!
It was just coincidence that at the same time he was launching this snooty tirade against ‘chill’ Bill in the House of Reps, he was actually speaking to the Omnibus Bill that seeks to claw back benefits to families and people on welfare in order to fund corporate tax cuts (including forcing unemployed people under the age of 25 to wait four weeks before they can receive social security payments and raising the eligibility age for Newstart Allowance to 25).
This is to pay for his ‘plan’ for jobs and growth, tax cuts to big business, (although many would describe a plan with one item on it more like and action point than a plan necessarily).
And given all the things governments could and should do now and in future to help develop the Australian economy in a more just and sustainable way; some may think that a plan which simply cuts taxes and reduces the government’s ability to do anything is a bit self-defeating.
But surely Turnbull must know in his heart of stone, that this is Australia, and whether or not he will ever need anyone else’s donations to help buy his friends, we all noticed some time ago that he is definitely NOT his own man.
That he is as beholden to corporate interests, and weird internal party members as anyone who ever pulled socks on; from enemies of marriage equality to climate change denialists to Halal haters.
We had all thought he had become the leader of the Liberal Party to get all the sensible members to join hands so he could lead them safely into the 20th Century.
It is only now we are slowly beginning to understand that he is not there to help to change things the rest of the community don’t like about the Liberal Party at all.
He is there to help the Liberals stop things changing, not to help Liberals find a way to change.
Specifically, he is there to stop government helping the community in ways the Liberal Party doesn’t like. It seems this is now the core of the role of the Liberal Leader, to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing and changing less.
The test case is the Carbon policy. Turnbull was once the standard bearer for rationality on climate change in the Coalition. But he has at last abandoned all sense on the topic, aggressively attacking South Australia’s use of renewables and blaming them for climate related power outages (when the causes clearly were unprecedented weather conditions caused by global warming). He has gone as far as spruiking coal fired power including that well established fraud on the public, ‘clean coal’.
Now he is demanding that we have ideology free climate policy, while his party room is busy ruling out solutions from consideration, like the carbon tax or carbon intensity schemes, based purely on ideological or political considerations and in the face of all scientific evidence.
At the same time the Treasurer of his government hands a lump of filthy coal around the Parliament while singing a hymn of ignorant praise to its future industrial prospects. All while we have unprecedented heat waves and catastrophic fire conditions sweeping the south-eastern regions of Australia.
We didn’t see anyone in Parliament completely captured by wealthy vested interests… did we?
At least he has his own harbour-side mansion and doesn’t need to take donations from greedy multi-millionaires!