If you want a single episode to summarize the fiasco that is the Abbott government, the first working hour of the 44th Parliament would be hard to beat.

First, the government had to gag the Opposition seeking to get any kind of information about the government’s signature issue, Stopping the Boats. If anyone had said, 20 years ago, that it would be necessary to read the Jakarta Post to find out what our own government was doing, they would have been greeted with incredulity.

Then, having specifically nominated juvenile insults like “Electricity Bill” as the kind of thing his new Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop would rule out of order, he had to watch as his attack poodle, Christopher Pyne used that very insult and was supported by Bishop. Then, of course, Abbott voted to uphold Bishop’s ruling.

Then, having wasted the first hour of the Parliament, Abbott announced his discredited bill to repeal the carbon tax. Meanwhile, the vice-president of our most important neighbour, representing a government Abbott has already insulted half a dozen times in as many weeks, was left to wait in an anteroom.

The Labour government of the last six years had its low points, to be sure. But it’s hard to imagine that those who voted for this crew (or for their former ally, Clive Palmer) aren’t experiencing a fair bit of buyer remorse.

69 thoughts on “Fiasco

  1. Sidebar: It’s also amusing that you use the “funny but shows up the hypocrisy of …” while wanting to give a pass to the evident hypcrisy of the LNP here.

    I’m not giving them a pass. As I said “Electric Bill” should have been disallowed in the chamber. It’s hypocrisy on the part of the LNP to demand better and then allow this insult. But with the ALP now calling people witches after endlessly demanding better it’s more a case of me wishing a pox on both their houses. They should all get a thicker skin, they should all have better manners, and after we finish tut tutting we should all focus on something more substantial.

    The real LNP fiascos in my book are what is happening in QLD where the LNP seems intent on abolishing the justice system. And federally Joe Hockey arguing that a $400 billion credit limit is too harsh. These are issues of material concern. Calling people silly names really shouldn’t rate in comparison.

    JQ did raise the more substantive point about real time reporting of naval manoeuvres to our north. I don’t agree that policing activities should involve a blow by blow update to the media. In practical policy terms I really think Australia should be providing legitimate migration paths for people with sufficient means to pay smugglers. So I don’t agree with the LNP policy position but given what it is the execution of that policy seems fair enough. I’m open to persuasion on this because I have not followed it closely but on the face of it the LNP position seems okay for the moment.

  2. @Megan

    At the risk of being pedantic, you said:

    it must be remembered that the Qld Greens are generally viewed – correctly in my opinion – as simply a sub-branch of the ALP rather than a real party.

    The “it must be remembered” implies this is general knowledge and widely said and is reinforced by your “generally viewed” and “correctly in my opinion”

    then on challenge you offered:

    In my case it’s from observation, not posturing. I find it disappointing and believe that clearly making themselves distinct would work to their advantage. I vote for them, just saying the way I see it up here – and from what little I know it certainly doesn’t apply in the other states. (emphasis added)

    These aren’t at all the same claim. At least one of them is wrong.

  3. @Fran Barlow

    I can’t think of a way to “prove” it empirically – other perhaps than commissioning an opinion poll (?). My view comes from ‘straw-polling’ and some personal experience. I’ll grant you that the turn of phrase in exhibit 1 above was rhetorical rather than intended to convey being backed by irrefutable evidence.

    I hear much more from/about Scott Ludlam and the other Greens Senators than I do Larissa Waters (who has sadly been virtually silent & invisible here in Qld).

  4. Where did I raise the issue of your personal sensitivities? I just said you were partisan and full of it. You don’t mind if the ALP calls people witches but somehow imagine it is violent thuggery if somebody calls Julia Gillard a witch.

    I agree with the LDP policy on firearms. I doubt JQ wants us to debate it here. How is it even relevant? If it’s not relevant why do you raise it?

  5. I think the “witches” thing has gone far enough, I don’t want to discuss guns here, and I’d appreciate it if commenters could avoid personal attacks on each other

  6. Now, both our neocon parties (Lib and Lab) want to conduct a US-style debt ceiling argument and play government shut-down brinkmanship. Are they really so stupid that they don’t realise the following?

    (A) Our government debt is very low by international standards.
    (B) Governments can fund themselves by taxation and money creation as well as debt.
    (C) An actual government shutdown is highly damaging socially and economically.

    Or, do they know all this and deliberately play a pretend game where they argue about stupid irrelevancies so as to play to the public?

    I want to start a “chuck them all out” movement. Every election it should be our goal to remove EVERY incumbent. Swap the incumbent for an independent or minor party person of your choice. Avoid both major parties. We will do this until politicians gain some sense again.

  7. @Ikonoclast

    This is especially silly when the country somehow survived without a debt ceiling until 2008, when Swan apparently decided that having one would impress all manner of folk with our politico-fiscal virility.

  8. The Rudd govt was all about reform, Gillard about consensus and Abbott about destroying the opposition. In their excitement at gaining control the LNP have been wildly shooting at anything that moves, including their own feet. Abbott needs to pull himself and then the party together before serious damage is done.

  9. Peter Moran, from Wikipedia

    “Blocking supply[edit]

    The constitutional text denies the Senate the power to originate or amend appropriation bills, in deference to the conventions of the classical Westminster system. Under a traditional Westminster system, the executive government is responsible for its use of public funds to the lower house, which has the power to bring down a government by blocking its access to supply – i.e. revenue appropriated through taxation. The arrangement as expressed in the Australian Constitution, however, still leaves the Senate with the power to reject supply bills or defer their passage – undoubtedly one of the Senate’s most contentious and powerful abilities.
    The ability to block supply was the origin of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. The Opposition used its numbers in the Senate to defer supply bills, refusing to deal with them until an election was called for both Houses of Parliament, an election which it hoped to win. The Prime Minister of the day, Gough Whitlam, contested the legitimacy of the blocking and refused to resign. The crisis brought to a head two Westminster conventions that, under the Australian constitutional system, were in conflict – firstly, that a government may continue to govern for as long as it has the support of the lower house, and secondly, that a government that no longer has access to supply must either resign or be dismissed. The crisis was resolved in November 1975 when Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Whitlam’s government and appointed a caretaker government on condition that elections for both houses of parliament be held. This action in itself was a source of controversy and debate continues on the proper usage of the Senate’s ability to block supply and on whether such a power should even exist.”

  10. The senate should have the right to block supply. The government should have the right to carry on without funding. The Governor General should take a walk if this transpires. And then maybe have a cup of tea with the key stakeholders.

  11. No way Terje, the Governor General is the crown’s representative and therefore has the duty to do what’ best for the future good of the commonwealth.

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