Malcolm Turnbull, who has just scraped over the line to claim government, claims he has a mandate to implement all of his unpopular polices. Green Left Weekly asked several community leaders their opinion. Jeannie Rae, National Tertiary Education Union national president First, even in liberal, democratic terms Malcolm Turnbull is on thin ice considering he just slipped in. More importantly, if a policy is wrong whether or not the party that won the election claims they have a mandate to implement it doesn't make it right!
Carlo's Corner: Make that sheep Australian of the Year; plus Brexit, Corbyn and Boris Johnson's hair
Some weeks can bring mixed blessings. For instance, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed a narrow victory for the Coalition in the federal election and on July 12 deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was assaulted twice by a sheep on his farm.
"The Coalition government's plan is not only to privatise Medicare, but to destroy it as a universal, national healthcare system," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, said on July 1. "The plan is based on a form of 'creeping privatisation,' together with undermining its coverage of the majority of community health services around the country."
Is there anything more wretched and dishonest than the suggestion by pro-capitalist media commentators that any attempt by working people to claw back a fraction of the wealth they create every day represents the "politics of envy"? It is even more poisonous when coupled with an effort to breed resentment towards fellow workers who have managed to fight for and win better wages and conditions that others. An example is the crass attempt to whip up outrage about Victorian construction workers winning a 15% wage rise over three years.
Eight short months ago, much of the population celebrated Malcolm Turnbull's ascension to power. Small-l liberals were drunk with joy and rumour has it that even some self-styled socialists joined the love-in. Turnbull was the Great White Knight who had slain the Abbott Dragon. He would turn the political rudder to the left, so we were told, and we would all live happily ever after. Many writers, no doubt, were also sucked in by this master of spin and his chorus of sycophants. Eight months on, the illusions of those spring days pile up like dead leaves.
In all the media hype about Malcolm Turnbull's recalling of parliament in April and talk of a double dissolution election, it is easy to lose sight of the “trigger” — the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill (ABCC bill). I recently heard an ABC Radio National commentator talking about the use of the ABCC bill as the trigger. She said words to the effect that most people would be in favour of cleaning up construction unions as only 11% of workers are in unions now. So it was considered to be a winner for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
A recent cartoon by Bill Leake in The Australian gave me a good chuckle, although not for the reason you might expect. Captioned “The Road to Ruin” and featuring references to the recently published book of the same name, there was Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at his local newsagent picking up “his” morning papers, sighing while saying “just the papers thanks”. The papers were the Sydney Star Observer with the headline “Marriage Equality special edition” and tucked in behind it was a copy of Green Left Weekly.
Hundreds of pro-refugee protesters rallied in Melbourne on February 27, calling on political leaders to let refugees stay and close the prison camps. The action was called in response to a visit by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten to the Lonsdale St Greek Festival. People chanted “Turnbull, Shorten. Blood on your hands” and “Let them stay" as they arrived on the stage. The action was called by Refugee Action Collective and First Nations Liberation.
I am not sure if I fully understand recent political developments, but the message I am getting from the Malcolm Turnbull government is that we have to send babies to hellish prison camps or else the gay lobby will persecute Christian students. And we need a big increase in military spending or house prices will tragically collapse, or tragically rise, depending on which tragedy you wish to choose. Say what you will about the Turnbull government, it offers no shortages of tragedies.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull began the annual Prime Minister's “closing the gap” speech on February 10 with a few lines in the Ngunnawal language. But, as an Aboriginal woman, all I heard was more Turnbullshit. “We recognise that prior to the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians spoke hundreds of languages and over 600 dialects," he said. In my mind this means that, despite the Mabo High Court judgement of 1992, he still believes Australia was "settled".