It might be advancing age and softening intellect, but Throsby senses less need to brighten up the political commentary – as we did in the good old days when the political landscape was as dry as a Pommy’s towel.
He’s noticed that unembellished reporting of proceedings now presents the most hilarious account. Principal players of Australian politics have become stand-up comics of fine talent.
Hapless ink-slingers selecting the absurdist from a list of current affairs would have better luck picking the winner in a Melbourne Cup of Far Laps.
You drift off in front of the telly but are awakened by the lull when Sky stops disparaging Malcolm Turnbull.
What, did he pass away gently, a smile on his lips, in dreams of painting the boathouse? Did his heart give out upon realising that, with all that money and a beautiful harbourside mansion, he wasted a decade in the foulest pursuit imaginable?
Or are you still asleep on the couch having the nightmare in which breaking news declares Scott Morrison prime minister.
Not a dream. Dear Malcolm is as gone as his leather jacket. He’s frolicking around the Big Apple a free man as I write.
Throsby certainly can’t tell you why. Nor can any member of the ruling Liberals-Nationals coalition government either, since that flabbergasting day in Canberra on 24 August 2018.
Although internal party polling suggested PM Turnbull had a chance of returning to Government in 2019, he did not recontest leadership. Why? Someone as smart and wealthy as Mr Turnbull soon tires playing nursemaid to a rabble of right wing hardliners dismantling their “liberal” credentials, belying a claimed mastery of economics, and advertising a disbelief in science or facts or both.
Our… no, your new PM Morrison has set a cracking pace of pronouncements, trying to overcome a losing sequence of several thousand consecutive polls suggesting a dim future for his merry neoliberal troupe. He’s quite aware that the Australian voting public aren’t proven too bright as they consistently vote against their best interest. Nevertheless, he also knows, they have a keen nose when wealth trickles up.
Blustering, arm-waving, occasionally incoherent parliamentary performances, and an erratic series of partisan pronouncements delivered with incongruous and non-infectious enthusiasm, established him firmly as Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister – the redoubtable Shouty McShoutface.
Bankers – Even the Drug Lords Revere Them
As every Twitter lefty will opportunely tweet, Morrison voted 26 times against a royal commission into the banking and finance sector.
Somehow, the enquiry became reality against formidable opposition and its interim report by Commissioner Hayne is a blockbuster. Evidence laid before the commission exposes the financial industry in Australia as, almost literally, criminal racketeers.
The banks have gone to the edge of what is permitted, and too often beyond that limit, in pursuit of profit. And they have gone beyond the limit because they can and because they profit from the misconduct that is described in this report.”
Details from this enquiry – on deliberately limited terms of reference – make morbid reading, literally. For example, AMP admitted charging 4600 dead people for life insurance. Allianz, Suncorp, IAG, and QBE will refund $118 million to people for ‘add-on’ car insurance. NAB and CBA were accused of “possible criminal offences.” Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) had agreed to pay $700 million to settle civil proceedings “relating to breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.”
Just another day at the office.
The ABC of IPA
Throsby cannot think the acronym “ABC” without “IPA” – the two are inextricably linked, in that the IPA wishes to obliterate the other.
The Institute of Public Affairs – an advocate of lassiez faire, extraordinaire – is, as they say, a “who’s who” of Australia’s hard-right conservatocracy.
The IPA’s noble mission is to release the millionaire gene in us all, freed from socialist shackles, to soar above, and prey upon, lesser humans: those loathed “leaners” and “takers” of the alpha beings’ hard-won prosperity.
It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, deregulated workplaces, climate change scepticism, and abolition of the minimum wage – the antithesis of every ingredient that birthed the “Commonwealth of Australia” and then created one of the wealthiest and most egalitarian nations on the planet.
Yes, he’s at it again, that Throsby. Always with the sarcasm.
The IPA purports – whatever the private thoughts of its members, or covert agenda hiding within policies – to an ideal that no reasonable person would, prima facie, object to: “elimination of existing programs of welfare … with the aim of encouraging transition to work, self-reliance and high incomes.”
However, the Coalition government, whenever in power, is only ever seen to be taking a wrecking ball to the economy and the public institutions it perennially dislikes, and rarely seems to improve the life of “ordinary” Australians. Every policy advance benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
The poor have noticed.
It’s not helpful to citizens, or the national good, to say you can’t make an omelette without, you know, and then give the omelette to the over-fed.